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Old 06-04-2015, 05:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 2006 Tribeca low miles

Greetings SB9T

I'm a newbie here, and possibly new to Suburu. Wife and I are looking for a family friendly vehicle, and I've come across what I believe to be a decent deal. A local dealer is selling a 2006 Tribeca with 65,000 miles for $12988. Not a Subaru dealer, but a family run business that sell cars which they likely buy from auction. Asking price is fairly close to KBB which shows fair market value closer to 11900. The vehicle has a clean car fax report showing one owner who had it serviced regularly at the dealership.

Anyway, some research on the boards here show that head gaskets are a common problem with these vehicles, and Subaru in general. So that is a bit of a concern for me. In addition, I've found that the car should run on premium fuel, and gets below average MPG by today's standards.

Just wondering if there are any other major areas of concern that I should be aware of? What are your overall thoughts about the Tribeca? I'm also considering a 2007 Highlander with 31k miles - again a low mileage car with asking price of 17,500.

Thanks in advance for any pointers.
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Old 06-04-2015, 06:37 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I wouldn't say they're as common as you'd see in the EJ25D and the EJ251 (spanning 96-08ish in other vehicles). Those problems were widespread, especially with the EJ25D, where it was more of a matter of when, not if.

Remember that the forums are filled with people who have problems because they seek them out. I would say it sounds like the EZ30D has more problems than the EZ36, but that could just be because it's an older engine with more cumulative miles on it (I'm talking across all the vehicles out there) and more likely to have issues reported. Overall, the EZ series is pretty stout, unless you want to do forced induction on it.

The 'Beca is an excellent vehicle to drive and will run circles around the Highlander & Pilot in the "fun" department while giving you an excellent AWD system and great safety ratings. I love our '08.

As for issues to look for - the transmission has a "valve body" issue where you'll get a hard 2-3rd shift, so look for that. It's a fairly expensive part to replace, but could give you leverage in price, especially if you're handy and can do the job yourself.
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Old 06-05-2015, 12:07 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you for your prompt response Mark. I'm going to take it for a test drive today. I'll get back with my thoughts
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Old 06-05-2015, 04:31 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by relli1130 View Post
I've found that the car should run on premium fuel, and gets below average MPG by today's standards.
It is not correct that the car SHOULD run on premium. Please look into the manual for the exact wording. This has been debated here often. However many report an increased performance and fuel economy with premium.

Here is my take on it....When they average let say 18MPG, it must be a significant change in the fuel economy in order for it to show up without being masked out by other factors (change in traffic, speed, route, temperature, weather, load, tire pressure, and others). So for example a 5% change in fuel economy would yield in 18.8 MPG. My point is that there are other factors that can influence the fuel economy causing the increase by 0.8 MPG. The bottom line is that it can be hard to determine what caused the change in MPG.

Performance....99% of these cars are driven normally (commuting to work, shopping, weekend trips). I have doubts that the change of fuel grade show up under these circumstances.

I do not use premium myself and do not see any of the side effects reported by others. But I do not sweet on it either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by relli1130 View Post
gets below average MPG by today's standards.
You have to really compare apples to apples. Yes, Honda CRV has better MPG but it is not in the same category (size and symmetrical AWD). Cars in different categories provide a different ride.

Yes, this is 2006 model and in 2015 there are cars that use high strength steel even aluminum to reduce weight. Smaller engines with turbocharger are also used. All this for improved fuel economy. You can get a better, modern car with better specs than 06 Tribeca but it will cost you arm and leg and you will never make up the price difference by saving on fuel.
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Old 06-05-2015, 07:06 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Not to beat my own chest, but elsewhere on this forum is my diary/walk-through from when I replaced the HGs on my 2007. I've said it before on here and other forums, IMHO: EXTERNAL HG failures are common with Subarus, relative to other vehicles; HOWEVER, external HG failure on the Subaru H6 engine are extremely rare relative to previous generation Subaru H4 engines, especially the EJ25D; that's because improved engineering along with the Subaru Coolant Conditioner (SCC) recommended by Subaru of America (SOA) for the Tribeca's H6 engine have effectively solved this problem. That said, I have seen no evidence to show that INTERNAL HG failure is any more or less common on Subaru engines (H4 and H6) than that of any other manufacturer.

