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First Subaru: Outback or Legacy


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23 replies to this topic

#1 jotterman

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 09:56 PM

Hey all,

 

I'm getting ready to trade in my current car (2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee) for a new car. I have narrowed it down to Subaru's, not that I don't like my Jeep (I do) but I just got a new job and am traveling about 95 miles a day. That's a lot of gas money!!! However, in less than a year I will be transferring to the headquarters and will then be driving significantly less. Down to only about 25 miles a day. Hence the trade in to a car with better gas mileage, and technically and upgrade too!!

 

I like the available 4-wheel, ground clearance and extra space of my jeep but I really don't need that much room on a regular basis. I am a recent college grad, single with no kids to cart around but I do have a boxer that I do take to the vet or bike trail on occasion. I'm very active; I like to ski, mountain bike, road bike, rock climb, soccer, golf and run. So I cart my toys around to where ever I need to go. I have a roof rack for my keep and am planning on putting it on whatever I get.

 

So... My real concerns are the amount of unused space in the Outback's. I really don't need that much space all the time, I have never packed my Jeep full in the 6 years I have owned it. I feel like its a waste of space when I don't use it. Should I even be worried about the excess space if the gas mileage between the Outback and Legacy is as close as it is?

And...In the Legacy's the ground clearance. I have and my family has always had SUV's or Trucks so we really haven't had to worry about snow or parking "off-road" at HS football games, soccer tournaments or bike races. Parking usually is on gravel or dirt roads so I'm not tremendously worried about that however, I live in Ohio where we get about 25-35 inches a snow a year. How much snow can a Legacy take?

 

So.... My question is; I have narrowed it down to the Outback or the Legacy. I like both. I have driven both and like them equally, for different purposes. HELP!!!

 

Ideas? Opinions? Thoughts?

 

Thanks in advance.

jotterman



#2 AdventureSubaru

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 11:21 PM

Outback (as it's generally known) and Legacy are the same car. The outback comes with an upgraded 2 tone trim package and a higher suspension that gives better ground clearance. Some legacys came in 2WD in the earlier years. Different looks but the same unibody.

 

All things being equal, take the outback. They have the advantage of ground clearance and are generally of a higher resale value. If you get a legacy though, you can always swap the outback suspension onto it for the height it yields.

 

Welcome to the board!



#3 subnz

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 12:26 AM

The  most basic Outback is in essence a premium Legacy ie Alloy wheels, fog lights,  cruise control etc  

All  AWD Subarus are good in the snow but Outback (AWD) is better because of extra height/ground clearance

(better for if you do go off road too for your outdoor sporting needs) 

It makes sense / always useful to have a wagon (ie able to drop the back seats for toys/sporting gear  DOG etc )  even if you don't need it most of the time.

Fuel consumption difference  between between the 2 is negligable. average is about 25/26mpg for 2.5 engine ( 22city  30 long trips)

The Outback is still a car and drives much better / more comfortable than a truck SUV.

Im single and Im on my 4th Subau wagon (1st Outback)  plus Brat (ute).


Edited by subnz, 16 October 2013 - 10:49 AM.


#4 grossgary

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 06:16 AM

outback and legacy are the the same, just different stuff bolted on.  legacy + lift blocks = Outback.

 

The novelty of a Jeep attracts a lot of people - if you're that type then you should probably lean towards an Outback.  there's not much novelty in a Subaru but the Outback would be like an artificial sweetener instead of none at all.

 

But the main catalyst for this move suggests a legacy - better gas mileage?

 

Some people moving from larger to smaller vehicles dislike the changes in ride height:

1.  less/changed visibility

2.  harder to get into/out of - low to the ground

3.  less ground clearance/height

 

which of those is more important to you - the gas mileage or the ride height characteristics?

 

depends on the snow - whether it's dry and fluffy or heavy and wet or you're driving through not-fresh-snow (plowed burms, etc)  plowed or wet snow will high center a vehicle quickly, dry powdery stuff just blows out of the way.  that's why people say "I drove through 4 feet of snow in my Subaru" and others that say "I got high centered in 8" of snow?" 

 

In an outback, once you get to 8" of snow you start running the risk of high centering if it's heavy snow or if it's been plowed and packed.

 

that amount will be lower for a legacy.



#5 MilesFox

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 08:42 AM

Snow tires. Invincible. You will pull suv's out of the ditch with this car.



