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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been searching for a used Subaru Wagon in the Salt Lake City valley for some time now, and all I find are Subaru's with over 150K miles and above blue book pricing. Plus, people really use their Subarus hard, Wasatch Mountains, steep grades, snow & salt, and the Moab desert.
A friend in Portland, who has been keeping an eye out for me, has sent this email:A good friend is selling a '04 Outback with 49K on the odometer. It is silver with a charcoal velour interior. Automatic with 2.5 liter non turbo engine. Asking $12K. $12.5K and he will include an set of rims with snow tires. Bumper to bumper warranty through the end of September. Let me know what you think.
I checked Kelly Blue Book and for excellent condition, with those miles it appears to be a good deal. What are your thoughts, guys? I assume I should contact the seller, and ask for high resolution photographs. What else?
Does anyone know a good Subaru mechanic, or friend who could check it out in Portland? If I purchased it, I would have to fly out and drive it back.
Thanks for any feedback.
Lyndon
P.S. Maybe I am focusing too hard on just the Subaru wagons. There are a lot of small
SUV's in and around the Wasatch Mountains: Ford Escape, Hyundai's Tuscon, Santa Fe, etc. just that after ten years of driving a Ford Ranger, I think I would like a car experience again, and something better in snow.
 

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Find out the service history. There was a major service due at 30k and another one will be due at 60k. Have someone you trust get under the car and verify that it doesn't have a head gasket leak starting.

Subarus are awesome cars, you'll love owning one. You might be able to find an Impreza wagon even cheaper, though.
 

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Don't ever use KBB. NADA is what your bank and pretty much everyone in the business uses. I booked the limited version (for some reason NADA's website doesn't allow you to click the standard outback), and it booked for $11,500 clean trade in. I'd never buy a car from a private party for more than clean trade in value, because the dealer is going to give them auction price which will probably be $3-4k under that. With it not being a limited, I would estimate another $1k off of that.

If you're in the SLC area, try here: http://www.randsauto.com/

I've bought 8 vehicles from them, all for between wholesale and trade in value, and I've always sold them later for more than I bought them. They don't haggle on prices, because they price them at roughly $1k more than they bought them for at lease auction, and they move 250+ cars a month. I've been there when Larry H Miller dealers have come in and bought 3-4 cars from them. They have Subaru's on there quite often, and update their website every 2-3 days.

Good luck, but if you buy the one in your post, I wouldn't pay over $10,500 for it.
 

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I don't mean to advertise, but I use this place for all my Subaru tech and advice:

http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=3

These guys know Subarus really well. Many of them have worked on them and even rebuilt engines.

And +1 on the head gasket check. The 1st gen Outback had the worst head gasket issues, but the second gen (which you are looking at) had minor external head gasket leaking, which required the special Subaru Cooling System Conditioner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the help, guys!
Yes, I thought the price was on the high end, but the positives of the very low mileage,
made it very appealing.
I will check out that place nsomniac, that looks very interesting.

AWDFreak said,
but the second gen (which you are looking at) had minor external head gasket leaking, which required the special Subaru Cooling System Conditioner
I like that! Sounds like a fancy name for some kind of high temp sealant, no?

nsomniac, are you in the Salt Lake area? I'm over in the Millcreek/Sugarhouse area.
I saw the wildest vehicle today, a Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, heavily modified, and basically the body shell jacked to the moon, seriously high up there. Sure wondered what power plant was moving those big tires.
 

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I'm up in Pocatello, so I drive down to SLC for most of my vehicles because the competition is insane down there between the 100+ dealers.
 

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Both the Phase I and Phase II motors have severe head gasket problems. The Phase I's go quite a while before they leak but when they let go, they let go without much warning and in a damaging way. The Phase II's get less life on a gasket, but it leaks to the outside first, which tips you off before anything damaging happens.

I rebuild about one Subaru a month for headgasket repairs.
 

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I think you can do better. I bought our 2006 Outback LIMITED (all the goodies except the H6) for just over $15k from a dealer and it had 60,000 miles on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That sounds like a good deal. How long had you been searching when you found it?
Did you subscribe to Carfax to help in the hunt?
Lyndon
 
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