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MY03 Forester X Manual
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Hi i'm new here. I've read a lot of posts on this forum and thought i'd take the time to post because i'm stressing out pretty hard about my car's issues

This is my second car ever and needless to say I didn't really know much about engines, maintenance and the sort before I got this car. I've had it for about a year now and problems are seemingly stacking on due to a. my own negligence, b. lack of time and money to address them all

now this post might cause some frustration to people on here because to be honest I kick myself for not sorting most of these things out sooner

It's high mileage and has a lot of little issues so i'm sort of trying to plan out a roadmap for repairs/maintenance and tossing up on what can be done on my own, and what I should get done by someone else...

Firstly, It's at 290k so I'm gonna prioritise a timing belt job. I'm not expecting this to be cheap but this is probably my number one priority as far as saving is concerned. I don't think i'd want to attempt this one myself

I need new tyres.. but i'm currently driving on one spare as one of the main 4 was losing pressure pretty quickly. I know this is a bit of a no no because of the AWD system and I want to get this sorted out asap, hopefully before the timing belt if I can find the time around work but this is in the immediately affordable zone

I took it in for a minor service a while ago and was told that at least one of the boots on the front axel is cracked and leaking grease.. i'm a bit concerned about this but the mechanic suggested that it should be okay for a little while yet but should be addressed sooner than later

My shock absorbers are shot. I was told my RHR shock was leaking and, since then overall the driving experience/stability has gotten significantly worse. I'm not sure if only my rears are gone but I'm planning on replacing those first. Would it be okay to just use the current springs on new struts? (specifications suggest this forester does not have SLS).

Rocker cover gaskets need replacing; planning on attempting this one myself as i'm getting a pretty hefty amount of oil in the passenger side spark plugs.. seems straight forward enough just need to source the parts

I'm having acceleration issues, not sure if related to any of the above issues but basically putting my foot down any further than feathering the accelerator seems to result in worse performance (engine sounds louder, car feels like it's being held back then suddenly accelerates fast, like rubber banding) - this seemed to happen prior to minor service and was significantly better after the service, but still had some rubber banding at times. Has since returned.
'Rubber banding' has been there since I bought the car but originally happened only with occasional CEL that would go away, along with the rubber banding, Is now seemingly a consistent problem even when CEL is not there.

beyond that if I give it just a bit too much gas, say in 4th while travelling at 60 and attempt to accelerate to 80 I start to get a heavy vibration. Not sure what's causing this, wasn't a problem when I first got the car, this does not happen at higher RPM however and I've adjusted my driving style to prevent this but it's like walking on egg shells at times.. I've seen posts about acceleration issues and CV join/axle issues but all of those posts seemed to imply it just happened while accelerating full stop so i'm wondering if anyone knows what would be causing this?

sorry for such a dreary first post here, I probably sound like a clueless idiot who doesn't know how to take care of their car but i'm trying to get better at it and, honestly owning this car has taught me a LOT about cars and engines but sadly maybe a little too little too late. Is it worth addressing all these issues or should I just pawn it off and make a fresh start... would I even want to try to get rid of it in it's current state? these are the questions that are keeping me up at night right now. Honestly the ideal situation is that I can make a follow up post in a few months time saying "It runs great! loving the forester" as it's been with me for some great experiences so far and, despite it's current state I'd love to get a good bit of life out of it yet
 

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G'day & Welcome aboard

There's a lot of questions in there and I believe you'll find answers to most of them in the different sections of the forum.

Just a note that your car is an "MY'03" that is model year 2003; they were released here around May 2002. I will change your details to match.

A summary response:

Yes, timing belt first as well as tensioners, water pump, cam and crank seals while in there.

If you leave the cracked boot too long you will need to replace the CV; it'll probably be a complete axle replacement anyway which is what the mechanics tend to do because the labour involved in replacing the boot is prohibitive.

To use the existing springs you'll need to check if the vehicle height is within specification. I answered a similar question recently in the Suspension section and provided the specs. Check the first post in this thread for ride height: What is your ride height?

Have a look in the engine section to see if issues there match the behavior of your vehicle: EJ25 - 2.5L Non-Turbo (1998-2010)

Also, the centre bearing on your tailshaft may be worn; have a look in Transmission and Driveline for similar issues.

As to keeping it or not, well depends on its overall condition and how much you're prepared to spend on it. For example your timing belt job will probably cost A$800 - A$1200. Mechanics over here charge around A$90 / hour.
 
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