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 Заголовок сообщения: Субару с точки зрения профи
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Happy Summer, Folks!

I'm called TheSubaruGuru, an independent semi-retired mechanical engineer who's been playing with Subies for 22 years. I search the northeast wholesale and off-lease markets weekly for highway-driven, young, well-kept specimens that I carefully personally assess, possibly purchase, then perfect in my small garage, reselling for far less than normal retail.


Notice that I have no FORESTERS! Never have...never will! Subie's seriously compromised design has no attraction here. Wonky, trucklike handling; noisy, very wind-sensitive, quite pinched rear legroom (shorter Impreza chassis, remember!). They're piling up on the used market unwanted by previous Subaru owners. The honeymoons are short...especially after an owner happens to drive a friend's Legacy or even a lower, far-better handling Impreza. Too bad Consumer Reports STILL over-recommends Foresters...certainly because they're simply the best iteration of the inherently flawed design of the RAV4/CRV/Forester/Samurai/Matrix/etc "Sport Cute" class? Don't fall for it!

AVOID AT ANY COST Subaru's flawed "Phase One" 2.5L motor as unfortunately used in all 1996-1999 Legacy OB/GT/LSi, Forester and Impreza 2.5 RS models. Late 90s OBs, especially, may appear attractive to the pocketbook initially, but there's always a $1-3k repair bill lurking when the engine's twin head gaskets' slow percolation leaks slew to form Mt. Vesuvius underhood while galavanting down the highway! Often enough drivers can't stop immediately, so the heads and/or block may crack, too. Yech! I don't take chances here...and neither should you! Surprising that the Feds haven't forced a recall....

Note that Subie's previous, smaller 2.2L motor that built such a fine rep for ultradurability as used in the 1990-1999 Legacy L/LS/30th and Impreza 2.2L/OB Sport continues to perform superbly, usually topping 1/4 million miles before the upholstery wears out...or rust gets the fenders! Their autoboxes can't pass aggressively on the highway, but the 5sp is quicker, and a lot of fun. They'll cruise effortlessly in the 70-80 mph range, as opposed to the newer (2000+) 2.5L, which cruises REALLY quietly in the 80-90 mph range! Quite Audi-like.

Folks are now asking about used WRXs, as they're starting to multiply. Often over-revved due to a high-RPM-onset turbo, these torque-starved 2.0L (yeah...small) racing wannabees are simply too abusable to risk purchasing. The automatic is a joke with a turbo, as it wants to shift before the lagging turbo even kicks in! Early feedback is that the trannies are thus at risk from overpowering from high-revving... as are the clutches in manuals, of course. And rarely can one ascertain that the "pressure-cooked" motor has properly been treated to synthetic oil and premium fuel, requirements for highest efficiency and long life for ANY turbo. A 2000+ Leg OB or 2002+ Imp Spt 2.5L non-turbo motor on regular fuel is FAR more satisfying (torquier) in normal driving, and of course is ultradurable. (An analogous situation exists with the otherwise venerable Audi A4 1.8L turbo. A fine combo with manual transmission, but positively lethargic with automatic. Hence the A4 auto only works well with the bigger 2.8-3.0L V6s, but these are harder to service!) So again, I'm really a fan of large, sturdy non-turbo 4cyl motors that run on regular unleaded, are easy to service, and have decent fuel economy. The 2000+ 2.5L Subie motor is easily one of the best, following nicely the older 2.2L's heritage. Too bad there was that '96-99 2.5L "hiccup". Be careful if you're bargain-hunting under $10k. Insist upon the 2.2L, or pony up the $$ and get the powerful, serene 2000+ 2.5L. The latter's 8-way power seat and quiet power are VERY satisfying.


The NEW "Phase 2" 2.5L used in the automatic 2000-2005 Legs and 2002+ Imps performs really marvelously. Its outstanding low end torque feels like a V6, and mates extremely well with the automatic's intelligent programming, so that under 20mph and above 70 the AUTO IS QUICKER AND QUIETER THAN THE FIVE SPEED...and gets the same mileage! This great synergy has resulted in VERY few 5sp 2000+ 2.5L OBs being built. Subie keeps the manual's final gear ratio highish for "perceived" better acceleration, but that just means one looks for a nonexistent 6th gear above 85 mph to quench the onset of noise. Can't win...but the manual is a blast to drive...if you're tall enough for proper clutch pedal depression and don't mind a bit of drone above 85mph.
As well Subie uses a fancy nonadjustable hydraulic clutch on the 2.5L, which unfortunately can wear quickly with drivers naive to the big motor's huge torque at idle speed. Hence I must say that greater than 50% of the rare used 5sp 2000+ 2.5L Subies that I see need clutches already. Too bad.
So for MOST folks I recommend the automatic for the 2000+ 2.5L, and thus the 5sp only for aficionados (and those above 5'6", to boot), or of course for the smaller, older 2.2L, where managing the lower power available becomes more important when passing on the highway.

