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Old 11-21-2018, 05:38 PM   #1
C o l i n
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Default Buying a 04-05 STi - what do you think?

I've had an 04 TS wagon since 07 and it's been a great car, super reliable and has been a great daily driver that I wasn't afraid to beat up on, get dirty, was great in the snow...etc. My commute is now only <14mi per day and my current Impreza is a bit more beat up than I'd like to have for my daily driver. Mechanically it's great but I don't see it being worth the money to repaint and repair some body damage. I'm also thinking I'd like something faster and sportier.

So, I'm looking for another vehicle and currently top of my list is an 04-05 STi in white or CGM. Budget is around $15k and since I want one that's in GREAT cosmetic condition I'll probably be looking at cars with 140-170k miles. I wanted to see what you guys thought about that high of miles. I don't mind doing some maintenance and have other cars so backup transportation isn't a problem. But, I don't want to get myself into a money pit either. Ideally, I can find a car (STi or otherwise) within this budget that is fun, used but well taken care of but near the bottom of it's depreciation cycle so that I can keep it for a few years without it depreciating much, if any (other than due to the small amount of mileage I'll put on it).

Any thoughts? Is this a terrible idea? Other thoughts are 135i, S2000 or just scrap the "fun" idea and just get a boring Prius as a daily and have my track car be my "fun" car.
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Old 11-21-2018, 08:19 PM   #2
Jack
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You can find one in your budget that's much lower miles and newer. A friend of my son's bought an 07 with 80k miles in white in great condition (he got a ppi before buying) for $16k. I've seen them here and elsewhere for that kinda money.

There are a ton of STis for sale that are way overpriced. They tend to sit forever. If you see a car that's been for sale for 3 months or more, it's clear that it's overpriced. Feel free to lowball the clown. I see these guys in our own classifieds and if they're there too long, I close their ad down because they're wasting our time and space and dreaming.
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Old 11-22-2018, 05:23 PM   #3
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A car with that kind of mileage will be a money pit.
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Old 11-23-2018, 12:09 AM   #4
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ID say go for it. I just bought an 06 sti . My 3rd Subie . Has 122k miles. Just remember to do a compression and leakdown test.
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Old 11-23-2018, 12:21 AM   #5
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I would suggest 2006/2007 for numerous benefits. I am OR of a 2004 and if I were to do it again or add a car, it would be from one of those model years.
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Old 11-23-2018, 09:51 AM   #6
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Colin... PM sent
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Old 11-23-2018, 02:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack View Post
You can find one in your budget that's much lower miles and newer. A friend of my son's bought an 07 with 80k miles in white in great condition (he got a ppi before buying) for $16k. I've seen them here and elsewhere for that kinda money.

There are a ton of STis for sale that are way overpriced. They tend to sit forever. If you see a car that's been for sale for 3 months or more, it's clear that it's overpriced. Feel free to lowball the clown. I see these guys in our own classifieds and if they're there too long, I close their ad down because they're wasting our time and space and dreaming.
You may be right that I'll find a better deal but so far there simply have not been many for sale that even meet the requirements. I may not spend the full $15k right off the bat as I've seen some for more like $13k.



Quote:
Originally Posted by FaastLegacy View Post
A car with that kind of mileage will be a money pit.
Care to provide any helpful details in regard to what sorts of things I'd be looking at for expenses?



Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueSTI4Me View Post
I would suggest 2006/2007 for numerous benefits. I am OR of a 2004 and if I were to do it again or add a car, it would be from one of those model years.
I'm not really interested in anything but an 04-05 - and really I want an 05. I know there are some better specs on the 06+ but I personally like the look of the blobeye best out of all other years. I'd be interested in any details as I'm always open to suggestion but based on what I've read to date I still think I'd prefer an 04-05.
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Old 11-23-2018, 07:06 PM   #8
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I think it is an awesome car, but one only worth pursuing if you are willing to put $5,000 to $10,000 into it at any point in time should something major go wrong. If all signs/inspections gave the green light and you purchased the car, but several months after purchasing it something major enough would fail to necessitate an engine replacement, is this money you would be willing to put into the car knowing that would essentially never be recovered?

The other reason I ask is because you could potentially get a BRZ that is about 10 years newer and with a warranty for around the price you are debating spending.
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Old 11-26-2018, 01:29 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by get_schwifty View Post
I think it is an awesome car, but one only worth pursuing if you are willing to put $5,000 to $10,000 into it at any point in time should something major go wrong. If all signs/inspections gave the green light and you purchased the car, but several months after purchasing it something major enough would fail to necessitate an engine replacement, is this money you would be willing to put into the car knowing that would essentially never be recovered?

The other reason I ask is because you could potentially get a BRZ that is about 10 years newer and with a warranty for around the price you are debating spending.
I think I'm OK with $5k, $10k, eh, not so much. Part of the reason I'm looking at 04-05 STi's is that I think they're near or at the bottom of their depreciation cycle. If I buy a car I don't think will depreciate in value then I don't have a problem putting some money into it to keep it maintained and in tip top shape. What I do not want is a car that is depreciating in value (e.g. something newer) or worse yet a depreciating car that also needs money put into it.

