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Old 08-19-2010, 02:42 AM   #1
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 183596
Join Date: Jul 2008
Chapter/Region: South East
Location: USA
2005 WRX/9-2x
Obsedian Black Pearl

Default Subaru Legacy/Outback buyers guide- lets get one going.

Basically, I think we should make a very detailed post about purchasing a legacy/outback so people who are looking for one can spot the gems from the not so good ones!

Theres a few things:

First off, every subaru since the 90's has in the engine bay, on the drivers (LHD) side a metal plate, which details what sort of engine, transmission, trim code and the VIN the car originally came with from factory.

This plate is useful because you can use it to compare to the other vins on the car (such as under the windshield, the driver side door and other big panels such as the fender, bumper and misc.) as well as seeing if the transmission and engine are original to the car.

You can compare the ID number of the transmission to the one located on the transmissions bell housing by the starter (litreally, just looking a foot straight ahead from the plate and there it is) If the number matches what is set for the transmisison, usually it means that the transmission hasn't been swapped. (but not always, sometimes they could've sourced the same model number transmission)

As for the engine, you can also use it to check if the engine is the same family type; for example the plate will give the complete engine code (such as EJ22E, EJ25D, EJ251), the first 4 of the engine code will be stamped into the shortblock/crank case of the engine right behind the power steering/alternator on the block itself. Make sure it matches Ej25 if the plate says EJ251 for example!

Now torque bind, this is quite a serious issue that affected older legacies, usually 1989-1999 model ones (first two generations) with the 4EAT transmission. The easiest way to tell if you have torque bind is when you do a turn you feel a shudder that goes away when you straighten the wheels out.

http://legacycentral.org/library/torquebind.htm this link explains it in more details, even though it says 1997 models have had the upgraded transmission, it does occur here and there sadly.

Headgasket! This was quite a big issue with subarus, hitting hard with the Ej25 series of engines, the 1995-1999 subarus with the EJ25 dohc and 2000-2004 sohc models have demonstrated seeping headgaskets. The easiest way to tell is to watch your temperature guage, if it goes up under normal driving conditions it could mean the headgasket could be at fault (and it's quite a perlious task on subarus considering theres two heads to play with.). Theres also many other reasons why your temp guage could go up; one of these being a failing waterpump/thermostat and also clogged up/failed radiator. There are a few ways to detect, easiest one would be to open up the coolant overflow cap (not the radiator cap!) and watch to see if theres any bubbles forming, if there is; that is sign that air is getting into the system and could most likley mean that the headgasket is at fault. Another way is to go to autozone/Napa (Part number @ napa is 700-1006) and buy a headgasket test kit, it will test for exhaust gases in your coolant. Sometimes, engines with a head gasket leak show steam, water or white smoke exiting the exhaust pipe. Other symptoms include coolant in the oil, or oil in the radiator coolant.

Theres quite a few other things, but this hopefully should get this started!
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