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07 Forester at
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Someone is giving me a 07 Forester w/36k on it for free. It's the original owner and I know personally there have been no accidents. It's from a little old lady who drove it to church and to the supermarket.
I have no experience with Subaru, what should I do first?
Can I put bigger tires on it?
Can it be lifted a little?
Thanks
 

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2007 2.5XT Limited 4EAT
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Congrats! That's a really good get. You can certainly lift it and put bigger tires on it if that is your thing. Although as they say there is no such thing as a free puppy (or car). The first thing you should do is have the car looked over by someone who knows about these cars, if you are not savvy. I only offer this as a caveat because while getting a low mileage car from a little old lady sounds ideal, it can often times be anything but.

Here's why...If the car has only been driven on short trips and has not seen much freeway or high speed use, there could be sludge in the engine and PCV system. This happens when cars are driven just long enough to get them warm and shutting them down shortly after. This tends to build condensation in the engine and plumbing...if the car is then not driven hot enough or long enough on the next drive cycle more condensation will build and oil and fuel vapor will start to cling to the condensation creating sludge. This can usually be remedied by a few long drives and a couple of oil changes. Pop the oil fill cap and see if there is any milky sludge in there.

You may also find dry rotted rubber items considering the age of the vehicle. Hoses, belts, tires...those things. You also should check the status of the battery and engine coolant. Little old ladies generally don't think about these things as the car has low miles and doesn't see extensive use so it must be like brand new right? Give it a good "how's your father" and you should be good to go for many, many miles.

I think you got yourself one heck of a deal...ahem free...and even if you have to replace a few bits due to age, you still got a crazy good deal.
 

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MY05 Forester 2.5 XT 5MT
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I would be replacing the timing belt if it is original.
Same for the water pump, tensioner and everything else associated with the belt.

Does it have any kind of maintanence records? If not, I'd be changing every fluid in the car too.

You can lift it and there's a few different methods, depending how high you want to go.
I wouldn't go much bigger on the tyre size compared to factory

My 2 pennies worth.
 

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1999 A/T - 235,000 mi. WA state
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917 Posts
Welcome to the forum. Post up a photo or three of your new car!
It's from a little old lady who drove it to church and to the supermarket.
I have no experience with Subaru, what should I do first?
What to do first:
1) Vandalism insurance. Look at where your car will be parked, and if it's in a slightly risky area, get the optional "comprehensive insurance coverage" from your insurance carrier, choosing a low $ deductible. Cheap. This protects your car from vandalism, theft, being keyed when your not driving it - and also windscreen rock chips when you are. You're getting a premium car set-up for free, so spend some $ to protect it.
2) Prior maintenance shop. Get the name, address of shop that dealt with the car under the little old lady. Set up an oil and filter change appointment with them even if it's not needed yet by miles, and have shop do a vehicle inspection /with report (low cost). The resulting list may be kinda long but that doesn't mean you have address any of them at all. Ask for the maintenance records they have on it. If old ladies service shop is far away, contact them letter to get records - enclosed a stamped self addressed 9x12 envelope along with a $5 check for their time (check was returned with all the records, when I did this - but I got the full records). With only 36K miles on it the records will be so few you can perhaps get info over the phone; write it down; date and miles.
3) keep using the same engine oil that has been used; the seals and gaskets are used to dealing with this type of oil additive chemistry so don't try to improve on it. After 12 years, the seal integrity is so much more important than any advertised reduced metal wear due to latest and greatest oil.
4) With both tranny fluid and engine coolant flushes I only use Subaru dealers because of bad independent shop experiences on these services. Note SUbaru has a "Subaru Coolant Conditioner" that you should ask the Subie shop if it's advised for your car.
5) don't do anything big until you've driven it for 6 months. This will let you prioritize your wishes and drool over lifts, wheels and what-not. Also, is opportunity to take new gals out on dates to get their opinions of what they think you should do/buy; gals love invitations to offer shopping suggestions...
6) If you lift it and put on bigger tires, you'll be impacting/reducing its fuel economy and handling, but you know that. After 6 months you'll know much better what you want to do.
7) Fill it with gas and drive ...


Wonderful, wonderful - can't get any better than this. ... excited for you.
Hope you hang around and participate.
 

