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Guest Message by DevFuse

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New Member w/95 Legacy L - How To Keep It Reliable

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11 replies to this topic

#1 elmo1


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Posted 15 January 2013 - 07:33 PM

New member with a 95 L wag. As I said in my new member introduction it is a perfectly maintained 80,000 mile car with no rust or previous damage. It was owned by my 90 yr old mechanic uncle. It never lacked proper attention with new timeing belt kit, hoses, fr axils, oil changes, coolant flushes, trans flushes, etc.. My intention is to replace my wife's current newer car with this car. I' ve been a mechanic all my life but mostly on machinery and heavy equip. Auto electronics are not my forte but I can understand most anything with proper explanation. My question is can I get the same dependability out of this car as with a newer Sub and what spare parts should I keep in the car in the unlikely event of a prob. We will do some traveling and I try to be prepared. What electronics maintenance would the experts recommend. I see so many hi mileage wonders and I want this car to be one of them. Thanks in advance for input

#2 Bmm001


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Posted 15 January 2013 - 08:14 PM

My '95 had 82,000 miles when I got it back in 2004 and now has over 212,000. Past two inspections it hasn't needed a thing.

Biggest unanticipated repair I've had lately was a right front wheel bearing last month--left one is starting to get noisy so that one is next but can't complain, stuff wears out!

Do all the regular maintenance and don't let little problems turn into big problems and you'll be fine.

#3 johnceggleston


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Posted 15 January 2013 - 08:20 PM

auto trans?

1/ change all the fluids, all fluids including the trans. it can't hurt and it may save you the headache of something over looked.

2/ change the timing belt and EVERY part it touches. the 95 is a non-interference engine, but if you change everything now, you will be good for 60k miles.

3/ when the boots on the axles split / tear, re-boot them do not replace them. subaru axles are good enough to last the life of the car if you keep them lubed. so reboot and re-lube. the after market axles that are readily available are usually crap. do not use them. if you already have one on your car, and you have any issues at all, find a used subaru axle and install it with new boots.

4/ rotate the tires, subaru AWD cars need all 4 tires to be with in 1/4 inch in CIRCUMFERENCE. this is important. do not replace just 1 or 2 or even 3 tires.

5/ rinse the under side of the car, especially the rear wheel wells at the rear bumper. this is the ''rust '' spot for these cars. not a big deal if you live in FL, but still an issue in VA or any partial rust belt state.

6/ given the age of the car, i would assign it to the driver who puts on the most miles. it takes a really long time to wear out a 95 subaru if you are only driving 8k miles a year. it will probably still be good when your child is ready to drive.

case in point: i bought a 95 lego sedan in '00 with ~75k miles for $5600. i drove it for 90k miles and in '05 the auto trans lost reverse. (18k miles per year). ( i had never serviced the trans and since i bought it at a repo auction, i doubt the first owner ever serviced it either.) in '06 i swapped in a used trans with 125k miles for $975, and my son drove it to college. 5 years and 43k miles later, (8k miles per year), with a total of 208k miles, i sold it with new timing belt , valve cover gaskets and plugs for $1500. it was and still is a great car.

i am sure there is more, but this is a really good start.

congrats on the new ride.

Edited by johnceggleston, 16 January 2013 - 09:01 PM.

#4 MilesFox


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Posted 15 January 2013 - 08:32 PM

This car will most likely be more reliable than a newer soob by design, as this model is not plagued by head gasket issues that the newer engines have. What you have for an engine is arguably the most reliable subaru engine to date.

Don't forget about servicing the water pump. Most of the time a timing belt fails is due to the WP seizing, or bad idler pulleys(most often) when cars sit for periods of time, i.e, low miles times old age)

Keep up on coolant changes as the coolant has a lifespan. It is designed to corrode the metals dissolved in the coolant as to not corrode the steel or aluminum in the engine due to electrolysis of different metals.

Most importantly, the car will last as long as you can keep the rust away. Be particualar around the wheel arches. It is a good idea to once or twice a year remove the mudflaps and the rubber trims on the rear wheel arches to clean and wax this area, anywhere that dirt or salt can accumulate in the pinch welds. Same goes for the front fenders. When washing the car, open the door and spray out behind the fenders. All subarus tend to rust in the same places due to body cladding, and where the bumpers clip to the body. Also, make sure to keep the drain holes in the door seams clear so the pinch welds do not rust out.

You have an ideal model because it is designed with OBDII for ease of diagnostics, but is not required to pass emissions in some jurisdictions because obdII wasnt mandated til 96 and up.

As far as wanting and geeping a subaru, you got a very good example by condition, year, and design to start with.

#5 brus brother

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 08:57 PM

Not sure if this model falls prey to the fuel filler pipe "protector" that traps sand and road dirt until it effects a rust through and leaking gas.
Simple enough fix, remove the "protector" (look inside the right rear wheel well) and rinse away all debris that has collected there already.

#6 elmo1


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Posted 16 January 2013 - 08:22 PM

Same consensus on all replys. Seems to be a highly reguarded year. I remember someone saying that Subaru (Fuji Heavy) didn't know how to build cars so they built a piece of construction equipment for street use. I've looked everywhere and no rust even starting. My uncle believed in old school undercoating. He regularly dushed the rust prone areas with crankcase oil. Not good for environment but great undercoating. Would like opinions on tire/rim options for better handeling but not radical. It has 195/70-14 BFGs now and are just OK. And should I service MAF, IACV, TPS I've read much on these procedures in the forum and I have the FSM or should I just leave everything alone and just drive it. I'll check and gap plugs, keep a spare set of wires and coil pack and run a bottle of Techron in fuel tank. Any other sugestions would be welcomed. Again thanks for all input.

