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Old 08-12-2006, 02:59 PM   #1
DyeOwnsMe
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Default 97' Impreza L what should i know?

My friend is looking to buy a 1997 Red 2dr 5spd. Impreza L with 116,000mi
good condition overall clean in and out.
engine looks a little dirty but sounded and ran good, weak clutch mabye...

Are these cars prone to headgasket or valve problems? or any other common problems i should know about??

My 00' 2.5RS had a bad valve and developed 5th gear pop-out at around this mileage...

Thanks for any help
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Old 08-12-2006, 03:24 PM   #2
Erconcepts
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The 2.2L is pretty much bullet proof, just don't drive it through the ocean, don't ask me how I know that one lol. Ask when the timing belt was changed last it should have been around the 60-90K mark. also check all the drive axles for wear around the boot, Look at everything really carefully and take it to a trusty mechanic if you or your friend is not car friendly. Good Luck
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Old 08-12-2006, 06:08 PM   #3
lookitsawagon
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The front and rear main seals like to start leaking around that mileage (or sooner), so check underneath for oil buildup (from blowing back onto the underside of the engine/tranny). They're not a big deal to fix, but check to see if they were done when the timing belt was changed.
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Old 08-12-2006, 07:27 PM   #4
IllNastyImpreza
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my daily driver is a 97 L...4 door, green ;0) They are AWESOME little cars. Its actualy way lighter than my 98rs. It whipps around town pretty easily. Good gass milage etc...

like he said, front and rear main seals tend to leak. My front main is leaking a little bit. But 1 qrt of lucas oil treatment and it seals it up tighter than ashly olsen. The wheel bearings tend to go bad fairly early as well. I just swapped out the knuckles @ the same time and did the rear drum to disc conversion...(paid like 150 bucks for both)
But besides that these cars are bulletproof for the money. You can usualy get em pretty cheap too....and they're easily upgradable to an RS.
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Old 08-12-2006, 09:21 PM   #5
Rally_wgn
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^^^ Yeppers!
THIS (plain vanilla '97 L wagon)


PLUS THESE ('98 2.5L DOHC and Full Rallitek Exhaust)



EQUALS THIS (Awesome sounding, clips later, neck snapping L wagon)




Springs help make it better.
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Old 08-12-2006, 09:25 PM   #6
IllNastyImpreza
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you make it look so easy lol
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Old 08-12-2006, 09:34 PM   #7
Rally_wgn
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you know if i had to do it again i could do it easily in a weekend. We swapped the motor, exhaust, springs and engine and tranny mounts. We spent one weekend popping out the old motor and putting the new one in. We also did the springs, exhaust and converted the intake to MAF.

Only my inexperience kept the project from being finished that weekend. I didnt put lube on the injector O-rings and I didnt put loctite on the flywheel bolts. The flywheel bolts backed out causing severe crankshaft endplay issues which resulted in some rod knock and the injectors kept popping there o-ring and leaking fuel everywhere.

The brain trust here helped me through both problems and the car just flys. We are taking it to the strip for some data gathering next month and hope to get a dyno run together at some point soon.
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Old 08-12-2006, 09:54 PM   #8
IllNastyImpreza
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yea...it sucks to over-look the little things..... I will have to put my anal-retentive hat on when my block is done next week....I'v been without my engine for like 3 months now...its gone be SO hard not to just throw it back in as fast as I can!
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Old 08-13-2006, 02:11 AM   #9
DyeOwnsMe
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$3000 a good price...
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Old 08-14-2006, 02:15 AM   #10
preid1184
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Okay, sorry if I'm hijacking but I'm in a very similar spot as the first guy who posted. I'm in need of new (to me) wheels, and I really like the 2.2L Impreza. I looked at one today that had obviously been through at least one new england winter (I'm in NC). The engine had a good bit of corrosion/salt buildup but ran well, and the car felt strong. It tracked slightly to the left and will probably need an alignment as well as new belts and some new tires. It did not appear to be leaking any oil, and the CV boots looked fairly new. Asking price is $1,995.

So here are my questions-
Most of the corrosion looks superficial, but I don't really have any experience with the effects salt can have on a car. Should this be a red light?
My spending cap is 3K. I'm not opposed to picking up something on the cheap and putting a few hundred into it, but in this case I'm worried that might just be prolonging the inevitable (rust/corrosion affecting the cars overall integrity), and that I would be better off looking for something more expensive, but cleaner.
How hard is it to clean that salty looking crap off of metal and plastic?
How much would an alignment for a 97 Impreza wagon run?
Would anybody in central NC like to sell me their Impreza?

I'm new here, and will hopefully be a bonafide Subaru owner in the near future. If this is the wrong place to be asking these questions, let me know where to go!
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Old 08-14-2006, 11:01 AM   #11
DyeOwnsMe
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In order to not highjack my thread you could add some more detials about the car you are looking at such as miles, damage, etc... that way we can make a comparison
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Old 08-14-2006, 11:16 AM   #12
Calamity Jesus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by preid1184
Okay, sorry if I'm hijacking but I'm in a very similar spot as the first guy who posted. I'm in need of new (to me) wheels, and I really like the 2.2L Impreza. I looked at one today that had obviously been through at least one new england winter (I'm in NC). The engine had a good bit of corrosion/salt buildup but ran well, and the car felt strong. It tracked slightly to the left and will probably need an alignment as well as new belts and some new tires. It did not appear to be leaking any oil, and the CV boots looked fairly new. Asking price is $1,995.

