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I just had my mechanic check a Forester that I'm considering.

His two notes: the powdery, dried-up antifreeze indicates there has been an overheating in the past (I know the radiator was recently replaced), and the oil on the steering components indicate a leak of unknown severity.

The seller is a dealer who bought the car recently at an auction. He doesn't know the history but the title is clean, and the Carfax is said to be clean too (I haven't seen it yet).

With the engine, I think it could be anything from an overfilled expansion tank to a serious engine-burning boil-over. Internal warping? HG? Engine replacement is about $3500.

For the steering, worst case scenario it could need replacing which is $600-$700 he said.

The car is a 1998 Forester S. Externally very clean and straight. He has it listed for $3995

Should I avoid these potential issues and keep shopping around?
 

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2004 Forester 4EAT
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5,462 Posts
It will have, does have, or has had leaking headgaskets. If you do not know the history, and don't want to deal with these problems, stay away. If you're handy and feel okay with what you see, the price is okay. I bought my 99 with 143k on it for $2650 from a used car dealer. Mine will need headgaskets and needed an o2 sensor when I brought it home.
 

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02 Forester L (sold) Manual
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Any way to contact the PO? Their name may be on the title. Find out if the HG's were replaced or not. However, it's pretty common to trade these dohc Subarus in as soon as someone finds the HG's are poofed as it's an expensive repair. Thus, it may be the reason it went to auction.
 
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