Looking at a MY02 B4 Wagon, need some help!

For the older twin turbo B4 models

Looking at a MY02 B4 Wagon, need some help!

Postby Maverick187 » Sun Sep 06, 2015 2:09 pm

Hey guys,

Im a newbie to the forum, so hello! Ive done some research through the forums for some of my questions, and had a bit answered, but still would like some help from some B4 owners, so I do apologise in advance if any of these have been asked a lot before.

Long story short, My partner and I are looking at a wagon to purchase. Ive owned a lot of imports previously, and the compromise is that I get something Japanese and performance orientated, as long as its a wagon and auto. Our price bracket is modest at $10k.

Came across a 2001 JDM B4 Wagon on carsales for $9k, done 145000km. Went out and had a look and took it for a drive, and quite enjoyed it. However after reading the forums here it seems its a fairly maligned model which worries me. Whatever we purchase will be driven maybe every 2nd or 3rd day max. So I have the following questions:

1. What kind of things do I need to look for as warning signs from this car? From what Ive heard its can be prone to knock in stock form?

2. How reliable is the TT motor and setup really? A lot of people seem to bag it on the forum, but the few that own these seem to sing their praises. Keep in mind its not going to be a balls to the wall performance car, just a cruiser with a bit of extra stick for my own enjoyment. I'm not going to go down the route of a single turbo conversion.

3. I'm located in the inner west of Melbourne. Is there anyone reputable fairly close that can work on the car? I used to take my R33 to Chasers motorworks in Footscray.

4. Mod wise Id be looking at the following:
- Turbo back exhaust. Any recommendations on who to go to? Im assuming its a custom job? From what i've read, best is 2.5" out of first turbo, 3" out of second, 4" hi flow cat, 3" to the back and muffler. Is this the case? And anyones personal experience with cost. Keep in mind its a wagon as well.
- Tune. I believe its a reflash which is helpful. Same as above, idea of cost and person/people to see? Will be looking to increase boost as well, whats a safe psi threshold?
- Any thing else that would need replacing? is the stock cooler still economic at that power level? same with fuel pump? tranny cooler etc, Do I need to look at a CAI or is that just pedantic?

5. Finally, in B4 owners experience, is this a car to seriously consider purchasing? Like I said its going to be driven maybe every couple of days, and just to cruise. Will be doing a few light mods for myself, but thats as far as its going to go. Im in the market for Legnums and Stageas as well. Drove a Legnum and it felt a lot heavier and less nimble to the Liberty, on top of the fact the Liberty is far better appointed in terms of comforts too. Am I better waiting it out for a really nice example of a Legnum or Stagea instead?

Thanks for the patience guys, and sorry again if these questions have been asked before.

Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:29 am
Real name: Michael

Re: Looking at a MY02 B4 Wagon, need some help!

Postby Muzzy66 » Tue Sep 15, 2015 11:24 am

I'm have an 01 B4 sedan, and honestly I love it to bits. Mine is a manual though.

I've had mine for just under 2 years and so far it's been great. The only thing I have really had to spend money on is that the pin-code immobiliser failed and had to be replaced. Otherwise it's pretty much cost me nothing outside of regular maintenance.

As far as driving experience, there is really only one complaint I have about the car, and that the performance is inconsistent. I'm not sure if it's purely a result of heat-soak (as I've read this is an issue on the B4) but some days the thing goes like a bat out of hell, and other days the turbo hit seems almost completely lacking - almost like i'm driving an N/A car. I have noticed that the performance tends to be worst after being stuck in slow moving traffic for extended periods of time, and it seems to be more likely to pull hard after I've been on the freeway for at least 15 minutes or so, which leads me to think it's probably an issue with heat-soak. I've also noticed that when it is going well, it gives me 2-4 hard pulls and then starts to die out after that. This leaves me even further convinced it's probably heat-soak.

Other than this I absolutely love the car, and it's pretty hard to beat as a 'jack of all trades' cruiser IMHO. The interior is extremely well built on this generation of Liberty and wears very well - I've seen many (my own included) that still look near new inside, while many competitors cars look horribly worn by this age. The seats are incredibly comfortable on long drives, while still being decently supportive, and the leather adds a touch of luxury and wears very well. There is plenty of space up front too, and even a big guy like me (I'm about 6'0" and 130kg) never feels cramped or squashed. The car is well insulated and is very smooth / quiet / stable at freeway speeds. On idle there is that nice boxer rumble, and at revs there is a very satisfying growl. There is certainly no shortage of character!

