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Old 07-09-2015, 09:53 PM   #1
calebrothwell
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Join Date: Jul 2015
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Location: Boise Idaho
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World Rally Blue

Default High School Student seeking wrx advice

Hello, I purchased a 2002 WRX wagon with 179k. It now has 185k. Now the heads have started to leak. The turbo is still good though. I need some advice on what to do next. First here is a list of mods, JDM STi struts and lowering springs, full catback, and CAI.

I had a shop estimate about 9k for a complete rebuild of the engine and turbo, transmission flush, diff flush, radiator flush, etc. the works. They also quoted me 6-7k for a JDM EJ20 swap. Im just wondering what I should do. I am going into my senior year of high school therefor I do not have a lot of money to spend. Any advice would be awesome! And one more thing. What about a hybrid swap? Would this be a good idea in this situation? Thanks in advance!
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Last edited by calebrothwell; 07-10-2015 at 01:03 AM.
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Old 07-09-2015, 10:06 PM   #2
FaastLegacy
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I'm going to be of absolutely no help, but I will point out that this is a great example of why you don't buy geriatric, used performance cars. Especially when you're broke and in high school.
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Old 07-09-2015, 10:09 PM   #3
Burton15sti
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Honestly try to sell it and buy something reliable. These things turn into money pits very quickly. Good luck man
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Old 07-09-2015, 10:12 PM   #4
calebrothwell
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Default

update*
I bought this car knowing that I would be either doing a swap or rebuild that was my plan. I was just seeking advice on which may be better.
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Old 07-09-2015, 10:15 PM   #5
neko
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Wow. 9k. Wish I got paid like that for motor rebuilds. Wouldn't need a full time job.

As far as comments about it not being reliable? Might have an unknown past, but since when aren't Imprezas reliable? More so than 90% of the crap on the road. He's still better off than buying some crappy domestic econobox that won't make it to 100k...

When you say "leak"... do you mean coolant or oil. Have you compression tested it to see how its doing internally? Typically ej205's die to lack of valve adjustment... bout it.
If you're leaking oil, its probably just valve cover gaskets. If you're leaking coolant from the head gaskets (especially if its still running and driving fine), then its probably an external water jacket leak and you probably could get away with just new HG's. Can't imagine what 9k involves for a rebuild (completely new custom built motor?)

Either way, if you're a poor kid, i guess its about time you learn to work on your own car. Subaru flat 4's are some of the easiest motors to work on and remove/install out there. Seen more than a few novice mechanics do HG's jobs on Subarus with nothing but cheap tools and internet guidance. Not saying its a cake walk, but it isn't difficult. Bout the most complex tool you need its a torque wrench.

JDM swaps and hybrid jobs aren't too difficult, but if you go the route of a new motor, and you're poor, i suggest keeping it simple to save in the long rung. Just get another ej205 block, etc, and be able to run the stock setup/tune/etc till you can afford to play the mod game...
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Old 07-09-2015, 10:18 PM   #6
ejicon
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First off, sorry to hear about your heads... that's never fun.
$9k for a car you probably spent $6k on. If you don't have the money, I would recommend just walking away from this one. Sell with the appropriate discrepancies, get as much as you can for it and put the money you get towards something more economical. When your done with high school or maybe midway through college and with a reliable job/steady cash-flow, then a used WRX project would be appropriate. Seriously though. Save your money and just buy another car.
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Old 07-09-2015, 10:19 PM   #7
slurredwords
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Get something reliable like a Honda Civic til you're out of college or have a real job making money. Gotta pay to play and paying more for an engine rebuild than that of what the car is actually worth just doesn't make sense. Sorry but just being brutally honest. As will most people commenting here. Good luck.
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Old 07-09-2015, 10:28 PM   #8
jsnacker
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Default High School Student seeking wrx advice

9k seems a bit steep. I would find a low mileage block or buy a new short block and be done with it. I'd dump 3-4k into it tops otherwise sell it and cut your losses. I'm a senior in hs this year as well.
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Old 07-09-2015, 11:01 PM   #9
calebrothwell
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so just buy an used engine jdmcalifornia.com or jdmenginecorp.com and throw it in and use my current intake/exhaust manifolds and intercooler?
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Old 07-09-2015, 11:31 PM   #10
FaastLegacy
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If ****ting away $9k to fix your car ain't no thing for you, why didn't you just a buy decent $15k WRX in the first place, instead of this basketcase?
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:15 AM   #11
Burton15sti
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neko View Post
Wow. 9k. Wish I got paid like that for motor rebuilds. Wouldn't need a full time job.



