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Discussion Starter #1
Hello! I am 18 years old and I am thinking buying my first vehicle and I want to make that a Subaru. The vehicle I am looking at this 2003 Subaru Impreza WRX Wagon. The owner currently wants $1,500 but will take $1,300 for it sooner- he’d stated that they blown and replaced the first two engines and they’re on engine #3. Apparently the timing went out on this third engine and the valves hit the pistons and bent the valves. They replaced the timing components and heads. During their replacement they mix up the intake and exaust shim under buckets and it runs rough. I live 6-8 hours from the vehicle and a test drive. I am a beginner to the garage and I have access to tools and a garage to work on this myself. My neighbor said he was willing to help me, so I have a few questions for y’all.

How hard hard is it to swap the shim under buckets in this engine?

Is this something we can tackle on our own?

Are there any issue & concerns we should be aware of? Could there be any other damages to the engine I should ask about specifically?

What type of tools and equipment would we need for this repair?

Am I in over my head?
 

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No. Buy something that runs and is easy and cheap to maintain and safe for a new driver like a civic, accord, or Camry.
 

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2007+ Camry in LE trim or better is a brilliant car! Some colours will oxidise so if you’re in a sunny area beware paint damage. Otherwise, if you can find one with a full service history owned by a person that is not a car enthusiast, it may last indefinitely. Great cars.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I’m into cars and electronics and I watch a lot of videos on YouTube on my interests. Seeing people buying salvaged title cars and make them running like as if there wasn’t any issues at all. And watching vehicle engine rebuilds n’ what not. I don’t want my first car to be a cheap ugly duckling. I want it to have the real potential, and have a car that I can mod later down the line without being the stereo typical muffler change that makes the beaten rotted up cheap Toyota look like it has power audibly down the street.

Back on topic-
this seller is also willing to give me the other two JDM ej205’s free with the vehicle for $1,300.
 

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I’m into cars and electronics and I watch a lot of videos on YouTube on my interests. Seeing people buying salvaged title cars and make them running like as if there wasn’t any issues at all. And watching vehicle engine rebuilds n’ what not. I don’t want my first car to be a cheap ugly duckling. I want it to have the real potential, and have a car that I can mod later down the line without being the stereo typical muffler change that makes the beaten rotted up cheap Toyota look like it has power audibly down the street.

Back on topic-
this seller is also willing to give me the other two JDM ej205’s free with the vehicle for $1,300.
Have you seen a Christmas story?

Ralphie wants a Red Rider BB gun really bad. He will go to nearly any length to acquire it as well. Through all of the movie Ralphie has delusions of grandeur concerning shooting bad guys and saving the world.

The entire time this is happening you've also got much older, much wiser people warning him of the dangers of shooting his eye out. Ralphie being the ever egotistical badass knows better than them.

At the end of the movie Ralphie gets his Red Ryder bb rifle. He proceeded to shoot himself in the eye.

Now, you can be like Ralphie, or you can listen to wisdom and not piss your money away on a WRX or STI at 18. No matter what year or condition. We can talk at length about the number of kids smashed into oblivion because they don't have the experience to drive a pedal bike around other vehicles never the less a full size car.

There is nothing about your idea that is good. Even from the eyes of a financially stable adult with ample money to waste.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I understand your analogy and It makes sense- you're trying to help me out so that I don't disappoint myself. But I am not that type of kid, that type of kid is the one who wants a brand spanking new 2020 Bentley, Lamborghini, Tesla, Mustang that can slash lap times around a track with a 0 to 100 mph in under 3 seconds. I'm being quite realistic with my unique position to have the time and money. I've bought expensive tech that was damaged that was selling for cheap and It was way cheaper for me to repair the device myself and that I could put in the money and the labor myself. Yeah It may take a hot minute to buy all the parts, but once you have the ones you need and required- you can get to start actually wrenching on things. I want to get to that goal to get that vehicle running- and not being dragged down. I want understanding and openness to the idea.
 

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Let me rephrase- I've bought tech that is desirable, but is unattainable because of it's brand new price tag.
 

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I feel like this is where I’d usually quote Eric Cantona, but anyway.

