Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

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really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
120,000 miles
Total Complaints:
1 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace engine (1 reports)
1997 Subaru Legacy engine problems

engine problem

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1997 Subaru Legacy Owner Comments

problem #1

Jan 212011

Legacy Outback 2.2L Flat Four

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles


The usual head gasket failure associated with Subaru. Bought the car about eight months before it overheated with about 116000 miles on it. Took it to an import auto place before i bought it to make sure nothing major was wrong. I was assured that it looked great for an old car, a cracked cv boot and some minor leaks but nothing to worry about. Paid about 5 grand for the car hoping to drive it to 300000 miles or until it died...unfortunately it was a premature death. Driving to Ohio from Indiana and engine randomly and very quickly overheated on the interstate. Pulled over as soon as i could (poorly managed road construction in Ohio ensured that this was not possible for at least a mile) let the engine cool and tried to get to the nearest exit. Car would start and run but basically as soon as my foot touched the accelerator temp gauge would shoot up to max temp. Finally stopped and had the car towed to the nearest service facility (a Firestone about 20 min away) where they told me that all of the coolant was blown out through the exhaust and the overflow tank was filled with engine oil. They quoted a head gasket replacement at around $2500, and that was only if i was lucky enough to have not overheated the engine to the point of ruining the cylinder heads, which apparently i had. The mechanic there gave me a rough estimate of btwn 4000 and 5000 dollars to replace the engine. This was a ridiculous amount to i had the car towed to another import car maintenance place about 40 minutes away and got about the same numbers. So now Im stuck with selling the car to the place for between 600 and 700 dollars. Do not buy a Subaru from 1996 through around 2002 unless it has had the new head gaskets installed. Chances are they will fail! If your coolant is leaking or your overflow reservoir has a sludgy buildup or dirty look, take it into a shop immediately as this could be a sign that the head gaskets are leaking. I knew i should have bought a camry...

- , Bloomington, IN, USA

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