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Discussion Starter #61
I am not sure exactly what the basis is for that chart. There are people who run 225 on 6.5 inch rims . I don't think it causes a rubbing problem, just not optimal for the tire's performance..
No kidding, my snows are 225/60R16 on 16x6.5 rims... while they're not exactly high-end tires (Hercules) they worked just fine when I put them on for a spin around the block. Looks like I'm going with stock-compatible Nordman WRs when I replace the tires. I don't feel like having to worry about speedo error and potential running issues.
 

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I will check those non-spec Nordman WRs. By my calculations the total diameter of the tires would be around 6cm larger - this would be okay?

edit - my calculations are whack, difference is about 0.6cm.

Thanks for that - everywhere else was saying I could safely run 235 on my rims. On my 16x6.5s I currently have 225s - which you say is the maximum width for 7 inch wide rims. Are those tires going to be a problem (if I ever use them)? Or is the width problem in relation to the suspension rubbing? Sorry that I'm really dragging this one out, I just want to understand this as best I can. I want to avoid any more mistakes and proboems with this car.
Keep in mind that you can't necessrily just say "225's" won't fit this wheel. The section width can vary between tires and manufacturers. Some tires of the same size can run wide or more narrow than others. It's BS but not all manufacturers use the exact same method to measure section width so there can be variances between brands.

Your best bet is to refer to the manufacturers recommended wheels widths for a given size of one of their models or a size chart at a website like Tire Rack for any given tire you're interested in.

There are also tire size calculators you can search for if you want to find one Ina n alternative size while trying to maintain a similar rolling diameter. .....to keep your speedo accurate and not screw with gearing, etc.
 

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Here are all the OE size variations in different markets. I saw they use 215 60 17 in Australia. I like winter tires to be a bit narrower with more sidewall, so I got Blizzaks in that size for winter.
 

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Discussion Starter #64 (Edited by Moderator)
Because of the cost savings and the higher profile (better for driving off pavement) maybe I'll go with the 215 60 17 tires... they're also weirdly cheaper.
 

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Discussion Starter #65
So after putting 40km on a transmission that was virtually brand new (3000km), the thing completely disconnected from the motor. The original problem was the TC slipping by 250+RPM. It now slips however many RPM are needed to keep the car immobile. This thing is a hot pile of garbage. I hate this car. I would rather it be at the bottom of a river than in my parking spot drinking my bank account. Insert your own profanities here.
 

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Discussion Starter #66
So the money-pit was luckily fixed without deepening the pit; mechanic error. They incorrectly seated a wire in the solenoid wiring harness. Unfortunately this happened right before what was supposed to be my first long-distance drive (600km) in the thing so I got to do the drive in a questionably old Nissan Versa with a CVT. I guess it's a blessing that it happened before I went on my drive instead of during. Finding a reputable transmission shop in the middle of British Columbia in a town of just over a thousand people might have been difficult. Going on another road trip in a few weeks, and I'll try to finally get some shots of this thing now that I can drive it and actually enjoy it.
 

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Discussion Starter #67 (Edited)
It's running decently now if you can call it that. I've started noticing the most annoying rattle from the sunroof when it's open. It's a very quiet but consistent rattle that can be eliminated by applying pressure up or down on the glass of the moonroof when it's open. Closed, it's quiet (except for the other trim rattles that this thing is full of). The moonroof is a real mood-killer though, as I love driving with it open year-round, or I did when I had a moonroof that didn't induce a migraine. I've confirmed it's not from the sunshade, and is exclusively from the main glass portion. If stationary, a forceful lift causes no problems, but a push down after, no matter how slow, causes a single, tiny but noticeable "tick."

Also, the engines in these things suck. Can hold a speed but can't accelerate on a hill worth anything (as in going up a 16% hill at about 40km/h), and when it shifts down when you punch the gas, it just kind of feels like the engine has already reached its limit. That's what I get for going from a 3.0 V6 to a 2.5 4F I guess. Don't think I'll ever be taking this piece of junk off pavement other than onto a gravel driveway, I can't believe any of you people actually can get enough power out of this to go up logging roads or even overlanding... and to think people actually tow with these in Europe. Yikes. I wouldn't put a kayak on its roof out of fear of making the engine explode. Also sounds like a diesel.

