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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have not owned a Subaru before, but have been looking for a Forester for the past 2+ weeks and have searched and researched many at local dealers, Craigslist, and other auto sales websites. The decent ones get snapped up really quick.

I planned on staying around $4-5000, but quickly realized that would have to go way over my target mileage of 100k. I wasn't too concerned about the year of the car as long as the head gaskets were already replaced.

Then I came across a salvage title Forester. I've read may threads of the forum advising against salvage cars, but this one doesn't look that bad. Really.

It's a 2007 base Forester - I wish it had heated seats and other frills.....

The guy is asking $8700. It has 65k miles, auto. I drove it yesterday and it drives very good. The engine has no piston slap. I'm guessing that since it's a 2007, there won't be any head gasket issues, right?

Crud, I can't post any links to pictures since I don't have 15 posts.
Well, how about this: remove the <dot> and replace with a dot to get a valid URL.

www <dot> rogerhanson <dot> com/subaru-pictures/

Kelly Blue Book is from $11k for a fair car to $13k for an excellent car. I'd say this one is in the good+ condition, other than the salvage item. There are a couple things that need to be finished...the rear hatch latch needs to be replaced because the 'gate open' light on the dash won't go out. Also, not related to the salvage: the fuel gauge quit working. The guy took it to a repair shop to get it fixed and he has a temporary instrument panel in the car now that says 16k miles. Once his instrument panel gets fixed, he'll swap them back.

The Auto Check (like CarFax) is clean except for the accident/salvage title. Auto Check calculates 4 owners, but that my include an insurance company and auto-auction.

The car has new tires. The interior is in good shape. Then engine is super quiet - nothing like the 1999's - 2003's I was test driving. The timing belt was replaced.

I'd be paying cash, so the salvage title wouldn't be an issue for a loan. I haven't checked with my insurance company yet. This would become our 'good' car.

Whaddya ya'll think?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I've heard it's bad form replying to your own post, but here I go anyway.

There are other Foresters around, but again, more $$ than I wanted to spend.

There's a '04 XS with 117k mi for $9000. It's a 1-owner, no accidents. I like the extra features, and rear disc brakes, too. Comes with dealer provided oil changes for 2 or 3 years and free car washes for life. But, am I getting into potential head gasket problems with something like that?
 

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02 Forester L (sold) Manual
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I would only buy a salvage title vehicle under a few conditions (note my job in my sig):

1) I knew the entire reason it had a salvage title and what was done to repair it. Wrecked? Flood? Theft? Without knowing the history I'd pass. Once the history is known, I'd have an 'expert' look it over to be sure it was fixed properly, especially if it was wrecked/rebuilt. The average person may not know what to look for.

2) I can buy the car for at least 75% or less of KBB.com "private party" value, because that's the most insurance will pay out should it be totaled again. A figure closer to 50% is actually better, and it's something you should be asking your insurer what their policy is and get it in writing.

3) I planned on driving the thing until the wheels fall off, because trying to sell a salvage title vehicle later in life can be an exerscise in futility. The average person won't want to be bothered with such a risky purchase.

Foz's are not easy to find and do sell quickly, you are right. But, don't be hasty in your buying decision. The right one will come along eventually.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the opinions. Have decided to pass on the salvage Forester.

Now am looking at one that I know has a head gasket leak. They say so far leaking a little oil, no coolant. I thought that I'd try to replace the gaskets myself (with a little help from my friends, acquaintances and enemies) - once spring comes and it warms up outside.

It's a 2-owner XS with 107k miles. Replace the <dot> with a real dot to moake the link work.
www <dot> saabpros <dot> com/saab/inventory/details/?s=3184
$7500 instead of $8000.

The CarFax and AutoCheck check out. No accidents or other issues on the reports. It's at the auction now, but they'll bring it back for me to look at.
 

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... 2-owner XS with 107k miles... has a head gasket leak... leaking a little oil, no coolant. I thought that I'd try to replace the gaskets myself (with a little help from my friends, acquaintances and enemies)...
Try? You will have a better car if you add in the cost for an experienced Minneapolis Subaru shop to do the head gasket repair, along with a timing belt replacement and all its associated actions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
OK. maybe try is not the correct word.

I have swapped engines in Fiats before. Replaced a head gasket in a mid '80s nissan, replace timing belts, do all the maintenance on my cars, rebuilt lawn mower engines and follow directions pretty well.

Also, I have friends with CNC milling machine/machine shop experience. I have a nice clean, dry shop myself to do the work in. My brother replaced head gaskets in a Legacy wagon.

I was looking at other Foresters that the Subaru dealer said the gaskets were starting to leak, some that had gaskets replaced (some, multiple times) and some with no history of gasket replacement. Without buying new, or a fresh head gasket replacement from a reputable shop (which would probably charge accordingly), it's kind of a crap shoot when/if the gasket will need to be replaced anyway.

I'm pretty sure that I can do it with help from some of the links (one by Brydon on this forum). But, having never replaced head gaskets on a Subaru before, it would be my first time which does bring in a little unknown and may question my confidence.

That's a little more accurate, I guess.
 

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You sound mechanically inclined (and I had 23 Fiats through the years, so feel your prior pain!). The only thing about Suby 2.5's is there is just a lot to go wrong...you've got two gaskets that have to be torqued in a bizarre sequence, a mile-long timing belt and a plethora of seals and gaskets that should be renewed. It's do-able, but it's not a couple hour job. I like working on cars, but paid a shop to do ours because I didn't want to spend the time nor risk doing something wrong on my wife's DD.
 
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