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Advice for a potential new Owner


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51 replies to this topic

#1 andyhaussler

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 01:47 PM

I am thinking seriously about purchasing a new (2003 or 2004) Subaru Legacy or Outback Wagon. Any advice on whether to get a manual or an automatic? I have heard the manual have more problems, is this true. Also do you think the outback is worth the extra cash? Another question, do you think the new subarus will have the same problems with the head gaskets? Thanks!

#2 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 02:47 PM

I'm generally pleased with my '03 OBW H6 AT.

do a seasrch for 'OBW Trip Report' and read my post.


Carl
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#3 mtsmiths

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 02:53 PM

or really NEED an extra 2" of ground clearance, get a Legacy. We have a 2000, and it's the best handling ground hugging car I have ever driven (and that's a LOT of cars). As for the ground clearance, we live in NW Montana and I have driven this car at 50 mph in 8" of unplowed snow with no problems except the windshield wipers trying to keep up with the snow coming back on the windshield.

Save a few thousand $$$ and get a Legacy trimmed out the way YOU want it, not the GM styling studio.

#4 Hondasucks

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 02:57 PM

Also, get a manual, better mileage and more reliable, plus a lot faster than the auto trust me :-)

#5 andyhaussler

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 03:12 PM

Thanks for the input...we are thinking the 2.5 Legacy limited edition is the best deal. I have heard of people having trouble with the clutch in the manual...anybody confirm that?

What about these horror stories about gaskets going...yikes!

#6 mtsmiths

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 03:57 PM

We've had three manual tranny Subarus, and one auto. Never had any trouble with any, engines either for that matter. Prolly got a quarter million Subie miles under our collective butts, over the cars and years.

IMHO there isn't pissant's difference between a modern auto and a manual, unless you are driving them so hard you're gonna break something anyhow. For 'normal', 'sane' driving (not that I'm against abnormal and insane driving, in the right time & place and if you are willing to take the blame for what you break) I think the auto is better. After six years of driving in Montana winter conditions I KNOW it's damnwell better in snow.

That's MY opinion and I'm sticking to it!

#7 Snowman

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 05:41 PM

I totally agree with getting the legacy limited or whatever instead of the outback. If you need the ground clearance, just put on larger tires.

My parents own a 97 legacy outback and a friend of mine has a regular legacy, and I am relatively impressed with both cars. Neither of them has received what they should in the way of routine maintenance, and neither have had any major problems to date, even under hard use.

Neither the manual or automatic transmissions in these cars have issues with breaking under normal conditions. My mom hasn't had any trouble with the MT in her legacy, and she's HARD on transmissions and clutches.

#8 gbhrps

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 06:00 PM

I've owned 2 OBW LTD's since 97 and I will own more of them in the future. Both have automatics, no major engine or tranny problems, and both are just the cats _ss in the slippery stuff, and at carrying stuff. The 97 developed the piston slap annoyance but few other problems that I consider just the cost of owning a car. Certainly, save money and buy the cheaper model if you must, but if you have the disposable income spoil yourself on the OB or a LTD. There are very few where I live and I kind of like not driving what everybody else does.

#9 cookie

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 10:39 PM

gasket issue with the latest, and I have the latest clutch up grade and they seem to have gotten that right too.
Time will tell as I am sure some of these folks have heard "we have cured it"since 1997.
On the good side I am not hearing of problems with the smaller engines or the H6.
It seems to me that the H6 should have smaller bores and may not suffer the dread gasket problem.
Any experts want to weigh in here?

#10 andyhaussler

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 10:01 AM

Thanks again for the input. We have decided to go with a manual Legacy Limited...unless we can steal the outback limited for about the same price. Thanks! Any more advice is more than welcomed! I will probably be pestering you guys for advice on how to treat our new Legacy!

#11 Nickshu

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 11:10 AM

I think you have made the right decision. My wife and I are thinking about the exact same Subaru models to buy in the next few months.

The H6-3.0 would sure be nice, but its as much as a 3-series BMW wagon and (very sadly) comes only in an automatic.....(Im sure I will get flamed by several on this board for comparing to a BMW)

The Outback is nice, but we really have no need for the extra ground clearance or all that Tupperware bolted to it.

Leather is a requirement since we have a dog, so the Legacy Limited Wagon 5-speed or the 2.5GT Wagon 5-speed seems to be the obvious choice. Basically the only options we want are the premium sound system, the security upgrade kit, and the air filtration system.

Enjoy your new ride!

#12 andyhaussler

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 11:52 AM

Hmmm...We haven't thought about the dog w/fabric. We have a golden retriever, awesome dog by the way:) but tons of hair. We are planning on getting the rubber mats and keeping her in the back...so it probably wouldn't make a difference, as the leather isn't in the cargo space anyhow.

Thanks for the advice...we test drove the H-6 but it didn't kick in some serious power until it got revved up pretty high...you would have to push it hard to get the power out of it. When you are ready to buy check out carsdirect.com, they have the best prices I have been able to get so far. Hopefully by this weekend we will be official subie drivers!

#13 1ABAJA

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 01:42 PM

Kudos on getting your woman to agree to a manual...I don't know if she already knew how to drive one or you are a hypnotist, but job well done. I have an 03 Legacy L-SE, that dog gone auto is such a... it is the worst at 30 mph range, it doesn't know where you need it most...and if you do need it, it takes about three seconds to get to the gear, and then power up...I dream about my Legacy being a mnl....

...Love the car, doesn't handle as well as my 02 Impreza, better ride though...no problems except A/C failure at 4400 on the odo. They told me it was my reciever/dryer that went out (huh?). It took them two weeks to fix.

