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2015 Forester
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I would consider how much the cam seal is leaking. You said it is small. Is it noticeably using any oil or just a bit messy? If all you have to do is wipe it off at oil changes to keep it looking better is one thing, if it is dripping and consuming oil is another. You can also buy a lot of oil for $1200 as long as you don't let it get low. Just some thoughts on how critical it really might be.
 

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2003 Baja, 2006 Baja, 2008 Impreza
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I would consider how much the cam seal is leaking. You said it is small. Is it noticeably using any oil or just a bit messy? If all you have to do is wipe it off at oil changes to keep it looking better is one thing, if it is dripping and consuming oil is another. You can also buy a lot of oil for $1200 as long as you don't let it get low. Just some thoughts on how critical it really might be.
Risk is steady oil degrading timing belt & blowing the motor when it lets loose.
 

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2003 Baja, 2006 Baja, 2008 Impreza
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The check engine and cruise control lights could just be the gas cap needs to be screwed on a little tighter. Try that and if it is the cause the lights should turn off after you've started and driven the car a few times. Whenever you get gas make sure the cap is on good and tight - make it click a few times.
And when the gas pump handle clicks "as being full" do not sit there squeezing a few more cents of gas til it is at the very top. There is a return tube that involves the charcoal canister and when you go past the click on the handle, it allows raw fuel to enter the canister sometimes causing the codes I suspect you have. In all areas of concern, please add valid CEL codes so we can help.
 

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2017 2.5I Touring
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Three days after selling the Outback, the Forester check engine soon light came on steady and Cruise light flashing. We took it to our local garage and was told it needs a new catalytic converter. There also appears to be a tiny oil leak by the Cam Shaft seal. The young mechanic says it is not worth fixing.


So my question is, how much will a new catalytic converter cost for you? Have you gotten any second opinions?
 

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2015 Forester
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When he said "It's not worth fixing", did he mean the cost to repair compared to the value you would get out of the repaired car, or the oil leak is not bad enough yet to hurt anything? Could be interpreted either way.
 

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2014 Forester Touring 2.5 CVT
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We are so confused. We needed a used car (had driven a Ford Escort '99 Station Wagon until it rusted past inspection in 09/19) so we bought a Subaru Outback 2011(153,000 miles) 18 months ago. Six months ago, Mom (aged 92) decided she could not drive anymore so she gave us her Subaru Forester 2006 LLBean edition (118,000 miles.)

We were not sure which car to keep and since the Forester had not been driven much (Mom drove to church on Sundays and kept it in the garage) it needed new tires, a new battery and a new oil sensor. The Outback has more rust (even though a newer car) and the Forester has no rust. The Forester had had the two head gaskets replaced right before Mom bought it at 87,000 miles. We also were advised to put a new timing belt and water pump on the Forester, which we did.

In the last six months we have struggled to get one or other car to the point where we could sell one but all hell has broken loose. The Outback needed a new torque converter (Subaru America gave us a $750 voucher toward this purpose), sway bars, and muffler. Three mechanics told us that although older, the Forester is the better car to keep since the Outback by now had 164,000 and the Forester 122,000, the Forester had no rust and had had both head gaskets replaced.

So we advertised the Outback on Facebook marketplace. One man, a mechanic, came to look at the Outback but when he saw the Forester, he asked expressed interest in that car instead. Meanwhile another person came and bought the Outback for $5,700. We had told the mechanic that if we could not sell the Outback, we might sell the Forester to him for $4,700. He still really wants to buy it.

Three days after selling the Outback, the Forester check engine soon light came on steady and Cruise light flashing. We took it to our local garage and was told it needs a new catalytic converter. There also appears to be a tiny oil leak by the Cam Shaft seal. The young mechanic says it is not worth fixing.

We had thought that if we sold both older cars, we could take the money from both($10,400) and get a halfway decent car that would not cost us so much in repairs. Over the last 8 months, these cars have cost us on average $625 per month in repair costs and we can't go on like this.