#6 jotterman

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 07:33 PM

Outback (as it's generally known) and Legacy are the same car. The outback comes with an upgraded 2 tone trim package and a higher suspension that gives better ground clearance. Some legacys came in 2WD in the earlier years. Different looks but the same unibody.

 

All things being equal, take the outback. They have the advantage of ground clearance and are generally of a higher resale value. If you get a legacy though, you can always swap the outback suspension onto it for the height it yields.

 

Welcome to the board!

 

 

The  most basic Outback is in essence a premium Legacy ie Alloy wheels, fog lights,  cruise control etc  

All  AWD Subarus are good in the snow but Outback (AWD) is better because of extra height/ground clearance

(better for if you do go off road too for your outdoor sporting needs) 

It makes sense / always useful to have a wagon (ie able to drop the back seats for toys/sporting gear  DOG etc )  even if you don't need it most of the time.

Fuel consumption difference  between between the 2 is negligable. average is about 25/26mpg for 2.5 engine ( 22city  30 long trips)

The Outback is still a car and drives much better / more comfortable than a truck SUV.

Im single and Im on my 4th Subau wagon (1st Outback)  plus Brat (ute).

 

 

outback and legacy are the the same, just different stuff bolted on.  legacy + lift blocks = Outback.

 

The novelty of a Jeep attracts a lot of people - if you're that type then you should probably lean towards an Outback.  there's not much novelty in a Subaru but the Outback would be like an artificial sweetener instead of none at all.

 

But the main catalyst for this move suggests a legacy - better gas mileage?

 

Some people moving from larger to smaller vehicles dislike the changes in ride height:

1.  less/changed visibility

2.  harder to get into/out of - low to the ground

3.  less ground clearance/height

 

which of those is more important to you - the gas mileage or the ride height characteristics?

 

depends on the snow - whether it's dry and fluffy or heavy and wet or you're driving through not-fresh-snow (plowed burms, etc)  plowed or wet snow will high center a vehicle quickly, dry powdery stuff just blows out of the way.  that's why people say "I drove through 4 feet of snow in my Subaru" and others that say "I got high centered in 8" of snow?" 

 

In an outback, once you get to 8" of snow you start running the risk of high centering if it's heavy snow or if it's been plowed and packed.

 

that amount will be lower for a legacy.

 

 

Hey all thanks for the reply,

I do have a couple more questions and comments to ask about though...

However I think I am leaning towards the outback. I believe I would much rather have the space and ground clearance when I need it rather than not when I do. But I'm still not 100% sure. So the questions....

 

I was understanding that the gas mileage between the legacy and the outback were close, medial difference, 1-2 miles per gallon about 21/29 city/hwy. 

 

Is there a way to put a hitch on the back for a cargo carrier or bike rack. I would put a maximum of 4 bikes on it or a large cooler, a Rubbermaid container and some other things.

 

Is there a better year to look for than the others? One with less problems (w/ the engine, transmission, head gaskets, etc....) basically what is the best year? and what are the years to steer away from??

 

Thanks guys,

I look forward to what the answers are and what you have to say...again,

 

Jotterman



#7 MilesFox

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 08:22 PM

there will be gearing differences based on the tire/rim combo/model/year in regard to fuel economy.

 

U-haul offers hitches of the receiver style that a hitch haul platfrom or bike rack will fit with.

 

My opinion is the 95-99 would be the least problematic, depending on what you are looking for with model year or mileage. I don't have much experience with 200 and later, but i drove one today, felt familiar, but didn't like it as much. mainly the shift pattern with the automatic moving sideways in notches.



#8 AdventureSubaru

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 08:24 PM

You can find class 1 hitches fairly readily for any Subaru.

 

The only thing to steer away from would be the early 2.5 and DOHC engines that had pretty severe head gasket issues. If you are getting a 95-99 try to get one with an EJ22 engine instead of the EJ25

 

From 2000 on up, the EJ25 was a lot better. So it's not certain years to avoid, but those certain engines. Otherwise, all very reliable cars.



#9 Bushwick

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 09:08 PM

Thought I'd mention the higher the car gets, the more it impacts MPG. A trade off could be had with running taller and thinner snow tires (within reason and whatever will fit) in the winter for extra ground clearance, then running a lower profile street tire in the summer where the lower stance will yield better highway MPG. Maybe some cheap steel winter rims so you don't have to pay the mount fee every time. Taller tires will slow the speedo down a bit, so figure out how far it'd be off before getting a ticket.



