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#1 frisbee

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 09:57 AM

hi i am looking to buy a new or used car and i have basically settled on either a legacy or an outback wagon and i have a couple question.

1. is the outback worth the higher pricetag for resale reasons or is it just more expensive for its look?
2. is the 168hp under powered? are the turbocharged engines reliable and how do the compare to the 3.0L?
3. are the newer generations, 2000 - 2005, as reliable as the old subaru's. i get nervous buying a car that is more then 10 years old because i put about 25K miles on a car a year, but every one raves about old subaru engines but not new ones so much.
4. i have read a lot about subaru's having clutch problems, is it best to stay away from manual transmissions or am i over reacting?

any help would be much appreciated - thanks

#2 JT95

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 11:36 AM

I don't have much experience with the newer gen of Subaru cars, so you'll have to rely on the other owners here for specific info regarding them. Several people have mentioned specific model years of the 2.5 engine to avoid because of the head gasket problem a portion of them seem to experience. My car has the 2.2 engine, and I've heard lots of people her rave about how great of an engine it is. Been driving the car for 6 months, and I'll have to say with 160,000 miles on it, the little 2.2 boxer is pretty impressive. A very smooth running car. Anyway, I'll toss in what I can to your questions:

1. In my opinion, unless you just really want the "look" of an Outback or you honestly need the extra ground clearance for some reason, they are not really worth the extra cash a seller wants for an OBW over a Legacy wagon. Nothing wrong with them--great cars--but if you don't absolutely want one and you want to save some cash, go with the regular Legacy wagon.

2. I think the basic Subaru 4 cylinder engine has what you need for everyday driving. I'm not even for sure what hp my 2.2 is rated. It scoots well enough to get on the Interstate in tight traffic and pass people with ease on a two lane road. I wouldn't drag race the car, but it's peppy enough. (I would never brag about the car being powerful, but I'm a guy who has driven V8 cars for a good portion of my life, and the Subaru keeps me content.) I remember in the 80s when SS and GT model cars sported a whopping 180hp, so 168 from a 4 is pretty good. I have no turbo experience, so can't advise you there. Personally, I'd avoid buying a used turbo anything unless you really know the car's history.

3. Again, find out the specific 2.5 engine years to avoid (or at least expect the possibility of HG failure.) My Legacy wagon is a 95 model. 160,000 miles on it. I'd feel safe taking a big road trip in it anywhere. I've got very little $$$ invested in it, but I know it was well maintained before I got it. It's an LSi, so it has the nice interior and sound system. It replaced a 99 Alero that has 50,000 fewer miles and there's no comparison between the two cars. Personally, depending on what you have to spend, I'd look for a 95-96 Legacy wagon with low miles on it and feel confident with the 2.2 engine. Take the cash you save from buying a 2000 model car and invest a little in the older Sube. There are some 9-10 year old wagons out there with under 80,000 miles, if you don't mind driving a bit to pick one up. You find a 2.2 with 80,000 on the odometer and you drive what you say you do, you should expect a good 4 years easily from the car with only routine scheduled maintenance. (Get that timing belt changed.) Find a car with a clean interior to start with, and it will stay a nice car for you. People sit in my car and ride in it and say "What year is this thing?"

4. I've got an auto tranny, so I can't help you here. I've not heard of specific clutch problems, but who knows. People recommend to sport for the manual tranny, and I like 5 speeds, but I'm pretty content with my auto in this car. I would find a car with good mileage and a nice interior and go with whatever tranny it has if the deal is right...

#3 cannonball

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 11:46 AM

1. Your paying for the raised suspension and a few other options that are not available on the Legacy. If you don't want the rugged appeal then the Legacy is probably for you.

2. Can't speak for the turbo (which I know is hot)or the 3.0. but the 2.5 NA engines have plenty of power to get you around and haul your stuff in the back. The manual makes it a little more snappy. I highly disagree with anyone who says they are underpowered. They are more adequately powered.

3. There have been some problems with the 2.5's in the past, but I think Subaru has worked out a lot of bugs. I wouldn't worry about the engine or drivetrain. The only thing that concerns me is the reliability of the add ons you can get now. The only complaint I have heard lately is the auto climate controls.

4. Yes there have been some issues with clutch judder. I have it with my MY00 OBW. It's got 115,000 on the original clutch so for me it's nothing.

#4 Sweet82

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 11:51 AM

I think I'm seeing double :confused:

I think some of your questions need to be answered by you first...?
A lot of what your asking is really personal opinion.

