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Best subaru for a first cheap car

First car cheap

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44 replies to this topic

#1 Baja rally 05

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 06:17 PM

So I'm looking to get a Subaru for a first car. I'm already driving a 05 baja turbo but that's my dad's car and dosent get the best millage. My dad has givin me a budget of around 2k but would like to be under it. I've been looking at older outbacks and imprezas and legacys. What would be the best rec. for a first car. Right now I'm looking at a 99 outback but had a bad oil leak and 2 97 Subaru impreza auto with the 2.2 engine. I would like to keep the car for a long time. What would be a good model choice and with what engine. I'm in fl so it's hard to find subarus down here

#2 brus brother

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 07:31 PM

The 2.2 is considered bullet proof. Non-interference so somewhat lax maintenance and a broken timing belt won't mash up the engine. I stand corrected by the masters.

Enough power for the Impreza footprint. Auto is just fine for me as I am past the boy racer stage.

If the Impreza fits your needs size-wise, then why buy the larger Outbacks and Legacys? They will just cost you more to run.

Hope I don't sound too much like your dad but that is what I'd advise my daughter/son if asked. Just sayin'...


Edited by brus brother, 08 June 2014 - 09:13 AM.


#3 MilesFox

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 09:03 PM

I scored a 96 impreza outback wagon for 800 bucks. It shows new struts and tire rotations in history, 165,000 mi, no rust as a western car. Drove it home 50 miles. It will need brakes, but for what i got it for, and its condition, it is easily worth 1500 bucks, if it weren't for the fact the stereo is missing ad the wiring is a hack job. This was an automatic trans. even for 1200 as it is would have been a deal.



#4 grossgary

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 10:52 PM

hands down the best for practicality, reliability, and inexpensive high mileages  - 1990-1994 legacy/impreza.

 

most people go with 1995-1999 because they're fairly reliable but look a lot nicer and have better trim options. 


EJ25's suck, they have lots of headgasket issues and the 1996-1999 EJ25 is an ominous motor for specific reasons, i'll avoid the diatribe about it here but i've spoken about it before if you want to search.

 

1997  and later EJ22's are interference.  1996 and earlier are not - so if you're going to skip timing belt jobs, and not do well with maintenance, you're better off getting a 1996 or earlier EJ22 or EJ18 (impreza only motor).  if you do a complete and proper timing belt job then it doesn't really matter.

 

the best thing to do is buy a rust free southern or western 1996-1999 Outback, GT, or LSi with a blown EJ25.  they're easy to find because they have so many issues. Then swap in the much more reliable EJ22 or EJ18.  those engines run forever and are cheap and easy to maintain.   then install the $100 gates timing kits off ebay or amazon.

 

but if you can't get into engine work - get an EJ22 engine for sure.  way more reliable and cheaper and easier to maintain.



#5 heartless

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 07:07 AM

1990-1996 Legacy are non interference 2.2 engine, best Subaru engine available - after 96 the 2.2 is interference, all 2.5s are interference, and the early ones had head gasket issues.

Impreza models - someone else will have to chime in on - I have no idea how long they were non-interference.

 

my first legacy - 1990 LS wagon - was $200 - needed new struts and some exhaust work to be drivable

my current - 1995 L wagon - was $300, but needed a tranny...

 

They are out there for cheap if you hunt and have a little patience



#6 Rooster2

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 07:41 AM

Check out Subarus for sale on Craig's List "by owner," not by dealer. That is where you can find some good deals. Even check other Craig's List cities that are not too far from where you live.

 

I agree with others,  the 2.2 engine is the one to own, either in an Impreza or Legacy.

 

If you have some mechanical skills, and knowledge of how to repair cars, then you can definitely save your self some money on car up keep.

 

Lots of good advise on repairs on this forum to help you.

 

Keep us posted on your Subie search..............best of luck.



#7 Baja rally 05

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 08:00 AM

Well right now I've been looking but want to definety stay looking in FL for a car but possible GA if it come down to the wire for me to get a car. I personally would lean towards a 1990-94 legacy wagon with the 2.2 and AWD but subaurs that are cheap are hard to come by in FL. I am a person who will keep on top of the maintenance and also my mechanic is a subaru certified mechanic so if thier is anything major that needes to be done i have him to do it. Right now I've found 2 imprezas for sale and a 95 legacy outback but has a rebuilt title.

#8 Baja rally 05

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 08:07 AM

What is your guys view on buying a car with a rebuilt title

#9 MilesFox

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 08:28 AM

Iwould not object to it. 1995 subaru legacy outback is a desireable car for my tastes. It could be a salvage title for insurance claim, as minor damage will total out a low book value car. For example, hit a deer requiring a headlight, hood, and fender would total out a car, although the frame is not bent alnd allt he repair is bolt on. It's worth investigating

 

I would say avoid it if it was in any side t-bone collision, but frontal collision ok if it was superficial damage. Maybe only engine or driveline parts were swapped, it could have been rescued from a salvage lot over a bat engine or whatnot.



#10 Baja rally 05

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 08:34 AM

This is the add
http://tampa.craigsl...4508920647.html
I would defenetly inspect the car for damage but if I can get the car for 1k it's defenetly would buying I think. Between me and one of my friends who built his whole engine and my mechanic it should be easiy to fix the thing that are wrong with it

#11 mikec03

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 12:54 PM

Well, since you ask for free advice here's mine.  I have bought four used 90's subarus [still own two] so I have some experience.  I don't like the milage.  It's just too high.  I don't like the fact that the seller knows nothing about the rebuilt engine or trans.  I don't like that the front or rear stuts are bad.  Thats $500 right off the bat and more things could be found as the struts are replaced.  Pass unless the price is around $500.



