RE: Subaru Impreza WRX | Shed of the Week

RE: Subaru Impreza WRX | Shed of the Week

Friday 14th February

Subaru Impreza WRX | Shed of the Week

Not so much a station car as one for Storm Ciara, Shed pulls a dead cert from the also-rans



Subaru Impreza owners are men of few words, it appears. The ad for the last one we had up here, a PPP car, gave us precious little information to go on, other than the fact that it had done 222,000 miles. The pics weren't much more helpful, but they did show a car that despite its mileage still managed to look as fresh as a daisy.

The vendor of this week's bugeye WRX wagon has taken a similarly tight-lipped approach to selling, preferring to let the car's full service history and a batch of semi-decent pics do the talking.

Like last year's car, this one is another big-miler at 187k, but as per last year we can see once again that looked-after Rexes do wear their age well. There's a lot to love about a WRX wagon. Four-wheel drive, a properly characterful flat-four engine, six-second 0-60 times, and good practicality - though don't be expecting Volvo-league cargo-lugging ability.

Subaru wagons are tough, but they won't take kindly to being neglected. On any near-20 year old Japanese car, rust is going to be the biggest killer. Besides the usual places - subframes, sills, brake/fuel lines, the underside generally - the wagons are especially prone to rotting out their rear strut towers and in hidden areas of the rear wheel arches. If you don't spot that early you could easily end up with a four-figure welding bill.


Taking our car's very important 'full history' claim at face value, Shed is going to assume that the gearbox is okay. There's nothing inherently wrong with them, it's more about owner abuse. WRX boxes were reputedly strengthened for the '02 model year, and those '02 cars were more sprightly too thanks to shorter gear ratios. Still, there's not to much to fear with the '01 transmission, other than the fact that the clutch is pretty heavy and can rattle a bit when it's cold.

Some cars have suffered from head gasket failure and/or from oil leaks from the front of the motor. Even though these are not obvious track cars, the lure of the WRX badge is too strong for some, which can lead to oil starvation issues on long corners. Baffled sumps are available to prevent that, although you might be equally baffled when it comes to the fitting process.

Shed thinks that the belt change interval is 50,000 miles/5 years. Snaps are catastrophic. Belt kits are between Β£150 and Β£200 but that includes the hydraulic tensioner and three idler cogs. If you're reasonably handy with the spanners the job can be done on your driveway.

That's the good thing about these old Subarus. Jobs that you might think must be beyond you often turn out to be surprisingly easy. With the car on axle stands, rear drop links can be swopped in under half an hour. If you're prepared to dip into eBay or scoobynet there are plenty of serviceable used parts around to help you keep your maintenance costs down to a reasonable level. Replacing the clutch won't be cheap though.

What else might go wrong? Fritzing coil packs can illuminate the Check Engine light, worn HT leads can cause misfiring and dirty boost control solenoids can take the edge off the power - nothing that a spot of carb cleaner can't sort. Knock sensors conk out and bulbs seem to blow on a fairly regular basis. Pistons seize in calipers, and all the usual stuff applies to linkages, bushes, and ARBs. There was a recall on the front wishbones, so make sure that's been done.


Right. Let's say you've bought this one and got it up to the mark. How affordable will it be to run? On fuel, you'll do well to score mpg figures in the mid-20s. On road tax, for cars registered before March 2001 that's calculated on engine size. After that it's done on fuel emissions and fuel type. Our Subaru was first registered in June 2001, so the annual cost will be Β£325.

Later '03 'peanut' WRXes came with AVCS, Subaru's version of variable valve timing. Unlike '01 cars they did not have cats in their up pipes. If/when the cat in our Shed fails, the turbo will almost certainly go west at the same time.

The car has just passed its MOT with advisories for poor condition brake discs all round, low front pads and edge-worn front tyres - very common on WRXes. Around Β£150 will bag you a set of four aftermarket discs with the pads thrown in. Two new 'big-brand' 205/50 R16 front tyres from Blackcircles will be around Β£200 fitted, or Β£140 for a pair of Kumhos. Forty quid or so for wheel alignment, haggle a bit on the Β£1200 purchase price and you'll still come in under the Shed top limit of Β£1500. Not bad.

Delving even further back into WRX SOTW history, the blue one that Shed found in 2018 (another 185,000-miler) turned out to have been involved in some light ram-raiding in the Manchester area 13 years earlier. On the assumption that the nearest this year's car will have come to ramming would have been on a farm rather than a High Street, Shed is happy to give it his seal of approval. Put a tarp in the back before you load the seal up though as they can be quite slimy.


See the full ad here.


Author
Discussion

JRaj

Original Poster:

9 posts

23 months

Friday 14th February
quotequote all
The design that killed the Scooby.... Too soft and never as good as the original. Still a reasonable project car?

Roboticarm

431 posts

11 months

Friday 14th February
quotequote all
Great shed, fast and very capable if the bad weather lands...
But the real reason to buy it...the noise from that engine on start up..... Drool

TEKNOPUG

14,281 posts

155 months

Friday 14th February
quotequote all
Good luck fitting 16" tyres on 17" wheels....

I have a similar mileage 2002 WRX wagon, albeit with PPP and a few other mods, that I am just prepping to sell. Won't be asking anything like as much as this one, so will be interested to see what it goes for. Further proof that they are capable of big miles though.

alorotom

7,503 posts

137 months

Friday 14th February
quotequote all
I prefer the plot eye to the original personally but it’s the wagon body I’m not a fan of at all.

