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Registered
2003 Forester X Auto
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3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all - I've joined on behalf of my daughter. Let's face it, I'll be doing most of the maintenance :grin2:

She's bought a 2003 bubble blue Forester - very low mileage, only 127,000 km (kilometreage?). Independent six-page inspection report only mentioned a rear diff oil seal that needed attention. All else was 'consistent with age of vehicle". All service interval pages in the book were stamped (one exception, at approx 80,000km).

Funny thing, though - most of the servicing was done *before* the recommended mileage/age, e.g. 100,000 km service done at 97,000. Tyres about half-way worn. Drives well, a bit of wind noise around the driver's window. The aircon is nice and cold :thumbsup:

After market stereo head unit with aux port and USB (very important, so I'm told :wink2:).

BTW, I'm on my second Outback. Owned a MY99 until it gave up the ghost at 480,000km, now I have a 2006 MT Outback.
 

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Registered
'17 Impreza Hatchback CVT
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830 Posts
Welcome from NoHem! Great to have a vehicle that was well maintained by someone who was proactive! May it give your daughter many more km!
 

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Premium Member
2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
Joined
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14,380 Posts
Thing is they only changed the timing belt. The idlers, water pump, and tensioner need changed..
Don't mean to be a negative nanny, but its likely that you will need head gaskets.

Keep close eye on the coolant level and if even one drop of antifreeze is noticed at the HG area they need done.

The good news is that once done you are good for well over another 100K miles. 195K miles on my 08 (granddaughter has it)

Welcome.
 

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Registered
2015 Forester Ltd cvt
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347 Posts
Oil leaks on the bottoms of the heads also might indicate time for head gasket replacement.
Ours showed the symptoms at about 90,000 before we traded it in.
Research seemed to indicate opinions that it was normal and almost considered "maintenance" for the boxer engines.
As I wrote, we traded it because I don't consider a $2500 repair a maintenance item.
 

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Premium Member
2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
Joined
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14,380 Posts
Oil leaks on the bottoms of the heads also might indicate time for head gasket replacement.
Ours showed the symptoms at about 90,000 before we traded it in. .
Yes but "might" is the operative word. Leaking antifreeze is the key. So there is even one drop of coolant at the gasket or it uses coolant, it probably isn't necessary.
 

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Registered
2003 Forester X Auto
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3 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Hi all - thanks for your welcome. Boy, oh boy did she get an introduction to car ownership yesterday (xmas day).

1. On our way to the family "do" in Brisbane, she picked up a cut in the front left tyre. She said "why am I turning the wheel to keep the car straight?". I *thought* it might be a flat tyre, and it was - totally deflated! So, on goes the spare - and I'm pretty sure it was the original Yokohama - all the moulding nipples were still there on the tread, and there were no scratch marks around the lugholes. Anyway, there was a tyre fitting/repair place near my brother's place that was still open, so we got it patched.

2. Driving home from xmas eve dinner, the car behind her was flashed by the police, but she was a bit confused and uncertain, so she pulled over, too. The police came up and did the usual licence inspection, check the car registration, she was very sweet and smiling, and the police sent her on her way.

re: maintenance - the report listed the tests done by the inspector - pressurise the cooling system for 15-20 minutes, then start the car. Usually if coolant is leaking into one or more cylinders, there'd be "chugging" or misfires when the engine is started. No misfires. CO2 leak test was clear, no sign of coolant in oil or oil in coolant, no sign of leaks around the heads, no puffs of blue smoke on the overrun.

My understanding of the HG issues in earlier EJ25 engines (like this one, and my previous Outback) was mainly a result of two things: the HG itself, which was coated in graphite, and improper cooling system maintenance. If the coolant wasn't flushed and replaced regularly, it tended to become acidic, which ate away at the graphite coating, leading to leaks. The HG issue here in Oz (if your car was still under original warranty) was dealt with by dealers adding "Subaru approved additive" to the cooling system, and extending the warranty. I believe the additive was a pH buffer, some people thought it might have been one of those cooling system leak treatments. Anyway, the report was confident about HG issues, and (with one exception) every service interval in the booklet was dealer-stamped, so that's about as good as I could hope for. My own dealer says that they will inspect and if necessary replace the idlers, pulleys and water pump while they're doing the timing belt - and if you decline to replace those items, they ask you to sign a disclaimer that you were advised and declined to replace them, and they won't be responsible for damage if the belt lets go. The HG design was changed in 2005 (I think) to a multi-layer steel design, and no graphite coating. My MY08 Outback manual recommends a coolant flush and replace every second service interval.

BTW - this is south-east Qld, we're lucky get below 10 degrees C (50F) in winter here, so antifreeze is not something I'm familiar with :laugh: The coolant is usually bright green, so leaks are still very visible.

There are some pics on her phone, but she's gone off to the Woodford Folk Festival, so I'll try to post some pics when that's finished.
woodfordfolkfestival.com

Here's a thumbnail from the ad:
 

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Premium Member
2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
Joined
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14,380 Posts
No one can tell if the water pump, tensioner, or idler bearings are bad..trust me. Insist they replace everything. Make sure they check all the seals also. Sounds like your HG is good for now. Great!! But the conditioner really is not a panacea. I added it numerous times.

Congrats on the car. Sounds like a good one.
 
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