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Let's play "Did I get ripped off?"

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While out of state, my fiance purchased a 99 outback sport for xxxx. Since it runs, I told her to go for it at their crazy low asking price. Now I've seen it, I want to pass it on to the old pros here.

 

 

Vehicle is in AZ, was back East. I don't have a lot of experience with rust, but the car definitely does.

 

The question is:

How much is it worth knowing only the following:

 

Pros:

Starts up, runs clean. Everything works as it should.

Tires in good shape. Clean interior. Clean title, 2 owners.

Overall, looks like its in nice shape

 

Cons:

Needs break pads, possibly rotors.

Rust bucket (see pics)

Check engine light

185k miles.

 

 

I really got on here for advice on how bad the rust is (cosmetic, structural), what I should do to thoroughly check it out (pull up carpet? Anything easier?) ... what I should do to repair it (fiberglass/bondo or metalworker?)

 

I tried snapping the worst of the rust.

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Well... hard to tell whether you got ripped off without knowing the price, but right off the bat I can tell you it looks like a typical midwest car. And one that wasn't washed regularly, at that :/

 

The rust you show behind the wheels is almost normal for Subarus in the rust belt. If that's all the rust it has, I don't think it's that bad. You need to have the codes read to see what seems to be the problem with the car, and make sure the car 4WD isn't binding (go to an empty parking lot and drive the car in tight circles a few times, see if anything weird happens).

 

Now... did you check the car's history (i.e. Carfax) ? The front of the car looks almost too good to be on the same vehicle with the rust behind the rear wheels. I would ask whether the timing belt and head gaskets have been changed, too.

 

[EDIT] Checking the pictures, it looks like the two rear tires are different brands. That's usually not so good int he long term with these cars.

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That's a $2,500 - $3,500 vehicle.***qualifying statements coming

$2,500 it would sell very quickly.

$3,500 it would sell over a longer period of time or right around early tax season when folks are temporarily rich and need a car immediately due to wrecking in the snow.

 

*** Areas matter - south east you're looking lower end, in Subaru rich areas you're looking at higher end or even surpassing $3,500...although a lot of the higher priced Subaru areas (Denver, Northwest) don't have rust so this one would stand out as a blemish.

 

Dealer prices can command higher prices, some of them smoke crack.

 

I see your concern, but I have a hard time calling that "ripped off" when the rust hole is that huge. Did anyone look at that car before purchase?

 

Rust repair - don't even bother doing it cheap, quick, or improperly, it'll return in a year or two and get worse. The metal needs cut out and replaced. At a body shop it's going to cost sick amounts of money - that would literally be like $1,000+ to repair at a shop properly....highly cost prohibitive.

 

If you can do it yourself and don't need a show room look - it's actually not too bad and costs little in materials/parts. More info and a picture of really bad one I did earlier this year (also a 99):

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/66-problems-maintenance/45485-rear-wheel-panel-rust.html

 

It's close to show the imperfections really well - i just cut it all out, welded in new metal, filled, painted with NAPA $20 paint, bought some online 2 stage clear coat for $20, quick and easy. I didn't worry about it being smooth or factory painting. So yeah it looks rough but it also doesn't look bad from a distance and it's done right at least. Car wasn't worth tons of time/money but it's worth not having rust again in a year.

 

I hate to say it bu the body metal, while annoying is just a sign of the underneath probably. It's not threatening or dangerous, but that rust is going to suck to work on, future jobs will have hte possibility of being a debacle - axle nuts, ball joints, tie rods, the strut top mount bolts are going to round off without careful attention - suspension bolts/nuts, timing cover bolts, all the hose clamps will never be reusable, they're just going to twist off, exhaust manifold nuts will never come off the studs - they are now bolts (but that's like every car, literally in the rust belt), brake caliper slide pins are likely to be rusty, none of the exhaust will be easy to work with and the front flange and maybe somewhere else is more than likely going to break at some point, those things do all the time.

 

you should go ahead and do the brakes right right now - get all new caliper hardware - slide pins, boots, and pad clips - they are always rusty and cause the pads to hang, just be done with it now and have the brakes be easy maintenance over the rest of the life of the car. Rockauto is a great source for cheap brake parts - almost doesn't make sense to skip that step.

Edited by grossgary

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I wouldnt pay anything for a car with that much rust. Everything else you listed as cons are not big deals.

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Good advice. I'll give that DIY rust repair job a go on top of the other things. I think she made out pretty well..She paid only $950...I hope there won't be any major problems that need to be uncovered.

 

 

That's a $2,500 - $3,500 vehicle.***qualifying statements coming

$2,500 it would sell very quickly.

$3,500 it would sell over a longer period of time or right around early tax season when folks are temporarily rich and need a car immediately due to wrecking in the snow.