Hats off to you Andy!

Josh

#14 Cougar

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 01:44 PM

Welcome to the Subaru family Andy. I think you are going to really like the new car, especially if you get into some snow.

If you are putting the dog in the back there are some options available but may already know about. One is a barrier you can get to seperate the back area from the seating area and another is a mat for the rear storage area to help keep things clean.

Drive on,
Glen

#15 andyhaussler

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 03:04 PM

Ya, getting the wife to go for manual was a huge win. Thanks for the tips on the dog...dogs are great but they can be a hassle!

Another q for all of you guys out there. We have the option now to extend our warranty up 7 years and 100,000 miles, the going price is around a grand. Do you all think this is worth it?

#16 Nickshu

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 03:12 PM

Andy,

I don't think anything short of some sort of electromagnetic force-field could keep my German Shepherd's hair in the back of the car only! And I have not yet found a shop-vac powerful enough to suck a wirey German Shep hair out of a cloth car seat....and Im a real neat freak.

Its really great when you roll the windows down and it blows around the car as you go down the road. I love my dog though....the benefits outweigh the costs for us.

Best of luck shopping!
Nick.

#17 cookie

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 03:26 PM

I have it on my BMW and I have have used far more than the price of the extension. BMW excess costs have been zero.
Excess costs on my Subaru have been well over $4,000.
You will have a lot of the upgraded stuff so yours should be less, but why take a chance?

#18 mtsmiths

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 04:11 PM

And is worth no more than the company underwriting it. How many miles is the factory warranty, and how many miles further does the policy extend it. Never mind the time, you'll eat up the miles lo-o-oong before then.

I wouldn't touch it unless it was DIRECTLY from SOA. If it's from a third party forget it. Remember too, that you are probably going to FINANCE that insurance policy, so you're going to pay interest in it too!

I would look at the difference in monthly payment with and without the policy, tell the daler thanks but no thanks and bank that amount each month into a dedicated 'uh-oh' savings account.

I'd bet that by the time you ever need the policy you'll have MORE than a thousand bucks in the kitty, and it will be YOUR money, not the finance company's. 'Sides, from my long experience with 'Roos, you're never gonna need it anyhow.

Statistically, Extended Warranties suck!

#19 cookie

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 04:19 PM

record that Subaru 2.5s have had with head gaskets and clutchs I would agree with you.
All it is is an insurance policy and I do agree that if it is third party it would not give me the same confidence.
But if I was buying a new Subie 2.5 that is exactly what I would do.
With the BMW after the regular warranty ran out I decided I wanted the last upgrades to be sure as I intend to keep the car.
Just the new fuel pump and sender would have set me back several hundred bucks, but I got new window regulators and had the cruise control fixed.
BMW lost money on this one.

#20 benebob

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 09:03 PM

As a well not to proud owner of a 03 Legacy GT Wagon with a stick here's my 2 cents.

1. This is the worst build quality car of any Subaru I've ever owed. Here's my list of others (85 GL Hatchback, 92 Legacy Turbo, 94 Impreza, 95 SVX, 86 Brat, 88 Justy and 88 XT6). The body panels don't match real well, orange peel (guess GM gave subaru that when buying in) it had maybe 10 sample defects in it worst was a not functioning CD player, the interior has some definately CHEAP portions (the key fob clangs on the plastic cover on the steering column just as it did on the Legacy in 90, the handbrake is pathetically cheap considering everything else is covered in leather).

2. Our manual has already had it's 3rd and 4th gears sycro replaced. It now doesn't want to go into reverse that easily. Must call!!!!!!!!

3. As much as I hate the quasi 4wd vehicles I'd say check out a Forester or Forester Turbo. Both drive decent although they handle quite poorly in my book but look what I compare it to. As you can see this is my first "American" Subie so I simply liken the lack of quality in the build to that. I hate to do it but when the body panels of my Brat adhere to stricter tolerances than an 03 Legacy with 2k miles I just don't know.

#21 andyhaussler

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 09:25 AM

So does anybody have a response to the last post? GM makes the body cladding, that surprises me, does GM make anyhting else for subaru?

#22 1ABAJA

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 09:27 AM

Yes! I have mentioned this before but recieved no comment. American Subarus are not the same as Japanese. I've owned both, and there is a difference. Having traveled to Japan, I can tell you that the work force/ethic is totally different. I really don't understand why the quality issues would be different within the same company...I am not saying it is, but all signs point to the factory.

My 02 Imprerza was flawless...My 03 Legacy has not been (A/C failure / fit and trim blemishes) , but my Legacy has been above average for the new GM / Chrysler cars I have owned...go figure!:brow:

Good point Benebob!

Josh!

#23 cookie

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 10:14 AM

come from Japan? On BMWS all the engines come from Germany.

#24 1ABAJA

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 10:17 AM

Say What?:cornfuzz:

#25 cookie

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 10:26 AM

I live accross the Bay from the Nummi plant that makes Toyotas and Chevys in Fremont. The Nova of a few years ago was just a rebadged Corrolla.
I used to be in the shipping business and we had daily shipments of all the power train stuff from Japan.
Parts come from all over and are merely assembled in the American plants.
Some GM engines come from Brazil. with large multinationals it is cheaper to build one plant to specialize in a componant and ship parts to assembly plants world wide.
This has been going on for nealy 100 years in the auto industry and before that with industrial equipment. Fairly recently we have Land Rovers and Jeeps that were assembled everywhere and before that Model T fords that were even assembled in Russia.
It would make little sense to have two engine plants for the same engine.
This makes me think that the worst quality stuff on Subarus were likely designed and manufactured in Japan.
Anyone out there who has looked this up?




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