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2001 Forester 4EAT
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

My girlfriends '01 forester is suddenly having lots of problems. I'm capable of fixing these but budget and time are constraints making it hard to determine my best choices in what to repair, with which parts and what order.

Here is the short list of problems:
  • Radiator just started leaking (likely due to recent extreme cold weather)
  • PS system began leaking
  • Passenger side CV outer boot failed and is now making noises
  • Drivers side CV outer boot appears to have small crack also
  • I replaced the water pump over a year ago but Timing belt was not changed at that time due to lack of funds.

I have a couple of questions on this mess of issues. First on the CV issues, it seems wisest to replace both axle shafts. The price for new/reman seems reasonable but when added on top of the other stuff to fix price starts to become an issue.

I did some reading on this and other forums about subaru axles and found that more than a couple of people recommended trying to locate used OEM subaru axle(s) and go over them, clean, re-pack with grease and add new boots. It was also pointed out that the OEM subaru axles have a distinct green paint color. I believe I found one today on a 98 forester in the junkyard. They would charge me about 20 all said and done to take it home, provided I can remove it rom the vehicle. I was already able to tap out the pin and it is loose from the transaxle. A previous junk-yarder already pulled the strut towers so it's basically ready to be pulled with the exception of the axle nut is still on (and is crimped too). Also, I'm still under the assumption that both left and right axles are the same part.

So first questions:
  • I did some research on the axle compatibility, and from what I found only 99-04 forester axles are the same, but not '98? If anyone knows, clue me in.
  • Is getting a used axle (subaru OEM only) dumb and a waste of time trying to clean it up?
  • If its a good idea for $20, how will I be able to crack that axle nut. Currently the parts vehicle has no brakes or even a front seat. The car is sitting on 3 welded together rims for support, so too much torque with long breakers could be a problem in the yard. I have an older 1/2 breaker but would still have to buy the 32mm socket. Unlikely that I can afford 3/4in. drive socket and breaker, or battery powered impact.

On the topic of the timing belt, I'm getting nervous, it's been at least 5 years since replacement, maybe more. No documentation to confirm when it was installed last. I had to put it back on when I did the water pump because the price of t-belt and all the tensioners/rollers was too much at the time.

Next questions:
  • Seems like a no brainer to get the t-belt changed and probably all the rollers/tensioner.... but that's still at least $140 in new parts.
  • If I go for new/reman axle(s) is is safe to let the tensioner and rollers go and just change the belt? Or what is the best option? just tensioner and belt?
  • Also, I know that the oil pump is often discussed with a Timing belt... again, I have no idea how old the OP is... but at least 5 years old.

It's looking unlikely that I'll locate a used radiator, but it may not even be worth my time, so I'll probably just get a new radiator. Also, I believe that the Auto trans has lines running to the rad also? is that right? if so, do I need to change out all the ATF, or suggestions here... I've never owned or worked on an automatic so I can't say I know what I'm doing there.

And the power steering issue looks like a leak at a threaded connection, so hopefully that'll be an easy fix, but needs further investigation still.


Ideally I'd like to just do everything at once... having the radiator out will make the t-belt job easier at least. I'm also thinking of flushing the brake fluid since all the other fluids will be changed out, but any other thoughts on things to do and how to prioritize them while considering cost would be helpful.

Worst case I could put off some of the work for a month or so and possibly be able to spend a little more on parts, but it's hard to decide what is less important right now.
 

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14 outback auto
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342 Posts
You don't mention the mileage, but it's due for a timing belt given the age. When you did the water pump, you essentially did 80% of the work to change the timing belt. Too bad you didn't do the pulleys, belt and tensioner at the same time. Yes, the cost will be a little over $100. Check the gates kit on rock auto. Remember, this is an interference engine and if the timing belt fails, the car is essentially junk. I didn't do anything with the oil pump when I did mine. Probably a mistake?

The radiator just slips in and out. Yes it has a trans cooling hoses connection. Really easy. A used one should be readily available for about $50. I use car parts. com to locate a part and drive over to get it so that I can inspect it prior to purchase. Car-Part.com--Used Auto Parts Market

Maybe someone else will chime in about the axles.
 

