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2003 Subaru Forester X
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey everyone! First-time Forester owner here, really stoked about the ‘03 I just bought a couple days ago until I jacked it up and I noticed some rust on the undercarriage. I started pulling off the bumper and side trim and I found some fairly widespread rust, mostly towards the front and back of the pinch welds under the trim on both driver and passenger sides. The rear wheel well is where is gets real bad, everywhere else doesn’t look nearly as gnarly IMO but I’m no expert, which is why I’m here! I fell in love with this car, and other than the rust, the engine, transmission and pretty much everything works, it just needs a few things to breathe some life into it. I’d really love to keep this car but I don’t want to invest in something that will fall apart in less than a year.

I was planning on this being my daily driver with off-road trips every couple of months on the weekend, and now I’m not 100% sure.

I believe I have a few options, but please let me know if there’s something I’m not thinking of.

1. Take a brush wheel to all of the surface rust and grind down all of the rotted rust on the wheel well/pinch weld, power wash the undercarriage, spray it down with rust treatment and either plastidip or clear coat. Replace any rusted suspension parts. Possibly replace the rear and front subframes if needed down the road.

2. Take it to a body shop and see what they will estimate to cut and fabricate new frame pieces

3.Find a shell that has less frame rust and swap everything that’s working over to it.

4. Cut my losses and sell/junk/part out the car and start from square one.

I’m hoping with the first or second option that I might be able to get at least another 5 years out of this car to save up for a much newer model Forester.

Note: I live in Central California, this car was mostly kept on the coast before I bought it which is likely why it’s so rusty, but if I am to keep this car, it would be in a climate that is not very rust-friendly.

Any input is appreciated and thank you in advance!!!
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