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2009 Forester Premium 4eat
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Head gaskets leaking at 200k is a motor rebuild, it isn't worth doing anything short of that. Mostly because you will encounter all the other problems that need fixing along the way ie; injectors, TGVs, sensors, oil pump etc.

The best direction I saw posted was, get a used Japanese motor. They all have 40K, just have it tested & installed.
Couldn't agree more, been there and done that, a costly learning lesson to say the least!...As far as starter and trans mount, those are easy, cheap fixes.

I hate trying to keep old, high mileage cars going, in the rust belt area I live in! If you want to keep it as a spare vehicle and don't mind putting the money into it then I say go for it but otherwise as an everyday driver, replace it is my advise (if you can afford to) for keeping ones sanity.
 

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2001 Forester
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I was in the same position as you. I have a 2001 Forester. Originally had HG done by the dealer at 120,000 miles, timing belt done twice. However the HG job by the dealer failed around 200,000 so it did not even last 100,000 miles. The cost of the 2nd HG job was more than what the vehicle was worth. However I weighed the fact that a $2800 HG job is way cheaper than buying a CP owned vehicle or any other used vehicle ie $10,000 for a new used vehicle. I paid the $2800. Any vehicle is not an investment, meaning repair costs will always equal or be higher than the value of the vehicle. If you want to view the repair costs as being to high, that's your point of view. I view repair costs as the lesser of two evils from a financial perspective, ie what is my cash flow, do I want a car note? Do I want to make payments on a used vehicle and then 5 years down the road be faced with the same decision again where repairs will be more than the value of the vehicle? And the cycle repeats again?

Starter repairs are an easy $30 repair. I originally had the starter replaced around 150,000 miles. However that 2nd starter just went around 215,000 miles. So I pulled it out, paid $30 for new brushes I found online, and popped the starter back in, and all is good.
 

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2019 Forester - Touring CVT
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70 Posts
Since when do head gaskets leak oil ?

I'm sure your seals all need changing and the valve cover gaskets.

At any rate, you have a great generation Suby. Yes it's worth doing the motor.
A head gasket oil leak is just a common as a water leak. All of the oil going to the cams and valve trains goes to and from the head via the head gasket.
 

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2005 2.5XT 4EAT
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If you want to keep it as a spare vehicle and don't mind putting the money into it then I say go for it but otherwise as an everyday driver, replace it is my advise (if you can afford to) for keeping ones sanity.
+1

I was in the same position as you. I have a 2001 Forester. Originally had HG done by the dealer at 120,000 miles, timing belt done twice. However the HG job by the dealer failed around 200,000 so it did not even last 100,000 miles. The cost of the 2nd HG job was more than what the vehicle was worth. However I weighed the fact that a $2800 HG job is way cheaper than buying a CP owned vehicle or any other used vehicle ie $10,000 for a new used vehicle. I paid the $2800. Any vehicle is not an investment, meaning repair costs will always equal or be higher than the value of the vehicle. If you want to view the repair costs as being to high, that's your point of view. I view repair costs as the lesser of two evils from a financial perspective, ie what is my cash flow, do I want a car note? Do I want to make payments on a used vehicle and then 5 years down the road be faced with the same decision again where repairs will be more than the value of the vehicle? And the cycle repeats again?

Starter repairs are an easy $30 repair. I originally had the starter replaced around 150,000 miles. However that 2nd starter just went around 215,000 miles. So I pulled it out, paid $30 for new brushes I found online, and popped the starter back in, and all is good.
I like this line or thinking! In the era of car loans and car payments as the norm, it’s refreshing. It all depends on cash flow and what you want your money to do for you.
 

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+1


I like this line or thinking! In the era of car loans and car payments as the norm, it’s refreshing. It all depends on cash flow and what you want your money to do for you.
It's somewhat liberating when you start to take that mindset. At some point, we'll get a new used car, but if we can spend 1500 per year for the next 3 years instead of 4000 per year in car payments, we are ahead. A purchase car will depreciate faster than that. We will give our son this car and then buy the new used car. By then, the new subaru 3 row should be on the used market for under 20k.

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2020 Forester Touring Jasper Green
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If you feel bad selling it to a person then dump it to webuyanycar or similar. I did with my rusted to hell wagon. Sometimes the logical thing is to just get rid of a car and cut your losses and get something new(er). We all get attached to cars though - I totally do - but you need to do what makes sense for you. In this case it seems like it could go either way depending on the cost of the repairs and what you decide is best for you. For me the thing was messed up and just had to go lol. Mechanic told me it was time and I agreed.
 

