05 Baja

General talk about the Subaru Baja.

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subman
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05 Baja

Post by subman » Tue Jun 26, 2018 3:49 pm

Just bought an 05 Baja with 112,000 miles. I want to start going thru it on safety items first. I'm thinking brakes, shocks, belts etc. Can anyone tell me if there are certain things this model had trouble with around this mileage that I might want to check out first?

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Guacamole
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Re: 05 Baja

Post by Guacamole » Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:32 pm

Congrats on the purchase! Is it a Sport or a Turbo?
Two (three for Turbo) important things since it's over 100k:
  • 1. Head gaskets
If not properly maintained, the EJ251/EJ253 engine has a tendency to blow the gaskets usually around/after 100k miles. This issue is far less common in the EJ255 engine in the Turbo models.
A) Look for any leakage between the engine block and heads. If there is leakage your gaskets have likely failed and need to be replace ASAP before the heads (or worse) the block gets damaged beyond repair.
B) After the vehicle has warmed up, turn on the heater and sniff for a syrup smell (yes this is real). If there is a smell and it goes away after a few minutes then the heater core is leaking, not the head gaskets and is not a top priority fix. If there is a smell and it does not go away, the engine coolant is mixing with the oil inside the block/heads causing it to burn off causing the smell.
  • 2. Timing belt
This should be replaced at 105k miles. The EJ engine series is an interference engine, so if this snaps the engine will likely grenade itself. The timing belt on the EJ engine is behind the cover on the "bottom" of the front of the engine below the exposed belts. It's cramped but can be removed by itself, but removing the radiator beforehand makes it easier to access.
  • 3. (Turbo only) Banjo bolt
Pull the filter out of this MOFO out ASAP if it's in there. This little SOB is responsible for so many turbo failures- the bolt is located on the back of the passenger's side of the engine block under the turbo oil feed line. It normally contains a small mesh filter that can easily get clogged and suffocate your turbo of oil, causing quick failure even to turbo replacements.

And some other, but less important, things since it's a Subie:
  • CV axles
Since it's AWD it needs to drive all the wheels and it does this via CV axles. Check if the rubber boots are busted. If they are, the CV joint is likely toast and the axle needs to be replaced. A broken joint will also make a loud "popping" noise when you turn.
  • Exhaust
Like almost all of ours, your stock exhaust is likely rusted and the gaskets have probably degraded in the past decade. This isn't really an issue, just replacing it is a pain (the Baja uses a proprietary muffler and only Bosal makes a replacement, rest of the exhaust is just Gen3-Legacy, Gen2-Forester XT for Turbos). If there's rattling coming from underneath it's likely the aluminum heat shield come loose that can be easily tied down with hose clamps, or removed altogether. Worst case scenario, the bolt holes on the flanges have rusted out and the exhaust is literally hanging by a thread.
P.S. if the CEL isn't throwing any O2 sensor-related codes, DO NOT REPLACE THE CATALYTIC CONVERTER!!!

Be sure to check all the regular stuff just like any used car. I'll edit this post if I think of anything else.
Bear in mind, I'm not a mechanic, just an info-cow, but I hope this helps!
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subman
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Re: 05 Baja

Post by subman » Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:01 am

Thanks for all the info Guacamole. Very helpful. Mine is a turbo and I'm starting on the project tomorrow. Thanks again

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Re: 05 Baja

Post by Guacamole » Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:37 pm

Glad I could help! One last thing since it's a turbo, be sure to always use 91 octane gas or higher, constantly using a lower-grade fuel will grenade the motor.
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Re: 05 Baja

Post by kamesama980 » Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:58 am

As both a mechanic and an info-cow: Guac has it down pretty well except I will expand on some:

regarding the banjo bolt filter... this is a secondary contributor to the failures of the turbos. I say that because there are other root causes that lead to gunk in the oil that the filter catches, after the filter catches enough gunk, it starts to restrict flow to the turbo and AVCS system leading to their failure. bad stuff in the oil is the cause of the failure, NOT the banjo filter. How do you get gunk in the oil system past the filter...

Since you have a turbo engine, change the oil reasonably often. Subaru engines tend to be less tolerant of bad oil, low oil, and long oil-change-intervals in general (how many bad main and rod bearing stories do you hear?). Do it by the book with good synthetic and filter. If you cheap out on either, better figure an changing it often. conventional or cheap oil or filter and oil or filter that's been run too long tends to break down. when it breaks down the viscosity modifiers don't work as well. as that happens combined with the filter collecting normal junk causes it to bypass the media. when oil bypasses the filter media, gunk does too. There's no bypass on the banjo bolt filters so it gets caught there.