I have thought a little about BRZ/FRS/86's, maybe I need to test drive one, but so far they just aren't all that appealing to me. I think, for me, I'd rather have an S2000 than a BRZ.
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Old 11-26-2018, 01:46 PM   #10
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Old 11-26-2018, 02:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C o l i n View Post
I'm not really interested in anything but an 04-05 - and really I want an 05. I know there are some better specs on the 06+ but I personally like the look of the blobeye best out of all other years. I'd be interested in any details as I'm always open to suggestion but based on what I've read to date I still think I'd prefer an 04-05.
Target the 2005 as it has significant differences that make it better. I upgraded my 2004 to 2007 suspension and it improved the car tenfold. Larger front knuckles, wider stock wheels, different center differential, better center console are just some if the improvements. I have a console yet to install, lol.
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Old 11-26-2018, 04:36 PM   #12
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Thank you for trying to keep the forums tidy, organized and running smooth, but that thread isn't useful in this situation. I'm not asking about car values - I understand the values. My question is in regard to whether a higher mileage STi is a good idea or not. I think this forum has a treasure trove of experienced Subaru owners who may have insight on what the perils may be of living with a high mileage STi. All the other info I gave (pricing and other car options) were simply to apply context to the situation. If this type of reliability question is not allowed or you feel I need to change my post title to better match then please let me know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueSTI4Me View Post
Target the 2005 as it has significant differences that make it better. I upgraded my 2004 to 2007 suspension and it improved the car tenfold. Larger front knuckles, wider stock wheels, different center differential, better center console are just some if the improvements. I have a console yet to install, lol.
Yeah, in reality, I'm looking for an 05. An 04 isn't a deal breaker if everything else is what I want. Mainly I just don't want to rule out 04's since I'm already looking at a pretty limited supply out there.

Last edited by C o l i n; 11-26-2018 at 04:54 PM.
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Old 11-26-2018, 09:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C o l i n View Post
I think I'm OK with $5k, $10k, eh, not so much. Part of the reason I'm looking at 04-05 STi's is that I think they're near or at the bottom of their depreciation cycle. If I buy a car I don't think will depreciate in value then I don't have a problem putting some money into it to keep it maintained and in tip top shape. What I do not want is a car that is depreciating in value (e.g. something newer) or worse yet a depreciating car that also needs money put into it.
In that case, I think the STi is your car. It's not something you see very often, it has its own unique charm in both the looks and experience, and it sounds like you are OK with the biggest risk of owning a slightly older vehicle outside of warranty.
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Old 11-27-2018, 01:53 PM   #14
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I say be patient and you'll find what you're looking for. I think some people go overboard with the warnings about an old car. But as long as you have the right perspective and expectations, you're fine. I'd say to have a couple grand for repairs as well. But that isn't to scare you away from the car. The repairs you are likely to encounter are smaller scale assuming you get a car that checks out on compression and such. For that, a pre-purchase inspection is a great resource as others have suggested.

The blobeye is my favorite STi. The 04-05's were/ are iconic for sure.
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Old 11-30-2018, 12:49 AM   #15
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i agree with the above.. a lot of miles on a boxer engine means thats its going to need a rebuild anyways
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Old 11-30-2018, 08:09 AM   #16
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Remember also that with any car that old, things are going to wear and break. The guy I mentioned with the 80k 07 STi, who had a professional pre-purchase inspection done including compression and leak down has now noticed (6 months later) that he's starting to use a lot of oil. Used cars are used.
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Old 11-30-2018, 10:49 AM   #17
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i agree with the above.. a lot of miles on a boxer engine means thats its going to need a rebuild anyways
Some specificity would be helpful here. "A lot" is pretty subjective. So far I've seen cars with 100k that have already had rebuilds as well as ones with 200k that have not been rebuilt. Obviously you can't predict this exactly and every car has a different history. But some clue of what sorts of parts wear our and why may be helpful. Are these "rebuilds" being done because of rings? bearings? head gaskets? rod through the block? etc...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack View Post
Remember also that with any car that old, things are going to wear and break. The guy I mentioned with the 80k 07 STi, who had a professional pre-purchase inspection done including compression and leak down has now noticed (6 months later) that he's starting to use a lot of oil. Used cars are used.
I'm well aware what it's like to own a used car and/or an old car. I've never had a new car and been owning, driving and working on "used" cars since I was 16.
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Old 11-30-2018, 10:59 AM   #18
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Ruh Roh. I'm a spammer.

Last edited by Jack; 11-30-2018 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 11-30-2018, 11:04 AM   #19
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$15k will get you a nice 04 STI in good shape with no issues and 80k miles if you spend the time, do your research and get something stock. Avoid clapped out cars and STAY away from cars that have been modified and brought back to stock for sale.

There are a few ways to make sure that car hasn't been turned into a 600 horsepower monster -- including checking for the stock turbo heat shield -- but mostly you should get advice from people on this forum and other places about the EXACT car you want to buy. Take pictures of EVERYTHING during the test drive, and ask questions to this forum -- you'll do okay.