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07 Forester at
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the input!
I figure if I spend a couple k on the car it would be a good investment.
I only want to lift it enough to go up to 17 inch tires. Any idea what that is? What about good rims? I want black, it'll go good with the silver paint.
All the fluid changes and belts and all is a great idea. Had no knowledge about the sludge aspect, this car is a candidate for that as the car was driven longer distances when new but not more than short hit and runs in the last 5 years.
No worries about where I live with concern to vandals. Yeah it can happen anywhere but while I live in NYC, it's not in the high crime areas most think of when hearing NYC. It has the alarm and cut off, and it will have the proper insurance but I'm not worried on that end. Thanks for the thought though.
I'll have access to all the records soon. I know most maintenance was done by Subaru early on, but then by local shops that were more economical more recently.
I'll log updates to this project as they happen...as cash is available!
Thanks
 

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admin
2019 3.6R & 98 Forester Atlanta, GA
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7,251 Posts
Congrats, you are lucky!
I'd like to add a rear swaybar upgrade to the wish list. It is cheap and you will notice it in a good way.
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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<snipped> I only want to lift it enough to go up to 17 inch tires. <snipped>
No need to lift to run 17" wheels. I'm running 235/45-18x7.5, +42 offset on my '07 FSXT & my son is running 235/50-17x7, +40 offset on his '03 X. We're at the stock ride height.

<snipped> I'll log updates to this project as they happen...<snipped>
You might consider starting one of these: Members' Journal :wink:

Also...
There lots of information on your '07 Forester here: cars101.com - 2007

You can view your Subaru recommended scheduled maintenance here: 2000-2009 Recommended Service Intervals

Bobby...

['07 FSXT MODding Journal] ['03 X MODding Journal]
 

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2017 Forester XT Touring CVT
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Someone is giving me a 07 Forester w/36k on it for free. It's the original owner and I know personally there have been no accidents. It's from a little old lady who drove it to church and to the supermarket.
I have no experience with Subaru, what should I do first?
Can I put bigger tires on it?
Can it be lifted a little?
Thanks
Congrats, that is a very good deal and find. I'm sure the car has a few gremlins. So take the advice of @Snow3d; and @UhOh;. I can not stress how great of advice they gave. Do not do anything to the car for 6 months. save your money and put the car through its paces. figure out the quirks. make sure you are content on keeping the car rather then selling it and buying something else.

GET A THOROUGH INSPECTION DONE!!!!!

Go to a trusted mechanic or subaru dealer. tell them your not interested in doing or repairing anything right now, "I just want a Mechanics honest opinion of the health of the car. Please tell me what preventative maintenance items might need to be addressed in the next year. I would also like to know what corrective maintenance appears to have been done and if any might be expected in the next year."

If you go to a Subaru dealer while they are going over it, ask the service adviser to have the mechanic print you out a list of all the codes still stored in the cars computer. they are diagnostic and trouble shooting codes and can tell you alot about the car and what has happened it he past.

The car is young at heart but probably needs a good going over.
-Check for Head gasket leak (simple test takes 20 mins) youtube

-Check condition and level of transmission fluid. ONLY USE SUBARU GENUINE Transmission Fluid do not mix or use anything else. i can be bought at the subaru parts counter.

-Make sure all the fluids are at the right level

-check condition and level of front and rear differential fluids, i bet they are nasty.

-Flush the brake fluid and bleed brakes

-change the coolant and thermostat ( unless already done in the last 3 years) MUST MUST MUST Only use Subaru Factory Blue Coolant in your system!!! ONLY put Subaru Genuine Thermostat in and if the one in there was changed then swap it. other wise your setting yourself up for head gasket issues

-these engines do not need synthetic oil unless they are running a turbo. find a high quality motor oil and stick to it Mobil super 5000 5w-30 is just fine and has plenty of protection so does tradition valvoline and castrol GTX just dont put any high mileage oil in unless your leaking motor oil from a seal. when you change the oil take a sample and send it away to blackstone oil testing. you can request free kits online and they send them to you. 25$ and they tell you what is going on in the engine and how worn everything is, also another good check to see if coolant is getting in the oil. or if the rings are worn and fuel is getting in.

-Clean the Throttle body might have alot of gunk and check condition of spark plugs Cheap and easy

-Have a battery and alternator test performed at autozone or advanced or even the mechanic you bring it too.

-Save up money because these car will cost something to keep down the road
in my experience:

-wheel bearings (never replace one always replace them in pairs on the same axle)
-fuel filler neck
-suspension
-CV Axles
-brakes
-plugs
-valve cover gasket
-timing belt, water pump, timing belt components
-tires
-etc

So be strategic about what you fix and upgrade. save your money and see if anything breaks before lifting.


Congrats! That's a really good get. You can certainly lift it and put bigger tires on it if that is your thing. Although as they say there is no such thing as a free puppy (or car). The first thing you should do is have the car looked over by someone who knows about these cars, if you are not savvy. I only offer this as a caveat because while getting a low mileage car from a little old lady sounds ideal, it can often times be anything but.

Here's why...If the car has only been driven on short trips and has not seen much freeway or high speed use, there could be sludge in the engine and PCV system. This happens when cars are driven just long enough to get them warm and shutting them down shortly after. This tends to build condensation in the engine and plumbing...if the car is then not driven hot enough or long enough on the next drive cycle more condensation will build and oil and fuel vapor will start to cling to the condensation creating sludge. This can usually be remedied by a few long drives and a couple of oil changes. Pop the oil fill cap and see if there is any milky sludge in there.

