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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

Just sold my Tundra and have found a 2002 Forester L I am thinking of buying. This will be my only vehicle and as I have no prior experience with Subarus just wanted to a little input.

02 L, leather and fully loaded with sunroof and seat warmers. 102,000 miles, automatic, good tires, no body dmg or interior issues. One owner from the south, owner says head gasket has been replaced but should'nt there be two replaced.
Looks and drives great owner asking 6500.
What are your thoughts, need a long lasting reliable auto, thanks for any help.
 

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2008 XS 4EAT
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9,878 Posts
Hello,

Just sold my Tundra and have found a 2002 Forester L I am thinking of buying. This will be my only vehicle and as I have no prior experience with Subarus just wanted to a little input.

02 L, leather and fully loaded with sunroof and seat warmers. 102,000 miles, automatic, good tires, no body dmg or interior issues. One owner from the south, owner says head gasket has been replaced but should'nt there be two replaced.
Looks and drives great owner asking 6500.
What are your thoughts, need a long lasting reliable auto, thanks for any help.

Welcome (see my other post to you)

Yes both head gaskets should have been done, and ask him what else was involved while doing them, and ask how long ago they were done. It is entirely possible that you may have to do the head gaskets again some day, because they do have issues with the 2.5 engine, sorry.
Subaru partially resolved some of the issues when replacements were done with adding a special coolant additive that would help seal potential leaks. If you do decide to buy it, budget/negotiate some servicing costs your way so the coolant can be flushed and the additive added with new coolant. Transmission and differentials should be changed by now so ask to see if that was done, again ask in a way that he will tell you what was done not just a yes that was done.

At 100,000 the timing belt and assorted parts should be done, you can ask if a service has been done and what was done. You don't want to play dumb but see how well he'll inform you.

Have you checked places like Auto Trader and Carmax to see what they are selling for in your area?

Also don't forget Subaru dealerships that may have taken a trade in. They have a lot more at stake than a general dealership might.

If it's one owner ask if he has any service records that may help in convincing you some servicing has been done.

A little more footwork might be necessary. Good luck with your research and keep us posted here.
 

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02 Forester L (sold) Manual
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I bought a scratch-n-dent '02 a year and a half ago with 107,000 miles on it for about the same amount, and that was a pretty good deal back then. If the car is clean, you're probably right in the ballpark. You can check for a realistic value using New Cars, Used Cars, Blue Book Values & Car Prices - Kelley Blue Book and selecting "private party" (not retail).

Some people don't realize the Suby has 2 head gaskets so may just say "gasket" when both were done. Hopefully they've retained receipts for the work, or you may be able to go to the shop where it was done and have them give you a copy. The HG issue is really the only super-expensive problem these cars have that you need to be concerned with. Everything else is typical car stuff that occasionally needs done on any vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Found that the 02 has a salvage title, not for a accident but the engine had a bent valve from a improper timing belt replacement. Insurance totalled the car and now the engine has been repaired. I dont know how I feel about it now.
 

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2002 S
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Found that the 02 has a salvage title, not for a accident but the engine had a bent valve from a improper timing belt replacement. Insurance totalled the car and now the engine has been repaired. I dont know how I feel about it now.
Unless you can knock off a bunch of $$$, there are way to many fish in the sea to settle for a carp.

By the way, I just bought a 2002 Forester S Premium with 118,200 miles w/ a salvage title. I got a steal on it for $1,100 dollars. Granted I paid over 3K in recent repairs including a new transmission and front differential + timing belt and accessories. Still a good deal though.

So, again, if you can negotiate a couple thousand off, than go for it!
 

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2003 XS
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audioninja,

Welcome to the forum. As others have stated, the N/A Foresters (pretty much all model years, although the jury is still out on the 2009+ models) are infamous for weak head gaskets. Many fail well before 100k and others soon after. Due to the horizontal engine layout, replacing them is not an easy job. While it can be done with the engine still in the car, the engine is most often pulled from the car. If you are going to buy a Subaru, you should definitely do your research on this topic. Here are a few recent threads:

2006 Head gaskets problem?

Head Gasket replaced at 45k, wore out again at 115k
Head Gasket Letter to Subaru
AAAHHHHH Head Gasket in 07

Wheel bearings are also an issue on the SF and SG models.

Mark
 
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