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NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
12/14/20 2:13 p.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

Why yes that is what I was thinking about. Kinda closed my mind to the whole flat four thing. along with leaky head gaskets, 2 heads to rebuild when doing and engine when machine shops charge by the head not the cylinder count, and 4 cams for 4 pistons.

Broader question would be "is there any argument for the flat four layout?" And lower center of gravity is  not one that is worth arguing for a street car.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/14/20 2:16 p.m.

In reply to NOHOME :

The CG gets further back, which is more important.

 

Sure, the engine is ahead of the front axle.  In practically all transverse setups, though, the engine AND TRANS are ahead of the front axle.

 

 

mad_machine (Forum Supporter)
mad_machine (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/14/20 4:46 p.m.
mdshaw said:

 

2 people came to drive it & both said it didn't accelerate correctly because both of their friends had Baja turbos & theirs were much faster. Our daughter never drove it hard & didn't know about the sluggish acceleration.  There aren't any cels so wasn't something obvious. I hooked up my Fire tablet & Torque pro & made some display gauges.  We did some 0-60 tests & afr's, boost, load, temp etc are fine. Although it's 0-60 is about 13 seconds. It's just really sluggish. It builds boost to @9 psi though. Also when trying to accelerate quickly the auto doesn't want to shift out of 1st. Kicking the shifter over to manual & slapping it up to 2nd, it shifts fine. I've read where possibly the up-pipe to the turbo might be clogged but reading about replacing that doesn't sound fun.

So now we have slow acceleration, oil leaks still, auto trans that won't shift out of 1st when really pushing it, now last week the coolant was low so now possibly head gasket issues,  also did the rear brakes & there is underbody rust so it must have been from somewhere where the roads are salted. Not sure how it wound up in Florida. 

that time doesn't sound right at all. My Land Rover, all 5000 pounds of it with only 240hp can get to 60 in 9.6.  The Baja Turbo has 10 less HP and a 1500 pounds less weight, it should do it in just under 8 seconds

rslifkin
rslifkin UberDork
12/14/20 5:34 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

In reply to NOHOME :

The CG gets further back, which is more important.

Sure, the engine is ahead of the front axle.  In practically all transverse setups, though, the engine AND TRANS are ahead of the front axle.

I don't see how that's really an advantage of a flat 4.  Just of a longitudinal driveline in general.  And longitudinal FWD or AWD setups have been done in other cars with non-flat engines. 

NGTD
NGTD PowerDork
12/14/20 6:19 p.m.

To the OP - you came to the right place!! The irrational hatred of Subaru's on this forum should be considered legendary. I feel pretty qualified to say this because since I have frequented this forum, I have owned 3 Subaru's, only 1 was a DD, and 4 VW's, all of which have been DD's. So I have had the most hated brands on this forum.

97 Outback - the infamous EJ25D - sold it with over 415k kms (260k miles) and I kept seeing it around town for a while. Bought for $500, sold for $1000, so I could buy the WRX. Absolutely beat on that car. It was my ride when I volunteered at rallies and I Rally-crossed it. Drove it to and from Rally-X, 3.5 hours each way. Had to drive it home one time with the complete exhaust downstream of the 1st cat in the back. Never failed me.

02 WRX - early build - Bought from a good friend for $750 and sold for $3K. I DD'd the WRX. That car was absolutely magic in the snow. Rear LSD and the mechanical centre diff (locked 50/50), rear 20mm bar and a set of snow tires. Steer with the throttle. It was tuned with a Cobb AP using the OTS tunes. Full SS Lachute performance Exhaust, including catless up and downpipe and a single cat. Sold because my now ex-wife hated it and it was hard on fuel, premium at that. (In Canada we routinely pay 20 cents per litre extra for 91, that's the equivalent of 80 cents per US gallon.)

