Common Drivetrain issues??
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This is a discussion on Common Drivetrain issues?? within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Hey, I am new to subarus and am in the market for an early to mid 2000's WRX. I live ...

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    Common Drivetrain issues??

    Hey,

    I am new to subarus and am in the market for an early to mid 2000's WRX. I live in Michigan and what I am see a lot is that a lot of them are saying nee axles. Is this a common thing to go bad in these? I can remember what the guy said he put in it but, some specific catalytic converter because the stock ones were notorious for falling apart and ruining the turbo?? Also, I heard that the center differential bearing was a common issue.

    I guess what I am asking is their any truth to any of these and while out looking for a car what are some things I should be aware of and look for? I currently have a 2012 kia, but I decided I want something fun and no car payment. But whatever I get needs to be reliable and decent gas milage because I drive a lot for work (depending on the week up around 1000 miles every two weeks). Any input would be great. I am kind of just starting to look, but if I get a car I want to try and make sure to find a reliable car.

    Thanks

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    Bump any info what so ever

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    Sammich Makin' Pwincess wrxtreme06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by empem90 View Post
    I can remember what the guy said he put in it but, some specific catalytic converter because the stock ones were notorious for falling apart and ruining the turbo??
    this is accurate ---> Attn '02-'05 WRX Owners: The Importance of the Uppipe Mod
    uppipe is the first thing that should be changed on 02-05 wrx's.

    if youre concerned about reliability- i would look at the newest wrx you can afford. many used subarus will be modified, raced, abused, etc.

    i personally wouldnt go from a brand new kia to a 5-10 year old car but thats just my opinion

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    Thanks, for the input. Yeah I am personally not interestred in one that has really been modified and thats the issue I am having now. Its kind of why I switched to the Saab 9-2X recently because they have been far less modified if at all and I have seen them with less miles.

    P.S. I dont want to switch to that much older of a car but with money (Car payment and insurance $3000 a year, makes no sense I have no accidents or tickets yet I cant find any reasonable insurance) and how my job is (with my travel I go to not so great areas and it is not uncommon for my car to be messed with) I kind of need to

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    OMG WTF MainFrame's Avatar
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    People break transmissions, wear through clutches.. wear out center diffs. But I would consider all of those to be user error 95% of the time.

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    Welcome!
    From what I've seen on various message boards and just looking around for a "new" car before I bought my 09, I think you will be very hard pressed to find a mid 2000 WRX or STI that hasn't been messed with. It's what people who buy them do.
    Also, unless you do a lot of freeway driving, don't count on a Subie for good mileage. I drive mostly city and I avg about 16-18 mpg. Freeway they are good for about 26 if you keep it under 70.
    Good luck with your quest!
    Last edited by STI*NG; 02-13-2013 at 12:02 PM.

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    Thanks for the input. Yeah I know its hard to find them unmolested (that was one of my issues when finding a VR4).

    MainFrame... thanks yeah I can agree with that it is completely how you drive them for those things. I assume those should be evident through test driving and driving multiple to get a feel for how one should drive.

    STI*NG... Yes most of my mileage is freeway. But is a bit mixed, depends on where I have to drive that day. My hope is that I can find one and it not be messed with a lot and if it is messed with at least get a feel for the level of knowledge the current owner has. When I look at modifications I personally look at what is done and then try to look at how it was done, how much care and detail went into it.

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    Did you ever get a VR4? That was one of the cars I had really wanted but was not in my budget when it was new and I avoided them as used cars for exactly what we are talking about here. If you had one of those, I would think you should have a pretty good idea of what you are getting into with the Subie.
    I agree a lot can be told by how well maintained a vehicle is or how well the work was done, but that won't necessarily make a modded 10 year old car that much more reliable.
    I personally always forget that 2000 is already 13 years ago, man I'm getting old...

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    Yes, I did end-up with a VR4 and loved it up until I got rear-ended. I figured it would be the same thing with a subie. With never really knowing anyone that had one, my hope here is to get a better idea of what would be good things to specifically be looking for when out looking at cars. Like with VR4's there are given things to always check a few are things synchros they pretty much blow, also have to make sure they are up on timing belt they really dont like that to be ignored, Also the lifters gotta watch those in the earlier one's better to replace with later ones, also the aws check to make sure its still aws, also if you are talking with someone about work done to it, ask how it was done, pretty much if you want to replace something its easier just to pull the engine haha
    Stuff like that was kinda what I was looking for

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    Admiral Ackbar the 1st mycologist's Avatar
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    My car is ten years old and modded - drives better than new at 90K and has been extremely reliable.