Don't think I'll ever get used to a car that's twice as noisy and half as powerful as my old Tribute. Massive buyer's/seller's remorse at this point. Worst life decision I've made up to this point. Never buying another Subaru in my life - noisy, inefficient, absurdly uncomfortable, sloppy steering, full of cryptically proprietary fluids, underpowered, sloppily and poorly built (panel gaps everywhere, paper-thing bodywork), unresponsive accelerator (what kind of car has a half second delay when you floor it before the engine slowly starts creeping?) horrible transmission (even with a brand new one in it), no visibility over the ocean liner of a hood, sloped cargo area (never put anything round in there), awful interior design... never again. Junk. That awful little Nissan Versa with the CVT I had to drive for 1200km when my transmission crapped out handled better than this brick. That CVT got better acceleration when passing on the highway than the godawful 4AT this thing has been cursed with.
 

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I can appreciate your desire to vent, but can I ask if you have actually driven a good one from the same generation? There are risks in buying a high mileage car, and usually an issue or two. I think you need to clean your throttle body or have someone look over your engine. Also just to point out you have a manual and a sport mode on the transmission, both can help the situation you described. You don't have to take it off road but it is more competent than you give it credit for. As for rattles mine has 6 or 7K less than yours and I am actually shocked that it has no creaks in the Cabin. If something is rattling in the sunroof it can be fixed. I have tried to point out sources of other less expensive quality fluids...anyway your last paragraph is over the top, and pretty much factually wrong, but I guess we all have a right to our opinions.
 

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I can understand some of your frustrations InfinNorth, but perhaps consider the following:
1) A drop in engine size (3lV6 down to 2.5l 4) is likely to result in a drop in performance- especially with an older vehicle like you've purchased. It must be said, the car was no 'ball of fire' when new. Please take the car's performance in that context. and if the car is loaded performance will drop noticeably (no ball of fire strikes again)

2) I would suggest running some SUEC through... if you haven't heard of SUEC (Subaru Upper Engine Cleaner) look it up, it's not just used on Subarus and as a result you can buy it by the boxload online if you want. Plenty of online videos on it too, and on forums. And it's not expensive, even in Australia. You may want to try the Subaru fuel additive as well.

3) If it's sounding like a diesel, then it may be knocking or 'pinging' or 'pinking' under load- try the SUEC and refer to a mechanic also in case there is some other issue e.g. valve train, cam timing, ignition timing, carbon buildup (see subaru fuel additive above), etc.

4) You've done well fixing the mechanical issues- just remember that the noises, annoying as they are, are minor- stopping without warning or dropping its guts on the road and leaving you stranded are major issues.

5) A word of warning about tyres (you won't like this either): these vehicles require 4 same brand, same type, same size, same age/use tyres or you can trash the transmission. So get rid of any mismatched tyres and put 4 matched ones (brand/model/size/age/wear) on. This is pedantic enough that if you trash one partially worn tyre you need to replace all four. The reason is there is a viscous coupling in the transmission and if you have a mismatched tyre (or mismatched front-rear differentials through a transmission replacement) the viscous coupling will break under the strain as it is constantly wound up. And they do break and with age too (I think mine currently is).

6) Check if your vehicle was subject to the Takata airbag recall and if it was, that it was done.

7) I agree that these particular vehicles did not get the best-quality materials, especially for the interiors. However the fit-n-finish of mine is quite reasonable and the materials, although 'low-rent,' have been durable. Panel gaps are reasonable, paint has held up well and panels aren't too tinny (by my standards).

Rereading your first post it sounds like the car has had a hard life- mine has not been through any of that (broken windows, crash damage, etc) so cut it some slack and expect maintenance items to continue to crop up.
 