#10 Monkeybus

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 12:44 AM

On a day to day basis, the Impreza platform is more fun to drive every day. I have a Leggy right now, wished I had an Outback Leggy though. I've had Impreza coupes, wagons, sedans and Leggy wagons and sedans. My favorite was a 1994 Impreza 1.8 AWD wagon with the 5 speed. The 1.8 is pretty hard to break, great on mileage, but is only 110 hp with AWD. The handling dynamics of the smaller car are better, and it's more "sporty". My Leggy isn't fun until the road is muddy or covered in snow, but I have 2 kids, so the extra space is well used. (And I tow a 14' Sotar raft on a flatbed behind it) On dry pavement, it just understeers a lot.

   They are pretty capable snow cars. You will be pushing snow with the bumper before you get stopped in snow. I had a 2005 Legacy GT 5 speed sedan, that car was a blast to drive. The 2.5 turbo is a fun engine, and I had done just a few things to get it up to around 290 hp. It still was able to pull 29 on the highway and 23-24 around town. We had 225/45R17 Hakka III's studded on in the winter, it was unbelievable how fast you could drive on hard pack snow and ice. One nice thing about them, they are pretty easy to work on, and the online knowledge base is great. 



#11 subnz

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 01:46 AM

jotterman, on 16 Oct 2013 - 17:40, said:

jotterman, on 16 Oct 2013 - 17:40, said:
Hey all thanks for the reply,
I do have a couple more questions and comments to ask about though...
However I think I am leaning towards the outback. I believe I would much rather have the space and ground clearance when I need it rather than not when I do. But I'm still not 100% sure. So the questions....

I was understanding that the gas mileage between the legacy and the outback were close, medial difference, 1-2 miles per gallon about 21/29 city/hwy.

Is there a way to put a hitch on the back for a cargo carrier or bike rack. I would put a maximum of 4 bikes on it or a large cooler, a Rubbermaid container and some other things.

Is there a better year to look for than the others? One with less problems (w/ the engine, transmission, head gaskets, etc....) basically what is the best year? and what are the years to steer away from??

Thanks guys,
I look forward to what the answers are and what you have to say...again,

Jotterman


 

Yep l have a tow ball hitch mounted rack can get them to hold up to 4 mt. bikes but have to remove to open tailgate,
.Can get ones that clip on to the tailgate if car doest have a tow ball hitch. when its just my mt.bike can get it in back with removing wheels (don't have to drop back seats)
or another option is to get roof mounted racks (but no so good for wind resistance)

Outbacks come with roof rails ready for( any type of) rack/s to be clamped on.

Not sure what you mean by cooler / rubbermaid container?

The 1st (95/99) EJ25D (DOHC) and `2nd (00/04) (EJ251) (SOHC) generation 2.5 Outbacks are notorious for headgasket problems (faulty head gaskets) so best to look at 3rd generation from 04/05 on (if you can afford) then otherwise a 2nd Gen thats had headgaskets replaced with modified ones. Also the 2.5 SOHC cam engines are better / simpler - think they continued them thru to 09.     (can  tell by shape of cam drive covers whether DOHC or SOHC)
 
The 1st Gen. (EJ25D- DOHC) was worst - had internal headgasket leaks. 2nd Gen. (EJ251-SOHC) leaks were external , so not as bad.

I actually have a 2nd gen 01 2.5 Outback MT D/R and it had quite small external head gasket leak so managed to stop it with an additive (this isn't recommended but wasn't wanting to pull the engine apart)  Think a Subaru recommended additive is best/available.

They (headgaskets) tend to leak 1st at the left bottom rear of engine on to engine crossmember (hard to detect) just below where the earth cable from battery is bolted to engine, close to firewall, so worthwhile to have a good look there and around both sides of engine with a light with engine running at temperature.
Also if battery/charging/cables/system is in poor condition ie white deposits on and around battery area/hood - this can electrolyse coolant and make it more corrossive to gaskets and in bad cases scale up / block heater core/radiator which can lead to overheating, blown headgaskets and cracked heads.

