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This is a discussion on Quasi-new member within the New Member Hangout forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; Hi all, I haven't posted on this forum since you guys helped my wife and me decide to buy a ...

  1. #1
    Registered User bluntman's Avatar
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    Quasi-new member

    Hi all,

    I haven't posted on this forum since you guys helped my wife and me decide to buy a LGT about a year and a half ago. The car has been great, and you guys were great for helping us make the choice. Now, though, it is time for me to look for a new car. Anyone who read the previous thread knows that I am the one who really wanted a WRX and now my car is paid off so it's my turn.

    I went down to the Subaru dealership and drove a 2008 WRX. I hadn't actually driven a WRX since 2003 or so, so the difference was astounding. The cabin is now quieter, the turbo spools up more smoothly, it takes curves at speed with zero effort, and the transmission is as smooth to shift as anything I've driven. Overall it was... boring (sorry).

    Then I found a 2003 WRX wagon at another dealer. This car was what I remembered desiring so much. It is certainly rough around the edges, comparatively. But the turbo coming on hard as the RPM's reach 3k is a real kick in the butt, and the steering feels like I am actually doing some of the work. I know it may sound silly, but this is what I'm looking for.

    On to the questions, then. I'm seriously considering buying this car, but I noticed one or two things while driving it. First of all, the driver's side seat belt squeaks like crazy with any movement. A quick Google search made me feel like I can fix this easily. Apparently just have to remove some of the interior of the B pillar cover. No problem.

    The second question is more of a concern. As I said, I haven't driven this car in 4 years or so, and I don't really remember the characteristics of the transmission. Compared to the 2008 I had driven earlier in the day, the 2003's transmission felt decidedly 'notchy'. That's the only word I can think of to describe it. The question is, is this normal? Does the 2003's transmission really give you a lot of feedback when switching gears, or is there something wrong with the notoriously weak transmission in this car?

    I have left a message with the salesman to ask him to allow me to take it to the Subaru dealership for inspection on Friday, so they may be able to tell me something. I know you guys will give me more useful input, though.

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  3. #2
    Registered User koogxone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluntman
    Then I found a 2003 WRX wagon at another dealer. This car was what I remembered desiring so much. It is certainly rough around the edges, comparatively. But the turbo coming on hard as the RPM's reach 3k is a real kick in the butt, and the steering feels like I am actually doing some of the work. I know it may sound silly, but this is what I'm looking for.
    I know exactly what you mean

    And yeah, the bugeye transmission is pretty damn notchy. Mine is kind of notchy when I shift, and it's the familiar circus act nonsense trying to get into reverse sometimes. I think it just adds to the bugeye charm but I wouldn't mind having a smoother transmission. If you do purchase the car, try putting in the Uncle Scotty's Cocktail transmission fluid - this could help a LOT with the notchiness.

    Good luck with everything
    -kyle
    bugeyemafia#126
    VF39'd, Bailey-tuned! 280.07whp 250.05wtq

  4. #3
    Hammerdown Mod of Thunder josnroh's Avatar
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    I have an 03 wagon and the shifter is notchy,has been since brand new.
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  5. #4
    Registered User bluntman's Avatar
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    This is great news. I was hoping this wasn't something wrong with the transmission, because I actually enjoyed the feedback. I might try the cocktail to lessen it a bit, but overall it seemed characteristic.

    Now, I have some more questions. I was embarrassed to mention it at first, because I am unduly emotionally attached to this car, but here goes. After the test drive, there was coolant steam coming out from under the hood. We popped the hood and found a coolant leak coming from around the radiator, probably at the top hose. This car is at what I consider a very reputable dealer. They are the local huge Mazda dealership. The service manager came out within minutes, saw the leak and took the car into the service area to fix it.

    I plan on trying to get them to guarantee the fix for at least 30 days after purchase. Is this failure something I should worry about excessively? Have other bugeye owners had problems with coolant leaks?

  6. #5
    Registered User koogxone's Avatar
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    I've had a problem with my bugeye and coolant leaking that I have heard replicated EXACTLY on a number of different bugeyes.

    The top rad hose on some bugeyes is placed so one of the bends is pretty low and close to the front of the engine bay; so close, in fact, that it actually makes contact with the cooling fan's blades a month or so after I got my car, I was heading home and noticed steam coming out of my hood scoop. Then I looked at my temp gauge, which was WELL above the normal operating region. From this point on I literally watched the gauge climb to the red critical region within moments, and I pulled the car over and shut it off quickly. I popped the hood and immediately noticed coolant all over the engine bay, and I let the car cool off for a long while then drove it home (I was less than a minute away).

    I checked for leaks later, and saw that the cooling fan had actually been CHOPPING away at my top rad hose, and it had finally blown a huge hole that I could fit my entire thumb in. I got a new rad hose from the dealership (which for some reason didn't bend out nearly as far as the original one did), put it on, filled the system with coolant and burped it. The funny thing is, this has happened verbatim to a number of bugeye owners that I've seen on forums.

    Make sure that it's nothing serious, like a cracked radiator. If it's just a hose, you should be just fine after replacing it

    BTW, how big/serious was the leak?
    -kyle
    bugeyemafia#126
    VF39'd, Bailey-tuned! 280.07whp 250.05wtq

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    Registered User wreckless06si's Avatar
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    Welcome man, I just joined myslef, looks to be an awesome site here!
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    welcome to the club
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    Moderator   Sasquatch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheJ View Post
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  11. #10
    Registered User k20utah's Avatar
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    yea mine is pretty notchy..tottaly agree with koogxone with the reverse situation lol....but i luv my car..comin from a former honda owner =)

  12. #11
    Registered User bluntman's Avatar
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    Well, I talked to the dealer again today and they still have it in their shop. Turns out that they are replacing the radiator on it. They said they are replacing it with an OEM Subaru radiator, which they are getting from the dealer. They also said that they are getting the Subaru dealership to repair under warranty an issue with the driver's side seat belt squeaking.

    I know that the seat belt squeaking issue is really common and easy to repair, so I kind of hope they can't get it done. Might make for a good negotiating point.

    I really hope this turns out to be the car for me. I'd love to come back and have something to talk to you guys about again. The previous new member in this thread is absolutely right, awesome community here.

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