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Old 11-21-2017, 11:58 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 07 Tribeca automatic, keep or no at 142k?

Hi all, thanks for listening. I have been reading through a lot of threads trying to decide whether I keep or let this car go. We have been diligent with maintenance and it's treated us well overall. At 142k miles things have been going sideways. Tires are good for another 15k miles, I'm not sure it's worthwhile to keep the car on the road after that.

We have a reliable indie shop. It needs now: front sway bar bushings and the timing chain cover is leaking. Shop wants to rebuild the whole timing chain while they're in there.

We just fixed - serpentine belt, engine oil gallery plug, rear diff front mount bushing, CV boot covers, and it has new brakes all around.

This was not cheap to do, but the timing chain rebuild & sway bar is even more.

We cleaned the undercarriage out so we can monitor the oil leak. But I figure if we rebuild that timing chain then I'm sticking with this car another 50k miles or so. I can nurse it along for a while if the leak is minor.

So, what would you do? FYI, the transmission is still great, but I know this is a risk area on this model.

Thanks!
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Old 11-21-2017, 12:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by inlawbiker View Post
Hi all, thanks for listening. I have been reading through a lot of threads trying to decide whether I keep or let this car go. We have been diligent with maintenance and it's treated us well overall. At 142k miles things have been going sideways. Tires are good for another 15k miles, I'm not sure it's worthwhile to keep the car on the road after that.

We have a reliable indie shop. It needs now: front sway bar bushings and the timing chain cover is leaking. Shop wants to rebuild the whole timing chain while they're in there.

We just fixed - serpentine belt, engine oil gallery plug, rear diff front mount bushing, CV boot covers, and it has new brakes all around.

This was not cheap to do, but the timing chain rebuild & sway bar is even more.

We cleaned the undercarriage out so we can monitor the oil leak. But I figure if we rebuild that timing chain then I'm sticking with this car another 50k miles or so. I can nurse it along for a while if the leak is minor.

So, what would you do? FYI, the transmission is still great, but I know this is a risk area on this model.

Thanks!
IMO, get rid of it before the head gaskets go. Put it on Craigslist with a clear conscience and be better than all of the other crooked sellers I see around here.
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Old 11-21-2017, 05:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Me personally, I would reseal the timing cover myself and call it good. These engines and transmissions can go hundreds of thousands of miles with the proper maintenance. Not to mention at the mileage and age of your tribeca it isn't worth much on the private market and about half that much on a trade in.

If you can use two vehicles I would hang on to it as a backup or for dirty work, if you are a one car household let it go to the next person who can use a decent vehicle with a few minor problems but still a lot of life left. No shame in either choice, one of the great things about Subaru is there are lots of DIY'ers in the subie community looking for a car just like yours to make their next ride.
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Old 11-21-2017, 08:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by FLsubies View Post
Me personally, I would reseal the timing cover myself and call it good. These engines and transmissions can go hundreds of thousands of miles with the proper maintenance. Not to mention at the mileage and age of your tribeca it isn't worth much on the private market and about half that much on a trade in.

If you can use two vehicles I would hang on to it as a backup or for dirty work, if you are a one car household let it go to the next person who can use a decent vehicle with a few minor problems but still a lot of life left. No shame in either choice, one of the great things about Subaru is there are lots of DIY'ers in the subie community looking for a car just like yours to make their next ride.
That's a thought. I use my minivan for that duty. We don't have public trash service around here so I put a trailer on the back.

My Beca has far too much blingina to ever delegate it to such use.
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Old 11-21-2017, 08:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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OK thanks for your feedback all. This was my wife's car, she got a new one and now it's mine because I seldom drive. I either motorbike or bicycle, or commute by public transit.

The old Tribeca is a perfect car for me because it's cheap, carries a lot, and goes well in the snow. I was kinda counting on going 200k plus miles with it.

