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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

My 2011 Forester is now approaching 100k miles, and since money is tight, I'm wondering how much of it can I do myself.

My plan is to replace all fluids (transmission, differential, power steering, brakes), air filters (engine, cabin), and brake pads.

I'm not so sure what needs to be done with the engine. Replacing the serpentine belt doesn't look too hard. I heard you should also replace the idler pulley, tensioner, and water pump?

Here are the OEM parts I'm planning on ordering:
1. Serpentine belt (23780AA160).
2. Idler pulley (23770AA070) and bolt. How many pulleys do I need?
3. Tensioner (23769AA05A) and bolt.
4. Water pump (21111AA250), gasket, seal, and bolt.

Anything else I need to order for this project?

Thanks!
 

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Premium Member
2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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13,735 Posts
I wouldn't replace the WP. You can do everything yourself. Technically you should use a 13mm square for the rear diff. The front diff took a T70 socket in as late as 2010. Don't know about 2011. 2011/2012 engines tended to burn oil. Keep an eye on it. If the AC has an idler bearing replace it. Consider a Subaru brand radiator cap.

Alternators tend to last around 100K miles. Head gasket leaks are rare. It is not unusual for a rear wheel bearing to go bad at that mileage. Put some cash in in it and you are good for 200K miles.
Welcome.
 

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1999 "L" - 231,000 mi. AT
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642 Posts
^^^ what adc said.
I don't replace an alternator until it dies, which is usually well past 100k in my expereince.
And, when any component goes, I replace it with factory or NAPA component (not O'Reilly or Autozone).
Luck on the major mileage maintenance project.

EDIT: For all tranny fluid work, I use Subaru brand fluid - after a bad experience 100k ago.
 

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2011 Forester
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62 Posts
I did all the fluids, except brake. Filters are dead easy. Used Subaru transmission fluid, economical and correct. Used Redline synthetic diff fluids.
Amazon has a charcoal impregnated cabin filter.

I’m not on 100k miles so didn’t do any work on engine or belts.


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Discussion Starter #5
I wouldn't replace the WP. You can do everything yourself. Technically you should use a 13mm square for the rear diff. The front diff took a T70 socket in as late as 2010. Don't know about 2011. 2011/2012 engines tended to burn oil. Keep an eye on it. If the AC has an idler bearing replace it. Consider a Subaru brand radiator cap.

Alternators tend to last around 100K miles. Head gasket leaks are rare. It is not unusual for a rear wheel bearing to go bad at that mileage. Put some cash in in it and you are good for 200K miles.
Welcome.
Thanks guys, I'll skip replacing the water pump.

I'll have to source that funky T70 for the differential. Yea, I got the dreaded oil consumption problem. Dealership did a major engine overhaul, but didn't fix the problem. I just carry jugs of oil in the trunk and top it off regularly... very annoying.

Here's a diagram of the pulleys. So I'm replacing the tensioner (B) and 2 idler pulleys (D + E). By AC idler bearing, do you mean A/C compressor pulley (H)? What about the other pulleys?

536793
 

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2011 Subaru Forester
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I just changed the serpentine belt on my 2011 due to surface cracking. I did not change the two pulleys or the tensioner. I bought the pulleys to change, but they were not making noise despite being a bit rusty. When I went to remove one I was surprised how tight it was. So much so that I left the pulleys in place following the old adage if ain't broke... The tensioner was still working but the spring in it had become stiffer than I assume it was when new. Still working fine though. Next belt change I will probably change it (I am at 260,000 km). Be prepared the belt is a tight fit. Also, be careful when releasing tension on the tensioner, and use a wrench rather than a socket that can get wedged against the fan housing. Ask me how I know...
Also for some reason, the front differential dipstick was completely stuck. Heck of a job getting that out without breaking things.
 

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MY05 Forester 2.5 XT 5MT
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If cost is a factor, Rockauto sell OE parts under their original manufacturer's name, such as Aisin or Denso.

I would change the thermostat for peace of mind too

For brake pads, I've had good luck with Brembo OEM
 

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2011 Subaru Forester
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492 Posts
I thought of changing my thermostat as well when I did the radiator and coolant change on mine. Even bought the thermostat from the dealer in anticipation. The only problem is that it turns out that on the 2011 with the FB engine you have to drop the front exhaust manifold to be able to access it. I thought there might be a way without doing this but I could not see how. Fortunately, its a pretty heavy-duty thermostat, not like some flimsy ones I have seen, and I haven't really seen much discussion about them being a problem. Mind you at $ 50 Cdn with tax it better be a good part. However, until I see an issue with mine its going to stay on my shelf for a while.

Other things he might do are clean the MAF and throttle body. Possibly replace the PCV valve and its hose, and of course the coolant which the OP did not mention.
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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Here's a diagram of the pulleys. So I'm replacing the tensioner (B) and 2 idler pulleys (D + E). By AC idler bearing, do you mean A/C compressor pulley (H)? What about the other pulleys?
The belt system on my 2008 was entirely different. The idler for just the AC was a light pos. I an not sure I would change these idlers. Personal preference.

Why did the dealer not refix the oil consumption. If its to late for that use a 30 weight oil...at least.
 

