View Full Version : Any Subaru experts, earlier models ?

18th February 2016, 06:26 PM
One of my young blokes is looking at getting a car to work on ready for when he's old enough to drive.
He's really looking for an R31 but has also looked at 80's & early 90's Subarus.

A lot come up with blown head gaskets.
A quick search throws up that this is a common problem and that it might be a motor out to do the gaskets. Is this the case and is it usually simply a case of replacing the gasket or is more involved ?

We've seen a few nice looking Sportswagons and early Libertys very cheap but I'm trying to work out whether they are a bargain or not.


18th February 2016, 06:39 PM
Yep, motor out, and released from mounts to tighten after 1000km.
It is not all that difficult.
The new replacement gaskets have solved the blowout problem I gather.
I did mine 3 times before it finally settled down.

18th February 2016, 10:05 PM
Hi, I had a 92 Liberty, have a 02 Outback and 13 XV, and have had a few Imprezzas. The Outback has about 400 k, Liberty had about the same when we traded it as you might guess, I rate them. The Liberty needed a few airbags and a compressor, the outback needed a head gasket at about 350 k. It is engine out to do it. Trust me, I tried..... Have changed a few wheel bearings, a few struts, and a few cv boots, and timing belts. Can't think of a time any of them ceased to progress......
I would say cheap, economical, comfortable, safe first car. Except for the bit where they go like a scalded cat, and handle like they are on rails ( compared to any Land Rover)!!! And don't worry too much about high (200 k +) km

18th February 2016, 11:58 PM
My second car was an 80's Subaru 1800 wagon. It was brilliant. Major road trips across Aus, including northwest WA and Kakadu, river crossings, etc. never missed a beat. Needed new thrust bearing (gearbox out on side of road) but other than that nothing. I only sold it to get my first Defender. Miss the old beasty. My partner has a 2007 Subaru Forester, it is brilliant too. Cheers,

PS: drop in and see Pierre Collet Subaru specialists in Burwood. They are great guys, very helpful and knowledgeable.

dromader driver
19th February 2016, 07:25 AM
We have two Subaru's in the family. My brother's liberty has just rolled over 450 000km with the only major work being fluid coupling and gear box. We have an impreza with 170 000 k. Only major work is rear wheel bearings within about 5000 km of each other and CV boots near the exhaust.

As has been said rate them very highly in handling overall. The only problem for a new driver is that they are so good in handling. If they do manage to have a loose in it generally they are spectacular.

19th February 2016, 11:30 AM
I had a Subaru liberty RS Turbo (second owner). Really loved that car.

I had a Subaru Forester (new). Loved it. Very practical - great car.

I had a Subaru WRX (new) - had so many problems with it I bailed after 2 years of ownership.. The dealer could never fix it - after many attempts.. The worst problem - you'd be driving along at 100kmh on the freeway and have a complete loss of engine power. The engine would simply die... I would pull over, turn the ignition off and then on again, and away I would go.. It would be fine for 2-3 weeks, and then happen again..

I'm a big fan of Subaru's - apart from my WRX experience... :(

19th February 2016, 12:01 PM
The engine would simply die... I would pull over, turn the ignition off and then on again, and away I would go.. (

'Microsoft Reset" ?


4th April 2016, 01:30 PM
A quick trip to Wodonga at the weekend and the young bloke is the owner of a 1989 AWD Liberty wagon.
Needs the head gaskets done (supplied), some internal trim replaced , sway bar link rubbers and a windscreen. Drives & stops OK. Has the usual dents & scrapes expected on a 350K vehicle
Not bad for $350 & $116 for trailer rental.....

Pictures as soon as Telstra fix the problem at our local exchange, no ADSL for 3 days, should be fixed tomorrow evening !!!!!