Buying? a 150,000 mile SUBARU LEGACY OUTBACK LL BEAN, 3.0L H6 F DOHC 24V

I am considering buying a used 2006 SUBARU LEGACY OUTBACK LL BEAN, 3.0L H6 F DOHC 24V at 156,500 miles for about $4200. I am buying it from the second owner and they have had it for 10 years and have seemed to have taken very good care of it and been good with maintenance. Carfax checks out. I plan to have a mechanic look at the car…but is the milage just too high and I am just asking for issues within the next year or two. I get a good feeling from the owner and the car but getting a good “feeling” doesn’t make a good car, lol.

Does anyone know anything about this year and model and if it has had ongoing issues?

The H6 doesn’t have the head gasket issue that the 2.5 model’s are known to have, from the outback forums they can go many more miles but it really does depend on what the mechanic finds.

Since 2017 we’ve owned a 2006 LL Bean (with H6) with 91Kmi. that my parent’s bought new. I feel it’s basically a good car and family members who live in ME own several 4cyl. Subaru’s of that general vintage with 160kmi to over 250kmi with no serious issues (though a friend’s 2006 H4 OB needed head gaskets at ~ 90Kmi). At the mileage you’re considering much will depend upon the use and care it’s received.

Things we like: engine power - gobbs of it, at 95mph up hill in hot desert pushing a roof top box there’s still passing reserve. Transmission, and AWD in Sierra winters (with the right tires) work well. Love the ground clearance. Brakes are great. Handling is good (Pirelli All Season tires were fine on snow and ice and the present Michelins are even better, the Maine contingent likes Continentals). A/C is strong, even at 108degrees in desert. It’s comfortable on trips and pretty quiet, the sun roof is nice (be sure all 4 drains flow freely, the rear drains are hidden behind the wrap around bumper). Despite what some say spark plugs are relatively easy to change, following on-line instructions. Same for full ATF flushes, lines are easy to reach. The engine seems to do as well on Subaru’s conventional oil as it does on Subaru’s and several other brands of synthetics. Suggest changing <=5,000mi. (judging from continuous, summer interstate driving, any type oil) or 6mo., whichever is sooner - the owner’s. manual seems too long even for synthetics.

Not as great: Gas mileage - ~ 24-25mpg (premium) on interstates once the oil is warmed up and with very smooth transitions isn’t too bad, but going ~ 20-25mi. per trip on freeway gives ~ 20mpg, and mileage drops to 15-16mpg around town when driving 5-8mi. at a time. The front struts were bad at 47kmi and bushings had collapsed (they were 11yrs old) - there are better after-market struts. A front CV boot split at ~ 60kmi (the joint was good, so repaired with a $25 NAPA boot kit).

Catalytic converter heat shields are rattle prone - very expensive at the dealer but there are home brew ways to clamp them.

Subaru AWD especially doesn’t like mismatched tires (wears out the mechanism), check that all tires are the same model, size, and very close to the same wear. Tires should be within about 0.25inches (6mm) of each other in circumference (I measure with a flat tape), and rotated at the specified interval.

There are some complaints on the forums about valve cover gasket oil leaks and ours may be starting, but much less expensive than head gasket repair. Inspect for both head and valve cover leaks.

The auto cabin temp controls are a pain, set 1 degree higher or lower than the present temperature and they blast full hot or cold until the new set point is reached. We live with it.

The cabin air filter requires perhaps 40 minutes and many screws to change, but easier the second time. Ours is loaded up by 20,000mi.

Head light bulb changing (halogens) is a moderate pain, but doable. Illumination is good.

The FM radio range is much weaker than our other cars, but this might be just ours.

Check out the forum

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At 14 years old and that mileage the vehicle has to stand on it’s own merits. It could run for a long time or die tomorrow . What the shop inspection finds is all that matters .
Myself I would not even consider an All Wheel Drive vehicle used unless it was absolutely necessary . Normal Front Wheel will work most of the time in snow areas .


I would second this opinion.

I used to have multiple Subarus in the past, and transitioning back to FWD saved a lot of expense, on gas in particular, so that it would compensate a need to rent 4WD few days a year I really needed it. I’m in Washington DC metro area, on VA side, so winters are not very snowy here, but even with snow, you can get around just fine with FWD.

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If you’re still interested in it, make sure the shop you have do the pre-purchase inspection knows Subarus. They have their quirks.

