What's With The Early 90s Subarus?

Why do Subarus of the early 90s routinely go 300k, 400k, 500k? I’ve heard all kinds of stories from “it just happens now and then” to “they used to make airplanes and had a QC level for near perfection”. My 92 Legacy is 300k and runs like new. It has manual TX. I asked mechanic to check the trans lube. He told me it had never been opened and dripped out like clear honey. Plugs at 30k miles use won’t leave a spec on a kleenix. Any thoughts?

The 2.2L engine was a great design.

My family had similar luck with that specific motor with early 90’s Legacy. No issues. The non-turbo 2.5L is another story unfortunately. As evidenced by the huge amount of posts on this board.

I am glad my 04 WRX has a turbo 2.0L that is a derivative of that reliable 2.2L.

You have good luck and have probably maintained the vehicle. After 300k miles your mechanic has no way of telling whether or not the transmission fluid has ever been changed. For every Subaru that runs like new at 300k miles, there was one that blew up at 50k miles, so congratulations.

Sometimes things just work really well.

And, obviously, you’ve taken good care of your car.

Although not changing transmission lube in 300K miles is certainly questionable.

Maybe you’re just incredibly lucky.

Don’t get too excited about the 2.2, Andrew. I’m not saying it’s a bad engine, and I’m glad my car has the 2.2 instead of the 2.5, but the 2.2 has it’s problems.

Have you ever paid to have a Subaru engine resealed? The 2.2 Subaru engine can leak oil from an amazing number of places, and once it starts leaking the only recourse is to pull the engine and replace ALL of the seals. There are LOTS of seals. This costs LOTS of money. Been there, done that.

And then there’s the “traveling valve guide” issue that seems to plague only the '96 model. A valve guide can work loose, and move slightly into the cylinder, preventing the valve from closing, resulting in a misfire. The solution; replace the cylinder head. Again, LOTS of money. Been there, done that, too.

The 2.2L Subaru is not a trouble-free mechanical miracle, despite what you hear.

For some reason the turbo engines seem to be less trouble than the non-turbo engines. Who’d have guessed?