05 WRX wagon - bought for $500 with a pooched motor (OP ran it until the timing belt snapped!) and then a parts car for $500. The good heart into the good body. Realized that I could sell off the WRX and buy a built Rally Car. Sold the car for $6500 and sold $2100 worth of parts from the parts car.

Yes Subaru's have their quirk's and most of them are easily fixed by the average enthusiast. 

Not Fixable:

  • They aren't Honda's or Toyota's. You can't just treat them like an appliance.
  • Gas Mileage is awful.

Fixable:

N/A - Head Gaskets - go like clockwork at 150-160k kms (100k miles), but they normally give plenty of warning. See those drops of coolant on the driveway, don't ignore them. Check your fluid levels regularly and when the time comes put the MLS HG's from the turbos in the NA 2.5L and never touch them again, if they are done right.

Turbo - Cats - damn cars have 3 or 4 of them. 1 in the up-pipe, 1 in the downpipe and 1 or 2 in the main exhaust. Get rid of them all except 1 in the main. This will require a tune.

Tune - Every turbo Subaru requires a tune. The factory tunes are terrible because they were chasing fuel mileage and emissions. They are so lean that even stock they will fail. The nature of the intake and exhaust on the flat 4 is believed to cause flow issues and many believe is the cause of the #4 cyl ringland issues. Get a pro-tune or a Cobb OTS. 

Mods - part of the problem with many turbo Subaru's is that they have become the replacement for DSM's. Many have been bought by 20-year-olds, modded with no tune and absolutely beat on. Then they put them back to stock, sell them and run with the cash. A month later boom! You cannot play around with the intake or exhaust on a turbo Subaru without a tune. PERIOD!

Track - Long sweeping left handers leave the oil intake on both STi's and WRX's sucking air - bye-bye bearings. Need aftermarket oil pickup and even then maybe iffy.

Turbo Legacy, Forester and 2.5 WRX- the EJ255 had screens put in the turbo oil lines. They clog and starve the turbo, pull them. 

Transmissions - 4EAT and 5EAT auto's are considered near bulletproof. 6spd manuals like wise. The 5spd manual is the one that fails. They aren't made of glass. If you know how to use a gearbox and you don't drive like a highschool kid with their first fast car, they are fine. They will NOT handle motorsport use.

As I said, most of these fixes are within the realm of an enthusiast to manage, except maybe a gearbox swap. That's pushing it for a lot of people.

Like VW's there are certain Subaru's I avoid, STi's - all of them. The EJ25 (specifically the EJ257), is a design that is over 30 years old and in the STi, is really at the limit of its design and development. Plus everybody wants a bit more out of them and boom. Everywhere except N. America, Subaru does not use a turbo 2.5L. They use 2L ones. 

I am also leery of the 06-07 2.5L WRX - combination of the weaker 5spd, plus the 2.5L turbo motor. However the EJ255 is simply not pushed as hard as the STi engine and therefore they seem to be slightly better. The Legacy's, Outbacks, Forester's and Baja's all share this drivetrain. They don't seem to have as many issues, maybe because they are driven and cared for differently?

I'm not that knowledgeable about the 08-14 platforms never had one and not many people I know have had one either.

New WRX's have moved on to the FA20 and the 6spd manual. The FA gets much better mileage and lose the weak 5spd. I know a few people with them and they love them. Sti's still use the EJ25, so they are a no from me.

Buy the right Subaru, take care of it and it will take care of you. Buy the wrong one, treat it like an appliance and you better get a bus pass.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
12/14/20 8:08 p.m.

In reply to NGTD :

Great info here. 

You bring up a good point about the 5MT in the WRX. The one in my 2002 was supposedly "glass" because people who didn't understand AWD cars would go to the drag strip, rev it to the moon, and dump the clutch like a Civic to launch. This makes things go boom on most AWD cars. I ran a "stage 2" tune on my 2002 with supporting mods and drag raced it regularly. Never had a problem, because you have to launch it like an AWD car. And the ones backing the 2.5 were supposed to be stronger, but I had issues with the one in my 2009 WRX from nearly day one. 

