Piston Slap: A Tale of Two Dusty Legacys

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap a tale of two dusty legacys

TTAC Commentator gntlben writes:

I’m currently in the market for a new car, and noticed a local Subaru dealer has a pair of new ’08 Legacys (a 2.5GT Limited and a 3.0R Limited) gathering dust on the lot. Both are being advertised with a big discount (down to $25-$26K) that puts them in my price range. Both have VA inspection stickers that expire this year (2.5 in August, 3.0 in October), which leads me to believe that, considering they’re ’08’s and VA has a yearly inspection, they’ve been at the dealership since 2007. My question is this: what possible trouble spots/wear should I look for on a new car that’s been sitting for such a long time?

Sajeev replies:

The test vehicle for TTAC’s Mercury Montego review was much like the Subies in question. It sat around for about a year and the rear rotors rusted to the pads. (Damn that parking brake!) I’ll never forget the sound of the discs freeing themselves: from the screeching tires to the rotors popping free, it made quite a racket. Luckily, this being a Lincoln Mercury dealership, nobody heard it.

So, back to your question: fluids are my main concern. Engine oil and gasoline have a limited lifespan and performance potential after a lack of use, so I’d change both. From there, the tires could be flat spotted, but that’s remedied like the frozen brakes on the Montego: drive it. A test drive is mandatory before purchase. If something isn’t right, make sure they fill out a “We Owe” form before you fork over the greenbacks.

Almost as important: cosmetics. The leather seats definitely need conditioning with a high quality restorer. The paint might need restoration with a clay bar and a fresh coat of wax, to remove the contaminants that can’t be washed off when the dealership does periodic cleaning of their inventory. Other than that, I would jump at the offer if you feel you’re getting a good deal.

[Send your queries to mehta@ttac.com]

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  • Sajeev Mehta Sajeev Mehta on Sep 13, 2009

    Jersey: clicky

  • Cdotson Cdotson on Sep 14, 2009

    I'm in Richmond; there's plenty of bad drivers around Virginia. The worst problems I see are a complete inability to merge onto/off of highways at interchanges and complete lack of lane discipline (likely contributing to the former). I grew up in Maryland. Home of the infamous "Maryland turn," where one makes a left-hand turn onto a multi-lane road and clips the right shoulder. AICfan: never heard of that maneuver as "pulling a VA" and to be honest not sure I've seen it in practice around Richmond. The I81 corridor has it in spades though. I've just heard it referred to as "death wish."

  • Master Baiter "...but the driver must be ready to step in and take control. The system is authorized for use during the day but at speeds lower than 40 mph..."Translation: It's basically useless, and likely more stressful than piloting the car ones's self.
  • Alan My friend has a Toyota Kluger (made in 'murica). A Highlander. These things are based on a Camry platform. I have driven the Kluger we had at work and I find them quite boring even for a SUV. An appliance. I hope this will deliver some driving pleasure. I found the Camry a better boring vehicle.
  • Alan Most Lexii look good to reasonable.....................until you see the front ends with their awkward grilles. It actually would look normal on a GWM, LDV or any other Chinese vehicle.
  • Tassos These last months, every day seems to be another great, consequential piece of news for Tesla, who does not just DOMINATE, it OWNS the US and FREE WORLD BEV market.It is the ONLY (repeat ONLY) maker that builds its huge best sellers at a PROFIT, ie, SUSTAINABLY. FOrd EV is bleeding 3 billion in losses. GM hides theirs, and I bet they are even HIGHER. VW has spent a huge no of billions and its ID series has been an UTTER FAILURE.Toyota, already 12 years too late, is yet to try. I doubt they will succeed to dethrone TESLA.
  • Tassos Again: I never took VOlvo seriously in the last 20 or so years.Chinese Volvo-Geely has a dizzying number of models, I have lost count how many,YET its sales and market share in the US has always been DISMAL these last 20 years.It ranges from a pathetic 0.5% to 0.8% of the US market.For comparison, Toyota has 15% and GM has even more. Tesla has almost 10 TIMES VOlvo's share, with a PITTANCE of really TWO Models, the 3 and the Y, as the S and the X hardly sell any copies any more.So why do we keep reading articles about Stupid VOlvo?Because they have the best PR department of any maker.