I Purchased a 01 Forester after driving my 82 GL for 23 years. I think the 160 horse of the Forester is more than enough. I consider the Forester a fast car :eek: But after driving a 82 GL for that long any car that moves is a fast car to me :lol: I think power is a relative term and subject to interpretation.

I did a bunch of research on resale/depreciation. It seemed to me that most of the Subaru's depreciated at more or less the same rate. I purchased my Forester almost two years ago this April. I still see them in the paper for more than I paid (or at least the same $). The older a car gets the less any options are worth.

I get nervous buying older cars too. Obviously, there is a trade off between money and age of a car. This is a question only you can answer. I can't afford a new car and therefore I had to settle with a year/price combination I could afford.

Having said all that, I love my Forester. The car does what I need it to do. As far as problems for the car, I'm more worried about a head gasket than clutch problems. I'd think a manuel tranny is always going to out last an auto in the long run.

Did any of that make sense?
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#5 Sweet82

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 11:52 AM

Oh Ya,

Welcome to the Board!

#6 adwolf1

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 11:19 PM

Driving a 96 L since new, i'd whole-heartedly recommend one. It's had very, very few problems in 10 years, and because it's not an outback, you can pick one up for almost nothing. (I've seen scary-low prices on ebay, like $3k or less. A real steal.)

If you're worried about being stranded, then replace (or VERY carefully inspect) the following things when you get the car:

1. timing belt
2. water pump
3. alternator
4. battery
5. CV joints -- they tend to get ratty or split, they are easy to replace though.
6. wheel bearings

Those are the major things that can up & die without too much warning, and fortunately they are very easy to replace on this car.

also make sure that there are minimal oil leaks when checking out the car. (mine has 100k and still doesn't even use a quart between changes. the 2.2 is a really great engine if well cared-for.)


Mine is an auto, can't speak about any MT issues, sorry!

good luck with your hunt

#7 cannonball

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 09:07 AM

I think I'm seeing double :confused:


LOL, that's cause frisbee accidentally posted the same thing twice and at the time I was responding to one of them JT95 was posting on the other. It just so happened they our answers are very similar. The admin combined the two.

#8 Setright

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Posted 19 March 2005 - 12:02 PM

My views:

Outback isn't worth it.

2.5L four is plenty powerful. Present model engines should be without weakness.

The newer engines are just as good, except for a purely cosmetic cold morning piston slap - slightly Diesel like rattle during the first few minutes.

Clutch problem was judder, as mentioned, and shouldn't be present on models before 1997 and after 2003.



Like anything else Subarus aren't perfect. However, they have a lot of character and are easy to grow found of.

#9 shortlid

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Posted 19 March 2005 - 11:30 PM

My question is why do you need the AWD in Maryland? The MPG is not as Good as many FWD imports you could by that would have more power? JMHO

#10 frisbee

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 08:08 AM

because i am moving to montana in may



My question is why do you need the AWD in Maryland? The MPG is not as Good as many FWD imports you could by that would have more power? JMHO



#11 frisbee

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 08:11 AM

thank you to all that have replied to my numerous questions - you have all really helped me a lot. You have all also given me confidence to buy into the subaru brand.

#12 shortlid

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 09:22 AM

Now THAT makes sense!! If you are headed to Montana I would actualy RECOMEND the Outback. My girl is from Billings Montana, when we go to see her grandparents on the ranch we go Off-Roading all the time on these great trails. If slight off-roading is something you might enjoy I would recomend the Outback. Where in Montana you moving to the Badlands, or the mountains? If the mountains get the turbo it is great for high altitude, it is less effected by thiner air.

#13 frisbee

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 04:30 PM

i am moving to Bozeman:-) i can't wait. i was going to ask about the turbo - i had a thought that it would be nice out there, a little extra over beartooth pass would be fun. hmmm... i don't need to much motivation to go for the turbo, you may have just convinced me.





Now THAT makes sense!! If you are headed to Montana I would actualy RECOMEND the Outback. My girl is from Billings Montana, when we go to see her grandparents on the ranch we go Off-Roading all the time on these great trails. If slight off-roading is something you might enjoy I would recomend the Outback. Where in Montana you moving to the Badlands, or the mountains? If the mountains get the turbo it is great for high altitude, it is less effected by thiner air.



#14 shortlid

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 04:39 PM

See with a Turbo you are already utilizing forced induction. As you get to higher altitude the air is thiner. But the turbo makes up this diff. by spining fast to cram more air (with oxg.) into your engine. Where a N/A engine starts to lose power at higher altitude the turbo is less effected. That is why Frightliner out of the Westcoast started using turbos on there desiel engines for there semi tractors, to pull up the long grades at high altitude in the Rocky's! Hey, and it's cool to listen to the dwarf under the hood "whistle while it works!!!"