For future reference, any time someone says “I’m not the kind of kid who...” and then provides an explanation, no matter what the topic, a reader will conclude the writer is indeed that kind of kid. That’s not relevant though.

1. You may be able to sell all that stuff as spares and make money.

2. The chances of you combining all those spares into a vehicle worth owning for the time and money are infinitesimally small.

So you can get money out of all this if you work on breaking the spares and selling them individually. But you’re unlikely to get a car.

If you break the spares and sell them for a profit, you could use that money to buy — guess what... — a 2007+ Camry. Might be worth your time that way.
 

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Hello! I am 18 years old and I am thinking buying my first vehicle and I want to make that a Subaru. The vehicle I am looking at this 2003 Subaru Impreza WRX Wagon. The owner currently wants $1,500 but will take $1,300 for it sooner- he’d stated that they blown and replaced the first two engines and they’re on engine #3. Apparently the timing went out on this third engine and the valves hit the pistons and bent the valves. They replaced the timing components and heads. During their replacement they mix up the intake and exaust shim under buckets and it runs rough. I live 6-8 hours from the vehicle and a test drive. I am a beginner to the garage and I have access to tools and a garage to work on this myself. My neighbor said he was willing to help me, so I have a few questions for y’all.

How hard hard is it to swap the shim under buckets in this engine?

Is this something we can tackle on our own?

Are there any issue & concerns we should be aware of? Could there be any other damages to the engine I should ask about specifically?

What type of tools and equipment would we need for this repair?

Am I in over my head?
I feel like this is where I’d usually quote Eric Cantona, but anyway.

For future reference, any time someone says “I’m not the kind of kid who...” and then provides an explanation, no matter what the topic, a reader will conclude the writer is indeed that kind of kid. That’s not relevant though.

1. You may be able to sell all that stuff as spares and make money.

2. The chances of you combining all those spares into a vehicle worth owning for the time and money are infinitesimally small.

So you can get money out of all this if you work on breaking the spares and selling them individually. But you’re unlikely to get a car.

If you break the spares and sell them for a profit, you could use that money to buy — guess what... — a 2007+ Camry. Might be worth your time that way.
Most importantly, how many miles are on it and is it in great shape otherwise? What shape is the transmission in? If not in great shape, I'd keep looking. As an owner of three 2005 Subaru's we've had to replace four engines. A JDM Swap is the cheapest route, about $4500 in SoCal, but the problem is that when you get it, it already has like 15 - 30,000 miles, and you don't know if it was broken in correctly. If it's not broken in correctly, it won't last more than 40,000 miles. That happened to me, twice in my WRX. The rest of the car is in premium condition though (got it with 60,000 miles), and I did so many mods that I couldn't leave her, so the second time I paid for a brand new build, very expensive but what I wanted to do. Is this a turbo? I assume it is. And if it is, you'll want to get it tuned so that you don't have firing issues like before. An Accessport will be the first thing you want to buy for it! Subaru turbos are very high maintenance, so be prepared!
 

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Most importantly, how many miles are on it and is it in great shape otherwise? What shape is the transmission in? If not in great shape, I'd keep looking. As an owner of three 2005 Subaru's we've had to replace four engines. A JDM Swap is the cheapest route, about $4500 in SoCal, but the problem is that when you get it, it already has like 15 - 30,000 miles, and you don't know if it was broken in correctly. If it's not broken in correctly, it won't last more than 40,000 miles. That happened to me, twice in my WRX. The rest of the car is in premium condition though (got it with 60,000 miles), and I did so many mods that I couldn't leave her, so the second time I paid for a brand new build, very expensive but what I wanted to do. Is this a turbo? I assume it is. And if it is, you'll want to get it tuned so that you don't have firing issues like before. An Accessport will be the first thing you want to buy for it! Subaru turbos are very high maintenance, so be prepared!
Hello! I am 18 years old and I am thinking buying my first vehicle and I want to make that a Subaru. The vehicle I am looking at this 2003 Subaru Impreza WRX Wagon. The owner currently wants $1,500 but will take $1,300 for it sooner- he’d stated that they blown and replaced the first two engines and they’re on engine #3. Apparently the timing went out on this third engine and the valves hit the pistons and bent the valves. They replaced the timing components and heads. During their replacement they mix up the intake and exaust shim under buckets and it runs rough. I live 6-8 hours from the vehicle and a test drive. I am a beginner to the garage and I have access to tools and a garage to work on this myself. My neighbor said he was willing to help me, so I have a few questions for y’all.

