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2003 Forester Automatic
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52 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Basically as stated in the title, I’m almost 200k. Recently had the timing belt/water pump done again so that I won’t have to worry about it.
How can I make an old car feel new again? Everything runs fine, just slower and less enthusiastically than when my car had 100k on it.
I realize I should’ve just saved the money and either bought a new forester or just dropped a new engine in, but I wasn’t thinking clearly when the belt&pump got replaced.
Hope someone has some tricks up their sleeves!

Edit: it’s an 03 EJ25 2.5 NA
 

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Sahuarita, Arizona USA 2018 Forester Limited
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2,335 Posts
Model year and engine?
 

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2003 Forester Automatic
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52 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
New plugs, wires, PCV use SeaFoam at least 3 tankfulls in a row.
I’ll have to buy some seafoam and go to town! Plugs, wires, and PCV are all replaced under 5k miles ago. Should I watch out for anything when seafoaming that much?
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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39,000 Posts
@norcal_not_nevada what you're experiencing may be normal for engine with that many miles. You could do a compression test to see if the cylinders are equal & up to spec. I suspect the only way to get your "like new feel" back is to install a new or rebuilt engine & that's going to be expensive!

My son's '03 X is still pretty spry, but has around 30K miles + an AVO turbo kit installed!

Bobby...

['07 FSXT Member Journal] ['03 X Member Journal]
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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@2.5x_sleeper Dang. Now I’m just kicking myself for replacing the timing belt & water pump.
No, that was wise to do, as a failed timing belt = time for a new engine!

Curious... have the head gaskets been replaced? If so, the heads should have been serviced at that time.

Also, are you running a high mileage engine oil, like Valvoline MaxLife synthetic blend? We run that in our '95 Neon Sport. We did use that in my son's '03 X, until the AVO turbo kit was installed, now we use Valvoline SYNPower full synthetic.

Bobby...

['07 FSXT Member Journal] ['03 X Member Journal]
 

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2003 Forester Automatic
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Discussion Starter #10
Valve adjustment
Can just any shop do this? Is it expensive or rather cheap?

No, that was wise to do, as a failed timing belt = time for a new engine!

Curious... have the head gaskets been replaced? If so, the heads should have been serviced at that time.

Also, are you running a high mileage engine oil, like Valvoline MaxLife synthetic blend? We run that in our '95 Neon Sport. We did use that in my son's '03 X, until the AVO turbo kit was installed, now we use Valvoline SYNPower full synthetic.

Bobby...

['07 FSXT Member Journal] ['03 X Member Journal]
The head gaskets were done at around 120k miles. And as far as oil goes I pretty much just have been doing 5/30 conventional. Should I switch it to a synthetic?
 

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Sahuarita, Arizona USA 2018 Forester Limited
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And as far as oil goes I pretty much just have been doing 5/30 conventional. Should I switch it to a synthetic?
I would not switch to full-synthetic. However, semi-synthetic is fine and Bobby makes an excellent recommendation in Valvoline MaxLife high-mileage motor oil which is a synthetic blend.
 
2017 2.5i Fozy CVT
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Valve adjust is much cheaper than head rebuild when valves burn up from too tight a clearance.

Any reputable shop skilled in valve adjust on Suby's can do it.

If so, the heads should have been serviced at that time.


['07 FSXT Member Journal] ['03 X Member Journal]
Many things in this life should be done...but Murphy's Law usually rears its ugly head and gets in the way.
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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The head gaskets were done at around 120k miles. And as far as oil goes I pretty much just have been doing 5/30 conventional. Should I switch it to a synthetic?
As to engine oil, either sick with the conventional oil you've been using or switch to a high mileage engine oil... I like the Valvoline MaxLife synthetic blend. High mileage oils have additional additives for older engines. I would NOT switch to a full synthetic oil.

Can just any shop do this? Is it expensive or rather cheap?
It's a labor intensive process, so I'm going to guess it will be expensive. Also note that the Subaru technical service document says this is to be done on a "cold" engine. Thake a look at the service procedure below.

