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To Bite the Bullet or Take the Bullet?

My dear 1990 Subaru Legacy just threw it’s water pump impeller through the plastic housing behind the radiator. The local mechanic says, “I could get 3 hours into it and discover it can’t be saved”. A local salvage yard has a replacement with 55K miles for $350. If I go ahead I’ll replace the timing belt and water pump before reinstalling it. What will the engine swap cost in labor?

I don’t know about a Subaru, but local mechanics here would want about $1000 or so if only routine items such as belts, bolts, etc are needed. Safe to add $350+1000+$500 (for timing belt,water pump,tensioner) and budget $1850 minimum.

Add any additional Subaru parts that might be needed.

After thinking this problem through as best I can, I come to the following… my dear companion (this Subaru Legacy) has been with me for 20 years and a little over 200K miles. It has served me well. Kelly says it’s worth about $500 (with a running engine, which it’s not). There are 200K miles on every other aspect of this vehicle and anything could fail, at any time; just given its age. Rather than invest further, I’ll strip out the stereo, remove the almost new trailer hitch I had installed recently, and see what the salvage yard will offer. All four tires are nearly new as well.
The plan is to then purchase a 1997 Toyota Tacoma 2 wheel drive, 5 speed that has 131K miles and a history of two owners. Although I am grieving the loss of this good fellow traveler, I can only see that it is time to let go and move ahead. Your thoughts are appreciated and will be considered in the equation.

Glad to hear you are approaching this in an objective manner; many long time owners get emotionally attached to their cars, and have trouble letting go. As a result they keep them long past the “economic life” is over, that’s an accounting as well as a maintenance technology term.

I just sold my 1986 Deluxe Lawnboy which sold for nearly $300 24 years ago. The reason is my wife loves the cordless electric model and my daughter likes a push mower. Something had to go. The market value is about $40 so that’s what I got. I’m sure the new owner will get another 8-10 years out of it since these oldies were indestructable.

Unfortunately, I think it’s definitely time to move on. 200K miles and 20 years is a lot to ask already, you should be very happy with the performance of this car.

Good Luck!

When the water pump died, did she keep driving it? Did it overheat? If the pump is driven by the timing belt, did this cause the belt to jump or slip causing engine damage?