Buyer be­ware…

Autocar - - USED CARS -

ENGINE

Check for oil leaks from the 2.0-litre’s cam cov­ers and the sump cover. Cast hy­per­eu­tec­tic pis­tons on the 2.5 (2.0 has forged items) suf­fer dam­aged ring­lands. The head gas­ket on the 2.5 is also prone to fail­ure. En­gines tuned for 350bhp or more should have tough­ened in­ter­nals. Check the claimed power out­put and fuelling on a rolling road. En­sure the seller al­lows the oil-cooled turbo to idle. In­spect the con­di­tion of the in­ter­cooler fins.

OIL AND SER­VIC­ING

Check for reg­u­lar oil changes and that 10W-40 or 10W-50 fully syn­thetic oil has been used. Ser­vice in­ter­vals are ev­ery 10,000 miles. The engine runs best on Shell V-power or sim­i­lar grade.

TRANS­MIS­SION

In­spect the rear diff for leaks and lis­ten to whines and clunks from it, the rear diff and the cen­tre vis­cous cou­pling.

SUS­PEN­SION, BRAKES AND WHEELS

Rear struts can suf­fer stic­tion as the damper rod seal dries out and loses lu­bri­ca­tion.

BODY

Rear wheel arches are start­ing to show a lit­tle rot on some cars (hawk-eye so far not af­fected). Front ra­di­a­tor sup­port pan­els rot, as do front C-sub­frames (not fit­ted on im­ports). Look for rust be­hind the plas­tic un­der­trays on hawk-eye mod­els. Un­even shut lines may indi­cate crash re­pair. Check after­mar­ket head­lights for proper align­ment and mount­ing. Tell a 2005-reg blob-eye, wide-track STI from a ‘stan­dard’ 2004 STI by the plas­tic trim that runs around the whee­larch into the rear bumper.

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