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Discussion Starter #70
I can appreciate your desire to vent, but can I ask if you have actually driven a good one from the same generation? There are risks in buying a high mileage car, and usually an issue or two. I think you need to clean your throttle body or have someone look over your engine. Also just to point out you have a manual and a sport mode on the transmission, both can help the situation you described. You don't have to take it off road but it is more competent than you give it credit for. As for rattles mine has 6 or 7K less than yours and I am actually shocked that it has no creaks in the Cabin. If something is rattling in the sunroof it can be fixed. I have tried to point out sources of other less expensive quality fluids...anyway your last paragraph is over the top, and pretty much factually wrong, but I guess we all have a right to our opinions.
I have driven four that were far lower kilometres and I can't remember any significant difference other than their transmissions working and not having rust blisters developing every six inches under the low-quality paint. I will disagree about your opinion on my last paragraph - I've deep-cleaned every corder and cranny of this car inside and out and I've gotten a good feel for its construction. It's rubbish compared the to Ford (Mazda) I drove before. Regarding fluids, your points have been really helpful but I've never heard of another car where you had to be super careful about what you put in it. Most cars you are safe buying Walmart or Canadian Tire home-brand stuff and filling it up for a few bucks instead of having to carefully research whether a fluid that should theoretically work will actually blow you up. I've never heard of another low consumer-level car that requires that. So yes, you've solved my issue of it costing a lot but the specificity drives me insane. I want to know that when I blow my radiator in the middle of nowhere, I can drop into any gas station and fill it up with whatever they sell... which was the case in my old car. Not this one.

I can understand some of your frustrations InfinNorth, but perhaps consider the following:
1) A drop in engine size (3lV6 down to 2.5l 4) is likely to result in a drop in performance- especially with an older vehicle like you've purchased. It must be said, the car was no 'ball of fire' when new. Please take the car's performance in that context. and if the car is loaded performance will drop noticeably (no ball of fire strikes again)
Oh I know that. That's the one "given" I had to swallow before buying the car, but even the 4I Escape/Tribute (compared to my V6) could accelerate fairly well on the highway without you having to firewall the pedal.

2) I would suggest running some SUEC through... if you haven't heard of SUEC (Subaru Upper Engine Cleaner) look it up, it's not just used on Subarus and as a result you can buy it by the boxload online if you want. Plenty of online videos on it too, and on forums. And it's not expensive, even in Australia. You may want to try the Subaru fuel additive as well.
I will check on that - I was planning to Seafoam it at some point, but I'll try some Subaru stuff as I'll have the right to gripe if it fails when I use matching-brand recommended stuff. Are the risks the same? I've heard horror stories of people seizing their engines by using carbon cleaners as chunks break off and block passages.

3) If it's sounding like a diesel, then it may be knocking or 'pinging' or 'pinking' under load- try the SUEC and refer to a mechanic also in case there is some other issue e.g. valve train, cam timing, ignition timing, carbon buildup (see subaru fuel additive above), etc.
This thing is going to the junkyard before it has to diagnostically go to a mechanic again. I'm in for half the cost of the car at this point in repair bills and I'm not a sunk-cost kind of person.

4) You've done well fixing the mechanical issues- just remember that the noises, annoying as they are, are minor- stopping without warning or dropping its guts on the road and leaving you stranded are major issues.
Stopping without warning... like what it did to me two weeks ago right after I replaced the transmission? All in jest, obviously, since that was mechanic error, but I don't trust this thing not to drop its guts on the road when I'm 100km from cell service. I used to be comfortable taking my rustbucket of an Escape into the ugliest, off-the-beaten-path logging roads on Vancouver Island. Those days are over for me and it's not by choice. This car leaves me no confidence.

5) A word of warning about tyres (you won't like this either): these vehicles require 4 same brand, same type, same size, same age/use tyres or you can trash the transmission. So get rid of any mismatched tyres and put 4 matched ones (brand/model/size/age/wear) on. This is pedantic enough that if you trash one partially worn tyre you need to replace all four. The reason is there is a viscous coupling in the transmission and if you have a mismatched tyre (or mismatched front-rear differentials through a transmission replacement) the viscous coupling will break under the strain as it is constantly wound up. And they do break and with age too (I think mine currently is).
That's good to know. How do you know if a VC is failing? I've never read or learned about them at all. I'm getting new tires soon - Nordmans.

6) Check if your vehicle was subject to the Takata airbag recall and if it was, that it was done.
I assume it was done since the scumbag dealership at least caught two missed recalls (brake line and some minor body thing) that hadn't been done but said that "another recall had been performed in the past."

