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Looking at an 05 LGT with ~100K miles


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Hi all, first post here. There's an 05 LGT limited 5-spd in the color combo I want that came up for sale locally. It's at a dealership and naturally their list price is a bit high, but it's not so absurdly high that I couldn't haggle it down to a reasonable number. It has about 97K miles. Edmunds indicates about $10-11K dealer retail for clean to excellent condition, which I can haggle them down to.


I don't know what (if any) service records the dealer will have. This car is not at a Subaru dealership. The Carfax for this one doesn't show oil changes or much else in the way of regular maintenance. Does Subaru maintain a central database of services performed at all of their dealerships? If I were to walk into the local Subaru dealer with the VIN would they be able to pull a service history regardless of which dealer serviced it, or only if it was serviced at that particular dealer? I have not dealt with Subaru before. Are they generally receptive to this sort of inquiry?


At 97K miles my specific concerns would be the clutch, turbo, whether the timing belt service has been done, since these can significantly impact the amount I am willing to pay and make good points for haggling. I usually do my own work and am capable of performing all of these tasks, but the parts still cost $$$ and take my valuable time to replace. The clutch can be tested for slippage on a test drive, but I'm not sure how to tell if the other stuff was ever replaced without seeing records of it.


How would you check the turbo? Idle it for a while and make sure there's no smoke out the tailpipe? I don't foresee the dealership wanting to pull the downpipe so I can check for shaft play, but if I got an inspection at a local 3rd party Subaru specialist shop they could do that for me. I suppose I could pull the intercooler and check for oil in there. Anything else?


I'd also want a compression test. If not done by a 3rd party shop, then done by the selling dealership's mechanics with my eyes on the gauge while he's cranking it. What psi do you guys expect to see on a compression test of a 97K mile stock motor that hasn't had the piss beaten out of it? Along that same train of thought... this car looks to be missing the engine cover. That's easy enough to replace but should I interpret that as a sign that it may have or have had a non-stock IC at some point?


I've been lurking here a while and see frequent mention of front lower control arm bushings. When they go bad, will it be obvious by the visual condition of the bushings, or would this manifest itself in the handling of the car during my test drive? What specifically am I looking for?

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