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Hello everybody and those who look at this thread later. I am a new member and NOT a current Subaru owner. I AM however in the process of finding a 99-02 Forester for my son in college. I need to get information and details of things to look for in used Foresters. Why is it that I see so many have had engine replacements around the 100K mark??? Please be honest and non-bashing in your descriptions and pointers. Personal experience is better than hear-say, but I will read any posts or replies that educate me. THANKS!!
 

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2017 VW Golf SportWagen 5MT
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Welcome. Head gasket issues on the older models are not "if" but "when" -- that's why so many replacements around 100K.

Stan
 

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2007 XT Sport 5MT
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Welcome to the forum from Niagara Falls!
Stan pretty much summed it up on the head gasket issue of the older models. They weren't necessarily replacements, but rebuilds because of headgaskets or potentially delayed timing belt servicing which could mess up the heads and pistons if the belt breaks.
 

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I would go for an 03 (the SG style) over one of the old ones if its financially possible. They're much better it pretty much everyway from a reliability standpoint. IF not, go for the newest one you can, the headgasket issues were much less in the 99+ than the 98 due to using the newer SOHC engine instead of the phase1 dohc, however the 99-02 had issues with external headgasket leaks.
 

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2007 XT Sport 5MT
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I would go for an 03 (the SG style) over one of the old ones if its financially possible. They're much better it pretty much everyway from a reliability standpoint. IF not, go for the newest one you can, the headgasket issues were much less in the 99+ than the 98 due to using the newer SOHC engine instead of the phase1 dohc, however the 99-02 had issues with external headgasket leaks.
Note that the '03 wasn't completely immune to the same issues as the '02 models. There were a few carry-over issues in the '03 models.
 

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2010 Legacy GT LTD 6 spd
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I have an 03 got it back in 2007 and absolutely love it, the only problem it has had is a bad battery ( original ) so a 6 year old battery. Has close to 85000 miles and no other issues whatsoever.
 
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