I thought these were MUCH cheaper than this though or have prices started to climb again??!

rossub

2,617 posts

140 months

Friday 14th February
quotequote all
I must get me one of them there ‘peanut’ WRXs laugh

rossub

2,617 posts

140 months

Friday 14th February
quotequote all
alorotom said:
I prefer the plot eye to the original personally but it’s the wagon body I’m not a fan of at all.

I thought these were MUCH cheaper than this though or have prices started to climb again??!
Oh FFS not you as well ... ‘plot eye’ laugh

richinlondon

143 posts

72 months

Friday 14th February
quotequote all
always gotta worry about a stain on a driver's seat ...

Turbobanana

1,725 posts

151 months

Friday 14th February
quotequote all
Seals are not slimy. They are a marine mammal and are covered in thick fur.

Good shed, BTW. Ugly, but good (original shape is better to my eyes).

Over over under steer

422 posts

73 months

Friday 14th February
quotequote all
To be a contrarian, the bug eye is to me the best looking of all the generations.

sharkattack

31 posts

56 months

Friday 14th February
quotequote all
I love WRX wagons and I've been after a nice blob eye version on-and-off for a couple of years. Every car I've been to visit, without exception and no matter how clean it looked online, was rotten when you looked closely.

Add the price of insurance, VED and general running costs and it doesn't add up for something I'd use once a week at the most for carrying a mountain bike. You could run something much more exciting for similar outgoings.

DeanHelix

72 posts

105 months

Friday 14th February
quotequote all
richinlondon said:
always gotta worry about a stain on a driver's seat ...
That's just a quirk of that material. I sold a classic in mint condition about 10 years ago. The seats were totally unmarked/unsoiled but when I went to upload the pics it looked like I'd been wking like a chimp onto them.

Tyre Smoke

13,147 posts

211 months

Friday 14th February
quotequote all
Don't like. Never got the 'love' for Subarus.

I understand they are very capable cars, particualrly in the snow and for the farmer who likes 4wd. But the road tax and fuel costs! There are better medium estates out there for less. Okay, not 4wd or with a flat four. This just seems like it's trying to be too many things.

Krikkit

17,490 posts

131 months

Friday 14th February
quotequote all
Over over under steer said:
To be a contrarian, the bug eye is to me the best looking of all the generations.
For me it's late classics -> Bugeye -> early classics -> Blobeye -> Hawkeye -> Whatever the STI is.

They've just got less handsome, the apex for me is the 22B/P1 and the early bugeye STI.

richinlondon

143 posts

72 months

Friday 14th February
quotequote all
DeanHelix said:
That's just a quirk of that material. I sold a classic in mint condition about 10 years ago. The seats were totally unmarked/unsoiled but when I went to upload the pics it looked like I'd been wking like a chimp onto them.
LOL - that's a phrase I must try and get in to a business meeting today

cerb4.5lee

13,782 posts

130 months

Friday 14th February
quotequote all
I can see the appeal of this shed. I do remember thinking how terrible they looked from the front when they first came out though...and time hasn't changed my view either.

SidewaysSi

6,510 posts

184 months

Friday 14th February
quotequote all
Love it. I can get mid 30s MPG from my Forester on a run.

They like a drink but I don't think it is excessive given the performance.

Steamer

11,622 posts

163 months

Friday 14th February
quotequote all
DeanHelix said:
richinlondon said:
always gotta worry about a stain on a driver's seat ...
That's just a quirk of that material. I sold a classic in mint condition about 10 years ago. The seats were totally unmarked/unsoiled but when I went to upload the pics it looked like I'd been wking like a chimp onto them.
hehe 'They All Do That Sir'


cerb4.5lee

13,782 posts

130 months

Friday 14th February
quotequote all
SidewaysSi said:
They like a drink but I don't think it is excessive given the performance.
I remember back then that the Impreza/Evo and my 200sx all seemed to really enjoy a drink for sure. You didn't seem to notice it quite as much as you do now though because the fuel prices were lower.

I have very fond memories of back then driving my mates Impreza Turbos and Evos, and my 200 was fantastic fun but with a lot less grip! driving

The first time I drove an Impreza Turbo the performance really blew me away...because I was only used to 150bhp in a Sierra xr4x4.

MarJay

2,122 posts

125 months

Friday 14th February
quotequote all
I had a Bugeye saloon. Quickish, but not very well built, interior was a bit nasty, seats uncomfortable and just wanted to push the front everywhere. Once you got over the fun of the turbo rush there wasn't a lot to recommend it really. At the time it was embarrasing to tell people you own a Subaru because they had 'that' image that Evos and things now seem to have. 23mpg all day whether you were driving like a granny or making the turbo glow red hot. Liked super unleaded at a time when it cost £1.55 a litre.

I will admit it was OK when it snowed because of the full time 4wd, but I didn't buy it in lieu of a land rover, I bought it as a fun car.

Sold it, was a touch sad but then I got my first BMW, a crappy old 325i that had done 120k miles. It was so much better it was unreal. I never looked back after that.

I understand that the STis don't understeer the same way, but it really put me off Subarus if I'm honest. Tinny, cheap feeling, not even that quick, understeery and definitely not pretty. It felt more Korean than something like a Toyota or Nissan.

Good shed, I do approve of this one. A hundred times better than last week's blandmobile but as they say on the Tellybox, Ahm oot.

mooseracer

620 posts

120 months

Friday 14th February
quotequote all
I'm probably being blind/stupid but is there actually a link to the car in the article?