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Old 02-08-2019, 09:11 PM   #1
gagg maggot
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 229781
Join Date: Nov 2009
Default '03 WRX - one owner - never modified

Just picked up a new-to-me WRX wagon. 162k, 5 spd. $3500. Pretty clean but has some hail damage. No rust, one owner, always in CO.

Head gaskets/timing belt were done at 95k
Transmission/clutch were done at 140k
Records included for last decade
Not a single modification except for a Yakima rack

It's rare to find one of these that hasn't been ****ed up by some idiot teenager with spray-paint and blow off valves so I jumped on it.

I have owned a 2004 STi and a 2006 Forester XT in the past. I know this 2.0 motor has a little less oomph but is every bit as reliable from what I have read.

The car has an oil leak up front, needs a CV boot, power steering boot and a brake job (not horribly but pads are thin) as well as some new foglights (stockers are cracked - common I know)

I figure I'll see what is leaking and likely end up doing a timing belt since it's probably a cam seal and I'd rather not pull it apart again for another 105k.

I have no plans to mod it, just drive it on highway trips to save on fuel. My Powerstroke is too damn loud and expensive to maintain and my '87 4Runner is just too god damn slow, it's the garage queen.

My question here:

Is there anything specific to these models I should be looking for?
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Old 02-13-2019, 03:27 AM   #2
Brasilcat
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Member#: 270062
Join Date: Jan 2011
Chapter/Region: SCIC
Location: Downey, CA
Vehicle:
2002 WRX Wagon
Silver

Default

Hi there,
I had my 02 bugeye wagon stock for a long time. i would recommend you check the Timing belt and water pump and right next to it the valve covers.
The Subie in stock form is not very expensive to maintain. Having been a previous Subie owner, i'm sure you will do fine.
Good luck.
P.S. I have made quite a few changes to my wagon now.
New pictures will be posted soon.
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Old 02-13-2019, 03:56 AM   #3
redrexmeister
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Member#: 111692
Join Date: Apr 2006
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: Jersey burbs
Vehicle:
04 WRX wagonette
SRR

Default

Oil leak might be due to valve cover gasket. Replace both sides with OEM gaskets.

Check your oil religiously. You might need to add 0.5 to 1 qt every 1000miles. Any brand name oil of proper weight should be fine. However, stay away from Mobile 1. Synthetic is good, but not required if you follow heavy duty schedule and check your oil level.

You might soon need a new radiator, power steering pump (at least back seal, if running ok) as well as new a/c line gaskets/seals (check for slow freon leak).

For the gear box stick with Subaru gear oil, other brands either too expensive for what they offer or make the shifts notchy. Take your time to learn how synchros work and never slam the gears.

Don't load the engine, i.e. don't floor it in 5th gear going uphill expecting power or acceleration, always downshift!

Learn to wrench, most of the problems/fixes are well documented online.

These are my simple rules. I just sold single owner 04 WRX with 156k. It had zero problems, never let me stranded. EJ20x engines are well built, on stock power and with proper maintenance you can reach 250-300K miles.
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Old 02-13-2019, 12:58 PM   #4
gagg maggot
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Default

It definitely does not have as much grunt as my STi did, but still fun to drive. Way more fun than my truck.

Oil does seem to be an issue on these, will keep an eye on it. Looking forward to oil changes that take less than 4 gallons too.

AC doesn't seem to work on the car, I'll dig into that come Spring when it matters.

Been wrenching for a long time these cars are super easy to work on. The turbo on my F250 is the size of the whole EJ205 motor.

I did end up getting a Cobb downpipe, EBCS and Accessport v3. Nabbed it all on craigslist for about $600. Cant believe how cheap parts have gotten for these over the years!
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Old 02-14-2019, 02:35 AM   #5
redrexmeister
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Member#: 111692
Join Date: Apr 2006
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: Jersey burbs
Vehicle:
04 WRX wagonette
SRR

Default

Stage 2 with a proper tune still falls in the range of lower power, so you should be fine.

Worst case scenario you need a new engine, those can be obtained for $1.2-1.5k. It takes about 6 hours to get the engine out, but some people can do it under 3h.
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Old 02-20-2019, 07:23 PM   #6
snobordboi
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Member#: 149130
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Denver area, CO
Vehicle:
2002 WRB WRX
VF39 Brembos etc

Default

One other goofy thing, the radiators tend to leak at the crimps, after 2 stock rads and a cheap aluminum one, I put in a good Koyo and has been trouble free on mine.

I am at almost 200K on my '02, a few clutches, brake jobs etc, redid the valve cover gaskets and most of the hoses related to PCV system, could use an oil pan reseal, but doesn't leak enough to worry yet. The trans has the typical grinds, and I had to do the center diff bearings this year, and the shift shaft seal is a leak point. But overall for a car that has been slowly going up in power levels as I owned it, has been decently reliable.

The tune is key, and worth the money to have done right, especially for the altitude and fuel here.
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