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Looking at 02 Forester L Auto 4cyl

950 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  zgab
After much searching, I found a phenomenal deal on an '02 Forester L. My question being, I noticed with all the HG issues that they seemed to be more in the S (and by the way, I'm not too terribly mechanically inclined, so I'm assuming L=basic, S=Sporty?)- does this mean I may escape the dreaded $1500 HG replacement if we go with the L? I followed some of the stickies and did a print out of the recommended maintenance/inspection/replacement schedule, for which I already owe this site a tremendous thank you! This Forester is beautiful, only 99k miles, and at a killer deal! Of course, we're working with a killer budget, so it makes it in just under the wire, leaving us VERY few options if it comes to pricey repairs looming in the near future. My 95 Impreza Outback just crapped out and cost us $600 while in the middle of trying to replace my husband's crapped out Saab. At least my Subie is now running better than when I got her a year ago (at 167k miles too! LOVE her!) Between that and my sister's Forester, I really really really want to talk us into getting this beaut! Any and all input would be appreciated- we go to test drive hopefully tomorrow morning! Thanks...
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The short answer: the model designation has nothing to do with the engine. You probably see more L models with HG replacements simply because they sold more of those than the S model. Here's a handy site to explain the differences:
At the mileage on the '02 in question it would be time for the timing belt/water pump/front seals replacement. If you're going to do HG's, now is the time to get it done. Half of the timing belt job has to be done with the HG's anyway. Look at it this way: if you spend the money and do it now, you're DONE. No worries for another 100k easy. Unless you can find a Foz with a service history showing this stuff has already been done, it's going to be an issue with any that you look at.

Your Impreza comes from the bullet-proof years when hardly anything went wrong with them. We had a '96 Impreza that went to 217k before we sold it. The 2.5 HG issue is an expensive one, but it's really still about the only serious thing that goes wrong on these. I took the risk and bought one like yours and wound up having to get the HG's replaced, but to me it was still worth it. No other vehicle could do what the Foz does without being a Stupid Urban Vehicle that drives like a truck. You can read about our purchase and philosophy here: Foz
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Thanks! We're trying to coordinate a test drive between limited dealer hours, 2 kids, 2 jobs and 1 car. I have been compiling a list of everything that should have been done, hopefully HAS been done, so we know that we're making the right choice. We test drove a 99 Forester a bit ago, and I love the feel/inside more than my Impreza Outback. And you are 100% dead on about the 95 Impreza- we're looking at an oil valve leak to fix followed by at least another 20-50k miles of trouble free driving. My husband is so hooked on the idea of a Subie that he actually is pushing ME to get one, like I needed any more convincing! I'll be back to let you all know the outcome once we actually get to see it in person... I'm trying not to let myself get too excited until we know for sure!
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