 

*** Areas matter - south east you're looking lower end, in Subaru rich areas you're looking at higher end or even surpassing $3,500...although a lot of the higher priced Subaru areas (Denver, Northwest) don't have rust so this one would stand out as a blemish.

 

Dealer prices can command higher prices, some of them smoke crack.

 

I see your concern, but I have a hard time calling that "ripped off" when the rust hole is that huge. Did anyone look at that car before purchase?

 

Rust repair - don't even bother doing it cheap, quick, or improperly, it'll return in a year or two and get worse. The metal needs cut out and replaced. At a body shop it's going to cost sick amounts of money - that would literally be like $1,000+ to repair at a shop properly....highly cost prohibitive.

 

If you can do it yourself and don't need a show room look - it's actually not too bad and costs little in materials/parts. More info and a picture of really bad one I did earlier this year (also a 99):

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/66-problems-maintenance/45485-rear-wheel-panel-rust.html

 

It's close to show the imperfections really well - i just cut it all out, welded in new metal, filled, painted with NAPA $20 paint, bought some online 2 stage clear coat for $20, quick and easy. I didn't worry about it being smooth or factory painting. So yeah it looks rough but it also doesn't look bad from a distance and it's done right at least. Car wasn't worth tons of time/money but it's worth not having rust again in a year.

 

I hate to say it bu the body metal, while annoying is just a sign of the underneath probably. It's not threatening or dangerous, but that rust is going to suck to work on, future jobs will have hte possibility of being a debacle - axle nuts, ball joints, tie rods, the strut top mount bolts are going to round off without careful attention - suspension bolts/nuts, timing cover bolts, all the hose clamps will never be reusable, they're just going to twist off, exhaust manifold nuts will never come off the studs - they are now bolts (but that's like every car, literally in the rust belt), brake caliper slide pins are likely to be rusty, none of the exhaust will be easy to work with and the front flange and maybe somewhere else is more than likely going to break at some point, those things do all the time.

 

you should go ahead and do the brakes right right now - get all new caliper hardware - slide pins, boots, and pad clips - they are always rusty and cause the pads to hang, just be done with it now and have the brakes be easy maintenance over the rest of the life of the car. Rockauto is a great source for cheap brake parts - almost doesn't make sense to skip that step.

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$950 is/was a good price, if the motor runs good, and shows no signs of head gasket problems.

 

Yea, do bondo work, spray paint, and call it a day on the rusty areas. It is not reasonable spending good money at a body shop for rust repair on a $950 car.

 

If you can't find out when the last time that the timing belt was replaced, then it is prudent to change the TB, and may as well replace the water pump, seals, and pulleys, while it is apart. If not done, a broken TB will ruin the valves, and create an unpleasant repair bill.

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It's not great...but not too bad either.

 

I lived in Wisconsin for 5yrs.......and had a couple of the rustiest subarus on the road.

 

That Impreza isn't that bad.

 

one thing to check though is the rear subframe where the rear lateral links bolt in. Make sure that area isn't rusting through.

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Up here in Maine I always say that a running driving car that passes inspection is always worth at least $1000.

That car wouldn't pass inspection because of the rust holes. They likely go through into the trunk behind the trunk carpet. It's not a huge deal to fix, but it's gonna have to be done.

With that, if it runs and drives fine. I'd probably spend 950 for that, I don't think it's a half bad deal.

It has the 2.2L engine, so you don't really have to worry as much about the head gaskets or bottom end failures. The 2.2 is a pretty robust engine.

I'd likely do the timing belt asap, that breaking will definitely ruin your day.

 

Overall, I think you made out alright with it.

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I've had pretty good luck with giving rust spots a slight sanding,, hitting them with naval jelly, letting it dry, primering and then I have a can of forest green paint. I just brush it on and then maybe wet sand a little. You just can't get a perfect match.

 

Having said that,, the last time I did the above has lasted about 1 1/2 years without any major spread but rust is returning so I'm going to give this POR 15 stuff that yous guys are talking about a try...

 

UMT

 

PS: what the hell is 'naval jelly' anyway?

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oh yeah for $950, that's definitely a very low price, at least in the rust belt areas where that's common. that car would sell very fast around here for $950...where you live it's just going to take someone not worried about rust, that's common around here though. any $1,000 car that's usually valuable (not talking dodge neons and old ford taurus') is going to need some kind of work and have something wrong with it - at least you know what it is.

 

in addition to his $1,000 vehicle comment I'll add that most 1995+ Subaru's that run, drive, pass inspection, can easily sell for $2,000 quickly around here.