    Stock cars do exist (in my area a lot of them).

    The axle issue is common to all Subarus (at least of that period). Nothing wrong with the axle actually, but the front right boot degrades from the heat of the pipes and splits at which point it usually is easiest to replace the whole thing. There is one place (only) that makes rebuilt ones (MRE) that will work well (not vibrate etc.) and they are cheap and easy enough. I'd not put that as a factor other than you need to be able to make a test drive. Eventually axles just wear out too but no sooner than other makes.

    Wheel bearings on the early models do go (Subaru thing) and are expensive to replace due to the design requiring a press with the hub off or a special dealer only tool to do them onboard.

    The rear on a stock early USDM WRX will clunk - there are several bushings, the dif mount, and the subframe lock kit to deal with it but it is just an annoyance (or upsetting to the car if you downshift in corners).

    The transmission will not stand for you being harsh with it. It is improved in the later 2003 models over the 2002 models in this regard. It is improved more in the 2.5l models.

    With an older car you have wear items that greatly effect driveability, but the majority of them are bits you will likely get to if you do thorough suspension mods (ball joints, bushings, struts, tophats) at which point it will point far better than when new.

    The motor has been known to go 300k miles as long as the mods are not causing issues with the tune and the power level is moderate (stage II or a lightly upgraded turbo even). Look at the high-mileage thread.
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    Re: Common Drivetrain issues??

    Quote Originally Posted by mycologist View Post
    My car is ten years old and modded - drives better than new at 90K and has been extremely reliable.

    Stock cars do exist (in my area a lot of them).

    The axle issue is common to all Subarus (at least of that period). Nothing wrong with the axle actually, but the front right boot degrades from the heat of the pipes and splits at which point it usually is easiest to replace the whole thing. There is one place (only) that makes rebuilt ones (MRE) that will work well (not vibrate etc.) and they are cheap and easy enough. I'd not put that as a factor other than you need to be able to make a test drive.

    The rear on a stock early USDM WRX will clunk - there are several bushings, the dif mount, and the subframe lock kit to deal with it but it is just an annoyance (or upsetting to the car if you downshift in corners).

    The transmission will not stand for you being harsh with it. It is improved in the later 2003 models over the 2002 models in this regard. It is improved more in the 2.5l models.

    With an older car you have wear items that greatly effect driveability, but the majority of them are bits you will likely get to if you do thorough suspension mods (ball joints, bushings, struts, tophats) at which point it will point far better than when new.

    The motor has been known to go 300k miles as long as the mods are not causing issues with the tune and the power level is moderate (stage II or a lightly upgraded turbo even). Look at the high-mileage thread.
    Just want to make some enhancements John.


    The transmission was "greatly" improved in late MY2002 WRXs. The gears were unchanged in MY2006, but the center diff was changed to a 1.1:1 input/output. This rendered 2006/2007 rear diffs incompatible with any other model year wrx/sti. The big change occurred in MY2008 when Subaru purportedly adopted the LGT gearset in the WRX 5MT.

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    Admiral Ackbar the 1st mycologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zax View Post
    Just want to make some enhancements John.


    The transmission was "greatly" improved in late MY2002 WRXs. The gears were unchanged in MY2006, but the center diff was changed to a 1.1:1 input/output. This rendered 2006/2007 rear diffs incompatible with any other model year wrx/sti. The big change occurred in MY2008 when Subaru purportedly adopted LGT in the WRX 5MT.

    Beamed at your face at approx. 186,000 miles per second via DROID BIONIC
    Yeah I still get confused on that - was it MY or production year. I remember for my 2003 it was in serious question according to all sources until I looked at the code in teh VIN or wherever that was. I was not expecting the good news I found there.
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    Re: Common Drivetrain issues??

    Quote Originally Posted by mycologist View Post
    Yeah I still get confused on that - was it MY or production year. I remember for my 2003 it was in serious question according to all sources until I looked at the code in teh VIN or wherever that was. I was not expecting the good news I found there.
    Unfortunately it seems to be non-linear. Some late MY2002s received the -BA trans (confirmed by SD_GR) while some MY2003 WRXs received the -AA trans (confirmed by my neighbor with a MY2003 and 06/02 build date).

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    Admiral Ackbar the 1st mycologist's Avatar
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    Ah, thanks for the clarification - just like brake pad sizes then.
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    sweet thanks for all the input. Good things to know. For the 2002 and 2003 years is there an easy way of determining which of the two transmissions are in the car?

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