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2003 forester XS
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619 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
is there a radiator life expectancy ? I have an 03 xs with right at 103K and I am already dug in and replacing the t-belt and water pump , etc... and was wondering if this should be one of those while I am in there type things ?
 

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Ah crap.. I'm back with my 05 XS
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it seems that quite a few go right around your mileage. the plastic end tank just cracks and coolant just leaks out.. you'll know when it starts steaming. if you have the funds, i'd try to replace it with an all aluminum radiator. someone mentioned the one for the 2.5RS fits from Koyo, but i can't be sure since i haven't tried it yet. oh and if you have a 4EAT, you'll need an aftermarket transmission cooler if you replace the radiator with an aftermarket. i don't think anyone makes an AT radiator.
 

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2003 forester XS
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Discussion Starter #3
hmm .... I will look it seems that I have some green on the tray along the bottom of the radiator on the pass side , but haven't looked for the source .. I assumed it was spillage from moving the top hose
 

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2001 Forester S, auto
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444 Posts
I have an immaculate '01 that I bought a few months ago with 28,000 miles or so, and I just replaced the radiator, it was leaking slightly and I just replaced it before it became an issue. So it may be more age than anything. Mine was seeping down from somewhere at the top on the passenger side, I forget, the tech at my work was showing me and I was like "whatever just replace it" because I trust him so I wasn't paying too much attention
 

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2003 forester XS
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Discussion Starter #8
I am thinking mine is at the starting stage of failing ... is this another it's in your best interest to buy a subaru part, like the t-belt ... or am I ok just going to auto zone and getting one ?

anyone got a got source for these ?
 

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Ah crap.. I'm back with my 05 XS
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The Subtle one is fitted for the XT. I'm not sure if we have the same size radiator. In the past, Subaru has always had smaller radiators for the NAs. And yeah, you'll need a separate AT cooler. Almost all, if not all, aftermarkets do.

Try looking for hairline cracks in the endtank. It's harder to gauge though since you don't have the opportunity to get the coolant up to temp. I would be tempted to change it to an aluminum one and not worry about it later. Just remember to check your upper hose clamp.. but not too tight that it would crack the plastic.

Here's some info on our radiators and its issues:
http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f88/smoke-antifreeze-headache-55354/
 

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2003 forester XS
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619 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
The Subtle one is fitted for the XT. I'm not sure if we have the same size radiator. In the past, Subaru has always had smaller radiators for the NAs. And yeah, you'll need a separate AT cooler. Almost all, if not all, aftermarkets do.
so let me get this right .. if I buy a new oem suby radiator I don't need to buy the additional tranny cooler all others I buy from an autozone type parts place I will ?
 

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2001 Forester S, auto
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so let me get this right .. if I buy a new oem suby radiator I don't need to buy the additional tranny cooler all others I buy from an autozone type parts place I will ?
I think they mean like a performance type radiator. We put a normal, non-Subaru brand radiator on mine and it was virtually identical but a lot cheaper.
 

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2003 forester XS
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619 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
oh gotcha -- I really after buying all the parts for al the other work I just did anm gonna wait to see what happens .... I bought pricey fluids for my baby :)
 

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Most of the parts store ones are almost identical to the oem. They seem to last about 100-120,000 and then split on the passenger side by the big hose (the seam between the end tank and the metal core just separates). Mine failed as I was pulling into AZP to get other work done! It showed no signs of going until I started smelling coolant 5 mins before I got there.
 

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2003 forester XS
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619 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
so are all foz MY and model radiators the same and suffer the same demise ?
 

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2002 Forester 5MT, 2020 Forester Touring
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129 Posts
oil cooler

I think they mean like a performance type radiator. We put a normal, non-Subaru brand radiator on mine and it was virtually identical but a lot cheaper.
Were you able to attach the engine oil cooler fittings using the aftermarket radiator?
 

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2003 XS MT
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so are all foz MY and model radiators the same and suffer the same demise ?
Mine did, though stop leak held it. I'm in the same boat as the OP though, and about to replace.

On Ebay I only see all-aluminum radiators for pre-2003 (SFs), and turbos. None for NA SG Foresters. Mine's an 03 NA 5-speed.

How different are they? I also see a listing for a plastic tank radiator that claims it fits all Foresters.

And subtle solutions thinks their radiator will fit turbo & NA.

I'd really like something that's a direct fit without any custom hoses or fabrication. And I'd prefer aluminum, but I can live with another plastic one. If only the first one had lasted a little longer...
 
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