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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • msmbmsmb Posts: 41
    Thanks, I tend to do oil changes on older cars frequently (my newer ones using synthetic oil wait up to 10,000 miles between changes); between 2500 and 3000. Previous owner of the Subaru apparently did also from what I can see of the service record, the shop that did the oil changes going back to 30,000. He is a young man, friend of my daughter's. They have all recently graduated college. He is going off to China. Were he and my daughter not friends I would say, "likely story." But we know he leaves tomorrow and I really could have bought the car for next to nothing. I believe him when he says that he never had to add oil between changes, so I am hoping this means car is in good shape otherwise. Thanks again for your info.
  • ponytrekkerponytrekker Posts: 308
    edited April 2013
    Insanely high price. All of these cars have head problems. Known issue.

    I had a 2002 with a leaky head gasket but drove it until 145k when I acquired another car (free) and had to sell it. The subie was leaking coolant and oil but ran just as long as you didn't try to use the AC when it was over 90.

    I sold it to a mechanic but would say you really shouldn't pay more than $3k.
  • msmbmsmb Posts: 41
    I came to the conclusion that the price was ok, in light of the fact that the car only had 67800 miles and i had all service records. The young person who sold the car was a friend of my daughter and the reason for selling was that he had just graduated and was going abroad. The engine was also spotless; so altogether I felt like we got a car which, when repaired could have many years of life left. Of course you always take some risk; no avoiding it when you buy a used car and one that required a major repair. Besides, if you look at sites like you will see the exact same vehicle for $8000 to over $10,000. On Craig's list the go for between around 5900 and 6999 (maybe you bargain them down a little) but the lowest mileage car i saw had 117000 on it. I could have bought the car for next to nothing since the young man who was leaving the country simply had to sell and had no other takers. He wanted $8000 originally for the car and then went down to $7000. I figured around $6500 and then compromised with him. I am a bit of a soft touch I guess because he fully recognized that I could buy it for just about anything I wanted. Of course the $6750 that I paid includes the major repair which, with the timing belt, cost $2050.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,468
    your price is "okay" if everything works out. Always nice to have low miles on a used car you buy, and there is peace of mind with a Subaru 2.5L engine in having the head gaskets all spiffed up early in the car's life.

    Asking prices of $10,000 are ridiculous, however.

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  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,149
    Vehicle history is, in my opinion, probably the most important part of buying a used car. Few who pay ~6,000 for a car can claim to have the vehicle's complete history in hand, and they'll pay their maintenance and repair costs, often on a "surprise!" basis, as well.

    It sounds like everyone involved did very well on this deal, and I'm sure you'll enjoy the car for as long as you elect to keep it. :shades:
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • duddly3duddly3 Posts: 1
    edited May 2013
    I have a 98 legacy and a 99 legacy both standard both sedan L is there any reason why the transmission from the 98 won't fit in the 99? also if the tranny is compatible does it matter if the shifting styles are different like one is kinda sporty with short range shift stick while the other is like average. did not know if this mattered..
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,149
    Manual trannies were the same on these cars, but there were some changes to the AT from 98 to 99. As for the shift kits, those are "bolt on" revisions, so it shouldn't impact the ability to use either kit in either car.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • once_for_allonce_for_all Posts: 1,640
    I've tried to find info on the charging system for the Energi, but to no avail. Is the 240 volt system an item that is electrician only, installed at a cost of $2k or so? Is the 120 volt system a simple wall outlet, no expensive charger?
  • wired1wired1 Posts: 45
    edited June 2013
    I'm looking for some expert advice and guidance from the forum:

    I have a beloved 2002 Outback LL Bean with 194,000mi.
    My 24 year-old student son has been driving it for the last two years after I moved to a 2011 model.
    Today after overheating issues and hose replacement (at the dealer), I was told by an independant mechanic that there is a crack in the head gasket and the engine needs to be replaced.

    My question: Do we proceed with replacing the engine? The mechanic is quoting under $2K.The car has performed admirably to date, and its only needed routine, mostly dealer, maintenance until now. No major issues (until now) and the body looks to be in good shape. I understand that no one knows for certain, but is this the start of a downward spiral (opinions welcomed)?

    This forum has always been a great and reliable resource.
    You've never let me down.
  • hammerheadhammerhead Posts: 907
    No need to replace the engine. Head gasket replacement is the fix. My '99 Legacy GT wagon had the HGs replaced @ 124K miles (before I bought it). It now sits in my driveway @ 211K miles, and runs like a champ. Get it fixed, and keep it. Lots of miles to go.
  • cabriggscabriggs Posts: 32
    My wife's '03 Forester needed a head gasket a few years ago. I called a few local dealers and I think it was about $1600. It's still running great. Her mother has it now and she drives between Maryland and Mass 5-6 times a year, no problem.

    I vaguely remember seeing a number of people here with late '90s - early '00s Subarus needing a head gasket replacement around 100k. I don't remember anyone saying they needed to do it twice, but search for yourself.
  • Definitely get the head gaskets replaced but shop around for a better price.
  • subi808subi808 Posts: 1
    i have a 1998 2.5l subaru outback legacy limited edition, and ive been having problems with it starting in cold temps 40 degrees to 60 degrees, but when the temp is warm., it starts right up no problem! idles right around 1 grand with no fluctuation. just replaced battery and wires, alternator,ERG valve, radiator coolant, oil/oil filter, and ignition, none of that seemed to work. im thinking maybe that the starter becomes frozen and wont engage in cold weather, because all the electronics works when i turn the key but i hear no "click"... hopping someone would have some insight for me, its driving me crazy!! want to get it running like gem before pow season comes around!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,149
    So, the car will not do anything in terms of even trying to start? It is possible that the starter solenoid is the issue, but you could likely confirm that by using a hammer (or similar) to tap on the side of the solenoid while someone is actively trying to start. If the starter engages and it fires up, then that's your problem.