7) I agree that these particular vehicles did not get the best-quality materials, especially for the interiors. However the fit-n-finish of mine is quite reasonable and the materials, although 'low-rent,' have been durable. Panel gaps are reasonable, paint has held up well and panels aren't too tinny (by my standards).

Rereading your first post it sounds like the car has had a hard life- mine has not been through any of that (broken windows, crash damage, etc) so cut it some slack and expect maintenance items to continue to crop up.
I'm honestly wondering if the person who sold it to me lied about it being privately owned. It feels like it may have been a rental, especially considering its mileage compared to its age (around here). It's visually been kept in good condition, with paint chips being nicely touched up, while it has been broken into, the engine bay hasn't been kept clean (took me two hours yesterday to do a base-level deep clean), was mechanically trashed, interior is good but not great... really makes me wonder. I don't expect this car to last me five years. We'll see. I was excited when I first got it but I can't wait to get rid of it now and get... I don't even know. Foresters are, at least in Canada, the last non-Jeep small SUV that are built as an SUV and aren't a stupid tear-drop shaped giant car. I have no other fallback and I'm never getting a Jeep. Thanks for the reply, I appreciate it. I can't believe I've virtually waste two months of my life to get a car to be minimally driveable.
 

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Regarding fluids, your points have been really helpful but I've never heard of another car where you had to be super careful about what you put in it. Most cars you are safe buying Walmart or Canadian Tire home-brand stuff and filling it up for a few bucks instead of having to carefully research whether a fluid that should theoretically work will actually blow you up. I've never heard of another low consumer-level car that requires that. So yes, you've solved my issue of it costing a lot but the specificity drives me insane. I want to know that when I blow my radiator in the middle of nowhere, I can drop into any gas station and fill it up with whatever they sell... which was the case in my old car. Not this one.
Apparently you never owned a Honda.
 

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I understand how frustration and anger cloud thinking, but when you insist that Mazda's and Ford Escapes from approx 2010 and prior had better paint than your Subie, I think you need to take a tour of a junkyard. The same deal goes for the comments about body panels, and assembly gaps.
Your comments about fluids only reflect your own and many others' lack of knowledge about them. There is not a single fluid used in your Forester that you cannot find an equivalent at Canadian Tire, Napa or any other automotive store. There is no difference here as compared to a newer Honda or Nissan. I am 59 and I do not remember owning a vehicle that allowed me to use whatever willy nilly, for anything other than maybe wiper fluid.
As for matching tires its pretty much a requirement for any AWD vehicle. And when it comes to going up hills easily the more HP the better and a V6 or 8 cylinder will typically have a much easier time of it than a 4. The downside is you use more gas in everyday use.
I understand that buying a used vehicle with lots of unexpected issues is a bummer. Its one of the reasons you see people comment all the time that they buy new so they can know the history of the car. The next best thing you can do is to buy one being used currently as a daily driver that the owner needs to change for size or financial reasons, and have it inspected if you cannot do so yourself. For some reason in my mind, people are more likely to trade in a lemon than they are to try and sell it privately. Once a used car dealer has it, I have no confidence that I will be told anything truthful about the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #74
Your comments about fluids only reflect your own and many others' lack of knowledge about them. There is not a single fluid used in your Forester that you cannot find an equivalent at Canadian Tire, Napa or any other automotive store. There is no difference here as compared to a newer Honda or Nissan. I am 59 and I do not remember owning a vehicle that allowed me to use whatever willy nilly, for anything other than maybe wiper fluid.
About fluids, as per manuals the Ford, Mazda and GMC all required "MERCON compatible" or "DEXRON compatible" fluids with no specificity, while Subaru insists on Idemitsu or Subaru ATF HP which costs about two to three times as much as even brand name MERCON or DEXRON. Same with coolant - all that mattered was colour. I assumed it would be possible to use off-brand stuff but the fact that the manual and half the stuff online makes it sound like your car will drop dead the moment you use it makes it difficult to will yourself into doing so.

