So many problems--is it normal?

Koolaid
80

Asked by Koolaid Sep 11, 2012 at 05:56 PM about the 2000 Subaru Outback Limited Wagon

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My 2000 Outback has 144,000 miles, and I've had to put SO MUCH money into it!  Here are a few repairs:
Two new front axles (right and left), new CV Boots, new axle boots, catalytic converter, head gasket, wheel
bearings, leaking transmission, control arm bushings, AC vacuum pump, water pump, and that's just what
comes to mind.  Should I sell this thing or hope that it keeps going?  I don't have money to buy another
car, but it seems like anything's better than this!

25 Answers

Nick Eidemiller
4,365

cv boots/axel boots are a common issue with subarus in my experience and if you don't fix them when they go bad then yes you have to to axels, water pump and head gaskets along with oil pump and timing belt should be done at roughley 120k-150k miles on a subaru, leaking transmission could have happened to any vehicle, suspension bushings depend on how and where the vehicle is driven same with wheel bearings to an extent, the ac pump could be caused by several things. catalytic converters on newer vehicles do not last as long because they get hotter and are more likely to plug, don't use low grade fuel (90's and newer subarus should be given premium octane fuel) low grade fuel will not burn as cleanly in a subaru as it's designed for higher octane thus ruining your catalytic converter faster by making it work harder and plugging it up faster. Not to offend you but as a mechanic I will just remind you, any time you buy a used vehicle you purchase any potential problems the previous owner may have caused by how they did maintenance and how and where they drove it. There are a lot of variables at play in all of this and some of what you've listed probably was just its time to be done, some of them are not "typical" of a subaru though. Take care of the car and it will take car of you.

9 out of 9 people think this is helpful.
Koolaid
80

This makes me feel a little better, though I have never heard of another Subaru owner have to do this level of maintenance and repair. It is not a used car; I am the original owner. I have taken care of this thing meticulously; that's why the repairs have been so frustrating at times. My main problem at times seems to be poor mechanics. I will know that something is wrong, such as with the bad front axels, wheel bearings, and brakes, yet when I have taken it to mechanics, they say everything looks perfect! Then one day I'm on the side of the road, and the same mechanic says my axel needs to be replaced and they blame a torn boot that they didn't see the last five times I've taken it in for this very problem. Sigh. I've done all of the preventative maintenance for this thing (timing belt, etc), and I'm aware of that expense with any vehicle. It just seems like all of my family and friends who own the same vehicle with the same mileage have done none of this. I drive like a grandma and store it in a garage, so it has surprised me a bit every time I'm stranded on the side of the road for an alternator, head gasket, or something else.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.
Nick Eidemiller
4,365

well this is my experience with my own subarus, 1993 subaru legacy wagon. my parents bought it new in 93, I got it from them with 145k miles in 06, in winter 06 I slid off the road (stupid 16 yr old driver) tor a chunk out of the frame on a metal post sticking out of the ground and had to have a 3ft section replaed, driving it you'd never know. at 164k miles was a new motor because the orrigional one seized (dad was bad at oil changes and treated it like a truck) new alternator, at 175k miles blew 2nd gear in the 5 speed (trans fluid was never changed before I got ahold of it) also had to replace the exhaust maifold and catalytic converter a couple years back. before it was mine it had new front axels and hubs, boots have been done 4 times, full brake job 2 times 2 clutches. now at 190k miles on the suspension I have to do all busings and new shocks, also need new injectors at 190k miles on the injectors. my father was rather hard on it, as I said oil changes were always long over due, if wee needed 40, 30lb bags of top soil it went in the subaru and in a near 20 year timespan probably has had $12k in repairs done but has been an excelent car. then there's the 99 forester bought in 08 when the motor went bad in the legacy, 6 months after replacing the legacys motor, the foresters transmission went bad, it's got an exhaust leak, and likes to burn out O2 sensors, it also spun a bearing in the motor at 150k miles. (admittedley it's been a lemon). then theres the 02 forester bought in 06, the only issue it's had has been a couple O2 sensors and the secondary catalytic converter has had to be replaced. I would rate my experience with subarus to be excelent overall, by no means perfect, but definately satisfactory, short of a catastrophic failure they have run through everything me and my family have thrown at them and come back beging for more.

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.
Best Answer
Chris Whalen
305

the head gasket was a common problem with the 01 and 02 outbacks because prior to this the car had a 2.2l engine and when it was upgraded to a 2.5 some issues occurred. while it seems like you've done a lot you would've spent the same or more on any other 12 year old car.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
carlamcguire2323
0

We have the same issues with the brakes sounding and feeling like they need to be replaced and being told they are in great condition. We have leaking oil and had to replace a cap at $250 and that the same axle problem. I need 2 new axles as they are breaking away from the boots This is the 2nd Subaru I own- this is a 2005- and this is the 2nd axle problem I am paying for - at $1000+. Does anyone know if there was a recall or service allert on the axle issue? I can't seem to find anything on it.

