Monday, July 20, 2015

STi Wagon: 2005 Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT

Subaru never built a wagon version of their hopped up Impreza WRX STi (no, the hatchback jelly bean version doesn't have trunk big enough to fit more than a few bodies) but you can get pretty darn close on the used market with a Legacy 2.5 GT.  Find this 2005 Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT offered for $7,000 in Lutherville, MD via craigslist. Tip from Jeff.


 The 4th generation Legacy (BL, BP) was sold in the US market for the 2004 through 2009 model years.  It combined a detuned version of the Impreza STi engine and decently sporty large compact (or small mid-sized) chassis. 


Powering the Legacy 2.5 GT version is a 2.5 liter EJ25 flat-4 that puts out 250 horsepower and 240 ft-lbs of torque.  It is only an aftermarket tune and a few bolt on parts away from  being as beefy as the STi version. 


 See another sleeper longroof for cheap? tips@dailyturismo.com

30 comments:

  1. I concur with your conclusion about the Impreza liftback's lesser storage. Like some Saabs and other examples of the subgenre, it's ultimately more utilitarian than a sedan but not quite a wagon.

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  2. These things look GREAT on paper, and they're fairly attractive cars. Probably the best looking of all the Subarus from the past 15 years and definitely easier on the eye than the current crop of awkwardly proportioned AWD Camry looking things.

    HOWEVER in execution these cars aren't the greatest. I could write a book on the problems I experienced with my pair of '05 LGT Wagons, but they're all well documented on the LGT forums (and on previous postings here).

    Oh what the heck, here's a list off the top of my head: spewing raw fuel from the rail when the ambient temp drops below freezing to turbo oil starvation that if left unchecked can kill the engine (not just the turbo). Those are the major things, there are enough minor annoyances to make these cars not worth the effort... wheel bearings, brakes, lower control arm bushings, wheel bearings, turbo failures, intercooler end tank separation, wheel bearings, head gaskets, valve cover gaskets, wheel bearings, Tumble Generator Valve solenoid failure if you happen to spill a tiny bit of oil into the intake manifold while you're adding the 1 - 2 qt these require between oil changes, wheel bearings, and did I mention wheel bearings? Oh and ring lands. And piston rings in general.

    The engine isn't the only problem. 2nd gear in the manual gearboxes is weak if you're putting down much more than stock. As is reverse. And the tailshaft extension housing was prone to leakage early on. The original knee-jerk Subaru factory-authorized reseal often times would "squish" the anaerobic sealer inside vs outside and the needle-bearings in the gearbox would sometimes get gummed up by the stuff and kill the transmission. Or the small oil passages would get clogged and starve certain components of gearbox oil. If yours was re-sealed by a dealership before 2009 then there's a good chance it'll have to be disassembled and re-sealed again, at your expense. A small price to pay for peace of mind.

    All of that is just off the top of my head. I didn't mention the water pooling in the doors making them smell like mold factories whenever you crack the windows. On one of our cars (wife's auto trans car), despite numerous dealership trips to attempt to fix it, water would condense on the *outside* of the HVAC ducting, pool at the low point and drain into the passenger foot well while you're driving. This, oddly, wasn't an issue on our manual trans car.

    In closing, do yourself a favor and buy a used flat-6 equipped Outback with a 4-speed auto. That's the only Subaru engine/trans combo I've not had a problem with. All other chassis-related garbage still applies, but at least you won't have to worry about your engine or transmission.

    And the AWD system in these cars is brilliant.

    Two more Captain Pedantic notes:

    1. this specific body style (sedan/wagon) was sold in the US starting in 2004 for the 2005 model year vs. as a 2004 model.

    2. the engine was quite different from the STi engine in that it had a different turbo, different intercooler, different intake manifold (plastic vs. crinkle-finish red aluminum) and most importantly, single AVCS vs the dual AVCS of the STi mill. As you'd expect, it also had different engine management, different engine wiring harness, etc. Same block & pistons though iirc.

    And I'm spent.

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    1. I will touch none of what you wrote, RyanM but know that I'm right there with you! It's just that I don't want to share in the virtual flambe if it happens...

      [img]http://i.imgur.com/hp0ZxFu.jpg?1[/img]

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    2. Posts like RyanM's is why I love this place.

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    3. Thank's, Gianni.

      @K2, I've been told that there are plenty of LGT's and OBXT's out there that have been wonderful cars for their owners. I've just been twice bitten by these things and after hearing from dozens of other owners in similar situations to the one the wife and I were in a few years ago with these things, I got the feeling that our experience was far from abnormal. Plus, the service writers would call me and ask me if I wanted anything out of the customer cars that they were sending to auction whenever someone traded in an OBXT or LGT with a blown engine. For a while between 2010 and 2012 I was getting at least one call per week.

      Plus, Subaru flat fours in general have a propensity for consuming head gaskets, at least where I'm from (New England). They also rust early and often. When the time came for us to buy a vehicle to replace the LGT's (we'd been relying on the '98 S70 and '98 4Runner as DD's in the interim), we went with "anything but Subaru" even though on paper they fit our bill perfectly (under $20k, good on gas, safe, AWD, wagon-esque etc). Ended up with a CX-5 6-spd and aside from the mediocre cargo area storage, we couldn't be happier.

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    4. You can only write what you know. And that's a valuable thing, so you should. Like lots of car companies, Subaru has a legend that it can't always live up to. That may or may not be the fault of the company itself. Information like this arms the consumer (the whole point of DT!) and ultimately drives those companies either out of business or to better themselves. It's a win-win, unless you're one of their employees of course; then it's bad. But that's not your concern here. Sharing what you know is. You could be saving somebody a lot of time and grief.

