landcrush Posted December 27, 2016 Share Posted December 27, 2016 I'm a college student who has always wanted a turbo subaru but never really liked the boy racer appearance of the wrx / sti. I've always browsed the forums trying to get enough knowledge about the Legacy to where I was ready to buy one. After about two years of searching for a specB and finding that most of them, or even Legacy GTs for that matter, seemed to be overpriced for the mileage (I know, I know it's a Subaru- still can't fathom paying more than $10-12 grand for a car with 100000+ miles, especially an FI performance car), or too heavily modified. I'd rather take a stock car that's been well maintained and do what I want rather than worry about someone else's mods and whether or not they beat on the car. However, I ended up finding one and my impulsivity and eagerness led me to pull the trigger and buy the car. What I found, or thought I found was a lightly modified, clean, low mileage 2008 Legacy specB. The car had 52000 miles on it and the only modifications were an IAG AOS, Grimmspeed EBCS, Custom intake, and Pink sTi springs up front. It also had an opensource tune from Turbotime. The AOS, EBCS and tune were part of their 'Stage One' package. After seeing some videos and a number of pictures of the car, I flew down to look at the car. Other than some dirt, dings and scratches, the body and paint were clean, there was no rust anywhere and the engine bay looked fairly clean. No leaks or any immediate deal breakers . It was then that I started to learn more about the Car's history. The previous owner had in fact modified the car and returned it to stock when the current owner bought the car. :/ I looked further and saw the bumper was trimmed for a front mount, and I was then informed the car had a VF52 that was removed in favor of the stock VF46. I started having some doubts and wondered why the VF52 wasn't kept on the car. Did it blow up in extraordinary fashion sending metal through the intercooler? Yet, my giddiness and excitement overwhelmed my brain's logical reasoning that should've told me to walk away. Previous to this, I've only owned one subaru and it was an NA outback far from the turbo'd beauty I was now looking at. I thought i knew what to look for but I guess I didn't catch everything. I took the car for an hour or so of test driving. It felt great. Steering was on point, it had boatloads of power, the intake sounded great and the whoosh of the turbo was addicting. I didn't push the car too hard but covered curvy roads, some city driving and on the freeway. It performed as I would expect the car to. However, when we finished the test drive I checked the oil and noticed it was low..... Mind you, I foolishly did not check the oil beforehand because he picked me up in the car from the airport, so i expected he had checked the oil. At the time it didn't concern me too much as he said the car was due for an oil change, and it was only about half a quart to fill it back up. another point i failed to understand was that the almost full tank of gas had been sitting in the car for months. I know I made rookie mistakes but I ama subaru rookie I guess and hindsight is 20/20. Yes i should've had a leak down and compression test done Fast forward through my long winded story to my purchase of the car. I paid what I thought was reasonable given the car's history and a few minor things it needed (like a donut gasket in the exhaust) and left with a smile on my face. I changed the oil in an o'reilly's parking lot with some Rotella t6 before my 400 mile journey home. About 20 minutes into my journey i notice whisps of what appears to be smoke coming from the passenger side of the car. Right around where the donut gasket that is shot is. I immediately text the guy telling him if my concern and he says he's never noticed smoke and that it's probably condensation coming from the exhaust leak. I figure this could be feasible as it was around 15 degrees on this particular day. I'm still concerned and I drive to Turbotime to get a quick look at it. They assure me it's just a leak in the exhaust , and up to this point i hadn't seen clouds of smoke or plumes out the exhaust so i left and journeyed on. On the ride back I mostly kept the car in 5th or 6th, didn't lug it or do any highway pulls and only shifted into fourth to pass maybe half a dozen times. As i went on i thought i started to notice more smoke now coming out of the exhaust. i stopped to check fluid levels and all was well. Still concerned I texted the po about the smoke and speculated what it could be. I feared rings but didn't see any blueish smoke so then thought maybe a head gasket ? But I know the turbo cars rarely see headgasket failure especially at 50k miles. However, the seller told me he would refund me the cost of repairs if that were the case(red flag) but i was already 250 miles or so out. So i completed the drive and once in my garage tried to get a better picture. I wanted to do a compression test but was dettered in my first few attempts to get that passenger rear coil out ( which really isn't that hard as it turns out) Well, I found out that the vent for the AOS let out very close to where the donut gasket was. And that the smoke was coming from the AOS. Immediately I feared the worst and thought it could only be failing rings. I'm not sure if blowby would ultimately come out the vent but my basic understanding of the AOS led me to believe that. Still there was no noticeable drop in how the car idled and ran. I figured maybe the tune was too rich? So i drove the car to my dads house to let him have a look. He was into air cooled veedubs but didn't really have much knowledge of the modern boxer, with a turbo slapped on it. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary and I went home. The next day as i took the car out to grab coffee I gave it some gas and something didn't feel right, it felt like I imagine a boost leak would feel like. It felt down on power. I took it to my buddy's garage where he has a lift. Over the next two days I pulled the turbo and in the process noticed the inlet hose was tearing and the throttle body hose rubber ends looked like they were going. I had the turbo looked at by subaru techs because i thought there was some shaft play but was assured the turbo was good. It was also at this point i realized it was a VF40 not the VF46 i thought would come on my car.. After I ordered new hoses and hooked everything back up the car was worse. The aos was smoking considerably and my first drive around the block, the car would not get into boost before bogging. I figured something must've not been hooked up correctly because i hadn't driven the car at all since parking it in the garage. Literally the only driving I had done since getting the car was to my dads, back home, and to my buddy's garage. Not at any point did i push the car especially when i began to notice problems. My lack of experience with these cars kept me hopeful and the voices of car guys who didn't have a clue about subaru's assured me the car wouldn't run that well with a cracked ring and that the turbo was probably bad or there wa a boost leak. Fast forward to today I finally determined I would get the compression test done. I got all the plugs pulled in an hour with a few beers for each side of the motor:lol: On the drivers side i got 130 up front and... 40psi in the rear Throughout the whole troubleshooting I kept the seller posted on what i was finding out and what i was going to do. Initially he maintained that he would help pay for any major unexpected repairs. But then he changed his mind and said that he didn't think he could help me because he never saw any smoke and that the car was sold with no warranty as is. That's all true and i felt shafted. Now i had a car I barely drove 500 miles and was blown up. I did not push the car past it's limits, especially once i noticed smoke. It's my belief that low octane degraded fuel combined with low oil situation, and the previous owner's probable overboosting general neglect caused ringland failure. After sending long messages to the seller, he and I have come to an agreement and he claims that he will take the car back and refund my money. This is a precarious situation and I'm going to maintain possession of the title until receiving payment if I end up returning the car (shipping it back at my expense) don't let your excitement about a potential new car( a beautiful DGM leggy especially) cloud your logic and judgement. Hopefully this will be resolved, if not- expect a build to come soon! Also i'm expecting a good bit of newbie hate for this but such is the nature of being a newbie -- Evan Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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