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95 E300D
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1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have never owned a Subaru but have always liked much about them and the Forester is the perfect economical "big staion wagon" I need. I have started some research and intended a longer post but I just spotted a 5 speed S model, which is what I would like, and I may check it out this weekend.

First, I have bought many used cars and know there is no sure thing with a 10 year old car with 185,000 miles. Also, I don't drive a great deal and have two other cars (1994 Civic DX with 138K & 1995 MB E300D with 200K) so if I can find a decent Forester for a small investment it would be great.

But how much risk? I was surprised and disappointed to read about the head gasket and "piston slap" issues and just about dropped the idea of buying an older Forester. But--the Forester is such a nice car, so here I am.

Again I haven't seen the car yet but for now let's assume what I have been told is true. The 185K is said to be mostly highway miles. I asked if it has had head gaskets, displays any piston slap, or loses any coolant or oil. The owner says she bought it at 10K from a Subaru dealer and couldn't answer the questions. She says it has been a great dependable car since 10K and is in good shape. She has never noticed drips but it uses some oil, about quart between 3K changes. It was maintained at the dealer to 10K and then by an independent shop with her. I will ask to talk to the shop owner and I would also have it checked buy a good Subaru tech.

Is it possible head gaskets were done in first 10K? Assuming that was in 2000 or 2001 would the gaskets be proper updates? Is a quart of oil per 3K something to worry about? What else should I look for? How important are transmission fluid changes?

Again, ealry in process so I have many more questions for the owner but, at this point should I be interested given the asking price--which is $2,200? However, she said that no-one has been interested yet (don't know how long that is) and one person offered her far below this asking price. The fact that she told me this makles me think she is pretty honest. So I think I may be able get it below $2K. If the engine is decent, can I expect 250K out of it? How much piston slap is acceptable (not sure that I can stand much of that).
Thanks,

Mike
 

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2004 Forester X Automatic
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90 Posts
I'm sure many others can tell you a ton of stuff to check over but I know that the head gaskets would most definately not have been changed in the first 10K miles since there would have been no reason for this. Generally you get new head gaskets in the range of 100K to 105K miles.

Just from what I know is if she has went 185,000 miles without new headgaskets is pretty crazy. But like I said I'm sure many others have a lot more input on this subject.

Good luck finding a good forester and welcome to the forum!
 

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Premium Member
2007 XT Sport 5MT
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24,015 Posts
If that car is still on the original head gaskets then wow!
Best of luck tracking something down though. I know there was a '98 Forester S 5-speed for sale locally with 156k miles on it that was listed at $2k, but the dealership didn't have it long...
 

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2008 LL Bean (4EAT)
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4,784 Posts
10 years old, 185K, lady owner since 10K doesn't know what was done to it. Take it for a good test drive, and see how much maintenance history you can get from either her or where she had it serviced.
Piston slap will be faint after a cold start and then go away; just live with it.
Timing belt should have been done at 105K. Head gaskets could be leaking now. Figure on doing those two, and there's a bunch of other stuff done at the same time -- timing belt idler bearings, timing belt idler, hydraulic belt tensioner assembly.
 

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1999 Forester
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37 Posts
Best of luck tracking something down though. I know there was a '98 Forester S 5-speed for sale locally with 156k miles on it that was listed at $2k, but the dealership didn't have it long...
There are a lot of older foresters on the market here for less than that. Either way, when I decided it was time to retire my 99 (I've since fixed everything and drive it daily :icon_cool: ) I found that Legacy wagons could be had for WAY less than a similar foz. I prefer to forester to be sure, but I got a car that was two years newer and came with a warranty for the price of a comparable forester. If you want to join the Subaru family (I own three) a Legacy/Outback might be more affordable.

Caveat - the Legacy forums are 'different'.
 
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