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Buying advice 2007 Impreza WRX SL


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Hi everyone!!


I'm off to look at an 07 WRX SL at the weekend, Just wondered if anyone could give me a heads up on what I should be looking at? I have heard stories about STI head gaskets and wanted to know if there are common faults with the UK spec WRX? 


I used to have a jap import Forester which I loved and the forums were very helpful when I had any questions. I am sure everyone here is very willing to drop in and tell me their experiences with this model? 


Appreciate any advice!!

Cheers guys



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NOTE: There is no pricing advice in this thread, as that changes a lot over time and with individual cars.

Help me out here, peeps. Read this post, and if you have something to add, post it and I'll ammend it into this post.

General STi Information (all USDM model years)

The 04-07 STis all share common platform. When buying a used one,
sometimes a well-maintained and unmodded car with higher miles is a
better investment than a heavily modded low miles car. In fact,
aftermarket parts rarely increase the value of a car compared to a stock
car. Here's a checklist you can use for the STi:

Is it modded?

The most common modifications to the STi are powertrain and suspension
mods. When I say mods, I don't mean an aftermarket spoiler or tint. I
mean a mechanical alteration of the car. So, check to see if the exhaust
is stock - from the turbo to the axleback. Make sure the car has its
catalytic converters (any more details here, guys?). Does the car have
its stock Bypass Valve (BPV) or an aftermarket Blow-Off Valve? By and
large, the latter is a poor modification to the car (on the stock

Another quick check is to look behind the engine on the passenger side,
where the turbo and downpipe should be covered by a heatshield. If this
is missing it may be a sign that the car was modded and someone tried to
put it back to stock. There are a lot of bolts that make it tough to
get that back on correctly. It may not be a huge deal, but it tells you a
little bit about the person selling the car. Another place to check for
correct heatshields is the exhaust manifold. If someone had headers on
the car and decided to sell them when they sold the car, they may have
been lazy and not put the heatshields back on.

If the car has the balance of a factory warranty, take it to a
dealership for an inspection. If the car was modded, they may deny you
warranty service in the future. If the car is out of warranty, you may
still wish to have the car inspected so you know more about what you're
getting yourself into.

How does the car sit? If the wheel gap front and back is even, the car's
suspension has been futzed with. This is not necessarily a bad thing,
but bear in mind that a suspension mod is likely indicative of other
modifications. Stock STis have MORE wheel gap in the front than they do
in the back. The stock struts and springs are black, with the exception
that the 04 struts are actually pink. Stock swaybars are black for all
model years.

Pop the hood. Is there an aftermarket intake, intercooler, or even
turbo? Check the fluid levels, especially oil and transmission fluid.
They should be clean. If you have ANY doubts whatsoever about the
condition of the engine, have a leakdown/compression test performed by a
trustworthy mechanic.

Is it complete?

Does it come with everything it should come with? Lots of people slap
aftermarket wheels on the car. The stock BBS wheels are fantastic
pieces, and are hard to beat. Does it have its spare? Many people remove
it. Does it have the front undertray? Many people also remove that. How
about a huge wing on the trunk? Are the brake calipers gold (they
should say "Brembo" on them)? Owner's manual? The car should come with
two keys and two remotes, plus one grey key (valet key). *ASK FOR

What's the paint look like?

Subaru chose to paint our road-going rally cars with crayons. Don't be
surprised if there are a few nicks and scratches. Stock colors include:
World Rally Blue Pearl, Java Black Pearl (04 only), Obsidian Black Pearl
(05-07), Aspen White (04-06), Satin White Pearl (07 only), Platinum
Silver Metallic (04-05), Crystal Gray Metallic (05+), Steel Grey
Metallic (06 only), and Urban Grey Metallic (07).

How does it run/drive?

The car should idle smoothly, though idle RPM can vary a bit with
ambient temperature and oil weight. If you hear a "clicking" noise while
running, and this clicking increases with engine RPM, the car may be
throwing a bearing. That would be bad. Does the clutch really grab? Do
you get a bit of shift shock? Fine, the stock clutch is a little grabby
in low gears, and the gears themselves are very close ratio. The car
tends to be notchy. The gearbox may feel stiff when it's cold. If the
clutch is iffy or the gearbox grinds a lot, you may be looking at a
large bill.

How does the inside look?

On the interior, the gauge cluster is amber/red from the factory with
most everything else green. Don't let it freak you out. If it's all red,
the car has been modded. Again, not necessarily a bad thing.

The seats should be black with blue alcantara fabric inset. The STi logo
should be visible. Some people dislike the stock seats and swap them
out. Not necessarily a bad thing, but bear in mind the the side airbags
in the STi are contained in the seats. USDM cars do not have fold-down
rear seats.


--It is not uncommon for these cars to burn a little oil <1 quart every 3k miles

--The DCCD (Driver Controlled Center Differential) is not a toy, but can turn the car into one. biggrin.gif I'll let you read about its use elsewhere. However...

--The drivetrain makes noise in these cars. Don't panic at every sound you hear.

--When turning very sharply (steering wheel turned to lock), you're
going to hear some noises and maybe feel a little shudder through the
wheel. The car has three differentials, and they will complain about
this maneuver. Place the DCCD in "Auto" or "Open" when turning in this
way to reduce the complaint from the drivetrain. You're not really
hurting the car. It's just a noisy bugger.

--Speaking of noises, be prepared. This is NOT a Lexus. It has very little sound deadening material, and it is going to be loud.

