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Old 07-05-2012, 01:35 PM   #1
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Default Subaru people, give me advice.

I'm going to look at an 05 Legacy GT with a little less than 100K miles on it. I know about what they're worth and what I should haggle down to on price, but I need to know if there are any particular issues with these vehicles that I need to look for.

The car looks clean & straight and has a clean Carfax, but it's missing the engine cover. Is there a legit reason why people remove these, other than to run a non-stock intercooler setup? Is that a dead give-away that the car has been ragged on? It looks to have a stock TMIC now but that's no guarantee it's always been that way.

With the mileage this car has I'm assuming it has had the clutch replaced at some point. I know some of these cars had turbo oiling issues due to the banjo bolt filter, but any failures related to that would have probably already occurred, yes? I know the 105K TB/WP service is coming up and I can handle that and other minor stuff, I just don't want to be replacing the engine in a year. How paranoid should I be?
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Old 07-05-2012, 01:41 PM   #2
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check back seat space for rear facing baby seats.
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Old 07-05-2012, 02:16 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by y8s View Post
check back seat space for rear facing baby seats.
It will fit for sure behind the pass seat with wifey riding up front. Our 2-y.o. is in a front facing seat so assuming we have another, the main question is how well the front facing kiddie/booster seats fit behind the driver's side when the front seat is adjusted for me. I'll have to poke around the car to find that out. At one point Ed mentioned rear seat room to me and told me to get a minivan, but I am not the primary kid hauler.
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Old 07-05-2012, 03:45 PM   #4
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A lot of the Legs had an AC drainage issue into the pax footwell. There's a thread at Legacygt.com called "water in passenger footwell" or something like that.

Pull up the floor mat and see if it's damp/wet. Given the heat recently it'll be wet if it has the problem since the AC will have been cranking for the last 2 weeks. The vent tube and/or collector tank under and behind the radio leak into the pax footwell instead of under the car.

Also check the low beam bulbs. Notorious for lasting only a couple months. I just ordered a HID kit because I'm sick of replacing the H7s.

No reason for not having an engine cover unless it had an aftermarket TMIC. I can't remember if I needed to remove it when I did my uppipe but it's only held on by 4 plastic trim screws so he shoulda put it right back on.

Also the factory TMICs tend to separate at the end tanks and leak. Happens more when you're running more boost with a flash but just an FYI. And hey, if yours had an aftermarket TMIC, your stocker is probably unmolested.
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Old 07-05-2012, 04:10 PM   #5
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<- had an '06 LGT. ugh...they like to go through bulbs. other then that, mine was 100% reliable.

warning: Driver seat has limited range...so the taller crowd may not be comfortable. biggest annoyance is that the rear seats do not fold.
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Old 07-05-2012, 04:57 PM   #6
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Thanks, good info. I hadn't heard about the bulbs going out. When they do work, how's the lighting pattern? I've driven a few cars with heinously poor headlights and it probably won't be dark out when I test drive it.

I'm 6'3" so hopefully that's not so tall as to create problems. I mean, it is a USDM car. The Japanese automakers should have learned back in the 1970s-80s that most men over here are taller than 5'4".

I guess I'll check the fittings around the TMIC & turbo for tool marks or other evidence of molestation. It's at a dealership (though not a Subaru dealership) so I can see how much they feel like having one of their mechanics perform compression & leakdown tests, or letting me take it to get inspected elsewhere. If it looks like the car has been modded I don't think I'd be out of line in asking.
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Old 07-05-2012, 11:00 PM   #7
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how about i have sex with you and take ur miata

damn it you're local

ok look at turbo heat shield.

is it there?

if not, raped.

car has probably been raped.

plan to build engine.

guess what.

i am building subie engine.

i will build you one
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Old 07-05-2012, 11:29 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Faeflora View Post
how about i have sex with you and take ur miata

damn it you're local

ok look at turbo heat shield.

is it there?

if not, raped.

car has probably been raped.

plan to build engine.

guess what.

i am building subie engine.

i will build you one
^ This, almost nobody puts the heat shields back. If they're gone, seriously plan on getting an engine, most people don't tune them well enough to last. Friend at work has gone through three engines "learning" to tune his.
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Old 07-05-2012, 11:31 PM   #9
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Is your friend Faeflora?
It takes a special kind of retardation to toast 3 motors.
Maybe he doesn't understand the term "baby steps"
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Old 07-06-2012, 02:10 AM   #10
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I went and looked at & drove the car. I'll break down this wall-o-text into sections.

