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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
There's a 1999 Forester L 2.5hours away from where I live (United States) and I'm thinking about checking it out. Some relevant details:

Being sold by a used car lot/dealership for $4000
Manual transmission
2.5 L EJ251 SOHC engine
144k miles
New head gasket
New timing belt
New water pump
New clutch kit


From the pictures the interior and exterior look pretty clean. My concerns (and what I intend to ask about over the phone call) is the new head gasket, timing belt, and water pump. Yes I know that Foresters of this era commonly need these parts replaced past the 100k mark. What worries me is that I don't know when these were replaced. If they were replaced >5-10k miles ago then I'd be a bit more confident because I'm assuming that nothing went wrong in that time since the parts were replaced. But if they were replaced very recently then I have no idea how well the job was done and if I'll encounter problems when driving the car for a bit more time. Also the engine is SPOTLESS; it has been very obviously recently cleaned. It looks nice, but the fact that it's being sold through the dealership leads me to believe that maybe there is a leak somewhere and they wanted to make the vehicle more attractive while also covering their tracks by deep cleaning the engine so that it's not so obvious. Thoughts? Also is $4k steep? Everything about this particular vehicle attracts me but I don't want my emotions getting in the way. Should it even be a cause for concern that the parts might have been replaced very recently? Maybe that's a good thing?

Thanks.
 

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Hi @stiglitz and welcome to the forums.

It sounds like you've got your concerns about this one. 5 Hour+ road trip if you come back empty handed.... You should be able to source that vintage Forester closer to your location for similar, if not less $$.


C.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
@HeyChris Thanks for your reply. Do you mind commenting on the parts that were replaced? In the future when looking for a vehicle of this era, should it raise concern if the parts were replaced very recently? Or am I being paranoid? Thanks!
 

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Parts need to be replaced. If it was a major item like the headgaskets, you'd want to know when, what mileage and who did the work. The other parts replacement date can be informative too.
 

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2018 Premium 2.5i 6M
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What other recent work was performed? Any warranty from the dealership should anything happen?
 

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2016 Foz CVT
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Maybe I'm alone in this, but 4 grand seems like a lot for a 21 year old car with almost 150k miles on it.
 

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2019 3.6R & 98 Forester Atlanta, GA
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7,173 Posts
We wouldn't sell our 98 with 138k for $4000. I think that sounds reasonable as long as it is rust free.
 
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