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which subaru for me?


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13 replies to this topic

#1 slim_slc

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 01:33 PM

I am in the market for a subaru wagon. I have had a lot of friends have great experience with them and I have narrowed down my search. I am interested in a either a legacy, or outback wagon, probably between 1995 and 1999, (yes I know the outback came out in 1996). In doing research it seems there have been massive numbers of head gasket failures in the 2.5 liter engine. This scares me, so I am probably looking for a 2.2 unless someone can convince me otherwise.

What years of legacy had the 2.2 liter engine...I understand that the outback had the 2.5 from the beginning and in 2000 they addressed the issues and made the engine better, but that from 96-99 they are not a very good engine.

I'm not being very clear here, I fear. Basically I'm looking for a good reliable car. Is the manual or the automatic generally looked at more favorably in regards to reliability?

are there certain years that are known as lemons? certain years that are better?

any advice? words of warning?

thanks for the help in advance!

#2 A DOG

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 01:48 PM

Always get a manual.:drunk:

#3 Tiny Clark

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 02:41 PM

Knowing what I know, which I've forgotten most of already, I would try to find a 2.2 with a manual transmission.

#4 outback_97

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 02:59 PM

Another Salt Laker, welcome to the USMB!

This will answer a lot of your questions about which engines and features came in what years:
http://www.cars101.c...u_archives.html

You'll find a lot of great information there, I'd spend some time reading. I've been very happy with my '97 OB with the 2.5... could the HG blow, sure. But on message boards like this, you'll hear about problems more often than a lack of problems, so I'd keep that in mind. How many Phase 1 ('96-'99 2.5l) Legacies were made? 300,000 or so? Have all of them blown headgaskets? No. Will all of them? No. Have / will many of them? Sure. There are around 350 people listed on theotherskip's head gasket failure page. That's a long list of unhappy people, but it's not every car made. The fact is we'll never know exactly what % had problems at mileage xyz. That being said, if lower cost and reliability are your highest priorities, you probably will be safer with a 2.2 which means Legacy not OB, except for the not as common '96 manual trans.

Sorry, rambling! Welcome aboard, good luck finding a Subie... they're expensive here but still a good value IMO. Look on ksl.com and the SLC craigslist, occasionally they have Subies for sale.

Steve

#5 mtsmiths

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 03:02 PM

Get a 2.2, or a post 2000 2.5. If you want an automatic, you needn't be afraid of it, at least not in my experience.

We have a '00 Leg A/T with 165,000 mi, zero tranny issues (and zero HG issues), and a '95 Leg A/T with 135,000 ... ditto. Just so long as you stay regular with service, and get a cooler if you abuse it, you should be fine.

Let your driving preferance be your guide, not fear of the unknown.

You're welcome, lazy mtsmiths.

#6 outback_97

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 03:09 PM

http://www.kslcars.c...ype=car#mainpic

Here's a local '96 OB w/ 5 spd, 105K miles, for $5695. No idea if that's a good deal or not, just an example that would be in keeping with the advice given above. There's a lot of Legacies and OB's for sale here at any given time, take your time to shop around 'cause they're everywhere.

Steve

#7 mattocs

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 03:18 PM

http://www.kslcars.c...ype=car#mainpic

Here's a local '96 OB w/ 5 spd, 105K miles, for $5695.

Steve


A year ago I paid $5995 for the same car, 92,000 miles. I am sure you can talk them down at least $1000. Good luck!

#8 rweddy

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 03:24 PM

Another Salt Laker, welcome to the USMB!

This will answer a lot of your questions about which engines and features came in what years:
http://www.cars101.c...u_archives.html

You'll find a lot of great information there, I'd spend some time reading. I've been very happy with my '97 OB with the 2.5... could the HG blow, sure. But on message boards like this, you'll hear about problems more often than a lack of problems, so I'd keep that in mind. How many Phase 1 ('96-'99 2.5l) Legacies were made? 300,000 or so? Have all of them blown headgaskets? No. Will all of them? No. Have / will many of them? Sure. There are around 350 people listed on theotherskip's head gasket failure page. That's a long list of unhappy people, but it's not every car made. The fact is we'll never know exactly what % had problems at mileage xyz. That being said, if lower cost and reliability are your highest priorities, you probably will be safer with a 2.2 which means Legacy not OB, except for the not as common '96 manual trans.