As for matching tires its pretty much a requirement for any AWD vehicle. And when it comes to going up hills easily the more HP the better and a V6 or 8 cylinder will typically have a much easier time of it than a 4. The downside is you use more gas in everyday use.
Just ordered a new set of Nordman Solstices with AUDM sizes (215 instead of 225). Used to have the WRG3s on the Tribute and also on that GM and I loved them for coastal BC weather, and the Solstice is just the secondary run as the WRG3s are no longer on the market. And yeah, that old Tribute sure moved great but was no kind friend to the atmosphere. Rarely saw better than 12.5L/100km city. I haven't gotten worse than 11.2 city on a tank so far with the Forester. Still not great for its age, but miles better than what I had before.

I understand that buying a used vehicle with lots of unexpected issues is a bummer. Its one of the reasons you see people comment all the time that they buy new so they can know the history of the car. The next best thing you can do is to buy one being used currently as a daily driver that the owner needs to change for size or financial reasons, and have it inspected if you cannot do so yourself. For some reason in my mind, people are more likely to trade in a lemon than they are to try and sell it privately. Once a used car dealer has it, I have no confidence that I will be told anything truthful about the car.
That's the kicker. I bought this from a guy who swore up and down that this thing was his daily, that he had loved driving it for years and even had all sorts of rubbish made up about his experiences with it. Claimed he was switching to a Crosstrek as it was smaller and better on fuel. I suspect all he switched to was the next car the dealer he worked for wanted to offload privately because no one would buy such a turd. Either a dealer or a car rental agency. I can't say he'll get a polite nod from me if I ever see him again.

I'm going to SeaFoam the engine to try to deal with the diesel-esque sound of the engine and maybe get a little smoother of an idle. I've read mixed things about SeaFoam and SUEC but SeaFoam is apparently a bit more aggressive.
 

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Seafoam the gas and oil, drive it thru a tankful, change the oil and throw in some good gas.
Like most vehicles they respond well to a clean throttle body as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #76
Seafoam the gas and oil, drive it thru a tankful, change the oil and throw in some good gas.
Like most vehicles they respond well to a clean throttle body as well.
Throttle body was supposedly cleaned by the liar that sold me the thing, so I'll go give it a good clean out - I know there are lots of tutorials for that. Yeah, I'm going to do the full three-way SeaFoam (liquid in gas and oil, spray the intake while running). Sadly I have to wait a couple of weeks to be on a trip to do that because my apartment building prohibits any form of maintenance within the property (I got a warning for changing a flat tire). Hoping that will deal with some of the dieselesque sound of the engine.
 

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I wouldnt trust anything if one maintenance claim was false. My general attitude with a new used car or truck is to go through it "soup to nuts" so to speak. Brakes and tires updated first, along with all fluids, filters, wipers, and upgrades to LED lighting, thorough cleaning in and out. Did the plugs get done by you? How are the brakes? Any pics of the hot pile yet for us?
 

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Discussion Starter #78
I wouldnt trust anything if one maintenance claim was false. My general attitude with a new used car or truck is to go through it "soup to nuts" so to speak.
Yeah at this point I trust nothing on this car other than the parts I or my mechanic have installed, replaced, or interacted with personally.

I'm going to be changing out fluids as I get the opportunity (see my previous comment about my horrendously restrictive busybody strata). Brakes were inspected by the scamhouse of a dealership, but they're working well and my own measurements show the pads to have at least a few years on them. Plugs haven't been touched - I will probably pull them out and at least gap check them if my engine continues sounding like this. As I didn't get to go on a trip with my car, no pics of the hot pile - I'll try to get some when I go out this week. It's a decent looking car except for the fact that it's silver which makes it anything but a decent looking car.

I have yet to deep clean the interior, I've scrubbed every bit of the exterior with a toothbrush (literally) to get rid of the grime that had built up around fittings, and I've cleaned and, where applicable, Armoralled everything except for the intake manifold and the hoses under the hood.
 

