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What to look for in a turbo legacy?


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6 replies to this topic

#1 wrxsubaru

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Posted 12 December 2003 - 12:18 AM

This weekend my dad is going to look at a 93 legacy turbo wagon to replace his 336,000 mile 90 legacy, and i was wondering what i should look for? I know that it has the 4eat that is prone to failure in the SVX, but i never heard of failure in the turbo legacy. Is there any things in specific i should watch for, How long are the turbos good for? How much shaft play should there be in the turbo, if i can check. I know that the 4eat is a "strong" trannie and with a good set up trannie cooler it shouldent have as many if any problems but how much horse power can it hold i think i may be able to get some mods done to it, a new ehust, boost controller for some more boost, and a inner cooler. THANKS

#2 alias20035

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Posted 12 December 2003 - 12:44 AM

Originally posted by wrxsubaru
This weekend my dad is going to look at a 93 legacy turbo wagon to replace his 336,000 mile 90 legacy, and i was wondering what i should look for? I know that it has the 4eat that is prone to failure in the SVX, but i never heard of failure in the turbo legacy. Is there any things in specific i should watch for, How long are the turbos good for? How much shaft play should there be in the turbo, if i can check. I know that the 4eat is a "strong" trannie and with a good set up trannie cooler it shouldent have as many if any problems but how much horse power can it hold i think i may be able to get some mods done to it, a new ehust, boost controller for some more boost, and a inner cooler. THANKS



The EJ22T block is pretty solid, but they do blow head gaskets from time to time, typically if not always run on the mandatory 91 octane fuel. The 93 is 10-11 years old so keep money aside for a head gasket.

The turbo wagons only came with 4EAT. These 4EAT's are stronger than the non-turbo model, but still suffer from the occasional torque convertor failure. By 93 Subaru had figured out most of the transmission problems (except torque bind), so the failures are not too common. You are dealing with an 10-11 year old car though.

I had a 94 Turbo wagon into which I installed a 5MT transmission, it was an easy job and if your 4EAT goes I recommend considering this conversion.

The turbo is generally reliable unless abused, the good news is that properly rebuilt turbos can be had for as little as $400 for this car. Check maintainance records for the scheduled oil and coolant changes since the turbo is fed with both oil and coolant in this car. Some turbos go for 300,000+ km, while others just barely sneak out of the warranty period, turbo life is generally related to how they are treated.

You can add an intercooler (and I recommend it), you may need is some custom intake tubing which is not that hard to come by. MRT has intercoolers that will bolt right on, but in general most Subaru intercoolers will fit. You will loose a bit of boost with an intercooler, but you will gain reliability and perhaps more power in hot weather.

The EJ22T block will easily do 300+ HP, it is very rugged closed deck block very similar to the one used in the 350hp (280hp officially) Impreza STi 22b. A very reliable low turbo lag 240 hp setup is easily done with the addition of an intercooler, electronic boost control, updated wastegate and blow-off valve, upgraded fuel pump and injectors, and a slightly bigger turbo, all of which can be installed for about $1500. The stock 4EAT transmission will only handle about 200 hp though. The 5MT non-turbo Legacy transmission that I used ran very well for 100,000+ km with 255 hp.

The major issue with the Turbo Legacy is fuel economy, it is totally pathetic, often around 15-17mpg.

#3 DAlgie

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Posted 12 December 2003 - 01:05 AM

The major issue with the Turbo Legacy is fuel economy, it is totally pathetic, often around 15-17mpg.

Yes, my Turbo Legacy seems to get maybe a little better mileage than that, but not much. Any idea of why they do poorly in this respect? I had a Porsche 944 Turbo, 217 hp, 2.5L engine, it got quite a bit better economy that that. Is the Legacy running a tad rich maybe? AWD losses?

#4 alias20035

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Posted 12 December 2003 - 01:22 AM

Originally posted by DAlgie
The major issue with the Turbo Legacy is fuel economy, it is totally pathetic, often around 15-17mpg.

Yes, my Turbo Legacy seems to get maybe a little better mileage than that, but not much. Any idea of why they do poorly in this respect? I had a Porsche 944 Turbo, 217 hp, 2.5L engine, it got quite a bit better economy that that. Is the Legacy running a tad rich maybe? AWD losses?



I am guessing to run rich to cool the engine, an intercooler might help. An intercooler did not help my 94 Turbo though, but I was running 15 psi boost, not the stock 8.7.

3-5 mpg loss seems to be what the AWD demands as well.

#5 wrxsubaru

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Posted 13 December 2003 - 07:53 PM

I looked at it and the body was in good condition, the interior was in good condition, but the car needs a water pump(leaking, and it makes bad bearing noise), a timing belt, the fan for the vents makes a knonking sound, the visors are gone :-\ , and the sun roof acts weird, but i think a sprong, or more are missing, but the engine ran great, the trannie ran good from what i could tell no rust and no under body damage. What do you think it is worth? The ej22t is a non inter-ferance enigne, like the 2j22 isent it? If it is I should be able to do the water pump, timing belt my self. Sorry but it is aculy turned out to be a 92. What could you do to improve the fuel econemy, any idea ho much the inner cooler would help, maybe a MSD ignition? Also how hard is it to install a turbo timer? Also how good of milage would you get if you ran 50% highway 50% city not always flooring it.