But I am not a self-wrencher, I used to be but I don't have time anymore. I am quickly approaching repair costs equal to the value of the car so I'll think it through some more. Maybe look for another mechanic who will fix the leak without insisting on rebuilding the timing chain too.
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Old 11-22-2017, 06:12 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Sway bar bushings is a trivial repair. No need to touch internally lubricated parts behind the chain cover unless you hear noises.
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Old 11-22-2017, 06:28 AM   #7 (permalink)
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When you say it was well maintained, how was the cooling system maintained? What kind of coolant was in there and/or was Subaru Coolant Conditioner used? Seems like these head gaskets go at roughly the same mileage and you are not far from that number from what I can see.
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Old 11-23-2017, 07:13 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default why i am keeping mine

at 196k mine drives like new and looks like new.

however, I have put some money in it. Its a great investment and you cant get too upset over some maintenance items, as it will save you money in the long term.

I dont think I would hesitate to buy yours, throw a grand or two in it, and it would be good for another 100 k

dean
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Old 11-23-2017, 11:48 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Hey it was maintained by the book by the shop. They?re an independent specialist in Subaru. I don?t have the records with me though. Anyway I found a couple more mechanics so maybe we can make this make more sense financially. My preference is to keep it. I will post updated info when I get any. I asked them to fix the leak within rebuilding then timing chain but they said no way.
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Old 11-23-2017, 01:49 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Hey it was maintained by the book by the shop. They?re an independent specialist in Subaru. I don?t have the records with me though. Anyway I found a couple more mechanics so maybe we can make this make more sense financially. My preference is to keep it. I will post updated info when I get any. I asked them to fix the leak within rebuilding then timing chain but they said no way.
Ok, if you are leaning towards keeping it then I'd suggest asking them how they maintained the cooling system. It can be as simple as asking them if they added the Subaru Coolant Conditioner. Whether they say yes or no, ask them what type of coolant they used.

It will help you stay informed as to what to do next on that cooling system besides the other problems you mentioned. I know that I may seem a bit hyper-focused on the cooling system, but it is for a good reason.

I just replaced my engine with a JDM engine and I won't be the first or last to have to go through this (or similar).

My FIRST question was to ask the shop what they did and they honestly told me they don't add it when replacing the engine.

I stopped what I was doing to get it right after all of the hassle that I had been through. In fact, I changed EVERY drivetrain fluid right away since I *hope* to not make any major driveline replacement any time soon.

HTH
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Old 11-26-2017, 12:42 PM   #11 (permalink)
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If you'll be trading it in at a dealership, the car doesn't have much value anyway so keep it until it's almost dead. Doing the timing cover and chain is fine so it doesn't leak all over your driveway. As long as you can drive it onto the lot, it will be a bargaining chip.

Otherwise, sell it on Craigslist now.
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Old 11-29-2017, 08:20 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Ok, if you are leaning towards keeping it then I'd suggest asking them how they maintained the cooling system. It can be as simple as asking them if they added the Subaru Coolant Conditioner. Whether they say yes or no, ask them what type of coolant they used.
OK first of all, thanks for all the input this forum is really helpful. I asked the shop, they use Subaru coolant but not conditioner. They said they only use it on older 4-cyl engines. I take it I should be requesting the conditioner. It has been change by the book though which I think is every 30k?

Since the last couple leak fixes and driving around a while, I cannot detect any oil loss yet. It was leaking freely before so perhaps the timing chain cover isn't an emergency, but I'll keep my eye on it. We cleaned the engine last time so we could see. I will go take some pictures when I get some time and more miles on it.

Like I said, although it's kind of big for my daily driver I would like to keep it another 60k. It still rides like the day we brought it home almost 100k miles ago (we bought it used).
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Old 11-30-2017, 05:29 AM   #13 (permalink)
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IMO, get rid of it before the head gaskets go
Nothing about his post suggested head gasket failure was imminent. Where are you getting the information that head gaskets go around his mileage? Seeing a few posts on the internet doesn't mean they're all bad. The EZ series engines suffer gasket failure a lot less than the EJ25s do.
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Old 12-02-2017, 06:12 PM   #14 (permalink)
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OK first of all, thanks for all the input this forum is really helpful. I asked the shop, they use Subaru coolant but not conditioner. They said they only use it on older 4-cyl engines. I take it I should be requesting the conditioner. It has been change by the book though which I think is every 30k?

Since the last couple leak fixes and driving around a while, I cannot detect any oil loss yet. It was leaking freely before so perhaps the timing chain cover isn't an emergency, but I'll keep my eye on it. We cleaned the engine last time so we could see. I will go take some pictures when I get some time and more miles on it.