The ride/handling compromise is also very nice. The ride is relatively firm but isn't harsh, and bodyroll (while present) isn't excessive. The factory Bilsteins probably help to achieve that nice compromise. With a good set of tyres the car has tons of grip, and actually handles quite neutral. I had shoddy tyres on might when i bought it, and I found the car had quite noticeable under-steer at the limit, which held it back a bit. I've since upgraded to some good perofrmance tyres (Yoko Advan Sport V105) and this, combined with proper air pressure, has completely transformed the car. It is really well balanced now, turn in is infinitely better, the car feels extremely planted. It's amazing through sweeping bends, but when you are going through very fast chicanes (with sharp left -> right -> left, slalom-like movements) you do get a tad held back by the weight and the bodyroll. That's pushing pretty hard though, and I'd probably expect that with just about any 1500kg car in stock form. I think a set of front and rear swaybars would neutralise that nicely and would turn it in to a real weapon in the corners. To be fair though, I really only noticed this after the tyre change. Before that, the tyres reached their limits before the car did.

Another thing I love about the car is the gear shift. I owned an NA6 MX-5 about 7 years back and that's a car famous for having one of the nicest gear shifts around - short throw, very mechanical, and just great to use. The B4 gear shift is the best I've used since the MX-5, and reminds me a lot of the Mazda one to be honest. The Mazda does have a shorter shift (with less distance between gears positions) and feels a tad more mechanical, but then the B4 shifter is slightly smoother and more refined feeling. To this day, the Liberty shift / clutch combination is honestly one of the nicest I've used. I guess that's not relevant to you if you are buying an auto, but through I'd share anyway!

In terms of safety and practicality I've transported adults in the back seats with no complaints, there's plenty of room in the boot, the interior wears very well, the car is extremely safe in the wet, and the squarish shape (with good visibility all around) makes it easy to park. Insurance (I think i paid about $950 - $1,000) and fuel economy (i get 10.5/100km driven modest, 12.5L/100 driven hard, in about 70% city driving) are both better than I expected for a car of this type. It actually uses less than my last two cars (Alfa 147 Twin Spark and Lexus IS200) despite the fact that both of those were lighter and far, far less powerful. I've had no real complaints about the whole VOD argument. The car has plenty of torque down low for running about in traffic, and when you give it some stick the second turbo (if it's in the mood for working lol) kicks in and pulls like a mule.

If I had to pick out the things I like least about the car they would be:
1) The inconsistent boosting from the turbo
2) The steering isn't the quickest and is very light with not a lot of feel - it's not bad or inaccurate, I just feel it could be a tad quicker with a touch more feedback
3) The turning circle is huge. You'll quickly get used to replacing u-turns with three-point turns in all but the widest roads, and tight car parks can be a challenge

Other than the first thing, they are really all very nit-picky and are not deal breakers for me by any means.

If I had to pick the things I like most about the car:
1) The way it pulls when the turbos are running as they are supposed to
2) The grip and handling balance
3) The overall comfort and practicality, especially on long drives
4) The great gearshift
5) The exhaust note, and the engine's willingness to rev

Hope all of this helps you!!! Honestly, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a better 'all round' cruiser for your budget - I know because I was looking in that same budget, and it's really hard to find something. I considered the bug-eye WRX (I think these look great in wagon form) but it's hard to find a clean one that has been taken care of and that hasn't been covered in try-hard mods. The B4 is tends to appeal to a more 'mature' audience, so it's easier to find clean and original ones around.
2001 Subaru Liberty B4

Sound System - Currently in Planning Phase
Source: Pioneer DEH-P80RS
Tweeter: SB Acoustics SB29RDCN 'dimple dome'
Midwoofer: Peerless 831882 HDS Exclusive
Front Stage Amplifier: Rockford Fosgate 4.6x (4 x 30w @ 4 ohm / 14.4V)
Subwoofer: TBA
Subwoofer Amplifier: Helix H1000 Esprit (1 x 350w @ 4ohm / 13.8V)
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 1:36 am
Car: 2001 Subaru Liberty B4

Re: Looking at a MY02 B4 Wagon, need some help!

Postby Maverick187 » Fri Sep 18, 2015 10:58 am

Thanks for the in depth response, really appreciate it! A really long story, but tracking down the model number from the plates, it was actually a GT-B E-tune Legacy. A lot of similarities to the B4 sedan, just obviously in Wagon form. I ended up purchasing it and am extremely happy with it! Will be doing a couple of light mods, and then Im done with the car and will be looking forward to enjoying it.

Spot on with the turning circle, I actually love the handling. You are right, could have a bit more feedback, but I am very impressed with how nimble it feels considering its a 15 year old, 1500kg wagon. The VOD everyone speaks of hasn't worried me, as I quite enjoy it. Plenty of torque down low and then some good high end.
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:29 am
Real name: Michael

Return to B4 Specific

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest