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2000 Accord
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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all, just a day ago I became the proud owner of a Forester, and it is the first car I ever purchased myself and I love it :woohoo:. I want some advice on the maintenance I need for my new, to me, 2002 Forester L 5 speed with 130k miles.

1. Because it has 130,000 mi and the service history made no mention a timing belt change and the dealer didn't know either, purchased at a auction, I assume I should change this asap, right?

2. Are there any other belts, pulleys, gaskets, etc. that should be changed while their doing the timing belt. I don't know much about cars but I know that timing belt changes are expensive because they're hard to get to so I figure while the engine is lifted or whatever I might as well have other stuff replaced as well if its there.

3. Should I spend extra money and have a dealership do it? I do not have a trusted mechanic but I understand dealerships are considerably more expensive than a general shop, but I believe somewhat in the philosophy you get what you pay for, and since I bought I high mileage vehicle I really want the best maintenance possible. But on the other hand I hate being ripped off and throwing money away.

4. I know 2002 is a year with head gasket issues but I have not seen any sign of this yet, is there anything I should do or a good way to catch these issues early?

additional info: I'll be living in Little Rock AR, and they have a Subaru dealership and I'm also in Fayetteville AR quite often which also has a dealer ship if anyone has used either one let me know your experience.

Long post, I know but advice is greatly desired.
Thanks everyone
 

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Premium Member
2008 Forester X Premium 5MT
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8,071 Posts
Answers in red.

Hello all, just a day ago I became the proud owner of a Forester, and it is the first car I ever purchased myself and I love it :woohoo:. I want some advice on the maintenance I need for my new, to me, 2002 Forester L 5 speed with 130k miles.

1. Because it has 130,000 mi and the service history made no mention a timing belt change and the dealer didn't know either, purchased at a auction, I assume I should change this asap, right?

I tend to assume the worst to play it safe with stuff like this. You never know if the previous owner did do it right and do all of the items in there or if they cheaped out and only did what was needed if it has been done at all.


2. Are there any other belts, pulleys, gaskets, etc. that should be changed while their doing the timing belt. I don't know much about cars but I know that timing belt changes are expensive because they're hard to get to so I figure while the engine is lifted or whatever I might as well have other stuff replaced as well if its there.

Jackie at Annapolis Subaru(a supporting vendor here, think discount) has been nice enough to put together the parts commonly used in doing the timing belt service.

http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f125/forester-timing-belt-kits-76277/
If it were mine or I were doing it for some one I would get every thing and go under the assumption none of it has been done and it is all in need of replacement. You can justify this since as you said, you bought a high mileage vehicle and tend to keep it.

3. Should I spend extra money and have a dealership do it? I do not have a trusted mechanic but I understand dealerships are considerably more expensive than a general shop, but I believe somewhat in the philosophy you get what you pay for, and since I bought I high mileage vehicle I really want the best maintenance possible. But on the other hand I hate being ripped off and throwing money away.

The 2.5L SOHC is not a hard engine to do a timing belt job on, you could probably do it your self just fine but if you do want it in some one else's hands so you can hold the liable should any thing go wrong, I would say ask/look around for a independent shop that is familiar with Subarus to save some cash.

4. I know 2002 is a year with head gasket issues but I have not seen any sign of this yet, is there anything I should do or a good way to catch these issues early?

Keep an eye on the temp gauge and watch the coolant level. If the temp get erratic it could point to HGs. Also watch/smell for coolant leaks.

additional info: I'll be living in Little Rock AR, and they have a Subaru dealership and I'm also in Fayetteville AR quite often which also has a dealer ship if anyone has used either one let me know your experience.

Long post, I know but advice is greatly desired.
Thanks everyone
 

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2001 Forester Slushbox
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1,777 Posts
^Listen to him,knows his stuff.

Wouldn't hurt to put some Subaru coolant conditioner in it as well.
 

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2008 Forester X Premium 5MT
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8,071 Posts
Here is the list of parts Jackie has for your Foresters timing belt. If I was doing this for my self/friend/family or some one off the street this is what I would recommend doing for parts.

