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Planning to buy Legacy, looking for details


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10 replies to this topic

#1 Vermonter

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 02:22 PM

Hi Folks
My girlfriend and I are planning on buy a late-90s / early-2000s Legacy in a few months. I'm wondering if there's a FAQ somewhere that gives the various options and stock equipment that was available?

Most importantly, is there a year that they started putting 4-wheel ABS in all of them?

What year did they switch to 4-wheel discs? I hate changing pads in drums.

Are push-button lockers available for the rear-diff of Subies? I've seen how well lockers worked in my old 4Runner. The Subie won't be taken off-road, but it would be nice to have extra traction to get out of a stuck.

Thanks for any info!

Edited by Vermonter, 12 July 2009 - 02:33 PM.


#2 Olnick

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 03:52 PM

Welcome aboard! You can find standard euipment for models you may be interested in at Cars101:

http://www.cars101.c...u_archives.html

Just be aware that the early EJ25 engine is susceptible to head gasket problems, and that since MY '97 all EJ engines are interference.

Good luck with your search.

#3 EVOthis

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 04:01 PM

+1 ^ cars101 is a great site...taken well care of you can get an easy 250k out of a subaru if not more...Also..Whichever model/year you decide on, purchase a haynes manual if you plan on doing any maintenance..I have nothing but good things to say for those manuals...Good luck with you search! (they where still putting rear drums in some of the imprezas in 08)..just mentioning it...:)

#4 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 04:03 PM

First, late 90's and early 2000's are cheap for a reason - they have a bad reputation for blowing head gaskets in the phase I and phase II 2.5 liter engine's. If you do get one, make SURE the head gaskets have already been replaced with the updated versions.

I have no clue about the ABS. Although I can tell you that all of the ABS systems I am aware of in the Subaru world were 4 wheel systems. My '91 turbo has one of the early systems (the first actually) and it's a 4 wheel system.

You won't find rear drums on a Legacy unless it's a very low end Brighton model or similar. They existed, but it's not common. And even should you run across one that you otherwise like and it has drums - they are easily swapped out for the disc system.

There are no lockers available for Subaru diffs - at least not the diffs that would be found in that era of Legacy. There may be some available for the R180's and larger diffs used in the STi's and maybe other applications? There aren't any for the R160 though. What is available is the Limited Slip versions used on some of the WRX's and turbo's of various years. If you swap the diff you have to match the ratio of the one you take out as otherwise it will not be compatible with the transmission.

If you are looking for an automatic, watch out for "torque bind". Do a search for it here on the board and you will get an idea of what it is, and what years it mostly affects. If you stick with a manual it won't be an issue.

Personally, I would avoid anything with the phase I and II 2.5 - which means some 96's, and most '97 through 2001. Anything before or after that (and some exceptions in the middle that still used the 2.2) is a good choice.

The most sought mid 90's Legacy is probably the '96 Legacy Outback. That's after they got the suspension upgrade, and the last year they came with the 2.2. A more reliable car you will not find.

If you can stand something a bit older, all the 90 through 94 Legacy's have the 2.2. They are also well-optioned as they were the default flag-ship model of their day - the Loyale's filling in the low-end model lineup. My '91 Turbo Sport Sedan has more power and torque than my GF's 2007 Impreza Outback Sport..... lots of fun.

GD

#5 Vermonter

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 08:54 AM

Thanks for the info everyone. The big consideration around here is RUST, so clean older models are really hard to find.

Does Subaru have factory service manuals available? I found the Haynes manuals a bit lacking for the Toyota. I once spent several hours trying to get my intake off, only to discover a bolt that Haynes forgot! Once I made the $100+ investment for the factory manuals it made things a lot easier, especially for electrical issues.

How hard is it to change the head gaskets and timing belt? Are there aftermarket ones that are better? I've rebuilt a Toyota 22R, done a headgasket/timing chain on a 22RE. Fairly comfortable working on engines.

#6 zorobyte

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 09:17 AM

i have had a head gasket go out on drivers side ej22 on a under 200k 90 legacy wagon.. but anyways I changed it being my first time ever doing a major repair, in the middle of the winter below 0 working to 3am sometimes in 48 hours total. i didnt have any tools and bought as i went or any help. i was outside in the street doing all of this with low no lighting at night.

people may shy away from the 2.5 but i think its awesome because for example, i can pick up a optioned out 2.5GT with a bad gasket from the get go for 600 for less! hell i seen a 2000 impreza loaded for 2 grand with headgasket here locally. if you have something else to drive for a week and a haynes manual search for your dream car for cheap. headgasket might take time and cussing but even i did it under those conditions on a engine that was supposed to be bulletproof.

btw i bought that wagon for 300 with new goodyear allegras, new cv all the way around, new exhaust, brakes, everything because the owner was quoted 2800 for gaskets roflamo. cost me 38 bucks plus tools i didnt have.

oh yea then i sold it for a grand after driving it for a year.

posted from my htc 8925.

#7 Subarule

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 01:06 PM

How does one know if a head gasket is bad if looking to buy a 2001 Legacy GT?

#8 Fairtax4me

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 04:53 PM

It may run like crap (misfiring). White, sweet smelling smoke in the exhuast. There might be foam/ bubbles in the coolant when it is running. Coolant might be dark green or brown in color. There might be oil in the coolant. There might be coolant in the oil. (looks like chocolate milk) There could be coolant dripping from the bottom of the engine nowhere near any hoses.

#9 etc

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 10:46 AM

Let it seat for a while, at least a day but the longer the better.

Start the car, have someone give it gas hard.
Look at the exhaust. It should be really white.

I saw just that on a 92 Loyale with a 1.8L.

#10 Subarule

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 03:54 PM

It may run like crap (misfiring). White, sweet smelling smoke in the exhuast. There might be foam/ bubbles in the coolant when it is running. Coolant might be dark green or brown in color. There might be oil in the coolant. There might be coolant in the oil. (looks like chocolate milk) There could be coolant dripping from the bottom of the engine nowhere near any hoses.


OK, so it's an obvious thing and will show up if one does a good test drive of the vehicle before purchasing?

#11 Vermonter

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 06:09 PM

OK, so it's an obvious thing and will show up if one does a good test drive of the vehicle before purchasing?


If it's anything like other vehicles I've had, the symptoms won't be apparent if it hasn't sat for awhile. I had a Toyota 22RE that ran fine except when it sat overnight, then it would be hard to start, blow white smoke, etc. I limped it for a while, then finally had to change the headgasket when it started overheating.

Are the Subaru headgaskets similar in that they give you warning? We won't be depending on this as a daily driver, we both work mainly from home, so it's not a big deal to have to deal with changing the headgasket. I just don't want it to go bad when we're 4 hours from home on a roadtrip.

Was the original headgasket design bad? If so, does that mean that once it's been fixed it's then reliable from then on?

Edited by Vermonter, 25 July 2009 - 06:12 PM.





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