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2000 Forester S
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22 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My '01 Forester over the last few days has been occasionally overheating, then a few moments later going back to normal temp. If it helps anyone here diagnose the issue, here are some noticed issues:

~The overflow bottle of coolant is always cold, always full.
~The fans turn on and off normally (I am assuming here).
~I can't see any foam or discoloration of oil on the dipstick.
~There seems to be some junk in the overflow bottle, I'm not convinced it's oil though
~When I squeeze the big radiator hose on top, it always feels empty.
~I can't see any leaks.
~I added coolant to the system after it got low about a week back. While adding coolant with the radiator cap off, I was pressing the gas pedal to cycle the coolant with the heater on (per directions). I did, from inside the vehicle, looking under the open hood, see some foamed coolant come from the open radiator. I checked it out, there was still foam, but eventually went away and regular fluid could be seen flowing by again. This foam was only seen when I pressed the gas to about 3k RPM.

After reading about HG leaks here, I called my local Subaru dealer. He said $43 for a diagnoses, which seems plenty fair. He mentioned that this could possibly find other issues and that I may be a bit hasty jumping on the HG bandwagon. After asking for a quote on a HG fix anyway, he said usually sees them go out the door for 1,400 with no machining, 1500 with, and 1700 with machining as well as timing chain and water pump.

Does this sound like a good price?

Revvy
 

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03X MT
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846 Posts
Probably worth the $ to let the dealer diagnose the overheating issue. If you don't want to experiment changing parts.

There are more issues to overheating than head gaskets.

T-stat not opening soon enough or non OEM t-stat, ie jiggle pin, larger diameter opening in OEM than non OEM

defective rad cap
partially blocked radiator
etc
etc

Do you know the maintenance history? coolant conditioner added during the last 19 years?
 

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1998 Forester
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213 Posts
That price sounds fair it would be a good time to change the water pump, thermostat, timing belt, and all pulleys. Also have them do a valve adjustment at this time.
 

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Premium Member
98 GM67 + 03 SG
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357 Posts
I purchased my Forester used from a dealer in the area. They mentioned in write-ups that the headgaskets might be going. I liked the car and said that I didn't want the ticking grenade of failing headgaskets. They repaired them AT COST for $1000 on top of the price of the vehicle. Your quote is very reasonable for the work.

Machining is a good choice. You probably haven't warped your heads, but it can't hurt to make sure everything is flat.

The timing belt and water pump will likely be another $200 in parts and labor. The timing belt is somewhere around $75, I think. It has been a while since I've looked at those parts, and the water pump will likely be up there as well. And the nice thing is, doing those items with the motor out for the headgaskets is VERY easy. And that will help to provide thousands of miles of further enjoyment.

To me, the price seems very fair.



For further analysis of your issue, pop off the radiator cap while the engine is cool and top off the fluids. Start the engine. If you are getting air bubbles, then you have a leak between the cylinder and the coolant. Ideally, there should be zero bubbles and you'll see fluid moving once the thermostat opens.

The foaming you've been seeing might be due to the water pump pushing more fluid through the system. Or it could be due to exhaust gasses, so take a look at things while the vehicle idles.

How long had it been since you topped off the coolant? It might have been low which caused the overheating issues due to an air pocket forming by the temperature sensor.
 

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1 Posts
We're getting our 1999 Forester L serviced at the moment, with the dealer quoting ~$2400 for the following:

- replace Head gasket & valves
- torn CV/axle replacement
- cracked radiator hose
- replace belts (timing)
- replace lost underbody engine cover
- water pump + thermostat
- front brake pad replacement & rotoring
- replace wipers
- 90k service (spark plugs, oil, etc)

90k service was quoted around $680, so it's an additional ~$1720 for the repairs and replacements. So yeah, your price seems fair. Our car is having some troubles though, notably a bad burning smell and leaks in the engine. The dealer said that they're trying to give us a break by just charging us for parts and doing the work all at once while they're in there. On the downside, we won't have our subaru until friday.
 

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2000 Forester S
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22 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the info, guys.

I got a call back today with the full estimate. The mechanic said it looked like the car never had it's 90k service (or very many others, for that matter). I just bought the car not to long ago at 105K (it now has 114k, or near enough). I've really only done oil changes. The dealer I purchased the car from gave me the "it was driven in by a little old man who took such good care of it, but didn't keep records" routine. Life lesson, I guess.