1999-2005 Forester 2.5L SOHC N/A
Timing Belt: 13028AA231 - $69.00
Idlers: 13073AA142 - $57.50 x 1
13085AA080 - $62.95 x 1
13073AA190 - $32.00 x 1
Tensioner: 13033AA042 - $115.00
Crank Seal: 806733030 - $6.59
Cam Seals: 806732150 - $6.15 x 2
Water Pump: M/T: 21111AA007 - $76.75
Pump Gasket: 21114AA051 - $3.00
Thermostat: 21200AA072 - $13.00
Thermo Gasket: 21236AA010 - $2.65

I know the total when you add it all up can be a shock, but keep in mind if you were to pay retail for these parts it is about $600. Jackie's prices are about a $150 savings.

A couple of additional things you may want to have them do while they are in there is:
-check the backing plate on the oil pump once it is removed, the screws that secure it are notorious for coming loose.
-basic tune up items also, plugs, wires, fuel filter, air filter, pcv, radiator cap, accessory belts,....

It is tempting to go with aftermarket parts, however we have seen in many cases the aftermarket "equivalent" is not so equivalent". Some of the aftermarket idler bearings are only a single row bearing vs Subarus double row, 1/2 the price 1/2 the bearing....

Again it is a large chunk of cash, but put it this way. A couple of weeks ago I did a buddies '97 Outback that has 197K miles, $650 in parts(free labor, ME). I fully expect him to see another 100K out of it.

I also wouldn't hesitate to poke around the forum for a member here who is local to you that would be willing to do a job like this for side cash($100 or so +parts).
 

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1998 Cayenne GTS 6speed
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1,751 Posts
Before you decide to do the work, check the condition of the belt (~5 minutes to get access to view a portion of it) - may be it has been changed already (need someone with a bit of experience to judge the age of the cam belt).
 

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Premium Member
2008 Forester X Premium 5MT
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8,071 Posts
^^ the problem with that is if the belt was changed but if any one of the idler bearing were left unchanged the owner then has a time bomb waiting to let go. If a idler bearing fails it doesn't mater how new the belt is the bearing will destroy the belt.
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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Can anyone indicate what the best way is to check access to the belt. Thanks.

If the whole cover needs to come off its not a 5 minute job.
 

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1998 Cayenne GTS 6speed
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^^ the problem with that is if the belt was changed but if any one of the idler bearing were left unchanged the owner then has a time bomb waiting to let go.
Absolutely true... but if funds are short, it might be an option to rely on previous owner/mechanic judgement.

Can anyone indicate what the best way is to check access to the belt. Thanks.

If the whole cover needs to come off its not a 5 minute job.
Right side cover should come off easily just after the accessory belts. Might need to remove radiator fans first, not sure. Left side would require ac adjuster removal (another few minutes).
 

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Premium Member
2008 Forester X Premium 5MT
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8,071 Posts
Right side cover should come off easily just after the accessory belts. Might need to remove radiator fans first, not sure. Left side would require ac adjuster removal (another few minutes).
Correct, I would say overflow bottle and fans should come out to give the needed room.

Absolutely true... but if funds are short, it might be an option to rely on previous owner/mechanic judgement.
I have learned from many past adventures, that relying on a previous owners/mechanics judgment can be more costly then just doing the repairs.

It goes right along with the do it right the first time adage.

The timing belt and related items are not a spot I would conciser it safe to "Hope for the best". These are interference engine those $50-150 dollar bearings/tensioner that people skipped in hopes of saving a buck or in their judgment they thought was good enough can quickly cause several thousand dollars in damage dwarfing the money they saved.
 

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2000 Accord
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Discussion Starter #11
awesome info guys, so purchasing the parts from that retailer you mentioned is the most economical way? And as for doing it yourself I have a buddy who is pretty experienced auto mechanic, but I don't think he has done much with subarus, do you think we could handle it? and are there any how to posts or manuals out there that give pretty detailed description of how to change the belt/ idlers/tensioners etc?
and thanks again for all the info and advice
 

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2008 Forester X Premium 5MT
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