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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I've been dying for a WRX for years and I'm finally about to get my chance. Tomorrow I'm checking out a 2003 wagon with 71000 km (44000 miles). He's asking $15800 which is a fairly good price for such a car in the Canadian market (brand new WRX's are a fortune in Canada, around $34000).The car is originally from Vancouver (I'm in Toronto) so it's seen very mild winters and no salt. The owner assures me that it looks like a brand new vehicle underneath (will see for myself tomorrow). From the pictures it certainly appears to be in super shape.

What I was hoping from you experts is what specific issues I should look for that may be weak points for the 03 wagon. I've driven a couple WRXs before so I have an idea what to expect there, but I don't know what the specific issues with these cars are that I should be aware of.

Any suggestions highly appreciated!
 

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Wagons are great. The main thing I would be concerned about is whether or not the car has been modified in the past and how it has been driven/maintained.

If you've driven other WRX's in the past, then you probably know how the transmission should feel.

Take a look at the other threads in this forum. This is a recent thread with some good stuff in it.
 

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03 is a good year...if it was me buying the car, i'd worry about the condition of the gears and clutch...see how soon you'll need new tires...make sure the alignment is good on it from the start, otherwise the tires could be suffering...make sure a 30k and 60k maitenance was done..
i say these things because i know you can find a WRX that is in great condition if you pick and choose wisely who you buy from. i'd also suggest looking on this forum at other WRX's for sale or on nasioc.com or wrxtraderonline.com. good luck, let us know what you get.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the input guys. I test drove the car (actually we got caught in traffic so I had a good 1+ hour in the car!) and it really does seem as good as advertised. It looks brand new inside and out, and even underneath. The owner has documentation from Subaru showing that the original owner was a 50 year old guy who had the car on lease, and it really feels and looks like it's been bone stock its entire lifetime.

He's accepted my offer, and as long as things go okay at the bank tomorrow I should be set! Very exciting! :)
 

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McGuillicuddy said:
Thanks for the input guys. I test drove the car (actually we got caught in traffic so I had a good 1+ hour in the car!) and it really does seem as good as advertised. It looks brand new inside and out, and even underneath. The owner has documentation from Subaru showing that the original owner was a 50 year old guy who had the car on lease, and it really feels and looks like it's been bone stock its entire lifetime.

He's accepted my offer, and as long as things go okay at the bank tomorrow I should be set! Very exciting! :)
Congrats, and enjoy ;)
 

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give us an update and some pics soon!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Update:

I'm now the proud owner of a mint 2003 WRX Wagon. What a beauty. Absolutely rust free top and bottom, 71K kms, perfect interior, and for $15.6K (again, a very good deal in the Canadian market where a new one goes for $34K and the used ones hold their value well). I am so damned happy it can't be legal!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Note: RallyArmor on the way, and I'm considering some ECU tuning, but other than that I think she will stay stock.
 

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Update:

I'm now the proud owner of a mint 2003 WRX Wagon. What a beauty. Absolutely rust free top and bottom, 71K kms, perfect interior, and for $15.6K (again, a very good deal in the Canadian market where a new one goes for $34K and the used ones hold their value well). I am so damned happy it can't be legal!
welcome to the club! glad you got your beauty. enjoy every minute of it
 

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McGuillicuddy said:
Note: RallyArmor on the way, and I'm considering some ECU tuning, but other than that I think she will stay stock.
Sounds good. I'd suggest picking up a DP to go with the ECU tuning, to put you at StageII (ECU tuning alone is StageI). This is where many people stop, as it's good performance gain for not too much money (beyond that, you need to start buying larger turbos, injectors, I/C, fuel pump, etc.).

Which mudflaps you going with? The URs are really nice - I want to put a set on my car.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the info. I'm concerned about putting in a downpipe for emissions reasons - we have to pass an emissions test every other year. I understand a DP takes the place of a catalytic converter, is this correct? Generally speaking, what kind of HP gains do people see with just the ECU tuning and a DP (I think I'll go search for that info right now...)?

As for the RallyArmor, I bought the RallyArmor Classic with blue lettering. For me it came down to whether I wanted a flat or glossy texture, and I wanted the flat texture to go along with the flat black piece that goes along the bottom of the car between the wheels. I think glossy mud flaps would have looked odd in my case.
 

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Thanks for the info. I'm concerned about putting in a downpipe for emissions reasons - we have to pass an emissions test every other year. I understand a DP takes the place of a catalytic converter, is this correct? Generally speaking, what kind of HP gains do people see with just the ECU tuning and a DP (I think I'll go search for that info right now...)?
You can get DP's with a high-flow cat in them, but they cost more. I have one from Invidia (Cobb also sells a catted DP). I understand that here in the States people are still passing emissions with catted DP's. I can't attest to it since the great state of FL doesn't seem to care about air quality and I don't know if Canadian restrictions are tougher. It's something fun to research, anyway.

If you were to replace the DP, you should also replace the up-pipe while you're at it. '02-'05 WRX's have a pre-turbo cat in the UP that might degrade, break apart, and send debris into your turbo (this possibility is made more likely with the richer AFR's that often accompany ECU tuning). The replacement UP isn't expensive, but the install is rather challenging.

I'll shut up now. Welcome & congratulations.
 

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I did notice those dynos. Stage 1 according to Cobb is only the Accessport while Stage 2 is AP+DP+Catback - no mention of up-pipe. Would seem that AP+DP+UP would gain somewhere between 30 and 40HP I guess.
UP doesn't have much power gain, but it'll help your turbo spool a little bit faster. You should also just get one due to the cat&turbo issue mentioned above :)
 

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Congrats on the purchase, btw! Looks really clean. WRB :thumbup:
 

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McGuillicuddy said:
I did notice those dynos. Stage 1 according to Cobb is only the Accessport while Stage 2 is AP+DP+Catback - no mention of up-pipe. Would seem that AP+DP+UP would gain somewhere between 30 and 40HP I guess.
You do not need a CBE to go StageII (many people do it with simply a DP). Instead of buying the CBE, because your car is a Bugeye ('02/'03), you do have a cat in your UP. Replace it with an aftermarket (catless) one. You will then be getting rid of all 3 cats (1 in UP, 2 in DP), or be replacing one of the 2 DP cats with a high-flow if you go that route. Since I work for Dep't of Environmental Conservation, I personally believe you should have a high-flow cat on your car, but I'm biased a bit.

Remove/replace cats = more power (insert Tim Taylor grunt here).

This would be a conservative way (both economically, and in terms of reliability) to boost the performance of your vehicle.
 

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You have a classic bugeye wagon in WRB,take good care of her.:)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
You have a classic bugeye wagon in WRB,take good care of her.:)
Absolutely. I take *very* good care of my vehicles. The last car I owned was a 1990 Ford Probe that was in near perfect shape when I sold her to my brother-in-law in 2004. Then he drove her into the ground in 2 years :(. Fortunately I was living overseas for those years and didn't have to witness the Probe's unfortunate decline...but anyways...

Rest assured, she will receive nothing but the best care :).
 

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I have an 02 wagon I did exactly what others suggested, I did UP DP with a high flow cat and AP. I hated the long turbo lag but after the upgrades the car is very livable below 3k where it spends most of the time, but when I need the umph it becomes a beast after 3K. Stock i would always have shift above 3K to get going, now most of my shifts are below that. These mods do not put any extra stress on the car, they actually help out with the longevity of the engine becasue it breathes much better, thats the way I see it.
 
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