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Old 04-26-2006, 05:34 PM   #1
Andx0r
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Default So, I'm looking at these 2 Legacys. Might buy one, might buy both.

Car #1 is a '96 Legacy L AWD automatic wagon with a 2.2l engine. Its covered about 156k miles and is in very nice shape.

Car #2 is a '97 Legacy Brighton AWD wagon with a 5-speed, also packin the 2.2l motor. It has covered about 131k miles and is also in nice nice shape. The poverty-spec on these Brightons is pretty funny. Nice tach.

So, what issues should I be looking for? How much should I pay? Common failures? I've been kinda cruising around on the first few pages of the board, figured I'd just make it easy on me and make my own thread I've driven a few FWD Legacy sedans and liked them. I haven't gone to check these 2 wagons out yet. My parents are looking at these 2 cars, and might buy one or both. I usually get the chore of checking prospectives out, since I'm the one who works on the cars at home.

I haven't found a whole lot of issue with these, apart from 'torque binding'? Can someone explain what this is and how it happens and why? How can I tell if the car has it? I admit my experience with AWD autos is limited to zilch.

As for me, I'm a 21 year old college student from SE Wisconsin, and I currently drive a 1986 Volvo 240DL wagon or a 1981 Datsun 210 station wagon. And, as such, I spend quite a bit of time turning wrenches...I doubt these subies would see much garage time.
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Old 04-26-2006, 06:12 PM   #2
DLC
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I'd avoid the 96 if it's on the original trans. The engine is probably OK, but the 4EAT might indeed have torque bind. The easiest way to check for that is to drive it at slow speeds in a circle, slowly tipping into the throttle. You will feel a shudder, a rumbling noise, and some unmistakable evidence, if in fact it does suffer from that condition.

The 97 is probably the better bet. I'd replace the timing belt if it hasn't been done recently, or if it's unknown when it was replaced last. The Brighton was the bottom of the line, but that also means it's the lightest, so that 142HP (or whatever) is hauling around less.
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Old 04-26-2006, 06:18 PM   #3
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I know the 97 and possibly the 96 also will probably need a new head gasket at some point. Its a known defect with the engines, the HG's usually go before 200K. If it hasn't been done already, I'd do it and replace the other seals while you're in there.

Don't expect either of these to get up and go much; the 2.5L is barely sufficient and the 2.2L will be even worse. If you get one yourself, definitely get the 5-speed.
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Old 04-26-2006, 06:39 PM   #4
norabder
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The head gasket problem is with the 2.5 not the 2.2 so he should be in the clear with both cars. It all depends on if you want a man probobly more fun then the old slow auto. But if you do bumper to bumper or parents do it I'm sure the auto will do fine. Like DLC said check for torque bind in the auto.
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Old 04-26-2006, 06:40 PM   #5
Andx0r
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I was under the impression that the 2.2l didn't go through headgaskets as fast as the 2.5 does :\

So, whats the expected amount of time needed on changing a timing belt on one of these things. I must admit I'm very limited in boxer engine experience, and I mostly do timing belts on really easy stuff like my Volvo.
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Old 04-26-2006, 09:52 PM   #6
Plays_With_toys
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Get the brighton, lighter and a 5 speed, means you can actually have fun in snow and such. The auto's don't allow you to get sideways as easily, plus with the 5 speed you can have a glimpse of going "quick". Also you can avoid the whole stigma of "you drive a wagon?! " knowing its a 5spd.

Also, the 97's don't have hydraulic lash adjusters, so you probably won't have that annoying ticking noise to deal with as much. It also has fewer miles. As for price, I'd say maybe $3300-3500 for the brighton, if its AWD (I think 95's were the only FWD), and about that or a little more for the 96. Its easier to talk down the price on a 5spd since they're less in demand.

As for the tach, its supposed to be pretty easy to hook up.
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Old 04-26-2006, 10:02 PM   #7
GTWagon_Phreak
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Good to know the 2.2's don't have HG issues, I was under the impression all models in those MYs were affected.
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Old 04-26-2006, 10:16 PM   #8
Andx0r
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plays_With_toys
Get the brighton, lighter and a 5 speed, means you can actually have fun in snow and such. The auto's don't allow you to get sideways as easily, plus with the 5 speed you can have a glimpse of going "quick". Also you can avoid the whole stigma of "you drive a wagon?! " knowing its a 5spd.
Well, my parents don't mind the wagon thing. One theory here is that we get the '96 Auto for mom and the '97 Brighton for dad. Or at least the '97 Brighton for dad.
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Old 04-26-2006, 10:22 PM   #9
Andx0r
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Oh yeah, and I clearly don't mind the whole wagon thing:

hoo boy my cars are teh suck
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Old 04-26-2006, 10:43 PM   #10
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Wagons own. No doubt.

Get the brighton at the very least. They're the lightest of the bunch, and have everything necessary. My outback (95) is basically a Brighton with power stuff, nearly as light It's a blast.
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Old 04-27-2006, 01:25 AM   #11
Plays_With_toys
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Old 04-27-2006, 10:38 AM   #12
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The only issue with the 2.2l is oil leaks from cam seals, crank seal and the rear main seal. The first ones are easily fixed, the rear one should be changed if you are in there for the clutch.
I too would go for the manual car. Pretty decent performance. 137 hp in 1997 and a lowly 135 hp in the 96 car. The weight will be 150lb lighter in the 5spd brighton, plus the manual tranny has a nice 50:50 torque split which I find to be a lot better in the snow.
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Old 04-29-2006, 12:00 AM   #13
Jonathan
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I find that my '96 "L" sedan with a "4EAT" Auto gets like 19 MPG in rush hour semi-city driving, while my 99 2.5 5-spd GT sedan gets more like 22-23 MPG under the same conditions. My guess is that most of that is do to the 4-eat Auto, althouh the lower-compression 2.2 perhaps is part of it too. I didnt see any major snow drivability issues with either car, although with the weak clutch parrallel parking into an unplowed spot is a real bitch with the 5-sp, but a peice of cake for the 4EAT.

I have not driven the Brighton.

My understanding is that the '97-'99 EJ22 2.2 liter motors are "interference" engines, whilst the pre-1997 2.2 motors are non-interferance designs, and are therefore less prone to expensive problems if the timing belt fails, but are also less fuel efficiant and less powerfull do to the reduced compression ratio.
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Old 04-29-2006, 01:06 AM   #14
Andx0r
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Well, the Brighton was kicked out from under me. I'm going to look at the '96 tommorrow.

I really appreciate the help and suggestions guys, I'll keep it all in mind
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