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2006 Forester XTen Auto
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Discussion Starter #1
Evenin' all.

I find myself needing to replace my daily with something a little more practical, and although I initially had my eye on the Outback 3.0 I've stumbled upon a reasonably priced and local to me Forester 2.5 (2006). And I'm impressed.

Aside from the issues with the oil pick up pipe, CHGs and piston rings is there anything else a propsective purchaser needs to know? What advice could you give me?

MOT history is fairly clean of late although 'handbrake has little reserve travel' has featured a couple of times and the 'Engine MIL inoperative or indicates a malfunction' error needs more investigaton when I meet the owner.

So there you go, anything I should check for would be appreciated. Oh and it's an automatic.
 

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Sahuarita, Arizona USA 2018 Forester Limited
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2,083 Posts
When did it have a timing belt service? Timing belt should be replaced every 105k miles or 105 months, whichever comes first.
 

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06 2.5XT Manual
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711 Posts
Check for rust.

If the engine light turns out to be the secondary air pump then it was cheap-ish (£100) to fix (deleted from ECU).

Oh and saggy bum if it has self levelling suspension.
 

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2006 Forester XTen Auto
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Discussion Starter #4
When did it have a timing belt service? Timing belt should be replaced every 105k miles or 105 months, whichever comes first.
Good point, I did ask the seller this and was informed there's no history of it. It does have a 'full' service history so I need to check that because clealry that doens;t make sense. I'll be expecting to negotiate a little on the price to reflect this, I suspect it may be part the reason of the sale. Any one able to give a ball park cost for this, I see the kits alone are a good couple of hundred £.

Check for rust.

If the engine light turns out to be the secondary air pump then it was cheap-ish (£100) to fix (deleted from ECU).

Oh and saggy bum if it has self levelling suspension.
Yep, torch will be in hand! Secondary air pumps, is that the exhaust thingy for cold start ups? And how would I know if has self levelling suspension, a button or anything? Is it saggy all the time or when engine running / off?

Thanks for the responses chaps (y)
 

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Sahuarita, Arizona USA 2018 Forester Limited
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Good point, I did ask the seller this and was informed there's no history of it. It does have a 'full' service history so I need to check that because clealry that doens;t make sense. I'll be expecting to negotiate a little on the price to reflect this, I suspect it may be part the reason of the sale. Any one able to give a ball park cost for this, I see the kits alone are a good couple of hundred £.
Sometimes when a shop replaces a timing belt they will place a sticker indicating such on the under side of the hood or in a conspicuous place in the engine compartment. It's probably a long shot but look for a sticker before you assume the timing belt has never been replaced.
 

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2006 Forester XTen Auto
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Discussion Starter #6
Yes, I'm banking on that. MIght be a good deal my way if that is the case! :)
 

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06 2.5XT Manual
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Good point, I did ask the seller this and was informed there's no history of it. It does have a 'full' service history so I need to check that because clealry that doens;t make sense. I'll be expecting to negotiate a little on the price to reflect this, I suspect it may be part the reason of the sale. Any one able to give a ball park cost for this, I see the kits alone are a good couple of hundred £.



Yep, torch will be in hand! Secondary air pumps, is that the exhaust thingy for cold start ups? And how would I know if has self levelling suspension, a button or anything? Is it saggy all the time or when engine running / off?

Thanks for the responses chaps (y)

I'm only a year into Subaru ownership, so I might be wrong, but yes, as far as I'm aware the secondary air pump is to reduce emissions on start up, but it's not necessary for UK testing.

The self levelling suspension, hopefully others will be able explain more, but it's not electronic (hydraulic maybe?), basically, if there is a heavy load in the boot it's supposed to level things out over a short amount of time. The way I was told is look at the car on a level surface side on, and if the gaps in the rear arches are the same as the front then it should all be grand.

If not... you'll be looking at a bit of a bill, I can pull out what the previous owner paid for his if you want to replace like for like (expensive) or you might want to go down the coilovers etc route - others can advise.

I'm sure @TMX will be along and he'll have good advice!!
 