Bobby...
'03-'04_valve clearance_1of2.jpg
'03-'04_valve clearance_2of2.jpg

['07 FSXT Member Journal] ['03 X Member Journal]

'03-'04_valve clearance_1of2.jpg '03-'04_valve clearance_2of2.jpg
 
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2003 Forester X
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I paid $1200 to buy an imported Japanese Z25 engine, swapped on my intake, water pump, and oil cooler...

I did that at 202,410 miles to my 2003 Forester X.

I upgraded to 215/65R16 General Grabber AT² all-terrain tires (2% larger than stock) and with the imported engine that had between 50,000 and 60,000 miles on it I am seeing 28MPG overall with about 80% highway miles. Acceleration and passing power feels as good or better than stock at 202,000 miles, despite the larger heavier tire.

Almost everything electrically on a Z25 is compatible, except the intake manifold needs to be swapped because the Z25 has the intake runner butterfly valves, extra sensors, and the engine harness plugs are different.

Thankfully, your good old intake bolts right on, the harness fits your car because it came off it, and the engine block sensors plug into your old intake harness.

It's a very easy swap.

The oil cooler transfers over just as easy as could be.

If a shop did the work, it shouldn't cost more than $1000 or so tops.

Including a gasket set, the whole import, parts swap and gaskets, and install shouldn't be over $2500.

Worth it for another 10 years of reliable service and enjoyment of a safe car.

I did also change to a slightly larger diameter unequal length header and a better flowing muffler. That adds to the top end power just a little, but the stock exhaust should be fine.

Another thing... I missed if you already replaced your catalytic converter... Those go bad around 200,000 miles, and if they plug instead of just wearing out then that could be a part of your power loss.

I would think it's mostly ring and cylinder wear though.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.


523350
 

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Basically as stated in the title, I’m almost 200k. Recently had the timing belt/water pump done again so that I won’t have to worry about it.
How can I make an old car feel new again? Everything runs fine, just slower and less enthusiastically than when my car had 100k on it.
I realize I should’ve just saved the money and either bought a new forester or just dropped a new engine in, but I wasn’t thinking clearly when the belt&pump got replaced.
Hope someone has some tricks up their sleeves!

Edit: it’s an 03 EJ25 2.5 NA
Having owned 2 2003 foresters ,I bought 2 2005 foresters and they are so much better
 

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2003 Forester XS
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Can just any shop do this? Is it expensive or rather cheap?


The head gaskets were done at around 120k miles. And as far as oil goes I pretty much just have been doing 5/30 conventional. Should I switch it to a synthetic?
I've used only Mobil One since our first oil change on my 2003 Forester XS. Only change is to go to the high mileage car version. No clue why someone would steer anyone away from full synthetic.
 

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Sahuarita, Arizona USA 2018 Forester Limited
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I've used only Mobil One since our first oil change on my 2003 Forester XS. Only change is to go to the high mileage car version. No clue why someone would steer anyone away from full synthetic.
There is no doubt that using full synthetic oil over the life of an engine is better than using conventional. However, the OP would be switching from conventional to full synthetic after 200k miles; you are not. I think the concern is that switching to full synthetic oil may loosen sludge that has built up over 200k miles. Normally removing sludge is a good thing. However, if sludge deposits were "protecting" weak seals in a high mileage engine, loss of such deposits may result in oil leaks.
 

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1999 Forester
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I had a timing belt (20k miles on it) break in the boonies of Utah (Monticello). 1999 Forester, motor was ruined. Had a Ebay used 2 liter motor delivered to Monticello for only 750 bucks, 500 to install. 10% less horsepower, better gas mileage. I love it.
 

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2005 2.5XT 4EAT
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332 Posts
Almost everything electrically on a Z25 is compatible, except the intake manifold needs to be swapped because the Z25 has the intake runner butterfly valves, extra sensors, and the engine harness plugs are different.
I thought the Japanese engines were the ones without the butterfly valves? The US emissions specs required the US engines to have them.

OP: changing engine oil may help. The fact you changed plugs and wires is good. What about injectors? That may help.

Checking the cats isn’t a bad idea. And maybe O2 sensors? Could help gas mileage and responsiveness with things.

Sea foam in the gas tank and sea foam through the throttle body will help too.

I feel like there’s something else I want to suggest but I can’t put my finger on it...

Don’t feel bad about keeping your engine! Many subis out there with 200k+ miles and original engine!
 
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