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2006 Subaru Legacy needs major repairs, is this best option?

ruonanruonan Member Posts: 5
edited December 2016 in Subaru
Brought 2006 Subaru Legacy with 109k miles into a local garage (Hartford, CT) for timing belt and water pump replacement and received news of a host of other issues (please see quote and pictures attached). After discussing with the mechanic and checking general repair costs in the area for each repair via https://repairpal.com/estimator/, my inclination is to trust their opinion, but given the cost, I am wondering if this repair 1) will allow the car to run 100k more miles as the mechanics estimated and 2) is the best option with getting a new car (lease or purchase) as the alternative. Thanks in advance for your response!

Mechanic's assessment: "The oil leaks are coming from the Cylinder head gaskets. Both the cylinder heads require removal in order to complete the job. During the process of the job,the timing belt will need to be removed. As previously discussed we recommend the water pump, and related items be replaced while in there (Tensioner and idlers) The cylinder head removal is a lengthy repair and would take a few days to complete, once the Cylinder heads are off the car I will send them to a machinist to ensure that there are no hairline cracks in the casting, as well as no leaking valves that may cause poor idle quality/combustion, and lastly and most importantly that the cylinder head is true and flat, So when the new gaskets go into place they can make a 100% seal."

Pictures: http://dvi-doc.autovitals.com/EIS/Images/r_ee6f7793-3020-461b-b12e-5f36b46c368a.jpg


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well this repair is typical for the Subaru 2.5L engine---most have head gasket issues at between 90K--130K, so yours is right on schedule.

    If the car is otherwise clean (no rust, bad dents) and mechanically sound ( decent tires, catalytic, struts, etc) then it would be worth it, because you couldn't find a clean 2006 for $3,000 bucks.

    However, no one can predict how long an old car like this will run---it's already 10 years old and has traveled almost 1/2 way to the moon. The transmission for instance, could give up the ghost and that's not cheap--or new tires and struts could easily run over $1,000.

    So really, to make this decision you have to realistically assess whether your car has 'good bones' or not--it is a platform you can build on, or is most of the car looking pretty tired and worn out?

    If you've checked with repairpal, and the prices are in line, then at least you have that assurance.
  • ruonanruonan Member Posts: 5
    Thank you, sir, for a thorough and informational response. To answer a few of your points, the car has some cosmetic damage from a hit and run while car was parked on the street on the driver's door but otherwise no real blemishes to the body or engine. The mechanic I spoke with did mention that the transmission fluid will need to be flushed in the near future and to look out for that potential fix. Regarding mechanical soundness, he mentioned a deteriorating control arm bushings that should be monitored (http://dvi-doc.autovitals.com/EIS/Images/r_eda447d5-48e4-4ea8-b519-9ec21df184d5.jpg)

    With regards to "good bones" what would you recommend as potential ways to assess this? Or, in other words, what might be on a list of most important components of a Subaru that typically lead to this make and model's downfall?

    Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge!
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