29th May 2008, 08:36
Well here goes my Subaru nightmare. I purchased a 1998 Subaru Legacy GT Wagon from a dealer in IL for my Son who needed an AWD car. The car was in great shape no oil leaks. Everything checked out Carfax, Consumer reports. A no brainer right? Well here we go. On our drive home I make sure to tell my Son to watch the gages to make sure the car is handling the drive home with no problems. 211 miles into the trip average speed 65 mph the temp gauge shoots up then comes down. Then shoots up and stays up. My Son lets me know and pulls over. Yes it is late on a Friday before a holiday weekend in the middle of nowhere. I called a tow truck and had the car towed the rest of the way $430. Called the Dealer he was shocked. Well we all know what happens now. I Googled 98 Subaru overheating and here I am telling my story. $1600 to fix head gasket and water pump seals and hoses. The car should be done next week.
How can we do something to go after Subaru? How can we start a class action suit? I was going to buy a new Tribeca in 2009, but now I would not drive a Subaru if you paid me. I will make sure to warn everyone I know about this.
2nd Jun 2008, 20:00
Same problem with a 99 Outback: overheated, stalled out on the DC beltway, towed to garage, blown head gasket. Definitely not putting any more money into this thing. It has had chronic oil leaks for 3 years before this, with expensive repairs to replace seals. Very, very disappointed given its earlier reputation.
12th Jun 2008, 17:15
As I write this our 2000 Outback Wagon is in the shop with... wait for it... leaking head gasket! (Surprise, surprise.)
We bought the car in 2004 with 42,000 miles... live in Mass. -- owner told us it had "brake problems" so we deducted $500 from the price. Unfortunately, it needed all new rotors and the bill came to $800 (went with "heavy-duty" rotors).
At 63,000 miles the check engine light came on and it needed a new ECM (replaced under recall) and an oxygen sensor. Also a donut gasket. $460.
At 65,600 the car was smoking, but it turned out to be only a hole in the oil filter. However, both double offset joint boots were "dry-rotted and cracked" and needed replacement. Also the drive belts were replaced. $500.
And now the head gasket, at 77,000 miles. At least it didn't blow -- maybe we caught it in the nick of time. Unfortunately, the clutch also needs replacing -- a while back, we had tried to get on the top deck of a ferry boat and the clutch just slipped and slipped, so we knew it was a matter of time -- and, annoyingly, and brakes are shot again! Was originally told I'd need four new rotors, but after telling them I just had it done 35k ago, they will "double-check". If they replace 'em, I'm looking at close to $2,000 (with a new timing belt -- on $90 more since the whole engine is out anyway).
Oh, and there's an "exhaust leak" underneath -- $700 if I replace the mid-pipe and muffler; the dealer actually suggested I try to get it welded and save the money.
So all in all, somewhat disappointed with the car, although I've owned worse.
16th Jul 2008, 13:06
I bought my 97’ Subaru Legacy Outback from my family last year after my grandmother passed away. Everything seemed to be going fine until I got the coolant changed. I drove from Seattle to Spokane and then back for a weekend trip. When I got back the following Monday the car started to overheat. I took it back to the place where I got the coolant changed and asked, “What the F***?” They said that my radiator needed to be burped or the thermostat needed to be changed. OK. Then the next day was going to Tacoma and the car did the same thing. As I’m reading all of the above posts I’m worried. I still owe about $3000 more on the car. Should I even open the can of worms to fix the car or just trade it in? Please Help! email@example.com.
20th Jul 2008, 15:36
I guess I can count myself incredibly lucky after having read this thread.
1998 Forester, *salvage title* (tree branch damaged front driver side badly). The car was fixed up and (poorly) repainted, bought it for cheap ($6K) in 2005 with 95K miles on it. Was almost exclusively an around town beater car (I worked entirely from home for a few years).
This past spring, I started commuting to a new job, 68 miles round trip every day. Ran like an absolute champ - getting 27 to 30mpg pretty consistently, happy happy! However, the brakes squealed and juddered pretty badly, and by this past week I'd ridden the mileage up to 114K. I knew I'd better get the brakes done and the timing belt changed before it was too late. The dealer quoted way high for the whole job, naturally (more than $2K), so I went to the local privately owned repair shop - who quoted about $500 for the brakes (needed new rotors) and $800 for the timing belt (with water pump replacement too, and if needed oil pump).
A day later, it was done - but they said they had to replace some expensive belt idlers (understandable), and that "the radiator gets hot on one side but stays cold on the other, so you might need a new radiator). Wasn't happy about that, the whole bill had come to $1500 by then. they said to keep an eye on the coolant temps, but that there was definitely something goofy with the radiator.
Now, understand - my coolant gauge had, before this maintenance, always been absolutely *nailed* just below the halfway point between the high and low markings. Rock solid. We had a heat wave here in the Bay Area a couple of weeks ago, and it never wavered, in bumper to bumper freeway traffic or at 80mph. So what that said to me was, 'your radiator may have problems' translates to 'we managed to screw something up with your cooling system and are blaming it on your radiator'.
I had picked up the car in the morning, and promptly drove it from the shop to my job - and the temp gauge (on an otherwise pretty cool morning) was all over the place. Steady 65 or so, it seemed fine - but then it would start gradually rising, then fall a bit. If I coasted on a long downhill stretch, the temp would shoot up, to less than a quarter inch from the 'red zone' on the gauge. This is not good!
I drove it home in the evening, and the temps stayed pretty steady - on the high-ish side, but not enormous. I called the shop while on the road and said I thought that whatever had caused the radiator to act goofy probably worked itself out - maybe a bubble or some debris.
When I got home, I let it idle for a minute - and the temp shot up. Shut it down, opened the hood - and totally cold on the filler cap side, hot on the other. Nope, not good.
Called him back and told him I'd bring it in - asked if they could just flush it or something, but he said he was pretty certain I just needed a new radiator. Sigh. I was angry.
I found this thread that evening, and I started having visions of disaster. This was the whole phenomena described over and over, sudden bad temp problems, warped heads, and thousands and thousands in repairs. Oy vey, I was panicked!
I had dropped off the car the previous evening after they closed. in the morning, they said they'd get to it right away. About 2pm, got a call - new radiator in, temps are rock solid. I breathed a tentative sigh of relief - the real proof would be the commute.
And the verdict? Rock solid! The needle stayed nailed in place, both ways on the commute, just like old times.
I am one happy, happy camper - and relieved. Yeah, it cost another $300 for the new radiator, so it came out to be nearly what the dealer wanted to charge for the whole job. However, I was supporting a local, independent small businessman, which I like to do. And, I wound up without the head gasket disaster so many have experienced.
So, yeah - this turned out really long. I wanted to give a detailed story that didn't turn out a disaster. I've owned subies since the mid 1980's, and they've always been highly reliable for me. and at least in this instance, even though it spelled disaster - it wasn't. So there's hope, I suppose!