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530ras 03-25-2013 06:21 PM

1997 Legacy GT
Hey all,

New to this site, but so far have really been enjoying the things ive seen.

I just bought a 1997 legacy gt for $3500. Its nice, I really like it and am in love :) It has the bumps and nicks you would expect from a 16 year old car, but still has a decent stance to her. Metallic green paint is stock and is rather shiny for the year imo. She came with some Stanford stickers on the glass and some other stickers on the bumper and those were the first to go. After removing stickers and washing off residue it came out nice. Dealer badge is next.

The previous owners were some doctors who worked at Stanford in Palo alto. They brought it here from Minnesota. So being from the midwest there is some rust; There are three half dollar or so sized spots on the roof that correlate with the screws on the oem roof rack. There is also a small quarter sized spot on one right wheel well, on the outer trim. And finally there is a 1/8th inch spot on the front of the car above the windshield. Luckily they are not soft or spongy at all and you cant see them at all unless you really looked hard at the roof. Another good thing is Ive through out the engine bay and I dont see any rust at all and there is minimal rust underneath the car aside from oxidizing metal. There is also rust on some of the susceptible screws here and there.

The interior is very very clean and all upholstery is 9.5/10.

As far as the engine. It has 137k miles, and was only driven 5k in the last two years, most of the time it has been in storage since 2010. It was brought to CA in 2009. The timing belt was replaced @ 102k. It has had some other services but nothing major. It runs nice, I am surprised how much you can feel this engine. My mom had a 97 outback growing up and that felt weak compared to this imo. Even my 02' ranger xlt with a v6 feels much tamer than this engine.

I am scheduled to take it in Thursday to get inspected and a price sheet quoting me on any work they might think I need. Ill go from there

I dont have a camera right now but i am going to the bay area This weekend and will pick one up on my way back from the bay. After that ill get some proper pics up as I know forums are just not the same with out the pics to go with the info.

As far as my plans for her, Id like to get the engine and transmission and suspension on top shape and then perhaps some 2005 lgt rims, a jdm grill, clean tint and a nice exhaust system, but those might have to wait till next spring...well see how addicted i get to her and that will dictate if she gets the funding ;)

Ok cool well thanks for stopping by and checking my thread, If any members have any input or advice for me about the repairs im planning please feel free to chime in, i encourage it.

Time for some back with pics in a few days after I go down to see Warriors vs Kings ( Dlee bobblehead night!!)

twisty 03-26-2013 08:09 AM

nice find! why redo the head gaskets if they were done 30k ago? also, what can you do to service a clutch? is it slipping or acting weird while driving?

530ras 03-26-2013 08:52 AM

Hey Twisty,

Thanks for stopping in.

The timing belt was replaced at 102k but not the head gaskets. As far as the clutch it has the same clutch it was with when new so i am on track to have them replace it if needed. I was told to have them do the slave cylinder as well as flywheel resurface, throw out bearing, transmission seal and rear crankshaft seal as well.....

IMo if I can get another 100k out of it im happy

Thanks again for stopping in, pics coming up in a few day when I get a camera.

pleaidestar 03-26-2013 09:16 AM

Good find, all the work listed above with the seals and vapor separator are just preventive maintenance since the motor is out. Its good to do that to maintain oil pressure and there was a recall on the vapor separator. With all that work and a lightly used motor will yield about 300k more miles and ensure that car is on the road for another 16 years and be reliable.

Dealer labor rates are ridiculous, 2500 is in the ballpark of what your invoice could be just on motorwork alone,b ut peace of mind is priceless.

530ras 03-26-2013 11:23 AM

pleaidestar- Thanks for the words. If its not obvious I am not so mechanically inclined...which is funny b/c my dad and my uncle are both engineers, I am good with tools but not so much on a car hehe...but yeah I wanted to go with the Subaru dealer for the inspection and then see what they say, if they say do the headgaskets ill think about it, but im prob going to my regular mechanic for the clutch and electrical work Can I take parts Ive bought myself to a mechanic and ask them to install them?

I was thinking I could probably do the headlights and fog lights myself.

Thanks again for the info

pleaidestar 03-26-2013 12:42 PM

Are you definitely sure you need headgasket work done on your car? The dealership has to pull the motor to do the headgaskets, so I'm thinking you might as well have them do the clutch as well, seeing that all work from them would be completely guaranteed.

