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Old 04-15-2009, 12:46 AM   #1
FUBARU_baja
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Default Getting a new baja, would like some advice

First, I'm 19, so I dont have years and years of experience with all sorts of different cars.
I'm coming from an 04 acura rsx base auto model, so bare with me :\

It looks like a good deal.... 04 turbo w/ about 108k miles. auto for 11k
after trade in i figure i'll add 2k or so onto it... cause my car has 84k on it.
blue book and nada put the dif between the 2 cars at about 1600...

anything i should be wary of? anything i should check out specifically?

I test drove an 04 turbo w/ 80k not too long ago, it was amazing, but the dealer was high, he wanted 16k and wouldnt budge...

One way or another i'm going to have a baja before may is over, as im detirmined to get one, even if it costs a little more than i wanted.... but im stuck on the choices here...

Is there a "huge" difference between a sport and turbo? i've only driven a turbo. reason i ask is because theres a considerably lower mile sport available for about the same price... an 03 w/ 70k vs the 04 turbo w/ 108k

Also, is there a huge difference between the years? say between 04 and 06... my research indicates there really isnt much difference, but i figure i'd ask you owners, and i see some of you have had multiple bajas...

Thanks guys, I'm lookin forward to joining the club.
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Old 04-15-2009, 02:51 AM   #2
boostedte37
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I have 05 sport bought a few months ago, no complaints it has good highway power and runs on 87octane versus a turbo with more power and runs on premium. No secrete turbo is better for modding but for a daily driver and less maintenance I would go with lower mileage sport. I don't think 03 is a good year stay away from that.
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Old 04-15-2009, 03:26 AM   #3
FUBARU_baja
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i see.... coming off the rsx, i like to push it when i drive, i'm more agressive than i should be, trying to tone that down w/ a baja.... but i figure the baja turbo is a happy medium, plus i get that sport shift feature which is the best part of my rsx right now. couldnt live w/o it.
I pour premium right now in my rsx, so thats not an issue for me, as it wont change...
what size tank is in a baja... my rsx is 12ish

hm, since its an 03 thats the low mileage one, i'll keep an eye out for newer sports...

having never owned a boosted car before, what kind of maintenance should i expect w/ a turbo model besides regular oil changes?
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Old 04-15-2009, 09:10 AM   #4
Hawk296
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FUBARU_baja View Post
i see.... coming off the rsx, i like to push it when i drive, i'm more agressive than i should be, trying to tone that down w/ a baja.... but i figure the baja turbo is a happy medium, plus i get that sport shift feature which is the best part of my rsx right now. couldnt live w/o it.
I pour premium right now in my rsx, so thats not an issue for me, as it wont change...
what size tank is in a baja... my rsx is 12ish

hm, since its an 03 thats the low mileage one, i'll keep an eye out for newer sports...

having never owned a boosted car before, what kind of maintenance should i expect w/ a turbo model besides regular oil changes?
Baja fuel tank is around the 16 gallon mark. Nothing special on the maintainence, just keep regular oil changes with quality oil and filters.

A turbo Baja will have considerably more power than the RSX, so I don't know how that will tone it down a bit.
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Old 04-15-2009, 09:39 AM   #5
BajaGuy68
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I have had both, the Sport and the Turbo. The Sport got better gas mileage but did'nt have the power to pass people...specially when they stepped on it while you were trying to get around them! The Turbo has more power, but does take premium fuel---its a small cost considering the power gains. The Sport also has a different head gasket than can cause coolant leaks...thats why Subaru adds their conditioner to the coolant when its changed. The Turbo has a metal head gasket that is less likely to leak. Each model has its own little quirks----I am totally happy that I upgraded to the Turbo Baja. I hope this helps a little.
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Old 04-15-2009, 10:53 AM   #6
weiVA
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I'm surprised no one mentioned the oil starvation issue to check for considering the OP is looking at an '04. I have yet to look at this for my early '05.

Also, as with every turbocharged vehicle, I try to go easy on the boost first and last couple miles. Allows for the oil to have gotten flowing and for the turbo to have cooled.
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Old 04-15-2009, 11:03 AM   #7
Hawk296
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weiVA View Post
I'm surprised no one mentioned the oil starvation issue to check for considering the OP is looking at an '04. I have yet to look at this for my early '05.

Also, as with every turbocharged vehicle, I try to go easy on the boost first and last couple miles. Allows for the oil to have gotten flowing and for the turbo to have cooled.
Very good point about the Subaru TSB, I forgot about that.

