The Truth About Cars » STI The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 16 Jul 2014 16:33:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » STI Subaru UK Kills Off Impreza, WRX, STI Fri, 14 Dec 2012 18:35:05 +0000

If you read British buff books like EVO, it would be easy to think that the hot versions of the Subaru Impreza are fixtures of the UK’s motoring landscape. Not only are they beloved by enthusiasts, but the WRX is even employed as a police car in certain municipalities. But starting in 2013, British car buyers won’t be able to purchase one of the small Scoobies.

A lack of demand has led Subaru UK to kill off the Impreza, and its more sporting variants. AutoExpress reports that

“The new Impreza has been under evaluation in the UK for 12 months, but the decision has been taken not to bring that car to the UK because of insufficient demand…Subaru is concentrating on what it’s really good at – so we’re concentrating on SUVs and the BRZ – we’re hoping to get more [BRZs] next year to satisfy strong demand for that car.”

That means that going foward, the XV, Outback and Forester will be the staples of the lineup, as well as the BRZ. The Legacy may not even survive. Luckily, UK buyers can still import vehicles from Japan as grey market cars.

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New or Used: Time to Replace the Pug? Sun, 07 Oct 2012 21:36:17 +0000

M. Peerson writes:

Well, I think it is time to replace the Pug. My little 505 has crossed the country, oh I do not know how many times. I mean I just did a round about from Westminster CO (North Denver) to Roundrock TX (North Austin) back to Benton CA (Mammoth lakes) and it is still running fair to decent for a car that I have replaced the speedo on two times. Actual millage is up past 400K closer to 440,000 miles as I clock it with the log book.

I am the third owner of this 1985 505 STI. I have a FULL service history to the car. From the Original owner who bought it in Dallas/Ft Worth to the second owner in Orogrande, to me when I picked it up in Alamogordo (20 miles north of Orogrande). I purchased the pug in 2009 with a clocked 159.XXX on it and a broken speedo.

It was one of those ones that sold as repairable. Well the body was straight and 110 dollars latter including delivery it was mine. A set of fuel pumps, a accumulator and a good service it was on the road. Since then it has been normal wear and tear items. Rear and front bearings, several speedo clusters and cables. A timing chain because I could hear it rattle (and I still can, but no oil light flicker) Little air con work, (It blows cold with 134A!) several sets of tires, Normal stuff.

The interior is just SHOT, all the electrics work save the power sunroof and cruise. (And they are labeled Lucas.. what blasphemy!) Really all in all, save the when you push it over 70 loaded with all my tools, fuel millage has been ok, it goes down to 15.5 loaded. 23.5 unloaded.. I mean I have been back and forth across the country time and time again, and lets not forget the 400 mile in a day work trips… daily. It has soldiered on, only needing 1 quart every oil change (No Joke!) a good heap of Dextron for the power steering. (I refuse to buy a 600 dollar rack) and the normal stuff that has to be done at service. Including the oil bath air cleaner.

The interior is shot, it has absolutely 0 rust, the doors shut like they are new, all the windows work and the door seals are completely gone. So lots of wind noise less you have a tail wind.

The pug has served well, and been a better car than most. In it’s last trip it has been through things that would total most cars, and soldiered through with just a crack in a tail light. (If I posted what happened on the trip, people WOULD cry.) But it made it. Point is….

Time for something else I think. I would love to dump 2K in my pug but that would barely get things back to normal. I have been looking at off brand things (Alfa, Mercedes W115’s, Suzuki’s,SAAB’s) Name it but the car market right now is just rubbish. When a 2006 Toyota Tacoma with 200K on the clock goes for 10K where does that leave someone with 2K in there pocket.

I have pondered giving some panther love, but I do not want to feed one. Hence the Alfa and Merc route. I would go back into a brick but there prices are higher than a 10 year newer Alfa! It is just astonishing. I refuse to drive Escort/Tracer and Tempo/Topaz derivatives because face it. They were rubbish new and after a family has had one they become just worse.

I really want to avoid Camcordsnotltima land because, if I am going to wear beige, I will do it in a 1987 Caravan with wood grain and a turbo 2.2 under the hood with a five speed. (Only because I know where the donor 2.2 turbo is and the Caravan with a 5 speed is) But money can be better spent on something else, besides building a 13 second caravan.

But what do I do, build a caravan, buy a snotatima with a bazillion miles on it and no history? Try for panther love that has not been to the ghetto? Or just start degreasing the pug and pray for another 200K to go on the clock. Or find something reasonable since CA smog means new cars are king. (As well as Orange county crap tastic SUV’s)

Steve answers:

It all depends on whether you want to finally rid yourself of the Pug. Rebuilding this vehicle would be a lot less than $2k.