So should we still try to sell the Forester to the mechanic and if so, what do we tell him about the cat code, or do we get the repairs done to the Forester and try to keep that one? We have really looked in earnest at new used cars but are truly shocked how expensive they are. It seems there is nothing below about $16,000 with lower mileage and higher year of manufacture.

Up to now, we have spent about $2,300 on the Forester for: oil sensor, door repair, tires, exhaust repair, battery, timing belt, water pump, new transmission line, new brakes, 02 sensor, headlight, taillight.

The car runs great, gets good mileage and does not use much oil, but the cat convertor replacement and Cam Shaft Seal replacement will set us back even more and we are not sure what to do. Thanks so much for any advice you can give us. And best to Subie owners out there are we hope you are not facing as many repairs as we are.
Let's clear, catalytic converters are really tough and can, and do, last beyond the useful life of the vehicle. My suggestion is to get the code reset and drive it until it lights up the dash again. Either buy an ODBII reader for cheap and learn how to read the code or take it to an auto supply store than will read the code free. My money is that all you need is an O2 sensor or two. A relatively cheap fix. Good luck.
 

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Regarding your bad cat on your Forester. I recently purchased a 2009 Forester with 221,000 miles on it for $4,000 knowing that I had the exact same cat problem that you have. No cruise, engine check light on, and stability control light constantly lit up. This was a hard to find manual transmission, so I can use it for a toad behind my motorhome. Despite the cat problem, the rest of the car is near perfect, and the timing belt, tensioner, and serpentine belts were already changed. I had walked away from several others before this purchase. It burns very little oil and has no leaks. I purchased a new cat for $200. from eBay (make sure it was made in Japan, NOT CHINA). Had a machinic install it for $75 (it's just a few bolts, they need to grind off the bolt heads). After I had the codes "flashed", that fixed the problem. I then sold the old cat for $75 to a cat recycler (yes they have residual value due to the exotic metals inside them). I now expect to get another 50,000 miles on it before any further problems. Keep the Forester, with care, they will run forever.

My daily driver is a 2014 Forester that I bought new, and now have 125,000 miles on it without a single problem. And, I just had a new set of "newly designed" sparkplugs installed for $168, which are some fancy new type of plug. My mileage has gone from a constant 32 MPG highway, to 36 mpg constantly. I'm going to have a set installed on the 2009 next, just to see if it makes a difference,
 

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Keep the Forester,
They are easy vehicles to work on, straight forward.
Read about your issues so when and if you have to get repairs your not ripped off.
I have changed the transmission and engine in mine.
Worth the time and money.
Both are surprisingly easy to do.
About to change the axles(front) with heavy duty axles which should outlast vehicle.
Remember, Rock Auto is your friend.
Clicking with acceleration while turning is u joints
 

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2005 Forester auto
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13 Posts
Keep the forester. Replace the gas cap, as rubber seal can crack with age and cold.
Find a Subi mechanic, if possible.
 

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Subaru Forester, 2006, LLBean Edition
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Discussion Starter · #30 · (Edited)
Thank you for all the replies. We ended up keeping the Subaru Forester. We took it to a Subaru mechanic who now has his own small town, back road garage. The Subaru dealership he worked at for years charges $120 per hour and the former Subaru mechanic charges $65 per hour. Larry checked the whole car over and could not find the leak from the camshaft seal. He said those are quite unusual. He checked out the check engine soon light and said he did not think the cat converter was that bad and that many of his customers run their cars for quite some time with that light on. My MIL put a smiley face sticker on hers. Not sure that is a good idea but at least we do not have to spend thousands right way. Meanwhile I did check the MPG on the way home and we did 200 miles of highway driving (avg 75MPH with a fairly heavy load) and 83 miles of non highway driving. These 283 miles took 13.18 gallons for an average MPG of 21.47. Does that seem right? If not, we may be back to Square 1 trying to see why the check engine light soon is on. We have had one O2 sensor replaced. Maybe we should have the other one done? In any case, thanks to all for the wonderful suggestions. We really are glad we kept this car. The new used ones were between 13,950 and 18,950. Way above our budget. Best to all for happy motoring in your Subies!
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
When he said "It's not worth fixing", did he mean the cost to repair compared to the value you would get out of the repaired car, or the oil leak is not bad enough yet to hurt anything? Could be interpreted either way.
We were confused about that ourselves. Maybe he meant that once repaired, we would not get back out of the car in re-sale what we had put in. We think he was wrong. We have updated our post below to show what we did. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
We did. Please see our updated post below. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Risk is steady oil degrading timing belt & blowing the motor when it lets loose.
The second mechanic, an actual Subaru trained mechanic, could not find the camshaft leak, so we are keeping the car while keeping and eye on oil consumption, Thanks!
 

