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Old 11-28-2019, 11:29 PM   #1
tytycarrr
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Member#: 508842
Join Date: Nov 2019
Default Interested in a 2002 WRX, steer clear or go for it?

I'm new to subies. I've been driving on the VQ platform for over a year now, not new to cars. Have access to a shop+all my own tools, lift, etc. Won't need to pay for labor costs as I'll do it myself.

So I found a 2002 WRX up for sale. It's got 180k on the body. That's a high number, yes. Interior is pretty good.

Here's the kicker: it has a rebuilt engine and trans. Pictures have been provided, he rebuilt it with forged internals. Paperwork is available. BUT, The car has a valve cover gasket leak. Should I steer clear, just from it having a VCG leak? Ive been told by buddies of mine to not even give it a chance, due to the leak.

Here is the full mod list:

Tomei turbo inlet pipe

Mishimoto top mount intercooler

HKS SVQ4 blow off valve

Indivia turbo back exhaust

PIC performance coilovers

Dragon boost gauge

AEM Y-band

Sony headunit

Shift knob

Grimspeed uppipe

Injector dynamics 1050X injectors

Billet vf39 turbo

Walbro 225 fuel pump

TGV deletes

GrimmSpeed boost controller

ACT stage 2 clutch

5-speed with forged synchros 1-5

Eagle rods

Eagle crankshaft

Eagle pistons

Race bearing

Race main bearings

ARP headstuds

Heat treated block

Heads resurfaced

Racing fuel pump

Racing timing belt and water pump kit

Master cylinder

STI slave cylinder

New cv axels

Accessport

So, what do you think? Should I pass it up? I'm going to take a look at it in a couple days and sit on it. I need some insight from you guys, though.
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Old 11-28-2019, 11:49 PM   #2
firebane
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Member#: 508031
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Calgary, AB, CAN
Default

Your first? I would pass. A lot has been done and if it wasn't tuned or setup or the owner has the knowledge you could have issues.

Listen to your buddies.
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Old 11-28-2019, 11:53 PM   #3
tytycarrr
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Member#: 508842
Join Date: Nov 2019
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by firebane View Post
Your first? I would pass. A lot has been done and if it wasn't tuned or setup or the owner has the knowledge you could have issues.

Listen to your buddies.
It was built by one of the owners friends then traded to him. 31k on the engine, and the owner doesnt seem to have much knowledge of what hes got. Im fine with having to deal w it, but if its just a timebomb.. im going to pass.
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Old 11-29-2019, 12:07 AM   #4
DegNY
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Member#: 226576
Join Date: Oct 2009
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: Garnerville, NY
Vehicle:
2019 STI
WRB

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tytycarrr View Post
It was built by one of the owners friends then traded to him. 31k on the engine, and the owner doesnt seem to have much knowledge of what hes got. Im fine with having to deal w it, but if its just a timebomb.. im going to pass.


Looking at the mod list, my guess is it was driven hard. Even at 31k, Id still say its a ticking time bomb. That being said, I love the bugeye, if I had the time, money and ability Id own a built one. If you want to deal with the possibility of a headache, go for it, but Id go into it expecting something to go wrong.
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Old 11-29-2019, 12:31 AM   #5
tytycarrr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DegNY View Post
Looking at the mod list, my guess is it was driven hard. Even at 31k, I’d still say it’s a ticking time bomb. That being said, I love the bugeye, if I had the time, money and ability I’d own a built one. If you want to deal with the possibility of a headache, go for it, but I’d go into it expecting something to go wrong.
So far ive had a rebuilt title 350z, and a G35 with a new engine swapped in @ 18k miles. Both ive had to fix major issues stemming from the previous owners, and have lasted me the time after 8+ months with no issues.

What im asking is, would I be getting something I could rely on and daily? Or will I be getting a moneypit? Im trying to figure out if the leak is a death sentence.
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Old 11-29-2019, 12:31 AM   #6
MortonCharbo
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Member#: 487057
Join Date: Jun 2018
Chapter/Region: BAIC
Location: California
Vehicle:
2002 WRX Wagon
PSM

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Valve cover leak is rather insignificant. If you can do the job yourself, the parts are less than 100 bucks. If you can't do the job yourself, maybe you should sure clear. Not trying to be rude, just trying to give some perspective.

If it's going to be your only car, and a daily driver, I'd probably steer clear as well. I have a bugeye myself. I spent the first year of owning it replacing/repairing everything the previous owner neglected.

On an 18 year old car, there's plenty to go bad. If you have the time and money to bring it back to a decent state, by all means go for it. They're pretty amazing little cars.
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Old 11-29-2019, 12:32 AM   #7
tytycarrr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MortonCharbo View Post
Valve cover leak is rather insignificant. If you can do the job yourself, the parts are less than 100 bucks. If you can't do the job yourself, maybe you should sure clear. Not trying to be rude, just trying to give some perspective.

If it's going to be your only car, and a daily driver, I'd probably steer clear as well. I have a bugeye myself. I spent the first year of owning it replacing/repairing everything the previous owner neglected.