Letting the turbo cool is important, but not much of an issue with Subaru. As stated, just take it easy for the last few miles if you were working the engine hard. No need for a turbo timer or letting it idle for 5 min. like some of the older turbo cars.
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Old 04-15-2009, 11:10 AM   #8
moonzie
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I don't think the headgasket on the Sport models are any more prone to failure than the Turbos. I think back in the late 90s models that was an issue but has since been overcome.

Realistically, the Baja turbo will get 22mpg on average if you're doing mostly highway miles. BTW, the stock Baja ECU maps are tuned so conservatively I use 89 octane on mine and have ~never~ had any pinging issues. In fact, my ECU will add to the timing often times when I get on it, even with the 89.

I've had and continue to have a somewhat quirky 4EAT auto/ss tranny. Although the electronics of the auto is perhaps more sophisticated than the mechanical viscous coupling of the 5-speed (disputable), I sometimes wish I would have gone with a stick. The limited slip rear diff is nice - I think both models have that.

I've got an oil leak somewhere around the turbo housing - assuming this is on the oil feeder line - a common issue on `04 turbos. It doesn't leak all the time - but it's a bit stinky when it does.

I don't know about passing power in the Sport, but I know in my turbo passing is pretty easy and generally fun.
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Old 04-15-2009, 11:15 AM   #9
the slug
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I have a 2003 N/A that I bought new.
This is by far the most reliable vehicle that I've owned. Maybe I just got lucky when the engine was built, no head gasket problems/coolant leaks.

I drove a turbo model before buying mine and wasn't that impressed with the power. The Baja is a heavy vehicle and the turbo lag seems to emphasize this. With all things taken into consideration, the additional up front cost, raised insurance rates, premium fuel and lower MPGs, rebate on the N/A at purchase, I couldn't justify the turbo model.

From a thead on a different forum about a year or two ago, I think owners of the turbo model have to remove their motor mounts and slightly jack the engine up to replace the sparkplugs. I know from doing my own work that you don't have to do this on the N/A model.

I think anyone that has the turbo, was drawn initially to the turbo.
Anyone with the N/A, was probably drawn to the N/A.
Either one is a Baja, neither one is the wrong choice!
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Old 04-15-2009, 01:31 PM   #10
pagris
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It should be mentioned that 04 and later Bajas have about 1" greater ground clearance than the 03 models, in case that is of any importance to you.

About the NA versus Turbo issue, I will only say that NA Bajas have adequate power but no more, and this is especially evident at highway speeds. A lot of it comes down to whether you value gas mileage over pep. I choose mileage, but I am an oldish fart who just doesn't push his cars very hard.
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Old 04-15-2009, 02:22 PM   #11
FUBARU_baja
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Hm, based on the what i've read so far, im staying away from an 03, simply because i wont be getting it new obviously, likely 2nd or 3rd owner, so i dont know how its been treated, where as slug bought it new and has treated it the way he seems best since he bought it that way...

My main concern about the 04 turbo that i'm looking at is 108k mileage...
high mileage scares the typical buyer... i've never owned a subaru nor have my friends, but based on reviews they're easily the most reliable "american" cars on the market... most of what i've read, aside from the rare malfunction of some part, all i would need to do is oil changes and then high mileage maintenance like replacing the belt and such....
i'm thinking that that has already been done to this one i'm looking at. Its for sale at a nissan dealership if that counts for anything.

I would'nt mind a good bit more ground clearance.... my rsx is dropped pretty dam low... about 3 to 4" above the ground o_0
it was cool at first, then a pain.

Also, i've never seen a baja w/ running boards or nerf boards, i think that would be pretty sweet... has this been done, can it be done?

Also, I'm willing to sacrifice a little mileage for a little more performance on premium gas...
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Old 04-15-2009, 02:25 PM   #12
moonzie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the slug View Post
From a thead on a different forum about a year or two ago, I think owners of the turbo model have to remove their motor mounts and slightly jack the engine up to replace the sparkplugs. I know from doing my own work that you don't have to do this on the N/A model.
Wow. I'm so glad that's NOT the case! I replaced my plugs last fall, using 2 3/8" ratchet extensions, a deepwell socket and a ratchet U-joint - took me about an hour and a half to do.
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Old 04-15-2009, 02:31 PM   #13
moonzie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FUBARU_baja View Post
most of what i've read, aside from the rare malfunction of some part, all i would need to do is oil changes and then high mileage maintenance like replacing the belt and such....
i'm thinking that that has already been done to this one i'm looking at.

Also, i've never seen a baja w/ running boards or nerf boards, i think that would be pretty sweet... has this been done, can it be done?
Running boards, hmmmm... okay. Not much point in that unless you're gonna put a lift kit on it. I've never seen it done before.

