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Old 08-18-2006, 08:58 PM   #1
SilverSurfer04STi
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Chapter/Region: MWSOC
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2013 WRB BRZ

Default 1996 Legacy Wagon... decisions, decisions....

I need a daily driver.... So, I'm probably buying a white 1996 Legacy Wagon tomorrow.

Please forgive me, I know tons about the WRX and STi platorm, but I'm absolutely clueless bout these older N/A models...

Brief overview before I ask my questions.
Good - Car is priced VERY cheap
Good - Car runs good and AC works
Good - Timing belt appear to be new
Good - Carfax is clean
Bad - Odometer has 221,000 miles on it
Bad - Has some dents and dings (hence the low price in the good section)

So on to the questions...
1) I'm buying this car as a daily driver (I have a highly modified STi currently having an Axis stg III block being installed). Is it even worth buying some minor modications for the Legacy wagon? If so, what???

2) Besides the info above, I learned in another thread that I should inspect the front and rear seals as they are prone to leak. So that will be the first thing I look at tomorrow before I make my final decision. Are there any other big things I should be looking for?

3) The engine has over 220K on the odo... Realistically, how long do these things last if well maintained?

4) Any other advice for a probable 1996 Legacy Wagon owner? Any info is much appreciated.
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Old 08-18-2006, 10:12 PM   #2
G.Subramaniam
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Underdrive pulley
Cold air intake
2.25" catback exhaust
Delta Cams
Red Top Optima battery
Nokian WR tires
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Old 08-18-2006, 11:19 PM   #3
SilverSurfer04STi
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Cool. Thanks for the suggested mods.

Regarding some of the info in the original post, you think it wise to mod the 2.2L engine with 220,000 miles on it or should I just buy it and mod it if the engine dies (moving up to an upgraded 2.5L of course)?
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Old 08-18-2006, 11:24 PM   #4
problemcat13
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APR Stage 1 (300ft/lbs)

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Is it AWD? In 1996, that was a model option, not standard for them all. 2.2L engine.

Let me just say that we had a 1995 Outback (which for 95 was just a legacy with two-tone stickers, no suspension or anything) and my wife MISSES it like crazy! I don't know what $ your looking at, but we sold ours with over 100k miles for $3500 about a year and a half ago.

Some seals may leak, but many of this year range do. That is not a problem, just an annoyance. I had all the front seals done with the timing belt (as the previous owner should have) and I had one leaky seal on the back of the passenger side cam cover plate that I never got around to replacing.

You'll probably also have lots of little lights that don't work, you know, fog light switch, cc switch, eventually the HVAC controls lights

FWIW, many people rave that the 2.2L is an indestructible drivetrain, better than the 2.5. It was a good vehicle, and I would recommend one for a daily driver, but I don't know if you'll ever get much power out of it.

I enjoyed ours. BTW, it had a ton of room in the backseat, which was handy. Much better than my Forester with two kids!
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Old 08-18-2006, 11:27 PM   #5
problemcat13
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Oh yeah, the maintenance interval for the timing belt is 60k miles, FYI. Altough the previous owner of our had let it go to 90k!

Yeah, we had that done right away when we bought it!
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Old 08-18-2006, 11:51 PM   #6
SilverSurfer04STi
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Thanks for all the great info. The one I'm looking at does have AWD. The guy wants $1700 for it. With the dents/dings/high mileage there is no way I'm paying that much. Hopefully he comes down b/c I really want the car.

The guy said the timing belt "looks new". No idea what that means, but I'll find out tomorrow...

It's funny how you mention how roomy the car is and that it's great for two kids. We presently have an 8 month old boy and I know the wife has baby fever again so we will be having #2 probably in the next 1-1.5 years. I know an STi has four doors, but I can't imagine trying to haul two kids in one. Also, my STi has crossed the rubicon into project car territory. I don't want to have to depend on it for every day reliable transportation to work and daycare. This Legacy wagon sounds perfect - just hope it doesn't nickel and dime me to death with little repairs or hammer me with a big repair (like an engine or trans).
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Old 08-19-2006, 12:19 AM   #7
Outback Jack
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$1700 sounds really cheap to me, even with dings and mileage.
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Old 08-19-2006, 08:57 AM   #8
SilverSurfer04STi
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Yeah, it is cheap, just want to make sure I don't pay $1700 and then have to turn around and put $750 in repairs on it...
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Old 08-19-2006, 11:42 AM   #9
problemcat13
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Roomy: lot's of people say "yeah, I fit two car seats in the STI" but coming from someone who had a legacy and then went to a Forester (Impreza based), it's like packing sardines man. I can't put the rear-facing car seat behind the drivers seat b/c my wife can't slide the seat back far enough to drive (she's 5'9" with LONG legs). It's even a little tight for me.

It seems newer legacys have less room in the back seat, but in our 95 we could put the front seat ALL the way back and still had TONS of leg room in the back. It was surprising. And more hatch room too!

You may end up having to drop some money for repairs or such, but it won't be on a $10k car so you can feel better about it. Or you might just want to spend $7k more and buy something a little newer. But the 2.2 didn't have head gasket issues like the early 2.5.
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Old 08-19-2006, 03:36 PM   #10
SilverSurfer04STi
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Well, my wife and I went to test drive, inspect the car. First of all, the guy I spoke with on the phone was full of poo....

The car had been in a minor collision at some point. The front bumper was scratched (it had been fixed I think) and the hood was dented by where it latches. The rear bumper was not flush and looked like it was kinda just hanging there. There was only one tiny rust bubble that the paint hadn't come off from yet so the paint had held up very well. Besides the collision damage which was minor, the outside was in pretty good shape.

After visually inspecting the exterior and under the hood, we went for a test drive. The car threw a CEL within two blocks. I kept driving anyway to see if any symptoms manifested. I got up to about 65mph and when I left off the throttle the car kinda shuddered and then when I put it back on the throttle it kinda hesitated/vibrated (no audible engine knocking though) and after about 3-4 seconds accelerted normally. It did this same thing when I was going about 35mph and lifted off the throttle too.

When we got back I told the guy it threw a CEL within two blocks and he said, "well that could be nothing". I responded with, "well, it could also be $1000 in repairs for all I know". From there he said make an offer. I said with the collision damage and not knowing what the CEL was and the shuddering it did I would only pay $750 for a car in that poor of condition. He came down to $1200, but I still think that's way too pricey for a car in that condition in obvious need of some tune up/repair time.

Long story short, we just left and I didn't make the purchase.
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