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Is this a bad idea? ('95 SVX LSi)

svx lsi legacy gt limited 2.5

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10 replies to this topic

#1 rssardis

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Posted 13 January 2014 - 10:42 PM

Hey guys, I'm new here. I currently have an 01 Legacy GT Limited with about 118k miles on it. Love this car, no mechanical problems at all. However, I've been eyeing a 1995 SVX LSi with 92k miles on it, for $2k.

First question, is this a good deal? Exterior and interior look clean, I haven't taken it for a spin yet but the seller doesn't list any mechanical issues.

Second question, am I crazy for wanting to get rid of my 01 Legacy for this? Like I said, I love my car, but I want something a little more powerful and sporty. This SVX seems like a good choice for me, because I love having the safety of AWD, but want something with a little more kick.

Basically, I plan on buying this car and giving my current Subie to my sister who is currently a broke college student.

 

Is it a bad call for me to get rid of my current ride, for this one?

Thanks guys.



#2 Fairtax4me

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Posted 13 January 2014 - 11:37 PM

I wouldn't give up a known working and reliable car right away for something new-to-you and 18-19 years old.
SVX had issues with the transmission, even if it doesn't exhibit symptoms right away. You never know if the seller dumped a couple quarts of Lucas in it to make it shift smooth.

Probably a good buy at $2,000. Certainly a worthy car if the body and interior are decent. Not much trouble with that engine from what I've heard. Just as solid as the old 2.2s. It's the transmission that throws up the flag. If you have another car that you use as a daily then yeah I'd say to for it (as long as it test drives ok).

#3 grossgary

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 07:17 AM

I wouldn't give up a known working and reliable car right away for something new-to-you and 18-19 years old..

well said. 

 

SVX's are neat cars and the engines are extremely durable, they can easily see 250,000 miles without a hint of an issue. and they're nifty.

 

big concern is that parts are really hard to get for them. windshields are upwards of $700 to replace. other parts aren't needed that often but are hard to find.  i was trying to find...i think it was a TPS sensor or idle air control part for a friend of mine and wasn't able to find one on the subaru boards, so it would have been a multi-hundred dollar Subaru part.  fortunately they're reliable and don't have many issues needing parts but if it's the one car you need it can be challenging.

 

they have significant transmission and wheel bearing issues. the transmissions are essentially the same as any other Subaru but the fluid heats up too much and hoses the trans, so if it has a transmission cooler and is maintained well they can last.  but by this age they have been run without a cooler for a while, or are often dumped due to a transmission issue or have had a questionable used trans installed at  some point.

 

i think the wheels need properly torqued down to mitigate wheel bearing issues. i'm sure SVX people know how to address that.

 

be nice to drive one first, the SVX is a nice riding car, excellent long distance commuter, but they're still not performance, gut wrenching track demons, so it may be a marginal improvement over what you have for a much older and unknown car.



#4 rssardis

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 10:48 AM

well said.

SVX's are neat cars and the engines are extremely durable, they can easily see 250,000 miles without a hint of an issue. and they're nifty.

big concern is that parts are really hard to get for them. windshields are upwards of $700 to replace. other parts aren't needed that often but are hard to find. i was trying to find...i think it was a TPS sensor or idle air control part for a friend of mine and wasn't able to find one on the subaru boards, so it would have been a multi-hundred dollar Subaru part. fortunately they're reliable and don't have many issues needing parts but if it's the one car you need it can be challenging.

they have significant transmission and wheel bearing issues. the transmissions are essentially the same as any other Subaru but the fluid heats up too much and hoses the trans, so if it has a transmission cooler and is maintained well they can last. but by this age they have been run without a cooler for a while, or are often dumped due to a transmission issue or have had a questionable used trans installed at some point.

i think the wheels need properly torqued down to mitigate wheel bearing issues. i'm sure SVX people know how to address that.

be nice to drive one first, the SVX is a nice riding car, excellent long distance commuter, but they're still not performance, gut wrenching track demons, so it may be a marginal improvement over what you have for a much older and unknown car.

So, do you think it would be a relatively solid car as long as I kept coolant in the trans, and the wheels torqued? What kind of product did you have in mind for the transmission? Because honestly, even if it needs special attention to things like the transmission, I really like this car and wouldn't mind that haha. (after a test drive of course.)
Also, there are several SVXs that are currently not running, selling for parts, for around 500-750 in my area. Is that a reasonable way to get parts for a car like this, or should I just look up individual parts if I ever needed them? I'm relatively new to the car world, my Legacy is my first car so I'm no pro.
Another update!
Just found a 92 svx, doesn't specify how many miles, however he swapped the transmission for a 4.44 Outback trans. And it has the 3.3l flat 6 engine. It has aftermarket black 18in alloy wheels, AND he is including a parts car. $2k. I feel like I should jump on this, any thoughts?

