Subaru on the way out. Saab on the way in?

I have a 2000 Subaru that needs it’s engine seals redone, a ‘ring job,’ as it is said. The car’s in good shape other than needing breaks soon. The car’s an automatic. Has 138000 mi… It was my mother’s car; before that she got it 2nd hand from a trusted mechanic.

Anyway. Choices abound. Here are a few. I thoroughly welcome opinions and am open to further suggestion.

A.) Get the job done. It’ll cost about $1750 and fix the car; keep it going.

B.) Install a Jasper motor instead. [Would this cost more or less, do you think? Is it a good idea to do this?]

C.) Sell it and get a late '90’s Saab. [If so, what model and characteristics are most reliable?]

Please describe the problems your having with the Subby. $1,750 is a great price for an upper cylinder rebuild. This is the best solution to fix your problem if you want to keep the car. I thought I heard a price for just head gaskets on these cars running higher than that.

Option 2 will be more expensive, but still get the job done. As long as the transmission and rest of the drivetrain is in good shape, either one of these solutions will work.

Sorry, I just have to answer to C):
If you don’t like the cost of repair to a 2000 Subaru, your going to hate the cost of repair to a 2000 Saab. Nothing comes cheap on a Saab.

The easiest way to explain the prob. is that it behaves like a turbo car when from a cold start position. Ready to go left at a light. Put on blinker. Wait. Light turns. Time to move. Press accel. Creeps forward a tiny bit. Keep pressing. In two seconds, zooms.

You see, this has been going on noticeably for a half a year. And it’s getting worse. Is a prob. when turning right into traffic – can kill oneself that way.

Is the CEL (Check Engine light) on? Has the fuel system been checked?

I’d get a second opinion before making this decision. What you describing doesn’t sound like a ring problem. Maybe a seal problem with a vacuum leak, but this wouldn’t require a ring job.

I’m leaning more towards a fuel system problem.

I wouldn’t buy a Saab. Finding parts for these vehicles is hard enough. And now that Saab is no longer in business it’ll get even harder to find replacement parts.


Friend says that on Car Talk there was a show where a mother was looking for cars for two college-bound kids, and my friend believes their answer was that a late 90’s Saab was a good bet. Anyone remember this?

Yes. That light was on. Visiting my parents last month their mechanic put in a new Manifold bla-bla-bla Sensor. The sensor died in a matter of weeks, so the light went right back on. My mechanic on this side said that Of Course the Manifold bla-bla-bla Sensor died as it must have been inundated with OIL as this newly-put-in now-blown one, was.

That check engine light is still on…

Don’t waste your money on anything built in the 1990’s. Cars are plain superior in the 2000’s and IMHO more reliable as every make improved except Euro in the early 2000’s.

Worn rings will cause oil consumption but I’m not convinced the worn rings are causing your “driveability” issues. In the removal and replacement of the stuff needed to do the ring job the mechanic is bound to find other questionable parts and perhaps when it is all done it will drive just fine, or perhaps not.

Same thing with a Jasper rebuilt engine. It will have all new rings, pistons, bearings, and such but the manifolds and fuel system will come off the current motor. Whichever choice you make; is the mechanic assuring you that the lag-surge driveability problem will be resolved?

As for a late '90’s Saab they were better cars in that era since GM wasn’t yet the owner of Saab. Still it is a 10+ year old car so “reliability” has got to be a question for a car that age. Parts and labor to repair older Saabs are higher than an American car of the same age. In an older Saab you could be looking at needing a new turbo, new radiator, heater core, alternator, steering rack, yadda yadda. If by reliable you mean it won’t break and you’ll not have repair bills, that ain’t happening.