HG on the turbo are seldom an issue. IF they start to seep, though, fix them. turbo engines in general are not tolerant of neglect. If you do need to do them, subaru OEM is the way to go for the turbo engine. several sites are better(cheaper) sources than the dealer.

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Re: 05 Baja

Post by BajaTim » Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:51 pm

subman wrote:Just bought an 05 Baja with 112,000 miles. I want to start going thru it on safety items first. I'm thinking brakes, shocks, belts etc. Can anyone tell me if there are certain things this model had trouble with around this mileage that I might want to check out first?
The correct answer - based on my July 2017 purchase of my 2005 Turbo (165,000 miles - 50k on new engine & 30k on new turbo) is “everything”...you’ll
find that 1 system (suspension, A/C, steering, etc.) goes every 60 days until you have replaced everything...I have a local non-dealer Subaru specialist I use to help keep costs down...


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kamesama980
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Re: 05 Baja

Post by kamesama980 » Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:00 am

BajaTim wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:51 pm
subman wrote:Just bought an 05 Baja with 112,000 miles. I want to start going thru it on safety items first. I'm thinking brakes, shocks, belts etc. Can anyone tell me if there are certain things this model had trouble with around this mileage that I might want to check out first?
The correct answer - based on my July 2017 purchase of my 2005 Turbo (165,000 miles - 50k on new engine & 30k on new turbo) is “everything”...you’ll
find that 1 system (suspension, A/C, steering, etc.) goes every 60 days until you have replaced everything...I have a local non-dealer Subaru specialist I use to help keep costs down...

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
That goes for any used car though, not Baja or even Subaru specific. Tends to be more of a buyer issue too if you aren't a mechanic to know which cars are just patched up and painted over the holes to sell it. Inspect before buying and unless you can see it with your own two eyes or receipts along with seeing it yourself, the work didn't happen or it'll break soon.

My rule for used cars is set aside another 1-2k for repairs/maintenance in the first 2 months of ownership. Most used cars have neglected maintenance because people are stupid and don't consider maintenance as a regular expense but as an unexpected emergency. /rant before i write pages

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Re: 05 Baja

Post by subman » Wed Jul 04, 2018 5:42 pm

kamesama980, how often do you recomend oil change? You say change often but the synthetic oil is supposed to last quite a while. Can you give me and idea in miles? I am starting with timing belt and water pump replacement, along with idler pulleys etc. Someone said I should use 91 octane fuel. Do you agree with that?

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Re: 05 Baja

Post by BajaTim » Thu Jul 05, 2018 2:27 am

kamesama980 wrote:
BajaTim wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:51 pm
subman wrote:Just bought an 05 Baja with 112,000 miles. I want to start going thru it on safety items first. I'm thinking brakes, shocks, belts etc. Can anyone tell me if there are certain things this model had trouble with around this mileage that I might want to check out first?
The correct answer - based on my July 2017 purchase of my 2005 Turbo (165,000 miles - 50k on new engine & 30k on new turbo) is “everything”...you’ll
find that 1 system (suspension, A/C, steering, etc.) goes every 60 days until you have replaced everything...I have a local non-dealer Subaru specialist I use to help keep costs down...

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
That goes for any used car though, not Baja or even Subaru specific. Tends to be more of a buyer issue too if you aren't a mechanic to know which cars are just patched up and painted over the holes to sell it. Inspect before buying and unless you can see it with your own two eyes or receipts along with seeing it yourself, the work didn't happen or it'll break soon.

My rule for used cars is set aside another 1-2k for repairs/maintenance in the first 2 months of ownership. Most used cars have neglected maintenance because people are stupid and don't consider maintenance as a regular expense but as an unexpected emergency. /rant before i write pages
I went with owner to local
Pepboys for a pre-purchase inspection - they gave me an estimate to replace “everything” - I was sure they were exagerating - they weren’t🤣🤣🤣 ...They were wrong about radiator - it’s been great! Your rule of thumb isn’t bad, but I would say still a bit conservative.

I use Shell Rotella T6 5W40 every 3750 miles - just did my 4th oil change in a year.


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