And yes, if you want to DD one, be prepared for crappy gas mileage on premium fuel and lots-o-preventitive maintenance/random breakage fixes that a lot of other appliances won't need. It took me a long time to get over worrying about everything randomly blowing up on my non-Subaru daily driver appliance. 

I really wish another car manufacturer would build a small, turbocharged, AWD car with a manual transmission that's affordable to compete with the WRX. I'm not holding my breath for that. 

Boost_Crazy
Boost_Crazy HalfDork
12/14/20 9:42 p.m.

In reply to rslifkin :

There are definitely advantages. It sits low, so the car can have a low hood line. Visibility is terrific. Also a lower CG. It looks funny in when you just see the drivetrain, as the engine sticks out ahead of the wheels. But it’s surprisingly light, and as others have mentioned, much of the transmission is behind the front axle. It’s also very easy to work on for most jobs. Everything on the top, bottom, front, and rear of the engine is easier to access than most cars. The valve covers and anything under them is tough in the car, but the engines are simple to remove. Spark plugs are easy on the Legacy/Outback, nothing like the internet would lead you to believe. I’m sure the smaller cars are tighter. None of the problems are inherent to the engine being a flat four. Part of the issue is perception. Subaru has had well known issues with a variety of different engines over many years. Since the different engines happen to be flat fours, people commonly lump them all together and say “Flat fours suck, they have oiling issues, bad head gaskets, and weak pistons.” It would be like saying “Chevy V8’s suck, they the have Opti-spark problems, cylinder deactivation issues, and piston slap.” 

 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
12/14/20 10:25 p.m.
rslifkin said:
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

In reply to NOHOME :

The CG gets further back, which is more important.

Sure, the engine is ahead of the front axle.  In practically all transverse setups, though, the engine AND TRANS are ahead of the front axle.

I don't see how that's really an advantage of a flat 4.  Just of a longitudinal driveline in general.  And longitudinal FWD or AWD setups have been done in other cars with non-flat engines. 

He's talking about in an AWD car where the front wheel trans output is aligned with the wheels.  A flat four is effective 2 pistons long, where an inline 4 would be 4 pistons long in front of the trans.

True, it is an advantage, but for packaging purposes, I would really prefer the inline 4.  They are much easier to work around.

 

I don't hate Subarus, and I certainly think the 2.0WRX is not given the love it deserves on this board.  I co-drove one in STX for 2 years and it was a fantastic car.  I didn't have the balls to launch it like the owner did.  He would slip the clutch out and spin all 4 tires at ProSolos and cut some pretty good 60ft times.  The car was fun and fast and reliable.  He finally had the clutch replaced at ~80k miles after something like 400+ hard launches.  On the new clutch the 'abuse' continued.  Never had a transmission or engine problem.  It made ~230whp in STX trim (bolt ons, stock boost) and was great to drive.  The big downside is it was absolutely a night and day difference compared to a stock WRX and there is no chance I could buy one and leave it stock.

Meanwhile my 2.5RS got roughly the same gas mileage and made half the power lol.  And needed its headgaskets replaced at 45k miles.

I want a Forester, but I don't want the complexity, awful mileage, and potential money pit that is a 2.5 Turbo.  I don't want the headgasket issue and awful mileage that is a 2.5 N/A.

mdshaw
mdshaw GRM+ Memberand Reader
12/15/20 12:34 a.m.

After hearing my son & I talk about K24's & his 92 Honda hatch K20 6 speed & the 318is K24 that he started, my wife said "hey put a K in your sister's Baja". 
Actually it has been done a few times. If it didn't have the bits of underbody rust from a northern wintery state with salty roads, it would almost be worth it. Our daughter wouldn't go for the head protruding from the hood though.  
I wonder when a Subaru commercial will show grandma's old Legacy that blew the H.G's & she gave to her grandson & his K swap happy friends swapped it, flying down a gravel road to the kegger at the lake with the K protruding from the hood, passing grammy's house as she's in her front porch rocker saying "oh good, little Skippy got it running"  & the soothing voice of the announcer saying "It's what makes a Subaru a reliable Subaru." 