    Another possibility is that you don't have a tight connection on your negative ground terminal (or don't have a good ground between your engine block and car's body). That generation of Outback used a bracket to which the negative battery cable connects. That bracket is held in place by one of the starter bolts. If that connection (at the starter bolt) is dirty or even slightly loose, you can get symptoms of a bad ground at high draw levels. Your starter failing to engage is one such symptom. I would be surprised if this situation caused an "all or nothing," meaning that the lack of even a 'click' makes me uncertain that this issue is what you are experiencing. It is worthwhile checking out, though (given ease of inspection and lack of expense).
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • My 99 Outback has the same problem. I'll have to try the WD40 before I go replacing the lock. Thanks for already getting that info!
  • bajaedbajaed Posts: 1
    This may have been covered earlier but my 2006 Baja (mechanically the same as an Outback) has developed a jerkiness in slow speed turns (could be called crabbing?). The vehicle has an automatic transmission and all 4 tires match with good tread. I have owned the Baja for 2 years, it has 62K miles, and this is a new situation. What could be causing this jerkiness?
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    What you describe sure sounds as if the AWD is trying to 'kick in' while you are turning sharp.

    During a sharp turn, the wheels on the OUTSIDE of spin faster than the wheels on the INSIDE of the turn. If the AWD system does not allow for this difference in speed, the vehicle would feel as if it was jerking, crabbing or trying to 'step' around the corner.

    If this situation is not corrected, it may end up actually BREAKING drive-components (twisting an axle or driveshaft, busting a CV-joint....etc)
  • sublsubl Posts: 1
    When I turn right, there is a slight grinding sound. Sometimes it feels as though there is a "catch" or almost a jerking as though there is an effort to change gears but it does not need to with the slow speed of the turn.

    Have taken it to a shop who was to check it out but did not and charged $60 for transmission fluid. Today at a different shop, the owner seemed to know about AWD, and was saying that the "transfer case" is not working properly. Says that there are lots of clutches in the transfer case and that they are not functioning properly as the lubricant in there is either low or the wrong kind. He also says that the shaft boot is split, but that is no big deal. Said that the transmission fluid is very old and dirty and needs to be replaces asap, but we paid for this about 2 months ago.

    Please read and respond.

    Anyone have an idea or an opinion on this?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,149
    Hard to say from reading this. The second shop owner certainly inspires more confidence. If you are having a center differential issue (no transfer case on this car, which is a unit that allows one to switch gear ratios from a high range to a low range), which does use many clutches as this owner indicated, that's big bucks to replace.

    That said, you say this only happens when turning right (as in the direction)? If that's the case, and the CV boot is split on that axle, I'd be more inclined to suspect the CV joint is failing than a differential issue. If your center differential is binding, you feel that. It is significant in its feel, and is difficult to mistake. With the CV joint, it makes noise and sometimes catches when turning that direction at first. As it gets worse, it can start making noise and catching at other times, and it eventually culminates in a broken joint.

    As for the dirty fluid, how could someone (like me) make a reasonable determination from afar? Either the first shop didn't change the oil, or the second shop is mis-interpreting. Last summer, my local dealer told me that my transmission's fluid needed changing when I took the car in for other issues. Of course, what the dealer didn't know is that I had changed the fluid (mine is a manual transmission) less than a month prior. I don't think they actually checked it; they just looked at the mileage, and went fishing based on an assumption.

    Good luck to you!
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    When you say "shaft boot is split"..... at first I ready this as the "shift boot" which is not a big deal.

    However, if *any* of your driveshaft boots are split, it is possible that the contained CV joint has lost its lubrication and may be causing the sensation you are complaining about.

    A bad CV joint may make noise (or not) and may 'catch' on each revolution. If the torn boot is on OUTSIDE of a front driveshaft, then the 'catch' could easily be exaggerated when the steering-wheel is turned sharply in one direction.
  • Would like to see the January 2013 forum
    article on remanufactured subaru cv joints

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,468

    @ectennis said:
    Would like to see the January 2013 forum
    article on remanufactured subaru cv joints

    I'm not sure what you are referring to--perhaps this article?

    In any event, when it comes to reman CV joints for Subaru, BUYER BEWARE.

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  • Ok so i have a 1997 subaru legacy outback and i hit a tree earlier so now i need a new radiator, bumper, hood, hood latch, power stearing pump, and headlights and who knows what else does anybody know how much it would be to get parts
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,468

    Hard to say as the prices for used parts varies considerably. If you could find one in a Pick n' Pull, that would save you quite a bit but of course body panels will probably have to be repainted.

    Radiator should be bought new--probably $85 to $150 bucks, power steering pump (new) about $150.

    I'd guess you could gather up all the parts for around $750, not including painting of course.

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  • gmginsfogmginsfo San Diego, CAPosts: 116
    Recently took my 2010 Outback in for the 60K mile service at a SoCal dealer - and the bill was $635! This seems very high to me, or am I out of touch w/ prices today?
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