Author Topic: Should we sell our '06 Outback or fix the leaky head gaskets?  (Read 3141 times)

Futtee

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Should we sell our '06 Outback or fix the leaky head gaskets?
« on: November 29, 2016, 01:43:41 PM »
Hello my fellow MMMers,

I seek your collective wisdom on the above-referenced topic, as the collective wisdom in my home about this topic is nonexistant.

We have an '06 Subaru Outback with 102,500 miles on it.  Our plan is/was to drive it to the bitter end, as long as it is a safe vehicle for our family ( 2 adults, 2 young kids).  We mostly drive short distances (under 10-15 miles) within our community, with the occasional road trip to the beach or to visit family (3-4 times/year).

At our last visit, our long-time trusted mechanic informed us that at our 105,000 tune up we would need head gaskets and timing belt changed, to the tune of $2,500.  It also will need 4 new tires after the snows come off, in spring.  We have $4500 set aside for major car expense, either repair, or a new car.  In addition, my very benevolent mother just gifted us her Honda Fit, which is a 2007 model with only 58,000 miles on it.  We rarely need two cars at this juncture, but anticipate needing two as the boys grow older and get involved in various activities. 

The question is - do we just cut our losses and sell this car, and survive on the FIT (not ideal in winter conditions), or do we repair this car and hope it serves us dearly in the next 5 years?  Thoughts?  Thank you in advance!!


MrsDinero

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Re: Should we sell our '06 Outback or fix the leaky head gaskets?
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2016, 01:46:34 PM »
What type of winter do you have?  Do you live on roads that are not paved?  I live in NH and have seen many Honda Fits zip around in the winter on snow tires.


ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Should we sell our '06 Outback or fix the leaky head gaskets?
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2016, 01:50:57 PM »
Never had a problem with my Fit near Philadelphia in the winter. I see no reason to keep two cars around when you don't currently need them.

Futtee

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Re: Should we sell our '06 Outback or fix the leaky head gaskets?
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2016, 02:00:58 PM »
What type of winter do you have?  Do you live on roads that are not paved?  I live in NH and have seen many Honda Fits zip around in the winter on snow tires.


We are in upstate NY.  Can be quite snowy, but no unpaved roads.

index

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Re: Should we sell our '06 Outback or fix the leaky head gaskets?
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2016, 02:07:13 PM »
I would bite the bullet and keep the Outback. Just drive the Fit more than the Outback in the coming years. Your kids will not stay small for long and the Fit is not going to fit 4 in the future.

HipGnosis

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Re: Should we sell our '06 Outback or fix the leaky head gaskets?
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2016, 02:29:03 PM »
Cut your losses?  Sell it?!?  Repair??
No and no, because it's no.

Congrats on getting it broke in!!  Now be good to it and give it it's due maintenance (NOT 'repair').  That car is good for sooo MANY more miles for you and your family.
There are multiple benefits of having two cars.  Multiple vehicle insurance discount and not being stuck without transportation whenever one needs maintenance.   And each will get driven that much less, ie. last that much longer.
And a family with growing boys..  might out grow a Fit, esp. if they get into any sports.
And before long, the boys will drive...

BTW; I'd be sure the head gaskets are replaced with upgraded ones - they'll last longer.
I'd also ask about replacing the water pump and oil pump.

And with the Fit, there's no need to do this right away. Ask the mechanic if he can give you a break on the price if you can let him work on the car longer (w/in reason).  You also don't need the new tires right away.  You can wait for a sale on tires! 

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Should we sell our '06 Outback or fix the leaky head gaskets?
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2016, 02:33:21 PM »
I would bite the bullet and keep the Outback. Just drive the Fit more than the Outback in the coming years. Your kids will not stay small for long and the Fit is not going to fit 4 in the future.

Huh? The Fit has five seats.

Sean Og

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Re: Should we sell our '06 Outback or fix the leaky head gaskets?
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2016, 06:26:17 PM »
Sell it to me :-) but seriously, I'd personally keep it and like another poster said drive the fit more, I have an 05 Outback at 260k and runs great (with the standard headgasket leak!)

Not to go off topic much, but subarus are a funny one in terms of headgasket issues, I love it as it means cheap used cars for me! With the timing belt change coming up soon, I'd recommend just change the gaskets too if they are leaking but here's my 2cents for others that may have gasket issues and are further away from a timing belt change.

