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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A neighbor gave me a 1999 Forester S that has been sitting in his driveway since 2017. He hasn't cranked it in over 3 years. It has 187k miles. Automatic transmission. Neighbor couldn't give me a good history. He thinks it needs a new water pump, or alternator, he couldn't remember. Yikes.

Am I crazy to try to get it running? I'm willing to put $1500 into it (for parts, I'd turn wrenches myself). Here's my plan:
  • drain oil, transmission fluid, coolant, and fuel
  • pull out the engine
  • replace head gaskets
  • replace water pump and thermostat
  • replace alternator
  • replace timing belts
  • replace accessory belt and tensioner
  • replace spark plugs
  • replace pcv valve
  • replace air intake filter
  • mount engine back in vehicle
  • new oil and oil filter
  • new coolant
  • new transmission fluid
  • replace fuel pump and fuel filter
  • replace brake fluid and brake pads
  • new tires

I have the OEM service manuals. I plan to use OEM head gaskets, but probably RockAuto generic brands for other parts.

Anyone done something similar before? What else should I do while I have the engine out? Thanks for the help.

Decatur, GA

Super Moderator
2001 Forester S, 4EAT
3,511 Posts
Before spending money. Put a long wrench onto the crank pulley and see if the engine even turns!! And if it does, start it up and see if it even runs! And then go from there.

1999 A/T - 235,000 mi. WA state
952 Posts
^^^ What they said, and visually check/write down the condition of all fluids before you even do those steps. Inspect the tires and their date code / manufacture at some point; if you can squeeze in 6 - 24 months of additional tire service you'll be $$ below your parts maximum right at the start.

Welcome to forum That car is a great gift to you! My '99 has 237k miles, so you've got potentially good vehicle life ahead. I used my Subie on a 3 day Rocky Mtn exploring drive last week, including some tough steep tight turning deadend tracks down to river edges. My co-tripper, a mtn fisherman and 4WD truck driver, was so impressed he said "I'm thinking of getting one of these."

'14 Forester XT Touring
914 Posts
3 years huh... well. put a new battery in let that oil pump go a few times before actually starting.
besides that let her rip.
Given that no little critters have made a home in the exhaust or in any other part of the engine, chewed up wires.. all you need is a clean fresh tank of gas. then figure out what is wrong.

2009 FXT
176 Posts
I recently went and grabbed a 2002 Outback from my buddies, that had been sitting there probably 5yrs.
Threw a battery in it, and it fired up right away, ran perfect just like 5yrs ago.
Never did a thing to it.

Pulled the engine and took the heads off, there was a lot of gunk built up under the valve covers, cylinders were clean. A lot of cleaning, flush the oil pan, new gaskets, timing, see how she lasts, put it in another car.
Engine had 200,00km


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