1998 Subaru Outback from North America - Comments

17th Nov 2004, 22:09

My 1999 Subaru Forester has been at the dealer since Nov 1, 2004. I was told it had a bad valve and damaged engine head had to be replaced. They would pay for parts and I would pay for labor. Then engine had been replaced (cracked block & bad piston) under the warranty at 45,000mi now at 66,000mi the engine goes again. Now the dealer tells me that after they put it all back together they had a problem with the timing belt and bent the valves (!!!). So, now I'm waiting for additional days. The engine is obviously defective from the start. Subaru knows they have a defective product and yet they have not taken full responsibility for a poorly designed engine. It's a disgrace!

25th Jan 2006, 23:21

I own a 2002 Subaru Outback. At 72000 miles, we noticed a smell from the vents and found through a mechanic that the coolant was leaking from the head gasket. The cost to fix was $1700. Within a week, I have problems with the Automatic transmission. When stopped at a traffic light, the transmission disengages from the engine automatically. Then when you press the accelerator, the car does not move even as the rpm goes up. Then all of a sudden the car lurches forward as the transmission engages. Not looking forward to another costly repair. WILL NOT recommend a Subaru at all. This was my first and the last Subaru that I will ever own.

25th Feb 2006, 20:06

We've had our '97 O/B since new. It now has over 250,000 Kms on it. With the exception of the 100,000 km services, I do all my own service. We have not had any problems at all. So far so good. We like our Outback... A lot.

20th Apr 2006, 10:31

We own a 2002 Subaru Outback

After 50,000 km in had to be brought in under warranty for a head gasket "fix". Shortly after being out of warranty - the car had no power - it needed a brand new head gasket - I was pissed. Now I find out that our coolant leak @140,000 km is actually due to cracked head - I WILL NEVER BUY A SUBARU AGAIN!

20th Apr 2006, 10:40

We have owned two Subaru's a 99 Legacy and 2002 Outback.

The 99 Legacy Wagon has major electrical problems - fortunately while still under warranty. The car was written off before any mechanical problems showed up.

A problem with both of our Subarus - that Subaru denies exists - is that after about 6 months the door gasket came off on the driver side. Another problem with both is that after about 1 year the air noise on the driver side - due to the unframed window is excessive to point of undriveability at highway speeds.

I will never buy a Subaru again - the thing that pisses me off the most is when a car manufacturer does not take responsibility for their screw ups - I won't buy another GM product for the same reason - but I am sold on Toyota - had a corolla and a Camry - wonderfully reliable cars even after 200,000km.

25th May 2006, 18:40

I bought a 98 Subaru Forester last year. When I bought it it ran rough, but I got it about 2g below market value. The previous owner denied that there was anything wrong with it, but I expected to do engine work on it sooner or later.

I drove it from 133 to 173Km before a head gasket went and overheated the engine. I suspect (now) that this was not the first time.

Knowing that the engine was likely baked I ordered a short block replacement from the states (I live in Canada) along with a set of rebuild gaskets. If you're at all handy this is a good way to go. I replaced the engine and had the heads resurfaced for about 3000$ CAD. Runs like a new car now.

I was shocked to see some of the comments above about timing problems... the alignment procedure is a little tricky (the belt that I removed was not on right) but there should be no doubt about whether its on right or wrong.. its marked! They should have also rotated the engine by hand to be sure the valves didn't interfere.

At least I knew what I was getting into when I bought my Subaru. I don't know if the replacement engine will suffer an early demise... I sure hope not!

Wcn.

21st Jul 2006, 11:56

In March 2006 I purchased a 2004 Subaru Outback with 27,000 miles.

After reviewing the Carfax and vehicle service records at the dealer, I was satisfied that the vehicle was a good one that had been well cared for.

Three weeks into owning it I noticed an unusual sound (like paper in a fan) coming from the front driver side -- it sounded as if it was in my air conditioning duct. I assumed it was probably just a leaf or debris caught in my air conditioning duct that would eventually work itself out. As time went on, I noticed the sound more and more and realized that I had better get the problem diagnosed and fixed.

To make a long story short, my car has been at 2 different dealers for a total of 4 times. The first 2 trips the dealer claimed that they could not duplicate the problem for long enough to diagnose it. On the third and fourth trips, the heatshield was checked and adjusted, replaced exhaust bracket and last but not least, one of the Catalytic Converters was replaced. All of this and the noise still continues.

The strange thing about the noise is that it is intermittent and only occurs between the speed of 70-75 mph upon acceleration. If I go above or below that range, or remove my foot from the accelerator within that range, the noise stops.

Although I truly believe that Subaru makes a good product and that all manufacturers are subject to an occasional Lemon, after reading all of the problems that people have experienced with their engines, I have made a decision to not own another. My reason for purchasing this one is because of the reliability of the one I previously owned some 18 years ago, coupled with the oustanding safety and mechanical reviews that Subaru is given in the media.

In any event, I have chosen to pursue my Lemon Law rights because I truly believe that if you cannot tell me what the problem is, then who knows if it could potentially pose a safety hazard. Should I prevail, a Toyota will be my next vehicle.

22nd Jul 2006, 00:58

Up until tonight, I have not known about the problem with head gaskets blowing out on these cars. I own a 1998 Subaru Outback Limited, it is currently going on some 150,000 miles and is in need of a new clutch. This is the first repair I will be making on this car. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I will not have anymore problems.

As far as I am concerned, this car has withstood a great amount of wear and tear, yet it keeps ticking. I have not had problems with the engine over heating, bad timing belts and the sorts. Maybe I am just a lucky one, but any repairs needed from here on out would be pretty standard on any car that has taken the abuse that this one has. Many weekends in the desert and riding rough, this little car even out performs in the snow.

I do have plans to own a new Subaru in the future.