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Guest Message by DevFuse
 

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Tell me what I need to know about the 2 Subies I'm considering.


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8 replies to this topic

#1 Andx0r

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Posted 25 April 2006 - 11:53 PM

Car #1 is a '96 Legacy L AWD automatic wagon with a 2.2l engine. Its covered about 156k miles and is in very nice shape.

Car #2 is a '97 Legacy Brighton AWD wagon with a 5-speed, also packin the 2.2l motor. It has covered about 131k miles and is also in nice nice shape. The poverty-spec on the Brightons is pretty funny. Nice tach.

So, what issues should I be looking for? How much should I pay? Common failures? I've been kinda cruising around on the first few pages of the board, figured I'd just make it easy on me and make a thread ;) I've driven a few FWD Legacy sedans and liked them. I haven't gone to check these 2 wagons out yet. My parents are looking at these 2 cars, and might buy one or both. I usually get the chore of checking prospectives out, since I'm the one who works on the cars at home.

As for me, I'm a 21 year old college student from SE Wisconsin, and I currently drive a 1986 Volvo 240DL wagon or a 1981 Datsun 210 station wagon. And, as such, I spend quite a bit of time turning wrenches...I doubt these subies would see much garage time.

#2 nipper

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 01:14 AM

TOrque bind on the automatic you have a 90% chance of curing, on the manual if you have torque bind your sunk. Make sure all tires match. GO drive some tight figure 8's and make sure they are smooth manuvers. Check the auto fluid make sure its not buurnt. On the manual start off from 3 or 4th gear from a dead stop. The car should stall if the clutch is good.
Thats about it other then the usual oil leaks and cv joints.


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#3 Dr. RX

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 07:26 AM

Between the 96 and 97 model years they changed the EJ22 (2.2 engine) to improve performance, the major difference is that with the series one engine is a clearence engine (timing belts breaks, no internal damage), the series two is a non-cearence engine (timing belt breaks, internal damage). The Brighton is the bare bones base model, I'm surpized it has a tach (unless you were joking) all of the ones that I have seen done, but all you need to do is install a tach in the cluster, it is already wired for a tach. Automatics are expensive to fix, but you will probably find more auto trannies in wrecking yards (make sure the car was in an accident so it isn't in the yard because of the tranny). Other then that both car are pretty much the same, that model started in 1995 and finished in 1999.

#4 Andx0r

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 04:31 PM

What exactly is this torque-bind deal? How does it work? Driving in a figure 8 will make it obvious that the car has it?

#5 nipper

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 04:35 PM

oh yes it will, you will feel the car jerking, or odd as it makes a tight turn. Use the search feature here and youll find out tons of information on it. And torque bind goes for any AWD vehical.


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#6 Andx0r

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 05:42 PM

Thanks! I'll remember that when I go look at em.

#7 grossgary

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 06:14 AM

both should be great cars. i like to ask for service records. cars with fewer owners and more service records are generallly better maintained and that treats you right down the road. i've owned a ton of subaru's and without a doubt the ones coming from single owners with service records are in tip top shape and have fewer issues years later.

the 2.2 rocks. the 96 is a non-interference engine, the 97 is an interference engine.

on the 97 i'd recommend changing the timing belt, water pump and timing pulleys/tensioners when i first get the car. that is no small expense. parts alone are $300 or more dollars. don't need to replace all the pulleys, just the noisey ones, which is usually the lower sprocketed pulley. on the 97 with interference engine you don't want to risk a broken timing belt, not on a car that will last a long long time if maintained properly.

on the 96 i'd personally do the same thing for reliability but at least the engine won't have internal damage if the belt breaks (non-interference engine).
i got 1997 impreza a little over a year ago, great car.over 20,000 miles and hasn't need a thing. new brake pads and all that stuff i did when i first got it..timing belts, water pump etc as preventative.

#8 Andx0r

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Posted 29 April 2006 - 12:18 AM

The Brighton was kicked out from under me :mad:

The price on the '96 has dropped a bit, and I'm going to go look at it tommorrow.

#9 JPX

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Posted 29 April 2006 - 01:01 AM

I think you should look closely at the 2.2.

I have lots of opinions on the 1996 2.2L since I have one.
Posted Image

2.2L motor is a good solid motor. It's the crap attached to it that dies and then screws everything else up.
Alternator at 80K miles
Wheel bearings all around 70K miles
CV total collapse (rear) at 50K miles
Front oil seal leaking - replaced at 75K miles and then again at 90K miles
Waterpump at 90K miles and then again at 136K miles
resulting in overheating and a blown headgasket.

The headgasket thing is the waterpump's fault in my case.....and not the usual 2.5L headgasket thing you might have already read about.

Okay enough of the whining.....I like the car overall. Large car with good standard features on the L trim - power locks/windows, cruise, TACH. In particular, it has plenty of legroom for the rear passengers versus the same year Accord/Camrys. Big trunk on the sedan. The 2.2L auto easily pulled my jetski trailer around for thousands of miles. I hate the front seat support - you'll need a little cushion for your back for long trips.

I have some mild torque bind. I drove around with the FWD fuse for a while to get around it. I took out the fuse and haven't had a problem with it lately. The nice thing about the automatics is they have drain plugs so it is easier to change fluid (more frequently) because you can leave the pan on.

Looking back, I should have bought a wagon for what I was doing. I don't think I will buy a new Subaru again. But I felt my 96 sedan was worth hanging onto enough that I put in a rebuilt longblockin February at 136K miles. The car is easy to work on, layout is very simple - with a bit more space around the 2.2L engine than a 2.5L.

Good luck with you search!




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