If its a DOHC I would change gaskets at first sign of leaks, those don't play nice!

If its a SOHC you can drive almost indefinitely without issue beyond oil and coolant top ups (and drip pan for the garage floor!). If its external leak only (seeping oil like both of mine) then you can mostly ignore it and ensure the oil is kept topped up. If its internal with coolant loss then make sure the subaru coolant conditioner is used with coolant changes (add two bottles if leaking) and you wont see overheating issues on a SOHC (unless you let the coolant run out!).

I have an 05 2.5 Outback with weepy head gaskets since I got it at 155k, and who knows how long before. I changed the timing belt when I got it but skipped the head gaskets due to time constraints. It now has 260k on it with the same weepy headgaskets. I do plan on replacing them when changing timing belt next month however.

I also have an 07 2.5 Legacy with leaky headgaskets with 110K on it. I will probably swap these out at the overdue timing belt change as they are considerably worse than the OB and a nuisance with oil on the ground and topping up. They are why we got the car super cheap and we have driven it 15k since then without issue.

The biggest downside of the oil leak is more a personal one of not being able to have the cabin air set to outside air in city driving, if you do you get a burnt oil smell in the cabin when at stop lights etc so recirculate air only unless on the highway  :-(

use2betrix

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Re: Should we sell our '06 Outback or fix the leaky head gaskets?
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2016, 07:21:09 PM »
How old are your kids? If they aren't driving for another 10 years, and you don't need two cars, I think it'd be dumb to keep the outback to sit around unused, while paying insurance.

Sure, 100k miles isn't much, but holding onto a car for 10 years to give them a 20 year old vehicle probably isn't the best route. I'd sell the car, and put the money aside from the sale and for what the repairs would be and use that to buy them something when they're ready for a vehicle.

FYI - my wife drives a 1999 Camry in great condition with 120k. I dumped around 2-3k in it this year without thinking twice, so I'm not against older cars or repairing them, but moreso against holding onto a car you don't need for a long time.

J_Stache

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Re: Should we sell our '06 Outback or fix the leaky head gaskets?
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2016, 08:40:59 PM »
This is a known issue with Outbacks from 2000-2007 (Subaru claims it only affected the early years of that period, but that's is not completely true.  More common with 4cyclinder than 6 cylinder Outbacks).  I paid to have mine replaced on my 2004 about 2 years ago (at around 90,000 miles).  New head gasket should outlast the car at this point.  I had quotes everywhere from $1850-$4400.  Ended up getting some extra work done and total bill was around $2300 (including tax).  I considered DIY, but:
1. It was January and I did not have garage space.
2. I replaced a head gasket on another vehicle.  Took 17+ hours and I was able to leave the engine in the car.  Outbacks have boxer engines (e.g. heads, on the side) so you have to pull the engine from the vehicle making the repair more difficult.  I've heard a few people had success clearing enough space around the engine to replace without pulling the engine, but also heard a lot of people who tried and failed that route.

The best quotes I received were from dealers.  They've done the repair hundreds of times and know exactly what is involved.  The independent shops all had higher estimates to account for the unexpected.

Since that repair, the only "major" issue I had was my harmonic balancer deciding to self destruct (in my driveway, fortunately).  That I fixed myself in under an hour for less than $100 (harmonic balancer and two new belts).


snacky

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Re: Should we sell our '06 Outback or fix the leaky head gaskets?
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2016, 10:39:06 PM »
I have an '02 outback. Head gaskets are a known issue. There is a fix, however. If you machine down the plates it will be ok.

I don't know what any of those words mean, but I know that my '02 outback no longer has head gasket issues. I expect it to last for years more.

(I had a fit, and two boys, and the back seat became too small for their ever-lengthening limbs, plus regardless of winter tires it would skate around on the ice all winter long. I much prefer my outback)

Futtee

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Re: Should we sell our '06 Outback or fix the leaky head gaskets?
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2016, 06:14:53 AM »
Thank you all for your feedback and insights!!!  I am most appreciative to have a forum of likeminded people whose opinions I trust and value.

I think we are landing on the side of doing the work that needs to be done and hopefully using it for years to come.  We discussed keeping just one car, but identified many possible scenarios where a second car would be convenient, if not necessary, so we will keep both.