Edited by rssardis, 14 January 2014 - 11:02 AM.


#5 ivans imports

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 11:12 AM

I have done many svx trans and headgaskets the trany is not to bad to r@r and is fairly easy to rebuild I like to use the 4.44 ratios with a impreza high stall converter then they haul



#6 wtdash

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 11:26 AM

Hi,

Re-read the above by Grossgary and Fairtax4me...

 

SVX is a cool car....but also a high-maintenance one as it wasn't made in the quantities of other Subies. Can you do any work yourself or do you have a reputable Subie mechanic close by? If No to both, then take a pass.

 

If you want better performance, I'd look to something newer - not older.

 

The Outback trans w/the 4.44 is a good combination...in fact it'll make the car quicker (but you'll lose the rear LSD) @ the expense of MPG, but you never know what you're buying when getting somebody else's 'project'. 

 

 

Also, your '01 GT will probably need head gaskets in the next 50K, so start saving for that if you donate it to your sis.

 

GL,

TD



#7 grossgary

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 12:16 PM

Yes, they're can be great cars if you can find one in good condition.  They're 15-20 years old, so that's a lot of time for poor maintenance, etc.  I would focus heavily on finding one with few owners/great condition. (caveat to below)

 

If you get one - get an aftermarket transmission cooler immediately and change the ATF often to protect the trans.

 

Read up on wheel bearings, it's been awhile since I got into SVX game so my wheel lug nut torque comment may be off.

 

Yes - get a parts car.  I would be most concerned about getting sensors like TPS, idle, random bits, they'd be nearly impossible to get used and $$$ new.  A $500 parts car would likely pay for itself - instantly pays for itself if you ever crack the windshield and you'd have spare hubs to swap out for bearing issues.

 

I would buy *THE* SVX you want.  And get a parts car later.

Don't settle for something quick or because it comes with a parts car.  Find a good car.


If i'm buying somethign cheap, like an SVX I almost prefer to buy one for cheap with known issues - like a cracked windshield, bad bearings, or transmission - that's in otherwise great condition - you can almost bet that it was running fine before that one issue and that's why it's getting sold cheap. 

A cheap craigslist special on a car this old is worth scrutinizing carefully. l

 

***I'm in Morgantown and you definitely want to make sure you're not getting a rust bucket, so inspect underneath carefully.l


Edited by grossgary, 14 January 2014 - 12:17 PM.


#8 Rooster2

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 01:59 PM

The SVX is a unique cool car, but I don't think it would be a good idea to buy one to use as a daily drive, no matter how good a shape it is in. Any SVX is old, and hard to find parts for. It would not be fun hunting and waiting for parts that would be time consuming, meanwhile the car may not be driveable during a potential long wait.

 

Best to think of an SVX as a back up car, or a "date car."



#9 1982gl4

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 06:50 PM

I agree with the statement above, I had an svx a few years ago. I swapped a five speed into it and it was amazingly fast and super fun. But there was always something broken. It's not something I would used as an only car, or a daily driver, its what I would call a pleasure car.  



#10 grossgary

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 09:58 AM

I But there was always something broken. 

what was broken?

 

***a lot of us on USMB have bought the craigslist specials when we would have been wiser to walk!



#11 1982gl4

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 10:18 PM

I knew the trans was bad when I got it, so that was no surprise. Keep in mind I only had it about a summer, it was never anything huge, but it was a little disappointing getting in it and finding something else broken. The power antenna was the first to have issues, the drivers seat belt stopped working, power windows, the trunk gathered a lot of water, the speedometer drive liked to break too. I was very happy to have a parts car. Mechanically it was pretty good. I had some trouble with the IAC, and it fowled a new set of plugs I put in it once, but that was about it. Never had trouble with the wheel bearings (I knew it was a problem so I kept a close eye on them), but it only had 55k on it. I also had problems with the five speed swap I ended up putting a weak clutch in it the first time around, i'm not blaming that on the car, it was just annoying to have to do it again as it shredded the clutch in about a week. Every now and then I found my self looking on craigslist looking for one again, they are super fun unique cars, but I wouldn't want one as my only car. I'm much happier with my 1991 Legacy Sports Sedan (also not an only car, very far from it)


Edited by 1982gl4, 15 January 2014 - 10:21 PM.






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