As far as comments about it not being reliable? Might have an unknown past, but since when aren't Imprezas reliable? More so than 90% of the crap on the road. He's still better off than buying some crappy domestic econobox that won't make it to 100k...

Reliable as In more reliable than his current car
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Old 07-10-2015, 06:42 AM   #12
HinshawWRX
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Is it leaking at the head or the valve cover gaskets?
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Old 07-10-2015, 06:57 AM   #13
Jack
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Sell the WRX.

Find a car that can be both fun and reliable. I'm looking for one at the moment and I can tell you that an older Civic or CRX can be found with a lot of looking. Mazda 3's are extremely reliable and more fun than Hondas and less money.

Spending $9k on a $4k car to make it into a $5k car is just not smart.

We are not fanbois here and live in reality world. You dont have a 65 Ferrari that should be preserved. You have a car that is this close (holding fingers together) to being a junkyard candidate.
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Old 07-10-2015, 07:16 AM   #14
69subaru360
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You should sell the car for whatever you can get and take your $6-9k and just buy another one in better condition.

You would be stupid to sink that sort of money into a car that is worth maybe $3-5k
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Old 07-10-2015, 07:48 AM   #15
Unabomber
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Sell. If not, take it to at least 2 other shops and say the following:

I need an estimate for 100% OEM components in the cheapest fashion possible so discuss rebuilt and/or new OEM options and nothing else.

You have NO NEED for hybrid/JDM options as you don't know if you are afoot or horseback with cars and have no need for additional drama above and beyond OEM fixes.
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Old 07-10-2015, 08:37 AM   #16
carlos.danger
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Stay away from jdm engines.
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Old 07-10-2015, 09:36 AM   #17
hudsonvalleybugeye
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unabomber View Post
Sell. If not, take it to at least 2 other shops and say the following:

I need an estimate for 100% OEM components in the cheapest fashion possible so discuss rebuilt and/or new OEM options and nothing else.

You have NO NEED for hybrid/JDM options as you don't know if you are afoot or horseback with cars and have no need for additional drama above and beyond OEM fixes.
Listen to this.

Bring it to a good, reputable, trustworthy (that's right, I said trustworthy) shop and have the problem diagnosed, as you don't REALLY seem to know 100%, without a doubt what's wrong with the car.

Also, fill out your profile. If we know where you reside, someone can recommend a good shop to go to.

Good luck!
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Old 07-10-2015, 11:26 AM   #18
powder8
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i think you all got trolled...
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Old 07-10-2015, 05:52 PM   #19
Yorker1127
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Swap a 2jz into it
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Old 07-10-2015, 06:04 PM   #20
Mikevar94
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9k??? Good lord. I just put a BRAND new ej255 shortblock in mine with a full head rebuild, 850cc injectors, external wastegate and all the motor accessories such as oil and water pump and I spent 6300. If I left out the ewg and injectors we would lookin at about 5k. That's also me and my buddies doing the whole install. Just go that route. Really isnt hard and a hell of a lot cheaper.
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Old 07-11-2015, 01:57 PM   #21
Zergburger
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07 GSXR 750

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Sad to see no one wiser than yourself stopped you from buying such a busted old car. Take it from me, you do not want a turbo car in HS/undergrad college. You want a car that is cheap and reliable, if you still find you HAVE to have something sporty, buy an integra or miata, or n/a MR2 (the first gen ones are cheap and fun as hell to drive)

I bought a 91 turbo supra in HS and that thing spent more time sitting in my driveway not running than it ever did running, you CANNOT maintain a high mileage turbo car on a high school students budget. WRX's seem to be one of the worst for this since the low initial costs attract people that have no business owning/operating/maintaining properly one of these cars, they launch them, hoon them, abuse them; they dont maintain them, they mod without retunes, they shortcut and ******-rig things, whether out of ignorance or laziness, and the car ends up saying "**** this, i've had enough" and dies.

Being in HS you should take the time to learn how to work on your car, not paying for the labor and parts mark-up of a shop makes maintenance costs absurdly lower.

As far as a hybrid swap, i think its a great idea. Swap out your WRX for a prius and have the lowest operating cost of any car.

Moral of the story, sell the car AS IS and buy something cheaper til you can afford to own and maintain a turbo car.

Sorry, this probably wasn't the answer you wanted to hear, but its the truth brother. We all make mistakes, its how you deal with the consequences and learn from the mistakes that separate the men from the boys.

Last edited by Zergburger; 07-11-2015 at 02:04 PM.
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