On an 18 year old car, there's plenty to go bad. If you have the time and money to bring it back to a decent state, by all means go for it. They're pretty amazing little cars.
Ive owned a G & Z in the past, also have had to restore issues from the previous owner. Yes, im looking to daily it. I have access to a shop, a lift, and tools for free. I can do the work myself. I just need to know if this car will blow up on me..
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Old 11-29-2019, 07:05 PM   #8
lsWRX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tytycarrr View Post
Ive owned a G & Z in the past, also have had to restore issues from the previous owner. Yes, im looking to daily it. I have access to a shop, a lift, and tools for free. I can do the work myself. I just need to know if this car will blow up on me..
High probability this engine will fail shortly after you buy this car.
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Old 11-29-2019, 08:32 PM   #9
GlarryHoodDIT
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Member#: 460907
Join Date: Jan 2017
Chapter/Region: RMIC
Location: Colorado
Vehicle:
2016 WRX

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Buy a Magic Eight Ball and ask that. You'll have roughly the same chance of it being right as random people on the internet.

You've given us zero information outside of a build list. Sounds like you need to take this to someone who knows what they're doing for a Pre-Purchase inspection.
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Old 11-29-2019, 09:29 PM   #10
Jersey Man10
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Member#: 427632
Join Date: Aug 2015
Chapter/Region: TXIC
Location: Texas
Vehicle:
2011 Impreza WRX
Satin White Pearl

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Unless its hella cheap like $1500 I would pass...
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Old 11-29-2019, 09:38 PM   #11
Ernest
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Member#: 45076
Join Date: Oct 2003
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: Rockland County, NY
Vehicle:
2004 Stg 2 wagon AT
16 BRZ. Both silver

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Buy it if you have enough cash and will to rebuild an engine and a tranny.
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Old 11-29-2019, 10:14 PM   #12
Unabomber
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Chapter/Region: MAIC
Location: I can save you a ton of cash
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on car parts so PM
me b4 j00 buy

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You need to have compression test done first. When that is done, the answer you will have.
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Old 12-06-2019, 11:33 AM   #13
kram1976
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Member#: 477692
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Keller, Tx
Vehicle:
2004 WRX STi
WRB/gold

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I personally don't think that car will be a good daily. For the next 6 months to a year it will need to be in/out of the workshop while you work out all the kinks from a PO that has just driven the car and not done the required maintenance that this old of a car requires. It sounds like your mechanical knowledge of cars is fairly low (not to be insulting) if your asking if a VCG is going to cause the demise of the car. It is a very simple job but much more information is required to make a sound decision. Bomber is right. Do a compression test. A leak down test is even better if you can. This will let you know the current health of the heart of the engine. Try to find someone who knows Subarus and has experience with them to help you evaluate the car. There are plenty of them out there still so be patient and don't fall in love with the first one you drive. Use your brain and don't let your emotions make the purchase decision.
Hope this helps your decision.
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Old 12-06-2019, 12:26 PM   #14
samb
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Member#: 177235
Join Date: Apr 2008
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Vehicle:
2016 Focus RS
2002 WRX Wagon

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If you’re worried about blowing engines stop looking at cars with turbo swaps. The valve cover gasket is the least likely thing to give you problems.
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Old 12-06-2019, 12:41 PM   #15
Jack
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: Hopkinton, MA
Vehicle:
not my president
(From General)

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You didn't say how much. At $2k, you'll likely not go wrong. Over $5k and you're in the danger zone.

Subarus are NOT VQs. Having owned one myself, the differences are both plus and minus. I found most VQ people were (sorry) a bunch of hair dressers who paid shops to vacuum their cars and wouldn't know a piston ring from a bathtub ring. That's not Subaru. People really know their stuff. Well...some. Hang around and read a lot. You'll figure out who they are (note...one above me somewhere is one of those). The other is that VQ parts are cheap. Like.....they make Civic B stuff look expensive. Partly because Nissan tends to use all the same parts for the Z, for mini vans, for pickups. Discount dealers are easy to find for cheap OEM parts. I can buy 6 VQ engines from a junkyard for the cost of a single Subaru N/A engine.

The other downside is that if you mistakenly run a garden hose into the spark plug hole of a VQ, it simply runs rough. If you breathe on the wrong side of the engine compartment of a boosted Subaru, it breaks ring lands, blows pistons through the head gaskets and breaks the welds on the intake. (had to use a fnf reference...sorry).

Look for common problems of Subarus. They're not hard to find. Wagons tend to rust the rear shock towers because they're 2 layers of steel with factory feed holes to put salt and water in there so they rust completely to nothing. Subarus in general become crumbly garbage in the rust belt. Look up the South Main Auto video on the subaru a customer bought......which was junk-yard-ready.

All that said, Subarus are legos. So just like Hondas, you can swap engines/trannys/brakes etc and the path is well known. Absolutely have someone who really knows Subarus look it over and pay them $200 to do a thorough job. 180k miles is a lot on any car and things wear out. A rebuilt, well built engine can be a good thing. Or maybe something got screwed up and you'll buy it and hear rod knock on your drive home.
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Old 12-06-2019, 01:00 PM   #16
rtv900
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Location: philadelphia
Vehicle:
2016 STI

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack View Post
You didn't say how much. At $2k, you'll likely not go wrong. Over $5k and you're in the danger zone.
I've been thinking this ^ while reading this whole thread.

seriously, how do you ask if a used "fill in blank" is a good buy and not say the price?????

my lord that is the only thing that matters. There's no debating it's a nightmare car with endless back stories. What else is there to talk about other than cost?
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