VW Vortex - Volkswagen Forum banner
1 - 20 of 141 Posts

·
Premium Member
TTq, OBXT, Renegade
Joined
·
16,076 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So over the last several months I've been doing a pretty thorough job of trolling classifieds, eBay, and Craigslist for a replacement for my Forester. Its at 131k and although it runs like a champ there were a bunch of little things that need to be done and its not exactly comfortable or luxurious. I've had it almost exactly 5 years and wanted something that I could easily and reliably roadtrip in, and I also was focusing on more performance-oriented cars for the replacement. I'd been kicking around for a 9-3 Aero Sportcombi, V50, Forester or Outback XT, Mazdaspeed3, and a few wildcards like an FX35 or an Xterra. My targets were about $8k and under 100k, and those are the reasons why I've been looking for months, its pretty dry out there. I also really tried to find a manual where I could, but it was tough with what I wanted and the misses wouldn't want the long-hauler to need special skills (although she can drive stick :thumbup:)

Saabs offer a lot of car for the money but you have to be patient with finding a specific one, I only saw 5 really solid cars which were around my goals, but 3 were automatics and the other 2 disappeared with a few days of listing. I tried to want a 9-5 but really wanted the smaller car, but if you're not picky there are a bunch of 9-5 SportCombis out there. Saabs seem to have the lowest mileages are far as mile per dollar, and most look to be kept up as well. It was hard to find a V50 and they're a bit bland on the interior, and every Mazdaspeed had really high miles or were 800 miles away. I liked the idea of getting an FX or Xterra but in reality I would hate the crap mileage, though I suppose the FX35 MPGs are close to the XT. I found the XT Friday night, it had been listed that day and only traded on Thursday. Jesus fish on the back, wind deflector on the front, new all-weather mats, 1-owner with full service records, 77k for $9500, and I jumped on this thing like my pants were on fire. I called first thing in the morning and had the keys by 2, sure it was a bit more than expected but every other Subaru out there was at 120k+ so I figured I'd pay a bit more for 50k less. Its clean on the exterior and underside aside from a rusted hitch I plan to recondition, and is almost perfect on the inside, everything works and I got nifty shift buttons on the steering wheel (not fun to learn on highway when trying to change the radio station). My only complaint is a small scar on the dashboard; its as if something got scraped off, and what's worse is that its directly in my line of sight, so my car ADD might be flaring up soon :rolleyes:

I have a good idea about Subarus but wanted to ask a few recommendations, its a 2005 and I know those are some of the most problematic EJ25Ts, the plan is reliability and a bit more fun. Since I already have a moneypit I want to do 3-4 things to the car to and then ignore it aside from maintenance. So far my list includes a catch can setup, tune, downpipe/turboback, and maybe a new turbo intake pipe and diverter valve, but I have to look into the best ones; I know the big tuning recommendation is open-source but have no clue about it otherwise. Basically I want a safe tune for 93oct to not stress the engine, I might build a new shortblock eventually but want that to be out of want, not necessity (translation: I don't want to grenade the stocker). I'm happy with the suspension but want more steering feel and would love to figure out how to get the wind deflector off, and I also need to refinish the headlights. Today just involves checking the oil, trying to dental floss the Jesus fish off, and taking some more pics since its rainy. Any tips or suggestions are welcome!

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,636 Posts
Nice find! Good move on not waffling around, when you see what you're looking for, pounce on it.

Look into some of the dashboard plastic welding/repair kits. I would be just as annoyed as you are with that scrape.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,684 Posts
Looks clean. That is a good price for this area.

We're the XT auto only?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20,587 Posts
Great deal! Legacy GT with a lift kit and some nice looking flares. They definitely look great with aftermarket suspension and those flares...

They did make the XT with a manual, but they are EXTREMELY rare.
They're less rare than manual wagons.
Watch out for your ringlands op.

That said, don't rebuild the block unless you grenade it. The piston failure 9 times out of 10 (or more) doesn't hurt the block or anything else.
Also, above 100k or so, you may wish to recase the engine if you're going to rebuild anyhow as the blocks have some lifespan issues around 150kish.
Get a real tune, get rid of the up-pipe cat, and just drive.
Also, budget to replace the turbo at 100-150k if the po maintained it right and nowish if they didn't.

Also, the timing belt change is due at 105k or 10 years, so chop chop. Make sure to replace everything down there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
84,110 Posts
Wow, very nice condition and low one owner miles.
Can't argue with that deal.
It's not exactly sporty except compared to more traditional cross-overs and USVs- but at least it has scoot power.
Always liked the Legacy Wagon GT of this gen.:thumbup:
 

·
Premium Member
TTq, OBXT, Renegade
Joined
·
16,076 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
I hate you.

....nice find :laugh:
Haha thanks everyone it definitely was a find, Subaru resale is stupid-high around here and I rightly should have paid a good $13k for the mileage. The ringland concerns are my biggest item to account for, that's why I want the preventative stuff like a catch can, better tune, etc., though I hadn't heard of just the uppipe, will that throw a CEL or should I wait for the tune? From what I've read the pistons are ok aside from being very sensitive to detonation, I just threw Lucas fuel treatment and fresh 93oct in when I took it for a spin this morning but plan to baby it until I get the parts/tune sorted. I think I'll do the few right-away things then start trolling for cheap shortblock parts, one nice thing about Subarus is that there are parts everywhere if you look hard enough.