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2015 Forester
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We were confused about that ourselves. Maybe he meant that once repaired, we would not get back out of the car in re-sale what we had put in. We think he was wrong. We have updated our post below to show what we did. Thanks!
Even if you cant sell it for what you put into it, you likely wont be able to replace it for that, either. Then it's deciding how much value you think you can get out of it before the next major issue, it dies, or you want to sell it.
 

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2001 Forester
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(avg 75MPH with a fairly heavy load) .... and 83 miles of non highway driving. These 283 miles took 13.18 gallons for an average MPG of 21.47. Does that seem right?
That MPG of 21.47 is about right. You're driving a brick at 75MPH, engine is rev'd around 3000+ RPM and that is not an economical speed (MPH)/engine speed. The only way you'll get 24 MPG is to keep highway speeds around 55-60mph.
 

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That MPG of 21.47 is about right. You're driving a brick at 75MPH, engine is rev'd around 3000+ RPM and that is not an economical speed (MPH)/engine speed. The only way you'll get 24 MPG is to keep highway speeds around 55-60mph.
Just for reference, I notice the mileage on my '15 really drops off above about 60, also. Doesn't seem it's that much of a brick compared to the pick ups and vans I have driven. Not sure how much is engine size (hp)/gear ratios (CVT and axels). To me, it seems they haven't re-geared from the 55MPH days.
 

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@commonme It's the fact that the transmission is a 4EAT, that is one of the biggest complaints everyone has about the 4EAT, it's needs a 5th gear to bring the revs down when zipping along at 70-80 mph!
:)
Makes sense. Not sure they really have it dialed in with the CVT's, either. Unless they've improved since the '15's.
 

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2014 Forester Touring 2.5 CVT
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Thank you for all the replies. We ended up keeping the Subaru Forester. We took it to a Subaru mechanic who now has his own small town, back road garage. The Subaru dealership he worked at for years charges $120 per hour and the former Subaru mechanic charges $65 per hour. Larry checked the whole car over and could not find the leak from the camshaft seal. He said those are quite unusual. He checked out the check engine soon light and said he did not think the cat converter was that bad and that many of his customers run their cars for quite some time with that light on. My MIL put a smiley face sticker on hers. Not sure that is a good idea but at least we do not have to spend thousands right way. Meanwhile I did check the MPG on the way home and we did 200 miles of highway driving (avg 75MPH with a fairly heavy load) and 83 miles of non highway driving. These 283 miles took 13.18 gallons for an average MPG of 21.47. Does that seem right? If not, we may be back to Square 1 trying to see why the check engine light soon is on. We have had one O2 sensor replaced. Maybe we should have the other one done? In any case, thanks to all for the wonderful suggestions. We really are glad we kept this car. The new used ones were between 13,950 and 18,950. Way above our budget. Best to all for happy motoring in your Subies!
[QUOT

Oddly enough, I installed Bosch plugs that cross referenced to the GM truck I own and I started getting a code for a bad cat. Upon reading it was revealed that cool plugs are exactly that and don't burn hot enough to kick an older cat in. I changed to spec plugs and never pulled a cat code ever after. So it might be worth checking both the type and age of the plug. Doing so might save you some money. Good luck....
O
 

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2014 Forester Touring 2.5 CVT
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Check the spark plugs before spending for a cat. A plug that is too cool not only won't heat the catalytic converter up enough, but it throws extra uncombusted fuel into the cat. I found this out after purchasing cross referenced Bosch plugs. Spec plugs fixed the codes immediately.
 
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