#15 Chef

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 06:11 PM

Does the turbo still provide the same level of boost then? Or does it become reduced somewhat as well?



See with a Turbo you are already utilizing forced induction. As you get to higher altitude the air is thiner. But the turbo makes up this diff. by spining fast to cram more air (with oxg.) into your engine. Where a N/A engine starts to lose power at higher altitude the turbo is less effected. That is why Frightliner out of the Westcoast started using turbos on there desiel engines for there semi tractors, to pull up the long grades at high altitude in the Rocky's! Hey, and it's cool to listen to the dwarf under the hood "whistle while it works!!!"



#16 shortlid

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 10:53 PM

Does the turbo still provide the same level of boost then? Or does it become reduced somewhat as well?


Well VERY high up there is less oxygen a Turbo can't make-up for that. But the reduction in power of a turbo at high altitude is MUCH less than a N/A engine. That is also why they used turbo and super charging of piston type high altitude aircraft engines like the WWII B-17 Flying Fortress.

#17 Chef

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 11:31 PM

The reason I ask is because if the turbo is able to deliver the same level of boost, then it should theoretically have the same amount of O2. The decrease in O2 is due to an overall decrease in atmospheric pressure (i.e. a lower mass of gass by volume). Unless the ratio of O2 to other atmospheric components changes at these reduced gas densities (i.e. becomes lower in comparison to N2 and CO2), and the boost is reduced, then the amount of O2 being fed into the engine ought to be the same. In theory at least.;) But I suspect it's not as simple as that.

That certainly then would explain the favouring of turbos in planes at high altitudes.:)


Well VERY high up there is less oxygen a Turbo can't make-up for that. But the reduction in power of a turbo at high altitude is MUCH less than a N/A engine. That is also why they used turbo and super charging of piston type high altitude aircraft engines like the WWII B-17 Flying Fortress.



#18 Chip

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Posted 22 March 2005 - 12:09 PM

The power from the 2.5L ,(165HP), is only "adequate", especially with the Automatic tranny.

Here's what a few auto journalists have said...(about the Baja or the Legacy).


.."While the 165-horsepower engine was adequate for the Baja, all the journalists kept talking about was how much better it would be with the more powerful flat six engine from the Outback H6 3.0"...http://www.roadandtr.../subarubaja.htm

"A bit sluggish in nonturbo 4-cyl models: Test Legacy 2.5 GT took 9.9 sec 0-60 mph. Subaru pegs 4-cyl Outbacks at 10.5. The 6-cyl models are also quicker--8.5 sec 0-60 for test VDC wagon--but lack midrange power. In all models, automatic transmission is slow to downshift for passing. " http://auto.consumer...7/Act/Roadtest/

"...the Baja is fun to drive and kind of practical, if you're not in a hurry."
http://www.trucktren.../112_0211_baja/

Initial logbook entries target the tepid 2.5-liter SOHC four-cylinder engine, which delivers decidedly weak acceleration for a near-$30K car.
http://motortrend.co..._0004_ltsuburu/



I could go on......If anyone tells you the 2.5L powered Legacy is "quick" it's probably because they've been driving diesel VW Rabbits all their lives.


However......my 98 O/B has 230,000KMs on it so I can't complain about the build quality. I have no regrets...only wishes.
With gas at ~$2.50/gallon, I'm willing to give up a bit of performance.

#19 Cougar

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Posted 22 March 2005 - 12:27 PM

Since you put on a fair amount of mileage each year I would lean toward a new car so you will have a warranty to go with it. There are some good deals going on now since the automotive industry is hungry to sell new cars. Also low interest loan rates.

You may be able to get a better deal on a new car where you are at than in Montana. If you do decide on a new car, do some real shopping and check out the invoice prices so you will be prepared to do some dealing. If you want an extended warranty, check with your insuance company. They can offer you better prices than the dealer.

#20 shortlid

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Posted 22 March 2005 - 04:22 PM

My girl is from Billings Montana, when we go to see her grandparents on the ranch we go Off-Roading all the time on these great trails. If slight off-roading is something you might enjoy I would recomend the Outback. Where in Montana you moving to the Badlands, or the mountains? If the mountains get the turbo it is great for high altitude, it is less effected by thiner air.


If the Off-roading does not interest you I would go for the GT sedan or wagon it has the turbo and will handle the twisty moutain roads even better!!!

#21 Balr14

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Posted 23 March 2005 - 01:46 AM

I drive an 04 FXT and the turbo is definitely worth it! There's no comparison between it and any of the non-turbo motors.




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