Of course, my luck gave me one of those very rare EZ30D's with an internal failure. I bought it that way, and the previous owner had evidently overheated the engine. I do not consider my HG failure a Subaru-related matter... overheating the engine will cause a HG to fail on any manufacturer's engine.

External HG failures are easily diagnosed... you can easily see where the heads mate to the block under the hood & under the car. Look for any coolant and/or oil residue on the engine near the HG, either of which are a sign of external failure. If the leaks are slow/minimal enough, you can drive for years on a failed external HG. My 2004 Forester has had an external HG failure for three years now... I keep telling my wife I'll get around to fixing it, but it's much easier to top off the oil every few weeks and keep some Oil Dri on the garage floor.

If internal HG failure is a concern for you, look for any of the following symptoms before/during/after your test drive:

1) Coolant levels: take note of the coolant level in the overflow bottle before and after your test drive. If the level varies by much more than an inch, this may be a sign of a problem. It also might be simply be an improperly bled system. Make sure the engine is cold when you check the initial level. If the dealer "warmed the car up" before you arrived for your test drive, ask him to keep it off until you come back in 3-4 hours.

2) Color of the coolant: if it looks brownish, dark, brackish, etc., that's very bad. Also, look on the inside of the bottle for any staining of these colors... a recent coolant change will mask this symptom, but the inside of the bottle may still be stained.

3) Bubbles in the coolant: After your test drive, pop the hood, take the cap off the coolant bottle and look/listen for any bubbles. Again, this could simply be a sign of an improperly bled system, but it is also a likely indicator of internal HG failure.

4) Temperature gauge: At no time during your test drive should the temp gauge go above the mid-point (the three lines in the middle). Watch this closely, especially while idling after driving at moderate to high speeds. If the temp gauge seems to be normal while driving and goes up at idle, rev the engine (in neutral) to 2500-3000 RPMs a few times... if the temp gauge drops almost immediately, you likely have an internal HG problem. If it does not drop at idle with revving but drops at speed, this might simply be a radiator/fan issue... which itself can lead to overheating and an internal HG failure.

Of course, you could always take it to a trusted mechanic, but be forewarned... internal HG failure is EXTREMELY difficult to diagnose by someone not familiar with the Subaru H6 engine.
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Old 06-05-2015, 07:49 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you for all the great information. psygnal11, I wish I could have read your thread prior to my test drive. Lots of great information there that I missed when looking at the car.

It was a nice vehicle. Decently maintained, prior owner definitely had a dog as evidence by large amounts of hair. The fog lights are full of spider cracks, and the black plastic shroud that surrounds the fog lights and wraps around the front of the vehicle was cracked causing the passenger side front vent cover to pop off. I want to go back and give it another look.

It did feel underpowered to me. And a bit cramped inside, especially the 2nd row of seats. All issues I know were covered previously in other threads. But I think this could make for a decent family car. I guess I walked away liking it, but not loving it. But for a 10 year old car, I think this still has a lot of life left in it, and could make for a good purchase.
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Old 06-05-2015, 08:22 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Many people don't realize this, but if no one is sitting in the 3rd row, the 2nd row slides all the way back... as you pull up on the bar to adjust the seat, pull the orange "release" lever outward, and you'll slide back another 6 inches or so. It makes a serious difference in the 2nd row pitch if nobody's sitting in the "+2" seats.

In regular drive mode, it can feel under powered, especially if it's running on <91 gas. Slide the shifter to the left into "Sport" mode, and that will give you a little more of a powered feel.

