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Old 05-28-2003, 11:54 AM   #1
bdoss123
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Default 1997 Legacy GT Shopping, what should I look for?

So far I have narowed it down to two 1997 Subaru Legacy GT's. One has 70K miles, the other has 79K miles. The 70K one is an auto while the 79K is 5spd. Are there any "legacy-bugs" that I should look for when I go check out these cars in person? How did the 5SPD hold up as compared to the AUTO from this model year?

Thanks a lot,
Brendan
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Old 05-28-2003, 05:48 PM   #2
m750
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Both are reasonably solid transmission wise, as long as you don't abuse them...
I'd be leary of head gaskets... find out if they've been done, or need to be done.
I don't know the full scoop, but I do know the early 2.5l's had some head gasket issues, causing expensive repairs.
AO
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Old 05-28-2003, 08:18 PM   #3
linsavy
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If you like manual then go with that as the performance is much better.
The DOHC 2.5l has been having lots of headgasket failure. There are lots of threads on this in the board. No one knows the failure rate it could be 5% or much higher. I bought one anyway. As a precaution you might want to change the coolant every year.

Also do a leakdown test on it before buying, check the HG history. Also look for leaking crank and cam seals.

Those are the only bugs, but the HG is potentially a big one. It might even be worth getting a warrantee from the dealer if available.
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Old 05-29-2003, 12:24 AM   #4
bdoss123
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Damn, I don't want to buy a car with a chronic problem. I really like the added size that the legacy gives over the impreza and it fits better i(1999-2001 is what i was looking at for imprezas). Do you think the newer Impreza would be worth the extra loot just for reliability sake? I was under the impression that the legacies were very reliable.

Thanks for the info,
BDOSS
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Old 05-29-2003, 10:44 AM   #5
DanzBorin
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Quote:
Originally posted by bdoss123
Damn, I don't want to buy a car with a chronic problem. I really like the added size that the legacy gives over the impreza and it fits better i(1999-2001 is what i was looking at for imprezas). Do you think the newer Impreza would be worth the extra loot just for reliability sake? I was under the impression that the legacies were very reliable.

Thanks for the info,
BDOSS
Once the head gaskets are replaced, you should be okay... just make them do that before you get it...
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Old 05-29-2003, 10:48 AM   #6
linsavy
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like I said, I bought one anyway, with full knowlege of the HG problem. Not all will fail. You may never have a problem. Just make sure you get it checked out before you buy as you don't want a car with a pending failure.
The Legacy is quieter and larger with better comforts and paint. The performance is not quite that of an RS but its pretty close.
Worst case is that you have a HG problem and spend up to 2K to get it fixed. If you average that over the length of time you plan to own it, it is not so bad. Take the savings over an RS purchase price and work that into your equation. There are no other reliability issues.
Some phase II 2.5l have been failing as well, so the 99+ Impreza is far from immune.
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Old 05-29-2003, 12:26 PM   #7
bdoss123
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Cool. I emailed both places to find out about previous HG work. What can I look at/for to tell if the HG is in good condition or not?

Thanks,
Brendan
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Old 05-29-2003, 04:13 PM   #8
linsavy
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The subie HG failure is notoriously hard to detect. You can take the car for a hard drive uphills on a warm sunny day. If it pukes coolent out of the overflow bottle then, you know. Mark the coolent level before you go.
A compression test may tell you but not always. When the HG first begins to fail it only does so when hot. It gets progressively worse from there. Usually air comes out of the combustion chamber into the coolent passage causing pressure and coolent loss then overheating. The oil doesn't get coolent in it right away and the coolent doesn't discolour right away. The head will start to warp and the gasket deteriorate until the failure becomes obvious.
Kinda scary, but as I said, not all will fail and it's not the end of the world if it does. One local guy took it as a opportunity to swap in an EJ20.
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Old 05-29-2003, 05:54 PM   #9
bdoss123
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Thanks for the info. How will I know if it's "puking" fluid from the overflow while driving? Or will it just cause hte overflow to fill up a whole lot?

Thanks,
BD

(Didn't know there was a seperate forum for legacy's until just now)
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Old 05-29-2003, 10:56 PM   #10
linsavy
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If the temp guage show hot, just pull over and look under the hood. You would see bubbles in the overflow tank or coolent escaping.
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Old 05-30-2003, 10:09 AM   #11
bdoss123
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Preciate it. Going to check it out this weekend, hopefully it will be in good shape so I can be driving a scoob by next week.

Brendan
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Old 05-31-2003, 06:41 AM   #12
JSiwek
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Most of the time you can actually see if the headgasket is leaking...

Simply get under the front of the car and look at the bottom side of the engine, where the heads mount to the block. If the gasket is leaking, you will see that oil has seeped out of the crack between the head and the block. If it's all clean under there, you should feel a little more confident that there are no problems. Even when I was having head gasket leak overheating problems, it rarely actually happened and had NOTHING to do with driving the car hard. In fact, the times when it usually overheated (and a lot of people that had a head gasket leak had the exact same experience) was when I was sitting in traffic or moving very, very slowly in hot weather... not a lot of air moving over the radiator.

I also had crank seal failure, which is also very common. That one's a little harder to detect, as you can't simply see it. It will, however, cause oil to leak down the front of the engine and onto the headers... if it's a decent leak you'll smell the oil burning as it hits the headers.


Oh, and get the five speed

Jeremy
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