Koolaid
80

Well, an update--I gave up and sold the 2000 Subaru. I was sick of all the problems, most recently the gaskets in the back door around the lights giving out and rainwater pouring into the car. Now--you'll like this--I have a 2005. I've owned it for 6 months, and now it REEKS of gasoline. After pressure tests and inspections, the mechanics say "nothing's wrong." Well, there is something wrong--it reeks of gas! Regarding the axles: I had axle probs with the 2000, and it looks like my new to me 05 needs them too. There's not a recall that I know of, but this seems to be pretty common for Subarus. Carl, that price seems high, though. You should be able to have the whole axle replaced for less than half that amount. What is wrong with it?

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
7thKevin
35

I had the gasoline smell for months in my 2000 Outback, and they couldn't find it. Finally, after at least 3 times being at the shop for various things, they found a loose clamp on a fuel hose. They found it because there was a burning smell also, which was coming from transmission fluid leaking onto the exhaust. That was SO frustrating! Good luck. I'm now facing needing a new catalytic converter and O2 sensors, which they're telling me will cost $2400. I think I'll be selling mine now, too.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
bradyse
30

I just spent $2800 on my 2000 Outback SW. It smelled of fumes, and they said the head gasket was cracked. Had them do the timing belt at the same time, and then when I picked up, they had replaced an axle, so it was more $$ than they had at first told me. But it runs fine now.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
Zipp Rider
20

$2k for a catalytic converter and O2 sensor seems insanely high. I've had BMWs and they are less then that.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
7thKevin
35

I took mine to another shop and they did the cat converter and O2 sensors for $1400. Seems to be fine now.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
Trunk
30

2007 Forester with 115,000 miles...head gasket, two wheel bearings, now rear axles and wheel bearings, power steering pump, brake calipers frozen, shifter cables, brakes, brakes, brakes, never mind recommended maintenance...never again a Subaru

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
kinker
375

I have a 2001 Subaru Outback and I too also had the gas smell come to find out it was the way the fuel lines are hood up they expand and contract when cold weather comes I just tighten up the clamp on the fuel line to the left of the manifold under the bracket as you look down at the engine standing in front of the car, I also put a hose clamp to help it hold tight

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
gsfuerst88
20

I have a 2001 Subaru Outback and have never had any of these problems. In fact, other than routine maintenance and replacing the serpentine belt, the only work that needed to be done was replacing an axle boot cover after I grazed a deer on the road. I do now have a problem with starting the car. It makes a clicking sound but when I turn the steering wheel to various positions it will start right up. Sometimes it takes 1 minute, sometimes 10 minutes, but it eventually starts and runs well. Love it in the snow and handles beautifully on Wisconsin winter roads. Looking into the problem with the "not starting" unless I jiggle the key and turn the steering wheel. Any ideas?

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
kinker
375

you may have a bad cylinder lock where your key goes into the ignition,or your starter may be going I would also check your battery cables make sure they are snug in in one piece

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
jimjamespark
40

As far as smelling like gas I had the same problem.when cold weather hits you have to tighten all the visible clamps on rubber gas lines.something to do with rubber and metal expansion. I have to do it every winter

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
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SalvageHunter
0

I would like to Chime in here. We own a 2000 Subaru Legacy Outback bought used. So far we have replaced the usual things after buying from a dealer. However, now the clutch, or possibly the transmission is out. Let me tell you that I have owned about five or six Peugeots, gas and diesel, and have never had any of these problems. And I bought everyone of them at high mileage. All but one were diesels. Frankly, they just put Subaru, Mercedes, and a lot of others to shame. Of course, now due to government regulations Peugeot is no longer imported into the US. Sad.

Markw1952
3,945

No matter how much money the repairs seem, you need to refocus your attention on this point. Repairs are a temporary situation, while recurring car payments are not. A newer late model or brand new car will cost you between $300 to $500 per month for 60 months depending upon your financing, money down and purchase price of the car. So, it's always less expensive to fix your car. Remember, the average cost of repairs every year is about $1,000, but, car payments at $4,800 annually continue until the car is paid off. Notice I said repairs, not regular maintenance, which all cars require. So, don't count oil changes, tires, etc. You won't likely have $5,000 in actual repairs every year. Just won't happen.

susan_susan
30

Any advice ? I have a perfect "looking" 1997 Chevy Lumina that my grandmother left me. It only has 10,000 original miles on it. It looks great, inside and out. However, it feels like a hard ride (going over bumps, lines, manhole covers etc, feels like you're slamming a bit over them, even driving pretty slowly. (my 2000 buick lesabre feels like a more comfortable, cushioned ride) two questions - 1) any way to make it a more cushioned feeling ride like the lesabre ? 2) I saw underneath the car and there is some rust on metal things under there, and some rubbery looking thin donut shaped things (ha) between metal bars that go towards the wheels look like they might be getting dry rot, and I'm assuming these are five dollar parts with 100 + labor for each of the four of them to replace ? (don't you love the descriptions) They are like a cushion to reduce metal to metal friction I believe, don't remember what they are called. : ) These luminas last for 300,000 miles, but as you can tell, I'm not a mechanic and tend to get very ripped off by not knowing what I'm doing and they see me coming... besides prices just being high for labor, I have also been lied to and cheated several times, so not sure if I should keep the lumina (how much money am I in for in repairs of things that will be showing up as dry rot due to age, and minimal use of the car etc. It was in the garage until this year. i agree with the above about new priced cars - but not sure if I should get rid of a 1997 and get maybe a 2005 Taurus or 2005 lesabre or something instead, before age related problems starts ???

