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Old 12-11-2008, 02:41 PM   #1
ljwillia
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Default Do So Many Really Fail?

We are about to buy our 2nd Subaru. The first was a 98 Legacy GT with 100K miles. It was a wonderful car. Unfortunately it was totaled on I81 as my son was heading back to school after Thanksgiving. We are considering another '98. This time an Outback with 100K. However, after reading all of these posts about head gasket failures I must admit I'm worried. It sounds like they all fail. Its just a matter of time. Is that too drastic a reading.

We are also considering a 2000 Outback with 106K miles. I'm thinking that might be a better option since its a phase II engine. Both are about the same price.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 12-11-2008, 02:47 PM   #2
GullyWagon07
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id say your better off buying a new 06-07-08-09 impreza non turbo. labor will hurt your pockets.
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Old 12-11-2008, 03:38 PM   #3
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An NA Impreza would be a nice choice, but also, not all 2.5L motors have head gasket issues. I believe there is a way to find out if cars that you're interested in are part of these bad apples.
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Old 12-11-2008, 03:39 PM   #4
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Head gasket failures? That's the first I've heard of that for the 2.5 turbo block... I was under the impression that the head gasket was pretty stout.
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Old 12-11-2008, 05:25 PM   #5
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Does anyone have a sense of how wide spread the problem is? What percentage of Phase I and Phase II cars would you guess will have HG that fail?
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Old 12-11-2008, 05:50 PM   #6
GullyWagon07
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljwillia View Post
Does anyone have a sense of how wide spread the problem is? What percentage of Phase I and Phase II cars would you guess will have HG that fail?
i had a friend on a 99 Legacy gt having to change his blown head gaskets...i recall saying these have a tendency to blow gaskets on his year car or similar.

i doubt a impreza non turbo wouldnt give you problems.
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Old 12-11-2008, 06:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mykl View Post
Head gasket failures? That's the first I've heard of that for the 2.5 turbo block... I was under the impression that the head gasket was pretty stout.
did YOU read THE POST????

or just ASSume???

NA-NA-NA-NA
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Old 12-11-2008, 09:51 PM   #8
Ekeenan86
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i own a '99 2.5 legacy and the head gasket blew out around 100k miles; replaced it an its been fine for the last 90k miles.
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Old 12-11-2008, 10:53 PM   #9
magnum2066
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Most 2000 and up (also some late 99') vehicles have the updated head gaskets and last a very long time. They started to really focus on quality then. [Edit] Minus the paint
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Old 12-12-2008, 10:04 AM   #10
DC16A2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magnum2066 View Post
Most 2000 and up (also some late 99') vehicles have the updated head gaskets and last a very long time. They started to really focus on quality then. [Edit] Minus the paint
*sigh* Why oh why is the paint so fragile?
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Old 12-12-2008, 07:47 PM   #11
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If you baby it the paint should be fine. Just don't expect to drop stuff on the car and expect it to stand up to the abuse.
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magnum2066 View Post
If you baby it the paint should be fine.
You mean don't drive it?

The paint is razor thin, waxing/washing as much as you can is all you can do (besides 3M)- but not really enough. Winter in the Northeast is a nemesis.

Back on topic: HG's in phase I 2.5's are problematic, but I have avoided the dreaded failure so far. Currently using Subaru's official stop leak: Subaru coolant conditioner. Is it working? Is it clogging the radiator? These are good questions, no definitive answer yet. '99 Forester, 125K now, looking to get some more. Some have made it near 200K without a failure, but I would say not as many that have failed before that point.

Other things to watch on older N/A Subarus are piston slap (sounds like a tractor) and excessive wheel bearing replacement.
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Old 12-13-2008, 12:06 PM   #13
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Headgasket failures of the 2.5 liter engines in the late 90's were fairly common. They may have improved the gasket design for those like they did for the late 80's models but I'm not sure about that. I suggest you purchase a Subaru built after 1999 or an older one with the 2.2 liter engine in an effort to try and avoid headgasket trouble but even that doesn't guarantee it will. If you do get an older model I would suggest you try and get it at a price that will help pay for new gaskets if they are needed later on. Any car with over 100k miles on it is going to have some sort of maintenance issues sooner or later. You just have to be prepared to face that possibility and the trade off of not making car payments on a new car.
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