All Subaru boxer engines can be  prone to head gasket problems particularly if not serviced regularly ie regular oil/filter changes @ 3000 miles and cooling systems flushed /coolant replaced  2 yearly.   What happens is that contaminated oil/coolant is always in contact / eats away at gaskets/seals etc. compared to V and upright oriented engines where it partially drains away from head (gaskets)

So it would be best if you can get one with a good service history.

 

Otherwise all good.

l would suggest a manual dual ratio as lm biased as on my 5th MT D/R Subaru as hate gas guzzling autos, but its personal preferance, suggest if most city/urban (auto), if mostly country (manual).   however  older tired  auto trans up in miles are more expensive to replace than a new clutch (MT)


Yes and fuel consumption difference btwn Outback and Legacy (wagon)  is negligable, its not a issue. best my Outbacks done is 30mpg on a 3 to 4hr + run, average 25/26mpg, city 22mpg    (on 215x60x16 tyres and running 4.1 diffs)  thats good for an AWD 2.5 weighing in at 1500kg  (1.5 tons)

Despite all this they are great cars just have to do basic servicing then few/minimal problems.
I'm on my 5th  Subaru in 21 years :) can't be bothered with anything else. :P


Edited by subnz, 20 October 2013 - 10:53 PM.


#12 jotterman

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 08:47 PM

Thought I'd mention the higher the car gets, the more it impacts MPG. A trade off could be had with running taller and thinner snow tires (within reason and whatever will fit) in the winter for extra ground clearance, then running a lower profile street tire in the summer where the lower stance will yield better highway MPG. Maybe some cheap steel winter rims so you don't have to pay the mount fee every time. Taller tires will slow the speedo down a bit, so figure out how far it'd be off before getting a ticket. 

Yep l have a tow ball hitch mounted rack can get them to hold up to 4 mt. bikes but have to remove to open tailgate,
.Can get ones that clip on to the tailgate if car doest have a tow ball hitch. when its just my mt.bike can get it in back with removing wheels (don't have to drop back seats)
or another option is to get roof mounted racks (but no so good for wind resistance)

Outbacks come with roof rails ready for( any type of) rack/s to be clamped on.

Not sure what you mean by cooler / rubbermaid container?

The 1st (95/99) EJ25D (DOHC) and `2nd (00/04) (EJ251) (SOHC) generation 2.5 Outbacks are notorious for headgasket problems (faulty head gaskets) so best to look at 3rd generation from 04/05 on (if you can afford) then otherwise a 2nd Gen thats had headgaskets replaced with modified ones. Also the 2.5 SOHC cam engines are better / simpler - think they continued them thru to 09.     (can  tell by shape of cam drive covers whether DOHC or SOHC)
 
The 1st Gen. (EJ25D- DOHC) was worst - had internal headgasket leaks. 2nd Gen. (EJ251-SOHC) leaks were external , so not as bad.

I actually have a 2nd gen 01 2.5 Outback MT D/R and it had quite small external head gasket leak so managed to stop it with an additive (this isn't recommended but wasn't wanting to pull the engine apart)  Think a Subaru recommended additive is best/available.

They (headgaskets) tend to leak 1st at the left bottom rear of engine on to engine crossmember (hard to detect) just below where the earth cable from battery is bolted to engine, close to firewall, so worthwhile to have a good look there and around both sides of engine with a light with engine running at temperature.
Also if battery/charging/cables/system is in poor condition ie white deposits on and around battery area/hood - this can electrolyse coolant and make it more corrossive to gaskets and in bad cases scale up / block heater core/radiator which can lead to overheating, blown headgaskets and cracked heads.

All Subaru boxer engines are prone to head gasket problems especially if not serviced regularly ie regular oil/filter changes @ 3000 miles and cooling systems flushed /coolant replaced  2 yearly.   What happens is that contaminated oil/coolant eats away at gaskets/seals etc.

So it would be best if you can get one with a good service history.

 

Otherwise all good.

l would suggest a manual dual ratio as lm biased as on my 5th MT D/R Subaru as hate gas guzzling autos, but its personal preferance, suggest if most city/urban (auto), if mostly country (manual).   however  older tired  auto trans up in miles are more expensive to replace than a new clutch (MT)


Yes and fuel consumption difference btwn Outback and Legacy (wagon)  is negligable, its not a issue. best my Outbacks done is 30mpg on a 3 to 4hr + run, average 25/26mpg, city 22mpg    (on 215x60x16 tyres and running 4.1 diffs)  thats good for an AWD 2.5 weighing in at 1500kg  (1.5 tons)

Despite all this they are great cars just have to do basic servicing then few/minimal problems.
I'm on my 5th  Subaru in 21 years :) can't be bothered with anything else. :P

 

thanks for the bundle of information. A couple of things..

