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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone! I鈥檓 currently in the market for a more family friendly vehicle as I have an almost 6 month old! 馃檪 I鈥檝e always owned Toyota鈥檚 but my husband and I love the outdoors and sometimes our little Prius doesn鈥檛 have clearance to get us to certain trailheads. I am looking at a used Subaru Forester- 2007 with 152k miles listed for $5k on Craigslist. I鈥檓 don鈥檛 need something flashy- just reliable. I feel like when I google I find a variety of issues with the Forester pre- 2011 and I wondered if anyone could tell me if this is a great reliable car or if I should raise my budget, look elsewhere...etc. This particular vehicle has only had one owner and the following repairs in the last year: miles to this engine (within the last year):
Cylinder head gaskets replaced
Valve cover gaskets replaced
Alternator replaced
Timing belt with tensioner and pulleys replaced
Water pump replaced
Camshaft seals replaced
New radiator and cap
Left Subaru rear press in bearing replaced
Left front drive axle replaced
Right CV axle replaced
Thrust angle alignment completed

It seems like a lot of repairs for the mileage at first glance. With all of this done though, do you think this car will keep ticking for a while or would you run away screaming from this? 馃檪

Thank you so much!
 

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2003 Forester 4EAT
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Actually 150K miles is usually when the headgaskets need to be replaced and the timing belt, tensioner, idlers, water pumps, cam and crank seals should all be done at the same time too. Does the owner have receipts for the work that was done? If the headgaskets were done correctly (and hopefully replaced with an improved multilayer type headgaskets), it should be good for another 150- 200K miles.

I just purchased my first Forester (2003 XS model). It most of the same work done it as the one you considering, but mine has 223K miles. I'm amazed how well it runs and drives for those miles and hope to see another 100K with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, the owner has receipts I planned to call the mechanic she went to tomorrow to ask about the type of gasket installed.

The one repair she has not done is the catalytic converter which is currently in need of replacement....
 

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G'day & Welcome @Amccommon

I agree that with all that work done the vehicle should give good service for quite a few years yet.

Get an aftermarket cat. as the original is very expensive (at least it is over here!)

Bottom line though is that it is an 11 - 12 year-old car ;-)
 

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2010 Forester 2.5 XPremium 4EAT
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It could be a really good buy but like any used car purchase, I'd tread carefully.

If it were me, I'd want to see all the receipts for the work done. Speaking to the mechanic that did the work would be good, too. Are they are a Subaru specialist, what vibe do you get from them, etc?

Satisfy yourself that the seller is the owner of the vehicle - ask to see to registration, etc.

Are they related to the seller?

Is any of the work warrantied?

The gaskets should be MLS (multi layer steel).

I would also invest a few hundred $ having a pre sale inspection done by a trusted mechanic familiar with Subarus. I know that's the golden egg but a pre sale inspection can be an extremely wise move and save a lot of potential misery down the road.
 

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2007 2.5XT Limited 4EAT
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Seems like the vehicle has been care for. The list of engine related items that have been addressed are the big ones, also the most expensive and labor intensive of the usual high mileage repairs. The only thing that would give me pause is that only one drive axle, one CV, and one bearing were replaced. I hate when those type of things are not replaced in pairs or all four corners at the same time. If it was time to replace one the others are likely not far behind.

Not a deal breaker in my eyes, but something to consider. That said, any used vehicle is going to come with its own list of unknowns. This forester sounds like a pretty safe bet for $5K though.
 

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2005 Forester Automatic
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495 Posts
Define reliable.

Big stuff has been done to the vehicle. (ask yourself why they are selling it now, after all those repairs) Little stuff will continue to happen to an 11 year old vehicle.

Subarus stay on the road because people love them, and they use good galvanized steel or aluminum sheet metal, which means they don't rust out. NOT because a subie does not require maintenance. They can really nickle, dime, well honestly, bennie you to death.

As to reliable -- for the most part they are NOT well known for just dying suddenly. You can usually limp home, or in fact recognize the signs of an impending failure long before it happens. In other words, it won't dump you. But will an 11 year old and aging vehicle require $$$ input? Oh yeah.......

Lastly, having been BURNED by this one, on a vehicle that looked real nice -- drive the vehicle hard, fast acceration and slowdowns till its nice and warm. A loop of on and off ramps on a freeway work well. Then pull it over and shine a light through the coolant overflow bottle. If you see bubbles, then DO NOT BUY IT. It has an internal coolant / cylinder leak. Even though the HG were replaced, they did not fix the real problem. Probably has uneven block surface from a botched HG repair.

The codes that are indicating catalytic converter failure can ALSO be due to coolant being burned in a cylinder.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you everyone for your input! I called her mechanic and all the repairs check out, plus she has a folder of receipts I can look at. It sounds like her car threw a P040 code in April (6 months ago) and the shop told her 鈥渋t might be a catalytic converter or o2 sensor鈥 and they quoted $1700 for the repair without further diagnostics as it sounds and cleared the code which turned the CEL and cruise control lights off. They have not come back on for 6 months so I鈥檓 wondering if she could have just had a bad tank of gas? She is willing to sell for $4,500 so I think I鈥檓 going to go for it!
@cdherman if it鈥檚 burning coolant would the CEL and cruise control be able to stay off for the past 6 months? My husband test drove it on the freeway but we don鈥檛 know much about what we are doing and didn鈥檛 check the coolant. The owner is just keen on having a brand new Subie Forester apparently- this car she is selling has been her first major car purchase ever so I think she just wants bells and whistles now. The 2007 is the basic version of the Forester, nothing fancy.
 

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2005 Forester Automatic
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The CEL staying off is reassuring. I'd still run it hard and see if there are bubbles in the coolant bottle. $4,500 sounds pretty reasonable to me, unless there are some bubbles!
 
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