One remaining important issue regards driver geometry. The long clutch depression on the 5sp requires that short drivers, especially, sit 1-2" closer to the airbag than in the automatic. This can be cumbersome, uncomfortable, unsafe, and just not pleasurable if you're, ahem, height-challenged! So if you're under 5'6" or so let's have a serious chat before you insist on a 5sp because "that's all I've ever driven, and/or I like the extra control". The automatics can be down-shifted too, and frankly are a bit safer careening down an icy hill as you don't have to worry about momentary loss of traction when declutching....

...are welcomed to consult re service needs, as too often I'm hearing stories of expensive unnecessary "repairs" (e.g., $300 timing belts) while simple important stuff (like $40 auto trans fluid changes) go ignored. Sigh....

Feel free to CALL ANYTIME to focus your needs, or have any queries. Sorry, no photos; but you know what these look like, I trust.

Cheers...and enjoy Spring!

Ernie Meunier
781 483-3922

PS Thoroughly digested the new 2005 Consumer Reports Auto issue. CU has blown it again re their Foresterphilia, complete naievete re the defective 95-99 2.5L motors, and because of "normal" 3 winter brake life, deciding NOT to fully recommend the outstanding 2000-2003 Legs and OBs! Subaru brake systems are identical across all models, so it's mighty strange how the statistics mispiled to trick CU into recommending the Forester and NOT the Outback or other legacy models. Sheesh!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -


What're the differences between: Legacy/Outback, Outback/OB Sport, OB/Limited, 4WD/AWD?

Better to review Subaru timeline:

80-84 Subaru DL/GL
First interesting Subies, with indestructible 1.6 and 1.8L motors, LOTS of rust and exhaust system issues. Noisy, rugged, crude 4WD good for straight-line driving in muck. Horrible automatic, but fun manual trans. By the time I became sufficiently proficient at performing one-handed valve adjustments in the dark, Subie started over again with the...

85-89 Subaru DL/GL, renamed for 90-94 as the Loyale
Subie learns that their new "modern" OHC motors rip up conventional timing belts! Rusty hoods, exhausts, funky sensors, copper radiators all conspire to make owning one of these a love/hate gamble. Some lucky 5sp owners. Still a horribly inefficient, slow automatic, except rare 1989 models experimenting with the new 4sp autobox, as used in...

90-94 Subaru Legacy
The first really modern, bulletproof Subie! New 2.2L motor with unitized HUGE timing belt, 16v heads, stainless exhaust, aluminum radiator; terrific optional AWD automatic or 5sp manual allow true Audi-like handling in all conditions. High seating position favors short/medium-sized drivers, so women discover Subaru.
Lots of minor model variations in 94 to confuse shoppers....

93-01 Impreza
Smaller chassis Subie, initially with underpowered 1.8L, then with optional 2.2L (95+). Success of "outback" name results in advent of Impreza Outback Sport version...simply two-tone paint, bigger tires, standard ABS, roof rack and slightly better upholstery. Phenomenal handling, but noisy at speed, as body predates wind-tunnel research. Clearly the most rugged, safest small car extant...even today!

95-99 Legacy, 96-99 Legacy Outback
Redesigned 95 Legacy stretches back seat leg room considerably, but drops front seat 2" so everyone complains that they're now sitting in too-low "Honda-style"!
But guys up to 6'4" now rejoice. Most common "L" model well-equipped. "LS" model adds power sunroof, CD, ABS, and most importantly, a height adjustable seat! AWD standard on all wagons, sedans north of PA.
Subie gets crocodile-hunter on TV to introduce "Outback" version of Legacy in 96. Soft oversized crappy Michelin XW4 tires soften handling, but with crankable seat they conspire to raise shorties' tushes to new heights! Unfortunately Subie's new (Phase One) 2.5L motor proves to be a pressure-cooker with bad gaskets in the end, nearly always failing catastrophically. But as the 90s went buy nearly all sales were for the OB instead of the more reliable, older 2.2L in the Legacy L. Who knew? Note that the GT/LSi were essentially LS but with 16" wheels and the flawed 2.5L. Too bad, as the latter were the best handling to date.
The Brighton was a stripped Legacy 2.2L. Reliable, but again, you sat on the floor!
Subaru escapes what should have been a massive recall of the Phase One 96-99 2.5L and starts with a clean slate in...

00-04 Legacy, Outback
Subie gets wonderfully Audi-like, with a very quiet (double-insulated firewall), ultra-solid body that now including the redesigned "Phase Two" 2.5L.
Interestingly, this new motor manages huge increases in bottom end torque, but by being a simpler, solid-lifter SOHC design, managed by sophisticated automatic tranny algorithms, actually improves efficiency to boot!
Larger tires/wheels on stiffer springs result in extraordinarily good handling, best described as midway between the slightly softish US version VW Passat 4-motion and its stiffer brethren the Audi A4 V6 Quattros.
The 8-way power seat of the OB and GT models seems to fit all bodies from 5'
to 6'3", resulting in poor sales of the cheaper L as its lowly seat continues to favor rare-air breathers.
Despite the wonderful optimization of the gutsy 2.5L, market pressures for stronger highway acceleration result in Subie releasing a VERY thirsty V6 in upscale VDC and LL Bean OB variants. Expensive to own AND run, I avoid these; drivability differences around town are insignificant, and thus don't warrant being piggish anyway. And who wants to work on a V6? Four large parts are almost always more durable than 6 smaller ones....