#6 alias20035

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Posted 14 December 2003 - 01:54 AM

Originally posted by wrxsubaru
I looked at it and the body was in good condition, the interior was in good condition, but the car needs a water pump(leaking, and it makes bad bearing noise), a timing belt, the fan for the vents makes a knonking sound, the visors are gone :-\ , and the sun roof acts weird, but i think a sprong, or more are missing, but the engine ran great, the trannie ran good from what i could tell no rust and no under body damage. What do you think it is worth? The ej22t is a non inter-ferance enigne, like the 2j22 isent it? If it is I should be able to do the water pump, timing belt my self. Sorry but it is aculy turned out to be a 92. What could you do to improve the fuel econemy, any idea ho much the inner cooler would help, maybe a MSD ignition? Also how hard is it to install a turbo timer? Also how good of milage would you get if you ran 50% highway 50% city not always flooring it.



Water pump/timing belt change is a fairly standard item for a car of this age. I would also change all fluids and replace the thermostat/rad pressure cap if not done recently.

All EJ series SOHC engines are non-interference, it is ths DOHC ones that are interference, but don't count on zero valve damage on a non-interference engine if the timing belt lets go, it does happen from time to time.

Along with the water pump I would remove the oil pump and change its seal and retighten the backing plate, and also change the camshaft and crankshaft seals, they often leak destroying the timing belt in the process. The valve covers are also commonly replaced.

The knocking sound may be covered under a TSB, most of these earlier Subaru's had a knocking sound that required the installation of a resistor on one of the control units power wires to prevent the flap actuator from knocking. Or your fan could be gone, but this is usually a squeal type sound not a constant knocking. Given the age the dealer may not do the TSB free. I seem to recall that it only knocks when in the "Off" position or something like that.

50/50 driving conservatively should return mileage aroud 19-23 MPG, about 3-5 MPG less than a normally aspirated model. Leadfoots will get far less.

An intercooler won't help mileage too much, except in hot weather where the ECU will run the mixture rich to lower combustion temperatures. You will also get less knock which will increase engine efficiency and hence fuel economy. The intercooler is more for reliable power and for high boost, not for fuel economy.

The turbo timer will not make up for the damage already done to the turbo, so save you money for other things (like sunvisors). Subaru has a very intelligent passive turbo spin down protection system, and not many Subaru turbo's fail due to lack of a turbo timer.

Check for rust on the lower fender between the wheel and door, remove the mudflap if necessary. Also pull back the rubber rear wheel well lip and check for rust. These two areas are usually the first to go, followed by the rocker panel, driver's door, and tailgate/trunklid. Also check the gas tank, in particular where the the filler pipe enters the top of the tank, note any gas smell.

The sunroof might need some cleaning and lubrication as well as a new felt seal. The sunroof area is also a point to check for rust. Check for leaks, sunroofs don't seal but they do have water management channels and tubes that run down the roof pillars, and these can become clogged or disconnected.

The visors have to come off to remove the headliner to service the sunroof, is it a coincidence that they are missing? Sunroof parts can be either hard or easy to come by, when you need them it is typically hard....

Did you do some tight turns to check for torque bind? Set $1,000 aside to fix the transfer case, it tends to occur on higher mileage models, but it is possible that this has been fixed already or will never occur.

I would go to Edmunds.com and look up the value for your area, this car would be valued in the poor column because of the missing parts (indicates issues).

From my books the value is $2,200 on the private market and a bit higher if mileage is below 100,000. (average is 12,000 miles/yr X 12 yrs = 144,000 miles).

I would have a mechanical look over that includes a check for head gasket problems (hydrocarbon/pressure test), the Turbo's can warp heads beyond repair along with a head gasket failure.

If you have the time and skill to fix these cars up they can be restored to an almost new condition and be very reliable.

#7 ccrinc

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Posted 14 December 2003 - 10:25 AM

[QUOTE] the Turbo's can warp heads beyond repair along with a head gasket failure.

That kind of warping was much more common in the EA82 turbos...probably one of the reasons this car was not as big a seller as Subaru thought it might be.
Not only do the EJ22 turbos rarely overheat unless you run the oil and coolant low, the heads are extremely tough and will barely warp.
Yes, it's non-interferential. Any valve damage I've seen is possible burnt exhaust valves, usually due to running too lean a fuel mixture.

I drive a '92 Legacy Turbo Touring Wagon LE. IMHO, it's a great car, very dependable and a real pleasure to drive!

(And the reference to being a leadfoot is the truth! I can definitely see a gas gauge difference when I get my foot in it...which I tend to do frequently, just because I can :headbang:

One thing to note: parts for this car are mostly specific to the turbos. Usually available only from dealers, special order, and naturally, more expensive. But I willingly pay it as part of the price of driving a superior vehicle.

Emily
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