What you can do is go online for the legal notices in your neck of the woods. Here is where I search for mine. Also you can venture on super search sites, such as and see if there is a donor vehicle with a good interior that you can use to rebuild your own model.

Finally you have the enthusiast forums that you are probably all too familiar. However there is an opportunity for a nice twist. Instead of just searching for an old Pug beater whenever it becomes available, post a new topic at a few Peugeot forums about the fact that you want to redo the interior of your 505.

Ask if anyone has an extra Pug, not running, that they are willing to sell. Many enthusiasts who are financially sound tend to be more amenable towards selling an inop vehicle to an enthusiast at a reasonable price.

Finally, if you are looking for a Pug alternative, the Panther ain’t it. Older Saabs and rear wheel drive Volvos (240/740/940) have better seats and handling then ye olde Panthers which are traditional old school American rides.

If you are still lockstep in an old Euro world, then find yourself a late 80′s to early 90′s Saab or Volvo. The Mercedes W124 is also a good bet if you find one that has been maintained to spec.

Good luck.

Sajeev answers:

Oh my damn, son!  You’ve kept a Pug on the road for HOW LONG in the USA?  You make my tastes/obsession with cars look normal. While that’s a compliment, that’s also somewhat shocking. Hmm…shocking?

Yes! The answer is obvious…you need to make that turbo, 5-speed Caravan! What the heck are you waiting for?

Click here to view the embedded video.


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Piston Slap: The Heat Is On! Mon, 16 Jul 2012 11:21:54 +0000



Ramin writes:


I am not a TTAC member, but I read it almost daily. I suppose I should join soon. Anyway having read your “piston slap: we need your help” post, I have one that has been stumping me for about a year now:

The car is an 08 Impreza STI. For the past year or so, the power steering struggles and whines. It is much worse when the car is cold, doubly so when the weather and the car are cold. There is no belt squeal. I have tried flushing and bleeding, both with factory fluid and also with the Lucas stop-leak stuff. Modest initial improvement only lasts a little while. Subaru forum posts suggest the STI cooks its PS fluid because the fluid lines route near hot turbo components. However it seems now even with fresh fluid, the problem persists, leading me to suspect a component has gone bad. I don’t want to drop over $600 for a new pump. Are there any tricks you know of, like for example, replacing a particular gasket? Or, better yet, some advice on narrowing down exactly what the culprit is (short of replacing the whole freaking pump)?

Thanks a lot and keep up the good work – I love the site and what you all have done with it.

Sajeev answers:

Thanks for your kind words.  I never thought that an unemployed (Lincoln) forum moderator could eventually be the ring leader of this crazy Piston Slap thing I created. Apparently my unemployment period was good for me, and perhaps it enriched/enriches your life. So there’s that.

I am a little concerned you put Lucas Stop Leak in a system that never leaked: stop leak products tend to gum up areas that don’t need gumming.  But that might be unfounded, go ahead and verify on the forums. In general avoid stop leak products unless you 1) have a leak and 2) really don’t give a crap about the leaky vehicle in question.

I think the knowledge you gained on the forum is right.  The fluid lines are in an unfortunate location, and Turbos make a TON of heat.  There are two things I’d recommend:

1. Switch over to a racing grade Power Steering fluid, if it has a higher boiling point than the stock stuff. Several oil companies supposedly offer a fluid with a higher boiling point, as googled here. I will not speculate or endorse one over the other, and I am sure the forums have already covered this.

2. Protect those steering lines! You need to shield them from the turbo’s heat.  I would use an insulating heat shield wrap for the lines, and possibly make a sheet metal sleeve in this general area, to further help isolate the lines from the Turbo.

Why am I saying this?  Because I’ve raced a couple of late model Corvettes, and they do suffer from clutch fluid problems in a Texas summer with a hamfisted AutoJourno behind the wheel.  So do them both. The same thing applies here, especially when we talk the heat of a Turbocharger in a tight Subie engine compartment.


Send your queries to Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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New or Used: Eliminate Debt, Eliminate Subie? Thu, 01 Dec 2011 16:46:41 +0000


Ryan writes:

Sajeev and Steve,

I find myself perplexed by a vehicular conundrum. A year ago I purchased my first new car, a 2010 Subaru WRX STI SE. It is a great car. Previously I daily drove a 1997 Toyota Land Cruiser. Another great car. I drive about 20,000 miles a year, mostly on the highway.

