02-07 vs 08-14 Longterm Reliability - Subaru WRX Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 05-14-2016, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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02-07 vs 08-14 Longterm Reliability

I've been researching on here for a while and I've decided I really want a wagon / hatch due to more versatility than the sedan.

I read that the 2006 was the best year of the older models. 02-05 were good too, some people said that the trannies were a little weaker and they had less power. I heard 08-09 are worst years but how reliable are the 2010-14 hatches in comparison to 02-07?
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post #2 of 10 Old 05-15-2016, 07:03 AM
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reliability of a used car is based solely on the previous owner.

my 2002 wagon has 350,000km + on it and its still going strong.

i swapped the motor because i wanted more power not because i had to. i even sold my old motor for nice chunk of change. motor was pulled @340k

ive seen new 2015's blow with less than 20k miles and seen older GC imprezas with close to 500k

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post #3 of 10 Old 05-15-2016, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by titter View Post

my 2002 wagon has 350,000km + on it and its still going strong.

i swapped the motor because i wanted more power not because i had to. i even sold my old motor for nice chunk of change. motor was pulled @340k

ive seen new 2015's blow with less than 20k miles and seen older GC imprezas with close to 500k
That's 217,480mi to us stupid Americans. Engine (motors are electric) swap at 211,266mi. Saw 2015s blow with less than 12,427mi. Saw GC imprezas close to 310,686mi.

Weak trannies are from 02 to mid 03. Check the trans code. your looking for the "BA" trans. The "AA" code is the weak one. 04 has wider seats and the tach in the wrong place. 02-05 was known for spun bearings. 06 gives you better brakes, better looks and a 2.5L engine prone to ring land failure. You lose the aluminum hood too. I think throttle by wire came in in 07. The 08 caused a lot of angry letters to Subaru. They really botched it! They more than made up for it in 09. The 09 WRX is awesome!!! After that I don't know much. Subaru got out of WRC so every year after that they wandered farther from their rally roots.

Personally...I think 03(tune-ability),06(factory upgrades) and 09(knocked it out of the park) are the best. My 03 WRX has 132,000mi on it and I have been it's only owner/driver for 13 years. It's my daily driver and autocrosser and is showing no signs of age. All I can say about it is from 02-07 if it has the original radiator and it's over 100,000mi get a new one. I haven't noticed any difference in the tranny from any other car I've owned. My biggest fear right now is a spun bearing. From what I'm told It could happen any time now.

reliability of a used car is based solely on the previous owner. I agree with this for Subies but for other cars like the Neon the best thing you can do is set fire to it and walk away.

All right, where is the distributor cap? I need to find the #1 plug wire to hook up my SUN machine.
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post #4 of 10 Old 05-15-2016, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks the responses, by weak trannys 02 to early 03 are they just prone to failure over time or is just not able to support a lot of horsepower?
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post #5 of 10 Old 05-15-2016, 02:42 PM
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both. cant hold much hp and fail because of it.

a tranny is an easy thing to replace though. an 04+ used 5speed can be had for about $500 and will swap right in as long as the gear ratios match.

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post #6 of 10 Old 05-15-2016, 03:03 PM
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Thanks the responses, by weak trannys 02 to early 03 are they just prone to failure over time or is just not able to support a lot of horsepower?
The "AA" code trannys have thinner gears. All the 5-speeds from 02 to 07 are a clam-shell design. They are prone to spread apart under heavy shock loads. Stick to under 350WHP don't drag race it, use the stock clutch and you should be fine. All 02-07 gearboxes have a hard time getting into 1st gear from a roll. This is normal and can be delt with best by using "Uncle Scottys cocktail" in them. 1 Transmission Cocktail Mix - GrimmSpeed Note...One of my autocross buddies has an "AA" code tranny and hasn't had any trouble with it for years.

All right, where is the distributor cap? I need to find the #1 plug wire to hook up my SUN machine.
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post #7 of 10 Old 05-17-2016, 06:18 AM
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Everything has been covered for the most part here. The biggest reason people say the 02-03 Trans were junk was from poor shifting habits. Yes the case halves don't help nor does the 1mm difference in thickness, but the 06+ had a shorter final drive ratio meaning more tq and easier to break not to mention the stock 06 wrx blowing Trans too. It's all how you shift.

The 06 went 2.5l which was known for ringland failure due to emissions and the factory tune having to pass it. They ran lean just as full boost came on then rich after age overtime it took its toll.

Bolt on parts and mods for the gc/gd chassis are getting harder to find due to age and making more power will require more work due to the .5l less displacement.

For any other information check out Unabombers Manifesto on NASIOC
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post #8 of 10 Old 05-17-2016, 08:15 AM
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Honestly there aren't many differences in the WRX's in terms of reliability. The EJ205 and EJ255 used in the USDM WRX (02-14) is pretty solid though sometimes people push them well beyond stock levels. Biggest problems relate to oil starvation.

The transmissions in the 02-14 WRX are pretty similar. The "AA" gears are a little weaker, though the difference is often exaggerated. They were only used in the 02 WRX and some 03 WRX's (never clear exactly when they switched to the "BA" somewhere in the middle of production). The 2.5L debut'd in 2006 which brought more torque potential for modders and added some more transmission stress but the transmission 06+ isn't a downgrade just has a bigger motor in front of it.

What year would I buy? 2016, no question. New car financing, huge resale value, you can be 100% sure of the mods done to the car (none), warranty alleviates a lot of risks.

In terms of stock power levels, the WRX came in 227 HP trim 02-08 and ~260 09-16. In terms of power potential, the extra 0.5L of the 06-14 is the best though the new FA20 (15+) isn't that far behind. In terms of handling, the 08 WRX came setup nearly like a stock Impreza but I can't imagine many out there are still on stock parts so basically no difference until the superior 15+ chassis. The 15+ transmission is vastly superior too and the AUTO is not only available again it's not terrible either.
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post #9 of 10 Old 05-18-2016, 06:11 PM
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I just bought my 2005 Saabaru.... It's a 162k one owner beauty. I agree with the previous comments.. It's all about how well the person before maintained it. This car is super solid, no suspension noise, motor pulls nice and strong. Just do your due diligence when buying a used car.
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post #10 of 10 Old 05-19-2016, 01:15 PM
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*cough*I have an 03, had it since new, and I can say that driving habits are the #1 killer of transmission on any car. I have driven the dog snot out of my car and even on the factory 5 speed, pushing over 350whp the only thing that gave out was a bend shift fork and that was the result of......wait for it.....my own stupidity. I am not afraid to drive my car hard and long distances, but I have taken care of it over he years and it has always rewarded me with a smile from ear to ear. Basically it doesn't matter what year or what brand, every car has its faults and I bet most can be directed to the owners. There is a "buying a used wrx/sti" thread somewhere on this form...It might give you a little insight into buying one...*cough*

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