"Try to start the car from a stop on flat ground in 3rd gear. if you can get it to move then there is a good chance the clutch is bad."
-May be a dumb question but why is the clutch bad if the car can move in 3rd?
Yea I don't get that one either...technically you can get a car started from 5th gear if you wanted to, you just have to ride the clutch a lot more and give it more gas.
My preferred method to test a clutch is to drive and get up to 5th gear, cruise around 1800-2200 RPMs and release the throttle and quickly floor it. If the clutch is bad, the tachometer will quickly spike up while the vehicle is still going the same speed. I usually do this around 2-3 times in a row just to make sure.
Im 17 and have been holdin off to get a coupe since the summer. Finally found one, its a 96 L :/ but the ej18 in it has an 04 wrx turbo and front mount intercooler along with ej22 heads. Buuut its got 156k. I saw the car today and test drove it with my father. Exterior:****, its plastidipped black, has a decent dent on the pass side front quarter and other dings all over the car. The hood is a 98 rs hood so it hangs over the headlights about an inch and doesnt match up with the quarters. The front bumper hangs down about an inch so the intercooler can fit. The only rust i could find was in the bottom front of the rear wheelwells kinda in the corner so it cant be seen from the outside, only if you look in the wheel well and its completely rotted out. Probably about a 5 inch diameter area on both sides. All of the weatherstripping around all the windows and the plastic or metal bits that go around the rear windows are ****ed. Like all pieced together and torn apart, the owner claims it is all water tight though(but he had a shitload of air fresheners in the car so im weary). Im thinkin the air fresheners were to cover either the smell of water damage, cigs, or pot. The interior was suprisingly clean all around besides the huge gash in the left door card, rear speakers not being seated in the sockets, small crack in the shifter console nxt to the shifter, and one of the for speakers didnt work. I believe it has rs seats because they were nice Dark and light grey seats. Very clean as a matter of fact. Now to the mechanical business. The car started right up, idles smooth and revs nice (3 inch catback rumbled real good). Test drive was rather pleasant even though my father is the one who drove it as im not experienced yet shifting. He said the car felt tight and the clutch was very nice, engaged real low. Shifted through the gears nicely and drove smooth, not like the shitbox it appeared to be. Pulled to the left very slightly. Owner said that the previous owner did all the work and he also said it has wrx suspension, diffs, and syncros. No paperwork for any of it. Claims previous owner did timingbelt at 135k but id have to do it immediatly to feel safe. He was asking 3 but we got him down to 2500 bottom dollar. In that case as of right now id only have 900 bucks left to throw a timingbelt into it and maybe tires and brakes after the winter, plus insurance and reg. I earn about 100bucks a week, i know i know, pitiful. So exterior id say is a 4, interior is a 7.5 , and mechanically id say a solid 8. Thats only considering how it drives at this current moment and not considering the 158k it has along with the unknown of how well the work was done or how its been maintained. It will get me where i need to be very reliably IF the engine doesnt crap out on me which im horrified of. And the engine bay wasnt pretty, it was dirty but no rust. Yes there was oil all around the valve cover gaskets but nothing visibly dripping. It had to be a slow leak because there was a small dried up spot of oil underneath the head/valve cover on the frame rail or whatever that section is called. Now i just realized i wrote a novel and im not sure thats good or frowned upon but i am just desperate for advice i cant make the decision. I NEED a car and i WANT to rumble around in a coupe. Thanks for reading and replying if you do!
This thread is great. Quick question, when looking for rust, is it body rust you mostly look for? I know body rust can be repaired if need be, but should you be looking for rust on the undercarriage of the car as well? Is subframe rust commonplace, or pretty rare?
I suppose if I plan on getting an RS for an RSTi build, the front cross member is going to need to be replaced anyway, but not the rear.
Great thread and useful info as I'm trying to buy as well. One thing I'm running into is that some of the cars I'm looking at are 7 hrs a way so some of the recommendations here aren't as helpful. I try to ask for general maintenace questions and ask for pics to check rust. I wonder if there's additional things that can be looked at before seeing it in person.