I am a long-term, very satisfied, Subaru owner, and I can report that both the engine and the transmission of that model are bullet-proof, as long as they are properly maintained.
The only thing that would give me pause on buying a used Subaru is the question of whether the previous owner(s) consistently rotated the tires as per the mfr’s schedule. If not, then it is likely that damage was done to the center viscous coupler, and a mechanical inspection is not likely to determine the condition of that component.

I would want to see a full folder of maintenance receipts documenting tire rotations, along with the other maintenance services, but I suspect that this wouldn’t be available with a 14 year old vehicle.

I know it is a “common opinion” on this forum that if you do not religiously maintain your wheels to be within the specified 1/4 of the inch difference, all the hell will come loose on the poor Subaru owner.

Still, I was not able to find much support for that on for example, as it would generate a flood of complaints, similar to the flood of complaints on the headgaskets problem with I-4 engines. I highly suspect Subarus are not maintained per-book in quote a substantial percentage of the cases.

Moreover, 17+ years back (young and stupid?) I bought Subaru with 125K miles and driven by the prior owner with something like 3 if not all 4 different brand/model of the wheels, some next to bald, drove it few thousands miles as-is before replacing tires to appropriate, and yet that thing had fully functional AWD, tested in the snow and going over sand beaches, very impressive into how much trouble you can get these cars and get out on your own.

So, unless neglect is highly suspected, I would reduce “then it is likely that damage was done” into “then it is possible that damage was done” and leave it to the mechanic to make the inspection of that old beater.

It seems very difficult to trace the the 1/4in. circumference limit back to an official Subaru statement. The best I’ve been able to find is a forum reference to a Subaru internal document intended for service personnel, but not the document I.D. itself and several dealerships I’ve asked don’t know of the doc. Tire Rack, Discount Tire, and others list the circumference limits as 0.25in for Subarus as opposed to 0.5in. for most other makes - a potential explanation is that the Subaru system is engaged full time and thus always “slipping” whereas others wait for detection of slippage at the wheels before engaging (but this is beyond my direct knowledge). I know of one person, who races cars and has a complete shop, whose personal ride is an older Outback with manual transmission (I believe the MT versions have a different coupler design than the AT’s) that had mismatched tire brands when he purchased it used. The coupler failed, attributed to the mismatch, and he replaced it himself but the module was pricey.

I concur about 2WD vs 4WD - while it’s very useful in some situations we managed to survive many decades of winter mountain driving in the east and west with RWD w/ some sand in back or FWD, good snow or All Season tires, a shovel, and very occasional use of chains. Even got through places were 4WD drivers (w/ snow tires but not chains) got stuck. Only have it now because of it was passed down through the family (my wife likes it!) On the plus side, when combined with torque vectoring it can help prevent skids, and before buying our Prius last year we strongly considered the new RAV4 Hybrid with electric drive to the rear wheels (very little mileage penalty), but this is an entirely different technology. VW bugs and Corvairs were the best of the bunch on snow/ice.

I had 1999 Subaru Outback made in Japan. My brother bought it for $4k with 150k miles on it I believe. I drove it till 220000 with no major issues and then sold it for 2k. Had leather… So yeah its a good car and very solid in snow.

Seriously? There’s an L.L. Bean Subaru?

I’d buy it and then return it to L.L. Bean for a new replacement!

For over 100 years they’ve had an unbeatable warranty:

Don’t they say, "If you’re unsatisfied with a product , bring it in and get it replaced for free at any time, no receipt required, no questions asked" ?

Feel the magic!
:palm_tree: :sunglasses: :palm_tree:

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If you bought it in The US or Canada, it was manufactured in Lafayette, Indiana.

Why is the current owner selling the car? That’s a question I’d ask.

Generally folks that “well maintain” cars don’t up and sell them for no reason…

I maintain my vehicles far better than the mfr specifies, and yet I like to reward myself with a new vehicle every 10 years or so. The vehicle in question is now 14 years old, so perhaps the person who is selling it has a philosophy similar to mine.


Fair enough. I didn’t mean to imply anything nefarious.

But…if you can ask the original owner why he/she is selling the car, I still think it’s a fair question.

It is indeed a fair question, but the OP needs to be aware that people who are selling cars are not necessarily making honest statements about their vehicle.

Thank you so much everyone! This all so helpful. You all rock!

It’s a fair question to which you’ll likely get a bogus answer. (At least you would from me!)

I’ve done a lot of car inspections for both dealers and individuals. I’m no gambling man but i would safely bet a 100 bucks that a very careful inspection of a 14 year old car with a150k miles would reveal a list of needs or soon to be needs. I have found this to be true of cars with half the age and half the miles.
A car that is not new is a collection of used parts all subject to wear and failure at any time.

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