Justjim75
Justjim75 Dork
12/15/20 8:35 a.m.

In reply to Kreb (Forum Supporter) :

Details on the understeer fix?

fidelity101 (Forum Supporter)
fidelity101 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
12/15/20 8:44 a.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

In reply to NOHOME :

Sure, the engine is ahead of the front axle.  In practically all transverse setups, though, the engine AND TRANS are ahead of the front axle.

 

 

bingo, my a4 quattro fet less understeery by comparison. the a4 on a frozen lake would come around the corner with the ass end first which was a hoot. the subaru would kinda plow outboard of the apex and the celica GT4 would spin out from the rear. 

 

but this was just a personal test with real no valid data on my behalf, albeit fun as heck!

APEowner
APEowner GRM+ Memberand Dork
12/15/20 8:45 a.m.

The vast majority of the Subaru issues I've seen were really Subaru tuner and builder issues.  It's easy to increase power output on a boosted engine but if you want it to survive you need to do more than increase the boost and tune it at WOT on an inertia dyno.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/15/20 8:50 a.m.
Streetwiseguy said:

It all depends on your point of view.  As a service shop, you always want to specialize in a terribly unreliable car line that people love.  Hence, Subaru, Volkswagen and BMW owners always have a wide range of shops available.

My shop in Texas specialized in VW and BMW.... not because we were a german repair shop, just because word got around that we knew what we were doing.  If it weren't for VW, BMW, and Dodge, we wouldn't have had much business.  Suby would have likely been lumped in, but Subarus weren't well represented in TX.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/15/20 8:55 a.m.

My ex wife (not a car person specifically, but my influence rubbed off on her) became a Suby fangirl when she moved to Pittsburgh.  They are ubiquitous out there.  She is noticing the pitfalls.  She has constant issues with hers.  They aren't big things, like needing a clutch (worst clutch ever, by the way.  Zero effort and feel), EGR, oil leaks, and other little dumb things, but its the cost.  Parts aren't the cheapest, labor is always longer so it's more expensive.  Her 60k Crosstrek is costing her easily 10 times more in repairs than the 200k Scion xB it replaced... which, in its defense, needed absolutely nothing but a muffler until she rear-ended someone.

Opti
Opti Dork
12/15/20 2:56 p.m.
Boost_Crazy said:

In reply to rslifkin :

” It would be like saying “Chevy V8’s suck, they the have Opti-spark problems, cylinder deactivation issues, and piston slap.” 

 

Qouted For Truth

I know this was meant to show the flaw in "all subarus suck," but Im a GM guy and Im going to use this in the future.

Boost_Crazy
Boost_Crazy HalfDork
12/15/20 3:25 p.m.

One more thing to note- some of the things that are a negative about Subarus in the context of of new or newer used cars, can be seen as a plus as a project car. It’s not hard to find a WRX, Legacy GT, or Forrester XT (or even a Baja like the subject of this topic) for cheap with a bad turbo 2.5. Subaru parts and machine work are more expensive than many other makes. Except- Subaru sells new short blocks for relatively cheap, close to $1600 the last time I checked. Buy a new short block, pop the pistons out and open up the ring gaps to a more turbo appropriate spec (It’s really not that hard, less than $20 at the hammer store will get you the tools you need) and/or get a safer than factory tune. Now you have a new engine that will safely handle 300hp in a smallish AWD car. 

newrider3
newrider3 Reader
12/15/20 4:20 p.m.

