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Forester shopping
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So here's the story

I'm looking at buying a used 2004 forester XT with 78,000mi on the body. The person selling it is the second owner, the first owner had run the engine out of oil so there was damage to the block apparently, and sold it damaged. Two years after buying it and letting it sit, the second owner went ahead and replaced the short block and turbo with brand new parts, they have since put 2,000mi on the new short block and turbo and claim it runs great.

Would it be a bad choice to buy the car? What are your thoughts on this?
 

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MY05 Forester 2.5 XT 5MT
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3,234 Posts
So you're getting an engine with basically the clock turned back to 2,000 miles only ?

What are you concerned about? That engine has far more life left in it compared to a vehicle with it's original engine at 100,000 miles etc.

I would want to know details about the shortblock engine though, was it a refurb or brand new from Subaru ? Which head gaskets were used and were new cylinder head bolts used when marrying up the shortblock up to the cylinder heads etc. Ideally the bill from the work/materials used would answer these questions....

If you're concerned, get a compression test, leak down test and a block test done (Checks for exhaust gases in the coolant) If all that comes out well and the fluids etc have been kept up with, I see no issue.
 

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2000 Forester S
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26 Posts
the price might be considered also, depending on how much would make a big difference. If the body and underside are in decent shape for the right price it is a no brainer.
Where is it located.....lol
 

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2004 FXT 4EAT
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1,129 Posts
I'd want to know more about the Turbo. You can buy cheap $200 turbos off of ebay, but most of them are complete crap and when they fail, dump metal filings into your oil-system. Possibly contaminating main and rod bearings.
 

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FOTM Moderator
2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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3,968 Posts
The poll needs to have a 3rd choice - "MAYBE"... there is a lot more to consider than just the block and turbo... There are all sorts of other parts that can or could go wrong - things like water pumps, timing belts, transmissions, alternators, and more.

I would want to know details about the shortblock engine though, was it a refurb or brand new from Subaru ? Which head gaskets were used and were new cylinder head bolts used when marrying up the shortblock up to the cylinder heads etc. Ideally the bill from the work/materials used would answer these questions....
If the owner can show you all the parts that were replaced - was it done at a shop or something he/she did in the garage - and you can find out what kind of warranty may be on that rebuild, you could have a very good potential buy on your hands... Another consideration is the price - how much are they asking for it...?

If the first owner ran it dry and made a flat-4 paperweight out of the engine, what other bits and bobs did he/she not maintain that could be ready to fail anytime in the near future....?

On that last bit - remember that even if parts HAVE been kept up, there is always a chance that they can go bad; just like any other used vehicle, it's years and miles of wear and tear that may have parts ready to fail.
 

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'14 Forester XT Touring
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974 Posts
Yeah.... who did the install?
You are always taking a gamble on a rebuild. If you absolutely love the car and see yourself working on the car, go for it. You'll save a ton of money doing all the work yourself.
If you are the kind of guy that always takes it to a mechanic, then it's going to be pricy down the road. But... if that's ok with you, have at it.
 

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2009 FXT
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230 Posts
#1 concern for me, an engine that was run dry, or an engine that had rod knock, from my experience, the cylinder head cams would be scored, and should not be reused.
The cylinder heads are non-repairable when the cam bearings are scored.

So replacing the shortblock only, is not a good idea.

Unless the engine builder can provide pics of the cam bearings, I'd be nervous.
 
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