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My daughter sounds like she is ready to upgrade to a nicer car so we are going to look at a Legacy with the 2.2 liter engine and manual transmission.

 

Here is what the seller says:

 

“1996 Subaru Legacy. One owner, 111K Miles, non smoking vehicle. Comes with summer and winter tires. Mechanically sound and in perfect working condition. This is a great reliable car for Alaskan life. Current registration. Great shocks and not a chip in the windsheild. $2800 firm.”

 

I’ve never had a car with the 2.2 engine. Is there anything in particular we should look for on this vehicle? I’ve heard people say the EJ22 is better than the EJ25.

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I don't know what cars are going for in Alaska, but wow... 2800 is pretty salty for a 22 year old car.

 

That being said, if it's not rusty, that car would run another 200k easy, or more, with very little maintenance. 

 

The early 2.2s are bulletproof. I have one with over 500k that has never even had head gaskets.

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A one owner 96 MT 2.2 with only 111,000  for $2800 in Fairbanks ...  Buy it.    Best motor subi has made since the gear to gear carburetor  EA engines.

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I checked the Kelly Blue Book value and $2900 is the upper range for our location. It also comes with a set of winter tires on a separate set of steel rims. Here in Fairbanks they hardly use salt on the roads and our snow is a fine dry powder so card don’t rust much. The owner bought the car new in Anchorage and also lived in Washington state. Anchorage does have rust issues but apparently this car is nice and solid.

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Higher cost than the lower 48 but... a one owner car , extra rims & tires , and you will never have to worry if the timing belt breaks!  Don't wait somebody else that knows Subaru's will snap it up.

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I have a 95 subaru with 170K miles and of course the 2.2 engine.  Things will go wrong with the car.  Some failures that i have had are:  starter, alternator, door window motor, rust out of break line and fill tube, fuel pump, MAF, constant velocity boots,and power steering motor.  Please notice that there is nothing on the list concerning the engine or transmission.  I fixed all the above, except brake lines and CVB, myself, and I'm not mechaically inclined.

 

The starter and alternator fail often enough after 100K that I would think about PM-ing them, especially in Alaska, unless you had information that they had been replaced.

 

If I was in your shoes, without any rust, I would buy the car.  The only thing really to worry about is the fuel pump.  That failure will stop you cold without any advanced warning.  It easy to replace and I should know since I've done two of them [on separate cars].  Since it's alaska, you might think about pulling it and replaceing the pump with an OEM as expensive as that would be.  Another idea would be to get a used MAF and keep in a box in the back.  It's a 5 min swap.  And you could do the same with the fuel pump assembly. Good luck. 

Edited by mikec03
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Agreed on the fuel pump.  Easy enough to change but they commonly go out with no warning.

  Starter is usually the solenoid contacts, easy to fix or replace at home, besides its a stick it can be push started  

MAF is going to go out sooner or later.  Ebay a used original and keep it in the car , its another side of the road change... for that matter so is the timing belt if you carry tools and a spare belt.

Having a spare alternator is always a good idea. Another ,easy side of the road fix.

axles are axles , if the boots don't lose their grease they last for years.

Edited by montana tom

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A warning on the fuel pump,I just went thru this for a customer.  The Bosh OE replacement pump at a hefty $160 + is an "almost" exact duplicate of the original... Unfortunately it does not come with a rubber mount to install it, nor will your perfectly good original one fit it ! For some reason bosh changed the bottom of the pump and did not make a rubber cup to hold it ???? There's a college educated engineer (idiot) with clean hands behind that great idea!    I had to buy the $80 china pump (imagine this ) that came with a new rubber cup for the bottom ! It fit perfect & started up instantly!

I gave my customer the china part # for the pump. Told him to buy a spare to keep with the car.  I then showed him how easy it is to change that pump on the side of the road.

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A warning on the fuel pump,I just went thru this for a customer. The Bosh OE replacement pump at a hefty $160 + is an "almost" exact duplicate of the original... Unfortunately it does not come with a rubber mount to install it, nor will your perfectly good original one fit it ! For some reason bosh changed the bottom of the pump and did not make a rubber cup to hold it ???? There's a college educated engineer (idiot) with clean hands behind that great idea! I had to buy the $80 china pump (imagine this ) that came with a new rubber cup for the bottom ! It fit perfect & started up instantly!

I gave my customer the china part # for the pump. Told him to buy a spare to keep with the car. I then showed him how easy it is to change that pump on the side of the road.

We use the Deatschwerks or Walbro high volume pumps on everything. They run about $90 to $110 online. They have many different install kits for various applications. I used the same pump on my 86 Trans Am that we use on 04 to 07 STI's. We never buy parts store fuel pumps.

 

GD

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The engine might tick as '96 still had the hla lifters. It's extremely easy to remove them and hand clean + bleed or outright replace for little cost. If the valve covers leak oil, it's worth the extra hour of time to hand clean them. If the tick is really loud and never goes away, it might be fully collapsed and would need to be cleaned and primed anyways.

 

Make sure everything works. Rear wiper (if it has one) shouldn't be too noisy (good ones are quiet). Heat and AC should work. Power locks should all lock (all 4 doors + hatch) when using the driver door lock. Key should unlock both doors and hatch (hatch key lock can seize). AWD should work. Tight turns shouldn't bind. CEL, ABS, etc. lights should appear with key on and go out when running.