Anyways, mechanic says that regardless, it looks like it is in pretty solid condition, but it needs new fluids everywhere, several hoses, spark plugs/wires, filters and a few other odds and ends. The HG's were in fact leaking pretty badly and the head needed to be machined (I think it was the head, whatever it is that needs to be machined, needed it). After hearing this, I asked him his definition of "solid" :). He said that there was minimal rust and corrosion and outside of needing maintenance, the car looked rather good. I asked him how much and he said he'd do it all, the HG's, the 90k service, water pump, timing belt, gaskets that needed it, fluids, hoses, plugs and wires for $1650. From what I've read here, it sounded like a steal, so I said go for it. At least I know where the car stands now.

Thanks again, all.
 

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Premium Member
2004 Forester 4EAT
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5,462 Posts
Fluids including diffs, trans, ect? That's a great deal. If he does a good job, let everyone know.
 

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2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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19,097 Posts
It sounds like you've got a pretty good mechanic on your side.

There are a few other items that are useful to get changed while they're in there doing the timing belt. Check out the link in my sticky at the top of the New Member Introductions Forum for a good list.
 

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02 Forester L (sold) Manual
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1,220 Posts
Good deal. It will take care of most any concern you'd have in the next 100,000 miles. Now you can just drive it and enjoy!
 

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2000 Forester S
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22 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Okay, got it back today. Total cost 1813.46

He did everything in both the 60 and 90 thousand checklist, as well as timing chain and HG's and everything that goes along with them. The list is three pages long. He told me that if it was fluid, it was flushed. Several hoses replaced, several random parts, all kinds of nuts, bolts, springs and gaskets. The car drives great, I didn't really know what I was missing. It was a chunk of change, but it should last me for a while now.

Thanks again.

mike

Edit: I should throw the mechanic a bone, as after reading here, I realize that this is a great price. His name was Bill at Secor Subaru in New London, CT. I'd easily do business with him again.
 

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Administrator
2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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19,097 Posts
Ah, the other New London!

Why not write up a nice review and post it in the Dealer/Vendor Reviews Forum.

(It's timing belt, not chain. That's why it needs to be replaced from time to time.)
 

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1999 Forester
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57 Posts
Okay, got it back today. Total cost 1813.46

He did everything in both the 60 and 90 thousand checklist, as well as timing chain and HG's and everything that goes along with them. The list is three pages long. He told me that if it was fluid, it was flushed. Several hoses replaced, several random parts, all kinds of nuts, bolts, springs and gaskets. The car drives great, I didn't really know what I was missing. It was a chunk of change, but it should last me for a while now.

Thanks again.

mike

Edit: I should throw the mechanic a bone, as after reading here, I realize that this is a great price. His name was Bill at Secor Subaru in New London, CT. I'd easily do business with him again.
Thats outrageous, thats what I paid for my 99 Forester....
 

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Premium Member
2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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14,503 Posts
We're getting our 1999 Forester L serviced at the moment, with the dealer quoting ~$2400 for the following:

- replace Head gasket & valves
- torn CV/axle replacement
- cracked radiator hose
- replace belts (timing)
- replace lost underbody engine cover
- water pump + thermostat
- front brake pad replacement & rotoring
- replace wipers
- 90k service (spark plugs, oil, etc)
.
You need the idler, and consider bearings/seals.
 

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Premium Member
2008 XS 4EAT
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9,827 Posts
As you said you now know where you stand with the condition of the vehicle.

Do follow up with the mechanic and thank him personally if you can. I've had a good Subaru tech for over seven years after being introduced to him. I consider him more of a friend now and anything he recommends doing I get him to do. I've also given him some really cheap labour when he found it was harder than he thought to repair some weeping tile around his house.

Knowing what was involved in doing the head gaskets on my old 99 Forester, and likely how they did it tells me you got a good price from the dealer and it was done right.

Many miles of happy motoring for you ahead.
 

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02 Forester L (sold) Manual
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1,220 Posts
Thats outrageous, thats what I paid for my 99 Forester....
I'm sure that makes the OP feel so much better...:shake:

And if your HG's weren't done yet, you'll be writing a check for the same amount some day soon. Just the nature of the SF.
 

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2000 Forester S
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22 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
I'm sure that makes the OP feel so much better...:shake:

And if your HG's weren't done yet, you'll be writing a check for the same amount some day soon. Just the nature of the SF.
Thanks for the support, ddavidv. Being new to the forum, I wasn't really sure how to respond to obvious baiting. Other forums I belong to frown on it, figured it was likely the same here.
 

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Administrator
2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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19,097 Posts
Other forums I belong to frown on it, figured it was likely the same here.
Yup. This is a place for grownups.

The mod crew has been keeping an eye on this thread since it started to get heated, but it appears now to have stabilized. Let's all make sure it stays that way.
 
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