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2006 Forester XTen Auto
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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks Ian,

TBH knwing what to look for is enough for now. How have you found it so far? Worth the eye watering VED?!
 

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06 2.5XT Manual
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I love it! I'm on the 55 reg so I think I'm last of the "cheap" tax.

For me, I went from a 1.6 turbo diesel to a 2.5 turbo petrol and it was incredible!!!

Obviously the first month or so is probably the most expensive as fuel economy is abysmal when really enjoying it! But once you get "silly every journey" out your system, the economy starts to creep back up again...its still not great.. but the amount of mileage I do, it's fiiiine. Hehehe.

I just had a squint through receipts (I was wondering when mine had the cambelt done!). 83000 miles:

Cam belt kit £249
Water pump £40.50
Aux drive belt £11.50
Anti freeze £11.97
2hrs labour £100

I assume all plus vat
 

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MY05 Forester 2.5 XT 5MT
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2,451 Posts
Welcome to the forum.

Hopefully that little list will give you something to work with. Especially the cruise control function - If the Check Engine Light is on, it automatically disables the cruise control and brings up a flashing cruise light.. There is no way I know of to re-enable the cruise control while the Engine Light is on - So that might help if you suspect the CEL has been disabled/removed.

In the UK, the timing belt is every 6 years or 60K miles from memory - Odd it is so different to the US :unsure:

Check under the oil cap and in the coolant expansion tank for signs of water and oil mixing, producing a light mayonnaise or milky kind of thing. I would check the oil dipstick for that too - Any of those can be signs of head gasket failure.

Is it a dealer/garage selling it ? If so, perhaps ask to see a compression test result, especially cylinder 3 -That's the cylinder most have trouble with if there is a piston/piston ring issue

As for Self Levelling Suspension, there are no electronics involved. On the rear shocks, there will be an extra cylinder on the side. That's the reservoir to help level the back if you are towing or have something heavy in the back. From memory the factory shocks were either KYB or (Can't remember the brand name) If they leak or spray oil from a seal, they will sag. It is generally more cost effective to remove the rear Self Levelling Shocks from both sides and fit non-SLS and non-SLS rear springs. KYB do the Excel G and Bilstein do the B4 shock too. Springcoil can make you up springs to match, at factory height or 1.5" lower if you prefer. They also have some slightly stiffer spring rates for a sportier ride from memory too (More details here: Another SLS victim )

Depending on budget, since you mentioned an Automatic, have you considered a Forester 2.0 Cross Sport? It's a 2.0 WRX Turbo engine, so much less likely to suffer headgasket woes like the 2.5. They are only available as grey imports from Japan as far as I know but come with a few nice little upgrades, such as WRX 4 piston front brake calipers

Check the HID headlights work, as they can be a pain in the arse if a ballast has gone etc - @Ianb1234 can advise how tricky that job is

I average 26-27mpg on very mixed roads not hanging about but have had an enormous 33.2mpg (UK Gallons) on an all motorway run at 60 with the 5 speed manual. They are great fun and amazingly capable on the roads and will embarrass most out there if you chose to. They do farm tracks and especially snow very well too

I've attached some of the marketing Subaru USA used at that time :D
 

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2006 Forester XTen Auto
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Discussion Starter #11
Cheers TMX, great write up. And thanks Ian for the breakdown of the timing belt costs. (y)

Regarding my budget and the Cross Sport; I've seen those and would dearly love but they are indeed out my price range now. A bit background may help. Basically, I'm about to buy a new house with the current Mrs Dabooka, that'll enquire quite a bit of work before moving in. Now my current daily drive is a Swift Sport ('14) and great fun though it is, it's also rather impractical with a very small boot. My plan is move it on and replace it with something from the proceeds that’ll see me good for a year or two. I’ve also considered a Grand Vitara, a Shogun even a Range Rover (!) before settling on a petrol Subaru. Initially the H6 in the Outback but more recently this here Forester.

I currently do about 7k miles a year (less than 1k for work) and get 40mpg out the Swift so a small drop in mpg isn’t a concern. Insurance creeps up a touch. VED will increase by ~£400/yr. As it will remain my daily car I also want it to be nice thing to drive and be in and it appears to be good on both of those.