Like I said, although it's kind of big for my daily driver I would like to keep it another 60k. It still rides like the day we brought it home almost 100k miles ago (we bought it used).
You are welcome. AFAIK, yes you should be using the conditioner especially since you are aware of it and seem to be leaning towards keeping it. I agree with it being big for a daily but as others have said maybe at worst you can keep it for a backup. Pics would be good.
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Old 12-02-2017, 06:14 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Nothing about his post suggested head gasket failure was imminent. Where are you getting the information that head gaskets go around his mileage? Seeing a few posts on the internet doesn't mean they're all bad. The EZ series engines suffer gasket failure a lot less than the EJ25s do.
Shouldn't matter, it seems to be happening alot at around a certain mileage and I think the OP should look at the bigger picture not just at the imminent situation in front of his nose. It's kind of like prioritizing a vehicle's paint job when your brakes are bad. Sure I have done it and that's how I know better.

I don't need to surf the entire internet to take note. All I have to do is look here and at my local Craigslist ads. Creampuff For sale, 170k miles.

I wouldn't generalize about EJ25(s) either. My EJ257 doesn't have any head gasket issues and it is not a common problem. Subaru beefed up their head gaskets on the turbo models.
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Old 12-02-2017, 06:39 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I wouldn't generalize about EJ25(s) either. My EJ257 doesn't have any head gasket issues and it is not a common problem. Subaru beefed up their head gaskets on the turbo models.
I was clearly referring to the nonturbo models which have rampant headgasket problems, especially pre-2004. EJ255, 257 aren't included in what I'm talking about.

To be specific, the EJ25D (96-99) had internal headgasket failures and the EJ251 (00-05) had external oil leaks at the headgaskets. The EJ253 had fewer issues, but they still existed and it was of course replaced after 2010 in the Forester (2011 was the first of the FB) and 2013 for Outback/Legacy.

I just haven't seen enough failures of the EZ36D's headgaskets to be convinced there's any pattern and you haven't shown much evidence to the contrary.

To be clear, I'm not saying this to rip into you or to start an internet argument, I just don't care for flippantly guessing on future issues of a car, particularly when there isn't a big history of said issues with a well established pattern. There's no reason to tell someone to dump a vehicle because X or Y might happen.
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Old 12-02-2017, 06:54 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I was clearly referring to the nonturbo models which have rampant headgasket problems, especially pre-2004. EJ255, 257 aren't included in what I'm talking about.

To be specific, the EJ25D (96-99) had internal headgasket failures and the EJ251 (00-05) had external oil leaks at the headgaskets. The EJ253 had fewer issues, but they still existed and it was of course replaced after 2010 in the Forester (2011 was the first of the FB) and 2013 for Outback/Legacy.

I just haven't seen enough failures of the EZ36D's headgaskets to be convinced there's any pattern and you haven't shown much evidence to the contrary.

To be clear, I'm not saying this to rip into you or to start an internet argument, I just don't care for flippantly guessing on future issues of a car, particularly when there isn't a big history of said issues with a well established pattern. There's no reason to tell someone to dump a vehicle because X or Y might happen.
OP has an EZ30R not an EZ36D. I always try to look ahead even if it means generalizing. OP asked for opinions and I gave mine. I am not going to copy/paste every head gasket failure event for the sake of evidence. OP can search and make a judgment. Different strokes for different folks. I have become pretty good at knowing when to fold 'em and was giving my honest opinion.

Quite frankly, this situation is analogous to the 3rd generation Chrysler Minivan that I own. They are famous for transmission issues. It is pretty well known that the transmission does have issues but the die hard fans of that platform will insist that there are no problems as long as you do "X, Y, and Z." The fact of the matter is that I do "X, Y, and Z". They say that you must use ATF+4 so I go one above and use Redline C+. Is the transmission still on my mind? Sure it is. How often? Every day that I drive it. Why? I lost a previous 3rd generation Chrysler minivan to a transmission failure.

How about a DSM e.g. Talon/Eclipse/Laser? Sure, they are great in one way but the vast majority of folks know that they have a place and it is not as a daily driver. Of course, some will insist that they are reliable. Where does mine sit? It sits in the garage or on jack stands.

