Decision: 99 Montero vs 2004 Outback

Taylor1

Observer
Looking for cheap daily driver weekend snow, bike, camping, fishing rig. The new rig will do only light dirt, sand, and gravel. I have a 85 5.0 4runner that will keep up trail duties until I sell it, or put ac back in to comfortably do the above in NC humidity.

Montero and Outback are top of the list right now. Help me compare the pros and cons, know problems, and personal experience.

I have not driven the 2004 Outback yet.
152k miles
Manual transmission
Clean pictures
Local dealer asking $3450
No timing belt or head gasket records?


I located and test drove a 99 montero.. what's a realistic asking price knowing the following?

125K miles
Runs and stops nice
Noisy shock bushings
Small Valve gasket leak
4wd and rear air locker works
front passenger side bumper extension damage
both rear quarters have damage
Misc interior details need replacement
No timing belt records?
Current price local seller is $2000

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Bulmynjo

New member
Since you are going to daily it, and seeing as you are price orientated, the outback can get you better mileage. about 25 Combined. And will be good in light offroad situations. AWD will be good enough.
Now the montero is much bigger, and thus will give you a combined MPG of about 18. Thats alomost 10 under the outback, but it will tackle more then the outback can, it will shrug off dirt sand and gravel and breeze past some bigger, rockier areas.

If the Outback needs work, I recommend the montero, for overall vesitility and space. but, if the Outback does not need any work, then the extra 1g you will spend on it will pay itself in fuel economy. Drive the Outback, then make a decide. Its all up to you and what you feel you can afford.
 

Taylor1

Observer
Best bang for buck focused, but yes price is a consideration. I'm in the process of eliminating as much of my monthly $ obligations as possible for an upcoming purchase move.

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plh

Explorer
about 5500 miles (8 mpg difference and $2 / gallon) to make up the cost difference.
 

Taylor1

Observer
Selling a 2009 tacoma double cab 4x4 sb so my fuel cost is similar to the montero. Room to improve there for sure.

The head gasket or head rebuild common to the Subaru can eat into mpg savings.

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Bulmynjo

New member
about 5500 miles (8 mpg difference and $2 / gallon) to make up the cost difference.
Gas here is 3.50 a gal, California gas, ******.... not.

Get a independent tech to do compression checks and leak down test on the engine. Pull up a carfax to see if any repairs were performed.
 

CJREX

New member
Outback: Check head gaskets for leaks on the bottom. The 2000-2005 series of 2.5 engines had head gasket issues. Some vehicles never experience it. If it does it's a $2500 repair at the dealer. Other than that it's a +300k vehicle.

Montero: At $2000, that person is trying to rob you and is a terrible human being. You should tell me where I can find this person and I'll personally go and talk to them about it.:D

But seriously, that is a great price for a '99 in good shape with those miles.

At 125k, the timing belt should have been done 5k ago. If it hasn't been done, it needs to be done ASAP as this is an interference engine (timing belt breaks = valvetrain damage = $$$$$)

I own a Subaru and a Montero. I personally would go with the Montero though I admit that is partly because I love the 1999 body style :)

Stock the Montero will be far more capable off road as well as being a comfortable daily driver. The only downside is the MPG.

Well, the other Montero downside is how much $$$ you can spend slightly improving its trail capability :punk03:



My Montero is a 2003 that I've owned since new. It has been one of the best vehicles I've ever owned.

If I found a good condition '99 model at the price point you are describing, I would be on it like a bad habit.

Good Luck with your decision.
 

PacS14

Adventurer
At 125k, the timing belt should have been done 5k ago. If it hasn't been done, it needs to be done ASAP as this is an interference engine (timing belt breaks = valvetrain damage = $$$$$)
Deleted comment due to misinformation on my part. The rest is my personal opinion.

OP if you are mechanically inclined and like or at least don't mind doing most of the work the Montero is hard to beat. I have no experience with Subarus, so you could ask at a Subaru forum about that.

I'm extremely pleased with my 99 with the rear locker, so far I have donene the valve cover gaskets, ac, alternator, timing belt, suspension, and other minor things, next up when needed will be the brakes and I'm glad to have a lot of information on hand to be able to do the repairs correctly.

The interior room is awesome and the seats fold out into a bed, never thought it was that important until I had to use it=win
 
Last edited:
Outback: Check head gaskets for leaks on the bottom. The 2000-2005 series of 2.5 engines had head gasket issues. Some vehicles never experience it. If it does it's a $2500 repair at the dealer. Other than that it's a +300k vehicle.

Montero: At $2000, that person is trying to rob you and is a terrible human being. You should tell me where I can find this person and I'll personally go and talk to them about it.:D

But seriously, that is a great price for a '99 in good shape with those miles.

At 125k, the timing belt should have been done 5k ago. If it hasn't been done, it needs to be done ASAP as this is an interference engine (timing belt breaks = valvetrain damage = $$$$$)

I own a Subaru and a Montero. I personally would go with the Montero though I admit that is partly because I love the 1999 body style :)

Stock the Montero will be far more capable off road as well as being a comfortable daily driver. The only downside is the MPG.

Well, the other Montero downside is how much $$$ you can spend slightly improving its trail capability :punk03:



My Montero is a 2003 that I've owned since new. It has been one of the best vehicles I've ever owned.

If I found a good condition '99 model at the price point you are describing, I would be on it like a bad habit.

Good Luck with your decision.
I saw a Subaru at that spot last time, he went right up!
 

jeep-N-montero

Expedition Leader
The 99 is a non interference engine. The engine is a single cam 3.5, the interference engine is the DOHC 3.5 found on Gen 2 SR.

OP if you are mechanically inclined and like or at least don't mind doing most of the work the Montero is hard to beat. I have no experience with Subarus, so you could ask at a Subaru forum about that.

I'm extremely pleased with my 99 with the rear locker, so far I have donene the valve cover gaskets, ac, alternator, timing belt, suspension, and other minor things, next up when needed will be the brakes and I'm glad to have a lot of information on hand to be able to do the repairs correctly.

The interior room is awesome and the seats fold out into a bed, never thought it was that important until I had to use it=win
Please do not offer misinformation that can be potentially dangerous, the 3.5 SOHC is still an interference engine, look it up if you need to.
 

MrWesson

Adventurer
The Montero's are very capable and often overlooked. I like them but if you are just exploring dirt roads it would be overkill.

If the mileage is anywhere near the same MPG i'd go for the Montero but the Subaru is probably the safe bet(although both are reliable).
 

Taylor1

Observer
CJREX, off road capability is a factor. I've looked at 1" coil spacer lifts to increase the Outback ground clearance when loaded with gear. No one likes dragging belly or exhast on gravel roads.

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Taylor1

Observer
Update
In April I purchased a 2005 Saab 9-2x. Identical to the same year Subaru Impreza wagon.
119k miles, automatic, rebuilt title from mild front driver fender damage. Price was right and it runs well.

I still have the Montero bug. In my causal browsing a deal on a clean 1999 winter package showed up. Seriously considering buying it to perform a thorough comparison.

I'll keep you guys posted.


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