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    5. As I do every time, I concur, based on our previous Outback experiences. Sadly, 90k really seems to be the usable lifespan of these cars before major troubles begin. Sort of sad for a car maker with such a durable image (and one who used to brag about "Highest percentage of cars still on the road").

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    6. Interesting observation FTB, which I concur with also based on Subaru ownership. I'd love to know where the myth started. As you pointed out, the maker itself encouraged this view but it doesn't always jibe with reality. Beyond that, "normal" folk also seem to believe this wholeheartedly, without any research to back it up.

      My gut feeling is that it has something to do with Subaru's historic ability to rustproof their cars seemingly better than their contemporaries. An old Honda with rust is not uncommon, but a Subaru suffering from rot does seem to be more of a rarity. That's just a wild hare guess on my part; again, no research to back it up. Anybody want to talk to that point? I'd be interested in hear what people think about that.

      PS Our Impreza and my BRAT had rust in the wheel wells. But I also know of many Subarus that do not have any sign of rust.

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    7. @K2 - I've noticed the exact opposite with Subarus as it pertains to rust. So the saying goes, it is said on a cold New England winter's eve, if you listen close enough, you can hear the faint sound of Subarus rusting.

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    8. Well, I did and I didn't I guess - ha ha! Both of our Subarus rusted but like I wrote I've known of several that didn't. Never met a Honda pre-2000ish (year, not model) that didn't.

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  3. Wow Ryan- I could have sworn you were describing a BMW. These are cool cars but I don't like them enough to own one.

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    1. I loved the idea of these things too, but right around the 70k mark, like clockwork, mine and the wife's cars started shedding parts and consuming credit cards like it was going out of style. I became best friends with the service writers at the local Subaru dealer. Even the lot kid and shuttle driver knew me by my first name.

      Additionally, I'll repeat what I've said a million times, the rake of the rear gate when viewed from the side and taper/angle of the rear greenhouse sides when viewed from the rear makes these things kind of worthless as wagons. Rear storage space if measured at the floor level is awesome, but as you go up to window-height, the size of box you can stow back there gets smaller and smaller. It was pretty sad when we had a garage full of wagons yet in order to move large cube furniture I'd have to use my Volvo S70 (sedan, for the uninitiated).

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    2. Just to be clear; I've paid neither RyanM nor Jon Acton a red cent to say these things.

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    3. @K2 - so that mystery box full of Volvo parts stuffed with $100 bills wasn't from you? hmmm...

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    4. I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking/encouraging you to flesh this out into an article, RyanM. You know, in between working, caring for a newborn, having a life...just whip something up in your copious free time!

      No, but seriously...get on it.

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    5. @K2 - I have to say that I'm amazed the feature on the RX-8 turned out so well. I offloaded a steaming pile of manure onto tips@dailyturismo and Vince polished that turd into something readable. You should have seen the rough draft... he did not have that much to work with so again, kudos.

      I'm a much better editor [though mediocre at best in this respect] than I am writer. And through a cruel twist of fate, I am completely incapable of editing my own drivel. I also have a tendency to get wordy, ramble about without much cohesion, and speak all too often in the first person. If I were to write something about the Legacy GT from the perspective of a former owner, it would appear that I'm just being bitter. In other words, it would be a negatively-skewed rant, and wouldn't at all be a fair, unbiased or impartial buyer's guide. Plus, there are already FAQs and buyer's guides out there for these cars over at legacygt.com on the forums.

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    6. Of course. But don't let any of that stop you. None of that other stuff is important. Your experience is the only thing that is.

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    7. "... it would appear that I'm just being bitter. In other words, it would be a negatively-skewed rant, and wouldn't at all be a fair, unbiased or impartial buyer's guide."

      But it would probably be so much more entertaining to read! Everyone is biased, it's just whether one acknowledges it or not.

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    8. It could be even more fun if you feign ignorance that you're being that way. Good idea, G.

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  4. If only there had been a Spec B wagon...

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  5. Hmm, I did want. Now strangely I don't want any longer.

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  6. And in MD they use more salt than 10 German pretzel factories.

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  7. I only wish for some of those A-Hole punks driving Subies would blow up so i could laugh my ass off !

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  8. I've got a 2005 Outback GT Limited 5MT . Stage 2 and runs like a top. It's fast a hell too. These cars are not the complete nightmare that RyanM makes them out to be. YMMV of course.

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    1. Tell us more, please! It would be good to hear a positive spin.

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    2. Yes, please do. Though I think you mean Outback XT? The Legacy was the GT and the Outback was the XT, at least in the United States.

      Pedantry aside, I love the way these cars look and handle. And when they ran well, they almost made me feel like they were worth it.

      But then I'd get a flashing CEL and go into limp mode (which disabled the boost and essentially turned it into a low compression 3300lb rolling roadblock) at 11000 ft elevation in the mountains of Colorado because some asinine ancillary system decided to throw up a false positive (usually the TGV's) and pack it in temporarily... and it made me remember why I hated it so very much.

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    3. I was always drawn more towards the Forester XT, because of the interior volume. It handled more stuff and it paid off on the utility promise. Still...

      There's a fellow that lives somewhere in the neighborhood with one that's been slammed and murdered out. I love it. Looks and sounds awesome. But then I hop in my comparatively luxurious V70 and let out a sigh of relief. Not everyone would feel the same way, I'm sure; that's just the way it is for me.

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    4. yes, Outback XT, not sure why I fatfingered that one. I had a 2002 WRX for 11 years as well. Different animal for sure, but no real issues that a car with 130k miles wouldn't have. Sure I replaced 2 wheel bearings. I know plenty of people with these Legacys and Outbacks, few have had such horrid experiences when they are properly maintained and not beat on. Much like any car.

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