Every platform has an achilles' heel and the EZ30R's might just be the head gasket.

I'd rather be informed than sorry. Looks like OP is leaning towards keeping the vehicle...hey great. Now maybe it will live a better life.

No problem agreeing to disagree with you.
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Old 12-03-2017, 06:58 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Sometimes opinions are worded similarly to facts,

Fact is the 3.0 and 3.6 are far less likely, based on past data, to have headgasket issues with proper maintenance.

And even when the ej25 was having issues the 3.0 was not. The headgaskets on my 03 forester weeped from an external failure at 70k miles. I drove it another 20k before deciding to do something about it. And here our tribeca sits at 170k-ish and not one leak from the headgaskets and with minimal maintenance. With towing, Florida temps, and even a trip through the Smokies a couple years ago when she had around 155k miles she still runs strong and as good as the day we bought her.

Now the hard fact is, you don't know how bad someone treated a car or failed to maintain it until it breaks down. To me that means shopping hard for a clean well maintained model and paying a little more upfront than on the backend...unless I only care about the price then I might decide I can deal with some issues as they arise and of course pay accordingly up front.

No matter, either way you are paying for the maintenance that wasn't done or was done.
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Old 12-03-2017, 10:51 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Sometimes opinions are worded similarly to facts,

Fact is the 3.0 and 3.6 are far less likely, based on past data, to have headgasket issues with proper maintenance.

And even when the ej25 was having issues the 3.0 was not. The headgaskets on my 03 forester weeped from an external failure at 70k miles. I drove it another 20k before deciding to do something about it. And here our tribeca sits at 170k-ish and not one leak from the headgaskets and with minimal maintenance. With towing, Florida temps, and even a trip through the Smokies a couple years ago when she had around 155k miles she still runs strong and as good as the day we bought her.

Now the hard fact is, you don't know how bad someone treated a car or failed to maintain it until it breaks down. To me that means shopping hard for a clean well maintained model and paying a little more upfront than on the backend...unless I only care about the price then I might decide I can deal with some issues as they arise and of course pay accordingly up front.

No matter, either way you are paying for the maintenance that wasn't done or was done.


Ok, I'll settle for educated opinions.

Think about it. How many times have we all teamed up together to comfort that newcomer who has the same story to tell over and over and over again?

I haven't been here as long as you guys and there have been quite a few people in the community telling the same story. It's above 3 bars but "Henry" over at the Subaru shop says that it's going to be ok. It's trapped air. Then, just like me, it's a matter of days or months before it all goes South.

Then it becomes a question of who has the best JDM shop?

If this wasn't a big deal, how come the Outback forum has it's own sub-forum for head gaskets? Sure, there are many other EJ25x posts in there but the EZ30 folks are getting it too.

As far as your engine goes. I mean, most of the engines on here are like caviar. Most of us here take great pride in caring for our engines. Most knowledge here is native. We have all been around the block in our own way.

So when the OP asks about the big picture, I am going to let him know.

Living life wondering about "what if" not "what is" is something I try to avoid when possible for many reasons. However, the stakes ARE high for the OP if he hasn't/doesn't take care of the cooling system in his road to keep/get rid of. Taking care of the cooling system is easy compared to swapping out an engine.

Well maybe not for you guys. You guys are the big dogs and I rely on you all for help. As a likely keeper, I hope that the OP can flourish no matter what he decides to do.

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE my Beca. Look at the pride in my sig.
With that love comes the realization of the need to maintain it and the fear of what might happen should I go down the road that the last person did before they traded it in.

Thanks for putting up with me and I hope that you guys will let me stick around even as a contrarian at times. After all, it would be boring if we didn't have anything to talk about and coming here is a source of peace for me in a tough world.

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Old 12-03-2017, 05:12 PM   #20 (permalink)
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You also have to keep in context, how old these vehicles and engines are now and as I mentioned above what kind of care they have received by the PO. Look at the total sales figures and how many failures you can find, there is nothing alarming in there.

Even the recent oil consumption issues, as widespread as they seem, only affected like 2-3% of the engines produced.

And then you also need to take into account how much the "new" owner paid for their vehicle...if you got it cheap then I guess you figured out why pretty quick.
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