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Hello everybody, I am new here. My reasonable dream car is the 04/05 STi, though im starting to think its not a very good idea. From scrolling through forums I'm noticing people having big issues with their cars like engine blow outs, turbo inlets breaking, timing belt going out, and all of this stuff that sounds very expensive.

I just wanted this car to have fun with it, and I don't really plan on modifying the engine at all, just a fun daily driver. Is this year of the car able to do that? Or is it more of a project car where you have to rebuild the engine? Thanks.
 

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In terms of engine reliability those are some of the better years. Get a lowish mileage, relatively stock car and it should be solid.
 

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04/05 is an old car. Any brand, any model. 04/04 STIs were good cars, but if you can't or don't want to deal with an old car one way or another, buy a newer car.

I DD an 05 with almost 225K on it. So it's on its third timing belt, third set of brakes, at least two clutches (depending how you count a lot more). Most of its hoses have been replaced. a set of valve cover gaskets, air condtioning condenser, a wheel bearing, rear struts an exhaust system and an engine rebuild at 185K.

What "yours" would need depends on what you buy . . .
 

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I don't want to be a downer, but I wish someone had told me this back in 1998...

A used turbo car requires a lot of attention. Not just because the car was likely run hard, but also because the previous owner likely didn't know what they were doing when they modded it and did way more harm then good. The STI is my dream car too. I knew I wanted a 2006 and I knew what I wanted to do to it. I essentially rebuilt the entire car after I bought it. You can look at my build thread for details.

As for 1998. I bought a 1988 Toyota Celica All-Trac-Turbo. I paid about $6k for it and it had 104k. I had a 1978 Toyota FJ40 I sold for almost $10K so I thought I was OK. Turns out not so much. The Celica ate through the $4k reserve and much more. I ended up having to unload it. If I knew then what I know now I would have taken the $10k and put it down on a brand new 2.5RS. Turns out I was finally able to do that in 2003. That was a great car.

It's not a matter of whether the STI is a good choice. New the 2004-2006 models were great cars. The problem is you need money to fix the abuse, neglect, and stupidity from the previous owners. My car had 38k on it when I picked it up in 2011 and I still had to do that. The drivetrain was well maintained, but I think the car was rallied a bit. There was some abuse I couldn't or didn't see when I bought it. There was probably a few $k worth of stuff I had to do I wasn't counting on. I replaced both subframes (I found out the car was curbed), all the plastic under the car, and pressed the front strut mounts back flat. The car must've been bottomed out pretty hard. Everything turned out fine, but I was prepared this time around.

The best was the spare tire was flat. Apparently one of the previous brain donors that owed the car drilled a hole right through the sidewall while I assume trying to mount a speaker box. I had been looking several months for a car already. Even back in 2011 an '06 was not especially easy to find.

In any case I do wish you the best of luck on your endeavor.
 

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As others have said, an 04/05 is an old car no matter which way you look at it. I bought my 04 about 3 years ago now, and I have had to do a lot of repairs to it due to its age. Its been mostly bushings, hoses, valve cover gaskets, o-rings, etc. My one bit of advice would be if you aren't willing or able to do work yourself, you'd probably be better off getting a newer model year. The parts themselves aren't all too expensive, but if you are paying someone, the labor will add up very quickly.

I will say, even though my car has cost me more than I thought and it's had its fair share of issues, I'm still very happy I bought it. The car is an absolute blast to drive and I love how un-refined and raw the 04 is. I do daily my car about 30 miles a day and it still enjoy it.

Best of luck in your decision!
 

