What is the sound of one piston slapping?
What is the sound of one piston slapping?

A little over a year ago I asked Oppo to help me choose a car and you guys came up with some great suggestions. I didn’t listen to you though and I bought this instead. I was going to post about it, but the very same week I bought mine, 2 other oppos bought Outbacks as well. And theirs were much nicer.

Illustration for article titled My 2004 Subaru Outback 2.5i (and everything wrong with it)em/em
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Another reason I didn’t post about it is because I only found out about some of the common problems these cars have after I bought it. But I’m happy to say that after a year I haven’t had any issues with it at all. Of course, I’ve only put about 4,000 miles on it in that time. I bought it with 137,000 miles and now I’m up to 141,000. This is by far the highest mileage vehicle I’ve ever owned.

So here’s the good news:

No mechanical issues.

No leaks.

The timing belt was done at 98,000 miles.

The serpentine belts look brand new.

The alternator looks new.

The brakes and tires are good.

The A/C is ice cold!

The windows are tinted (important in Florida).

No rust.

Illustration for article titled My 2004 Subaru Outback 2.5i (and everything wrong with it)em/em
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And here’s everything currently wrong with it (and yes, I’m nitpicking because I like my cars to look and function like they did when they left the factory):

Lots of door dings on the driver’s side.

The hood is completely spiderweb cracked.

Needs an alignment.

Rear cup holder needs its spring reattached.

Left rear taillight has moisture inside.

Light glaze on headlights.

Left fog light is cracked and has water inside.

Tailgate needs new supports.

I can’t shift directly into first (or it grinds). But if I shift from second to first there’s no sound.

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Very slight vibration sound in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gears.

The carpets are stained (partially my fault).

The electric side mirrors, heated mirrors, heated seats, cigarette lighter, and vanity mirrors have a problem. I replaced their fuses (and everything worked) only to have those fuses blow again after just 3 days. How are these things related? I looked at wiring diagrams but I don’t see where these systems cross paths.

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The light for the clock stopped working (but the clock still works, you just can’t see it at night).

The driver’s inside door handle is always dirty. I think something (maybe the glue they used) is leaching out from the inside.

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Gum worn into the rear seat (my daughter’s fault).

She’s super slow (0-60 in 9 seconds).

Illustration for article titled My 2004 Subaru Outback 2.5i (and everything wrong with it)em/em
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Illustration for article titled My 2004 Subaru Outback 2.5i (and everything wrong with it)em/em

And here’s what I have managed to fix:

The rear speakers produced no sound and the front speakers were blown. 4 new speakers ($100) later and it sounds better than factory.

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Installed a cabin air cleaner (the base models didn’t get one) ($25).

Got rid of the check engine light (I bought a car with the CEL on). It showed PO420 (catalyst issue) so I replaced the O2 sensor ($25 plus $15 for a shop to do it) but the problem came back. Then I ran Seafoam through 3 tanks of Premium (93) gas and performed an Italian tune up. It’s only been about 2 months but so far the CEL hasn’t come back.

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Illustration for article titled My 2004 Subaru Outback 2.5i (and everything wrong with it)em/em

So there you have it. $3,100 for a car that has been dead on reliable for a year.

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