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2004 Forester XT 5 speed
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If there's one thing that could be said about my wife and I that was 100% true, it's that we are Subaru people. It started with my first Subaru, my 2002 WRX Wagon. I bought it in 2007 and took a trip 6 hours west by bus to pick it up sight unseen. I bought it from a small dealership that told me if I didn't love the car, they'd pay for my ticket back home. Well, I was smitten. After driving a 1990 Honda CR-X, the WRX felt like a dream. It had AC. It had power steering. It was fast. My wife (then girlfriend) and I made a trip of it picking the car up on a Saturday and staying the night in a motel. We had fun. It was an exciting time.

Fast forward a few years. We got married and my wife wanted a new (to her) car. She was driving a 2001 Jeep Wrangler and wanted something better suited for her commute. I knew nothing about Foresters and didn't know just how rare and sought after the 04 XTs are. We just happened to stumble upon a 2004 XT at a lot 5 minutes from our house. We got approved for the car loan, traded in the Jeep, and off we went with our new car. I was slightly jealous, I'll admit. I loved my WRX but there was something special about that Forester. My one hangup was that it was automatic. I'm a manual guy. I've owned 4 cars in my life, all 4 have been manual.

My 2002 was getting up there in miles around 2014/2015 and I wanted to capitalize on its value while it still had some left. I think I sold that car at 160,xxx miles. I posted it up on my local CL and had a buyer within the hour. He drove off with it the next morning. With down payment and financing secured, I found my next car. My Satin White Pearl 2011 WRX. Like my 2002, it resided in Oregon and required me to buy it sight unseen. This time it was a private party. He owed on it and I was financing which made it incredibly tricky. He, thankfully, worked with me and in the end, it was another trip for my wife and I to buy a car. We flew in on a friday, stayed the night in a seedy motel in Gresham (there was a fight in the parking lot that woke us up at 3am), and bought the car the next day. I was amazed. Heated seats, bluetooth, and the sunroof. It was an amazing car. We drove home and it's been my baby ever since. I brought home my daughter in this car. It will always be special to me.

Then the day my wife and I often look back to as the worst series of decisions we've made. She wanted a newer car and wanted something more luxurious than a 04 Forester. So we shopped around and found a 2010 Legacy 2.5i Premium at a local dealership. We (please don't judge) traded in the XT and bought the Legacy. At this time, I still didn't realize how sought after the 04 Xts were. It wasn't until I made an offhand comment about trading in our 04 XT on Reddit that I realized our mistake. I had 3 people PM me asking for the name of the dealership and asking if I knew if they still had it. Palm, meet face. I vowed then and there that we will own another XT before I die. And as it turns out, the person who bought the Forester we traded in visits someone they know in our neighborhood fairly regularly so we had that rubbed in our faces for a while. We could tell it was our old one because it had some ghosting from an old sticker that was on the rear gate.

We've always said we needed something with more room. It gets old having to borrow trucks or bigger cars to haul stuff. Camping is impossible with our toddler, two dogs, and equiptment. I don't know exactly what my wife said, but it got my gears turning. Why not shop for a Forester now? We looked at brand new ones, couple year old ones, XTs, non XTs and everything in between. Don't get me wrong, I love my WRX, but I've been wanting an 04 XT for a long time now. So I proposed a solution to our problem. I wait patiently for the perfect car and we get ready to sell her Legacy. I get the new car and she takes over my WRX. She agreed! So began the search. We even noticed a clean 04 or 05 XT in the parking lot of the restaurant we were eating at. So I took one of the receipts, wrote my phone number down with a brief message to call me if they were interested in selling their car, and stuck it under the windshield. I didn't hear back.

My requirements started out pretty broad. I wanted a Forester and it had to be an 04-08 XT. I love both styles and was flexible. I looked around my area. Nothing (seriously Idaho). I looked in SLC, Portland, Northern California, Seattle, Denver, and even looked at a few nationally. I saw a few clean ones. Some salvaged title, some a little higher mileage, some modified, some bone stock. But I found next to no manuals. The more I searched, the more I realized my Forester had to be a 5spd. I can't do automatic. I had the Craigslist search down to a science. I'd bounce between the sites searching "Forester XT" every day for weeks. Then I saw it, she was perfect! WRX KYB GR2 shocks with WRX springs. Drag DR-31 wheels. MadDog Whisper Exhaust. 125,xxx miles. Best of all, it's a 5spd! The owner had just posted the car that morning. I quickly sent the listing to my wife. She responded with "That's nice!". I emailed the owner asking if it was available. He confirmed it was. We worked out the details and he sent me some close up shots of the exterior dings. No biggie, I have my flaws too. We worked out a price, listed the 2010 Legacy for sale (it's still available!), and I booked my flight. I flew into Portland solo this time. The owner was kind enough to pick me up from PDX and we headed to his bank in Vancouver. Transaction was smooth. He and his wife were both amazing people. Since I was turning around and driving it 6.5 hours home, she packed a goodie bag for the trip. It was super thoughtful and they came in handy!

The drive back was uneventful. It was boring. I woke up at 6am and was home by 6:30pm. She drives amazing. Mechanically it's solid. The body has a fair amount of scratches, but hardly any dings and nothing major. I do want to get the scratches touched up at some point but for now, she's fine. My ideal plan is once I'm done with school and working full time, I want to do the STI conversion including the JDM front clip. Short term, I'd like to at least get a catless uppipe so she can breathe a little better.

If you've hung around this long, thank you! If you've just scrolled past it to see pics, thank you too! I can ramble and my wall of text is just me having a cathartic experience. If anyone has suggestions for the audio setup, the one thing I desperately miss already is the bluetooth feature on my WRX. I tried searching but came up empty. Is there a factory option that bolts right up that at least has AUX if not bluetooth? Thanks!

Anyway, here's some pics. Hope you enjoy!


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