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Like everyone else said. Its a great car. (I personally think so). Just be careful when shopping for one, make sure the car is well maintained! it is normal for a car that old to have parts wear / break. Its normal wear and tear. Its the same for any other car at that age or high mileage.
As for the "Horror" stories that you are reading about. Pay close attention to what was going on. I'm sure its linked to some mod or hard driving.
Who knows you might be lucky and find one that was taken care of. My 04 just hit 41k!! But I took very good care of it and of course I had fun. Few Track days, Auto-x...etc

FYI, I do know what your plans are. But one thing to keep in mind is the 05 has stronger wheel bearings. You do notice this at the track. Under heavy breaking. Back then it was about $1k in parts for the 05 hub swap. not including rims
 

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If you had to pick between those two years go with the 05. They moved it to 5x114 with strong wheel bearings and you have more wheel choices :). I have a theory, treat you car like you treat yourself and it will last. My brothers 05 STI is closing on 300k and all we've been doing is oil changes, timing belt water pump, and had to replace the turbo once. Maintenance has not been that bad considering how long we've had the car and how many miles it has.
 

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Hello everybody, I am new here. My reasonable dream car is the 04/05 STi, though im starting to think its not a very good idea. From scrolling through forums I'm noticing people having big issues with their cars like engine blow outs, turbo inlets breaking, timing belt going out, and all of this stuff that sounds very expensive.

I just wanted this car to have fun with it, and I don't really plan on modifying the engine at all, just a fun daily driver. Is this year of the car able to do that? Or is it more of a project car where you have to rebuild the engine? Thanks.

I hate to say this, especially since I own an 04, but not really. You have to understand no matter what, you're likely buying a 15 year old turbo'd car. Its not that it wouldn't be a fun daily driver, its the fact that at its age it will undoubtedly require maintenance in its near future. The only way I would answer yes to this question is if you truly love the GD or particular year. Other than that, you're much better off saving up a bit more and buying a newer, slightly used model year.
 

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If your looking into buying an older car like this, it will need work. Im not saying it wont be a good DD if you find the right car. If you're not really looking to mod the car or really do any kind of work to it then i think you should consider a new car. The money GD's go for, you can put a real hefty down payment on a brand new sti.
 

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The 2004 is not a good year for the STi -- I've driven 391k in mine, and I still can't break it!
Good to see you are still around, and where the car is. Didn't you rebuild after 300K?
I will probably make the 250K club this year. Hoping to keep the car on the road till 300K

I know thread hijack - but its old anyway.
 

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I'm 750 miles shy of 400,000 miles. I have no idea why there would be reliability concerns for a 2004 STi. I am the single owner. 333k on original block.
 

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I only have 135K on my 06 STI so it is "low mileage" compared to some of the cars here but it is mechanically similar to 04/05... the things I had to do below.

-Regular maintenance; Oil changes (engine, transmission etc), timing belts, spark plugs etc etc
-Stock turbo inlet went at less than 20K miles. Not sure if I got a lemon here.
-On 4th set of brake pads (Stock, Carbotech street pads, 2x sets of Ferodos). Still on first set of rear Ferodos
-On 2nd set of brake rotors. First set replaced at 95K, still had some life left but I decided to get DBAs.
-Stock struts probably lost all dampening at around 90K miles if I'm being VERY generous..(probably more like at 60K) rode it like an idiot until I replaced it with coilovers at 120K.
-Power steering pump o-ring (cheap) went at around 80K miles. Pump itself seems to be still good?
-Stock radiator went at 101K miles.
-Valve cover started leaking at around 100k miles, needed replacement
-Oil cooler o-ring probably went around 110k miles as I noticed oil leaking on the oil filter..
-Radiator rubber hoses went at around 113k miles. If I had listened to people, I would have changed these out when I was doing radiator at 101k, but I didn't. Which means I had to swap coolant THREE times in 15k miles (radiator went bad at 101k miles, timing belt service at 105k miles, and hoses going bad at 113k miles)

The car was stage 2 from 11K miles to around 97K miles when it went back to stock.
Car has seen four track days, so some wear could have been accelerated but nothing compared to some folks here.
It burns (or loses) 1/4 quart of oil every 1,000 miles or so after valve cover gasket and oil cooler o-ring had been replaced. Was losing much more 1/2 quart or 3/4 every 1k miles.
I seem to be losing some power steering fluid somewhere as well.

So there are a lot of small things here and there but outside the maintenance it hasn't been too bad.
 
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