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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there! So I have a 98 Automatic Forester L that I just bought. It has a lag in between gears when it shifts, which the mechanic I took it to before buying said wasn't an issue. However, it has started to run pretty rich (fairly recently, haven't been able to do the exact math yet). Then last night, something happened and it started making a LOT of explosive noise when I fire it up / accelerate. Some lag in acceleration as well, not much coming from the tail pipe. I am super new to the understanding of cars, so not sure where to start with this. Didn't know how to care for my last Forester well, and she died too soon. Hoping to avoid such a thing again. The mechanic did say the left side valve cover gasket is leaking, not sure if that would have something to do with it.

Thanks in advance for thoughts and suggestions!!
 

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2000 SF5 Automatic
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Hi. What's the mileage of your car?
Do you have a service history?
What part of the world are you in?

For the lag - you may have very old ATF (gearbox oil). Have it changed. And again after 100km.

That leaking valve cover gasket could be the source of your other problems. It's likely there's oil in your spark plugs; blunting the spark. Bad spark = running rich, acceleration lag, backfire etc
The oil may also have degraded the spark plugs themselves. Change them.

If you're in US / Europe the seal kit and new spark plugs are CHEAP.
Changing the spark plugs is a bit of PIA.
The oil could start damaging your CAT. So try to have this done sooner.

Others will chime in.

Sent from my SM-J700F using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The mileage is just under 200,000. I am in the Pacific Northwest of the US. Don't have much info on what has been done to the car due to poor record keeping. Think that perhaps it previously belonged to a mechanic as a side project? Okay, that's very helpful feedback. Thank you so much!
 

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2001 Forester
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Start by pulling out each plug and maybe posting pictures of each one and which cylinder/piston they are from. The colour of each plug will tell if you they are coated in oil, overly rich mixture, etc......your symptoms alone will not tell us much if at all. The suggestion from @rainee of changing the ATF fluid is a very good suggestion. Are there any check engine lights? Could also be caused by spark plug wires not tightly in place on the plug, could be caused by bad spark plug wires. Bad coil, bad O2 Sensors, plugged exhaust, etc......
 
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