#7 dballs


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Posted 17 January 2013 - 09:48 AM

-Keep your brake fluid flushed out and fresh every year. I had a 96 that I drove from 120,000-318,000 miles over the course of 7 years and never put a caliper or and brake components affected by fluid. ABS still worked at 318k when I traded it.

-I would leave Idle air, mass air and throttle position alone unless they are giving you problems. I had to put one TPS sensor on though.

-Change front and rear diff fluid.

-Don't buy cheap plug wires they will leave you with more trouble.

-If you get a misfire code and a slight hesitation/ loss of power under load/ flashing check engine light, SHUT the car down for a few mins and try again. Check for obvious things such as loose plug wires but also get home and switch to SYNTHETIC OIL. I had non stop misfire codes and flashing check engine lights. I changed injectors, coil pack, plugs, wires, and a couple other things and the fix ended up being FULL SYNTHETIC OIL. From what I read some of the engines in this era had bad valve guides and the valves would stick from time to time under load. The fix: Either have a machine shop do a rebuild to the heads or try some slippery synthetic oil. For me the Synthetic worked.

#8 idosubaru


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Posted 17 January 2013 - 12:33 PM

One common failure point that can give little warning: alternator.

There's a roughly 1996 version that you can buy for your Legacy new/remanufactured directly from Subaru for only $60 - $70, they're so cheap I'd buy one and install it and keep the old used one as a back up in the spare tire area, etc. I installed new Subaru alternators in two of my daily drivers at 190,000 and 200,000 miles just due to age/mileage and I figure they aren't likely to make the 300,000 miles I'm going to drive it and I travel long distances - Maine to Florida and everywhere in between, Colorado, New Orleans 3 times...1,000 mile trips are frequent for me.

Change the transmission, front diff, and rear diff fluid. All fluids are nearing 20 years old if it's never been done.

Spark plugs and wires should be stock OEM, that particular motor isn't very forgiving otherwise.

Knock sensors are the next most likely sensor to fail - they crack at the base as the plastic/rubber gets old. For $20 - $30 you can get new ones on ebay. *but* - they almost always give a warning, check engine light, and can be replaced later. rarely have severe drivability issues with them, so it's up to you. 30 minutes or less to replace.

Brake fluid isn't a big deal on Subaru's...as long as it's not 20 years old as mentioned earlier. I've never had a failed brake component on my daily drivers and it's not because of maintenance, it's because Subaru brakes are robust and rarely have issues. I would recommend every 60k - 100k for brake fluid change. I change it one time around 150,000 miles and I own them until 300,000. I'm not recommending that, that just what I know I'm comfortable with from decades of experience with hundreds of Subaru's, it won't be widely accepted by most. But I rack up miles quickly too so that may make a difference. I also tow (above the limit) in the mountains with mine as well....so they're getting a work out.

Although the rust belt around here can do some damage to brakes. So caliper pins and bushings need to be properly cleaned and greased. I have gotten into the habit of just replacing the hardware on mine around 150,000 - 200,000 miles - new clips, new boots, new pins if available. They're so cheap via rockauto.com it just makes sense. The norm around here is rusty clips which can hang a pad and seizing caliper pins are nearly expected any more too, so boots, grease, and pins are a good idea too. Mostly I do it for good braking performance, longer pad life, and easier changes in the future.

#9 elmo1


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Posted 17 January 2013 - 06:04 PM

Being the type of mechanic that i am - only working on machinery - i seldom come in contact with automotive mechanics. To find people .with specific knowledge of subarus would be near to impossible. And if i were to find someone they usually not generous with good advice. This forum is a godsend for a person who cant afford a newer subie . The advice im getting is great i love hearing about your high mileage cars and what you did to get em there. Im a mobil 1 guy so will probably use next oil ch. Will do diffs , brake overhaul & flush in spring. New alt and oem wires soon after. Just changed knock sens as per directions in post. Will follow advice on iacv maf and tps. After all that maintenance I will still have less than $2000 in the car and be ready for new wheels/tires, better struts, and other simple mods. This car will serve me well an be much fun to drive. It will see some light off road use and Conneticut winters. Thanks for all the recent replys.

#10 brus brother

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 06:38 PM

Speaking of CT winters, the CT DOT just responded to truckers request concerning road deicing materials.
"The Motor Transport Association of Connecticut says legislators should make deicers like magnesium chloride illegal. Association President Michael Riley told the Republican-American of Waterbury ( http://bit.ly/11BAtQ7) that the chemical is corroding trucks at an unprecedented rate and officials should be worried about it affecting bridge metal.
State DOT spokesman Kevin Nursick says the mix works well and it's up to motorists to wash their cars to avoid corrosion."
Doh, why didn't I think of that...

#11 elmo1


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Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:52 PM

What wpuld the state do if we startwd spraying our car undercarrage with old cranlcase oil

#12 wally


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Posted 21 January 2013 - 06:06 PM

as you've seen (the original poster), the '95 has a pretty good reputation.

i'm still driving mine, with 292,xxx miles on it. the single biggest issue for them is rust. next is making sure your tires are the same, including checking air pressure on a weekly basis, or more often if you are really good. one tire with low air pressure can and will ruin that center diff in the manual transmission. not sure about the auto.

frankly, i've never changed the brake fluid in the car, so it's approaching 18 years of age. maybe i should. i have replaced all four rotors twice (rust from salt), and the calipers once (also rust from salt).

i hate the abs system on these subarus, and disabled it. i've been driving it for more than 10 years without abs. when i first had it, in the span of 4 days, i nearly totalled the car twice because of the abs system not allowing the car to stop. i had to downshift. some people swear by it; i swear at it. i'm not recommending that you disable yours; just a heads up on it's functionality.

i still drive the car from nh to mi every year, 1700 miles round-trip, and have averaged about 18,000 per year since i bought it.


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