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Registered
2008 Forester XS Auto
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3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

This may be a common question - but I'm stuck on a fence and could do with some learned advice.

I've got a 2008 XS Premium Forester with failed head gaskets and seals (according to the family mechanic) and we have no idea which way to jump with it - fix it, sell it, wreck it (?)...

Quick history:
Owned since 60k and has now just ticked 200k
Radiator replaced at 190k, after sheering the valve off at the hose clip
Takata airbags have recently been replaced
Recond. power steering pump also just fitted

The car is in generally good condition for its age - with internal leather seats, sunroof, roo bar and tow pack fitted
Drivers seat has had the spot welds fail and which need to be fixed (apparently a common problem)
Apart from that, it's been a great family car.

The car has since been replaced - so we're not looking to use it as a trade for something else.

So what now?

1. Is it worth fixing? I'd keep it and drive it for another 100k if its reasonable.
I'm assuming a recond. engine is needed - but is that too expensive, difficult, or a waste of time for a car over 200k? and from central Victoria?

2. Is it worth anything to someone else, as is, as a project car?

3. If neither of the above - is it worth the effort to wreck it and part it out?

Keen to hear any suggestions or experiences on the above

cheers
Matt
 

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Registered
2005 Forester X MT
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350 Posts
Hey Matt I see this is your first post so welcome!

I always tend to lean towards "saving the car." For me the repairs never constitute the hassle of a car payment or spending the time looking for a car. That being said, Head gaskets will be an expensive fix and I understand your situation.

A word of advice. If you are having your head-gaskets replaced, have them do the timing belt and components while they are in there. This is a recommended service by Subaru every 105k miles. A belt failure or idler failure will brick your engine.

If you were to do the head gaskets and timing belt I would say your motor would be good for AT Least another 100k. Get some quotes if your not doing it yourself and share with the members here. Alot have paid for it and know whats fair and whats a rip off
 

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Registered
2010 Forester Diesel 6MT
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850 Posts
Hi Matt,

sorry to hear of your issues. Is it a SG or a SH? I think both were made in 2008.

It seems the vehicle is not really a priority- and you said you have another car anyway. No finger-pointing blame here, that's perfectly OK! It does influence whether you spend $, $$, $$$ or $$$$! But at the same time the lack of priority can work for you as you can take your time- maybe even make it a project. Yes they are worth something as a project car- see the recent “What to do with 2 dead foresters? “thread. And don't forget an AWD Subaru in good condition is ALWAYS worth something in Oz, esp. around the high country. In a few years if you put up your good-condition 300k Subie with a (say) post-rebuild 100k engine I think you'll have buyers queueing.

Rego may be a consideration: if it’s close to out it may not be worth fixing. If it’s got 12 months- it may be worth fixing and you have the time.

Your engine is at 200k and therefore at least 'middle-aged'. As BigOtuna said, you at least need to do the water pump, tensioner, guides and belt whilst you're there or you may find yourself back inside it in short order. How far will you take it a rebuild? Do the pistons, rings and bores? Valves? etc.

I note your radiator issue- this may have a bearing on your head gasket issue. Anecdotally at least, Subarus have had head gasket issues in the past but they've become incrementally better with time, such that I haven't really heard of many issues with the SH... either that or there's a whole lot of SH's about to fall over with 'em! If the car lost coolant or admitted air during the radiator issue, even if it didn't indicate it overheated, it may have (locally) overheated and this may have contributed to the blown head gaskets (and other seals). Even if not, if there was substantial coolant loss before you picked it up, then there's a good chance damage has been done to the engine and beyond the head gaskets. Also, opening something up invariably shows something else that ‘needs to be fixed’...

So between the risk of damage and the fact that even after a head gasket rebuild it'll still be a 200k engine, I would suggest trying to source a low-km Japanese import engine or a swapover for a locally (Oz) rebuilt one. You'll no doubt get a warranty with that too. There are companies that do that in Oz, e.g. alldrivesubaroo and others that either rebuild or do crate engines and your local mechanic should be able to fit it. Easy to find out the cost and viability, just give some of them a call...

Good luck and let us know how it goes!
 

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2008 Forester XS Auto
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3 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys.
@pitrack_1, its an SH - first of S3s and has been a great car for us.

Potentially looking at doing an engine swap, but have found it difficult to work out where to source one (one of the reasons for the post)
I've swapped emails briefly with AllDriveSubaroo - but I understand they're located in Sydney.

Being 100km from Melbourne, are there any options a little closer to home that could provide and fit a reconditioned motor?

cheers
Matt
 

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Registered
2010 Forester Diesel 6MT
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850 Posts
Hi Matt,

There's a couple in canbera, but they're not much closer than Sydney to you! However a quick google search for "subaru specialist melbourne victoria" turns up quite a few.

Here's three that list spare parts and/or mechanical expertise: Note I have not dealt with any of them and make no recommendation either for or against any of them. And there may of course be more.

Suba-roos

Lucas Automotive

Suba bits

Then of course there's always wreckers.

You could also try a post or two on the more Australian-based chat sites, Ozfoz and ausubaru although ausubaru is sadly being polluted a bit by spam currently.

Good luck, let us know how it goes!
 

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Registered
2008 Forester XS Auto
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3 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Hi all

Just an update : we've ended up selling it to a mechanic as is for $800, who will likely fix/replace the motor and give it a new life.

I know we've let it go cheap and with some reasonable time, we probably could have achieved a better outcome - but in the end I guess its an opportunity for someone else

Thanks all for your responses - very much appreciated

regards
Matt
 

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Administrator
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15,379 Posts
Thanks for the update Matt. Yes, you did let it go cheap but sometimes other priorities suggest it best to let it go rather than hang on.
 

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Registered
2010 Forester Diesel 6MT
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850 Posts
Hi Matt,

all's well that ends well! If you fixed it you'd be (I suppose) at least $2-3k 'in the hole' with the risk of more if anything further went wrong. You are now $800 up, have divested the risk (which the mechanic can wear) and it can't cost you any more.

Many thanks for getting back to us, it's great to hear an outcome.
 
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