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1998 Forester L Automatic
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269 Posts
For the axles, you'll need a new axle nut.

My choice would be remanufactured axles at $50 each; job done, and no worrying about whether you rebuilt it correctly or not.

What price safety?

From your list, I'd say do the axles, then radiator (use some radweld until you can), then the timing belt stuff as soon as you can afford it. The power steering leak can be left until you have spare cash to replace the rack assembly - stick some gunk in there until then, and see if it stops the leaks.
 

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2001 Forester 4EAT
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41 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You don't mention the mileage, but it's due for a timing belt given the age. When you did the water pump, you essentially did 80% of the work to change the timing belt. Too bad you didn't do the pulleys, belt and tensioner at the same time.
I know, I wish I could have just done it all then... Right now it has 173k but in the past year the average mileage increased due to my girlfriends new job requiring her to do some driving during the work day.

Yes it has a trans cooling hoses connection. Really easy.
Any concern over loss of ATF during this process? If so, is it better to replace all the ATF or just top it up after the rad replacement is complete?
 

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2001 Forester 4EAT
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41 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
For the axles, you'll need a new axle nut.

My choice would be remanufactured axles at $50 each; job done, and no worrying about whether you rebuilt it correctly or not.
I've been looking at this pair (x2) from rock auto: EMPI brand I can't tell if its new or reman or if it comes with a new nut though (picture shows one). But it is a popular seller on rock auto, so maybe a good choice unless anyone has something to say about EMPI. At $50 a piece is seems like a good way to go. Still considering the used axle approach, if only for a future backup part.

The power steering leak can be left until you have spare cash to replace the rack assembly - stick some gunk in there until then, and see if it stops the leaks.
Well, I think it's leaking from a PS hose at the crimped rubber to tube connection. I think I found an exact replacement hose at the junk yard yesterday and paid next to nothing for it, but I'll be looking over the rack soon and see if there are other problems there. I did see one of the boots on the tire rod was also cracked, so maybe damage is occurring in the rack from dirt. I'll have more time to investigate this weekend and I can get it up on jack stands in the garage. The weather should also be better than the past few weeks. Is the rack a likely failure kind of thing on subarus?
 

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1998 forester s auto
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27 Posts
I think if it was me,I would do the TB asap. Rad asap after that. Not much good having new driveshafts on a car that doesn't run. The PS leak would be next.Depending on where the leak is maybe at the same time as the rad is out? If you're a little short on cash top off the tranny fluid with new. Just my 2cents. Subarus can be pricey to keep running. Good luck on whatever direction you go.
 

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2001 Forester 4EAT
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41 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, we decided to just wait longer to afford new parts for everything. It's been sitting for the past week or so until I could get the parts. I just got 2 new axles, new radiator and a timing belt kit will all the tensioners. Couple of other little parts too.

As soon as the weather gets a little warmer and dryer I'll be tackling everything at once. Due to the small space in my garage, I'm doing the passenger side axle first and then flipping the vehicle around to do the rad, TB and change out all the fluids.

A couple of questions on the fluids. I see in the official subaru scheduled maintenance and they recommend ONLY special Subaru coolant. Is this legitimate or just some way to force you into the dealership to spend more? Is there a acceptable alternative? To come to think of it, last time when I changed the water pump I didn't put in any special coolant, just whatever standard coolant from the local parts store.

Also, I'll be changing out the PS, ATF, brake fluid and I'm looking over maybe changing the diff oil too. Anything I should know about the differential fluid change? The Subaru maintenance section also says the ATF filter (looks like oil filter) never needs to be changed, yet I saw a couple of those for sale online. Any reason to change or not change that one?

Last, it looks like maybe the PS leak is being caused by another split boot on the steering rack. I'll need to look into that more. Is this the kind of thing you just replace the whole rack instead of replacing the boot? Or is damage already be done from the exposure?

I appreciate the thoughts and feedback so far.
 
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