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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone,

I have been looking for a 3rd generation Outback for months now, and can't seem to find what I am looking for. I love to drive, and most of my cars have been standards... except for a couple hot rods I had as a teenager! :cool: My 2002 GT wagon has 250,000 miles on it, I've had it for 10 years and I'm ready to upgrade.

I can't believe how things have changed. It looks like barely any cars out there have all the options I'd like... and if they do exist, they're gone as they're posted!

My question... Those of you who prefer manual trans... do you think they handle better than the automatics? Frustrated, I tried driving an 09 LTD today, in auto. It felt so boaty to me... The tires were very tall too, so that may have played a role, but in general, is there a difference in "handling" between the two?

Thanks in advance!
Lisa
 

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I bought a 01 legacy GT because the OB was floaty - handled poor and the 4spd AT was terrible.

I have a 2.5 OB CVT today - its still floaty and handles poorly but at least the AT has more than 4 lethargic gears. CVT is probably my only favorite thing about the new OB. I would get a legacy WAGON in a heart beat if they sold em.

If you do not need a wagon - look for a legacy 5spd MT. Subaru sold a couple of years the model was called the Legacy Limited which was basically a Non Turbo Legacy GT in wagon and sedan form. Nice car I think they were sold up till 07.

That is the closest thing to the old non turbo kitted out Limited GT they sold back in the day. I miss my 01 GT Limited every day I drive the OB.
 

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I think what you're feeling is the outback vs GT wagon. AFAIK, the autos and manuals use the same exact suspension. (maybe there are different spring rates?). I think you'll either have to look at another Legacy wagon, or an Outback XT. You can always change the struts out too if you're willing to pay a few hundred dollars in addition to the vehicle price. Larger sway bars are an option too.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the response! I've actually driven a bunch of Outbacks, ranging from '05 through '09, all MT except today's '09 LTD. The MT's felt much more solid on the road... and they felt especially diff around the corners. ???
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Sorry, I missed your response, subiesailor!

You have the new 4th gen? I'm not hugely fond of them, for some reason... but did try driving the Impreza wagon with the CVT and have to admit, I had a lot of fun!

I do need the wagon -- I am a photographer, have a huge dog, and well.... lug around a bunch of equipment!

I guess I'll just keep looking for the MT Outback. :-( They're just not easy to find with decent miles.
 

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Sorry, I missed your response, subiesailor!

You have the new 4th gen? I'm not hugely fond of them, for some reason... but did try driving the Impreza wagon with the CVT and have to admit, I had a lot of fun!

I do need the wagon -- I am a photographer, have a huge dog, and well.... lug around a bunch of equipment!

I guess I'll just keep looking for the MT Outback. :-( They're just not easy to find with decent miles.
I hear ya Princeli, I have a tiny dog but understand the amount of gear. I stumbled on my MT nearly at random. They're out there, just keep looking.

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Uy, patience is NOT my virtue, but I will try and hold on...

Is there any difference in suspension between the '05/'06/'07's and the '08/'09's?
 

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Sadly, fewer people know how to drive a stick these days. That makes them harder and harder to find.

I don't know the answer to the suspension question. I believe they're the same (or close to it) but I don't know for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks, I appreciate your help!

Yes, it's so sad about the sticks... it used to be the other way around.... all cars were sticks and then auto was an option! My dad taught me to drive a stick by starting and stopping up a huge hill for days on end.... SOOO grateful for that!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Nice website, btw! I liked you on FB -- awesome nature photography! What amazing places you get to go!
 

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Handling is the same, but the 4eat is extremely sluggish! It ruins the car IMO.
Seabass nailed it. Avoid the 4spd at they did sell upper trim outbacks in mt format but most are cloth seats. Keep in mind really good quality after market leather is only about $1200 installed so dont let that kill an otherwise really clean 5spd option. I would probably ask the local dealer to check tge clutch health. I recall they easily came up with 10% pad left on mine before they tore into it. My reason for that is more and more people today burn through clutches stupid fast and a proper job at the dealer will run you $1200 $1400 clams. If your paying top value the clutch better have some life left in it.
 

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same suspension, it's all interchangeable and the exact same set up. subaru makes a legacy platform and just bolts different stuff to it. the only difference would be weight, the manual trans is a little bit lighter, and wagon/sedan or Outback having a higher ground clearance (and more roll or whatever performance gurus call it).

different models have different sway bar diameters, that will stiffen up the ride considerably and is a common Subaru upgrade on forums like this.

may have slightly different rates for the springs/struts due to weights, but it would be very minor (understatement), and those parts are interchanged in the real world all the time with no regard to auto/manual. never seen or heard of a difference.
 

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I have 2005 5speed H6. Also grew up with and prefer stick, previous car had a 4speed AT V8

5 speed auto works very well imo. If you drive lightly it will do 40mph in 5th gear, engine below 1800 rpm. If you floor it it is not shy to go up to 6000rpm and keep it there.

Reaction time between normal driving and thrashing it is slow, it takes almost a second to react. It sometimes also selects a gear that is too high, then decides to downshift again.

It can be overridden by the manual function, you move the lever into manual mode, then you can control gear changes which is nice.
 

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I'm guessing that the difference in handling between the cars you've driven has more to do with worn struts.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Will a dealership really tell you how much is left on a clutch? That's an expensive job, for sure.... Do you believe, my '02 has the original clutch?

I think you're right about the struts... I've read that before and felt in another one of the cars I drove, though it was 3 years older...

I personally don't think the AT compares to the MT even when driven manually.... thanks for helping me remind/convince myself... I wouldn't be happy with an AT.
 

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DON'T STOP LOOKING! I have a Limited, Manual trans Outback. It has leather seats, Panoramic Sunroof, Limited slip, auto climate, yada yada yada. You just have to look real hard, and be willing to drive. I picked mine up in New York. Guy thought I was crazy.

I don't think the dealer could tell you how much material is left on the clutch. There is an inspection cover you can remove on the top right of the bell housing below the air intake, but you can't measure the clutch through it. Really the only way you can tell is to test it on a hill. You can also listen for bearing noise when the clutch pedal is pushed in. If you hear anything at all, the car is going to need a clutch job in the very near future.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Ahhh, would that be throw out bearing? My '02 is making terrible sounds when I push in the clutch...

Okay, I'll keep looking. It's worth it to me, as I keep my cars for a long time!
 
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