New member looking for advice - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-16-2017, 01:06 AM Thread Starter
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New member looking for advice

Hi all,
I have been wanting a forester for 10 years and have decided to go for it, despite government tax and higher running costs .
Looking at 02-08 model, don't think I want the sti (costs). Any opinions between 2.0 + 2.5 engine?
I have just joined and will search through the posts to see what to look out for when buying, anything obvious what these regularly fail on?
Is lpg a viable option?

thanks in advance for your replies

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-16-2017, 01:38 AM
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when you say sti costs do mean tax or buying costs

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-16-2017, 02:01 AM
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Red face

Depends on what you want from a car - instant all round charisma = FSTI but at a premium cost. My choice after owning 2 Impreza turbo's was the early 2.5 XT. This car is a blank canvas if you want a hobby car - you can add all the Impreza go faster parts and remap. Bodywise you can and add the FSTI body parts to create your own personal version of Forester turbo, for a lot less money than the FSTI.
Good luck with your new car purchase - Rob
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-16-2017, 03:59 AM
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This months (May) car mechanics magazine has a nice little write up ( very positive) on buying a used forester, worth reading. Particularly the message that a good and frequent service record and evidence of fixing anything that's not quite right rather than letting things deteriorate, is more important than overall mileage or age. I assume you want a turbo? If it's for general use, or more frequent light off road use, don't ignore a good 2 litre non- turbo. The single OHC versions are a bit easier to work on for plugs, cambelt etc. And have the std / low ratio gearbox. To answer your question of what can fail( all models) look out for weak self levelling rear suspension ( one side or both sides a bit lower than they should), sticky brake slider pins or caliper pistons, drivers window motor not working, rusty front cross member just under the radiator, and potentially rusty sump. Drop links and arb bushes can also knock. Most of these things are relatively easily fixed but not all are cheap! Have a good look around to compare before you take the plunge, but pick a good one and you won't be disappointed. Good luck.
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2003 Forester AW, 2005 Impreza GX
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 12:47 AM
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I was in the same boat very recently, looking for Forester Cross sport. Wasn't sure about the running cost and number of other things like engine 2.0L vs 2.5L. In the end I start looking towards JDM cars as I had impression that taxes for imported cars are different and trims are better. Any way on the 1st April I found a nice example of Forester 2.0 XT 2002 (not Cross Sport) JDM with low mileage 32000, basic trim (I tried leather seats and didn't like it. really slippery). I went to check the car and fall in love with it instantly even though it wasn't exactly I was looking for. Road tax £240, 26-30 MPG but I still in the process of figuring it out (on 3rd tank now, done almost 1000miles already). I'm the first UK owner. The car has so much I needed: speed, charm, character, space. The 2.0 turbo engine is surprisingly quiet, not sure about 2.5 one. I changed speakers and audio already so the car now has basics I require and I can concentrate on driving and learning about car to start planing any mods I might need. So find yourself a car, go have a look at it. Check car condition, 2.0 turbo is quiet, import JDM, tax will cost you £240 regardless of the 2.0 or 2.5L engine size. Buy it even thought it might be not 100% model or trim you planed initially. You will drive the car for a while and will change to your liking whatever you think needs to be changed.



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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 05:16 AM
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That's a nice looking xt there, abeaster.
And such low mileage and I imagine lack of rust, coming from Japan.
A good option for richieski to add to his list.

It's even giving me ideas- buy a good low mileage rust free import old- un like yours and run it for the next 10 years! my 2003 forester won't last forever ( still a few miles left in it though) and I just don't fancy one of the newer models. Too many electronics that I just don't need, that will eventually go wrong, and generally not so easy DIY maintenance over the long run. The SG models (turbo or non turbo) to be honest are ideal for my multi- uses and the somewhat utilitarian trim is better than fancy leather or soft cloth and plastics with back seats full of grandkids, sandy wellies etc. ( plus boot never clean, often full of logs, fishing gear, dog or whatever).

Two questions, was insurance difficult to get or much more expensive, and how did you find it (I.e. direct from an importer down your way or Internet search?)
Cheers

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 08:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CCRIEN View Post
That's a nice looking xt there, abeaster.
And such low mileage and I imagine lack of rust, coming from Japan.
A good option for richieski to add to his list.


Two questions, was insurance difficult to get or much more expensive, and how did you find it (I.e. direct from an importer down your way or Internet search?)
Cheers
Indeed, almost no rust! There is small issue though as the car was imported during the transition process they take all liquids out so there is tiny leakage from AT box that we will fix next Saturday. The leakage was really small and I can't see it now, but we still going to look into it.



My insurance was with Direct Line car insurance. I part exchanged my 2007 Honda Civic, rang the insurance and they gave a quote for Forester £16 more pa then I payed for Honda + £4 more for road assist. So overall 1:1 swap.

I was researching car Import by myself or with number of Importers, but all of them were quite far away from me. The one I found close to me Goodmayes Motors run by nice chap David, he has plenty of imported cars, reasonably priced. I paid £5995 for mine.