Be sure to get documentation that the work has been done! If it's not available be sure to check out the timing belt for cracks or wear - it's scheduled to be replaced @ 115k miles and it'll probably run at least $200 to do.

All Subaru DOHC EJ255 (turbo'd) engines are interference; ie. if your timing belt breaks while you're driving down the road you can pretty much kiss your engine goodbye.

Somebody correct me if I'm wrong but I thought I read recently where all newer Subaru engines are now interference? both SOHC and DOHC?
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Old 04-15-2009, 03:44 PM   #14
Emsanon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the slug View Post
I have a 2003 N/A that I bought new.
This is by far the most reliable vehicle that I've owned. Maybe I just got lucky when the engine was built, no head gasket problems/coolant leaks.
I have an 03 Baja as well and have had no problems at all. Someone in the thread said to avoid 03 but I've never heard or seen anything wrong with the 03's. No turbo, but I'm not a racer and I don't tend to pass people so I'm all up for saving money on gas.

The money I'm saving by avoiding premium is going to my car modifications: increase the ground clearance, install a snorkel system, and add extra sport lights.
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Old 04-15-2009, 03:47 PM   #15
FUBARU_baja
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I only want running boards because my family has a 2000 toyota 4runner w/ running boards, and my airsoft teams uses that vehicle for "tactical insertions" when we bring it to ops with us... I'll hop in the drivers seat and 6 guys, 3 on each side, will sling their rifles and hop onto the running boards and off we go to the "LZ" its nice because the car provides good cover from fire, and we can open the doors and use them for cover too... its loads of fun...
I was thinking of doing that to the FUBARU (what i'm naming my soon to be baja, cause my team name is FUBAR) because its the perfect "dirt road vehicle" which is pretty much what the terrain is like where i'd be doing this....
I guess i could fit a couple people into the bed (but i was hoping to mount a machine gun in the back when using it at airsoft events), we've tried doing insertions where the team is seated in the car, but precious seconds are lost in the time it takes to open the doors, pile out, and get a bead on the bad guys... by that time the badguys have a bead on us and hit us coming out the doors...

I wouldnt mind raising it a few inches, but from my limited research, there arent a whole lot of aftermarket stuffs made specifically for the baja... so i dont exactly know how to proceed
another thought i had was having two sets of wheels/tires... one for offroad/dirt road use, and one for every day driving (mostly highway, w/ some wide curvy city driving as well). which wheels/tires would yall reccomend?

Hm, so if its scheduled at 115k miles, i doubt they've done it already... and i dont know if they'd go any lower on it, since its not at 115k yet... i'll see...
even so, 200 bucks is a small price to pay, plus it already seems like a great deal...
after replacing the belts, is there any other major milestone maintenance for the next 100k or so?
I plan to run the baja for atleast 3-5 years, hoping to keep it til shes dead of old age... at which point, subaru might get their act together and release a new rendition of the brat/baja...

Last edited by FUBARU_baja; 04-15-2009 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 04-15-2009, 04:15 PM   #16
kimguroo
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timing belt service for only $200
that might be only parts. I thought it will be close to $1000 to replace.

how long does turbo last?
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Old 04-15-2009, 05:16 PM   #17
FUBARU_baja
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HEY! kimguroo, i see you're in roswell... i live in dekalb near briarcliff and clairmont....

I flagged down an 03 silver baja that was in the lane next to me at a red light a few days ago... we talked for a couple minutes... that wasnt you was it?? it was right at north druid hills and briarcliff, just past tin roof....
i figure there arent many bajas in the atlanta area on the street anyway... i also was following one that happened to be going the same way as me the other day.... had two red decals of some sort on either side of the back window...

any other GA baja owners around here?

Last edited by FUBARU_baja; 04-15-2009 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 04-15-2009, 05:19 PM   #18
BajaGuy68
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My 06' Sport's head gasket started leaking right around 60K and thats when I traded it in for a Turbo. I got a sweet deal on the Baja Turbo----it was an 06' with 4200mi on it. The previous had it for a short time and then passed away. His wife could'nt afford the payments and gave it back to the dealership.

The little extra it costs for premium fuel is worth the power!

