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If I end up being sucked into the Subaru universe completely, in addition to our new acquisition ('03 OBW H6) I might shop for a replacement for my '96 Dodge Avenger that I hate even though it was a huge leap forward from my '81 Civic wagon with no air and no radio.(My Mom gave it to me after she stopped driving).

 

So, assume I'd like to get R-134a and avoid the 2.5l 'death gasket' engine. I assume we're talking about a '96 or thereabouts? Which vehicles have the 2.2l? can you tell from the VIN? What were the models called? Which ones would be good daily drivers but might lend themselves to offroad fun? Do Subes have cartridges or do you have to buy whole struts? Should I expect to find worn out struts/steering gear?

 

Wagon prefered but sedan OK. What to watch for avoid? Common problem areas, rust areas. I have done light/medium engine/chassis work in the past but nowadays find it painful to crawl around under vehicles much so some kinda' reply like; 'don't worry about XYZ cause you can just put it up on jacks and change that yourself' replies will be met with a groan!

 

All advice appreciated - mainly I need Subaru specific education!

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There were some '96 Outbacks with 2.2L. However the '96 2.5L engines don't seem to have the problems the '97-'99's have.

Look at '95 on Legacy's or Legacy Brightons. They all have 2.2L engines. But they do not have the ground clearance of an Outback. I do believe there is BYB's lift in the works or maybe now in production for the Legacy.

 

You can tell the difference in the 2.2 and 2.5 buy lookin' under the hood. 2.2L in a single overhead cam engine. 2.5L is a dual over head cam. If you have a little engine savy you'll see the difference in the timing belt covers. Also if the emissions sticker is still on the hood that will have the pertinent info.

 

Struts do wear out as on any car. They are not cartrige type. They wholesale for about $80. Since your not going to do they yourself you can figure on paying $700+ to replace all four.

 

Wheel bearings go bad now and agin. $250-$285 to replace.

 

Drive in tight circles in a praking lot to see if the AWD is working smoothly on AT models.

 

Can't go wrong with a well maintained Legacy 2.2L.

 

Happy shopping

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If I looked at a '96 Impreza AT and drove around in tight circles (after confirming no mixed tire sizes) what would the AT sound/feel like if it were bad?

 

Is a '96 gonna have R134a coolant? 2.2l engine?(I understand the plugs will be in the middle of the valve covers if DOHC but are the plugs on the top side of the SOHC?)

 

In the future, could a MT be swapped into this car? DR MT? Are there lift kits for this vehicle? (i'm thinking - make that dreaming - rallycross)

 

It would mostly be a daily driver but might get some upgrades slowly along the way.

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Also, are '95 Imprezas gonna be OBD2 ?or have R134a freon?

 

I know you guys think the A/C question is crazy but it gets really hot here. Hot enough to have a severe headache driving home from work if you don't have A/C in August.

 

tia

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I can't really answer any of your questions directly, but I can offer my experience. I recently drove a '97 legacy wagon with a 2.2l and a 5-speed. It was more responsive and much nicer to drive than our '99 outback wagon with a 2.5 and AT. The car feels much lighter and should get better mileage. That particular car has been somewhat poorly maintained, and my friend and I are going to do some serious work to it (at my request). It seems to have held up very well to the moderate neglect (no timing belt change at 130k).

 

The only thing I don't like about the legacy wagon is the ground clearance. Heck, my '92 dynasty has more ground clearance. On my road the legacy would have to "plow" significant snow on some winter days. Studded snows would be a must. That shouldn't be a problem for you, but off roading would be very limited. I guess my ideal new gen suby would be an outback with a 2.2 and a 5-speed, or an impreza based vehicle with the same.

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I'm thinking OBD2 started in '96, can anyone confirm/deny this? And as for the tranny, a manual could be swapped in, a d/r mt would have to be brought in from Europe or Japan. Pricey and not worth it, get something late '80s for the d/r. As for rust--do cars rust in Texas?! Actually almost all the Imprezas I see here (northern CT and western MA) are rust-free, as are all the Gen II/III Legacies and all the Foresters. I thnk FHI finally got the rust problem under control (or it just takes longer for them to rust out). Good luck on your search!

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Rust? Nah they don't usually rust in Texas - they don't survive the hail and Tornadoes long enough to rust! (LOL) But I suppose a car could show up that had spent time elsewhere.

 

I missed cheking out a MT Impreza. I may go look at one after work today that's AT - more to get an idea of what I'm looking for. I'm not opposed to getting an AT but am not in a hurry either. Are the ATs from the mid-90s troublesome?

 

thanx guys for trying to educate me.

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All auto trannies are troublesome, but the ones from the mid-'90s are pretty decent. Just steer clear of the SVX if you're worried about transmission troubles--most of them have been thrashed. Good luck in your search.

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