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I will make it easy for you == Castrol full synthetic transmax. If you read the product sheet Castrol states it meets or surpasses the OE Subaru fluid. For oil pick whatever synthetic you want, and you can change the grade-- I run 5w30.
Brake fluid is DOT 3, gear oil is 75w90. For the power steering fluid you can reuse the Transmax. For coolant you can put the green stuff in if you want to but it won't last as long or have all the same benefits as the blue, Blue coolant for Asian vehicles is available at any auto parts store.
And clearly you haven't owned Hondas or Nissans that also like to specify Hondamatic or Nissan Matic J, and also sell their own branded fluids.
I appreciate that you got a problematic car, but its a bit much reading you leaping to conclusions and trashing the whole brand. You bought a high mileage 9 year old car, it doesn't matter the brand, you have to expect to have some problems and repair expenses.
Here is a list of what I have repaired and or spent on my 2011 since I bought it last October. Prices include taxes and shipping. I didn't include the head unit or back up camera I bought. Also have not installed the brakes or front control arms yet. I bought the arms from PartsAvatar because the price for two Mevotech Supreme ones was less than I can pay for one pretty much anywhere else. Rear bushings on them show lots of cracking but no splits so really its a question of when not if they will eventually need replacing.
Part costs​
oil, filter, pcv valve, rad cap​
89​
mounting tires​
40​
Denso radiator​
149.26​
Coolant​
60​
5w30 oil and filter​
60​
spark plugs​
50​
transmission oil​
70​
Thermostat​
48​
PCV hose​
17.7​
New tire​
139.61​
Right fog light​
20​
inner fenders​
30.04​
serpentine belt and pulleys​
107.17​
gear oil and t60 torx​
70​
touch up paint​
33.29​
L and R front control arms​
250.61​
F and R rotors, pads,misc caliper parts​
317.87​
cv axle and seal​
104.32​
1656.87​
 

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Discussion Starter #80
I will make it easy for you == Castrol full synthetic transmax. If you read the product sheet Castrol states it meets or surpasses the OE Subaru fluid. For oil pick whatever synthetic you want, and you can change the grade-- I run 5w30.
Brake fluid is DOT 3, gear oil is 75w90. For the power steering fluid you can reuse the Transmax. For coolant you can put the green stuff in if you want to but it won't last as long or have all the same benefits as the blue, Blue coolant for Asian vehicles is available at any auto parts store.
And clearly you haven't owned Hondas or Nissans that also like to specify Hondamatic or Nissan Matic J, and also sell their own branded fluids.
I appreciate that you got a problematic car, but its a bit much reading you leaping to conclusions and trashing the whole brand. You bought a high mileage 9 year old car, it doesn't matter the brand, you have to expect to have some problems and repair expenses.
Here is a list of what I have repaired and or spent on my 2011 since I bought it last October. Prices include taxes and shipping. I didn't include the head unit or back up camera I bought. Also have not installed the brakes or front control arms yet. I bought the arms from PartsAvatar because the price for two Mevotech Supreme ones was less than I can pay for one pretty much anywhere else. Rear bushings on them show lots of cracking but no splits so really its a question of when not if they will eventually need replacing.
Part costs​
oil, filter, pcv valve, rad cap​
89​
mounting tires​
40​
Denso radiator​
149.26​
Coolant​
60​
5w30 oil and filter​
60​
spark plugs​
50​
transmission oil​
70​
Thermostat​
48​
PCV hose​
17.7​
New tire​
139.61​
Right fog light​
20​
inner fenders​
30.04​
serpentine belt and pulleys​
107.17​
gear oil and t60 torx​
70​
touch up paint​
33.29​
L and R front control arms​
250.61​
F and R rotors, pads,misc caliper parts​
317.87​
cv axle and seal​
104.32​
1656.87​
Good to know - I'd love to know where you got tires mounted for $40, Kal Tire charges $100 for a set of four. Local shop? That's also a stinking deal on most of those parts - would you be able to throw a few links for where you got the CV? I have access to a Lordco shop account and even with that, the one I replaced was $160. I got lucky and only paid $37 for the serpentine with the account but I didn't replace any pulleys. What would signal that new pulleys are needed?

My gripes at this point are primarily about performance and noise, which shouldn't be very much affected by the car's age - maybe a little but two different shops have declared theengine to be in good condition. It feels like a very gutless car and the throttle doesn't seem responsive at all, with a huge deadzone at the lower end. Pulling away from a stop sign requires you to punch it hard and immediately back off to get any meaningful acceleration. I doubt I could do 0-100 in under 25 seconds. Reminds me of the golf carts I drove when working in park maintenance, the kind where you start the engine by pressing the gas. It really makes me wonder why people get these to do performance mods on. Is it just a brand thing?
 
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