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Hey guys, I currently live in Georgia and drive a miata as my only car. I am looking at relocating to madison, WI for a job and figured I'd need something suited to drive in the northern winters. Anyway, a few people on the miata forum recommended I look into getting a subaru. I've found a '96 legacy manual on CL here with over 200k miles but looks to be cared for and in good shape.

I do all the maintenance on my cars so I'm looking to continue the same with my next. How easy is it to work on these cars? Plenty of parts/forums/knowledge, available?

Also any bad spots to look for in the 96? I'm pretty sure its a non interference motor, but I read a bit about head gasket problems throughout the years, although the 96 manual trans ej22 seems to avoid that...

Any and all help is appreciated, thanks!
 

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I bought that exact same spec of car for daily duties about 6 months ago - mine had 221,000 miles on it, and now it's about to hit 225k. It's cost me about $1,000 in corrective maintenance since I bought it, but feels far better for it.
These are tough cars but people's assumption that they just need fuel and oil often seems to be their downfall, much like buying an old Mercedes or Volvo.
Look out for signs of neglect, cheap aftermarket parts, worn suspension and serious oil leaks. Torn CV boots are common, and the evidence (old grease) is usually spattered all over the exhaust downpipes.
Mine had a severely overfilled gearbox when I bought it and a flush & refill to the correct level worked wonders. Ditto for increasing the weight of the engine oil.
Good luck, hope you find a good 'un.
 

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96 2.2 will be non-interference and 2.2's have no consistent problems with headgaskets like the 2.5's do. Good choice for DD duties, should be able to score one for under a couple grand.

Axle boots, steering rack boots, and to a lesser degree ball joints will be wear items along with brakes and tires. None are difficult to change on a southern rust-free car, buy one while you're up there and you will learn new curse words and an appreciation for things like PB Blaster and large prybars/hammers.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
thanks for the advice guys. Seems like the typical stuff to be on the look out for. I've found on on craigslist like I mentioned. 200k something miles maybe 210k or 215k, he said its had a timing belt job, but coulda been way back when. No accident history and looks clean inside and out.

He wants $2600 for it, but I'm thinking somewhere around $1500-$1800, not sure if I'm gunna be able to get there with him though.

I always budget an extra $1000 to fix stuff that always comes up with a new car.
 

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I will take a rust free car needing a engine over a rusty car that runs good any day.My 96 came from Wi and has typical problem areas for a outback but is no where near rusty as some of the cars I have inspected around here in Pittsburgh.I just had to put a control arm on a imprezza that rotted out.It only had 80 k on it.
 
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