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Blown Head Gasket on old Suby, What now?

I recently just had some bad news on my 94 Subaru legacy that it has a blown head gasket and I recently put a fair amount of money into which seems incredibly stupid now. I put cheap rims and tires on it so it could pass the safety inspection and now two months later it is undriveable. I guess my question is how much money can I get out of this car, I would have guessed the Blue book value to be around $1500-2200 because of the recent work (minus head gasket issue). Am I better off selling my tires and rims then selling the rest to junk yard, or the whole car to somebody who might want to do a head gasket repair (seems unlikely). Anyways pretty bummed over the situation since it was an awesome car, just wondering how I can make the best of the situation im in.

Unfortunately, recent work doesn’t translate into equal value when it comes to pricing a car with a known major problem. My rough guess would be maybe 500 dollars as it sits; maybe a grand if clean body-wise and the right DIYer is interested in it.

That may not be what you want to hear and it’s just my 2 cents worth of opinion.

Well if you take the wheels off,you could sell them seperate(maybe recover the cost of them) and scrap the carcass,perhaps even doing a little parting out,seems petty but its just a car,just dont protract it.The car itself with a few goodies removed,should be worth over $300 scrap value or donate it and walk away-Kevin

Try a craigslist ad, someone might buy it.

It’s worth zero and unsaleable on the regular market. Would you buy a car that doesn’t run. It’s now a parts car and ready for the graveyard. If it’s not worth putting any money into for you, it isn’t for anyone else.

Where did you get a book value of $1500-2000 for a '94 (20 year old car)? The only way you’ll recoup any money from previous work is to fix the motor and keep driving it. Putting money into old cars is always a gamble, often you win - but in this case looks like the OP lost.

If the body, paint, and interior are in pristine condition it might be worth repairing the motor. I suspect that is not the situation here and spending more money on this car is just more money going into a lost cause.

If you like your Subie, why not have the head gasket replaced and continue to drive it? Replacing a head gasket takes some wrenching time true, but it isn’t rocket science. At least for me, I’d remove the head for a look-see. If the valves are still serviceable, I’d just replace the gasket and drive.

1,500 - 2,000 because I live in SLC and Subies sell pretty well here despite how old they are. Obviously it wont sell at that price anymore but it easily would have prior to this.

@Mr Berg

You said those old Subarus sell for $1500 - $2000 in your area

Are you sure that they are actually selling for that price?

Versus being listed for $1500 - $2000, but not selling at that price, but lower?

If a use Subaru is priced between $1500 to $2000 and a head gasket replacement can run you $1000 plus, any one buying the car would do the gazintas. Tha car is undrivable now without doing more damage. So, why would anyone pay anything for a car they couldn’t drive to tell if anything else was wrong with it ? Most people try out cars before they buy them.

Yours isn’t in that state so it’s worth much less then the difference between what you think it’s worth repaired and the repair price. It’s unsaleable for anything but parts. Now, if it were a 2004…but nearly twenty years makes it worthless no matter how endearing it is to you. Your only possible way of recovering any value is as @GeorgeSanJose suggested and have it looked at and decide. You already know what’s wrong and not…you don’t need a test drive.

would it be cheaper to put in a used engine instead of fixing the current one?

If OP installs a used engine, they may as well replace the timing belt, water pump, and headgaskets, and adjust the valves, before it gets installed.

I guess what im really wondering is how to go about selling its parts before i give it off to a junk yard. I’m definitely not going to be replacing this myself as the car is definitely a money pit at this stage, and anyone looking at the car for sale would see nothing but the same. Besides the wheels and tires that are valuable is there anything else I should sell before giving it off to a junk yard? Never been in this position and not sure.

“Parting out” a car is rarely profitable for an individual. You’ll spend tons in ads and end up with a pile of junk with 1/2 dozen parts missing that you’ll need to have towed off. And all of those parts will have been sold for almost nothing.

The best bet is to offer the whole thing for a “parts car”. Or call one of those “we’ll tow your car for free” numbers.

I dont think you would have any problem getting rid of the car for “Halfsies” even after you have sold some of the parts,dont think you would have any problem around here to get some body to swing by with a trailer and pick it up, but you might want to leave the wheels on it till its on the trailer,the economics around here are such that “self employed” people will work with you for a load of scrap metal-Kevin


Donate it for the tax write off