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97 outback
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I just retired my 97 Outback (250k) 5 spd. I cannot afford to buy new or very recent. So I'm looking at Subi's in the 80-120k miles range.

Fousing on a 2002 "S" model, 109k mi, auto trans, premium option pack. Visual inspection by me looks very good, and short test drive revealed nothing of negative note. Car records check showed nothing out of ordinary, two owners, even split ownership time, all local. Tires are Michelin and seem about half tread life left. Dealer had it listed at 6999, but dropped to 6500. Don't know yet if I can get it down further. Does this seem like a good price? Anything special to Foresters to inspect closely?

Altho I loved my OB, I've been shy of another because of the notorious head gasket failures (got mine at 140k:icon_mad:). Apparently it got better from '01 on, but still common enough for mention in owners groups (tho apprently dif type of h/g failure). Reading here I find the problem also exists on the Forester's of similar vintage. :icon_frown: Still, I'm close to a purchase and will probably go ahead, having my mechanic check out tomorrow on pre-buy inspection. (FWIW I sniffed coolant reservoir and did not smell any exhaust or burning odor, nor see any sludge).

How does the price/condition ratio seem? This is from a small used car dealership. 100% ebay rating. A local, big, new car dealership's used office just sold a 2001 Subaru Forester S w/Premium Pkg 74k miles, for $5877. I missed it by hours.
 

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I got my '02 S last year for the same price with about the same mileage on it. I now think I got taken because it needed the 106k belt service and had not been maintained well by the PO even though it was in very nice cosemtic condition. The steering rack started leaking after about 5k miles so I had to replace it with a reman part. I added some coolant conditioner right after I bought it and so far I've got just a slight oil weepage from one the left side head gasket and none on the right so I may be ok there for now but '02s are still prone to that problem. I if were you I'd probably try to get them down some more on the price or look for another one. The $5877 price on the one you missed sounds about the top of what I would pay for an '02 with that mileage.

Guy
 

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2001 Forester S, auto
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444 Posts
I'd make sure the belt was done. And water pump. The price is decent I suppose, it's hard to say
 

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2007 XT Sport 5MT
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Yeah, the only things you really need to check for are the regular maintenance items like the timing belt and water pump.
Just take a peek in the radiator overflow canister for bubbles while or after it was running. Hopefully you'll luck out and they'll be fine.
 

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97 outback
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16 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the thoughts. In the end my mechanic advised me to walk away from this one. He found indications of weeping from the head gasket on the right front side (where he said in his experience it tends to start). There were other issues but not so major.

I'm now looking at an '01 that will be checked out today. I need to price it down to cover replacing the a/c compressor as it is making noise.
 

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Thanks for the thoughts. In the end my mechanic advised me to walk away from this one. He found indications of weeping from the head gasket on the right front side (where he said in his experience it tends to start). There were other issues but not so major.

I'm now looking at an '01 that will be checked out today. I need to price it down to cover replacing the a/c compressor as it is making noise.
Hope you find a good one. Other than that I paid a bit too much for mine I really do love it.

Guy
 

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97 outback
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Discussion Starter #7
Me 0 | Head Gaskets 3

Well, this one failed, too. :(

Head gasket has started leaking (always seems to start at left front). Boots over front axles were torn and had no grease left, so they would likely need replacing soon, too. Add in some brake work, and the failing a/c compressor, and the list & cost of repairs added up. The dealer was asking $6500 and had come down to $5400. Even dropping below 5k would leave me spending enough to get a much more recent model instead.

The past week had me considering 3 Subaru's. But inspections revealed all had gaskets starting to leak. I'm seriously depressed tonight. Guess I must accept the inevitable shelling out of more $$$ up front and getting an '04 or '5.
 
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