My wife and I both work. We contribute heavily to our 401K’s and IRA’s. About a month after I purchased the car my wife decided to go back to school, for an MBA. No problem. She now has a year left. For the year we will be setting aside just shy of $1000 per month to pay for her schooling. This leaves us saving very little over the next year. We have emergency funds to last a few months should the need arise. I want to eliminate debt as soon as possible (currently 2 car loans and a mortgage, nothing more).

My inner cheapskate has become uncomfortable with the nearly $1100 a month operating costs of my beloved STI. My inner car guy misses the Land Cruiser terribly. I’m without a truck. Replacing the STI with another 80 series Land Cruiser or Land Rover Discovery I do not save much money because of the fuel costs.

I am contemplating selling the STI, and picking up a truck and a commuter. The commuter would need to be somewhere around $10,000 or less. Cash for one vehicle, maybe a loan for the other. The ideal commuter would be more comfortable than the STI, get around 30 MPG, have four doors and possibly be all wheel drive (for ski trips). Cadillac CTS? Lexus something? Nothing soulless, please. I can turn a wrench and can maintain both vehicles no problem.

What say you? Do I keep the STI and buy a truck when I can? Sell the STI, buy the truck and commuter? If so, what kind do you suggest?

See the attached spreadsheet. (Ryan’s Car choices)

Steve Answers:

My assumption is that you can cash out the STI. Because if you can’t there is no need to read beyond this sentence.

Well now… you apparently want a Euro car in an American market. Before we cross the bridge of dread known as ’10 year old European car’ I have to ask you three questions (cue Monty Python bridge scene).

  1. Have you ever spent more than five hours performing a major maintenance or repair… and succeeded?
  2. Are you one of those people who enjoys reading up on enthusiast forums at odd hours?
  3. When someone tells you about ‘electrical issues’ with their ride, is your first gut reaction to flee and/or throw up?

If you have the courage to brave a parts network that arguably lead to the fall of the EU, then by all means have at it. Audi sells the A3, A4 and A6. BMW has the 3-Series and 5-Series. Mercedes has… well, let’s not go there.

If saving money and having a fling is your thing, then ask Sajeev. Or get a Lexus IS300 SportCross.

Sajeev Answers:

Don’t ask me about having flings, but I am a damn good tightwad…maybe that’s the problem?

So what does the lady in your life drive?  I hope it’s a Panther, as that would make my job much easier.  But I still might give the same answer: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  Odds are your wife’s ride doesn’t suck down money like the gas/insurance/monthly payment of an STI.  Even if it isn’t a “commuter” car.

Definitely sell the STI. You like trucks, so get one. Take it from me, people are actually excited to go for a ride my stupid little 4cyl/5-spd Ford Ranger. I really don’t get it. For some reason being inside a truck with a stick shift is exciting and different to most folk. Which is a sad (but true) statement about our overweight, over-leveraged, conspicuous consumption society. You can both appreciate a cheap little truck’s charm AND enjoy it, considering your love affair with the Land Cruiser. Not to mention you need the money. So be a tightwad like me, at 33MPG highway in my case you won’t regret it. At least not initially.(cough)

You are in Tacoma land, or Ranger land**.  Neither are soulless, as my experiences have shown. Drive them both and see if the Taco is worth the price premium…buy it with cash and get one loan payment out of the way. Worry about the wife’s car later, that is a separate problem.

**If you are upside down on your loan for the STI, you might very well be in $8000 Ford Ranger territory.

Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to , and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.

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Evo, STI Going Diesel? Fri, 11 Jun 2010 15:09:25 +0000
Europe’s Euro 5 emissions standard has already killed off Mazda’s RX-8; is it any wonder that the Impreza STI is running scared? Autocar reports that the next-gen STI, due sometime in 2012 will not offer another version of the 2.0 turbocharged gas engines that have powered the car since it got a reputation for bargain thrills. Instead, a two-liter turbodiesel is likely to be the main engine on offer, as Subaru strives to keep the STI grunty without blowing its emissions limits.

Though a downsized turbocharged gas engine (likely 1.5 liter displacement) may still be on the table, the switch to diesel heralds a sea change in the STI’s orientation: rather than staying in its rally-focused mode, the STI will concentrate instead on circuit racing. Meanwhile, the Mitsubishi Evo XI is said to be going to a diesel-hybrid system, as it follows the STI from the gravel stage to the track. America was late to the Evo/STI party in the first place… will a move towards diesel performance once again doom the US to do without these AWD budget-blasters?

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