The your lights and stuff like that were made to be easily worked on by a regular Joe
, and if help is needed to complete or get tips to make it easier are what this forum is all about, Sharing info and helping you get the most out of your car. There are different areas in this board to help you with whatever it is that you need.

530ras 03-26-2013 01:19 PM

From what ive read here and on other sites it seems that getting the headgaskets replaced saves you from a lot of trouble down the road. I am worried that by not getting them done asap i may run into larger problems down the road.

So to answer, no I am not sure.

I was basically going to tell the dealer I just got this ride. Show them a list of the things I want to be checked and if they feel that its in my best interest to get them fixed asap then I would have them give me an estimate.

I am somewhat certain that the clutch needs work b/c after going through the old receipts the seller saved, there was only one mention of the clutch and that was cleaning the cables or something similar. Ive only owned one MT and that was a 95 civic ex. The GT pedal has to be pushed to the floor to be shifted into first and reverse (not sure if this is normal tbh) without grinding.

pleaidestar 03-26-2013 02:17 PM

It is true about the headgaskets failing at around 160k with the 2.5's, there was two design changes on them. If the car hasn't been through the recall then I would say do it, is there any way for you to find out from the previous owner? I'm not going to say not to do it because your absolutely right about them being a problem down the road if they weren't changed to the multi-layer steel gaskets.

I try to be optimistic about dealerships, they would seem to be more honest than an Indy shop but the nature of the business is to upsell...I have no idea how to tell that the headgaskets have been done before as I have never run into that with my own vehicle, if the motor has been pulled before you might catch a glimpse of a steel plate behind the flywheel, what that would tell you is that maybe the clutch has been replaced and the redesigned separator plate has been installed in place of the plastic one that came on the motor when it was new. If the metal plate is there, there may be a chance the headgaskets were replaced as well.

I know you have some decisions to make but if you are able to swing the cost of it then I would do it just as a safety buffer for your wallet and motor down the road. That's where peace of mind comes into play again.

snederhiser 03-26-2013 04:36 PM

I would take this to an independant shop that specializes in vehicle inspection!!! I think this is about a $200.00 fee. They will go over every square inch of the car and give you a report on all leaks and malfunctions! Tell them your concerns about the head gaskets and have the compression checked. It is quite an impressive list you will receive. Do not take this to the Local Dealer Profit Center. How about the local Vo-Tec school? Just trying to think out of the box on you making a biiigg mistake! Steven.

530ras 03-26-2013 06:15 PM

Thanks to both of you pleaidestar and snedehiser for you input and advice. I am still taking it in to do the dealer tomorrow, But i am approaching it in a different way. I will tell them i just bought the car and that id like an inspection and a estimate on any work they feel would be important to take care of.
I was unaware of the recall. Is that something that Subaru would cover the cost of? It also needs a tune up.

Also is having to press the clutch down so far a bad thing? Im also feeling some sort of slight bump in the gearbox when i shift from 2nd to 3rd

snederhiser 03-26-2013 08:17 PM

How much freeplay do you have in the clutch pedal? Should be about 10mm (3/8"). Have the clutch adjusted and have the transmission drained and refilled. This would be a good service for the dealer to do while they are checking out the car for you! Steven.

530ras 03-26-2013 08:22 PM

Thanks Steven for the info. I actually cant get the clutch pedal to move an inch without some serious pressure. It definitely doesnt have any freeplay at all.

twisty 03-27-2013 08:16 AM


Originally Posted by 530ras (Post 4359965)
Hey Twisty,

Thanks for stopping in.

The timing belt was replaced at 102k but not the head gaskets. As far as the clutch it has the same clutch it was with when new so i am on track to have them replace it if needed. I was told to have them do the slave cylinder as well as flywheel resurface, throw out bearing, transmission seal and rear crankshaft seal as well.....

IMo if I can get another 100k out of it im happy

Thanks again for stopping in, pics coming up in a few day when I get a camera.

hah, i totally read that wrong!

IMO if the clutch isnt slipping or making a bunch of noise, id leave it until it happens. my clutch lasted about 160k miles, the only reason i replaced it was my TB exploded. the clutch still had plenty of life on it.

530ras 03-29-2013 07:02 PM

Took it in to get checked out. The Subaru techs were very open and honest with me. They said the LGT is in good shape, the rust is not horrible but not great and that it may be a concern some years down the road. Other than a tune up, belt changes and such she seems to be good to go. Thanks for all who helped me with advice., Im glad I didnt dump tons of cash into her engine and clutch right away.

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