Under hood:
Stock heat shield was on the turbo, and all the bolts around the turbo and TMIC had an aged patina and lack of tool marks on them. Did not look molested, at least not recently. The lack of an engine cover in this case may be explained by incompetence rather than it ever being modded. I found a snapped off plastic fastener left in one of the front shroud attachment holes. It was the same type of fastener a Miata would use for the trunk liner, where you pull out the center pin thereby allowing the body of the fastener to collapse so it can be removed. Like some idiot couldn't figure it out and just broke them.

Interior:
Absolutely horrid, to the point that I wouldn't even consider making an offer until they detailed it so I can see if some of it will ever clean up. Lots of little stains on the leather, big brown spill of soda or something on the rear pass side carpet, fuzz/lint/dust every goddam where, worn finish on center console parts, door handles, etc. About the only thing going for it was a lack of cigarette smoke. Are door seals on these cars particularly prone to leaking? There was some moisture on one of the rear carpets and some inside the trunk. We've gotten some quick hard rains lately, but it could just as likely be some stupid pressure washer they may use at the dealer. Rubber seals looked to be in pretty good shape so I dunno. It wasn't as roomy as I thought it would be, but it has enough for how I'd use the car- DD with occasional kid/s in carseats.


Exterior:
Paint had good shine. Headlight housings a little cloudy. Tires new-ish, no curb rash on the wheels. One bad dent on the pass rear door with two scratches completely through the paint and showing surface rust, so it has been that way for a while. Conveniently invisible in their over-exposed photos in the online ads.

Driving:
Car drove decently. Felt like lots of slop in the shifter, but compared to the Miata I guess that's not surprising. The clutch felt more like my 4runner's than the Miata's- harder pedal with a pretty low engagement point. Felt like there was a slight stutter or stumble getting into boost in 1st and 2nd gear. It would spool pretty quick, then hesitate for half a second or so before taking off. Handled pretty well, and the dealership that has it just did an alignment and either replaced the control arms or just the bushings (their service records weren't clear and I didn't put it on a lift). Also, in dealership fantasy land they think control arms, an alignment, belts & radiator hoses (but not the TB/WP), safety & emmissions inspection is $1392 worth of service. The sales guy showed it to me like it was an invoice of how much money they put into it. LMAO

Ranting:
I don't know how people let their cars get that damn filthy, and it makes you wonder what else the PO neglected, such as timely oil changes. The dealer said they just got it and hadn't had time to detail it yet, but why even list it if it's not ready for sale? The ad has been posted in multiple places online for over a week, and I even made an appointment two days ago. It's not like I dropped in out of the blue to look at a car that was traded in this morning. I would think a luxury German car dealership would have their ---- a little more together than this.

I can see myself owning and enjoying an LGT, but probably not this one. A damn shame because it's the trim combo I like the most (satin white pearl with tan leather and 5-spd, not exactly the most common combo out there). I'll drop by next week to see if they can work a miracle and get it clean enough that I wouldn't be embarrassed to drive it, but I'm not holding my breath.
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Old 07-06-2012, 02:26 AM   #11
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swaybars transform that car. Outback XT is the turbo wagon model as well.
SpecB is baller IMO.
07/08 is an update as well.
dont know about the HG issues.

dont leave out the MS6 as it is same class/power plus decent reliability as well.

but like EVERYONE says watch for signs of raping.
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:19 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottFW View Post
I went and looked at & drove the car. I'll break down this wall-o-text into sections.

Under hood:
Stock heat shield was on the turbo, and all the bolts around the turbo and TMIC had an aged patina and lack of tool marks on them. Did not look molested, at least not recently. The lack of an engine cover in this case may be explained by incompetence rather than it ever being modded. I found a snapped off plastic fastener left in one of the front shroud attachment holes. It was the same type of fastener a Miata would use for the trunk liner, where you pull out the center pin thereby allowing the body of the fastener to collapse so it can be removed. Like some idiot couldn't figure it out and just broke them.
A lot of people ditch the engine covers, I wouldn't worry about it, but I would try to find another (if you buy the car) since it provides a little help sealing the hood scoop to the intercooler.

Quote:
Interior:
Absolutely horrid, to the point that I wouldn't even consider making an offer until they detailed it so I can see if some of it will ever clean up. Lots of little stains on the leather, big brown spill of soda or something on the rear pass side carpet, fuzz/lint/dust every goddam where, worn finish on center console parts, door handles, etc. About the only thing going for it was a lack of cigarette smoke. Are door seals on these cars particularly prone to leaking? There was some moisture on one of the rear carpets and some inside the trunk. We've gotten some quick hard rains lately, but it could just as likely be some stupid pressure washer they may use at the dealer. Rubber seals looked to be in pretty good shape so I dunno. It wasn't as roomy as I thought it would be, but it has enough for how I'd use the car- DD with occasional kid/s in carseats.
I have never had any issues with leaking seals on my car, even while being sprayed with the hose. I haven't ever pressure-washed it though.