On the mile side, I've seen STIs for sale for $10k that look ok but have 250k miles on the odo...that scares me...but if your commute is short and you've got a backup car...meh...could do worse with your money & time.

Good luck!!
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Old 11-30-2018, 11:15 AM   #20
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OP, I'd say that what you want sounds quite reasonable.

If I had the funds, I'd absolutely pick up an 07 STi (I love the hawkeyes) that was in excellent condition for $15k and between 80k and 150k miles from the original owner and unmodified. They're some of the best STIs Subaru made that were imported into the US, hands down.

So, go with what Jack said about being patient and being willing to lowball the overpriced offers in NASIOC classifieds.

You seem to be experienced in the realm of buying, owning, and living with used cars, so none of the usual "warning! warning!" posts from others would not apply here. You already know the risks and have factored for that.

Just be very anal about the PPI results and your personal inspection of the vehicle. That way you'll keep maintenance required soon after buying closer to what you're willing to shell out for them (around $5k total you said, though I'd say aim for that but have $10k set by in case something does blow up and you get a ringland failure. It does happen at times unfortunately). Good thing is that the STIs have a nearly bulletproof transmission, so as long as it's been lovingly maintained and oiled, that tranny is going to possibly outlast even the frame. That's worth a LOT.
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Old 11-30-2018, 11:36 AM   #21
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Here's some perspective. I bought an 05 Forester XT in 2012 that only had 34k miles on it. Aside from standard maintenance didn't really have to do too much, at first, and figured it would give me years of problem free ownership.

Fast forward two years to 55k miles, pads and rotors needed to be replaced. Not a big deal, but still a few hundred dollars.

Two weeks later, white smoke is coming out from under my hood scoop. Top radiator seal popped. Replaced with the full aluminum Mishimoto and hoses. Great... another $400. A month after that, more smoke coming out from under the hood scoop. Both valve cover gaskets leaking. $250 and a day of my time. Two weeks later, transmission bearing starts whining and quoted $800 to fix.

The next month sold the car as is and bought something with a warranty. It's not a good feeling fixing something and then not trusting the car. It got to the point where I was just waiting for whatever was going to go wrong next. If I weren't able to do the work myself, I could have easily put 1/4 of the value of the car into trying to fix it.

The reason I bring this up is that its not necessarily just miles that play a roll in what issues might arise. Age of the car plays a roll, and especially with turbo EJ motors, luck is a factor. Sure there are plenty of 100k+ mile WRX's and STI's running around, but there's also a bunch that blow ringlands and require rebuilds well before 100k.

Last edited by Local_Skater; 11-30-2018 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 11-30-2018, 02:34 PM   #22
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Thanks, guys for the input.

I'm seeing more and more cars now and have talked to a couple sellers so I'm starting to get a better feel for pricing and condition.

I drove a black 04 listed at $14.5 with 140k and it was absolutely BEAT. I knew it wasn't the car I wanted before I went to look at it but I haven't driven an STi in 10yrs so I wanted to at least take a test drive in one. But it was worse than I'd expected. IMO this car isn't worth a penny over $10k.

I was talking with a seller here on Nasioc and unfortunately he sold the car before I was able to go test drive it. I think he ended up getting close to his asking price or maybe a min of $12k.
https://forums.nasioc.com/forums/sho....php?t=2885620

I found a silver one recently down in San Diego listed at a little under $12k with about 120k miles and looked from the pics to be in very good condition. I was talking to the seller but he sold it within 2 days, got his full asking price and said he had lots of interest.

Then there's this one that I've also contacted the seller about. He now says he's not in a hurry to sell and reported there were some minor issues (injectors, lots of oil leaks) but he may address some of these before selling. He's only owned the car for a month or so which is a red flag for me. With the higher mileage and now seeing the PPI he has I think his price is a tad on the high side unless he takes care of all of the leaks.
https://losangeles.craigslist.org/sf...754546298.html


Yesterday I also started getting cold feet a little. Not about the mileage or cost but about the fact that the STi is a sedan. I really love my wagon and it's hard to imagine living with a trunk But everytime I start looking at WRX's (because wagon) I end up seeing how much more car I can get for not too much more $. And, I think the STi will hold it's value much better than a WRX. Decisions, decisions.
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Old 12-01-2018, 04:56 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yusuke280 View Post
i agree with the above.. a lot of miles on a boxer engine means thats its going to need a rebuild anyways
I would think it could still get a few more good years of use before needed to be rebuilt, as long as it's in otherwise good condition right now.
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Old 12-09-2018, 11:23 AM   #24
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15 yr old sti is going to be a money pit. Oil leaks, exhaust leaks, leaky hoses, worn out turbo, ring lands, burned valves, timing belt, fuel pump, leaky fuel lines (especially in cold weather), worn suspension, worn out clutch. A lot of people buy these cars at the bottom of the depreciation curve and have no money to maintain them so they sell them quickly. It would be a fun second car that reliability is not a big concern. I dropped over $10k into a 04 FXT. Never again
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