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Thread: Project car / what should I do with my old WRX? Need input!

  1. #1

    Question Project car / what should I do with my old WRX? Need input!

    Hey everyone. I'm trying to figure out what to do and thought I'd ping the community for input. What should I do? Could I get a fair bit of value out of selling my old car?

    To sell or not to sell that is the question!?

    I have a 2003 Bugeye WRX... Cylinder 1 blew and it has some issues. I was looking at having the engine rebuilt as a performance engine, but decided that it would be cost prohibitive to put into an older car and that it made more sense to put a down payment into a newer WRX. I have another car now (and the payments / tighter budget that go with it), so I have a few options... If I keep it, it would be as a spare or weekend fun/project car.

    Having just bought another car, I currently don't really have a workable budget. I also don't own a garage with space to work on a car/engine. I haven't checked into renting garage space for an engine rebuild over time... although I have rented space in town for a few hours, here and there.

    1. Patch - A good friend thinks I should scrape together a few grand and get a used engine to put in so it at least runs reliably enough to be a spare car and can be moved easily, etc. (I kind of like that idea but feel like if I put any money into it, I would want to rebuild it for performance and solid reliability and not invest in a questionable engine.)
    2. Sell - My dad suggested that I don't have the time and energy to put into a huge car rebuild project and that it makes more sense to sell it. Leaning a little this way, but not sure I'd get enough value out of it.
    3. Store - My dad also has the space to store it covered for a few years until I might have time to work on it. However, I'm not sure if or when I will have time. It could be a hassle to deal with down the road, need to transport it.
    4. Rebuild - I don't see how I'd currently be able do this--garage space, budget etc... (I've never rebuilt an engine. It would be a major learning experience and presumably take a ton of time.)
    5. Part - I don't have the space or time, but could probably sell the pieces for more than the car.

    Transmission: I had Subaru rebuild the transmission at about 160k (currently ~230k) with a JDM Type RA rally gear set (shot peened and cryo treated as I recall) plus OEM 5th gear. So, the transmission is in great shape, and I'd guess that it alone is close to the car's bluebook value, I *was* planning on driving it longer. Eliminates power gap nicely between 1st and 2nd gear, harder to get going but can almost hit 40mph in 1st!, hasn't been launched since the rebuild.
    Tuning: Accessport installed for custom maps, launch control, Cobb map tuned to stage 1.
    Exhaust: Cobb Up-pipe and down-pipe installed.
    Extra Parts: I have a never installed high output Maniac Motors 140amp alternator, set of new coilpacks, plus an extra brand new starter that was installed briefly.
    Suspension: recently replaced a lot of the suspension / put in adjustable control arms to improve alignment etc.
    Grounding/stereo: I upgraded the grounding recently to 4 gauge - largely to troubleshoot starting issues, but have an upgraded if older stereo system etc., could pull.
    Remote start/alarm: Had a good alarm system installed some years back as well as remote start, window modules, tilt sensor, shock sensor, etcetera.
    Strut supports: It had front and rear strut tower braces installed before I purchased the car.
    Tires: pretty new UHP AW 18" Conti-extreme contact DWS tires on custom rims (I could possibly mount them on my new car.)
    Clutch: Within the last year, installed an Exedy Stage 1 clutch and an Act Streetlite Flywheel; not sure exactly how worn it is but fairly new. I presumably would replace it anyway if I decide to rebuild the engine.
    Shifter: KartBoy Short Throw Shifter (Love!)
    Breaks: Carbotech CT770/Panther? pads (I think I have a new set with rotors for the rear, never installed.)
    Grillcraft foglight covers / new OEM fog lights.

    Engine: cylinder one failed a compression test at 5psi. I can still drive the car, but it is in rough shape - currently burns through oil and coolant quickly and overheats easily.
    Suspension: not sure if this is a pro or con. I replaced the coilovers recently. I put in used Stance SuperSport+ coilovers that were supposed to be in good condition and only have ~500 miles. However, it makes some funky clunking noises and hopefully just needs to be adjusted if I didn't get screwed over.
    Bumper: Had a kid crunch my rear bumper and dent the trunk a bit, they were supposed to take care of it but never did. This is not a huge issue but it's another thing to fix.
    Starter: I wired in a push-button starter to bypass a starting issue, but I have it narrowed down. I think it's most likely the remote start relay in the alarm brain OR it's the actual ignition switch--have to figure out which and fix.
    - side note drivers side control to roll down passenger window needs correction.
    Other: it's a 2003. It has had all of the maintenance done, always full synthetic oil, and has generally been well maintained. I've had everything else fixed (differentials, wheel hubs, air conditioning, etc.) But, it is an older car; other things could be on the verge of failing.
    Minor: transmission shifter pin fell out - I actually have the replacement pin--temporarily rigged it with a bolt.

    So, I know this is largely a matter of opinion but anyone have any great suggestions, points of view, ideas, or suggestion for the best way to sell it? Or, this car has a lot of upgrades and value if you know anyone who would be interested in a project car for an engine rebuild, but I'd have to get enough to justify not just keeping it for a rainy day project.

    Hopefully not too verbose.

    Michael Jay

    2nd WRX!
    Original 2003 WRX (Stance coilovers, Exedy Stage 1 Clutch, Act StreetLite 14 lb Flywheel, KartBoy Short Throw Shifter, rolled fenders, DBA slotted 4000's and Carbotech pads. Bought with strut supports and wide 18" rims.)

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Justin 05 Sti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    doing 360s at HPT
    If it were me I'd either get it running decent for as little time and money as possible, or combine #3 and #5 and part it out over time.

    It doesn't sound like there is any catastrophic damage currently, and the cost of having a shop do a rebuild might surprise you. I would lean towards a rebuild more than I would buying a used engine but there are unknowns / luck involved either way.

  3. #3
    Thanks for the input. I actually just stumbled into a friend who is pretty interested in getting a WRX to work on, so hopefully that will work out in both our favors. A little nostalgic... tempted to keep it, but I don't have the space to work on it or part it out currently...
    Michael Jay

    2nd WRX!
    Original 2003 WRX (Stance coilovers, Exedy Stage 1 Clutch, Act StreetLite 14 lb Flywheel, KartBoy Short Throw Shifter, rolled fenders, DBA slotted 4000's and Carbotech pads. Bought with strut supports and wide 18" rims.)

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