When a Legacy GT becomes a Legacy

March 27, 2013 at 5:05 pm


What the sound of metal going through a wood chipper sounds like

What the sound of metal going through a wood chipper looks like


My relationship with my Legacy GT has hit an all time low. Over the weekend I was on my way to visit fellow Son of Taki Jeff Lavery for some burgers and car talk when the CEL came on. For my Leggy, this is a common occurrence especially since the car misfires and throws a CEL light in any temperature under 40 degrees. So I carried on; as I got closer to SOT’s Southern headquarters (of course being too late to turn around) I heard a clunk or two which wasn’t part of the Leggy’s monthly light show.

On the return trip to SOT’s coastal base, the noises got worse and more frequent as I got closer to home. Coming from a fairly Catholic family, I  began reciting every prayer I learned during 11 years of CCD and 8 combined years of Catholic High School and College. The car made it home but the sound it made when I stepped on the accelerator can only be described as pieces of metal being put in a wood chipper.

There are some great mechanics that maintain the SOT fleet and I had an oil change booked with one of them for two days later, so I contacted them and told them what the situation was and I would drop the car so they could look at it first thing the next morning (it being Sunday). I feared the worst, with it being a broken rod or a blown turbo

The plan was to drive the car to the shop which was a ten minute drive and have my SOT brother and real life brother Matt meet me there. Right in the middle of this trip is my office where I had to pick up some gear for a shoot that night. So I take off from my house with the chipper in full force, I get to the first traffic light and it dies. I fire it up and goes but in a very limp fashion. The only way I can get the car to move is by shifting it. I’m shifting to keep the car moving while praying it doesn’t die in the middle of a busy road and I can at least get to my office.

Thankfully the next light I encounter is green and I limp through that with the slow silver woodchipper and crawl into my office parking lot. I step out of the car and I’m hit with the sent of burning. I make the decision to call AAA and have them trailer it the two and half miles to its destination.

I get the call Monday afternoon from my shop with the diagnosis. The turbo has blown and was putting oil into the engine. The decision is made to send it over to the local Subaru dealership for further diagnosis and hopeful repair. Thankfully, a family member knows the service manager and was able to give him a heads up. I’ve dealt with this service manager in the past and my dealings with him have been very good.

So this leaves me carless for the time being with no timetable as to what the next step is? When will I get the car back? How much will the repair cost? Is it even worth repairing?

The last question is the one I don’t want to face as the car is less than five years old and will be paid off sometime this summer. The car doesn’t have an exorbitant amount of miles on it and I would like to keep it for a long time. My 1998 Grand Prix GT had almost as many miles as the Legacy GT did when I bought it and that ran like a true champion and was still in decent condition when I traded it in for the Legacy. The question is what to get? Do I go brand spanking new? Do I get a few years old? or do I go the Jeff Lavery route and throw caution to the wind and buy something eight years old with a decent amount of miles but is pure magic? There is an 08 R32 at Coastal VW on the lot with 30,000 odd miles on it…


I found out this morning from the Subaru Service Manager that the turbo was blown and they found pieces of metal in the oil pan. The car needs a new short block and a turbo, so basically a new engine with a total cost of $10,000. The hope is that Subaru will cover the cost (or most of it). If I end up going forward with the repairs, the Leggy will not be back on the road until close to mid April between authorization, ordering parts (insert the Fast and Furious line) and installation.

For now I am carless, bumming rides off of family members who have stepped up to the plate with their care and support. Being a car lover and on top of that being someone who is very independent; not having a car is a horrible feeling. I feel completely vulnerable and helpless, as if one of my major limbs has been torn off. It’s a feeling that it’s in the upper half of the worst feelings I’ve had in my life.

Mid April cannot come soon enough.