 

I am looking at 2007- present. Good idea? 

I would like to spend less than $10,000 but for a really nice one I would be willing to go to $11,000, ideally with 90,000 or less, so I have plenty of time to enjoy it!!


I used to drive a manual and, for a preference I really don't care. I can concur the gas mileage difference and a manual car doesn't bother me one bit

So your saying find a Subaru with a good service history and look at it closely for issues?

 

I am thinking about getting another set of tires and rims for the winter. From reading some forums, it would be totally worth it!!!!

 

Any other suggestions or comments I should take into account or note?

 

 

Thanks,

Jotterman


Edited by jotterman, 18 October 2013 - 06:55 AM.


#13 subnz

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 08:53 PM

thanks for the bundle of information. A couple of things..

 

I am looking at 2007- present. Good idea? 

I would like to spend less than $10,000 but for a really nice one I would be willing to go to $11,000, ideally with 90,000 or less, so I have plenty of time to enjoy it!!


I used to drive a manual and, for a preference I really don't care. I can concur the gas mileage difference and a manual car doesn't bother me one bit

So your saying find a Subaru with a good service history and look at it closely for issues?

 

I am thinking about getting another set of tires and rims for the winter. From reading some forums, it would be totally worth it!!!!

 

Any other suggestions or comments I should take into account or note?

 

 

Thanks,

Jotterman



#14 subnz

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 09:20 PM

Nice 1 sorry about the previous  essay but am passionate / .like to give benefit of my experience with subarus.

Don't know that much about 3rd gen 04/09 as haven't owned one yet .  but this will be my next one.

 

Yep But just like with buying any car/truck  evidence of its service history is better, so not inherit possible problems (developing) with one due to poor service history. Its worthwhile getting/paying someone to help look one over as a 2nd set of eyes may pick up something you miss.

 

Distance travelled (milage) its not always a guide to mechanical condition. coz a low milage one (short/urban running) engine can be in worse condition than one that has done 2 to 3 times more (country/highway running)

 

So 60 to 90K or on an 07 is a good call/decision.

All my subarus were 8 to 9 years old with 90K miles when l bought them.

 

Yep winter tyres on spare rims is the way to go,  been doing that for last 15 years

Good luck :)


Edited by subnz, 17 October 2013 - 09:34 PM.


#15 jotterman

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 06:57 AM

Nice 1 sorry about the previous  essay but am passionate / .like to give benefit of my experience with subarus.

Don't know that much about 3rd gen 04/09 as haven't owned one yet .  but this will be my next one.

 

Yep But just like with buying any car/truck  evidence of its service history is better, so not inherit possible problems (developing) with one due to poor service history. Its worthwhile getting/paying someone to help look one over as a 2nd set of eyes may pick up something you miss.

 

Distance travelled (milage) its not always a guide to mechanical condition. coz a low milage one (short/urban running) engine can be in worse condition than one that has done 2 to 3 times more (country/highway running)

 

So 60 to 90K or on an 07 is a good call/decision.

All my subarus were 8 to 9 years old with 90K miles when l bought them.

 

Yep winter tyres on spare rims is the way to go,  been doing that for last 15 years

Good luck :)

Thanks for all the help I'm 99.9% sure I'm going to go with a Outback after everything that been said and weighing my odds. Now if only I could find one that was manual so that I could drive it and figure out if that's the way to go or not!!

Thanks again,

Jotterman



#16 heartless

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 07:05 AM

All Subaru boxer engines are prone to head gasket problems...

 

Sorry, but this is not true. the 1.8, 2.0, and 2.2 engines rarely had headgasket problems, and those that did were caused by careless owners/drivers. The "random" headgasket problems are primarily a 2.5 issue.

 

 

l would suggest a manual dual ratio....

 

Much to our chagrin - the dual range trannies in the Legacy/Outback generations are not/never were available in the US market. We have not had a dual range since the last of the 80's GLs...

 

I do agree with written, verifiable maintenance history being a huge plus when used car shopping.

 

I also agree that judging a car based on mileage can be deceiving. Low miles can indicate a lot of short hop driving which is actually harder on an engine than longer, sustained drives. Or the car didnt get driven, which can also be hard on the engine...In the US, the average annual mileage should be somewhere around 12-15,000 per year. A 10 year old car with only 50,000 miles on it would be highly suspect in my opinion - I would want to know why it was that low (50,000 divided by 10 = 5000/year = WHY?)...

 

I would be much more comfortable with a 10 yr old car having 150-175,000 on it, along with a good maintenance history.

All of the Subarus that have made thier home in our driveway have had 150,000 or more on the clock when we got them - and they were/are driven to well past 250,000. We had one that was pushing the 300,000 mark when we sold it (for more than we paid for it) - still a very driveable car, but quite rusty & ugly. Living in Wisconsin, our biggest problem is salt induced rust - ends up causing structural problems long before the engines give up.

 

Ideally, you want a nice, clean, well cared for car with around average mileage, and some kind of maintenance history. The bad thing is, those tend to be few and far between when it comes to a Subaru.



#17 subnz

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 12:30 AM

Sorry, but this is not true. the 1.8, 2.0, and 2.2 engines rarely had headgasket problems, and those that did were caused by careless owners/drivers. The "random" headgasket problems are primarily a 2.5 issue.

 

 

 

 

Well 2 out the  5 Subarus that I had significant headgasket issues were 1.8s (not noted for H/G issues like the the EJ25D and EJ251)

http://allwheeldrive...lems-explained/

 

http://allwheeldrive...lained-part-ii/

Much to our chagrin - the dual range trannies in the Legacy/Outback generations are not/never were available in the US market. We have not had a dual range since the last of the 80's GLs...

 

Yeah Its the same here in NZ Back in the 80s pretty much everything was manual and D/R but since Legacies appeared 24 years ago it reversed and manuals D/R are not so common, also command a premium  here although available, when l bought my 01 2.5 OBW  MT D/R  l had a choice of 2 2nd Gen NZDM (  which l prefer) (can also get 2nd hand ex JDM ex Japan which in my opinion is more risky) available in the South Island from "Trade Me"  (NZ equivalent to Ebay) Its the most popular buy/sell site for everyone, private and commercial.


Edited by subnz, 19 October 2013 - 02:11 PM.


#18 jotterman

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 09:27 PM

Sorry, but this is not true. the 1.8, 2.0, and 2.2 engines rarely had headgasket problems, and those that did were caused by careless owners/drivers. The "random" headgasket problems are primarily a 2.5 issue.



Much to our chagrin - the dual range trannies in the Legacy/Outback generations are not/never were available in the US market. We have not had a dual range since the last of the 80's GLs...

I do agree with written, verifiable maintenance history being a huge plus when used car shopping.

I also agree that judging a car based on mileage can be deceiving. Low miles can indicate a lot of short hop driving which is actually harder on an engine than longer, sustained drives. Or the car didnt get driven, which can also be hard on the engine...In the US, the average annual mileage should be somewhere around 12-15,000 per year. A 10 year old car with only 50,000 miles on it would be highly suspect in my opinion - I would want to know why it was that low (50,000 divided by 10 = 5000/year = WHY?)...

I would be much more comfortable with a 10 yr old car having 150-175,000 on it, along with a good maintenance history.
All of the Subarus that have made thier home in our driveway have had 150,000 or more on the clock when we got them - and they were/are driven to well past 250,000. We had one that was pushing the 300,000 mark when we sold it (for more than we paid for it) - still a very driveable car, but quite rusty & ugly. Living in Wisconsin, our biggest problem is salt induced rust - ends up causing structural problems long before the engines give up.

Ideally, you want a nice, clean, well cared for car with around average mileage, and some kind of maintenance history. The bad thing is, those tend to be few and far between when it comes to a Subaru.


So.... Would a 2007ish to present be a good starting point?

Would an inspection by a mechanic be useful too?
What type of paperwork should I look for?

Thanks

Edited by jotterman, 19 October 2013 - 09:28 PM.


#19 heartless

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 10:19 PM

So.... Would a 2007ish to present be a good starting point?

Would an inspection by a mechanic be useful too?
What type of paperwork should I look for?

Thanks

 

2007 and up = fewer headgasket issues, so yeah, that would be a good year to begin with

 

a thorough inspection by a trusted mechanic is always a good idea - especially if you are not a real "mechanical" kind of person.

