I was looking to get into the Subaru crowd and found a couple WRX examples locally...
Hey, welcome (potentially) to the fold! The first thing you gotta know about subarus is rust. The cars are not horrible for it, but they're also winter driven, and a lot of them are winter hooned. Neither of this is good for the engine or the body, and this can tend to bite you with a high KM example. That car would be a high km example. Expect to spend between 8k-14k on a 04+ WRX. If you're the sort of person who goes nuts modding, buy something from the states with work done to it already, swap out parts for ones you want. They get to be a little expensive to build up, especially if you're out for performance. Generally speaking the bang for buck vs an equivalent age lancer evo is awful, and you're better off with the evo if serious performance is wanted (although there are plenty of downsides to the evo's as well). If you're in for a wagon, something like this would be nice:http://www.kijiji.ca/v-cars-trucks/winnipeg/2002-subaru-impreza-wrx/1037168834?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true
I have minimal experience with Subarus and wanted to know what they're really like.
I've heard a lot of stories about their reliability; head gasket issues on the early DOHC and later 2.5 SOHC models, in addition to claims that the early '00s 5 speed transaxles are made of glass. There's also the jokes about rod knocks on the Scoobies.
What truth are there to these claims? What are the common failure points on the EJ205 turbo engine in the WRX? Is working on the boxer engine in car as bad as it looks?
The jokes you hear are actually primarily perpetuated locally by a few ignorant idiots who have basically zero experience with them (and likely want one/couldn't afford them). The actual truth of it is that they're pretty well built engines minus a few little details. The 205's are very different from the 257's and the 207's in the STI's and the 255 in the later (06+ WRX). The 205 generally has no real issues other than being a bit short on power and displacement. They're actually pretty rugged little units and can push right around 295-300hp with some minor work fairly reliably. In terms of stock tune cars, guys have hit up and above 250k miles on the stock or lightly tuned motors without any real issues. The EJ255's/EJ257's have some problems because of tune issues (it's actually very tough to get a 2.5L turbo 4 banger past emissions without direct injection and a fairly lean factory tune) which are made worse by OTS (canned) tunes that people get. The main problem with subarus are actually the owners, because most will get a canned tune that increases power by ~25% or more from factory then drive the cars in the winter and beat on them. Think of it like owning a performance car from any other make that pushes 150+hp/litre. Would you really drive that in the middle of winter and not let the car warm up and roast the bearings after 3 minutes of startup? Would you really buy an OTS tune and start swapping parts as you see fit and then blame the motor manufacturer for it blowing up? Would you randomly run diesel oil in it and expect that it solves all of these problems? Most of the rod knock issues come from people flashing on a canned tune that was designed by a couple folks out in texas, booting the car up in winter, and bagging on it without actually understanding that the tune can/will cause knock very easily (not to mention a mass of carbon build-up from an overly rich tune that will also cause knock eventually). All the "knock knock" jokes aside, the motors are actually well made, have a forged crank/rods from factory and come with some of the nicest cast pistons I have seen in a motor of that era (for the 2.5). They'll run well and for high mileage as long as they aren't too abused.
For the trans, it's early 03 and earlier that come with the weaker trans. The STI 6 speed is the trans to have if you want to have any semblence of track performance (3 limited slip diffs on the 6MT vs 1 vicsous and 2 opens on the later WRX's) and is substantially stronger. For the motor, they're actually one of the easiest motors I've dealt with because there's tons of room up front and everything is up top for the most part. The chassis can be tough to work on because a lot of the nuts are captive nuts and that's a little terrifying on a higher KM car. The supension is also an old design on the GC/GD chassis cars so you trade of tons of parts compatibility and support for general crappy-ness to work on.
The only cars that are genuinely a pain in the ass to work on are the JDM versions of the car because of parts support. Subaru canada no longer can order in any JDM parts, and there is little to no support for a LOT of the models out there in terms of motors, wiring diagrams, etc... It's fine if you have no problems, but troubleshooting/diagnosis becomes a nightmare if that ever comes up.
[Aug 01 15:48:26] dolan:Guys i really dont care, im still young enough to learn from all my mistakes.