Quote:
Exterior:
Paint had good shine. Headlight housings a little cloudy. Tires new-ish, no curb rash on the wheels. One bad dent on the pass rear door with two scratches completely through the paint and showing surface rust, so it has been that way for a while. Conveniently invisible in their over-exposed photos in the online ads.
The headlights should be easy enough to fix. My outback XT is the same color and the touch-up paint actually works really well and matches. In case you care.

Quote:
Driving:
Car drove decently. Felt like lots of slop in the shifter, but compared to the Miata I guess that's not surprising. The clutch felt more like my 4runner's than the Miata's- harder pedal with a pretty low engagement point. Felt like there was a slight stutter or stumble getting into boost in 1st and 2nd gear. It would spool pretty quick, then hesitate for half a second or so before taking off. Handled pretty well, and the dealership that has it just did an alignment and either replaced the control arms or just the bushings (their service records weren't clear and I didn't put it on a lift). Also, in dealership fantasy land they think control arms, an alignment, belts & radiator hoses (but not the TB/WP), safety & emmissions inspection is $1392 worth of service. The sales guy showed it to me like it was an invoice of how much money they put into it. LMAO
A bushing in the shifter is a very common issue with the subarus, and it's pretty easy to fix. It will never feel as nice as the miata, but mine actually doesn't feel too bad. Certainly not enough slop to notice or complain. I'm guessing the bushing is broken.

The weird stutter issue is common on a lot of the turbo subarus. It can apparently be fixed, but it's an issue with the factory tune. I don't know if any tune will fix it, but perhaps somebody else would know.

Quote:
Ranting:
I don't know how people let their cars get that damn filthy, and it makes you wonder what else the PO neglected, such as timely oil changes. The dealer said they just got it and hadn't had time to detail it yet, but why even list it if it's not ready for sale? The ad has been posted in multiple places online for over a week, and I even made an appointment two days ago. It's not like I dropped in out of the blue to look at a car that was traded in this morning. I would think a luxury German car dealership would have their ---- a little more together than this.

I can see myself owning and enjoying an LGT, but probably not this one. A damn shame because it's the trim combo I like the most (satin white pearl with tan leather and 5-spd, not exactly the most common combo out there). I'll drop by next week to see if they can work a miracle and get it clean enough that I wouldn't be embarrassed to drive it, but I'm not holding my breath.
I love my OBXT. I wish I could have found a 5MT LGT Wagon, but since I have the miata for the summer I don't mind the extra ground clearance of the outback in the winter. If it cleans up well, it sounds like this would be a pretty decent, and unmolested car. Don't buy it if you want good gas mileage, though. I get like 21mpg, though some people report as high as like 24. I hear with a tune you can get that a little higher, since Subaru tunes their turbo cars pretty rich.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fwMiata View Post
swaybars transform that car. Outback XT is the turbo wagon model as well.
SpecB is baller IMO.
07/08 is an update as well.
dont know about the HG issues.
There is a legacy GT Wagon, but it's nearly impossible to find one with a manual trans. The outback is NEARLY the same, but it's been lifted so the handling isn't as good. I really love mine anyway, though.
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:05 PM   #13
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My absolutely perfectly maintained '05 had a cracked exhaust valve right around 100k. Well I am sure it was cracked for quite a while but the car didn't start to misfire until 100k. I didn't do a compression check when I looked at it because it's a royal PITA to get the coils out if you never have done it. Plus I Probably would have still bought it if I knew one cylinder was on it's way out

These cars are silly simple to work on, everything is easy to get to.

My brother's '05 has no issues even though it wasn't maintained nearly as well.

The outbacks have a different rear end ratio due to the taller tires from the factory. Lower the car and put legacy sized tires on and they really scoot around. These cars have limited slip rears but desperately need one for the front. One of these days...yeah right.

Some say 2nd is weak but I pull a 3klb boat at full boost (reflashed for 18psi peak, tapers to like 14) for the last 2 years and haven't cracked anything yet. But I have a lot of mechanical empathy during shifts.

Reflash software is free, cables are ~$10 off ebay. Dome light on with door light mod is the best thing ever and simple to do for someone with a brain.

rear wheel bearings go bad, almost as fast as headlight bulbs. They are simple to change too.