So here are my questions-
Most of the corrosion looks superficial, but I don't really have any experience with the effects salt can have on a car. Should this be a red light?
My spending cap is 3K. I'm not opposed to picking up something on the cheap and putting a few hundred into it, but in this case I'm worried that might just be prolonging the inevitable (rust/corrosion affecting the cars overall integrity), and that I would be better off looking for something more expensive, but cleaner.
How hard is it to clean that salty looking crap off of metal and plastic?
How much would an alignment for a 97 Impreza wagon run?
Would anybody in central NC like to sell me their Impreza?

I'm new here, and will hopefully be a bonafide Subaru owner in the near future. If this is the wrong place to be asking these questions, let me know where to go!
1. Check in the South East Region Classifieds forum. Get to know the SE, lots of good NC folks there.
2. There are a few good Subarus in the Raleigh area.. most from the mountains have seen a good bit of salt. IMHO, it's worth it to get a salt-free vehicle if you plan to work on it yourself. Suspension work is a nightmare on my '99 RS which has spent it's life in Boone. Meanwhile, my gf's 240,000mi '92 Legacy is easy to work on.. it spent it's first 10 years in Raleigh. Keep looking.
3. There's no cleaning to it.. it usually seizes bolts and makes everything really ugly and nasty.. I effing hate salt!
4. An alignment is free if you don't mind doing it yourself. I've been aligning my Subarus myself for a few years now with the 'string method'.
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Old 08-14-2006, 12:14 PM   #13
preid1184
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DyeOwnsMe
In order to not highjack my thread you could add some more detials about the car you are looking at such as miles, damage, etc... that way we can make a comparison

Okay- It's got just over 150,000 miles on the clock. The body is rough but still intact, the paint is a little faded although the only bubbling is a half-dollar size spot just above the right rear wheelwell. The seam under the car (beneath the door, where sheetmetal ends and undercarraige begins, not sure what the official term is) is a little rusty and slightly chewed up from where someone put a jack on it. The undercarraige actually looked pretty good, naturally the exhaust pipe was rusty but the cat looked fine. The suspension links seemed solid, although that's just what I could tell from peeking underneath, not sure about the differentials etc.
It had what used to be a nice set of Nokian winter tires, they are dry and cracked now. If I had to guess I would say it was someones winter beater.
The motor seems to be the worst part cosmetically, but it fired right up and aside from a little belt squeal first thing it ran well and pulled strong.

Beaverboy- Thanks for the tips. I am going to continue looking, but since time is a bit of an issue for me this is my fallback vehicle. While I would like something a little nicer, ultimately I just need something that will get me around for the next year or so and isn't totally depressing to drive (i.e. Corolla). Also, I am no stranger to rust and seized bolts. My pops and I have been working on a 76 FJ-40 for the past few years so the garage is well stocked with PB Blaster and Rustoleum. Anyways, lots to think about. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 08-15-2006, 12:03 PM   #14
Rally_wgn
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Rust never sleeps, its like cockroachs, if you see one patch there are a hundred others hiding on the body. Unless your really into doing body work, i.e. stripping the entire car and cutting and welding in patches, I would avoid this car.
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Old 08-15-2006, 12:25 PM   #15
jd_nasioc
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The 2.2L's are fun little cars. The motor has a useful amount a power and it's fairly flat. Plus you've got AWD. A friend of mine had one for a few years and it's a fairly tossable car that's affordable and fun to drive.
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Old 08-17-2006, 03:18 AM   #16
IllNastyImpreza
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Old 08-17-2006, 05:49 PM   #17
epicurux
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Can anyone tell me if the MY02 WRX axle back exhaust fits a MY97 Impreza Outback Sports? Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-17-2006, 07:47 PM   #18
SilverSurfer04STi
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OK, what is the limit on the miles here? I'm looking at a 96 Legacy 2.2L with 221,000 miles. I thought if these were well maintained they would run to 300,000+ miles.

In summary, check:
1) front and rear seals
2) timing belt

Anything else?
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Old 08-17-2006, 08:33 PM   #19
Boxologist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epicurux
Can anyone tell me if the MY02 WRX axle back exhaust fits a MY97 Impreza Outback Sports? Thanks in advance.
u need to have the bolt flange rewelded to be correctly orientated.
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Old 08-17-2006, 08:39 PM   #20
ROC pit-bull
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salt only makes your car stronger... beaware that when you take a car with rust on it into a climate like NC the rust will appear like wild fire... some about rust liking warm weather.

salt sand and everything else that is put on the roads up here definatly make it hard to work on anything under the cars body.
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Old 08-23-2006, 12:03 AM   #21
IllNastyImpreza
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverSurfer04STi
OK, what is the limit on the miles here? I'm looking at a 96 Legacy 2.2L with 221,000 miles. I thought if these were well maintained they would run to 300,000+ miles.

In summary, check:
1) front and rear seals
2) timing belt

Anything else?
wheels bearings always go bad on the earlier impreza's round 100kor earlier make sure they where changed(to the new ones that don't go bad) or you are gona spend around 400 bucks a wheel to get them replaced...I do mine myself and its still ****in 75 bucks a wheel...and a HUGE headache
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Old 08-23-2006, 07:55 AM   #22
SilverSurfer04STi
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I didn't end up buying it. I test drove it and it threw a CEL within a block. So I offered way less and the guy didn't want to sell it for way less. So I walked away...
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Old 08-24-2006, 12:08 AM   #23
Rally_wgn
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Smart move its not like it was some rare ferrari dino or anything, though i would have a hard time passing up a Pantera in decent shape... sorry back to reality. Good move keep up the search.
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Old 08-24-2006, 11:26 AM   #24
IllNastyImpreza
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yea...just keep your eye open. I searched ebay everyday for like 4 months before I found my green little L.....62,000 miles and I got her for just over 3 grand. 5 speed....and the ONLY thing wrong with it was the horn didn't work
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