This was my second Outback, my first being a '96 5 speed manual I traded for the '02 4 speed automatic. I wish I had held on to my '96. The '02 quality did not seem to be as good and was disappointing. Most recently, the engine sporadically idled poorly or hesitated on acceleration--even on the Interstate. My biggest concern was a leaking head gasket, which is apparently a common problem on 1999-2002 models and there was a recall for some--not all (Google "Outback head gasket"). The "fix" involved adding a conditioner to the coolant to seal the leak. Seems like a stop-gap to me. Between the head gasket and the sporadic acceleration problem I decided to it was time to trade.
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