I do go thru oil though. Like a half quart every 3k or so. Maybe more. I do a lot of high rpm engine braking, maybe this is part of it. Lots of oil goes thru a breather hose before the turbo, I can see a small river of oil there whenver I take off that hose. I have the parts to do a oil seperator but...lazy.

FMIC makes it quite laggy but helps a bunch if you tow a big load in 100degree temps in the summer. Get rid of the catted up pipe, that helps gain a lot of spool. I went with OEM STi up pipes...don't want a chinese pipe there personally. Of course a single or no cat downpipe and full exhaust gives big gains too.

Outbacks have smaller brakes than the leg. GTs.

Last edited by TurboTim; 07-06-2012 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:52 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by skidude View Post
I have never had any issues with leaking seals on my car, even while being sprayed with the hose. I haven't ever pressure-washed it though.
Then I'll blame the dealer's washing procedure. Seals appeared good so it had me wondering.


Quote:
The headlights should be easy enough to fix. My outback XT is the same color and the touch-up paint actually works really well and matches. In case you care.
Good to know. I usually touch up scratches myself, wet sanding all proper-like. A deep dent with embedded rust is more than I want to deal with but it's nothing a decent body man at a dealership can't handle.

Quote:
The weird stutter issue is common on a lot of the turbo subarus. It can apparently be fixed, but it's an issue with the factory tune. I don't know if any tune will fix it, but perhaps somebody else would know.
I've read a few comments about this on the forums and it does sound like it's fixable with a decent tune.

Quote:
Don't buy it if you want good gas mileage, though. I get like 21mpg, though some people report as high as like 24. I hear with a tune you can get that a little higher, since Subaru tunes their turbo cars pretty rich.
I've seen people report 19 mpg when driving like an asshat around town, 21 in normal mixed, 23-24 hwy stock, and an OTS Cobb AP map will get the hwy mpg up to 27-28 according to some people. But I'm more likely to go the VAGCOM/Tactrix and open source route than pony up for the AP. That much money buys a lot of gas, and having tuned the Miata I'm pretty confident that I could safely eek a little more hwy mileage out of an LGT.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fwMiata View Post
swaybars transform that car. Outback XT is the turbo wagon model as well.
SpecB is baller IMO.
07/08 is an update as well.
dont know about the HG issues.
Don't think I can justify the price premium for the SpecB. I will probably never autox or track whatever I get for a 4-door daily and the plain old LGT I drove yesterday rode well enough that I don't feel the need for the SpecB suspension bits. Besides that, the few extra grand they cost buys you built-in nav (which is probably handled better by a $100 Garmin), slightly nicer but not awesome wheels, and funny-colored seats. I don't foresee needing a 6-spd (06 & up) and the engine isn't any different. On the used market a SpecB costs about $4K more than an equivalent model year & mileage LGT Limited and I don't see the feature set being worth the buy-in.

Quote:
dont leave out the MS6 as it is same class/power plus decent reliability as well.
I've lurked on mazdaspeedforums and exchanged PMs with samnavy on here about his. In addition to potential turbo failures like on the Subies, with the MS6 you get to worry if your VVT will ---- the bed, you have to spend a few hundred upgrading your HPFP if you want to turn up the boost a little, there's no mass produced sibling vehicle acting as a cheap source of hand-me-down bolt-on turbos, diff mounts fail, aftermarket is more limited and parts cost more, limited tuning options, etc. I can live with the fact that it's not truly AWD, and I sometimes do irrational things so I'll probably end up test driving one anyway.

Quote:
but like EVERYONE says watch for signs of raping.
Also, my impression from reading the various forums is that there are a LOT more modded & flogged MS6s being stocked out and traded in compared to the various turbo Subie models.
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Old 07-06-2012, 01:20 PM   #15
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Get rid of the catted up pipe, that helps gain a lot of spool. I went with OEM STi up pipes...don't want a chinese pipe there personally. Of course a single or no cat downpipe and full exhaust gives big gains too.
Yep, I know to pull the filter in the oil feed line and run a catless UP. That stuff would probably be done immediately for safety reasons. I'm not planning to go nuts on the car but a DP & exhaust would probably happen. Maybe a slightly bigger turbo someday but that stock LGT already scooted pretty good for a DD considering the traffic we have here.
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Old 07-06-2012, 04:00 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottFW View Post
I've lurked on mazdaspeedforums and exchanged PMs with samnavy on here about his. In addition to potential turbo failures like on the Subies, with the MS6 you get to worry if your VVT will ---- the bed, you have to spend a few hundred upgrading your HPFP if you want to turn up the boost a little, there's no mass produced sibling vehicle acting as a cheap source of hand-me-down bolt-on turbos, diff mounts fail, aftermarket is more limited and parts cost more, limited tuning options, etc. I can live with the fact that it's not truly AWD, and I sometimes do irrational things so I'll probably end up test driving one anyway.