How hard hard is it to swap the shim under buckets in this engine?

Is this something we can tackle on our own?

Are there any issue & concerns we should be aware of? Could there be any other damages to the engine I should ask about specifically?

What type of tools and equipment would we need for this repair?

Am I in over my head?
Hello! I am 18 years old and I am thinking buying my first vehicle and I want to make that a Subaru. The vehicle I am looking at this 2003 Subaru Impreza WRX Wagon. The owner currently wants $1,500 but will take $1,300 for it sooner- he’d stated that they blown and replaced the first two engines and they’re on engine #3. Apparently the timing went out on this third engine and the valves hit the pistons and bent the valves. They replaced the timing components and heads. During their replacement they mix up the intake and exaust shim under buckets and it runs rough. I live 6-8 hours from the vehicle and a test drive. I am a beginner to the garage and I have access to tools and a garage to work on this myself. My neighbor said he was willing to help me, so I have a few questions for y’all.

How hard hard is it to swap the shim under buckets in this engine?

Is this something we can tackle on our own?

Are there any issue & concerns we should be aware of? Could there be any other damages to the engine I should ask about specifically?

What type of tools and equipment would we need for this repair?

Am I in over my head?
Hey man, (or girl?) love your energy and enthusiasm. If you are the type of kid who can stay positive and look at failures and losses as good experiences on the way to your dream of owning a not ordinary car , then I say go ahead and buy something like what you are looking at. But I dont think you should buy that one, it sounds all fucked up and , well, just not a good deal. There are a 1000 other cars for sale for only a few hundred bucks more that would give you a fighting chance of ending up with something that will make you happy driving it around. This is coming from someone who decided he was gonna be an exotic car tech by restoring a 20 year old 911 bought with what was left of saved army pay after 3 long years of sweating in fatigues , one of those while fighting for the right of me and my fellow Americans to have access to cheap oil. I learned a lot from that purchase, but not about working on Porsches. My next car was a used Subaru wagon. I learned how to put in an alternator, I learned how to do timing belts. I learned how to helicoil aluminum threads. I got really good at helicoiling aluminum threads actually. And that freaking car had 390,000 miles on it by the time I donated it to the Pacific Ocean 1000 miles south of our border while surfing hurricane surf.
I wander while writing too. Keep doing what you are doing, and dream. Follow thru, and don't give up. But dont buy that car.
And when you finally have a sweet ride, drive it like your future children's futures are just around that blind corner, and be smart. Save it for big parking lots, or somewhere other than public roads. Unlike me. Yes, I learn. The hard way. At least my lessons only hurt me and not another living breathing soul. Paralysis sucks. But it is paradise compared to what it would be like living with the knowledge that I inflicted it on someone else.
 

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If it's not broken in correctly, it won't last more than 40,000 miles.
That's a bold claim and total bs. 99% of new vehicles sold will never have a break in procedure followed, of those 99%, 90% will easily make it to 100k.

The problem is most of those jdm engines come from cars that were beat to death. Little old ladies in Japan are not going to buy a wrx. Kids and "enthusiasts" buy them.

Not to mention most of those engines have been sitting in yards for years on end.
 

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My advice....don’t get THIS car. Sounds like a lot of trouble and money for a youngin’ and for someone with barley any wrench time. If you want a Subaru, save a bit more money and get something that runs and works. Buying this car could be like opening a box of worms and a money pit. Not a situation you really want to be in at 18 years old. Good luck!
 

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This advice is what I tried to say in 2000 words. I believe it is great advice. Save up another $1000. It's not as hard as it seems, the math is the same whether you are spending or saving. You will get $5000, or more, of car value for $1000 more spent on something that's used.
 
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