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2017 Foz 2.5i CVT
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Discussion Starter #1
My 21 year old son totaled his first car recently (a 1997 BMW 318ti) on some black ice and we are heartbroken.

He has also gotten pretty fussy--I brought the bimmer up from North Carolina for him 4 years ago and he's not going to be driving a beater Buick LeSabre, which was my first (joking) suggestion. He's a U of Mich engineering student, occasional autocrosser, and bicycle racer.

He needs a hatch or wagon. On his list is an Impreza wagon (and if I campaign a bit more, a Foz). He *must* have a manual transmission. Budget is $5-8kish, although I could help him go a bit higher if really needed.

Problem is that most Subarus in that price range are 2003 and earlier models, and having looked at the survey numbers, it looks like the chances of Subarus in those years having a HG issue is 50%-90%....maybe this is skewed upward because of the awareness of the forum members here. Or maybe because people with good HG's don't bother with polls as much.

And because he wants a stick and a wagon, we may have to travel. We are in the Detroit area and there are a couple Imprezas (an '02 TS wagon and and an '03 OB Sport) down in Columbus, Ohio that meet the spec. (250 miles+)

First question will have to be "do you have proof that the HG was replaced". If answer is no, we are looking for oil and coolant seepage on the lower HG joint, right?

Can someone also confirm that blown gaskets in that vintage (say 2000-2003) generally do not mix oil and coolant or hydraulic cylinders? Again, that seems to be what I have been reading here--that the earlier models do mix coolant and oil, but that the later ones do not? No WRX, as his insurance costs have to stay low.

I'd spend a week casually reading here and other sites, but we may need to head down in the next couple days, and I have other stuff going on this week (including my 25th wedding anniversary tomorrow...)

Alternatively, I brought his BMW up from a dealer in North Carolina that I trust 100%. We can travel if someone could provide me with info on a 100% trustworthy dealer down south somewhere--please PM me if you have any names.

Thanks in advance for any input. If you have threads you can point me to, please do that.

George
 

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2014 CVT
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i can tell you right off the bat that the head gaskets on the TS will need to be replaced, my sister just had hers (same yr and model, but an auto) replaced from what i recall there was a small coolant leak from around the head gaskets and a fair amount of coolant loss, it was covered by subaru and most if not all cars of that yr will be covered so subaru should have records of the work, and wants wrong with a lesabre............. thats what i drive right now and i beat the crap out of it
 

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2010 Forester 2.5X
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While the headgasket issue is certainly too widespread to say it's completely blown out of proportion, I do feel that Subaru wouldn't have established the reputation that it has if 90% of their cars blew their headgaskets. I still own a 97 Outback with the 2.5 liter, currently with a 155,000 miles and there is no sign of the headgaskets going. My neighbor has a 2002 OB with 187,000 miles and no headgasket issues (or any other issues, for that matter).

However, if you are nervous about it, do a search for 2000-2001 Impreza Outback Sports. Searching for Imprezas on Autotrader usually turns up OB Sports. They had the 2.2 liter, which is a very dependable engine. Many of them are available with a manual transmission, with under 80,000 miles, and under 10,000 dollars. You may have to travel, though.

If you buy a used car with high(er) mileage (no matter the make), it's a gamble, I feel. However, I do feel that the headgasket issue has been slightly exaggerated by us forum hunters. Good hunting.
 

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2017 Foz 2.5i CVT
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Discussion Starter #4
THANKS, and rust question if anyone might know...

While the headgasket issue is certainly too widespread to say it's completely blown out of proportion, I do feel that Subaru wouldn't have established the reputation that it has if 90% of their cars blew their headgaskets. I still own a 97 Outback with the 2.5 liter, currently with a 155,000 miles and there is no sign of the headgaskets going. My neighbor has a 2002 OB with 187,000 miles and no headgasket issues (or any other issues, for that matter).

However, if you are nervous about it, do a search for 2000-2001 Impreza Outback Sports. Searching for Imprezas on Autotrader usually turns up OB Sports. They had the 2.2 liter, which is a very dependable engine. Many of them are available with a manual transmission, with under 80,000 miles, and under 10,000 dollars. You may have to travel, though.

If you buy a used car with high(er) mileage (no matter the make), it's a gamble, I feel. However, I do feel that the headgasket issue has been slightly exaggerated by us forum hunters. Good hunting.
Yodaru:
Thanks a TON for this info...this is the kind of detail that I have overlooked, and finding an '00-01 model OB Sport or Impreza wagon with a 2.2 and lower mileage makes me much more comfortable because it does seem to rule out any headgasket problems.

I've turned up a couple within 150-300 miles, and it looks promising.

One other question (and I apologize for asking this on the Foz forum but I love this place) is how Imprezas of this vintage do in terms of rust in the salt belt. We're in the Detroit area, and lots of cars seem to be rust prone. At least one of my finds is in Grand Rapids, MI, which is in lake effect snow country.

Thanks so much,
George
 

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2010 Forester 2.5X
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My 97 OB was originally from Maine and then spent four years in Pittsburgh and Cleveland with me before I moved down to VA. No rust issues, but I always would wash it religiously. I don't feel that they are any more or less prone to rust than any other car, so you should be fine. I always liked that generation OB Sport...like a little rally car. Wonderfully dependable too.
 

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Yodaru:
Thanks a TON for this info...this is the kind of detail that I have overlooked, and finding an '00-01 model OB Sport or Impreza wagon with a 2.2 and lower mileage makes me much more comfortable because it does seem to rule out any headgasket problems.

I've turned up a couple within 150-300 miles, and it looks promising.

