Subaru Forester Owners Forum banner

Advice on buying a used Forester XT

7402 Views 6 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  INTOTHEWRX
Good afternoon.

I have been in search for a used Forester XT manual transmission which has brought me to this forum. I finally came across one relatively near my location but it is 4 hours away and I have not viewed in person. I am hoping to receive your thoughts on the car, price point, and any things I should keep an eye out for.

Asking Price: $12,800
2005 Forester XT
Transmission: 5MT
Color: Silver
Interior: Black leather

From the photos the cars exterior and interior look to be in very good condition.

Thanks in advance for any help!


See less See more
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Well...ask why the front bumper is a different shade and apparently either aftermarket or reman based on the wave under the driver's headlamp and the color difference...and the rear 1/4 panel back is a different significant was the wreck it was involved in? That color match is pretty bad.
  • Like
Reactions: 2
That's woefully overpriced even for the low miles. It's still a 13 year old turbo Subaru, so expect to pour some money into it.

Agreed on asking about accident damage.

If you want a broken XT for cheap to fix up for probably less that this car's asking price, buy mine! ;)
Besides what has been stated, two things come to mind. When was the timing belt been serviced last? Think those are a 8 year/100,000 mile interval. I'd also check the condition of the radiator. It is very common for these to crack as they age due to being made out of plastic. The area mine cracked was at the top left hose connection. Good luck! The SGs are the best, IMO!
I'm going to disagree with everyone posting in this thread so far: manual-transmission SG forester XT’s under 60,000 miles are exceedingly rare. If the car is in good condition that is a good price (also noting, you can always negotiate). This is an enthusiasts car and KBB doesn't always generally apply - enthusiasts looking for a clean car are willing to pay, in my experience. When I bought my car it was 18k @ ~80k and not stock. Similar situation as you —*four hours away and had to drive down and make a quick decision. I jumped on it because I knew it would be sold in a matter of days if I did not (being a rare/desirable color/model/transmission and totally rust free).

That said: the headlights look like brand new oem replacements as does the bumper with the mismatched paint job. It's not that unusual for people to refresh old UV-damaged headlights (as I have), but this combined with the bumper on what appears to be an otherwise stock car lead me to suspect that this car may have been in a significant front-end collision. I would proceed with caution, given that.

Upon re-inspection of photos, it is pretty obvious (as others stated) that the rear quarter panel was also replaced. I would bet this thing was in a fairly significant accident.

That said: it could be that the owner just replaced the bumper and headlights as a matter of upkeep since parking dings and hazed headlights look crappy. It could be that he bought the front bumper with intentions to get it sprayed later and never did etc ... but I would verify that the car has not been in a significant front-end collision very thoroughly.

IF it is in good shape and that is a price you are willing to pay, I would try and subtract the amount required to get the bumper matched.

I agree with what was said above about the radiator, if you buy it replace it with an aluminum radiator immediately.

I would definitely have a compression and leak-down test performed ... even XT foresters can develop head-gasket issues and while those tests won't always tell you if a problem exists: they sometimes do. If the car has been sitting a long time and coolant hasn't been refreshed be wary of head gasket issues. Look for white smoke on cold startup, check the coolant and verify that it is clear green. Check around the radiator and coolant overflow tank for signs of dried coolant that has dripped down the radiator etc ... this could be a sign that the car has overheated in the recent past. Also look at the condition of the battery terminals. If the battery terminals are corroded, this can lead to the ionization of the coolant which increases the rate at which gasket material is eaten away at by the coolant. If the coolant is milky at all, or if it has any oil in it: be aware that the car might be due to have head-gaskets serviced and be aware of what that can cost.

Some of the early XT's have a catted uppipe. The cat is known to disintegrate and hurl metal debris through the turbo and into your shortblock, ending your engine. I am not sure if it was just the 04's or if it was both the 04 and 05 foresters. Either way: you will want to make sure the up-pipe is not catted, and probably verity the condition of the turbo if you can. If it has a catted up-pipe, just replaced it with one that is not catted. I am not sure if you need to update your post-turbo cat to maintain emissions compliance if you do this, I suspect you do. But you definitely do not want that catted uppipe in there.

Good luck!
See less See more
IMO - way too high of a price for a 13 year old forester - regardless of mileage.
IMO - way to high of a price for a 13 year old forester - regardless of mileage.
1 - 7 of 7 Posts