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Hi there folks. First post here, and I have a few questions for you all. Be advised I’m a total novice when it comes to cars.

I bought a 2002 Subaru Forester back in December from a very sketchy man on Craigslist. The car looked beautiful inside and out, and has had only 86000 miles on it. And he only wanted 2500! Sounded too good to be true. Judging by the guy’s behavior, I knew there would be a few things wrong with it that he wasn’t disclosing. But based on the low mileage and appearance, I thought it was still worth it.

On my way home I stopped and filled by the tanks. ANDDD... the next morning I smelled gas. Crawled under the car and noticed a leak. GREAT! Problem number one. Also, while under the here, I noticed a considerable amount of rust to the rear subframe and suspension. My uncle is somewhat handy, and said he could help me replace the fuel tank. So I shopped around for a tank. However, after doing some research, I realized that this model Subaru has a tank that is much harder to replace than the average tank. Basically the whole rear end of the car would be removed to do so. Meanwhile I realized that it still holds half a tank without leaking. I decided I could live with that.

So I took the car for a trip down to Florida (I live in New York). While down there, I had a mechanic who is a friend of my brothers look at it to see if he could replace the tank. After inspecting the car, he said that it would not be worth it. He said that in order to replace the tank, he would need to also replace the subframe and whatever else brakes while taking it out, and that would cost more than the car is worth. He also recommended that I get rid of the car ASAP because something was the frame was bound to go sooner than later.

So I drove it back up north and decided to get a second opinion. I took it to a guy that specializes is fuel tank replacements. He was somewhat more optimistic. He said that while he didn’t think the replacement would be worth the cost (he said it could end up costing up to $1400 when all is said and done) that I could continue to drive the car on half a tank and still get a good some life out of it.

Ok so fast forward a couple of months. I start hearing a humming noise from the front end and take it in to a well respected Subaru specialist. It turned out to be a wheel bearing on its way out (not loose yet). But while under the car he said that the car is nearing the end of its life and suggested getting rid of it.

The car runs and looks so great that it is hard for me to believe it isn’t worth fixing!

Here’s my questions:
1. Do you think it is worth fixing?
2. Is it safe to drive? (No one has told me that it’s not)
3. How long do I have?
4. What’s it worth? (I listed it online for $2300 with full disclosure of the frame and tank issues, no bites yet)

I have attached a bunch of photos to help answer the questions.
 

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2012 Forester X Auto
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1,895 Posts
@O2forester -

Your questions:
1. Do you think it is worth fixing? -
Depends on what you mean by that. Replace a bearing- sure - Invest money to bring it back? - Nope. It has cancer.

2. Is it safe to drive? -
That's hard to say based on pics. Some of the corrosion may just be cosmetic, but some appears really bad.
I wouldn't drive on anything but smooth pavement, because some of your frame material may be severely compromised.
The primary concern I'd have is a suspension component breaking from the corroded frame.

3. How long do I have?
No one can tell you that, but if you take it easy that time will be longer.
Drive it to the store - Sure - Cross country - I wouldn't.

4. What’s it worth? (I listed it online for $2300 with full disclosure of the frame and tank issues, no bites yet)
Looks like less than you are asking...

I would drive it carefully until something major broke.
It may be worth more to sell its parts - Good engine, transmission interior and body panels could improve a beat up car with a lot of miles but an intact frame...
 

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1999 "L" - 231,000 mi. AT
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699 Posts
A friend of mine used the same fill the tank up only half on his Dodge, and that car went for many years ...

But you haven't said much good about it, so you ought to move on if you want long distance reliability first and foremost.
 

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2002 Outback H6 4EAT
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Here’s my questions:
1. Do you think it is worth fixing?
2. Is it safe to drive? (No one has told me that it’s not)
3. How long do I have?
4. What’s it worth? (I listed it online for $2300 with full disclosure of the frame and tank issues, no bites yet)
1-No.
2-Barely. You are at risk for significant frame failure. I would not take it off road or on the interstate.
3-No way to tell. But you're on borrowed time.
4-Whatever you can get parting it out. Or $1000 tops as a parts car to someone.
 
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