Buying a car with a blown engine? - Subaru WRX Forum
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#1 Old 06-10-2013, 10:07 PM
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Buying a car with a blown engine?

Hello. I just joined so try to bear with me. I know that this website seems to be a lot about technical mods and repairs and I can't wait, but I have a question regarding a purchase. I would post it on ClubWRX.net: Subaru Impreza WRX and WRX STI Online Community and Forums or something, but their registration page was throwing server errors.

I live in Westerville, Ohio. There are not too many Imprezas around for sale. I am looking for a WRX Sedan within the years 2004-2005 and including any repairs post purchase under $11,000. That's my current budget. I hope that is possible.

This is not my only option, but I wanted to know what to expect if I purchased a car with the potential to have to replace the engine. There is a dealer near me who is selling one that blew out on a test drive. I do not know the severity of the issue yet, but they said that they are considering not selling it. I wanted to know what dealers typically do when this happens and what I should offer for the car if I chose to buy and fix. It was listed just under $12,000 before the issue. The WRXs around here seem to be going for more than the KBB value. Here are the dealers photos. I put them in a zip file and moved them to my site because I received a malware warning when going to their site. That is why I just did not refer you to the posting. (I also trust you not to steal a good deal. lol) They now want $7,000. I will be hiring a shop to do the engine work.

Here are my questions:
Is it worth the risk? What should I expect? What are the most likely problems I will run into? What is the value of the car and what should I offer? Any other helpful and relevant input?

I'm not asking you to do my car shopping for me, but any help or referrals would be appreciated. Thank you,

----Michael

EDIT: The reason I say they are considering not selling it and then say they want $7,000 is that halfway through writing the paragraph, I looked the car back up and the listing had been changed to reflect the current condition of the car. That is after talking on the phone with them about the situation.

EDIT: The CarFax is not pretty ether.

Last edited by Quantum; 06-10-2013 at 11:34 PM. Reason: Clarification to a decrepancy; Additional Details
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#2 Old 06-11-2013, 11:26 AM
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I would say be patient and find one that is in good shape. If it blew the engine on a test drive theres no telling what could be wrong with it. A lot of times people make 4 or 6 hour drives to find their cars. Its a better option then buying a car that you have no idea what's wrong with it and it won't run. You could get the engine rebuilt only to find out the transmission is garbage as well, then you'll be going over your budget to replace that. Who knows? I would skip it.

As for the dealership, they will probably auction it off.
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#3 Old 06-11-2013, 01:23 PM
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Buy a shell and get it together yourself for WAY less than you think... I've seen Bugeyes go for $3500-$4500 in really nice shape.

Be patient as stated.

Paul
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#4 Old 06-11-2013, 02:14 PM
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There was a rolling WRX shell (just missing engine and trans) a little while ago for $1,500. As for finding a car with a blown motor to replace, that's your roll of the dice. It's a purchase I wouldn't make unless you have a lot of time, can do the work yourself, and know what you're getting into. Realize that you are buying into someone else's mess that they are selling the car to avoid dealing with.
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#5 Old 06-11-2013, 03:15 PM
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Try looking around Columbus area. There was a crap load of them last time I looked.

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#6 Old 06-11-2013, 06:01 PM
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Yeah that price does seem too high for a "Shell".

Obviously the prices may be different in your area but considering that a new subaru shortblock is about 2500 to 3000 alone (Not to mention additional parts and labor required for installation) it might be best to find another option.


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#7 Old 06-11-2013, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PRO Import Tuners View Post
Yeah that price does seem too high for a "Shell".

Obviously the prices may be different in your area but considering that a new subaru shortblock is about 2500 to 3000 alone (Not to mention additional parts and labor required for installation) it might be best to find another option.
I like you....

It should also be mentioned that there was an article released last week that there is a shortage of Subarus in the US. So that will drive up the price of the used ones, also not to mention that a Subaru does hold it's value(even just a shell) quite well.
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#8 Old 06-11-2013, 09:49 PM
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Thank you guys. I think I'm going to hold out for I car in very good to excellent condition. I'll bring along one of those used WRX buying checklists plus I will have it inspected by a shop.

I did have another question. I was test driving another Subaru WRX the other day. The previous owner had installed a boost gauge. I noticed that when the boost gauge came alive, it only wobbled at low PSI no matter what I did to the throttle. I never held it for every long as I would soon be going very fast, but I did not seem to notice a tremendous boost in performance ether. What do you guys think? How much should a turbo impact the acceleration performance? What should I take from the boost gauge wobbling at low PSI and not rising. Keep in mind. I know almost nothing about turbos or what happens during driving. I do not even know if it should be increasing with the throttle and/or speed, but I figured it probably would.
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#9 Old 06-12-2013, 10:32 AM
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^ Low Boost pressures can indicate turbo failure or poor health. But it's also normal to experience low boost pressures at slow speeds and temperatures. (The ECU limits boost pressure targets when the engine isn't up to operating temperature or the vehicle speed is low).

If the vehicle is up to operating temp, driving with moderate load in a mid gear (2-3-4) you should be able to reach a steady target boost pressure. If not there may be something wrong with the vehicle electronically or mechanically.


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#10 Old 06-12-2013, 12:10 PM
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Probably has a boost leak. A bad turbo would either be throwing smoke from your tailpipe, or screeching when you start going into boost. If there car is just not making boost its probably a leak or a issue with the wastegate.

Also, its not uncommon to find broken gauges in used cars. But you should definitely be feeling it when you start hitting boost.
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