1998 Subaru Outback from North America - Comments

7th Jan 2007, 20:54

I have a 97 Subaru Outback legacy (limited) with 160,000 miles sitting in my driveway needing a new engine. I was very pleased with the vehicle, until 120,000 miles I blew a valve, cost $1300 (head gasket issue?). At 160000 the idler arm pulley sheared of the block and the engine is now salvage material. I was pleased with the vehicle untill these problems. After further investigation I have found subaru 2.5 litter engines to have notorious head gasket problems. My 97 was not covered by the recall. Beware...

12th Jan 2007, 12:50

1998 Subaru Legacy GT Limited 150,000 miles with the telltale mysterious missing coolant and overheating. I pulled the engine myself and completed the repair. Parts are expensive and finding someone with experience in this type of repair may lead you to the dealer who quoted me 2400 for this job. I love the car and plan on driving it for years. You have to realize that my car was built in 1997 and engineered in 1992-1995. This is 2007 and the car has 150,000 miles on it.

14th Jan 2007, 18:46

I had a 1.8L model that lost a water pump at 165000. I tried to get it home and warped the head. My fault. I inherited my wifes 1999 outback. I drove this 4 times to work and back and at mile 150,010 it blew all of the coolant from the radiator. I assumed it was a pump so replaced the timing belt, oil pump, water pump, thermostat and hoses. The car continued to overheat. Next I replaced the reservoir and the radiator. I flushed the system before replacing with new coolant. I drove it today and discovered I had not fixed the problem. The only time this overheats is after the entire block has been running for at least 15 minutes. I did all of the work myself so far and may attempt the heads as well. Could anyone suggest the best head gasket available for these cars? I also had to replace the oil pan as some of the OE tack welds accumulated salt in NH winters and rusted holes through the oil pan. These are great cars; the awd system is strong and serves without fail.

15th Jan 2007, 22:05

Same problem as every one else, but worse luck. I bought the car from a dealership and then shipped it over to Turkey where I am currently working- hoping for a good reliable car to get me anywhere in any weather. Trust me, mechanics are not easy to come by over here as most people ride mopeds, camels, goats, horses, whatever... so I am at a loss at what to do. Was driving fine, then noticed it was hot- no early indications (like stalling, steam, check engine light, knocking, etc) drove like normal so I thought maybe the temp gauge was broke, but decided to turn around and get back to my apartment (about 10 miles away). After about 8 miles at least of running hot or possibly warmer, the upper radiator hose burst and sprayed coolant out my right wheel-well... all of it. I pulled over and let the electric fans cool it and did that a few times until I made it back home without letting it get hot again. When it is cool or before it jumps above normal- the car still runs and drives great... I am just afraid to drive any more than a few miles... there is oil in the coolant, but no coolant in the oil- probably due to the pressure differences. The oil level hasn't gotten any lower though?? Most likely a junk engine now, but still gets me a few miles performing like a new engine. Any pointers or help is appreciated. Also, if any recalls, lawsuits or organized complaints come up- be sure to add my name to the list! Thanks- cdemp@snowboard.com.

17th Jan 2007, 16:19

Add me to the list: 1998 Legacy Outback, blown head gasket at 110 K miles ($1400 repair), then the same thing again at 121 K miles. This time, it won't be worth it to fix it, given all I've just found out about within the last week. Not quite what I expected from Subaru, was planning on being a lifelong customer as this was my 2nd car and 2nd Subaru; will definitely be looking at Honda or Toyota this time around.

Sharerb@msn.com

Oregon.

18th Jan 2007, 11:40

Add me to the list of 98 outback owners with a blown head gasket $1300 repair along with a new wheel bearing (unrelated).

Question for fellow subaru owners: Is this likely to just blow again in a few K miles or will I be OK for another 90K? Should I sell the car as soon as it gets fixed?

Thank You.

19th Jan 2007, 11:55

Best regards from Finland!

Have 98 Outback STW, once the HG's are replaced they should be OK for good. The design was changed somewhere 2003 - 2004, I have hold both of the HG's old type and new type on my hand. And there really is a difference! The new type "sides" are stronger.

Have the new types installed - and have no worries.

So nowadays all the HG's you buy are new types. Except if somebody really has a old stock!

So get them installed and drive without no worries!

19th Jan 2007, 21:21

In the LA area, there are several vendors or what they say are low mileage Japanese engines. I am installing one on my 1996 Legacy, 2.2. I will let you know how this works. I bought the engine for $800 delivered. I am putting new timing belt, water pump, tensioner and other idler pulleys. So far, another $400. I will try to report back later.

19th Jan 2007, 23:23

98 Subaru Forester -- 92000 miles. Bought two months ago, just started driving two weeks ago. First trip past Sacramento, climbing foothills, same as above: extreme overheating. Had towed to shop, spent night in motel, bad $10 burger and fries. Next morning diagnosis: blown head gasket, maybe more. Today engine is out of car, at machine shop for pressure tests, etc. Yes if any class action, include me: karaj22@yahoo.com. Gracias.

20th Jan 2007, 09:27

I find it hard to believe you had this car inspected before you bought it, and then these problems suddenly popped up. ALWAYS get your car inspected before purchasing it used.

20th Jan 2007, 23:34

I feel for you all as my 96, 2.5L Outback has cost me over $9500.00 plus all the grief. To make the long story short, my trusted mechanic told me these engines are hard to get right (rebuilding). That is how my problem started up I5, on the way to Ashland with my 2 daughters. I found a used engine for $2200.00 and by the time I got out of the shop I counted 4 Gees. Since then, the car has been leaking oil, doesn’t start when it gets hot and check engine light is always on. It used to refuse to shift gear till I figured that one out. At any rate, I refuse to spend another dime on this rust bucket till I someday push off a cliff. Needless to say, never again will I own a Subie.

26th Jan 2007, 11:00

I purchased a 98 Forrester for my wife 2 weeks ago in Phoenix from a 'wholesaler'. After picking up the car at 5pm, we traveled 2 miles in stop and go traffic and the car overheated. Tested the car the next day and it had a blown head gasket (take the radiator cap off, and just barely start the car: coolant gushed up and out of the radiator. Also, even though the engine gets hot, the radiator may remain cold to the touch).

I should have been more alert, because on initial inspection, the car had a new radiator and a funny smell to the exhaust.

We were fortunate to get our money back. My wife was bummed, because even though this was the first Forester she had driven, she really like the car.

Be wary of who you buy from: broken cars like this typically end up at the Auto Auction where used car dealers pick them up.

Steve...on Ebay as Hardrockcorp.