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97 legacy gt revival, time to get started

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Hello all, I'm starting a thread on a 97 legacy gt sedan I bought a few months back. The car will be for my oldest son who recently turned 15. We will be working on it together. I just finished up an 02 Civic ex for my 15 year old stepson. My mechanical skills are pretty decent but this is the first Subaru I've ever touched.


I bought the car about three months ago and due to having many projects we are just now getting started. I paid $450, drove it home and it pretty much sat until now. I was told it needed a water pump and head gasket but the owner didn't really speak good English.


Body is straight, no dents. Dull paint, some peeling clear coat and typical rust, but not terrible. Overall the car is dirty and definitely neglected. Interior is not torn up, just dirty with some broken plastic here and there. Has a crappy CD player with the most terrible yet awesome Mexican rock and roll CD in it that won't eject.




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Today was our first chance actually working on the vehicle. The plan was to start with a basic tune up and go from there.


We changed the oil/filter, air filter, spark plugs, topped off coolant, and checked tire pressure. And washed and degreased engine bay and underside.


The engine seems to run pretty well, was idling up and down a bit but I feel that may be the ECU relearning because the car sat dead for so long. It will definitely need a new battery and I'll research the grounding mod.


I pulled the drivers side timing cover and the belt looks pretty good in my opinion.


New rad cap just because.


All fluids look pretty normal. Trans fluid looks great and car shifts wonderful.


CVs appear new and car rides smooth and straight. Slight vibration at 55-65, probably tires need balanced. All have great tread with no cracking.


Brakes probably need done all around. Stops ok but pulsates and abs light is on.


It has a p0135 for upstream o2 sensor heater circuit, we will look into that.


Also had a p0325 for knock sensor, but considering old gas and such...I cleared it and after about an hour of driving and idling it never came back. We'll see how that works out.


And now for the great news...I don't believe the car needs a head gasket or water pump. It was initially low on coolant when purchased. Topped coolant off and we have had about two hours of drive/idle time. Car has good heat, carries good temp, but has small coolant leak from the radiator around the petcock. So we will replace the radiator next.


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So the next things on the agenda...


Replace radiator and flush coolant.

(Anyone run the pink/red coolant in these, currently has green but all my yotas are running pink. Wouldn't mind them all being the same)


Change pads and rotors all around.


Rotate and balance tires.


Diagnose p0135.

(Test the fuse, but probably need to replace the sensor)


And diagnose HVAC controls. It seems to stay on dash vent all the time. Fan speed and temp work.


All in all pretty happy with the purchase now that we've assessed it some. I think he can have a really decent car for under 1k.


We are new to Subarus so anything I've overlooked or any advice is appreciated. And oh yeah, this thing is kinda fast. At least more than I expected, and just floats along at high speeds.4e32b776aaeb397f3d8e7913740ce982.jpg41b1e87a47abfe20bd1f7ed54b51dd40.jpgf0703f5951cb74d6b3ef4c571b0e4d8e.jpgc79a73c9b6ea7909c45631f73ebbfe65.jpg


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