1998 Subaru Outback from North America - Comments

3rd Nov 2004, 13:48

Our 1998 Outback Limited blew her head gasket at about 63,000 and we had never had a problem before. After spending a measly $1200 to repair it has made an annoying slight knocking sound when revving the engine. About one month after the head gasket repair - my front rotor threw a brake pad and voila - a new rotor job at $400. This was of course, after performing the 60,000 service at the dealer. This is my main transportation and I am terrified of driving it! We used to rave about Subaru, but now I am afraid of it, lurking in my driveway - waiting to break down some more.

26th Nov 2004, 11:55

We also bought a 1998 used Subaru Outback Legacy Limited, standard, 106000, motor replaced, never ran the same after that, louder, worse on gas, less power. Stuck with a lemon in Pa. (debgmeow@msn.com) Keep finding oil in the reservoir.

6th Dec 2004, 21:39

1998 Outback, 82,000 miles and a blown head gasket. Has anyone had any success getting Subaru to pay for this repair? Thank you.

Cameron.parkhurst@gmail.com.

14th Mar 2005, 10:31

My 1998 Outback has been a fun and highly reliable car. It's been great in Minnesota winters. At 92K miles, the brakes pads and rotors (the originals) were replaced along with the clutch master and slave cylinders. That didn't seem unreasonable. Now--3,000 miles later--it is parked at a shop with a blown head gasket. I don't yet know whether the heads are damaged. After reading so many on-line reports of head gasket failures, I've lost confidence in the car.

23rd Feb 2006, 16:28

When the engine starts to overheat, shut it off. 9 times out of ten, a new head gasket is all that is needed. Also ask your dealer for "Cooling System Conditioner" We call it liquid head gasket. It helps seal the engine before the head gasket goes out. Very cheap too.

24th Mar 2006, 14:35

I was one of the greatest sources of free advertising for Subaru, was would be the key word here. At 90K I blew a head Gasket and now I find that thousands of others have the same problem on their 2.5 liter outbacks. I'm through with Subaru and can't believe that the company is not going to support its customer base. If it were not for this inherent problem I would be a Subaru repeat customer. Take this car and shove it. Where is your sense of honor Subaru? My next car is a Toyota or Honda and I will tell everyone I know not to buy from the Stupidru company.

30th Mar 2006, 12:50

2000 Subaru Legacy Outback had the head gaskets replaced under a recall 2 years ago. Now the cooling system (126k miles) is acting badly with random overheating. Makes me wonder what is going on inside the engine: blown gasket, cracked head or block, or something else. The miss behaving cooling system and a new transmission leak mean the thing is getting traded soon. Very soon.

2nd Apr 2006, 22:57

I bought a 1998 Subaru Outback, my second Subaru. The first one was a 97 and the lifters stuck, but the car was reliable, I went to Joshua Tree, and never had any major issues with it. I bought the 98 with less than 20K on it. The 98 was a great car until the timing belt was replaced. It has been all downhill from there. I had the belt replaced at 90K, which is great. The car overheated suddenly on I-5 in the middle of nowhere. I paid $500 or so to have the water pump replaced, and the thermostat. This last week the thermostat went. The head gasket went with it. The cost is going to be $1700 to get it replaced as long as the heads are not cracked, if they are.. add more. I have 110K on it, and am going to trade it in for a Toyota, which I know does not have these reliability issues, and who I know will stand behind their brand and customers. Too bad to see such a nice car end up being so poorly designed for the long haul.. Subaru should take a page from Toyota and Honda's books. Having read the other stories here, I feel fortunate I made it this long without major issues, should have sold it at 70K. ADIOS SUBARU!

3rd May 2006, 05:27

I was feeling badly about the blown head gasket on our 99 Outback wagon until I saw here that making it 160K before the failure was pretty good. It is nice to know that it is not due to my driving or maintenance.

25th May 2006, 12:27

My 1998 Subaru Outback, impeccably maintained, blew the head gaskets at 57,000 miles and warped the engine block, total cost $5,000,which included new engine, and this was only a month after paying $1,800 to do the 60,000 miles. maintenance. Subaru of America completely unsympathetic. Definite problem with these cars. Car Talk recommends calling our state's attorney general, local TV news, 60 minutes, etc. Might be worthwhile to do that, but enough people need to make formal complaints because to date, Subaru is not making any effort to help their customers out. Have also heard there is a possible class action suit in the making.

8th Jun 2006, 09:04

We just got the same bad news as reported here yesterday for our 1998 Subaru outback with 90K, with absolutely no comment as to how common it is to need this repair. Shame on Subaru! I'm sure glad that I checked the web before just deciding to give up. Just last week we had to replace the circuit that operates the power windows... we thought that was steep at $500, now they want $3500 for the gasket and I guess we must have a warped head too.

15th Jun 2006, 19:29

I have a 1998 Subaru Legacy with 112,000 and went through a lot of the same as I have been reading. Random overheating, replaced thermostat, water pump, timing belt at cost of over $550.00 and it's clearly now a warped head, cracked head gaskets. This is my third and last Subaru. I am extremely disappointed and will never buy another or recommend anyone else do so either. I will be looking at Honda and Toyota as the car is not worth much at this point as I will not invest $3,000 in this car. I expected much more from Subaru. Pay attention Subaru.

22nd Jun 2006, 16:54

I own a 2000 Subaru Forester and bought it with 19,000 miles. It begin overheating at 85,000 miles, and I took it to Subaru dealership, and they checked the head gasket and found it was OK. When I replaced the timing belt at 90,000 miles, the water pump and thermostat were replaced as well. Engine continued to over heat only after the anti-freeze was emptied from radiator. So replaced radiator at $300 from Radiator.com and had Subaru install it.

Things were fine for a little while until it started overheating again with no anti-freeze in the radiator. I have two more years to pay on the car; about $8500. If a repair for a blown head gasket is $2000, then I'll be trading the car for a Toyota truck. I don't have $2000 to pay for such a repair. If the dealer won't take the car, then I'll drive it till it blows up and sell it for junk. Then buy a old Toyota truck for $1000 and pay off the balance of the loan.

I will NEVER own another Subaru. I've been told that Subaru is a product of General Motors, and had I known that, I would have never bought a Subaru. I have driven a GM vehicle at work for the last 20 years, and they are JUNK. I don't drive anywhere without a gallon of anti-freeze now.

Add Forester to the blown head gasket problem. A co-worker said an easy test is to sniff the radiator contents while the engine is running. If it bubbles and smells like exhaust, then the gasket is shot. I don't drive anywhere without a gallon of anti-freeze now.

HR.