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Help buying a Legacy or Outback. When is it too many miles?

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My son is obsessed with buying a Subaru. But he wants to spend as little as possible.


He’s got about $3000.00 if he can sell his Custom Mitsubishi 3000GT, and if he can talk his Grandma into a loan, $5000.00


What are his options, and what problems to look for?


When does one of these have too many miles?


Thanks for the help, since I have to help him buy it!



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I assume your son is looking for 200505-09 Turbo model Legacy or Outback. A $3000 or $5000 model is likely to be a money pit. In additional to normal higher miles issues, Turbo failures (which often take out the motor shortly after) and Motor failures with high mileage is common especially at the price range your son is looking to spend. A brand new Turbo is usually a big red flag as well. Browse the forums, it is not uncommon to find new owner of 2005-09 having to dealing with a blown motor from the car that they just bought with a new turbo.
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What he really wants is a 2005 + with a 6 cyl.


I let him get what he thought he wanted for his first car. The dream car. I knew after a few years that dream cars are not what they are cracked up to be.


He just wants a Subaru wagon with the I6, and AWD. He wants to camp, etc. he wants reliability and space to put stuff.


He learned the lesson I was hoping for after driving this for two years!





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The 3.0 H6 models are pretty reliable. The 05-07 Legacy wagons never got the H6 motor, so he will be looking for an Outback if want a wagon.




What’s the mileage cutoff before they start having problems, and what kind? The one he’s looking at has 266,000.



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The H6 is a pretty solid engine, it does want premium fuel FWIW.

Tends to have issues with tensioner pulleys. Not a difficult fix.


That said, 266K is a lot of miles. If it hasn't been cared for well, that's gonna run up a lot of service bills. Any failure after 250K miles is just part of owning something with a quarter million miles.

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IMO you should be looking for a 08-09 Outback for his "camping thing"


There is a Forum for Outbacks.



305,600miles 5/2012 ej257 short block, 8/2011 installed VF52 turbo, @20.8psi, 280whp, 300ftlbs. (SOLD).  CHECK your oil, these cars use it.


Engine Build - Click Here

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age is also a big factor in cars....tell your son to keep his car and when he has enough money to afford a newer one, then buy it.


I prefer a MT over a Automatic or CVT anyday, but what is wrong with the 4EAT.


as far as I know as long as you maintain them with regular fluid, filter changes, nothing....

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The H6 3.0 (and 3.6) are both solid engines. The 3.0 is designed to run on premium fuel, the 3.6 is designed to run on regular fuel.


That said, there are a number of H6 3.0 2000-2004 engines reported with burnt valves from running them on regular octane (87) fuel. Subaru recommends a minimum of 91 octane on these models. Also, unless you're getting the VDC model, I'd stay away from the 4EAT.


Believe the 2005-2009 H6 3.0 were detuned slightly to run "optionally" on 87 octane, but Subaru still recommended premium fuel for best performance. These have also had reported burnt valve issues. I'm looking for one of these, and only 2008-2009 as they have the upgraded 5EAT.


With 225K on the clock, and without a ton of receipts (including type of gas run), I'd look elsewhere.

- Pro amore Dei et patriam et populum -
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