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2003 Forester XS
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2003 XS BLUE and I really wanna replace all the plastic on the doors. Rockers. And bumpers for a single tone color scheme. What are my options? Body kits? Swaps?

This is 400$ car and I wanna build it from the ground up. It needs some engine work and has rust. Here's some things wrong. Presumed head gasket needs a steering rack. And has rust. Probably in over my head. But this is for the fun of it. Should I post photos?

Also since the car is so cheap what might be some smart options with upgrades? If any.
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My experience so far with my car has been well.
Delightful.
It starts off as a college students beater.
Mom buys this car off the lot and owned it since day once 245000 kms later I pull up and buy this car. The brakes are seized and it runs.
It runs i say.
A towing company drags it on the truck and uses soap to slide it into my yard. Me and my buddy free up 3 wheels and one is still stuck. The motor leaks and I can suspect the usual head gasket and valve cover. I need to to ahead and service the engine and I don't wanna get out of hand. But honestly I just wanna strip the whole thing down to a shell and sand it and patch all the holes and then rebuild it up. Just an urge tho. Too broke to actually follow through.
 

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2005 Subaru Forester 2.5X
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If I was you I’d just get a replacement engine, I’d go 2.2 with the 2.5 heads, and just run it. Full reseal too, obvs. Take it slow, I just hope it’s not your only ride.
 

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2003 Forester XS
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
@JH07 I'm also pretty new to these cars. I'm hoping to just restore this car and I have pretty big interest In locking the centre diff to drift it. Even tho is not practical. But for now I'd settle with just restoring the drive train and chassis. I don't know how to build a good engine. I need a reliable one first. So doing a high compression engine doesn't seem practical. I don't think. But tell me wrong please. I'm interested
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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I have a 2003 XS BLUE and I really wanna replace all the plastic on the doors. Rockers. And bumpers for a single tone color scheme. What are my options? Body kits? Swaps? <snipped>
Your lowest cost option may be to find a matching color, assuming you want the same color, 2003 or 2004 "XS" to source those body parts from. The XS has color keyed bumpers & lower door panels.

I actually like the dark lower panels & bumpers.
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If the engine is in need of repairs, you might put off those cosmetic modifications until those repairs are complete, as they will be expensive!

Bobby...

['07 FSXT Member Journal] ['03 X Member Journal]
 

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2003 Forester XS
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@2.5x_sleeper I'll definitely be doing the engine repairs before body work but the body work is something I want to do for the project. So any help to find options for swaps to color match the entire car would be great. Unpractical ways or unconventional. Any ideas or options?
 

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2016 and 2020 Foresters
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...has rust. ... has rust.
Before dumping any money into cosmetic stuff (or anything else) I'd thoroughly evaluate how much rust it has underneath. A car that old in the salt belt can be pretty suspect structurally. If it's still solid, and you want to keep it for a while, make sure it stays that way and take care of the undercarriage rust.

If it's a drift beater, I'd just coat in chalkboard paint or a light coat of spray-on bedliner and call it good. After doing the headgaskets and timing belt kit.

Get to know your local u-pull type salvage yard and you can fix a lot on the cheap.
 

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2003 Forester XS
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
@sneefy thanks for the reply. Do u have any sources where I can find what will be repairable rust? It's in rough shape but I have hope. Any help? Or should I make a new forum? I wanna know how far the extent of repairable is. I mean I'm willing yo cut or weld anything.
 

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2010 X Limited, 2.5L NA, 4AT. Purchased as the second owner in 2020 with ~126K miles.
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785 Posts
I've been considering rust converter product for elements rusted under the car. The service advisor at the dealer recommended the process.
 

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2003 Forester XS
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
@donkpow Can u send me the product u were gonna use? Also anyone who can send me a layout of where I can cut to replace metal would be great. Or any advice. I'm gonna start pulling carpet asap
 

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2003 Forester XS
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
@donkpow I've seen products similar to that. I just wanna get rid of any metal that is bad. So a layout for stitch welds or floor pans. I can't find any floor pans for my car. Any help
 

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2010 X Limited, 2.5L NA, 4AT. Purchased as the second owner in 2020 with ~126K miles.
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@fozzieman For myself, I wouldn't even worry about that. If it's bad, cut it out. I imagine the repairs will be more robust than the refined manufacturing techniques employed. Just use a string to keep everything aligned.

So no, I wouldn't know where to get dimensional information on the sheet metal.
 

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2003 Forester XS
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
@donkpow so pretty much cut away and replace as I go? Fab things up as I go?
Btw with this on the inner rocker That looks like it hold the sub frame. Gonna post a photo. But how would unguys suggest to go at it?
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That's not a sheet metal thing, that's going to be a bracket or something like that. You know, the new piece will decide for you how it will go. Do what you have to do to reinforce the mounting location for the bracket. Something like that, you want to be sure to hold the car steady while you cut it out. And then when you are ready to fix the bracket into place, make sure the weight won't settle and distort the frame.

This stuff is not cheap even to do at home in the garage. You can do it but you are going to need several jacks and some stands. Welder, torch, coffee pot, ...

So here's your picture. I think there are three but I didn't go looking for the part. I'd cut the 3 bolts or rivets, whatever. Grind away whatever weld is in place. Inspect structural strength of the mounting surfaces, replace or reinforce as needed. Install new bracket.
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