You may also find dry rotted rubber items considering the age of the vehicle. Hoses, belts, tires...those things. You also should check the status of the battery and engine coolant. Little old ladies generally don't think about these things as the car has low miles and doesn't see extensive use so it must be like brand new right? Give it a good "how's your father" and you should be good to go for many, many miles.

I think you got yourself one heck of a deal...ahem free...and even if you have to replace a few bits due to age, you still got a crazy good deal.
Well spoken, could not agree more. i like that phrase, a good "how's your father". ill put that in my pocket bro.

Welcome to the forum. Post up a photo or three of your new car!


What to do first:
1) Vandalism insurance. Look at where your car will be parked, and if it's in a slightly risky area, get the optional "comprehensive insurance coverage" from your insurance carrier, choosing a low $ deductible. Cheap. This protects your car from vandalism, theft, being keyed when your not driving it - and also windscreen rock chips when you are. You're getting a premium car set-up for free, so spend some $ to protect it.

disagree, but to each their own
2) Prior maintenance shop. Get the name, address of shop that dealt with the car under the little old lady. Set up an oil and filter change appointment with them even if it's not needed yet by miles, and have shop do a vehicle inspection /with report (low cost). The resulting list may be kinda long but that doesn't mean you have address any of them at all. Ask for the maintenance records they have on it. If old ladies service shop is far away, contact them letter to get records - enclosed a stamped self addressed 9x12 envelope along with a $5 check for their time (check was returned with all the records, when I did this - but I got the full records). With only 36K miles on it the records will be so few you can perhaps get info over the phone; write it down; date and miles.

find out where she serviced it for sure and get all their records, run a car fax and call each shop the car fax to get mileage and dates and services performed

3) keep using the same engine oil that has been used; the seals and gaskets are used to dealing with this type of oil additive chemistry so don't try to improve on it. After 12 years, the seal integrity is so much more important than any advertised reduced metal wear due to latest and greatest oil.

she was not brand loyal i bet with oil, she was happy with what ever the mechanic put in there. unless she had a husband that took care of her car, talk to him. that would change the story
4) With both tranny fluid and engine coolant flushes I only use Subaru dealers because of bad independent shop experiences on these services. Note SUbaru has a "Subaru Coolant Conditioner" that you should ask the Subie shop if it's advised for your car.

Agree flush the coolant system, with only distilled water then drain and put in subaru blue coolant. do not put any flush chems in the tranny, just flush with subaru tranny fluid

5) don't do anything big until you've driven it for 6 months. This will let you prioritize your wishes and drool over lifts, wheels and what-not. Also, is opportunity to take new gals out on dates to get their opinions of what they think you should do/buy; gals love invitations to offer shopping suggestions...
6) If you lift it and put on bigger tires, you'll be impacting/reducing its fuel economy and handling, but you know that. After 6 months you'll know much better what you want to do.
7) Fill it with gas and drive ...


Wonderful, wonderful - can't get any better than this. ... excited for you.
Hope you hang around and participate.
 

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1998 forester
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111 Posts
Congrats on the forester! The newer SG forester is what I'm looking for myself if I can find a good one, I'm pretty jealous you got it for free.

IF you really want to do anything to the car now, it's actually more of a need, check the date code on the tires. If they're more than 5 years old, that would be the only thing I would replace. I'd suggest keeping to the oem size though.

But as others have said, just drive it for a few months and enjoy it.
 

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2006 Forester XTE 5 speed manual
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Just to let you know that all the advice is good, but it may not be as bad as you think.

Here is my old Toyota that I neglected for 10 years from 2008 to 2018. Used as a “dog car” travelling a few miles a week. Less than 30k miles in that 10 years and no services. I don’t normally treat cars like that, but I it was just for the dogs.

Here it was (and yes, that is moss and lichen):




So, I took it to a local garage, full service, new diff oils, new disks, pads. Put some new tyres on the Forester and put the takeoffs on this.....oh...and I cleaned it :icon_eek:



Total cost was about 1000 bucks. So enjoy your Forester and I bet it cleans up beautifully.
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 Forester XT
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Lots of good information.

I would not worry about the timing belt and idllers, etc. And HG leakage is unlikely at this point. Just deal with the fluids and you are good to go. Wear is more a function of miles (heat) vs age. You should be able to get in it and drive cross country a couple times without battiing an eye. I like the stabilizer bar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all the GREAT info. I'm going to wait to do many things, but I don't like the thought of an old timing belt in an interference engine. That's gotta go. What about the wind noise from the drivers side, is there a remedy?
 

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