Decently maintained and as long as the engine is in good shape (the 5EAT transmission is a workhorse), you should get many years out of it. I'm nearly to 175k on my B9 right now, yet really I push my engine hard (it's not uncommon for me to redline during normal driving... I drive it like the WRX TSi I wish I had at times). It still has plenty of get-up and runs as smooth as silk.
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Old 06-05-2015, 10:09 AM   #8 (permalink)
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interesting point about the 2nd row seats. Where is the "orange" release lever located? I didn't notice it when I was at the dealer. I did have the seat slid as far back as I thought it would go. Are you saying that there is a 2nd position as well? So that the 2nd row of seats would essentially go even further than that position?
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Old 06-05-2015, 12:03 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Yes. The orange Lever is visible from the outside of the car when you have the door open. Kind of on the side /under.
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Old 06-06-2015, 01:35 AM   #10 (permalink)
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So the wife and I are going to look at the Tribeca again this morning. Here is the scoop:

Again, this is a 2006 LTD 7 passenger with 65k miles. It has DVD and Navigation, backup sensors and moon roof. The dealer is asking $13,988 for the vehicle. The dealer is not a Subaru dealer, but a family run car dealership. They purchase trade-ins from dealers, have them inspected by independent mechanics, and resell them.

The carfax history is very good. There was one owner who had the vehicle serviced regularly at a Pittsburgh area Subaru dealership. Recommended service performed at 30k and 60k miles. stabilizer bar bushings replaced at 33k. PCV valve/filter replaced at 43k. Rear brake pads and rotors replaced at 42k. Front brakes and rotors replaced at 64k as well as door lock actuators. No accidents reported.

The safety belt alarm goes off intermittently (even when all passengers are buckled up), which the salesman said he would address for me. The exterior has minor flaws expected for a vehicle of this age. The interior seems a bit beat up from the dog that the previous owner carted around. Leather is not clean, there are several noticeable flaws, but nothing that would deter me from purchasing the vehicle. Heat and A/C seem to work fine. Very good wear left on the tires (4 mounted and balanced at 48k miles).

I went to KBB.com and added in all the features of the vehicle to get a price estimate. The range is somewhere between $12,800 and $15,100 with a fair purchase price of $14,100. So it appears the asking price is right in line with KBB. HOWEVER, the salesman indicated he is willing to negotiate on price (which I expected).

I am trading in a 2005 mazda3 4 door sedan. KBB trade-in value is about $1800 and he already offered me that much.

So here is my goal: I want to leave with the vehicle - out the door (tax, title, tags) with 10k or less out of pocket. $10,500 would be my max. I figured out the math, and my target purchase price would be $11,000-$11,600.

So I guess the question is...is $11,000 to $11,600 a good purchase price for the vehicle? I think it would be a great deal....or am I just dreaming...basically asking him to come down 2k in price.

Thoughts?
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Old 06-06-2015, 05:15 AM   #11 (permalink)
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1. Compare the price with ebay, craigslist, and others.

2. Make an appointment with a dealer for a detailed car inspection before the purchase.
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Old 06-06-2015, 05:22 AM   #12 (permalink)
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For me the interior you described would be a big deal to me. I would ask them to get the car detailed and offered let say $100 more for the car. I would only buy if the interior is clean and flawless after the detail. But that is me.

"Rear brake pads and rotors replaced at 42k. Front brakes and rotors replaced at 64k as well as door lock actuators." <-- is there/was there a towing hitch installed? Under normal driving the brakes should last longer. So may be the car was used for towing???? May be not...
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Old 06-06-2015, 06:37 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Well, we couldn't make a deal. Just too far apart. Got to keep looking. Thx everyone for assistance.
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Old 06-06-2015, 07:00 AM   #14 (permalink)
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If you like the car then look around. I am sure there are others in town. Good luck! Let us know what you have end up purchasing.
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Old 06-08-2015, 06:27 AM   #15 (permalink)
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FWIW - I put offers in on three different Tribecas (at three different dealerships) before I landed the one I actually wanted on the fourth try.

And I agree with the bus... 42k for new rotors seems awfully short. Unless they had A/M ceramic pads installed early on that cut into the rotors heavily (and didn't last too long themselves), new rotors after 42k miles doesn't seem right... at best, on a 2006 with only 65,000 miles, it would seem every one of those miles is a "city" mile.
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