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I'm keen to get my first Forester, looking at 2nd gens and my budget is around AU$5-6k.

Got a pre-purchase inspection done on a 2006 Forester X which has done 186,000 km. It turned up the following:

- Passenger side cylinder head gasket is leaking a fair amount of engine oil
- Remote/central locking not working
- No records or signs of engine's timing belt being replaced
- LHF power window switch not working
- Front headlight lenses have heavy fading
- Interior light is not working
- Power steering is slight hard at idle at initial cold start
- Rear parcel blind is missing
- Some staining to seats
- Rattle coming from rear tailgate door on road
- Service book records: from 137,000 - 161,000 kms there is no workshop stamps. Two year gap between 2016-2018 (last serviced 06/2019)

So it's got a number of issues, the two that jump out at me are the head gasket and the timing belt, and the remote/central locking would be annoying too.

Is it worth me buying and repairing, or should I keep looking? How much should I be offering and what would I be looking to pay for the repairs?
 

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2018 X3 M40i / 2016 X3 xDrive35i
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You're looking at a lot of money in fixing a number of those issues.

Probably 3k+ if you're paying someone to do it.
 

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2005 Forester X and XT Manual and Auto
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It does seem like alot of issues at that price, but i don't know AUS$ well either - Too many problems for $6000 US, you could do better here.

My thoughts on your list, as someone who has owned 2 SG (2nd gen) foresters..all amounts in US$ I'm not a mechanic, just a hack DIY'er on the not so complicated stuff

- Passenger side cylinder head gasket is leaking a fair amount of engine oil - independent mechanic fixed mine for $1172 (just looked up invoice for oilpan, pickup, HG, valve job all for 1172 - this is CHEAP, likely will spend more) - i drove around on external head gasket leak for many many miles - keep oil in it if you try this. Keep oil in it anyway, alot of these engines consume oil anyway - not all.
- Remote/central locking not working - no idea on this one, have not seen it
- No records or signs of engine's timing belt being replaced - You'll want to do this at some point to sleep well of course, bundle in with HG job, or i did it long before my HG job and paid $1150 for all belts, clutch job, and rear main seal at my independent mechanic - again just looked up invoice
- LHF power window switch not working - i had this issue on RH passenger and some contact cleaner took care of it. Sounds like window functions, it's just the switch? Easy fix i'd bet even if switch bad.
- Front headlight lenses have heavy fading - grab a drill, polish, and buff pad, solved
- Interior light is not working - wouldn't let this scare me, probably a bulb
- Power steering is slight hard at idle at initial cold start - I simply don't know on this one.
- Rear parcel blind is missing - mine are permanently removed anyway
- Some staining to seats - if seats not torn you are doing well
- Rattle coming from rear tailgate door on road - could be anything - in mine it was old glass from previous broken glass - maybe just need some new plastic clips, people break them all the time doing repairs
- Service book records: from 137,000 - 161,000 kms there is no workshop stamps. Two year gap between 2016-2018 (last serviced 06/2019) - that's better than alot of cars in the US at least.
 
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