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2001 Forester
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Discussion Starter #1
I originally sent the enclosed private message to BTI_Bob, but I think the problem might be better to post on the open Canadian forum. Here's what was sent to Bob, then I will update you with what Belleville Subaru said about the problem.

March 11th: (Re: timing belt)

[/QUOTE]Would love to give it a go with the wife's 2001 Forester this summer, but there are two things I fear. One, screwing it up and two, taking too long. I've got a Haynes manual. The two videos on the thread will be reviewed many times as well. If I've never done a timing belt job before how long should it take? Should all the accessory belts be replaced as well?

The bigger problem, I'm having are the leaking frost plugs. Well, that's what the radiator shop thinks it is. We put dye in the rad fluid and ran it for two weeks. Everything points to the plugs. Put in an entire bottle of Iron Tite Sealer three weeks ago. The rate of leaking has slowed, but the plugs are still leaking. Topped up the reserviour this morning. The rad shop owner told me to take it for a long drive. He said the aluminium in glycol needs more time to precipitate out of solution. The Al oxidizes when it comes in contact with the ambient air. Have you ever seen the frost plugs cause this much trouble in your 30 years of fixing Subarus?

Does the engine have to be pulled to get at the frost plugs? The wife wants to dump the car before the timing belt job is required. What would you recommend?[/QUOTE]


March 12th:

Good Dog suggested I post locally on the Canadian forum. Is there anyone in the subject area that would be willing to help? If not, does anyone know of a Subaru-friendly shop?

Jack, Service Manager, at Belleville Subaru (BS) thinks it is the cylinder head gasket, not the frost plugs. I've read gasket leads are a common problem. If this is the case, BS want $1200 + taxes just for gasket replacement. The timing belt must be removed to get at the gaskets. Hence, it is only logical to do the timing belt job at the same time. If this is the case, BS will charge $2000+ even if I get provide all the OEM parts.

I'm just outside Trenton, ON. Would love to do the job myself with someone who knows what they are doing? Time is money, so you will be reimbursed, but not $2K+.

Would be willing to drive to GTA or northern US for the weekend if someone would be willing to help. Any ideas anyone?:Banane35:
 

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2001 SOLD!
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1,413 Posts
Too bad you aren't closer to Montreal. I could have done the head gaskets for you.
 

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07 Forester XT
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6,758 Posts
If you're in Kingston you're not too far away from Ottawa. Try TONIK or ROCKY, both are Subaru techs who run their own shops. They are well known with the Ottawa Subaru club guys and trusted to not just do it right, but tell you what the problem is, no BS'ing. I'm Legacy on the Ottawa board as well. I know both Rocky & Warren well, both guys have worked on my cars.

For about $1500 you can have a newer (2006-2008) motor installed. One of our members had his head gasket go and it was cheaper to upgrade the motor, rather than repair it.

Ottawasubaru.com :: Index
 

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2001 Forester
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Discussion Starter #4
not head gaskets

Too bad you aren't closer to Montreal. I could have done the head gaskets for you.
Took the car to a local guy, A/C and electrical specialist, to have him have a quick look. He reconfrimed the gaskets are fine. One has a very small oil leak, but nothing to worry about. He thinks one or both of the frost plugs are leaking. Next to impossible to see. Hence, the engine will have to be pulled to get at them. Before doing this, he suggested dumping the rad fluid, flush the coolant system with water and then run it on water a few days to give the coolant system a good flushing.

Will drop the water on in a day or two. Then replace it with fresh glycol to a 60/40 ratio. After the thermostat has opened, I add a 455 mL bottle of Irontite. Hopefully, the precipitate will plug the frost plugs. Well, this is what I am hoping on. Will keep you informed if it works.

If one is pulling the engine would you do the head gaskets in addition to the timing belt job?

Montreal is doable. It's about 3.5h to Montreal from Trenton.
 

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2001 Forester
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Discussion Starter #5
One last try

If you're in Kingston you're not too far away from Ottawa. Try TONIK or ROCKY, both are Subaru techs who run their own shops. They are well known with the Ottawa Subaru club guys and trusted to not just do it right, but tell you what the problem is, no BS'ing. I'm Legacy on the Ottawa board as well. I know both Rocky & Warren well, both guys have worked on my cars.

For about $1500 you can have a newer (2006-2008) motor installed. One of our members had his head gasket go and it was cheaper to upgrade the motor, rather than repair it.
Thanks for the references. Will wait to see if a coolant system flush, new glycol and Irontite will keep the engine put. Otherwise, you are right, a newer engine might be warranted. If so will contact Tonic and Rocky. I can't believe the Subaru engineers didn't see this design flaw.:chair:
 

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2008 XS 4EAT
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Glad to see you have a few responses and you can see we are spread out. It might be interesting to see if you can find a regional forum for Subaru's in your area.

You're in good hands so far with advice.

Good Luck
 

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07 Forester XT
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^^ He's got 2 - Toronto Subaru Club & Ottawa Subaru club. I highly doubt there's a big enough scene for one in the Kingston area.
 

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2001 Forester
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Discussion Starter #8
totally agree

^^ He's got 2 - Toronto Subaru Club & Ottawa Subaru club. I highly doubt there's a big enough scene for one in the Kingston area.

I have to totally agree with Legacy. Good Dog, Trenton is still considered by many as the "sticks", which is totally the case in my opinion.

I'm in the process of ordering all the timing belt job parts recommended by BTI_Bob and others from SubaruPartsGirl in Annapolis , MD. Thanks, Good Dog you saved the wife a bundle. We owe you a case of :Banane35: Going to Texas and will ship there. No MD taxes or duty because a week away allows one duty free status on purchases up to $750.:icon_biggrin: Over $100 CAD saved in the process.

Drained the coolant system yesterday. Will wait until the end of the Easter weekend to see if Irontite did its job.

In the meantime, will begin contacting the Ottawa shops to get some prices with and w/o pulling the engine + timing belt job.
 

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2008 XS 4EAT
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It's people like huck_this and Legacy who know the area and what is offered that helps. Great members on a great forum helping out when they can. Also when you have it all done you can offer your expertise to another Forester. Good idea of using your duty exemptions. I wasn't sure what the duties would be, I think Legacy also pops over for parts from time to time.

Canadian dollar almost at par today, months ahead of the prediction of parity. Trouble is it'll take 6-12 months for retail to start dropping prices up here to match.
 

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2001 Forester
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Discussion Starter #11
frost plugs_update

The Irontite seems to have done the job - the leaking has stopped. I'll ask Tonik or Rocky if the extra aluminum in the rad fluid is an issue. Further, will most likely get the timing belt job done in Bytown.

When I got to my hotel in San Antonio, TX, the parts were waiting for me. All OEM parts and at 50% of the cost if bought in Canada. I saved over $600 on parts alone. I'll support the American economy any day.:woohoo:

Legacy, thanks again for the forwarding the Ottawa shop contacts. I'll mention your name. You paid all your bill right?:biggrin:
 

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2001 Forester
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Discussion Starter #12
Rocky in Rockland

Tell them I sent you. (maybe they'll charge double :raspberry:)
Legacy, I can't seem to find any contact info on Rocky. Could you reply to this request? This way others will be able contact him. Tonik's info was easy to find.
 
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