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2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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In the previous Timing Belt Generations, the reason for replacing the water pump was one of insurance against its failing and consequently breaking the timing belt, which in turn broke the engine. Since you were already in there replacing the belt at 105k miles, it was easiest and cheapest to do the water pump at the same time. Along with everything else that touched the belt. Good insurance.

Now your Forester is in the first year of the Timing Chain Generations, and the water pump is quite intelligently driven by the much less critical serpentine belt. So you may consider replacing the water pump to be repair as needed, and not scheduled maintenance.
 

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MY05 Forester 2.5 XT 5MT
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I thought of changing my thermostat as well when I did the radiator and coolant change on mine. Even bought the thermostat from the dealer in anticipation. The only problem is that it turns out that on the 2011 with the FB engine you have to drop the front exhaust manifold to be able to access it. I thought there might be a way without doing this but I could not see how. .
That is crazy ! Is it the same on the FA turbo engine?

That is as bad as some manufacturers requiring a trip to the dealer to drop the bumper for headlight bulbs.
 

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2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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Design For Maintenance!

Subaru did once conduct an owner feedback gathering somewhere in northern California. @pleiad7 reports that DFM was strongly mentioned there.
 

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2011 Subaru Forester
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492 Posts
That is crazy ! Is it the same on the FA turbo engine?

That is as bad as some manufacturers requiring a trip to the dealer to drop the bumper for headlight bulbs.
I think we would both be surprised at the number of people who have bulbs replaced at the dealership. My nephews Acura does in fact require you to drop the bumper to access and change the turn signal lights.
With regards to the thermostat, according to the service manual, you also need to disconnect the O2 sensors to drop the exhaust. I did find a couple of posts in Crosstrek forums who managed to change it without dropping the exhaust, but not without great difficulty, and you need a ratcheting wrench, patience, and perseverance. I guess if I am ever going to install the thermostat I bought, I will have to buy an exhaust manifold gasket as well. At the moment I am in no rush, lol.
 

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2012 Forester X Auto
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I thought of changing my thermostat as well when I did the radiator and coolant change on mine. Even bought the thermostat from the dealer in anticipation. The only problem is that it turns out that on the 2011 with the FB engine you have to drop the front exhaust manifold to be able to access it.
It doesn't appear to affect the following model year (12) -
When I flushed my coolant, the thermostat was easy to get to, but in my case didn't need replacement anyway...
 

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2011 Subaru Forester
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Mmm, I am surprised it would be easier to get on yours. Here is a pic of its location. There are two bolts holding the thermostat cover. The back one being quite difficult to access. Bigger issue for me was I did not think there is room to remove the thermostat cover without the exhaust manifold being in the way. If it does its a super tight fit, and it cannot be easy getting the bolts back on.
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The thermostat cover must be about 2 1/2 in thick, there is hardly any clearance. The service manual for my 2011 says to drop the exhaust.
 

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‘14 FXTT; '15 Legacy FB25
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Is it really recommended to replace serpentine pulleys, tensioner and idlers if they’re not making noise or showing signs of deterioration? I’ve never done that - I’m pretty sure my previous ‘97 LGT with over 200k miles had the original everything re: secondary drive belt system. Since money is tight, I would just replace the belt. If money is REALLY tight, I’d only replace the belt if it’s meets the criteria for replacement.

Fluids: I’d use only OE ATF and coolant (when coolant is due)
—Your diffs aren’t really working too hard, so any name-brand GL-5 lube will work
—I would personally just use OE ATF for the PSF, if that’s what it calls for; however, I’m sure any ATF would be fine

—Add brake fluid to your list. If you’ve never touched the brake fluid, be very careful with the zerk fittings. Spray some penetrant a day or so ahead of time and then again before trying to work them free, and then take your time removing them, working them in and out until removed. If they’re too tight, leave them be; it’s not worth the risk of breaking them inside the caliper, which might end up requiring you to replace the caliper.

Brakes: like the serpentine belt, this is a replace-as-needed item for me. Take the pads out and if they’ve got some life left, clean up the bracket guides and pads with brake cleaner, apply some lube on the ears and backing plate and put them back. Brakes are relatively expensive and, if your braking isn’t showing any signs of issues (e.g., faded-feeling, vibrations, etc.) then there’s no reason to replace them.

Other: Again, since money is tight, I would follow the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it“ logic. If your engine is reaching normal operating temperature, then the thermostat is likely fine. If you’re not losing any coolant (due to evap. from the reservoir) and you’re not having temperature fluctuations issues (due to lowered coolant levels), then your radiator cap is likely fine.

Cabin Air Filter: I installed K&N cleanable filters in both my Subies. I’ll need them to last 3-5 years to make my money back, but they work well and smell nice when they’re ”refreshed”.
 

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2012 Forester XT AT
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I don't see any timing belt in your list...did you do it already? Took me 20 hrs to do last time (first time) i recently had to check It cause I was hearing weird noise and took it all off and reinstalled it in 2 hrs...youll also want a OEM thermostats and I ring. I disagree with that one guy who said to leave the water pump when I took my off it had some resistance compared to the new one...to have to take it off later orbit failing in the middle of a road trip? Or the thermostats failing? Since you're in there change it. If you have any question while you're doing it PM

Edit: ops thought all the 09-13 had timing belt. Wished my ’12 XT HAD TIMING CHAIN
 
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