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1998 Subaru Legacy Overheating

I am new to the forum and did notice some topics on this, but this one is more towards the results of a misdiagnosed problem by my mechanic. The problem is the my 1998 Legacy (142K) overheated this past weekend. It shut off and I had it towed to a “new” mechanic around the corner from my house. He diagnosed the problem as being a faulty thermostat. He replaced the thermostat and returned the vehicle to me. Two days later my wife was driving home and the car had a major overheating incident with resulting serious mechanical failure. I did a little research and within about five minutes found that this problem is quite common for this car and is more commonly related to a head gasket issue. My question is should this mechanic be held responsible in any way for the misdiagnosed problem? If so, what would be the best course of action? The car was otherwise running fine and in fact I recently had the transmission rebuilt.

Subarus of this vintage are notorious for head gasket failure, as you’ve already found out.

If I read your post correctly, you’re trying to find a way to dump the problem in someone else’s lap, specifically the “new” mechanic to whom you took the car last weekend.

Good luck with that.

I’m more interested in the fact that you drove the car until it shut off!

Didn’t you see the temperature gauge rising?

By the time the engine shut off the damage was done, and at that point nothing any mechanic, new or old, could do, was going to make any difference.

You destroyed your Sabaru’s engine.

It’s not the mechanic’s fault, it’s yours. Like it or not.

If you decide to replace the [toasted] engine, do yourself a favor & buy a REAL Subaru re-built engine. One that comes with a Subaru warranty.

My brother did this dance with his wife’s car. They went through 3 used engines before they gave up & sold the car for parts.

Cost them almost $5000!

Me? I’d be looking for a replacement car.

As others have noted, this is common to Subarus with the 2.5 L DOHC engine. I don’t think you can blame this on anyone else. Internal headgasket leaks aren’t always obvious to those who haven’t encountered them before. Unfortunately, your mechanic wasn’t any more familiar with your Subaru than you are. I’m sorry that this happened to you.