Also, my impression from reading the various forums is that there are a LOT more modded & flogged MS6s being stocked out and traded in compared to the various turbo Subie models.
There is no justification in the world for buying an MS6. Subies do everything better for less money, greater reliability, more potential, sound better, are easier to work on, blah blah blah.
The MS6 should never have been built. Mazda knows it, the market knew it, people didn't buy them and they only had a 2 year run. I bought mine for almost $10k under MSRP after it sat on the dealers lot for 10 months.

It's got the minimum'est amount of mods and until about a month ago has been absolutely perfect... so I can't personally talk too much ----, but I've been VERY VERY VERY LUCKY!

It ---- the VVT actuator engagement pin, like about 15% of them eventually do. Lucky for me Mazda extended the factory powertrain warranty until 80k miles rather than face about a dozen class-actions for the sheer amount of fail this car can become.

It had a oil-pan leak at about 30k miles covered under warranty as well... but other than that, it's just been oil changes.

The wife and I are going to face decision time here in about 3 years when the kids are both a bit bigger and want to upgrade... Outback Wagon will be on my shortlist.
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:15 PM   #17
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The clutch throw out bearing went out at about 65k in our 05 OBXT. It was pretty easy to change, though. It looked like the clutch had a little life left in it but not much. From what I've read this is fairly common.

God damn, that transmission is heavy compared to the Miata's. (165 lbs vs 70)
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Old 07-10-2012, 01:16 AM   #18
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I have an 04 STI putting down 360/420 to the ground. I have 105k on mine.
I've owned 2 Sti's, and a Saab 92x Aero. Still have the STI and the Saabaru.
First thing I'd worry less about cleanliness and more about the compression. Has it had a leakdown? Were the numbers good? How long ago was the water pump and timing changed cuz it's due now. Not cheap btw. Also the stock can absolutely still be in there. Mine is still in my STi.
What's the asking price? Is there any major wrinkles in any of the engine compartment, around the door sills and trunk area? I believe you are focusing on the wrong issues with the car. If the price is way low it's for a reason. As far as wanting to know if it's been dogged, seriously, most likely you won't know unless there's parts replaced like a new transmission AND rearend. If the exhaust looks a bit too good like it was not used for 50k then put back on. All this is a concern but the compression is the biggest indicator.
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Old 07-10-2012, 04:09 AM   #19
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I wound up buying it after taking another hard look at it and driving it again. The dealership's detailer got the interior much cleaner than I thought they would. Got it up on a lift in one of their bays and poked around. Stock exhaust parts with enough corrosion on the flange bolts that it looks like it's been there for every bit of 97K miles. No worrysome rust on the body, just light surface coloration consistent with it being registered in New Mexico and VA (some road salt here but not like the midwest or New England).

While under the car I saw the A/C condensate draining very well, directly onto one of the control arm bolts. I may attach another piece of tubing to redirect that at some point.

Compression is in the 140s on all four which my searching suggests is pretty good for this engine. Seems consistent with the overall appearance of the turbo bits not looking molested. Absent any records to the contrary I must assume the TB/WP has not been done, so I'll order up those parts and do that pretty soon.

Funny you guys mentioned headlight bulbs going out. They both worked on Saturday when I bought the car, and tonight the driver's side bulb went poof when I switched on the lights. Managed to squeeze my hands in there to change it without having to pull the battery, but I can see this getting old real quick. Might look into those HID kits. In the mean time I disabled the DRLs so that should extend bulb life a little.

It's daily drivable as-is but there's a bunch of stuff to do- get an engine cover, some flavor of streetable brake pad with a little more bite, polish the headlight lenses, wire up the map lights to come on with the dome light, etc. PO already installed an aux input for the stereo so that's one less thing for me to do. Needs the one significant dent fixed and needs a window tint.

I'm enjoying teh boostz. If I can make it through the first week or two without getting a ticket I'll call it a minor victory.
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Old 07-10-2012, 09:44 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by budget racer View Post
<- had an '06 LGT. ugh...they like to go through bulbs. other then that, mine was 100% reliable.

warning: Driver seat has limited range...so the taller crowd may not be comfortable. biggest annoyance is that the rear seats do not fold.
My rear seats fold.
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