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2003 Subaru outback engine rebuild

I bought this subaru outback with 100,000 miles- clean car fax, etc, did the timing belt, water pump, thermostat at 102,000. Now at 116,000 the head gasket is leaking ($2,200 estimate) so the repair shop is working on that and they called today to say the #2 cylinder is scored and the engine needs rebuilt. ($4,000 estimate). I’m not sure if I should have them proceed witht he work- thats a bunch of money or look for another engine, or what to do !! Its a great little car- but geez- what to do- opinions welcome !

Was the engine misfiring?
Was the engine using a lot of oil?

Sorry to hear about the trouble. It is hard to swallow that size of a repair bill but it happens. If the rest of the car is in great shape I would go for the rebuild. I think you may be better off to have the engine rebuilt instead of getting another engine that you also may have to work on again later. It may even be less expensive rebuilding it since a lot of the money is just getting the engine in and out of the car. With the rebuilt engine you should also get a guarantee for the work done on it and will most likely go another 100k miles with no trouble. It may be a good idea to replace the radiator if the original one isn’t in great shape.

Along with the engine repair it may be a good idea to have all the other fluids in the car changed out if that hasn’t already been done. That way you would be basically starting the maintenance cycles like a new car.

If it’s needed I’d much prefer they put in a rebuilt engine, doing a rebuild is very exacting work that few shops can handle.

The car is in great shape…other than the engine ! It was not misfiring, not using oil, so this was a big surprise to me. The original problem was the head gasket leaking. When the mechanic took it apart he found the #2 cylinder scored, so they recommended doing the work now rather than waiting. I did a little research today- Subaru dealer does not have re manufactured long block, and there is no re manufacture heads available (do I sound like I know what I am talking about !!!) a local foreign engine shop has 2.0 L low mileage engine from Japan installed about $2,000 and 2.5 L engine with 69,000 miles fro $3,000 installed, so I think I’m going to have the mechanic shop rebuild for me. They have a 12 month 12,000 mile warranty. This will be the car my daughter takes to college, so want to be reliable, guess I just gotta do it. Not too impressed with the subaru though- its my first one, and possibly last one- I drive toyotas and have never had this kind of problem with any toyota.Thanks for your opinons.

There’s rebuilt and there’s rebuilt correctly and there’s also a few comparatively minor quirks that should be followed when rebuilding a Subaru engine.

You might ask the shop to show their set of inside and outside micrometers or paperwork from an auto machine shop showing details any sublet work regarding cylinder boring, crankshaft grinding, head resurfacing, etc. If they can’t or won’t then it won’t be rebuilt correctly.

It’s quite possible to throw an engine together improperly and have it outlive the warranty with all bets off after that. I’m not accusing the shop of anything nefarious here as I don’t know them; only providing a mechanical fact of life scenario that does exist.