Also the Turbo model is easier to mod. (ie; ECU reflash/reprogram)
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Old 04-15-2009, 05:27 PM   #19
FUBARU_baja
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I see, i'm leaning toward a turbo model.... i really like this 04, but its still the miles that concern me...

i found a couple more locally, wondering if someone could give insight as to the prices...

silver 05 sport w/ 24k miles... asking 16500, my cousin who is a used car dealer knows the dealer whose selling this, so perhaps i could get it for much cheaper and at wholesale price...
and
black on black 06 turbo 39k full every options etc... 18900... seems pricy, but i imagine and 06, turbo, low mile, well equipped baja would have a certain premium on it...

what do you guys think? i dont mind splurging a little extra on a newer low mile vehicle, but i dont wanna be taken advantage of...
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Old 04-15-2009, 06:32 PM   #20
kimguroo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FUBARU_baja View Post
HEY! kimguroo, i see you're in roswell... i live in dekalb near briarcliff and clairmont....

I flagged down an 03 silver baja that was in the lane next to me at a red light a few days ago... we talked for a couple minutes... that wasnt you was it?? it was right at north druid hills and briarcliff, just past tin roof....
i figure there arent many bajas in the atlanta area on the street anyway... i also was following one that happened to be going the same way as me the other day.... had two red decals of some sort on either side of the back window...

any other GA baja owners around here?
I did not know you live in GA
actually, you might see my car because I go to tennis classes at emory university every Tuesday and Thursday and pass by that road.
unfortunately, I was not that area past week because of the class cancellation. my baja is very easy to recognize from back because of the decal. I think it's only one in US
I try to sell my baja a month ago about 69700 miles for $9000.
some of people were interested in but I could not sell it because I could not find a good deal for New 08 forester XT. I am looking at 08 impreza WRX (Automatic-subaru of Gwinnett) but buying Automatic WRX seems like a bad decision.
Here is my car
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Old 04-15-2009, 07:16 PM   #21
holland_patrick
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Off road like tires are the general AT2 is a slightly narrower profile.. veyr truck like.. on road tires what ever you like...


the bars.. you might have to fab something up but i'm sure you can mount them
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Old 04-15-2009, 07:45 PM   #22
su-be3
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As you can tell, I too have a '04 Turbo Baja. Just turned 50,000 on it last week, and the only problem I have had was the drivers side window came out of the track and I repaired that myself.
Outside of that, the only maintenace I have had performed on my BAJA was the normal maintenace as specified by the owners manual, and at 48,000 miles I replaced the brake pads, and even then I could have gone a litlle bit longer!
Take good care of it, change the oil and filter on a regular basis, see if any maintenance is due or overdue and have it taken care of and you should have no problems!
It's ok to let the car "have it's head" once in a while, won't hurt, but, as I always say...
Keep it under 90, folks!
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Old 04-15-2009, 10:32 PM   #23
Hawk296
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HAHA! Airsoft!

I don't really know what you could do about running boards that wouldn't ruin ground clearance and actually be strong enough to hold 3 per side. There really isn't a good place to attach them.
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Old 04-15-2009, 11:13 PM   #24
YBajaSteve
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one thing i would point out is the lack of aftermarket support for bajas, if you plan on doing some typical things, lets say a nice aftermarket suspension lift or push bar or anything really, that normal trucks could do, dont plan on finding anything baja specific. and remember, if you want a turbo cuz you want to be "kinda fast", a wrx would suit your needs alot better. Bajas arent ever going to be as fast as a sedan with the same turbo engine, they are just not a car. and they arent a truck either, they are kinda in a spot in the middle, so they dont do either thing really good if that makes any sense. dont get me wrong i love my baja!
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Old 04-16-2009, 01:38 AM   #25
FUBARU_baja
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o yeah, i'm not lookin to make a ten second car out of it... lol
just something a little better than my rsx, but room for 4, and a little bigger trunk space, plus it has to be unique..... i dont think i have any other choice but the baja... lol
I've actually been in love since they came out... now is the time.

and YES airsoft... lol, its quite fun, you learn a good bit..... if you're down in GA ever, i'll let you tag along and let you borrow one of my rifles... you'll change your mind quick.

i think i'll nix the running boards idea for the time being, but it couldnt hurt to have a couple guys in the truck bed... 4 could easily crouch in there, 5 w/ a bed extender

any input on those prices i mentioned earlier?
"silver 05 sport w/ 24k miles... asking 16500, my cousin who is a used car dealer knows the dealer whose selling this, so perhaps i could get it for much cheaper and at wholesale price...
and
black on black 06 turbo 39k full every options etc... 18900... seems pricy, but i imagine and 06, turbo, low mile, well equipped baja would have a certain premium on it..."

and thats a sick baja kimguroo...
are there ever any baja meets? that would be awesome...
and if you're car is still for sale kim... im interested. lol
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