1998 Subaru Outback from North America - Comments

12th Dec 2006, 07:48

I am about to buy a 2000 Subaru Outback with 125k miles. The price is low, the car is clean and I love the car. I had been warned about the head gasket problem and now I feel like I should reconsider. Are there any mechanics in Manhattan that read this blog that would be willing to take a look at the vehicle before I buy it? (please contact me via email if so)

If the head gasket is going to blow really soon, I'll just knock it off the price (if the seller is willing)

Anyway... thanks for your help.

You can email me at: drparkerjob@mac.com

Any timely advice on the Subaru Outback would be appreciated.

Dated: Dec 12, 2006.

12th Dec 2006, 12:49

We purchased a used 1998 Legacy Outback and it appears we are facing the same problem. Has anyone found any recourse from Subaru? AJ

13th Dec 2006, 21:09

I just purchased a 1996 Outback with 129,000 miles from Washington State. Nice looking car, price affordable. Had it shipped up to me (I live in Alaska) and received it two days ago. I didn't purchased warranty with it as I spent all my money on the car. Drove it yesterday for about 10 miles and it started overheating. Oil in the coolant. Took it to a mechanic and he gives me an estimate of $2800 to fix the blown head gasket. The dealer I bought it from claims no responsibility and said it was my fault, that he wouldn't sell me a car with blown head gasket. I have no choice, but to borrow money to have it fixed, but wish I would have read this forum beforehand. Just my luck, but I expected to get more than 24 hours use out of this vehicle.

14th Dec 2006, 14:47

It seems that my wife and I are the most recent victims of Head Gasket malfunction. Our 1998 Subaru Outback has 115000 miles on it and looks clean. But apparently these little engines harbor some pretty sinister secrets. Our "third party warranty" refused to pay for the repairs because the damage to the head gasket was not "verifiable." We are going ahead and replacing the water pump and timing belt while we have the engine torn apart. I do plan on contacting Subaru. It wouldn't hurt them to hear from a few thousand unsatisfied customers.

14th Dec 2006, 20:45

Thank you for this valuable site!

On our '98 Outback the head gaskets failed 18 months ago. We are now (12/14/06) on Round Two of the notorious failing head gaskets. And here we thought our mechanic might have messed up!

One point of confusion--one of the linked sites here said '1999-2002' cars, and if you try to register, the drop-down menus start at 2000. Seems like this problem goes back a bit further than that, yes?

Remember the Chevy Vega? Maybe aluminum engines aren't all they're cracked up to be (sorry!).

18th Dec 2006, 13:32

Count me amongst the unlucky Subaru Outback owners with failed head gaskets. I have a 1998 Outback Limited which has been mechanically "babied" via the local dealership for all of it's 81,000 miles. My conversation with SoA yielded an offer of an additional cash rebate if I were to purchase a new Subaru. My confidence in Subaru's reliability, however, is shaken to the point that I'll probably move on... Coincidentally, I've just been informed that a friend from work has just had the same diagnosis on his 2000 Outback. I'll be watching this list to see if any acceptable resolution is being offered via SoA.

22nd Dec 2006, 22:37

Here we go again with another head gasket issue with a 1998 Legacy GT Limited with 139000 miles. 6000 miles ago the car began overheating. It was very intermittent. I thought it might be the thermosat so I replaced it. Well, it happened again. Now I'm 300 miles away from home. I took it to a repair shop to have another thermostat put in, but as it turns out the mechanic tested the coolant and found evidence of exhaust in the coolant. This is my fourth subaru. First one had major oil problems and got traded off. Second one saved my life with its heavy undercarriage preventing the car behind me from making me into a pancake. Third car I ran 90,000 miles and still preforms well at 205,000 for my employee. And finally the fourth which was told to me to be a car that "lasts forever" has failed me. The worst part is that Subaru knows all about THEIR problem. This is not a minor cash flow fix. This is not acceptable. My confidence no longer exists with Subaru. I need all wheel drive. What is the best alternative to Subaru??? goathill@ridge-runner.com.

24th Dec 2006, 13:48

It looks like I am not the first to have problems with my Subaru head gasket. Mine is a 2002 Outback Wagon (2.5L) with 95K miles. The coolant is leaking from the drivers side head gasket (exterior leak). Since I have no problems with oil in coolant or coolant in oil (yet?), I was wondering if I might be able to stop the leak with one of those head gasket repair products, IE Steel Seal? Also, I am hearing different things on the gasket replacement. Some say the engine must be removed, other say not. Does anyone out there have advice on that.

29th Dec 2006, 18:40

Just got a 96 outback with 173000 miles, and it lasted about a week before gasket (s) blew. Supposing the guy I got it from wasn't lying about it never overheating, I guess the car was lucky to go this far! Too bad I picked it up when I did. But it's hard to believe that the 98's and 2000's would have the same problem as the 96, considering how widespread the problem apparently is. Stranded in Truckee, CA, watching all the outdoorsy, athletic, and stylish new-suby owners cruise through town on their way to the slopes, wondering if they're kidding themselves too.

30th Dec 2006, 19:25

Happy New Year to me (not!!!). Same story, Outback 2001, 83,000 km, blown head gaskets fixed to the tune of $3200 CN. Or should I say, not quite fixed. Picked up the car after 1.5 weeks in the shop. As soon as I left the auto mall the engine light went on and the car sounded like it was going to stall. Now the car is back in the shop. After I left it I went over to do some test drives to guess where: Honda, Toyota and Mazda. I had hoped to drive my Sub to about 200,000 km. Now I have to dump it asap as I cannot trust it anymore and they will not guarantee the whole block won’t go. So much for Subaru reliability.

Has anyone gotten any extension of warranty out of Subaru Canada? I read warranty extensions were only offered to Subaru America customers who had the engine conditioner added (I had it added when I got the letter from Subaru).

31st Dec 2006, 16:31

Continuing Subaru nightmare! I own two 97 Legacy Outback’s. One has 206000 miles, but had that engine replaced at 120k because of a warped block and head gaskets. The head were planed and head gaskets replaced at 200k along with the timing belt and idler pulleys, water pump, thermostat and all seals and gaskets. At 205K it received its second

Automatic transmission and now I have just replaced the radiator at 206k. In addition the engine has the dreaded piston slap problem and sounds like a diesel when it is cold.

Subaru # 2 has 189k and just started leaking antifreeze. It had a cracked radiator, which I replaced the radiator for $150.00, It now overheats after you drive about 150 miles. It appears to be the thermostat and not the head gaskets (I hope). I am replacing the thermostat tomorrow. Happy New Year!! This is just what I wanted to do on my day off. Oh yes, this one also has the piston slap, which Subaru says is acceptable.

I also own a 95 Mazda MX 6 with 150k on it and as strange as it may seem, it has no overheating problems or piston slap and gets 40 + MPG on a trip. I have run GMs up to 275k with no problems.

I will never own another Subaru as long as I live. It sure would be great to see Subaru get hit with a class action suit. Perhaps for the New Year all of us disgruntle Subaru owners should start sending Subaru latrine-o-grams (you know, the kind of paper that you use to wipe with) they would get the message.