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Old 11-01-2021, 02:47 PM   #1
Jezztor
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Member#: 527257
Join Date: Nov 2021
Location: South Africa
Default Help me break my Subaru virginity!

Hi all,

As an avid life-long WRC fan, I have wanted to own a Subaru WRX STI since the late 90s. I've recently come to the sad realisation that I have no hobbies, and want to change that by purchasing a project car and rekindle my love of engineering and working on cars.

A few weeks ago I started searching for used WRX STIs, particularly Hawkeye. Not a lot of STIs for sale in South Africa generally, but I found one and test drove it this morning and am trying very hard to wipe the grin off my face & prevent it from forcing me to make stupid decisions. I don't know if this is "the one" or not and hoped some of you experienced guys, particularly with 2006s, could help tell me if I'm walking into a trap or not and some of these issues are symptomatic of bigger problems to come.

The back story is, this car has had 3 owners. The first for 5 years, the second for 8, and the third (who I met today) for 2 months (he's supposedly emigrating). I found the 2nd owner's contacts on some parts invoices so called him today to get a history of the car given that the current owner doesn't seem to know much about cars generally and this car in particular.

The car has 116K miles on it with an EJ25. Physically it seems in very good condition - no rust, very minor curb rash on rims, no major dents on the underside. A bit of repainting obviously done on rear quarter panels but no bondo so probably minor. Not an issue for me as I am hoping to do a widebody kit. But at some point in around 2014, something popped requiring a full engine rebuild. The PO put about $6,000 into this, taking the opportunity to upgrade to Cosworth bearings, ARP head stud kit, Manley rods, new crankshaft, new pilot and thrust bearings, new engine mount, oil pump, timing belt and brand new OEM turbo.

I got under the car after a quick but hard test drive to see a small oil drop at the bottom of the sump. It appeared to be coming from the hole/seal that takes this cable/sensor:



Next issue is the intercooler's rightmost nut thread is stripped. Easy enough fix but mentioning in case it's a symptom of something else. I assume poorly fixed before and it vibrated the thread out.

Then, the current owner showed me a suspension & brake test he did recently. Not sure why he did, because it showed there to be a 33% front brake discrepancy between left and right (LF weaker). It also showed a 62% "ovality" (>20 is considered "defective"). My understanding is ovality is a measure for drums only so may be a non-factor. The clamping force difference on the front axle could be down to broken hose, dirty fluid, old pads etc but open to thoughts.

Given all of the above, are warning bells ringing in anyone's ears? Or is the fact that the engine was rebuilt as recently at 20,000 miles ago an opportunity for longevity? Asking price for the vehicle is US $11,000.

Really appreciate all opinions!
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Old 11-01-2021, 03:32 PM   #2
whozatguy
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Member#: 179775
Join Date: May 2008
Chapter/Region: South East
Location: Huntersville, NC
Vehicle:
03 WRX/15 FXT
14 BRZ/ 92 SVX

Default

Welcome! A lot will come down to how ambitious you are and how much of a project you are willing to take on. It sounds like the second owner knew what they were doing, but the latest not so much. The engine may be great or it may have been beaten within an inch of its life. If you have a good Subaru specialty shop or trusted dealer around, have them give the car a good look over. $6k on an engine sounds like a lot, but costs add up very quickly.

The brake issue is a little concerning, but it could be a caliper sticking or worn components, which would be a relatively straight forward fix.

One other thing, fill out the rest of your profile, so that people can see where you are located. Otherwise, you will have to repeat that you are in South Africa and not the US.
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Old 11-01-2021, 04:51 PM   #3
Jack
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Member#: 13699
Join Date: Dec 2001
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: Hopkinton, MA
Vehicle:
2021 Building
It Better

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Do you have a good Subaru specialty shop who can spend a couple hours going over the car? That is much recommended. The miles and years put the car at the point where big dollar repairs and maintainance are due. Timing belt, water pump, tensioner, cam seals. What about the clutch? The brakes sound suspect, so figure caliper rebuilds, new rubber lines and of course fluid. Has the radiator been replaced? Subaru uses garbage plastic end caps that suddenly break. Wheel bearings and cv axles should be thoroughly be checked. Bearings are a Subaru weak point and are a bear to replace and boot lifetime has passed. All hoses and vaccum lines are due to be replaced by time. There's a start for you. If you have a thorough maintenance history, you may find much of this complete which can save you many thousands of dollars. Otherwise, plan to do the work
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Old 11-02-2021, 11:01 AM   #4
Jezztor
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Member#: 527257
Join Date: Nov 2021
Location: South Africa
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Great advice, both. Thank you so much for your responses.
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Old 11-05-2021, 07:31 PM   #5
umscooby
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Member#: 50902
Join Date: Dec 2003
Chapter/Region: RMIC
Location: The Mountains
Vehicle:
98 GM6
60mm WB

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What you have circled in your photo is where the dipstick tube enters the oil pan (sump). There are two rubber o-rings at the end of the tube that like to crack/split. You need to remove your dipstick tube and replace those o-rings. Fun times ahead. Also, great job posting photos, lots here still have not figured this out.
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Old 11-26-2021, 09:06 PM   #6
elan26r
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Join Date: Nov 2021
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I second the check out by a good shop. Can give you lots of info and food for thought re: repairs/replacements/mods.
That brake report from the po is rather nebulous. And, brake parts aren't that $$.
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Old 11-26-2021, 09:06 PM   #7
elan26r
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Member#: 527528
Join Date: Nov 2021
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I second the check out by a good shop. Can give you lots of info and food for thought re: repairs/replacements/mods.
That brake report from the po is rather nebulous. And, brake parts aren't that $$.
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