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1996 Outback vs 1996 Legacy


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7 replies to this topic

#1 fuhkengroovin

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 05:39 PM

I'm looking for a very reliable low maintenance Subaru and based on hours of searching and reading right here on Ultimate Subaru, I have settled on a 1996 Subaru wagon. I know that cosmetically there are differences between the two models, but the two I have to choose from are both 5-sp and 2.2L engine and isn't that what matters the most? Will the Outback offer significant ammenities that the legacy would not or is it just the fog lights and the two tone paint job?

I have learned so much here already - you all are the greatest:banana::headbang::banana:

#2 AWDfreak

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 05:55 PM

I believe the 1996 was the first year for the "real" Outback (suspension lift and everything).

If you have an intent to go off-pavement and maybe a bit of off-roading, the Outback would be the better choice. But if "off-road" to you means relatively flat dirt roads, just get the Legacy.


Good call on the 2.2 and 5-speed. Others can chime in and provide much more info than I could.

#3 johnceggleston

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 05:59 PM

95 - 99, legacy vs. outback

there are differences, paint struts wheels, fogs, roof rack, but the biggest difference is the ej25 engine. the ej22 is more reliable, IMHO.

but the 96 outback 5 speed came w/ the ej22. so that would be the best of both worlds.

another option is to buy an outback that has had the ej22 swapped in. or buy one with bad gaskets and swap one in or ...

there are lots of possibilities. the only ''outback'' mod you cannot put on a legacy is the step roof. the paint isn't really a big deal but the gray plastic decals that stretch the length of the car on each side are expensive. bumpers and fogs are pretty easy but may be hard / expensive to find used. roof racks are a little tougher if the lego doesn't have one but still doable.

struts are easy, this will make it higher. i just did this to my 97 GT when i sold my outback. i was used to a taller car. i like it taller. once you are used to an outback height, a legacy L feels low. and as i get older.....

but for reliability, affordability, and longevity the 90 - 98 legacy L or LS is a great choice. (LS has a few more ''options''.)

#4 venicebean

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 06:07 PM

good resource for all the info on different year subarus:

http://www.cars101.c...chive95_97.html
http://www.cars101.c...chive95-97.html

as far as I understand, 95 is the first year of the outback and it had only minor cosmetic differences from the legacy, in 96 the outback started to have the suspension lift and 2.5L option. If I were you I would go for the 96 outback 2.2 if you ever plan to go offroad. I actually just got a 95 legacy wagon, but kind of wish i went for the 96 outback. I'm currently putting in KYB outback struts so I can fit some better tires.

good luck.

#5 venicebean

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 06:16 PM

http://www.ultimates... outback legacy

#6 fuhkengroovin

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 06:34 PM

Thanks everyone. Just called and the dealer selling it is not on a large lot. Here in Seattle Hwy 99 is where you go to see lot after lot of used cars. Less so since we entered the Great Depression II, but still quite a few small operators out there and everything is "as is".

He reports that the engine has 191,000 but the transmission and differential considerably less - he had to replace them to sell the car. Don't see how the dealer got caught up in this and it really makes me nervous. Probably want to look at the Outback first.

#7 venicebean

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 06:42 PM

I would avoid a car at a dealer that they just replaced transmission, sounds a bit fishy.

if you are in Seattle, you may want to check these guys out, I ran across them when researching head gasket issues.
http://allwheeldriveauto.com/
http://allwheeldrive...lems-explained/
maybe they can direct you to a reliable car for sale.

#8 fuhkengroovin

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 08:56 AM

Thanks for the links. I am hoping to look at a car from private owner near Kirkland so these guys could give it a once over if I have doubts. I guess that's a good question though - if they don't have receipts for anything should you ALWAYS take a car to a mechanic. I've only done that once and was glad I did, but that was back before I had such a rich repository of information. And that page on blown head gaskets was excellent - now I know a little bit of what to look for except I hope to avoid that scene altogether by staying with the 2.2L & 5SPD. I see some people advertise the '96 with a 1.8L (dealership) and am thinking they just made a mistake.

Just wanted to add, when I do have it serviced (sorry, I'm lousy with a wrench) I would go to Jim Startup's Foreign Auto Repair. He has an amazing reputation as being sort of an arrogant arsehole, but when it comes to diagnosing problems and fixng foreign cars at a fair price, Startup is the go-to guy.

Edited by fuhkengroovin, 18 February 2011 - 09:08 AM.





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