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I think to project $1500/yr for the next 3 yrs on a 200,000mi+ car is bold. That is assuming NOTHING else will go wrong with the vehicle.

One other thing to consider is the risk of it getting totaled. Been there done that and its amazing how easily you can lose a high mileage vehicle and get virtually nothing for it. You really need to be setting money aside for a down payment to hedge against this risk.
 

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I think to project $1500/yr for the next 3 yrs on a 200,000mi+ car is bold. That is assuming NOTHING else will go wrong with the vehicle.

One other thing to consider is the risk of it getting totaled. Been there done that and its amazing how easily you can lose a high mileage vehicle and get virtually nothing for it. You really need to be setting money aside for a down payment to hedge against this risk.
Absolutely you need to set money aside. 1500 is not bold if you are doing the work yourself. Old cars almost never pencil out if you are paying someone to work on them.

But

1988 suburban is my daily driver. It's been in the shop once in the last 10 years. Twice in the last 15 and the total cost of both trips was about $1k.

2000 subaru. I did the head gaskets myself 4 years ago. Since then, it hasn't had any real work done on it. I'm doing bushings for the front end. $260 in parts. Labor would be expensive though. Transmission is a risk of course.

And an accident could happen where you lose it all for sure.

There is no right or wrong answer here. It's dependent on many factors and much of it comes down to the owner.

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Yes definitely setting money aside is a must. Best bet is to put away the equivalent of a car payment a month if you can. That’s the benefit of no debt on a car, you can use the money how you want instead of being tied to a payment. We have done both (paid cash for XT and currently have a little left on the loan for the OB) and there are pros and cons to both. I got exactly what I wanted in the OB (trim, color, low mileage, one owner, etc), but we paid more than originally planned (hence loan). The XT, got most of what I wanted along with a lot of baggage and repair time/cost over 3 yrs of ownership lol. But no loan on it...

Yes, there is a risk of accident/totaling but in my mind cars are always a losing battle. Repairs, depreciation, accidents, etc. I really enjoy my subarus and like cars in general but they are a necessary evil in my mind 90% of the time.

Sorry for digressing OP!!
I would love to hear the OP chime in here to see where he is at with all of these lines of thinking!
 

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09 forester
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The car is 15 years old, there will always be another issue with it. Exhaust, emission components, transmission. I would cut my losses and look at a replacement , interest rates on new and used are so low, our credit union offers 1.9 for 1 to 7 years, new or used.

Also as a previous poster said, any accident will total the car. You will not recover $3K
 

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Well to be honest I don't really know, but that's what they've been telling me for several years. I did find these links on the issue


actually, they can and do leak oil, because on the passenger side of the engine the oil gallery is on the bottom, so when the head warps a bit it will leak like mine did. Sucks, because there is no pressure in the oil here, its just a drip that lands on the cat and smells ... Yup, pulled the engine and swapped the head gasket and problem solved.

the real question i would have is the condition of the rest of the car. If the body is clean no rust, maybe i would think about it. If you have engine hoist and tools, it can be done. to do it right i do gaskets and new head bolts/ timing belt etc, so its been an easy 500-700 in parts. ( i have done 3 so far, getting better and faster every time now!) one path to consider is a donation to a school, but that only works if you get the right credit and can use the claim on your taxes... then get a newer car and rebuild that instead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Hi folks, OP here, thanks for all the great responses!! I've just read everything again, very helpful discussion I really appreciate it.

Things have changed since my initial post. For one I've been working from home for over a year so I'm just now hitting 210k. Also, I had a baby and my wife insisted on a newer, larger, safer vehicle so we've already done that. The alternator went out on the Forester so it sat for a while, but I just replaced myself that and it's running great. Still leaks some oil, stinks a bit but not too bad really. The driver's window motor also went out so I'm planning to replace that too. I'm afraid that's about the limits of my skills, I don't have the knowledge/tools/space to attempt the larger repairs myself (although the alternator was easier than I expected so I'm tempted to try lol.)

Anyway, I may try to sell it as-is to someone who can do the repairs themselves, or I may just keep it as a beater and drive it until the timing belt breaks. Is that 210k timing belt interval on the conservative side or would continuing to drive it locally be foolish/dangerous/irresponsible etc? I'd hate for it to break on the interstate and cause an accident or something, would totally not be worth the risk.

Thanks again!
 
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