kinker
375

it sounds like your shocks are gone, take it to one of those Monroe Muffler places and have then do a FREE inspection they will write down what is wrong with it and if you don't have the money. take it to your local garage and see how much they would charge . I used to do this a lot I would find out what my car needed and then buy the parts and fix it myself YOU ARE NO Obligation to have them do the work . They may tell you it is dangerous to drive do not listen to them IF you are not sure if you want them to do it Thank them and tell them you may be back , this may be a very stressful situation so take a step back and really think about it . I hope this helps and good luck , let me know how it goes

kinker
375

it also sounds like the sway bar bushing are shot but they can tell you if you bring it to the above mention place or one like it

Markw1952
3,945

Susan, you mentioned rust??? I imagine you live in the Northeast or some other climate that has snow or you live at the beach? Once rust starts it's like can cancer. You have to find a way to contain it, or it will ruin your car, maybe its already too late? If you don't, you will never make to 200,000 miles let alone 300,000 because the body will deteriorate before the engine and transmission does. Yes , I agree with Kinker, it may be shocks, but, you have to ask, what causes a car with only 10,000 mIles on the clock to ride this hard. OK, I think may have an answer for you. Has this car been sitting for a really long time? If so, your tires may be the real problem here instead of the shocks. Tires over time can get really brittle and hard which would account for this. And, the shocks are gas cylinders, maybe they are bad. I would check both. Hey, whatever you spend, it's less than the taxes you'd pay on a new car. One thing though, it is dangerous to drive a car with bad shocks; driving in that condition will negatively affect your handling and destroy any good tires on your car. Even if your tires were new, bad shocks would ruin your tires. Why would you want to do either one of those things? Also, I would definitely recommend switching to synthetic oil. DO NOT PURCHASE A TAURUS, RELIABILITY PROBLEM CAR.

Markw1952
3,945

Susan, see this link for Kelley Blue Book.http://www.kbb.com/chevrolet/lumina/1997-chevrolet- lumina/sedan-4d/?condition=excellent&vehicleid=7386&intent=buy- used&mileage=10000&pricetype=private- party&persistedcondition=excellent

Markw1952
3,945

Susan, since this was your Grandmas car, I'm going to presume that she didn't opt for the largest engine and even with the V6, 3.1 motor, this car only got about 18 mpg in the city. And, if you peruse the information I posted, you'll see that even the the car has only 10,000 mIles, the added value in real dollars gives this car a value between $2,000 and $3,000. So if can sell it and get top dollar, it might be more advantageous to invest this into a newer car like a Prius that gets 45 to 50 miles per gallon.

Gail Gordon-Smith
10

This thread started back in 2012 and my first question for the poster would be how long have you had it? The car was 12 years old and 144K on it. Yeah, there will be repairs. I have had mine, bought used it in 2003, for almost 13 years and it has over 220,000K on it. I have had to make repairs but in the over all scheme of things, it has been THE most reliable vehicle I have ever owned. I'm getting ready to take it in for quite a bit of work in this fall and it is going to add up, but here's the thing... it's still sound. The body is still great, though it could use a paint, but the interior is pristine. It still gets 27.5 mpg which isn't great but it's all-wheel-drive so that running gear adds a bit to the weight of the car. All of the door and window gaskets need replacing. Yeah it could use a bit of work to make it "like new." Even so, nothing like what it would cost me to replace it AND I don't have a monthly car payment. As much as i would love a new car, I sure as hell don't miss the payment. If I can afford $200 or $300 a month new car payment, I can afford to put it back into this ride. I'm a happy Subaru owner. When it finally comes time to replace this one, it will definitely be with another Subaru.

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ugh01subaru
10

gsfuerst88 Im not sure if anyone answered your problem with the starting issue. So heres my response :-) i had the same issue at first i thought it was the starter bc i took a wrench and hit it while my girl friends turned the key and it started. But then again it was only having that issue intermittently. So i figured it had to be a ground issue. I cleaned the battery cables and terminals, the ground strap (its on the driver side) and the Black ground wires on the firewall as well. Never had the same issue again try that before replacing anything else also a new positive battery cable doesnt hurt. My subaru is a 2001 outback and i havent had any head gasket issues but i have replaced, both axles, both valve cover gaskets, spark plug o rings, spark plugs, and soon The rear main seal and the low pressure ac line has to be replaced. It also has a new transmission and if anything else goes wrong you can have the dang thing haha good luck

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

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