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2001 LL Bean Wagon
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66 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I went to check out this 2002 LL Bean today, and there wasn't anyone on the lot or in the office so I went exploring and found the car parked behind the repair shop next door to the car dealer's lot. They confirmed that it was indeed the car I had been looking for. I asked the technician why it was there and he told me it was some electronic issue and that the CEL was on. It appeared that they hadn't figured out the reason yet. I thanked them and left.

A few minutes after I walked back to the dealer's lot I saw the tech pulling the car around into a bay to work on it. The car was obviously cold, but it had white exhaust coming from the driver's side exhaust pipe. I can't remember if they have one or two mufflers that year, so I could be wrong, but I'm fairly sure that's what I saw. Maybe this is normal because the car was cold, but it raised an eyebrow and I figured I should submit it as evidence.

A couple of hours later I got a call from the dealer who was returning my multiple missed calls. I asked him straight away about the check engine light. He asked if I test drove the car. I told him that I hadn't, and he responded, obviously annoyed, with, "How did you know the check engine light was on then?" When I pressed him more on the matter, he mentioned that the check engine light was actually flashing, but that the car drove fine and that it was nothing serious. He even said I could take it to the "Subaru store" to have it checked out.

Now, the *only* reason I am even still considering this car is that it is really clean inside. It looks very well maintained. From what I saw through the windows the leather is beautiful. The exterior wasn't too shabby, either.

Does this give any of you experienced Subaru shoppers any clues? Is this a big flashing red sign telling me to run the other way? Any thoughts on whether or not this is worth following up on?

Thanks in advance!
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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have a pre-purchase inspection done (be sure to mention what you saw - probably insist on cyl. compression test and cooling system pressure test and extensive test driving too), look at the list of problems, decide for yourself.

Hopefully, someone here can suggest a shop in Atlanta for you.
 

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06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
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Check-engine light on indicates something needs attention fairly soon.

Check-engine light flashing means the computer thinks the cats are being damaged, by a misfire or a rich condition or such.

One exhaust pipe, drivers side.
 

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2001 LL Bean Wagon
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66 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
have a pre-purchase inspection done (be sure to mention what you saw - probably insist on cyl. compression test and cooling system pressure test and extensive test driving too), look at the list of problems, decide for yourself.
I hadn't thought of the cooling system test. Thanks for the tip! The compression test, although pricey, made it on to my must-do list from reading and re-reading this forum.
 

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2001 LL Bean Wagon
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Discussion Starter #5
Check-engine light flashing means the computer thinks the cats are being damaged, by a misfire or a rich condition or such.
Based on what I have gathered from these forums this might not be a deal killer. The dealership inspection should give me a decent idea of what to look for and how to bid.

I really am getting tired of dealing with these shady dealer/broker sellers. The longer my search goes on the more inclined I am to stick to cars sold by individual owners who can provide something resembling service records.
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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14,318 Posts
Based on what I have gathered from these forums this might not be a deal killer. The dealership inspection should give me a decent idea of what to look for and how to bid.

I really am getting tired of dealing with these shady dealer/broker sellers. The longer my search goes on the more inclined I am to stick to cars sold by individual owners who can provide something resembling service records.
Good idea there. The Used car lots buy from insurance, bank repo and other dealers running non selling cars or cars with problems through to get rid of them. Some are from manufacturer dealer lots that came in on trade and are too old for them to mess with or they sat too long on the lot.

Of course, I did find a folder in the glove box of my VDC with all the records in it since new when I found it on the dealer's cash lot.

The white smoke could be coolant/water due to seeping or blown head gasket. Depends on how thick the smoke was. Thin, condensation. Thick means a coolant leak into the combustion. The flashing MIL would be on if this were happening because it would create a misfire. Major repair there.

Flashing MIL and they were working on an electrical issue because of it????? Smells of shady. Good thing the "tech" had a free tongue.
 

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2001 LL Bean Wagon
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Discussion Starter #7
The white smoke could be coolant/water due to seeping or blown head gasket. Depends on how thick the smoke was. Thin, condensation. Thick means a coolant leak into the combustion. The flashing MIL would be on if this were happening because it would create a misfire. Major repair there.

Flashing MIL and they were working on an electrical issue because of it????? Smells of shady. Good thing the "tech" had a free tongue.
Yep. It was thick. No doubt about that. I'm pretty sure I don't want to deal with that.

A couple hours later I ran into a listing for a private owner '05 Legacy GT. The guy is selling because he needs a truck and doesn't want to trash the car hauling things for work. There are plenty of options. I'll keep searching and keep the standards high. It will pay off.
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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average age of cars on the road is now 11 years. GOOD used cars are being kept by their owners. Sure, some folks are buying new cars, but, in general, even dealers are having to keep some cars on their lots that, in better times, would have gone to the auction house. The fact that you're shopping for a Subaru amplifies the problem. We keep our cars for a long time.
 

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2001 LL Bean Wagon
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Discussion Starter #9
You know, I upped the price of my searches this evening and found a whole lot more available for not that much more money. And private sellers too. I think I was probably looking in the wrong price range for what I wanted. Of course what I was looking for was possible to find, but at the considerable expense of time, mileage, and the aggravation of having to deal with way too many sleazeballs. At this point in my car search I think I'd rather just cough up an extra $2k and get on with some driving!
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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Just because the asking price is 2k higher, doesn't mean you pay that much more. I paid 2k less than what was asked on my VDC including TTL. But I also knew what to look for and did the quick math on what I saw was needed at worst case scenario. It also helped that the Used Car sales dept hasn't had a sale in 2 weeks and wanted anything they could get. I like dealing with new sales guys. They don't necessarily know when keep their mouth shut.
 

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2001 LL Bean Wagon
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66 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Just because the asking price is 2k higher, doesn't mean you pay that much more.
Oh noooooo, that's just the starting point. It merely added '05 & '06 Beans and turbos to the search scenery. I recall someone around here talking about smiles per mile...
 
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