 

VERY important. Rear strut towers should NOT show rust, cracks, etc.(pull carpet back in hatch area and inspect the metal if possible, and look for rust in the spare tire well). This is an issue, and if like my '95, will eventually break free, and you'll end up with the top of the strut tower a couple inches from the rear 1/4 glass. It IS fixable with a welder though not recommended for a kid. The rear cradle that holds the rear differential in place MUST be inspected. They rot like an old soup can and will eventually break free from the body. Again, very easy to fix/replace the cradle, but must be inspected.

 

If any of these things are faulty, mention it while doing the walk around. When it comes to price, these can be inferred as to needing fixed, and all of a sudden the "firm" price can usually be negotiated, especially if they don't know it's like that.

 

Other things to look for is rusted out underside panels of the unibody, trans should shift correctly w/o crunching and clutch shouldn't slip, etc. Look through the rim holes and see that all 4 rotors are smooth and shiny. If you see grooves, rust & shine on clamping surface, etc. it means that brake assembly will need attention. If car has been sitting outdoors and not driven a awhile, you might see rust which *should* clear after a drive.

Edited by Bushwick

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Is the fuel pump in the gas tank? Our Forester has never had a fuel pump problem.

 

Yes, under back seat area. Back seat bottom can flip forward. While flipped up, look through other access hole and see if any lines are rusted. The fuel return line can leak as well. Also, not mentioned, but brake lines ROT on these cars as well. I've had several sections go bad in the rear, near/around the the cradle I mentioned above, and the lines can rot around the bend from the front brakes where it enters through the body hole to the engine compartment. i.e. follow where it goes from rubber line connector to hard line, and snakes up to the ABS pump if equipped. Good idea is to apply HARD, steady brake pedal when stopping (be very careful where/when you try this as you don't want to hit someone or end up in a ditch) from a slower speed (like 35) and come to a complete stop, almost mimicking a panic stop. I've had a line rupture from this after a plow truck backed out a driveway one winter, right in front of me. Brakes gave way, and I stopped (barely) 5-8' from his bed/rear axle. Other times, they gradually go on lighter braking. But the panic stop can let you know if imminent rupture is near. Ideally, an inspection should be done by mechanic regardless, but if a line gave way during testing, it's a bargaining point.

 

EDIT: FWIRW, my '95 appeared to have the factory pump still, and it didn't go until late 170k mile range. They are easy to replace if you want to DIY. Can be proactive or reactive, your choice.

Edited by Bushwick

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Yes, pump is in the tank.

 

I believe it makes a difference in the life of the pump if the tank is run a lot at lower levels, because the fuel keeps the pump cool.

 

My 500k vehicle is still on the original pump, so I carry a spare ???? still on the original fuel filter too!

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Yes, pump is in the tank.

 

I believe it makes a difference in the life of the pump if the tank is run a lot at lower levels, because the fuel keeps the pump cool.

 

My 500k vehicle is still on the original pump, so I carry a spare still on the original fuel filter too!

 You should replace the fuel filter. It's probably clogged beyond belief, and the pump is probably working overtime trying to keep fuel going to the engine. Every time you fill up, dust particles can enter the tank, not to mention whatever is in the gas, and all the rust/corrosion IN the tank already. Keeping a dirty fuel filter in place isn't something to brag about ;) And yes, gas can cool the pump if level is high enough.

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On a 96 wagon the fuel pump is  actually thru the rear hatch just behind the rear seats.

Under the rear seat you will find the short jumper harness that should be tested to confirm the wiring and fuel pump relay. 

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We are on a test drive now. The owner was not upfront. He just bought it at auction in Anchorage and brought it to Fairbanks to sell.

 

So far the car seems fine.

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It looks well maintained with 112,000 miles.

 

No rust any where. Fluids clean looking. Not leaking anywhere.

 

Front fender has some damage.

Struts normal and no rust.

 

Hood has paint chipped off from gravel hitting it. Otherwise looks good.

 

Alternator belt needs replacing which probably means needs new timing belt too.

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We are on a test drive now. The owner was not upfront. He just bought it at auction in Anchorage and brought it to Fairbanks to sell.

 

So far the car seems fine.

Then he's just trying to flip the car then.

 

It's possible it ended up at auction after a dealer trade-in. Many older cars, unless pristine, rare, etc. have no real place on say a new Ford dealership, etc. Some places might back-lot them until newer trade-ins come in. If they haven't sold by then, they'll ship to auction, where usually a used car lot might grab them if they need little physical work, etc.

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FWIW, you could probably find one at auction yourself for under a $1k assuming no one REALLY wants it badly. Your call. If possible, google the vin. If no images/details appear (the auction listing SHOULD come up and depending on the place, it might list what it truly sold for if it's not listed on the title). If you see nothing whatsoever online for the vin (double-check the vin was copied and inputted correctly), consider trying a car fax, even if you only buy the 1-time use. It'll give an idea of where it's been, how often some maintenance was, any disclosed accidents, how many owners, etc.

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Yeah I paid $650 for a '99 Lincoln Continental that ran rough, from a guy that paid $450 at auction for it, a month prior, though it had a rebuilt title. Seller was 100% honest, other than he removed the 3rd cat and had a flex pipe installed. I bought it, got it running right, and put about another $500 into it. It has 86k miles and looks very nice (damage was very minor and cosmetic, looks like a low mileage survivor atm). For $2800, I could have bought several of what I have ;)

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We googled the vin. It was a donated vehicle. Mentions the front end damage on the bumper. Notes say it starts but won’t idle. No accidents reported for this car.

 

Runs great now so the new owner seems to have worked on it.

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