Captain Slow Charging
- Nov 26, 2007
- Atomic toaster
Enter my first JDM import car, which also marks the first occasion of buying a working AWD car.
This is effectively the Demio replacement, which in a way was the Xsara replacement: a largely redundant car bought for the heck of it. Some time ago a bunch of cars were bought in time for the ice track meet, including the rusty Mercedes C280 and a Volvo 245 which was to be exported back to Sweden. On the way to go look at the Volvo, Dr_Grip, Posmo and my brother went to check out this JDM Impreza wagon as it had been for sale for a while and the price had been dropped.
Some backstory: apparently, a Finn working in Japan for a while had received this Subaru wagon from his employer. He brought it to Finland with him, but didn’t go through the importation hoops and instead told a relative to flip the car online. It ended up being registered by the following owner in 2015, and they kept it as a trouble-free second car.
Now, the time came to put it up for sale, but it didn’t seem to sell for the original price close to 2k. As the car was deemed largely functional and rust-free, but came with a bad battery and terrible tires, some extra haggling was done in addition to the advertised price drop and the Impreza changed hands (though, not steering orientation). Some service was performed, better tires mounted and the car made its way north to the ice track meet a couple weeks later.
About the car itself: It represents the “Blobeye” facelift of the GD/GG generation Impreza, which was originally introduced with round “Bugeye” headlights. Most people also know Imprezas as fire-breathing turbo monsters, but instead this is:
- 100 horsepower
It is stupidly slow. The weight of the drivetrain conspires together with the breathless 142Nm 1.5-liter powertrain, meaning it never really goes. The 4EAT gearbox shifts okay, the flat-four engine runs well, but there isn’t any power. However, on the ice track the AWD drivetrain together with sharp and enjoyable handling made this the fastest car through the cone courses and handling track. Despite its obvious shortcomings it’s actually completely fine. With a tow bar it’s going to be handy, with cold A/C it’s useable year round.
According to available VIN data, the vehicle was built at the Gunma plant on 24th February 2005 and it's a GG3E54R car to be precise, 01G Premium Silver GG3 wagon with the E revision (March 2004 - May 2005), option code ELC (Electric windows, Central locking, ABS brakes, Air Conditioning). Sold new and serviced at Hokuriku Subaru, which has locations in the Fukui, Ishikawa and Tokui prefectures.
The seller also mentioned the center diff binds on this car, and suggested it needs servicing (read replacement) as it’s a common pain point on some Subarus. I guess since this was also mentioned in the ad, it’s a reason why the price was decently low.
The car has no center diff.
4EAT cars do not use a center diff for power transfer. Instead, the transmission incorporates a pack of visco-style Active Torque Split multi-plate clutches in the rear end, before the driveshaft towards the rear. Some 4EAT torque bind troubleshooting googling suggests a through transmission flush with some friction modifier added in the end, which might or might not work. If it works, it’s a cheapish fix. If it does nothing, it’s a transmission flush. In the winter, on snow and ice, the issue doesn’t really matter. We’ll see how it feels in the summer.
Actual known issues that are to be repaired:
Tires are undersized: they should be 195/60R15 yet the new summer tires are 195/50. Will sell the set as the wheels are aftermarket and ugly. 5x100 PCD.
Exhaust blows but also rattles, probably a heat shield is loose.
Sound system has a dumb, partially functional 2DIN touchscreen unit. I will bin it and replace it with something more OEM looking. Top Carrozzeria DVD unit will stay.
Lastsoul ripped the rear bumper off on the cone course, so that needs to go back on and some cosmetic work done. Bodyshell was undamaged but there are some tell-tales of the car being gently rear-ended earlier, so some dings might as well be straightened at the same time.
Other than that, I’ll just enjoy the car. It’s in pretty good condition and any meaningful rust is yet to be found, so I like what I’ve bought. It also feels good to be back in a RHD car again!