At the end of the day I’m buying private towards the bottom end of the UK used car market and have expectations to match.

The hint about the cruise control is excellent, thank you for that. Also the mayo under the oil cap. Suspension sounds like a DIY job if it's simply being replaced?
 

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MY05 Forester 2.5 XT 5MT
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with the current Mrs Dabooka
That's some interesting wording. :LOL:

Anyway.......The rear suspension can be done on a driveway with tools. I would really suggest 6 point/sided sockets over the 12 point/sided sockets from the likes of Halfords as you'll just end up rounding off bolts. I like Facom but Draper will do the job fine.

Keep away from Range Rovers, I've just helped someone Humpty-Dumpty a BMW V8 Range Rover back together again. Luckily the guy buying just wanted it as a driveway ornament to polish each weekend, which it did well The 9 (!) mpg was not so cool. Shogun 2.5 DiD engines were known for head gaskets, even worse than the Subaru 2.5.

Suzuki isn't a bad shout, I don't know much about them, but for light duty, I understand they are pretty good.

If you plan to tow with the Forester, they tow 500Kg effortlessly and you'll forget it's on the back. When you start getting up to 1600Kg it's a fair bit. I've towed 2,200Kg from Newcastle to Brighton and she did it......... But 6 months later, the headgaskets went. I can't recommend towing that much weight and personally, if I was looking to tow more than 1500Kg again, I would be looking at a Toyota Landcruiser Colorado, probably in 5 door format with the diesel for lots of engine braking. Not sure if there are many around in your budget, you might find a 3 door variant? - If you're of a certain persuasion, those 3.0 (And 4.2) Landcruiser engines will drink bio fuel from used cooking oil quite happily.

Outside the box but............. The ~2003-2004 Volvo V70 Front Wheel Drive with the Euro 3 D5 engine was very reliable. The Euro 4 onwards was not reliable and would avoid as that's when all the Swirl Flap, DPFs etc all came in. I have no idea how good their gearboxes were though or how they came up with regards to rust.

If you can get an 05 or 55 plate Forester, it'll be much cheaper on the VED. There are some facelifts with the HID headlights on 55 plates too.

Overall the Forester will drive nicer than the options above, putting the Volvo V70 in second, just because the front seats are very comfortable for long distance driving but they aren't......quick.
 

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2006 Forester XTen Auto
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Discussion Starter #13
That's some interesting wording. :LOL:
I like to keep her on her toes! :ROFLMAO:

Regarding the other options, I'm wanting to make the most of the situation to 'tick a box' hence looking at Range Rovers and Shoguns too. Although I've not ruled them out in my heart of hearts I need something that's generally reliable, and you know the saying 'One life: Don't spend it fixing a Land Rover'

The Grand Vitara appeals as I've been impressed with the Suzuki I've owned for a while now and good luggers they are too. But they're not as quick as the Forester. I'd like a good '55 cheaper version but the 2006 is across the river and the lockdown really limits my travel opportunities too.

Either way I think I've been convinced that to consider a 2.5 XT isn't a completely stupid idea after all. Well, maybe less foolhardy than the alternatives I've listed.

Let's watch this space.... (y)
 

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I like to keep her on her toes! :ROFLMAO:

Regarding the other options, I'm wanting to make the most of the situation to 'tick a box' hence looking at Range Rovers and Shoguns too. Although I've not ruled them out in my heart of hearts I need something that's generally reliable, and you know the saying 'One life: Don't spend it fixing a Land Rover'

The Grand Vitara appeals as I've been impressed with the Suzuki I've owned for a while now and good luggers they are too. But they're not as quick as the Forester. I'd like a good '55 cheaper version but the 2006 is across the river and the lockdown really limits my travel opportunities too.

Either way I think I've been convinced that to consider a 2.5 XT isn't a completely stupid idea after all. Well, maybe less foolhardy than the alternatives I've listed.