#12 Baja rally 05

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 05:21 PM

Well because in the area I'm in and also since I have a few freindly tha can help me with it I would want to get it aroun $900-$1000 but no more than that. The suspension I'm not too worried about trying to do as I would want to swap it out with 97-98 outback suspension. I will go thier with one of my friends and take it for a longer test drive and make sure everything is fine. Supposivly it has newr tire and breaks but I'll report back if I do go and look at it

#13 Baja rally 05

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 08:22 PM

Does anyone one on the fourm know someone or can look up a vin history for me for that legacy outback?
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#14 grossgary

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 10:05 PM

rebuilt titles aren't a big deal.  research, inspect, look for serious damage, proper repairs, get as much info as possible on it, etc.



#15 heartless

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 06:32 AM

I will bet the rebuilt title is due to rear end damage in the right rear - the paint doesnt match from right behind fuel filler door back...betting lift gate was replaced as well.

 

Ad claims that is an Outback, and the 2 tone paint job would support that.

Looks to me like all 4 stuts are done - sitting kind of low on the tires...would also suggest checking for broken springs...

 

If you do go look at it, do so with a very critical eye. be sure to check for fit/finish of the interior panels in the rear - will help tell you how good the repair job was/is



#16 Rooster2

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 07:41 AM

As stated, a car with a rebuilt title is no big deal. I have two cars with rebuilt titles. Both were involved in accidents, with damage not that bad. The insurance company just wanted to total both cars out. It made sense for me to take the insurance money, and keep the car. A small body shop did great work on repairs. I have kept photos of the before and after pictures to show anyone the cars, if and when I should sell them.

 

A rebuilt title car will have lower value, when time to sell or buy. Ask to see pixs on the 95 to see damage,  if available, and offer a lower figure, if you want to buy it.



#17 Baja rally 05

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 07:50 AM

Well today after school me and my Freind are gonna go look at it and inspect exactly what type of damage it has. If I do find damage or not the best body work I'll take pic of it and also generally pic of the car itself. Thier are many reasons why a car could have a rebuild title, it could have been stolen and took forever to get back, accident, flood, slight weather damage. I'll be back later today with news on the car

#18 Rooster2

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 09:41 AM

Well today after school me and my Freind are gonna go look at it and inspect exactly what type of damage it has. If I do find damage or not the best body work I'll take pic of it and also generally pic of the car itself. Thier are many reasons why a car could have a rebuild title, it could have been stolen and took forever to get back, accident, flood, slight weather damage. I'll be back later today with news on the car

Agreed, rebuilt title could be for a number of reasons........from a wreck, flood, or what ever. Ask owner why it has a rebuilt title..............I bet you already plan on doing that. If still interested, get a carfax report on this car. The report prolly will describe why the car has a rebuilt title.

 

Good luck!



#19 Baja rally 05

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 06:01 PM

So today me and my Freind went and looked at the Subaru outback. The car looked like it was not in an accident was was wearing all of the original paint. I checked the back floor pan and it wasent dented or anything. I test drove it and it ran and drove fine and strait and he said that the brakes and tires where new and already has a aftermarket radio in it. So wensday me and my dad will go look at the car since we will be close and he will be the one to decide

#20 Rooster2

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 09:24 PM

So today me and my Freind went and looked at the Subaru outback. The car looked like it was not in an accident was was wearing all of the original paint. I checked the back floor pan and it wasent dented or anything. I test drove it and it ran and drove fine and strait and he said that the brakes and tires where new and already has a aftermarket radio in it. So wensday me and my dad will go look at the car since we will be close and he will be the one to decide

So were you able to learn why the car has a rebuilt title?? Glad to hear the first look at this car went well.



#21 Baja rally 05

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 09:32 PM

The guy bought it from a Hispanic couple and they didn't tell him why it it. I had my friends dad look up the vin for me since he deals with cars all the time and it has had 4 accidents but it looks in better shape than my car. I did look at the back gate and it had a legacy L wagon tail gate. I did look under back back where the spare wheel was and the front and the metal and paint where original to the car. I was able to take it for a test drive and the 1 front shock was shot but still drove fine. The check engine light was on but he said he bought it and the engine light was on so I would guess it just needs a fluid flush and maybe plugs and wires. It did have really new breaks and tires on it. This wensday me and my dad are gonna look at it and my dad has to ask my mom what she thinks about it. We will see

#22 Olnick

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 09:56 PM

You're doing good!  If you have an OBD2 code reader take it with you Wednesday and find out exactly what the codes are.  And don't be afraid to try bargaining the price down--based on salvage title and work that needs to be done.  Good luck!



#23 Baja rally 05

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 10:08 PM

It's a 95 so it has obd1 and from driving it I can eliminate plugs and wires and cats, if I do get it I will have my mechanic flush all fluids and refill them that might get rid of the code. The guys bottom line is $1230 but for a car that hasent seen snow and is in good mechanical running condition I can justify the price. The reason the price is $1230 is that he wants to use it for a down payment for a suv

#24 Olnick

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 11:08 PM

Are you sure?  My '95 is OBD2 and I've never seen one that isn't.  But if by chance it is OBD1 you can still pull the codes with test connections under the dash.  BTW, It'll probably take more than fresh fluids to dump codes!  Good luck.



#25 heartless

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 06:36 AM

my 95 is also OBDII...

 

there should be a small access door on the far left side of the lower dash panel - looks like this...

 







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