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2017 Forester XT
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56 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, new to the forum, so thanks for bearing with me. I'm in the market for an 04 or 05 FXT. I was doing some research on Consumer Reports, and came across their "Reliable Used Cars" section. Foresters made the list, but there were some exceptions: the 2004 and 2005 XT engines were singled out for "Needing replacement at a high rate."

I was aware of the head gasket issues with Foresters in the 90s and also from early 2000s until 2007 or so. But FXTs weren't noted for head gasket issues (to my surprise). Instead they were dinged for needing new engines at a high rate, which is obviously a worse problem.

I ask because I'm currently looking at an 04 FXT from a very small auto dealer. It has 151,000 miles. However the head gaskets, valves, timing belt, water pump, and turbo were all replaced in the last month.

On one hand this is great, because these problem areas have supposedly been taken care of. On the other hand, I wonder how good a job was done replacing the head gaskets, and if the car is still at risk for "engine failure" like Consumer Reports describes.


1) Is it generally accepted that 04 and 05 FXTs need engine replacement at a high rate? And what is usually the cause of this?

2) Do FXTs experience the same head gasket issues as the NA engines?

3) Would you trust a small shop/dealer to correctly replace head gaskets (torque to exact Subaru specs and tighten in correct order, etc) and machine the heads properly?


Thanks for any info you can provide.
 

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Premium Member
2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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14,717 Posts
I don't believe 04/05 XT's are a problem at all. XT's are not really susceptible to HG failures. They have a semi-closed deck engine. NA engines prior to 2004 are susceptible to HG issues.

Did they replace the idler and tensioner when they did the TB?

In general I am leary of independent shops doing this work unless they are known to be good Subaru Specialists.

Also I am a bit paranoid when mega parts are replaced and the vehicle is then up for sale. (Did the repairs not go well?)

Welcome to the board.
 

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Registered
2017 Forester XT
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56 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don't believe 04/05 XT's are a problem at all. XT's are not really susceptible to HG failures. They have a semi-closed deck engine. NA engines prior to 2004 are susceptible to HG issues.

Did they replace the idler and tensioner when they did the TB?

In general I am leary of independent shops doing this work unless they are known to be good Subaru Specialists.

Also I am a bit paranoid when mega parts are replaced and the vehicle is then up for sale. (Did the repairs not go well?)

Welcome to the board.

Thanks, appreciate the info.

It's a small shop/dealer that is selling the car for a friend. He apparently lost his job and couldn't afford to repair the head gaskets, valves, turbo, etc. He needs the money from the sale because of the layoff. The shop had the repairs done before selling. They said the head was done at a good machine shop and they have all receipts. Not sure about idler and tensioner.

In regards to the major issue Consumer Reports brings up with FXTs (needing engine replacement at a "high rate"), do you believe that statement to be true? I want to buy an FXT and need a loan from family, but my dad read the engine failure thing and now he's dead-set against FXTs...
 

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2002 ES300
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4,412 Posts
Big thing that causes issues is the 'catted' up-pipe and egt sensor. What happens is they go bad, dissentigrate, and get shot thru the turbo and possibly into the engine. Thus causing bad things. If the 'catted' up-pipe was replaced with a 'catless' up-pipe and the egt removed; there shouldn't be an engine issue. Subaru realized it and removed both from 2006+ models.

More info regarding this: http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f87/how-can-i-tell-if-i-have-cat-catless-uppipe-250218/
 
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