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2002 Forester L Auto
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3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone. I own a 2002 forester L that is losing engine coolant. I figure it’s the head gasket but it’s not showing up in the oil so I’ve just been topping it off and going. Car has 150k and lately the engine has developed a rather nasty tap when started cold. It always taps but it’s really bad when cold. The transmission works well but I was under there yesterday trying to stop a rattle and the whole pan is gooey. A good bit of gooeyness under the engine also. I don’t know anything about the AWD system except that the car drives fine. A shop has quoted $2400 to replace head gasket and anything they take off to get to it. What do you think? I’d hate to invest this money just to have problems with the bottom end of the motor in a few thousand miles. Alternatively, I could buy a nearby 05 xt for $6000.
 

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MY05 Forester 2.5 XT 5MT
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3,078 Posts
To do the head gasket properly, you'll be replacing the timing belt too, so you might as well replace the idlers and tensioner for that......Oh and the water pump and thermostat.....

If your radiator is original, it would be a great time to replace that too, since your coolant system will be drained down

If you have the chance, always go turbo :rock:
(They still blow head gaskets but not as commonly as the Non turbo EJ25 engine)
 

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2002 Forester L Auto
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3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Anyone else want to chime in on what would stop you from replacing the head gasket? How bad would your engine have to sound? How much oil leaking would it take before you just couldn’t trust the motor? Or can all that stuff be fixed along with the HG? How much is too much to spend on a car this old (2002, 150K)?
 

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1999 Forester S
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530 Posts
It sounds like it's worth fixing to me, however, if you pay a shop to do the entire thing, the gasket will fail again in short order.

I repaired my wife's HG and other parts a few months ago. I documented some of the lesser known pitfalls of the HG repair in this thread, but I would also suggest reading this guy's thread as well. Do a bunch of reading before you spend a dime. If you have a shop do the repair, make sure they use the HG part number that we recommend. If they use the headgasket that is called out for your engine, it will fail again.
 

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2001 Forester S, 4EAT
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2,945 Posts
I have a 2001 Forester S with 213,000 miles on the clock now. I had the HG done around 130,000 miles (around 2008 by the dealer) which was a bad idea as the HG are now leaking/weeping. I am losing coolant, it's mixing a little with the oil. The oil level is fine. I plan on getting the HG done by a local shop that specializes in Subarus, they replace HG with the Turbo version of the HG.

Should you do it? It depends on the vehicle and it's condition. In my case, the engine and everything is in fine shape. It starts and runs smoothly and nothing else is wrong with the vehicle. The plan is to give the vehicle to my 17 year old son as a car for him to drive, and hopefully last him another 5 years until he finishes college.
 

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2004 XT 5 MT
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1,113 Posts
Try a pressure test to see where the coolant is leaking. Also you can look under engine at head block interface and see if it’s external leak.

I’d buy the xt if it was me rather then dump @2500 into a car that’s worth that on a good day.
 

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2000 Forester 4eat
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116 Posts
Just a suggestion before fixing the car send an oil sample to Blackstone Oil analysis. I think its about $30 including shipping to have them check the oil to see the condition of the motor. If you are having a tapping noise that would be my first step. Also I see you are in Virginia I believe they use salt, is there any corrosion on the car? If so how bad and is it worth fixing the car.

As for the 05 XT make sure you verify service records, If it has more that 120k miles and the turbo has not been done be prepared to replace it, if it was ridden hard and not maintained I would be worried about engine failure to turbo failure. Again make sure you check for rust.
 

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04 WRX wagon 5-speed
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18 Posts
I agree with the others posting that you should evaluate the condition of your current forester. If the body is in decent shape with no other issues it's worth fixing and passing on to your son. It would cost less than buying a FXT.
 

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2006 Forester xt turbo
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1 Posts
Meh, my subaru specialists didnt even suggest fixing it. 2006 turbo forester. White smoke from the tail pipe and smell of coolant. Too expensive to be worth it according to them.
So, Im leasing a Rav4 hybrid now - I never want to fail another emissions again ;-)
I just got tired of having to keep on top of every issue with the Forester.
 

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subaru had a lot of problems with the gaskets in these years. they put out a gasket conditioner that you should be able to purchase at the dealer [i have also purched it from amazon]. it fixed our 00 forester. you should try this before dumping your money, and quite frankly, subarus leak.
 
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