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2005 Forester, XT 4EAT
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to get a used XT Forester, and need some help. I have a 2001 Dodge Cummins diesel for towing, and DD, but it's 2-3k a year for maintenance, and not that much fun to drive anymore. I've been looking at used XT's and with a $12k budget, it seems most Xt's with less than 75k miles are 2005s then they jump to 2009 and $6 more. Are 2005s reliable, and are there any big maintenance cost, besides the timing belt at 100k. Tires, brakes, rotors, and minor items I can fix. My Dodge needed fuel pump, cam sensor, brakes, rotors, all new brake lines, master cyl, fuel sender, 3 steering pumps, all new front suspension, clutch, batteries, tires, turbo, injectors, etc. before 100,000 miles. The only good thing is it can tow 10,000# @ 70mph uphill, and get 14mpg. Are the Transmissions 4eat, and turbos reliable. What should I watch for? Looks like a few one owner 2005s with service records. It seems most of the modded ones here need work, or need a lot of maintenance to keep up.
 

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2009 Fozzie XT Ltd 4EAT
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553 Posts
I bought my 4eat 04 xt in 2008 with about 40K on it (totally stock) and sold it about a year ago with 90K. Replaced the turbo with a vf23 and supporting mods and the only issue I had with it was that the radiator cracked around 80K.

Then I bought a 2009 xt last year with 45K on it and was in the process of getting some maintenance done and the shop noticed a rod bearing was spinning. The cause was the stock turbo going out. Had to get a new turbo and shortblock but thankfully it's under warranty.

I guess the bottom line is that when you buy a used XT, you are taking a chance that the previous owner properly cared for the vehicle, which on a turbo model means scheduled oil changes and making sure that the oil level is full between fillups. These vehicles use oil (probably because of a crappy pcv system) and it is critical that the turbo doesn't get starved of oil.
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 Forester XT
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15,022 Posts
You might be looking at a new turbo eventually. Also along with timing belt you should do the tensioner ,idler and water pump. Other issue is rear wheel bearings. Head gaskets are uncommon on the XT.
 

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2009 Fozzie XT Ltd 4EAT
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553 Posts
on scoobs, when the turbo goes out, the engine is soon to follow
 

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8,844 Posts
I'd say the 04/05 are arguably the more reliable years as 06+ got the secondary air injection system which is $$ to repair/replace.

Earlier models had screen filters in the oil lines which could get clogged and cause issues such as issues with the avcs solenoids and failed turbos. These filters can just be removed.

My 04 did need a fuel pump at around 80,000 miles, but aftermarket ones such as the walbro aren't terribly expensive and it was likely due to it running dry during hard cornering rather than any inherent flaw in the pump.

Almost all subarus with the 5x100 hubs (most all aside from sti,svx,tribeca) will likely need at least one wheel bearing replaced in the first 100-150,000 miles. I needed a front and a rear, although the front was likely from an incident with a curb.

One of the big issues buying used is how the previous owner treated it. If it was fed 87 rather than 91+ you may end up with internal engine problems like failed ringlands. At least in my area the XT was sold as a higher trim level rather than a performance model and many buyers were told "regular is fine". You're not really going to see any evidence of this until you start having issues. This is one of the reasons I'd look on enthusiast forums rather than looking for preowned/trade in cars at a dealer.

Also the 04/05 is starting to get old, so even with low mileage you may be looking at rubber bits starting to need replacement. All the rubber bushings and such on the car are not greasable, so they will wear out and require replacing.
 
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