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+1 that is a good buy especially with the 2.2 engine. As mentioned earlier, look at the cross member that is above the rear wheels. It's about 10" wide or so. On mine, you could stick your hand though it so I had to junk the car.

 

When you repair the rust, cut out a lot of the metal. At least 1" beyond the rust and maybe more. You have to get to solid sheet metal. I use fiberglass to cover holes , then bando, and paint. Auto touch up is the cheapest place that I could find to match the color. http://www.automotivetouchup.com/choosecolor/year.aspx

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NAvel Jelly is phosphoric acid.

 

For 950 its an ok deal if you needed transportation, but that rust gives me nightmares.

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From my experience with old Subarus living in rustland I would also be waiting for the filler neck to leak or tank to split at the seam any day now. The even worse possiblity is that the rear crossmember is also not far behind. Maybe you're alright but you might want to get a good look at that crossmember before doing any high speed rally cornering or anything :D

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Where i live in NY, that would be a steal for that price. I have seen Imprezas and Legacy's in much worse shape around here for over 3k, and most of those need not only body work but mechanical work as well. The impreza in the pics they want 2300 for, and the legacy is listed for almost 3k.

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Thanks. Now it's let the DIY repairs commence. I need to burn through 5 CELs too. They can't be too bad. The car purrs like a kitten...I mean street cat.

 

 

I'll post up the progress.

 

 

On a humorous note, this girlfriend of mine is trying to learn to drive. She crashed my old 97 obs. So there is no doubt she is a horrible driver. Today, she cut a guy off(accidentally) and it wasn't that big of a deal, except Rambo with a nose ring flipped out, sped up on the shoulder, and rubbed the fender. Now the turn signal is hanging and the fender has a nice fat dent.

 

What a wongleflute.

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Wow, your cars really rust out something fierce in the USA. I thought NZ was bad being pretty much an island, but I've never seen an Imp with bad rust like that. Hell, my 89 Legacy doesn't even have any rust in it.

 

Good luck with it. Sucks about the jerk who hit you, what an rump roast.

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Wow, your cars really rust out something fierce in the USA. I thought NZ was bad being pretty much an island, but I've never seen an Imp with bad rust like that. Hell, my 89 Legacy doesn't even have any rust in it.

 

Good luck with it. Sucks about the jerk who hit you, what an rump roast.

 

You lucky guys down way south probobly don't get your roads SALTED :horse:

 

jackass cities use salt because it's cheap.

 

Texas doesn't get snow enough. They just sprinkle sand on the roads with construction trucks

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That little bit of rust is nothing compared to what we deal with up north.

 

on the CEL codes - start with the first one, address that issue, then reset, see if any of the others come back. If they do, start again with the first code, and repeat until all codes stay cleared. It is not unusual for only 1 problem to throw multiple codes.

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oh the eastern cars so rusty i flag most of them stick out like a sore thumb rotten engines and lines try doing the rear berrings on the eastern cars yikes.some are rusty to the point of being down right dangerus rusted out suspention parts ect

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In NY, they don't care about rust. No matter how rusty a vehicle is, as long as everything else on it is, at least according to NY, safe and legal, it will pass inspection here. I have seen trucks with swiss cheese frames pass here, as long as the rust isn't near a suspension mount area, and have even been told that as long as the strut tower's and frame mounts are solid, the rest of the car could be rusting away, and it will still pass inspection. I have a 99 outback wagon that has holes in the rear quarters, and in the door sill area on the rear drivers side, that i bought as a stop gap when my other legacy was wrecked, and when i took it for inspection, the shop told me that that didn't make a difference for inspection.

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That little bit of rust is nothing compared to what we deal with up north.

 

on the CEL codes - start with the first one, address that issue, then reset, see if any of the others come back. If they do, start again with the first code, and repeat until all codes stay cleared. It is not unusual for only 1 problem to throw multiple codes.

 

UPDATE:

 

Fought the rust to redo the brakes. Now to the CELs. I've been doing some research and so far addressed one code.

 

PO325- Knock Sensor ( I hopefully addressed this today)http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=2204739

 

 

----

 

I still have 3 to go. I noticed a hole in the gas tank. Fortunately, when you fill it up, the gas nozzle extends past the hole.

PO183- Fuel Temp Sensor

PO463-Fuel Level Sensor

 

PO1400-Fuel tank pressure control solenoid failure or short. I noticed there is a hole in the gas line. Fortunately, when you fill it up, the gas nozzle extends past the hole.

 

PO420-Cat or o2 sensor-Anyone want to weigh in on this?

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420 would be the front O2 sensor.

 

The hole in the tank is the filler neck. Resolve that before resolving the fuel tank codes

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I'm fairly certain that 420 is the cat below efficiency code. That has nothing to do with how the car runs (front sensor), and all to do with emissions BS.

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