20th Oct 2007, 20:17

I just recently bought a '96 Legacy with the 2.2 engine. I hope it will never have the problems of the 2.5 litre.

I would like to weigh in on the discussion.

I am a Ford mechanic and have been for 22 years and have seen and heard of very strange things.

FoMoCo. had a run of bad heads on the little 2.0 litre diesels in the mid '80's Escorts and Tempos (yes, diesel Escorts and Tempos). They bent over backwards to repair these motors (even those beyond the warranty). I repaired many with nearly 100,000 miles at no charge. That is how a company is supposed to handle problems.

All of the affected Subarus should be brought in and repaired at little or no charge. No one should have their well-maintained vehicle take a dirtnap on them with no warning, especially if it is a documented manufacturing or design problem. period. In this age of 250,000-500,000 mile automobiles, it is a shame that we accept this poor performance from a car company. This reminds me of mid-seventies american car company performance. Come on Subaru, step up to the plate and hit one for the ones who made you who you are. The customer.

I am not brand loyal or pushing any products, but in answer to the earlier Astro Van comment, My '99 has 197,000 miles on it with less than $500.00 spent (other than routine maintenance) to repair breakdowns. That friends is what you call reliability.

6th Nov 2007, 10:48

Just purchased a 98 Forester. Same head gasket problems as I have read in the previous 100 and something posts. Having it replaced right now for 1600 dollars. Car has only 82,000 miles on it. Right now my biggest concern is if the new gaskets they are putting on now are worth a crap?

Should I turn around and sell this car after it is repaired?

All I know is this is ridiculous, I could have purchased a very nice Honda or Toyota for the money I now have invested in this car. Something definitely needs to be done and if a class action suit is filed you can definitely sign me up.


8th Nov 2007, 07:59


The Internet helped me learn all about the Subies 96 and above. It also helped me solve the problem. I bought a 1997 Outback LTD with blown head gaskets for $1000.00 Canadian ($900.00 US) in very good shape other wise. I then found an older 2.2 L. You know the one that you could ring up 300,000KMs (180K Miles) without touching. It was Plug and play and now I have a reliable Outback and I have been driving her all across Heck's Acres. I would do this again and I will do it again. Thanks so much internet. You saved me 30K and I didn't have to deal with a car salesman.

I wonder how much pain the Subie engineers were in when they was forced to change the old SOHC engine design. The 2.5 became an interference engine with tight valves and other complications. Should have just left it. I wonder if GM had anything to do with this?

BTW, my Subaru backyard mechanic has never seen a Timing belt snap on a Subie. These Dealer Shops make a killing on this maintenance and probably screw other things in the process.

If anybody has 97 outback LTD in Black and with blown Head Gaskets, please pipe in and I will be out with flatbed to get her.

Long Live Subaru's with Older engines.

Here's a quote for you from Albert Einstein... Please read it:

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction.


14th Nov 2007, 01:59

I have a 1997 Outback LTD in black with a blown head gasket and 135,000 miles. Where's that Canadian with a flatbed, eh? They want $2,600+ to fix. Is it even worth repairing? Other than the typical, rapid overheating problem which led to the blown gasket, the car runs great! If the cylinder head is cracked, should I call it a day? Thanks!

14th Nov 2007, 03:45

1998 Outback... I too have replaced the head gasket, seems to be a trend. what is up with these vehicles??? Now my clutch is going out. I am the only owner and have loved this car until 2 years ago, now I am not sure I would EVER own another Subaru.

15th Nov 2007, 21:16

We have a 2002 Legacy GT wagon. The head gasket blew at 43,000 miles. This care was never driven hard. Kicker is the 5 year warranty had expired 35 day ago. Subaru offered to pay for parts and I'm paying for labor.

My 1998 Outback blew it's head gasket at 115,000.

We replaced the 1998 with a Volvo XC70. Hope we have better luck with Volvo. At least the Volvo warranty is better.

18th Nov 2007, 15:45


Don't scrap that 97. Call Emily up at CCR in Colorado. Her company will send you a 95 2.2 L.

You'll have what others haven't had since the early 90's; a rock solid Subie that is all singy all dancy.

As the Yanks say "Go for it".



23rd Nov 2007, 14:12

I have a '98 Legacy Outback with a severe overheating problem, but none of the usual evidence of leaking head gaskets, so my mechanic suspects a crack in the engine somewhere.

So the choices are:

1. Junk the car

2. Rebuild the 2.5 litre engine

3. Replace the engine with a 2.2 litre version.

Option 3 seems most attractive, but the mechanic thinks that the 2.5 and 2.2 litre versions aren't plug and play, as someone suggested, and that a lot of work is required to adapt the 2.2 litre engine to the exhaust, engine mounts, etc...

Anyone know where there's a full procedural description of what needs to be done?



26th Nov 2007, 23:45

My '97 Outback Legacy Wagon w/85,000 miles and impeccably maintained has just joined the "Head Gasket Gang." The problem began about 5 months ago. Of course the overheating was intermittent making diagnosis difficult. Radiator flushed, new cap, pressure tested, thermostat, water pump, timing belt and now the head gasket. Thanks to this site, I went into diagnostics with my eyes open and made suggestions to my mechanic after telling him about this site. We went step by step even though in the back of our minds the dreaded head gasket was going to face us. He actually recommended in the beginning to get my car detailed and trade it in!

I am absolutely appalled that Subaru has not taken responsibility for this obvious flaw. I am going to the website mentioned above and report my case. I hope we can take a stand against this big business bungle.

I too, thought of purchasing another Outback when the time came. No more. Can't afford a new car payment now so I'm stuck.

29th Nov 2007, 01:52

We have 2 Subarus.

97 Outback Wagon 180,000 miles and 2001 Outback Sedan Ltd 105,000 miles. Both have same problems with overheating. I wish I knew about this site.

Faced with no warranty, we are faced with a scenario... repair or trade in for a honda or a toyota. It will be nice to have a different car, but the monthly payments! Ughh!! I live in NJ and am planning to call the mechanic that posted his number.