Sorry, rambling! Welcome aboard, good luck finding a Subie... they're expensive here but still a good value IMO. Look on ksl.com and the SLC craigslist, occasionally they have Subies for sale.

Steve

I could not agree with you more,:cool: yes the 2.5 has some HG issues, but not as bad as one would think on this board. I love the 96-99 Legacy OWB styling the best of the Outback line. I have a 96 2.2 5 spd but I would have not issue getting a 2.5/ 5 spd either and would love the extra power now and then.


#9 slim_slc

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 05:43 PM

thanks for all the advice so far. keep it coming!

yeah, I know subarus are a dime a dozen here in salt lake...and that gives me lots of opportunity to shop around and take my time. I am currently driving a toyota 4x4 that I have had since 1995 and sad to see it go. It has been wholly reliable and affordable to own and I am hoping that the Subaru will be the same, and have room for my growing family.

I am leaning toward the Legacy L rather than the outback. It seems like 1 inch of ground clearance isn't really worth the extra cost, and the added risk of HG failure with the 2.5L engine. Is it true that the outback came out in 1995 with the 2.2L?

Concerning transmissions...I am not leaning one way or the other on that one. An automatic would be fine, as would a manual. I will probably try to drive a few of each and get a feel for what works better for me. I know people have a preference for one or the other, but is it purely opinion, or is one regarded to be superior?

I found a 97 legacy L with 64k miles for $5900...so I am confident that the good deals are out there...especially in utah where you can't look out the window without seeing 10 subarus.

Please keep the advice coming.

#10 mattocs

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 05:54 PM

Is it true that the outback came out in 1995 with the 2.2L?



It didn't have the ground clearence...just the two tone paint.

In 1996 the manual tranny ones had the 2.2l.

#11 TheBrian

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 07:41 PM

Concerning transmissions...I am not leaning one way or the other on that one. An automatic would be fine, as would a manual. I will probably try to drive a few of each and get a feel for what works better for me. I know people have a preference for one or the other, but is it purely opinion, or is one regarded to be superior?

My opinion: A manual transmission is clearly superior from a reliability standpoint. But I insist on MT's only because I find them more enjoyable to drive. Others prefer not to have to shift. They should choose automatics, with the knowledge that the auto tranny might go bad before the rest of the car.

#12 rweddy

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 07:46 PM

thanks for all the advice so far. keep it coming!

yeah, I know subarus are a dime a dozen here in salt lake...and that gives me lots of opportunity to shop around and take my time. I am currently driving a toyota 4x4 that I have had since 1995 and sad to see it go. It has been wholly reliable and affordable to own and I am hoping that the Subaru will be the same, and have room for my growing family.

I am leaning toward the Legacy L rather than the outback. It seems like 1 inch of ground clearance isn't really worth the extra cost, and the added risk of HG failure with the 2.5L engine. Is it true that the outback came out in 1995 with the 2.2L?

Concerning transmissions...I am not leaning one way or the other on that one. An automatic would be fine, as would a manual. I will probably try to drive a few of each and get a feel for what works better for me. I know people have a preference for one or the other, but is it purely opinion, or is one regarded to be superior?

I found a 97 legacy L with 64k miles for $5900...so I am confident that the good deals are out there...especially in utah where you can't look out the window without seeing 10 subarus.

Please keep the advice coming.


Yes I am sure Subaru’s are plentiful in Utah, like they are in Colorado. Colorado is the number one state for Subaru’s, and I believe Utah is number 2.
They way you can tell a native Coloradan is because they drive a Subaru with Mtn bikes on top worth more than the car!! (This is me) :drunk:

I need the extra clearance, actually close to 2 inches, because the places I go to Mtn bike and climb so I need it. If you do not need this, then get a regular legacy.

As far as years of Legacy OBW differences

95 are just re-bagged legacies, 2.2 outback front ends
96 2.2 5spd 2.5 auto
97-99 2.5 all 5 spd or auto

#13 Tiny Clark

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Posted 20 April 2005 - 12:35 AM

I suggested the manual tranny for better MPG and all around better performance. My wife's Legacy is an auto, never had a problem with it. I have a 5 speed in my beemer.

#14 slim_slc

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Posted 20 April 2005 - 09:26 AM

awesome, thanks for all the help. So now I am looking for a 96-99 legacy, or a 95-96 OBW 5-spd.

I'll let you know how my search goes and what I end up with.

Peace out.




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