Mike HalfDork
March 22, 2014 8:47 a.m.

I am strongly considering a Subaru Baja I drove last night. It has a lot of miles, but runs like it was taken care of for those miles. Price is about right too. It's not perfect though. The only wear the car really shows is suspension, and I'm not afraid to admit that worn suspension symptoms are outside of my areas of expertise.

There is a vibration that I'm guessing is coming from the left front that starts around 50 mph. It's minor, and doesn't come heavily through the steering wheel. It also doesn't follow what I'm doing with the brakes. The tires are fairly new, but the left front was a little low during the test drive. What would you look at?

There was a metallic rattle when hitting potholes at speed. I only heard it maybe twice. Maybe from the rear this time. I'm thinking something is loose or worn. Again, where would you start looking?

The Baja is rare enough here that I can't find another to drive. It feels more softly sprung than nearly anything I've been in. It was slightly on the soft side of the rental previous-gen Malibu I drove a few months ago. It didn't feel so wrong that it couldn't be up to the nature of the car. Is that about right?

Woody MegaDork
March 22, 2014 10:21 a.m.

Where are you located? I saw a high mileage example around here with a few minor needs that seemed surprisingly cheap.

Woody MegaDork
March 22, 2014 10:28 a.m.

Okay, maybe not "minor"...I read a lot of ads over the course of the day.

http://newhaven.craigslist.org/cto/4378749428.html

Mike HalfDork
March 22, 2014 10:46 a.m.

That does look cheap. I'm in Louisiana. The one I'm considering seems better sorted, is newer with fewer miles, but I'm looking at about $5.5k asking price.

Ojala HalfDork
March 22, 2014 1:33 p.m.

In reply to Mike:

New struts are cheap but i would add new front strut mounts to the mix also. Rears don't seem to wear out as quickly.

As far as the noises: Subaru end link bushings wear out and the bolts rattle like you describe. Based on your description of the vibration I would take a strong look at that left front tire.

ultraclyde SuperDork
March 22, 2014 5:32 p.m.

Yeah, sounds like tire out of balance or tread separating. Ask if you can have a tire shop check it or throw the spare on for a test drive.

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