I enjoy working on Subarus. The late '80s thru early '00s cars EJ-engined cars (before each model eventually went to multilink rear suspension) are just so simple and easy to work on. Get one socket and one combination wrench each in 10, 12, 14, 17, and 19mm and you can tear down and reassemble the entire car. Engine comes out in about an hour. Good parts bin swapping; ie make a lowered Forester using Impreza bits, or build a lifted Legacy or Impreza using Outback and Forester bits. 

I drove a few late 90's beater Subarus before I got my first responsible adult car. Swore I was done with them and sold off my shed full of parts, but then just this fall I decided I missed tinkering with them and got another Forester. 

Tom1200
Tom1200 Dork
12/15/20 4:24 p.m.

If only turbo Subarus went as long as this thread................................

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
12/15/20 11:22 p.m.
Opti said:
Boost_Crazy said:

In reply to rslifkin :

” It would be like saying “Chevy V8’s suck, they the have Opti-spark problems, cylinder deactivation issues, and piston slap.” 

 

Qouted For Truth

I know this was meant to show the flaw in "all subarus suck," but Im a GM guy and Im going to use this in the future.

The irony isn't lost on me. I had a 9C1 that rotted out at 194,970 miles. On its original Opti. The engine was still running strong when I sent it to the glue factory.

mad_machine (Forum Supporter)
mad_machine (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/15/20 11:31 p.m.
ProDarwin said:
rslifkin said:
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

In reply to NOHOME :

The CG gets further back, which is more important.

Sure, the engine is ahead of the front axle.  In practically all transverse setups, though, the engine AND TRANS are ahead of the front axle.

I don't see how that's really an advantage of a flat 4.  Just of a longitudinal driveline in general.  And longitudinal FWD or AWD setups have been done in other cars with non-flat engines. 

He's talking about in an AWD car where the front wheel trans output is aligned with the wheels.  A flat four is effective 2 pistons long, where an inline 4 would be 4 pistons long in front of the trans.

True, it is an advantage, but for packaging purposes, I would really prefer the inline 4.  They are much easier to work around.

V4s are better. It's a shame so few builders made an effort to do anything with them

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
12/16/20 9:44 a.m.
Justjim75 said:

In reply to Kreb (Forum Supporter) :

Details on the understeer fix?

Well it's been many moons, but the I think that it was the common stuff -  Camber plates, dialing in some more toe out, bigger rear anti-roll bar. The biggest change that needed to happen was in my head - they require a different driving technique than RWD cars. I always drove it with some mechanical empathy and it paid me back -  no high RPM clutch drops and such.  

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
12/16/20 10:18 a.m.
Kreb (Forum Supporter) said:
Justjim75 said:

In reply to Kreb (Forum Supporter) :

Details on the understeer fix?

Well it's been many moons, but the I think that it was the common stuff -  Camber plates, dialing in some more toe out, bigger rear anti-roll bar. The biggest change that needed to happen was in my head - they require a different driving technique than RWD cars. I always drove it with some mechanical empathy and it paid me back -  no high RPM clutch drops and such.  

WRXs are odd in that you can approach like a FWD (see above) or like a RWD (big FSB and little/no RSB) and both will work.

The highest I ever paxed with our STX car was with the FSB disconnected.  That said, it required throwing the car into every corner/slalom as opposed to a smooth predictable line and wasn't exactly repeatable.  I much preferred the setup after we went to a big FSB and a little itty bitty RSB.

boulder_dweeb
boulder_dweeb Reader
12/16/20 10:33 a.m.

Please inform:    "FSB" (?) AND "RSB" (?).

Don't think I have ever seen those acronyms...

Thx,

Rog

EvanB (Forum Supporter)
EvanB (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/16/20 10:34 a.m.

In reply to boulder_dweeb :

Front sway bar or rear sway bar. 

RyanGreener (Forum Supporter)
RyanGreener (Forum Supporter) Reader
12/16/20 5:36 p.m.

I've been looking at the 2021 Crosstreks (in stick). Look promising for an adventure/overlanding vehicle. Not an old N/A boxer and not turbo....but what does everyone think?

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