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So, I just bought a 98 wagon


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...and I'm not sure what my first step should be. Obviously I'd like to begin by going through a maintenance check list or something like that. Unfortunately, this is only my first project car and I don't know too much about cars. The wagon has about 138k and has been sitting for a month or two. What should my first steps be as far as replacing filters and what not go?

 

Thanks,

 

wagongod

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And to add a big +1, not a parts store thermostat. Only dealer part. I got the best parts store one and had to replace it because the hole was like half the area of the factory part. It would overheat even in Michigan winter with that new parts store unit.
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Think about replacing the timing belt is previous owner couldn't confirm when last done. Because of the age of the vehicle, even with low miles, the belt on there could be 10 or more years old.

 

Also, which wagon model?- Legacy L (with EJ22 engine) or GT/ Outback (with EJ25D engine).

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If it's a 2.5, plan on a head gasket job if it's never been done. It's not a question of IF it will happen, it a question of WHEN it will happen. They usually fail from 100k-150k miles.

 

At any rate, if you doubt anything the PO did, or didn't do, then do it. Start with the basics: filters, tuneup, fluid changes (do NOT do flushes). Work your way to the more complex maintenance items: timing belt service, injector cleanings, etc.

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