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I have a feeling my current car is going to break down and looking to get a old legacy. I'd rather have an WRX or a Impreza but insurance would cost a lot for me. Need a few pointers any help.

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Welcome to the board!


The 90s subarus were among the most reliable Subaru ever made if you know how to make a few distinctions.


Best cars were the ones equipped with the EJ18 and EJ22 motors. These are both known for going 300,000 miles and much more without large scale work. Many prefer the 1990-1996 motors since they were non interference. 97-99 1/2 were just as reliable but were interference motors so jomped timing or failed timing belts carry higher consequences.


 Avoid the EJ25 motor from 96-99 that came in the Impreza RS, Legacy Outback and GT. known for frequent head gasket failures.


Both the automatic (4EAT) and manual (5MT) transmissions are stout and last a long time if maintained.


Things to look for on a used subaru -


head gasket leaks - on these motors look for bubbles coming out the coolant overflow. Exhaust gasses forced into the coolant are a sure sign.

torque bind - test drive the car in tight slow circles and feel for bouncing, skipping shuttering. It's usually repairable, but not fun to do.

Body - particularly around the subframes and crossmembers. Most will rust in the rear quarters but it's cosmetic. Severe rot underneath and near mounting points post a safety hazard.

The usual condition and levels of all fluids.

timing belt intervals (97+ in particular) generally due at 105-110k and every 80k thereafter

Avoid cars that have been modified/raced/blinged out. usually these are thrashed and not well maintained. You'll be buying someone elses problem and paying $$$ for their immaturity.


You can get great deals on the cars in need of a bit of work. One of the greatest things about subaru is that they are simple to work on and that many MANY parts cross over from year to year and model to model. A little time perusing junkyards and a few hours of wrenching can turn a $500. beater car into a very reliable daily driver, adventure car or road trip machine.


Highly reccomended is to find a good bodied, good drivetrain Legacy GT or Outback with a bad 2.5 motor. Swap a 1990-1998 EJ22 motor in it's place and have the best of both worlds with the ground clearance and options of an outback and the bullet proof reliability of the best motor subaru ever made. 90s outbacks with bad headgaskets can readily be found for $500-$1500 and sourcing EJ22 motors for $300-$500 is not hard. A weekend of wrenching gets you a fantastic car for less than half it's value.


Do some searches on here and hunt craigslist etc. for deals on the cars themselves and parts to build them up. The classifieds in here can also get the ball rolling.


Welcome to the madness!

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