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Eternal Noob
2003 2.5x
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25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all!

Post number 2 here and I figure I'd ask for some general thoughts.

I'm looking for a forester. So for I think 2003 is my best bet for price and reliability. Going to be in the 5k-7k (could squeeze a lil bit more for the perfect car) am I crazy for picking the 03? 02 seems a lot cheaper for only one year diff, but they had the head gasket problems right?

My ideal car;
Auto
PW/PL (Standard right?)
Air (again standard?)
NA
sub 100k/mi
Blue or silver
Love the two tone or lower molding look. Don't know if that was avail in 03'
Fog lights but I can always add that later.

My question is...what are the other common problems with these cars? I know head gasket and timing belt needs to be changed at these miles. Where does rust start on these cars? I live in the rust belt so that is always a concern. I hear wheel bearings are touchy, are they a pain to replace? My 95 accord needed a special tool and extra time to replace the front bearings.

How are the usual maint issues? Anything a pain about breaks or oil changes? Tuneups? My 3.0L ranger has one spark plug that is a pita to get to. Because of that I don't do home tune-ups....lol.

Thanks all in advance! I hope to become a regular member here. I know specialized forums like this are the life of a vehicle community!

Vince
 

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2003 2.5x
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645 Posts
Please don't get the idea the HG issue was fixed by 2003,... it wasnt. Apparently from 2003 on, it just seems to have gotten less prevalent.

Anyway, I love my 03. At the time of purchase about 3 yrs ago the price point was good for us. 03's did have the option of the lower rocker panel trim/molding that you mention.

I cant really say anything has been difficult owning it for 3 years, its been a pleasure owning a Subaru. Never thought I would actually be driving one of the vehicles I used to poke fun at it, but.....well....here I am:raspberry:
 

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Eternal Noob
2003 2.5x
Joined
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25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Please don't get the idea the HG issue was fixed by 2003,... it wasnt. Apparently from 2003 on, it just seems to have gotten less prevalent.

Anyway, I love my 03. At the time of purchase about 3 yrs ago the price point was good for us. 03's did have the option of the lower rocker panel trim/molding that you mention.

I cant really say anything has been difficult owning it for 3 years, its been a pleasure owning a Subaru. Never thought I would actually be driving one of the vehicles I used to poke fun at it, but.....well....here I am:raspberry:
Was there an actual redesign of the gasket for 2003? Anything official anyway?!? I know that there is nothing you can do to make them bullet proof on any car, but as we all know some have more of an issue than others.

Another question....does the 2003 have child seat anchors in the rear seats? I know it's random but if you have kids in car seats you know how important it is :biggrin:
 

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Ah crap.. I'm back with my 05 XS
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For us NAs, there seems to be a new HG part number every year... lol

I'm in the process of doing my HGs on my 05.. which was part number 632 or 633, and 633 is regarded as the "newest improved" HG :\
 

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2003 2.5x
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645 Posts
Another question....does the 2003 have child seat anchors in the rear seats? I know it's random but if you have kids in car seats you know how important it is :biggrin:
Have two little ones who have made the backseat their personal entertainment facilities so yes I am with you regarding safety:biggrin:


Which anchors are you referring to exactly?

Quoted from above link provided by 'good dog' (2003 Specific)

Safety:
all models have front and front side air bags
Front passenger airbag is "dual stage deployment"
crumple zones front and rear,
side impact door beams
child safety rear door locks
child seat anchors (latch system)
child seat tethers (latch system)
tinted safety glass.
Daytime running lights
Anti-lock brakes
 

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Eternal Noob
2003 2.5x
Joined
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25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
child seat anchors (latch system)

Perfect!

Exactly what I was looking for. This car is looking better every day.

I'm in the process of doing my HGs on my 05.. which was part number 632 or 633, and 633 is regarded as the "newest improved" HG :\
Your doing this yourself? Is this a average home mechanic type job (driveway with air tools but no lift) or would a professional be suggested?

Thanks all again, everyone has been wonderful. I'm amazed considering some car enthusiast forums can be a bit rough to start fresh with {cough}Honda{cough}
 

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Where can i get those pink sunglasses? =P

IMHO, getting a car that old = youre going to see fun repairs come along sooner than you might like. Its gonna have a lot of miles on it. I have also been searching for a Subie to replace my Honda E. Beings i am selling 1 car and have the option to sell/trade in my 05 E, my price range is closer to the 20k mark. Due to that fact i am looking at getting a 2009 or even a 2010. The older ones dont have an Aux jack, or satellite radio capability either. I am guessing you have a tighter budget than mine.

Another thing you might consider while looking for your car is the roof rack. If it doesnt have one, your only option (without a moderatly extensive modification) is to use the one that sits in the door jams or whatever. Someone correct me if i am wrong.

Our ideal cars are somewhat similar.

Mine...
Automatic (must have, lost my leg in a motorcycle wreck, makes it hard to use a clutch)
Roof rack
Tow Kit
Sat radio (i can install the reciever later, the button will suffice for now)
Aux Port
<20k miles
Color i am flexible on, but i really like the White Pearl for some reason the sage green is also kind of neat looking.

Subaru seems to have a lot of the Options (from other companies) Standard for them.

So far Cars.Com has been my best resource while searching for a car.

Ive also noticed these guys are a bit more "welcoming" than some forums i have been on.

On the BHG issue... if you have a blown headgasket... it may need to be milled/machined to be flat again, the heads warp... so even if you replace the gasket, it may leak right away again without getting it machined. (Learned from toyota supra shenanigans)
 

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Ah crap.. I'm back with my 05 XS
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8,296 Posts
Your doing this yourself? Is this a average home mechanic type job (driveway with air tools but no lift) or would a professional be suggested?
getting it done with a tech i know on his personal time so i'll be at the shop too when i can manage. it is certainly something you can do yourself if you have the time and another vehicle, but i wouldn't recommend it if this is your only vehicle. huck_this has DIY videos on here somewhere.
 
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