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  1. … what I already have, except for the rust and dents. I'm the second owner of my '96 Legacy Brighton wagon 5MT that I bought in 2000. It already had 137K miles on it at the time, and needing a car ASAP (after totaling my red '94 Loyale wagon) I overpaid for it ($10K cash at the Subie dealer). 19 years later, it has turned out to be a pretty good deal. The car only has 213K on it now, so I've only averaged 4K miles per year. I biked, ran, or ski commuted for years, so some of those years, I only put in 2K miles, and then less than 1K per year when it became the second, winter car for the last 3 years. I didn't do much maintenance myself - didn't have a garage to work in until 2011, and I did so few miles it was easy to do minimal car care. I've always considered myself a car enthusiast, but that meant lots of magazine reading back in the day, and YouTube consumption and message boards these days. My actual car ownership was much more like the average person because I'm much too practical to spend money on mods. I bought a high mileage, 2010 Prius 3 years ago, and that actually got me back into working on my own car. I drove that across the country five times, but a caribou collision in the Yukon this past January on the last cross country trip caused enough damage to total it out when I rolled back home to Alaska. I liked the Prius for it's gas mileage, and the ability to camp in the car with full HVAC going at night, the car's engine cycling on automatically when necessary. Camped in the car at colder than -40 in Canada on that last trip. Insurance money for the Prius came out to be almost exactly what I paid for it 3 years earlier ($7K+). Looking for a replacement for the Prius, I first was looking for another Prius, then getting turned off by reports of blown head gaskets and oil consumption, etc with high mileage ones. I eventually crossed that off the list and went back to looking at Gen 4 wagons 2005-2007 (don't like the grill update in 2008), mainly because I like the appearance. Plus Mighty Car Mods Super Gramps. Reading more on Subaru forums, it seems like those are more trouble than my Gen 2, and eventually I realized that I have the car that I'm looking for, it's just more beat up than I'd like. My dream car shifted to Gramps, MCM's Gen 2 Liberty wagon that died. I'm too practical to want an turbo engine swapped car, but I'll do some appearance mods if I get a nice enough Gen 2. In my car, my GF's dog chewed up the dash and top of the door cards 4 years ago. I can probably easily find a new dash, there are so many Gen 2s around, so I probably will at some point. Door cards maybe eventually, though it seems most don't have the rollup windows, and I don't want to convert. The main issue with my car is the rust in the rear fenders, with a decent sized hole on the left side. Also has dents in the RF fender (might be able to dentless fix that) and tailgate (also rust where the paint came off the dents). I've heard about the Subiesavers, but I'd guess that the cost of a full body restore would cost several times what the car is worth. Maybe I'm wrong - I should get an estimate. I don't really want to do the body filler repair, but maybe that makes the most sense. Underbody looks pretty good for rust. Since my Subaru became my only car, and I was doing DIYing car stuff, I dug out all my saved maintenance receipts, logged all the work in them all in a spreadsheet, along with all the notes for repairs suggested by the shops that I declined over the years. I checked out a copy of the Haynes Manual from the library to figure out the maintenance intervals for the first time (car didn't come with the Owner's Manual when I got it). One of the surprises for me was the fuel tank capacity... I had no idea it was 15.9 gallons, I was always filling up at around 11. I've done some things already, like replacing the spark plugs (the gaps were enormous!), hatch lift supports, fuel filter, PCV valve, valve cover gaskets, power steering fluid, etc. I've just made my last order for parts to catch up to where I want the car to be maintenance-wise. Will be doing a transmission and rear diff oil change, probably for the first time (oil on trans dipstick didn't look bad though), will be getting the AC to work for the first time in almost 2 decades (don't need it here in AK, but might be doing some cross country driving), and will be changing out a rear axle inner boot. Might also be changing out the coolant crossover pipe O-rings and radiator cap. I already have those parts, and the crossover O-rings were noted as leaking many years back, but maybe not, since my coolant level is correct, and the last coolant change was years ago with no top offs needed. Might be better to leave that alone. Only things I'm still deferring are the oil leaks from the oil separator, and maybe the rear main seal. It doesn't make sense to do those until I need a need clutch. I'm still on the original clutch - might last forever, since apparently I'm very easy on clutches. Maybe I should get an engine hoist off craigslist and pull it for the learning experience to fix the oil separator leak, though it's my only car now, so maybe not. I'd be screwed if I get stuck midway, and I don't have help. I've been looking at craigslist for months, locally, and in CA where my folks live. I did see a cherry Spruce Pearl '98 Legacy L 5MT almost just like mine that I probably should have gone to CA to buy. It was 50% over book price, and was due for a timing belt change, but a rust-free Gen 2 Legacy wagon is my "dream" car now. I've also expanded my search to the entire west coast on craigslist, since that seems to be where the rust-free old Legacies are, though the logistics of flying in to see a used car that might not be what is advertised is making a Bay Area, CA car a much more likely scenario. I'd be visiting my folks at the same time for a CA car. I see a red '97 Legacy GT wagon 5MT that has an asking price of $9K now in Portland, OR ($10K asking a few weeks ago) that is ridiculously overpriced, as well a super nice looking Spruce Pearl '97 Legacy Brighton wagon 5MT in WA that is also way overpriced at $6.1K currently. Either would be wonderful, but I don't want to be ripped off that badly . Anyone have a '95-99 Legacy wagon 5MT in primo, rust free condition that is looking to sell, let me know, even it's years for now. The L version is probably best, would be nice to have cruise control and power windows, and the EJ22, but a GT with new head gaskets would also be nice. At some point, I might have to consider paying for good body work and paint on my current car, since I know what I have, and traveling to get a rust-free car might not save me anything.
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