Let's watch this space.... (y)


Just a note from Wyoming, USA ; My wife has an '06 2.5XT with 180k miles on it and takes it to shows (she's an artist) a lot. Mountains, winter driving ,anywhere. The car has had the routine maintenance (including timing belts) and still runs fine. We get some pretty wild weather here (hail, blizzards etc) but it hasn't had a problem getting through when the roads aren't closed completely.
 

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2006 Forester XTen Auto
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Discussion Starter #15
Hi everyone, just a quick update.

I've arranged a viewing so hopefully I will get to see it in the tin shortly. A little digging around has found another advert where it states the management light was caused by code P0410 and that subsequently the cruise doesn't work... - I did ask about the function of the cruise, following advice on these boards, but I've had no response to that question.

So my question is any idea what this is? Secondary air injection (air blower)? If so, I know it's possible to delete and remove this but is it the job of a pro, is it quick and is it expensive? I'm not after a pristine example or anything but I cannot afford the time at the moment, I need something that'll work. I appreciate we can't predict the future but when it's being presented with problems well, that's a different prospect entirely.

Thanks for your help thus far chaps! (y)
 

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MY05 Forester 2.5 XT 5MT
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If the valves are stuck closed, just remove the airpump and hose, then reove the relay

Then take it to someone who can map them and have them remove the fault codes for the Secondary Air Injection System.

You can still pass emission test via exhaust probe without the Secondary Air Injection System working at MOT time.

If the seller is a dealer, see if they can get you an MOT - It'll buy you time before you need to worry about it.

The car will run fine with the Secondary Air Injection System fault, you just wont have Cruise Control - That's all.

Good luck and let us know how you get on :)
 

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2006 Forester XTen Auto
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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for that.

Private sale, not mentioned on the advert I responded to. Can't decide if it's underhand and if I should walk away or if I should look anyway...

MOT until October, but I can't afford the time to running around getting this sorted. And of course everyone being bloody closed doesn't help.
 

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2006 Forester XTen Auto
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Discussion Starter #18
Just got back and I must say I understand the appeal!

Lovely car really, for a boxy 15yr old large petrol engined car. Seems ideal for what I need from a car for the next 12-18 months. Pulled and stopped straight, all the switches seemed to work, no error codes, cruise worked, tyres and reasonable tread depth...

Things that weren't so good; the body work had a few dings (expected), interior dated (because it is), steering wheel doesn't adjust for reach (annoying rather than anything else). Stereo dated. Reverse sensor seems kapput as they went off immediately. Air con was okay, but 'would benefit from a top up'. You can feel the slush box sapping power...

But, for a couple of grand I can't really argue. Going to have a pint and probably go for it.

Tell me more about this 60 quid club?!
 

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06 2.5XT Manual
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To have the secondary air pump mapped out cost me (then subsequently the dealer I bought it off about £100 or maybe £120 inc vat? Probably the latter. That was done by engine tuner down here in the southwest. But most car tinkering places should be able to sort it. Took them about an hour from drop off to "it's ready" phone call, but job probably 5 mins.

Cruise control didn't work whilst the code was live, I could cancel the code use cruise control etc and it gave me maybe a few hours before the light came back on again.

£60 is what you're supposed to tell the wifey what each new mod cost...
Although I can't see that fooling anyone these days...
 

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2006 Forester XTen Auto
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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for that, I'm hoping should it return I could get my local place that quoted for the timing belt to sort it. I've already Googled how to remove it and blank it off (seems straight forward to be honest) it;s the ECU element I can't and wouldn't do.

In other news I've decided to go for it. It's a cheap car the end of the day and it's probably still a far lower risk than a lot of others in that price range. My missus convinced to stop worrying and do it. WCPGW? I must confess I do have a tendency to overthink things.

All being well it'll be at mine over the weekend but I won;t be able to drive it for a week or so until I've sold mine on and swapped the insurance over. It should allow me time to tinker though so not all bad.

£60 is what you're supposed to tell the wifey what each new mod cost...
Although I can't see that fooling anyone these days...
Ah right. Yeah, I'm already a card carrying member of that one. I have an Ford Cougar as a hobby car that's full of sixty quid parts! :LOL:
 
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