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Discussion Starter #1
I have decent knowledge about these cars but is there anything to look for on the '05s that maybe they fixed on later cars? I generally prefer not to buy first year cars, but I don't recall anything negative about the '05s.

I do not expect this dealer to know if the timing belt was done, or the service history.

I'm getting rid of a very nice car (CTS-V) in order to get into a car with more cargo space and automatic transmission. I can turn my own wrenches, but I sure hope I don't run into the turbo issues that seem to occur occasionally on these cars.
 

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Not knowing the service history on an XT is a significant risk... I don't want to discourage you from that car, but there have been enough turbo failures related to improper/deferred maintenance that you should really only take it if it's a true bargain.

It would be well worth it to pay an independent inspection mechanic to give a report on it.

Probably the biggest thing that got fixed later was the exhaust design- there is a catalyst in the up-pipe on 05 & 06 cars. If it fragments, the chunks go straight into the turbo. You can install a catless pipe to correct this. I wouldn't call it a common problem, but it happens.

The cabin air filter is very difficult to access on 05s, corrected in 06 and there was a retrofit kit to make it easier.

Wheel bearings were an issue, Subaru extended the warranty out to 100k/any age on those.

Rear struts are underdamped from the factory on 05-09 cars, and when worn out they are particularly bad. Big thread on that here.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the tips Rasterman, I just read a similar post of yours in the area of the forum where I should've posted this.

To keep the thread on topic for this area of the forum, I'm also going to look at a '03 base 2.5L with 130k for half the price. I like the XT limited a lot better, obviously, but I think we all agree that the older one would run forever if I keep head gaskets in it, or at least cost less to keep running.

Basically, if I buy the older one I get to keep my CTS-V and I'll sell my Civic with a dying engine.

Or, I could buy the 05 XT, sell the CTS-V (no more car payment!!) and fix the Civic when I figure out what's actually wrong with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
First, let me apologize for posting this in the wrong section. Then, even when I realized it was in the wrong section, I thought it was in another section. Double fail.

Anyway, the only bigger fail than my posting was today's shopping experience.

As I'm leaving the house, I check my e-mail and find out that the '03 was sold, so I turn around and head towards the white/silver '05 XT that is 3 hours away.

I get there and they bring the car around for me to look at. It was a f-ing mess! Dented door, hood had chipped paint and evidence that it had been bent all the way back. I could see the timing belt because the cover was broken, there was no A/C compressor belt, the engine cover wasn't bolted down, there was minimal coolant in the car and the left front tire was half flat. Lo' and behold, the exterior was the right color, but it didn't have tan leather, which means it wasn't the one I came to see. So, they told me they would get that car back from the other lot that they sent it to. I left to get something to eat and see if I could find any other cars I wanted in Indianapolis. Anyway, I eventually went back to the lot and waited an hour while they told me my car was on the way. After a little more than an hour, they admitted that my car broke down on the highway and it was a no-go.

****, I took a day off work for this!
 
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