 

Paperwork - evidence of the recommended services at or close to the recommended intervals (from the owners manual), regular oil changes, etc

 

Other things to look for/at...

general interior condition - does the wear seem to match the mileage? is it clean, dirty, etc. Holes or rips in the fabrics/leather? Condition of the carpet?



#20 bluedotsnow

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 11:07 PM

IMO a 96 2.2l was the best older year/model combo very few head gasket problems and its the last year of the phase 1 non interference engines!

 

non interference = no piston valve collision if timing belt breaks. 

 

edmonds.com reliability reviews have nothing bad to say about those

 

I bought mine at 250k and I'm over 292k now with minor problems that seem to become major after others muck it up/ give me false information....



#21 subnz

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 11:52 PM

IMO a 96 2.2l was the best older year/model combo very few head gasket problems and its the last year of the phase 1 non interference engines!

 

non interference = no piston valve collision if timing belt breaks. 

 

edmonds.com reliability reviews have nothing bad to say about those

 

I bought mine at 250k and I'm over 292k now with minor problems that seem to become major after others muck it up/ give me false information....

 

Totally agree these were well sort after here in the early 90's here in Legacy GX manual, and Gen1 Outbacks with them, because they  were SOHC   and people got / are still getting great runs out of them  ie 250 - 300K miles +        (DOHC risk of valve to valve interference  with belt failure as well)



#22 Bushwick

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 01:54 AM

IMO a 96 2.2l was the best older year/model combo very few head gasket problems and its the last year of the phase 1 non interference engines!

 

non interference = no piston valve collision if timing belt breaks. 

 

Not to thread jack here, but I brought up the benefit about interference vs. non-interference on a Saab forum recently as the Saab's are interference but at least have a chain, and I swear I was the only one that appreciated the non-interference design. People there were trying to argue the slight HP bump you get with interference somehow outweighs the risk/expense of totaling an engine  :banghead: . I was like the turbo would compensate for the difference and completely remove it from the equation, and you'd never have to worry about a belt/chain failure. I swear it felt like being in some parallel universe forum where everything is backwards. Glad to see some people appreciate things as I do.


Edited by Bushwick, 20 October 2013 - 01:55 AM.


#23 heartless

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 10:55 AM

Not to thread jack here, but I brought up the benefit about interference vs. non-interference on a Saab forum recently as the Saab's are interference but at least have a chain, and I swear I was the only one that appreciated the non-interference design. People there were trying to argue the slight HP bump you get with interference somehow outweighs the risk/expense of totaling an engine  :banghead: . I was like the turbo would compensate for the difference and completely remove it from the equation, and you'd never have to worry about a belt/chain failure. I swear it felt like being in some parallel universe forum where everything is backwards. Glad to see some people appreciate things as I do.

 

As they say - you can lead a horse to water....

 

I, too, appreciate the non-interference design and much prefer it over the small hp gains of the interference motors. I am not trying to win races - I want, and need, reliability first and foremost, because I live in the boonies - lower repair/maintenance costs are a plus in my book.

 

But - all that said - not everyone is willing to go with a car that old - '96 is 17 years old now...and in the salt belt, finding one that isnt falling apart from salt induced cancer is tough. For someone that wants something a bit newer (10 years or less), one has to look at what is available in the age range they would like to have and decide what is going to work best for them all the way around. Since Subaru did away with the non-interference design 17 years ago, that isnt an option for someone wanting a car less than 10 years old. (unless of course they care to do an engine swap, which, with the electronics changes over the years, presents its own difficulties in getting everything to play nice together)



#24 bluedotsnow

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 02:31 PM

+2 for the phase 1 ej's

 

one for being non interference and another one for NOT having molybdenum cylinder jackets...

 

part of the phase 2 upgrade was molybdenum cylinder walls this was great initially but is softer and wares much more quickly.... less 300k cars unless you like swapping engines. in japan this makes tons of scene because of their laws, is it 20k and the engine is swapped for a fresh one? I know its something like that they can't use the engines after a certain distance driven. 

 

I maintain that if you want to use molybdenum in your engine get altrom imports MOS2 engine oil additive. just hypothesizing but with steel jackets the blow by should leave enough of this additive to retain some benefits of the molybdenum plus it coats all bearings with a protective film better than oil.






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