One other question (and I apologize for asking this on the Foz forum but I love this place) is how Imprezas of this vintage do in terms of rust in the salt belt. We're in the Detroit area, and lots of cars seem to be rust prone. At least one of my finds is in Grand Rapids, MI, which is in lake effect snow country.

Thanks so much,
George
The older 01 and prior GC era subarus(especially the coupes) tended to rust right behind the rear wheel wells. Also most subarus tend to rust the fuel filler tube. Pretty much every early (pre 01) impreza up here has rust behind the wheel wells, most people go down south to pick them up if they plan to build it or use it for more than just a winter/rallyx beater.

I'd look for an outback wagon, there are a number of different models that were quite good (could probably even pickup an H6 model for that money). Otherwise I would probably look for an impreza outback sport with the 2.2L.
Actually you could probably get an 03-05 forester XS now for that sort of money. You could even pickup an early 90's legacy turbo or something.
 

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Leaky head gaskets

My 05 forester has leaky head gaskets at 80000 kms it is a large repair bill and I wounldn't buy another one
 

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2016 Outback and WRX CVT
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However, if you are nervous about it, do a search for 2000-2001 Impreza Outback Sports. Searching for Imprezas on Autotrader usually turns up OB Sports. They had the 2.2 liter, which is a very dependable engine. Many of them are available with a manual transmission, with under 80,000 miles, and under 10,000 dollars. You may have to travel, though.
Wow! That's danged good resale value for the Outback Sports!

In our local market (NE-Ohio), well-maintained (mechanically fully sound), reasonable-mileage bugeye WRXs are going for around ~$8500.
 

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Is the ti still available (e.g. did you buy-back after total)

I assume ti was a 5 speed and was wondering if you did a buy-back or if it was available....

Hannah C.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I assume ti was a 5 speed and was wondering if you did a buy-back or if it was available....

Hannah C.
...too much of a hearbreaker to keep it and no room for it, so we just let it go. It was banana'd pretty bad, I think, from the right side hit.

I had a tear in my eye when we said bye...but I still have my '91 318is...

George
 

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2006 V50 T5 6spd Manual
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I love my (Legacy) Outback... you can easily fit bikes inside or up top, depending on how picky you are about them, and they aren't bad looking cars when they're done up right, either...



:biggrin: I'd go for the H6, except that they weren't offered with a manual, I don't think. Mine's an EJ251 model like the Foresters/Impreza's had. Did have to replace the headgaskets though. All in all, I love mine. I really wanted a Forester like the one we already had, but the Outback, even though it is 5 years older than our Forester, is much more refined. Less road noise, more solid feeling, longer, more stable wheelbase. Lots of fun with a 5spd!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I love my (Legacy) Outback... you can easily fit bikes inside or up top, depending on how picky you are about them, and they aren't bad looking cars when they're done up right, either...
I'm actually on to an '01 Legacy wagon with like 78k miles and a 5 speed. Really looks like a mom car (hubcaps and all) but with the rear greenhouse tinted (to conceal bikes some), some nice wheels and tires, I'll have to talk to my son.

Puts us smack dab into head gasket concerns, though. I'm looking for any traces of oil or antifreeze coming out of the bottom of the block/head junction, right??

Do these cars have those plastic undertrays? The dealer selling the car is also a shop which has hoists, or I might just take it to an independent mechanic who knows Subarus well. First I gotta get the son to wrap his mind around such a dorky car :)

George
 

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I'm actually on to an '01 Legacy wagon with like 78k miles and a 5 speed. Really looks like a mom car (hubcaps and all) but with the rear greenhouse tinted (to conceal bikes some), some nice wheels and tires, I'll have to talk to my son.

Puts us smack dab into head gasket concerns, though. I'm looking for any traces of oil or antifreeze coming out of the bottom of the block/head junction, right??

Do these cars have those plastic undertrays? The dealer selling the car is also a shop which has hoists, or I might just take it to an independent mechanic who knows Subarus well. First I gotta get the son to wrap his mind around such a dorky car :)

George

Mine did come with a plastic undertray, but it's gone now. :lol: Yep, that's what you're looking for. If you test drive it a while, stop at some point, pop the hood, and sniff for coolant smell. Mine had it.

Slap some Outback wheels on it, maybe even toss Outback struts and springs on too, and it would look a bit less dorky. There's also a front bumper paint mod that makes it look much better. There's also the factory optional wing that you can get from Jackie (SubaruPartsGirl) for ~$110ish in Titanium Pearl, and have it painted. Helps out some more. I haven't done it yet though.

It's pretty easy to turn dorky into really cool. :biggrin:
 

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I'll be honest and say that I would avoid the 00-02 2.5L Legacy or Outbacks. You're dead-on that you're right in the middle of the headgasket concerns. They seemed more prone to that particular problem, even more so than the 1st gen. The H6 is the better bet for those years.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Yeah, I do agree there. If they haven't been done, they're gonna go. Mine went at 137k miles.
Thanks guys for the encouragement. My son is more an autocrosser than an off-roader (although he does race both road and mountain bikes seriously) so he'd want to keep the car low but cool wheels would help.

The dealer sells a 12/12 warranty for maybe $500ish, thru CNA, which I believe is one of the better aftermarket warranty companies. I wonder if there is any way that the head gaskets could be, um, encouraged to leak a little bit within 12/12?

George
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Probable wrap-up...

Thanks for all your help, guys. It looks like we have found another BMW 318ti in Pennsylvania, and this is a really cool one in particular as it is a 1995 Club Sport model with M3 seats and aero trim on the body. And an extra set of M3 wheels, a set of snow tires, a Dinan chip, and new Bilsteins all around. *Only* 158k miles or so...

If all goes well, we will have a family road trip on Sunday and come home with the car....

Thanks,
George
 
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