Last edited by abeaster; 04-17-2017 at 08:57 AM.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 08:22 AM
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It's even giving me ideas- buy a good low mileage rust free import old- un like yours and run it for the next 10 years! my 2003 forester won't last forever ( still a few miles left in it though) and I just don't fancy one of the newer models. Too many electronics that I just don't need, that will eventually go wrong, and generally not so easy DIY maintenance over the long run. The SG models (turbo or non turbo) to be honest are ideal for my multi- uses and the somewhat utilitarian trim is better than fancy leather or soft cloth and plastics with back seats full of grandkids, sandy wellies etc. ( plus boot never clean, often full of logs, fishing gear, dog or whatever).
I really like the lack of electronics in this car. It has all the useful basics electr mirrors, sunroof, folding side mirrors and that's all. I was missing nice audio unit with hands free mobile, So I installed inexpensive audio with all those features: kenwood-dpx-7000dab plus nice premium speakers. and for now I just going to drive it, enjoy myself and learn about it.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 08:45 AM
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Thanks for the info. Those clean undersides look like mine did was when it as about 3 years old, or 11 years ago! Changed a bit since then with all our salty winter roads. Nothing serious just superficial surface stains and often seized nuts and bolts. You definitely got me thinking that something like this might be a good buy, enjoy your new car.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 09:06 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies everyone. Very helpful indeed. Will be searching over the next few months, see what crops up.

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 10:15 AM
TMX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richieski View Post
Hi all,
I have been wanting a forester for 10 years and have decided to go for it, despite government tax and higher running costs .
Looking at 02-08 model, don't think I want the sti (costs). Any opinions between 2.0 + 2.5 engine?
I have just joined and will search through the posts to see what to look out for when buying, anything obvious what these regularly fail on?
Is lpg a viable option?

thanks in advance for your replies
The 2.0 Turbo and 2.5 Turbo drive a bit differently. You might want to test drive both to see which suits you better.

The MY03 2.0 turbo came with quite restrictive exhaust manifolds from memory so might affect things if you plan to mod the car. These wheels will not clear WRX 4 piston brake calipers

MY05 got AVCS from memory, which boosts power and economy slighty. - The 2.5XT wheels clear bigger WRX 4piston brake calipers. I don't believe the 2.0XT wheels will
MY06 got a facelift and Secondary Air Injection - which can become a problem if an air injection valve sticks - the problem can be solved if you're brave with your computer/get the codes mapped out. These wheels also clear WRX 4 piston calipers from memory

Things to look for:
Oil in the coolant and coolant in the oil - Signs of head gasket troubles on the 2.5. The 2.0 isn't immune to this though - Neither are immune to ringland failure either
Rear Self Levelling Suspension can leak and cause the rear to sag. You'll want to replace the shocks and springs with non-SLS to fix this - I think parts are around £200 ish (Or were when I done the job a few years back) If you want to replace just the SLS shock from Subaru, expect a price of around £375 each.
Front control arms can rust - there was a recall on this
Driver's window motor likes to rust/seize - Cheapest source is RockAuto in the USA.
Radiators like to go pop around 10 years/100-120K miles.
Knocking droplinks aren't a big deal but is an annoying job if they're rusted solid.
Make sure everything electrical works like the heated seats, windows and sunroof etc.
The exhaust will likely be very rusty and you might factor in a replacement stainless steel backbox system if you're keeping her for the long haul.
Brake Calipers can seize due to mild steel pistons that are coated - as the coating wears off and the pistons rust, causing poor braking/sticking brake pads - Nice excuse to upgrade to WRX calipers

They generally like a full service history - Personally, I would prefer a Subaru specialist's history than a Subaru dealer history.
Timing belt is every 50K miles or 5 years from memory on the turbos
Transmission/gearbox fluids like to be changed every 4 years from memory.

Mine prefers Shell 99 or Tesco 99 for the best mpg. My 2.5 turbo gets 25mpg easy and she's recently been averaging 27-28mpg. She'll hit 34mpg on the motorway if you cruise at 60mph all day long.

As for LPG - There's mixed opinions on this........ It can be made to work but it's probably not going to be as simple as it might be on some engines. You would want to get a compression test done first to make sure the engine is healthy before going down this route.....Or I would anyway.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 11:11 PM
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Nice one Mr TMX
Did you buy a window motor from the states, if so how long did it take to get here?
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 05:16 AM
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I bought my window motor from Jackie @ Annapolis Subaru in the US and had it shipped to the address while I was staying out there....

I have bought power steering pumps (A1 Cardone brand remanufactured) from RockAuto in the US before, they also sell window motors as well as a ton of other stuff. Ordered Sunday night, I had it in my hands on Thursday afternoon via FedEx shipping option.
The pump was faulty and RockAuto paid for the return shipping and sent me another one. That was one also faulty and again they paid the return shipping and gave me a full refund including shipping and customs fees. I wouldn't hesitate to use RockAuto in future :)

MY05 2.5XT 5MT
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 04:49 AM
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I have the 2l xt and have had it since 2009, in that time the only thing ive had to replace that wasn't a service item as such is the drivers window motor and that was sourced from a breakers in the uk and replaced using a how to guide on here. Every so often i'll have a look around for something else, but i still can't find anything that does it all better. I've had a few runs down to the alps, trip to Spain, very comfortable over long distance, ok so it can be a bit thirsty if you are enthusiastic with the right foot.

As others have said how its looked after is the important thing, more than age and mileage. Spend your time looking into them and i'm sure you'll end up with a cracking motor and welcome to the club eventually :)
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 04:43 PM
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Could be helpful to look at a car or two that are not for sale - maybe someone on here?

Not sure where in the country you are, but you are more than welcome to have a look at mine and I can take you for a spin. (I am in Guildford, Surrey). If that's too far, maybe put your approximate location up and someone else may come forward...

Pete
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