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Should I junk my Subaru?

My Subaru began over-heating on my way from Colorado to Texas. After replacing the thermostat and flushing the radiator, the mobile mechanic had me drive it around the block and determined, due to the blue smoke he said was coming from my exhaust, I probably had a blown head gasket (the oil was not milky). After getting it long-distance towed to Texas, a friend of mine offered to replace the gaskets for the cost of parts. He pulled my engine only to find there appeared to be nothing wrong with the head gaskets (could it have been the water pump - he asks). After replacing them anyway, he was putting my engine back in and broke the transmission oil pump in the process. Upon taking it to a friend of his to have it looked at they found the “transfer gear” was shot as well and I had been driving a FWD Subaru for a long, long time. Bless this friend of mine who tried to help me out, but now, I have a Subaru sitting in pieces.

Should the engine work? In theory, yes. Should I still drive the thing with a neutered transmission though (it did drive in it’s neutered condition before)? I really don’t know. I would like to think after all of this is fixed, it will just go and go and go for another 150,000. Because darnit, it better after all this trouble! My creative thinking well has run dry. The cost of repairing what has been done will undoubtedly cost me over $2000 and my car is not in the prettiest condition. But, broken like she is, she’s worth less than $700, new head gaskets or not.


What kind of Subaru? What year and how many miles on it?

What’s the question here? Junk it? If the engine runs fine and the transmission works (albeit only front-wheel drive), why not keep driving it?

I don’t think BLUE smoke indicates a bad head gasket or water pump problem, this means oil is leaking into 1 or more cylinders. Overheating could have been a sign (or cause) of head gasket problems though.

Well, I just left out all the important information! Sorry about that!

It’s a '98 Subaru Legacy Outback - 147,000.

Since my Subaru is in pieces, I actually don’t know if the engine will work, nor do I know if the transmission will work after the oil pump is replaced. That’s my concern. To trust the same person that broke the transmission piece to begin with with repairing and putting the whole car back together, makes me a bit weary. But, to pay a professional to do it, may cost more than the car is really worth.

It’s $2k to fix what you have or $20k for a new Impreza.


This is why one should post. The clarity of others can be invaluable. My head has been so tied up in this, it’s hard to think practically anymore.

Blue smoke can also be caused by oil consumption past the piston rings. Piston rings can be ruined pretty quickly when an engine overheats IF you do not pull over and shut the engine off immediately.

Considering the age, mileage, history, and some associated screwups it might be best to throw in the towel and write the car off.

One thing I would suggest (and which should have been done originally) is that a compression test be performed before spending one dime on this car.
A dry test on an engine in good shape should show about 180 PSI per cylinder. If the readings are considerably lower (say 140) a wet test should be performed. This means a squirt of oil into each cylinder before it’s retested. If the number jumps up quite a bit (say back to 180) then the rings are gone. This means a new engine.