As stated the manuals are rare, and they are the weak 5spds anyway, I'd only want an STi 6spd and that's too involved for what I bought the car for (though obviously tempting, maybe once its paid off). I will do the oil, trans and diff fluids, and probably bleed the brakes on the first nice day, its warming up but almost constantly drizzly/rainy/wet. I'm also going to get some SS brake lines and HPS pads, the brakes are pretty mushy. I just got a 3M headlight restore kit from AutoZone, it was on sale for like $20. Two bummers are that the stock remote is broken and a bolster on the driver's seat is kind of worn, maybe I'll spring for a security system and keep and eye out for a seat...

Ah crap I've already got a parts list going :banghead: :laugh: Few more pics...


 

·
Premium Member
'21 M2 6MT, '21 Volvo S60T8 R design
Joined
·
3,253 Posts
Congrats, I always liked the way these look. I would start with the basics- do a set of spark plugs and a compression test, just so that you're sure the engine is healthy and cyl 4 isn't already fooked. Also, as was already mentioned, an up pipe is a must. My old 2002 WRX had a sensor in it that I removed, but used a 2ohm resistor, from what I remember to not have a CEL. The 2.5 doesn't have that, from what I remember, but again, if it did its easily bypassed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,193 Posts
Nice find, an XT was the only contender when we got our Tiguan but we couldn't find a newer one in our price range. I'm all about the fun engine in a practical, roomy chassis.
 

·
Premium Member
TTq, OBXT, Renegade
Joined
·
16,076 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I've seen the comments about the sensor so I'm not worried. Ok so it seems like the consensus is: catch can, tune, uppipe, oil line filter, compression test and plugs. Anything else to overbuild the engine and help reliability? I wish it was going to be nice this week, not having a garage suuuucks :facepalm:
 

·
Premium Member
'21 M2 6MT, '21 Volvo S60T8 R design
Joined
·
3,253 Posts
I've seen the comments about the sensor so I'm not worried. Ok so it seems like the consensus is: catch can, tune, uppipe, oil line filter, compression test and plugs. Anything else to overbuild the engine and help reliability? I wish it was going to be nice this week, not having a garage suuuucks :facepalm:
Once you do all this, I say just drive the car. If the ej25 grenades, it grenades. Plenty of options if you end up liking the car enough.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20,587 Posts
I've seen the comments about the sensor so I'm not worried. Ok so it seems like the consensus is: catch can, tune, uppipe, oil line filter, compression test and plugs. Anything else to overbuild the engine and help reliability? I wish it was going to be nice this week, not having a garage suuuucks :facepalm:
Seriously, DON'T BUILD A MOTOR UNTIL YOU BLOW YOURS UP. (offer void if putting a bigger turbo on)
With a decent dyno tune (not an off the shelf tune), you may never need a new motor. 98% of the issue is the tune. Australia got exactly the same motor from the same factory with a different tune and piston failures on stop motors is fairly uncommon. Also, while the pistons on the 2005 do fail (yo), they seem somewhat more durable that what 2007+ got (Pistons are different). Also if you do do this, remember, you have an EJ257, not an EJ255, which has different pistons.
Also, do a leakdown test, not a compression test. The ringland failure often presents in a manner that will pass a compression test.
Check your oil at every fillup. These cars use oil weird. You can go 3000 mi without dropping a mm on the dipstick and the next fillup, you're at the low line.

Fake edit: Forgot. One issue that does exist on these motors is that the oil pickup tube will fail, slowly. Go get a killer B or something. Drop in a better baffle when you're there.

Real edit: Re up-pipe. A 2005 has a catted uppipe. The catless uppipe from the same year STI (and all other of that body style) will drop right in. They're cheap. Do the resistor mod, though a tuner can turn that light off too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
697 Posts
I recommend you do some research on legacygt.com.

Make sure to search for turbo issues. Cross-reference with the Legacy GT cars, since your XT is basically a lifted Legacy GT wagon.

One thing to search for is "banjo bolt filter." Make sure to clean yours and set up a personal inspection routine.

The engine is known to be fragile. The turbo blows on a regular basis, often but not only because of oil starvation. The blown turbo can take out the short block and even the heads. Replacing the turbo will not necessarily forestall the next turbo from blowing, if oil starvation because of blocked oil passages isn't remedied at the same time. Be forewarned.

You want to double the original number of factory-recommended oil changes; think in terms of every 3K miles.

Check the oil every time you stop for gas. Keep a log. You're past warranty or even extended warranty, so the information can't be used to help prove that you were not negligent. (Subaru denied many people warranty repairs of their engines because Subaru claimed that people were negligent by running their engines with low oil levels, whether or not it was in fact the case.) However, it is good information for you, to catch any problem early.

I recommend against tuning it if the plan is reliability. It is surprisingly powerful as is, and you don't want to exacerbate already-existing issues.

Search for transmission issues. I honestly don't know what they are for the automatic transmission. The manual had several known problem areas, including clutches that rarely lasted past 60K even with little old ladies driving them to church every Sunday, and throwout bearings that would fail and trash the entire transmission. I do not know if there are similar issues over on the automatic side of things.

Best wishes!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20,587 Posts
I recommend against tuning it if the plan is reliability. It is surprisingly powerful as is, and you don't want to exacerbate already-existing issues.
This is not correct. The EJ257's issues are basically all caused by the OEM tune (though made worse with the soft pistons). A good dyno tune with the express purpose of reliability, not power will prevent the motor from detonating which will prevent motor issues.
The USDM tune is unsafe garbage.
 

·
Premium Member
TTq, OBXT, Renegade
Joined
·
16,076 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for all the tips, are there line upgrades, does rotating the turbo help? I'm fine spending some money if it helps in the long run (and won't turn down good reasons for mods lol)
 
1 - 20 of 141 Posts
Top