Have been lurking around this and other forums for a long time and never felt the need to post - because there are so many answers to most any question! Huge appreciation to the generations of knowledge accumulated.
Ive owned a 2003 Forester XT 5MT for over a year now and am still so happy to have a car that I am excited to work on and improve. It's my third subaru - my first car was a red L-series that I unfortunately blew up after the water pump failed
So I'm slowly building up my XT as my small budget allows. I want to keep it as a comfortable daily, reliable for remote trips, capable off-road and fast on gravel.
It was stock when I bought it, except for a large carbon fiber bonnet scoop which I really don't know why the previous owner put on. I didn't like it at first but it has grown on me.
Have done a few mods so far: raised heavy-duty king springs with new struts, A/T tyres, mid pipe and muffler from an STI, whiteline RSB, new turbo inlet hose and intercooler hoses (originals were cracked and leaking).
No service history, so have gradually worked my way through a full service over a year.
I have a long wish list of things to do, and the order depends on finding cheap stuff, time to install, and when stock things break.
Bash plate / sump guard
Intercooler and radiator upgrade (it is hot in summer here and I spend time in the desert)
Up-pipe (maybe 2nd hand from an STI) catless for safety, reliability, throttle response.
Strut bracing for stability and strength
ABS and fan switches
Bullbar + winch
Anything else for off-road traction, torque and throttle response.
Anyway, thanks again to those who contribute knowledge on here.