02+ Impreza, OB Sport, RS, WRX
Redesigned in 02, the newer Impreza chassis is much quieter, with an engine bay that now accepts the Phase two 2.5L, so these latter Imps become the mightiest of the small car club. Again, I avoid the torque-starved turbo 2.0L (all WRX), as these are too abusable, and indeed are quite thirsty, prefering premium, and are RARELY run on synthetic oil, as required of all turbos for long life. Stick with the venerable 2.5L.
The even more boy-toyish WRX STi does indeed start with a blown 2.5L, and is breathtakingly quick (for $31k!), but also VERY noisy, and ultrathirsty.
I prefer a chipped Audi S4 twin-turbo by far...but we can talk.

05+ Legacy, Outback
Wow! What a beautiful interior? The OBs look positively Infinitiesque...even the regular Legacy L mimics a nice Passat's more Teutonic ambience.
We all read Subie's dirty non-secret re raising the OB's suspension an extra inch to allow reclassification as a truck for US CAFE mileage standards... only way to allow sprinkling the thirsty V6 more liberally, I suppose. Shame!

I've driven 2005 OBs 1/2 dozen times by now, and consistently come away swearing at the softer roll-axis inherent in the higher center of gravity. The damned things are just too tippy-feeling. Even more so than the softish Passat, and NOTHING like the wonderful 2000-2004 OB predecessor (see above).
Yes, the nice 2.5L fortunately continues (with a slightly more efficient intake manifold for +2 hp, I think), and the tire/wheel combo is unchanged. But the springs are simply too soft for an elevated cabin. Darn!

Fortunately, by contrast the UNraised regular Legacy L and fancier GT handle SUPERBLY. Phew!
But who's buying these non-OB Audi wannabees? No one so far. So don't expect to find lots of used 2005 GTs and L's in the future as used cars. Just lots of sloppier "newer" OBs. And maybe too many with the V6, too boot!
The Subie salesmen's favorite is the turbo's 2.5L Legacy XT. Hmmm...will the soft roll axis, plus extra care and thirstiness of the turbo be worth the blistering speed? The I'll let you know in a couple of years....

Last week my 2003 OB Sapphire sold to a Scotswoman who arrived in a rented 2005 OB. She LOVED the new Subie luxury/ergonomics/looks, but thought the handling was tippy EVEN compared to her old Forester in the Highlands back home! She alternated spirited drives of my '03 OB with the brand new '05, becomely completely amazed at how much "cleaner and flatter" the '03 handled...but I just found out her financing fell through! Aaaarrrgh! I hope enough new-Subie yearners figure this 05 OB sloppier-handling out, and buy L's and GTs instead of OBs so that there'll be a decent crop of USED ones for me and you in a few years, eh? Meanwhile, those NEW-car shoppers considering ONLY OUTBACKS because of ground clearance, seating height, etc., would best compare the 2005's soft handling to a well-prepped 2000-2004 (like mine!) before committing $25-30k for a compromised driving experience. Remember, the REAL satisfaction is when sitting behind the wheel at speed in a twisty, NOT staring at the Saab-like body lines from your kitchen window, nor squinting at the Lexus/Infinitiesque glitz of the fine interior trim! If you HAVE to have a new one, get the GT and pray the turbo behaves faithfully for a decade, or save some kilobucks and get an L and a nice Tempurepedic cushion if you're vertically challenged. But the obvious high value alternative is to seek a well-preserved, expertly-prepped 2000-2004...and that's where I come in.

My guarded prediction is that the 2000-2004 OBs will go down in history as Subie's most satisfying iteration: ultradurable, efficient, quiet, reliable AND Audi-like great handling. So I'm going to continue to stuff my menagerie with as many nice (underpriced) ones as I can manage... at least until
Perrine (hopefully) graduates from U Rochester in 2009. Then?
I'm already polishing my Chopin for a third career!

Hope this helps. There's lots more to tell you. Maybe I should get a webpage?


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СообщениеДобавлено: Ср июн 08, 2005 6:33 pm 
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спасибо. интересно.

Владение орфографией как владение кунг-фу:
настоящие мастера не применяют его без необходимости

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М-да, Форестер - единственный из семейства, в котором мне собственные коленки не натирают уши, но я знаю одного чувака, у которого рассыпался в Форестере двигатель, причем так, что дешевле было заменить :( А вообще надо у Секама спросить. У него опыт богатый.

Из г... -> конфетку

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