('03-'05) cost of 90k service - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 09:35 AM Thread Starter
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Car Year: 2005
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cost of 90k service

Hi, Everyone-
I'm a new member, so go easy on me. I've got a 2005 2.5x Forester. It just hit 90k miles. Two questions:

1) How much should a 90k service cost? I am a single woman and have a feeling that some of the quotes I'm getting are custom-tailored from people who think I'm a chump. I've gotten quotes from two dealerships - $725 and $605 from two different area dealerships, and am waiting on a third from a local independent shop.

2) A mechanic told me last year that my head gasket needed replacing. He said it was leaking. Repair quote - over $1400 and 3-4 days without my car. However, I see no oil leaks on the ground in my garage. Not sure whether this is another "chump" quote.

Any input, thoughts?

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 10:59 AM
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Welcome to the forum!

I'd suggest that the place to start is with Subaru's Maintenance Schedule for your 2005 Forester. You can ask for service quotes based on this schedule rather than a dealer's "enhanced" schedule.

Some dealers post their service menus and prices on the Web. It looks like my former dealer would charge $650 plus shop fees and taxes for your car's 90K mile service.

Your car's head gasket(s) may indeed be failing; it's not uncommon with older Foresters. Indicators include overheating, significant loss of coolant from the reservoir, discolored coolant in the reservoir, and/or the "sweet" smell of antifreeze outside of the car.

To further complicate matters, your Forester will need its engine timing belt and associated hardware bits changed at 105K miles (see 105K service interval in maintenance schedule).

If it turns out that the head gasket(s) is (are) bad, it might be time to bite the bullet and have everything done at once. It'll cost a fair amount to do all of this at one time, but I would expect the dealer or indy shop to provide a "quanity discount", and, if done correctly, your Forester should be good to go for a long time.

Jim / crewzer

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Last edited by crewzer; 01-02-2013 at 11:11 AM.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 11:10 AM
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welcome to the site!

1. I don't know cost as I do as much work as I can on all our vehicles. I don't have a manual handy so I don't know the 90k, if it exists?, but I know at 105k it is highly recommended to replace the timing belt and associated gears/pulleys. There are quite a few other things I'll do when I replace a timing belt, like replacing the water pump, front and rear crank seals, cam seals.. there are a few other things I saw on a list a couple days ago as well. The main reason I mentioned these things is for you to look at what all is included on the labor for the 605-725 bills. If you think it will help, you can mention a quick breakdown for each quote. The guru's here I'm sure will point you in the right direction.

2. the plastic shroud under the front of the forester will catch quite a bit before it spills over. Consequently, while you drive, it dries out a bit, flies off, etc and you won't see the results of something going bad for a while or too late. If you throw down a blanket or piece of cardboard and open up a few of the access holes you can look for yourself with a flashlight. Look for staining on the exhaust heatshields, gummed up caked on oil/dirt mix at the bottoms of where the cylinder heads meet the engine. (Unrelated to a HG, you might also check the oil filter/cooler for dripping, the water pipe that goes to the oil cooler for rusting.)

not perfect answers for you but certainly trying to be helpful.

edit>> I must have opened the screen just before you posted. well put :)

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 12:14 PM
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The general view here regarding the 90k service is that it contains a lot of overpriced 'check' items and not really that many 'do' things. By the time 90k rolls around, most of us have moved on to an 'as necessary' regime.

There is a big one coming up at 105k, however--the timing belt and all associated moving parts. Save up for that one.

Check out my Important Information sticky in the New Member Introductions Forum for other tips about life with a Forester.

Me: 2003XS Premium MT ● She: 2016i Premium CVT ● Robin-Subaru Powered Generator
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 12:46 PM
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Like these guys said, it's really just a more minor job.

Things I recommend:
-Motor oil (if in time with your regular intervals)
-Oil filter (if in time with your regular intervals)
-Coolant (simple drain and refill, since you will do this once again during head gaskets)
-Brea.. jk bb! :P Brake fluid (depends how dirty your fluid is and if you're doing other brake items as well)
-Differential fluids (can honestly wait until 120k if you did it at 60 and didn't drive hard)
-Power steering (not usually done, but most drivers NEVER look at this and by the time they do, it's all brown and turdy)
-Spark plugs (if you're using iridium, you can wait for the head gasket job too)
-ATF-HP (if you're driving an auto)

And I guess some other stuff depending on their condition:

Folks like these guys can usually give you a pretty good idea of comparable rates: http://allwheeldriveauto.com/

05 XS
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 02:57 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Bellingham, WA
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90k service

Thank you, Everyone! I made an appointment tomorrow and will let everyone know how things go! I appreciate the information and input.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 03:19 PM
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If the brake fluid has not been changed its over-due. As mentioned..save up for the 105K miles. Do not let them talk you into an auto transmission flush.

If you think you are being "taken for a ride" come back here and check. You can always schedule an other appointment. I think we are very sympathetic here to (especially) women who may not be able to do their own repairs. It would be great if you had a local shop you can trust. But fair warning: When it comes to the head gasket and timing belt, you want a Subaru Specialist or the dealer.

There is more iformation I/we could tell you but I want to stay away from "Information Overload" for now.

Be careful what you wish for.
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