--Read this thread concerning a possible problem emerging with axle nuts. May affect all model years.

--For cars on stock tires, 1) They're loud and they have stiff
sidewalls. Good for performance, bad if you had road noises. 2) If it's
below about 40 degrees outside, driving on stock tires is not
recommended - they're summer performance tires. Snow is right out.

--The types of differentials Subaru uses in the car have changed over
the years. If this matters to you, the information is available if
you're willing to dig.

--If the brake calipers on the car look discolored - the so-called
"Brownbo" effect - then the car was almost certainly on the track at
some point, and heat caused the caliper paint to discolor.

--The following things belong on the car, in case you're wondering: hood
scoop, TMIC, big wing (except Limited), BBS wheels (except Limited),
HID headlights, "STi" stamped on exhaust tip, pink STi stickers,
intercooler sprayer, and the hood is made of aluminum (not the stock
USDM trunk, not the fenders)

--The following things do NOT come on the car from the factory: Sunroof
(except Limited), window tint, leather seats (except Limited), strut

--The following things are optional: fog lamps, steering-column mounted
boost gauge, short throw shifter, titanium shift knob, auto-dimming
rearview mirror (w/ or w/o Homelink), STi all weather floor mats,
security system w/ shock sensor, and wheel locks. There are various SPT
parts available from the dealership as well.


--04-07 STis are plagued by "rear strut clunk" eventually. There are lots of threads on the subject.

--During highway driving, many people experience a "bobblehead" effect,
being bounced around in the seat over seams in the road. This is
commonly attributed to the seat springs, and can be lessened with
aftermarket seats, or aftermarket springs (on the suspension, not the
seats). Currently, folks including myself are testing a way of curing bobblehead cheaply.

These are just general guidelines, but they apply to all STis (Limiteds
are slightly different as noted, and see below). Now let's get more

04 STis

The OG of the USDM STi is it's most raw entrant. The 04s were somewhat
lighter and a little more savage than later iterations (or so I'm told wink.gif).


--Did not come with a Stereo from the factory, though one was available as a dealer installed option.

--Did not come with floor mats.

--There is an issue regarding the filters in the manifold oil line, including a TSB.

--Was the only year for Java Black Pearl.

--Was the only year with 5 x 100 PCD (bolt pattern) wheels (17 x 7.5")

--The default torque split is 35/65 front/rear, making the car rear-biased.


--Steering rack bushings were kinda bad from the factory, but much better ones are available

--Wheel bearings tend to burn out on tracked cars

--Fourth and fifth gear syncros are known to be problems and have a TSB.

--The cars do NOT have an engine immobilizer theft deterrent, and as
such are targets of joyriders and car thieves (buy a security system).

05 STis

The last of the peanut-eye body style, the 05 is the choice of many
enthusiasts. It's only slightly heavier than the 04, but the interior
was freshened.


--Comes with Stereo from the factory - 6-disc in-dash changer (subwoofer optional)

--Was the first model to come with 17 x 8 wheels in the 5 x 114 PCD.

--Was the first model year to use an engine immobilzer theft deterrent

--Java Black Pearl replaced by Obsidian Black Pearl



06 STis

The first of the "flying V grill" STis. There were a few styling updates
in 06, but the cars is very similar to the 05s mechanically.


--The only year that offered Steel Grey Metallic.

--The Subaru logo badge on the trunk is held on by screws, which leave holes in the trunk if it is removed.

--The first year to include the "roof vane" spoiler, which is stock.

--First year of "Altezza" style brake light assemblies.

--Default torque split was changed to 41/59 front/rear, increasing the front bias slightly.

--Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) became standard (though owners sometimes disable them).


--Early build 06s came with liquid-filled motor mounts that tended to
break under sudden stress (launching the car, for instance). Subaru
reverted to solid mounts later in the production run. There is a TSB on
the liquid mounts, and Subaru will replace them if they break.

07 STis

The last of the "flying V grill" STis. The last STi of this platform, as the 08 is a complete redesign.


--iPod jack where the lighter and ashtray used to be.

--First year for Satin White Pearl and Urban Grey Metallic

--New Engine Control Unit (ECU)

--Upgraded turbo wastegate actuator

--Slightly shorter wheelbase

--First model with rear seat pass-through (USDM)

--Longer 2nd, 3rd, and 4th gears.

*The 07 model year also included the STi Limited, a run of 800 cars.
They were available only in the two colors mentioned above. While
mechanically the same as their standard STi brethren, Limiteds offered
more sound deadening material, leather interior, front lip, sunroof, a
small lip spoiler in lieu of the larger stock spoiler, black Brembo
calipers, and Enkei wheels.


--Some 07s have suffered from a hesitation issue. Subaru released a
reflash for the ECU in attempt to correct the problem, but the reflash
has not cured all cars with the problem. Many owners report that an
aftermarket EM reflash, such as with the Cobb AccessPort, cures the
issue entirely.



Taken from another site :) but you get the picture.


hope this helps , and welcome.

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Wotcha and welcome


here is an independant review - not sure I am convinced by the reliability score but hey ho - ensure you have a car with a good service history and you should be fine - as it is the WRX with a nice trim but subtle styling it should lower the appeal for someone who would have been inclined to own and abuse the car



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Thanks for the info guys. Due to a hiccup and having to wait for some funds to clear I have paid a small deposit for matey to hold the car till next weekend. 

No doubt I will drop a very happy comment on here once I have bought the car! :) be in touch and thanks for the advice!!

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