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2003 Forester HG Issues?


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14 replies to this topic

#1 9098

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 01:24 PM

Have any of you experts out there seen HG issues with the 2003 Forester? The one I'm looking at has just under 100k miles with an auto trans. Thanks.

#2 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 01:37 PM

They can weep coolant or oil externally just like any other Phase II SOHC EJ25 - it's a very well known issue and Subaru has a "coolant conditioner" that should be done at any change or flush. But that doesn't mean they won't leak. I have a '99 Forester (same engine) with 234k on the original HG's. They have a miniscule oil film that developed around the head gasket area (not enough to drip) but that's all. The Phase II HG's usually don't cause overheating as long as you top off the coolant once in a while (if they are leaking) so it's not a real big issue with them. More of an annoyance if you keep up on checking your fluids every few weeks.

The rear wheel bearings are a worse issue IMO. They eat them like crazy. I'm told that the fix is to install Legacy rear wheel bearings but I haven't done it yet.

GD

#3 grossgary

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 01:40 PM

Have any of you experts out there seen HG issues with the 2003 Forester?

Yes.

#4 subaru360

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 01:55 PM

Yes, I've seen them drip coolant on the ground.

#5 StructEngineer

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 10:28 PM

My late 2002 just blew (both sides externally, even with two doses of conditioner) and coincidentally when talking with the dealers tech, before they opened for the day, said they're seeing more and more 2003's come in.

For some reason WWP-99 recall and warranty extension doesn't extend to 2003's. They may have redesigned something that year, but it sounds like may not have solved the problem.

#6 9098

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 02:20 AM

Thanks. I think I'll pass on it.

#7 subaru360

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 07:21 AM

Don't pass on a potentially good car just because it might have a leak at some point. It's not the huge deal some make it out to be.

#8 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 07:38 PM

Yeah - really not a big deal at all. "Head Gasket Job" has been interchangeable with "boodogle" for some time now - it's really not that big of a deal - it is just a gasket after all.

Especially these as the engine's are otherwise very sound and rarely overheat due to these leaks unless totally ignored.

GD

#9 StructEngineer

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 08:28 PM

That $1000+ boondoggle ruined my family's Christmas. Not everyone has access to a garage, tools, experience, and time.

#10 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 09:35 PM

That $1000+ boondoggle ruined my family's Christmas. Not everyone has access to a garage, tools, experience, and time.


I'm sorry for your luck and your families Christmas.... for sure that sucks.

And it's true that not everyone has the resources to do it on the cheap. But part of owning a car that's out of it's warantee stage is dealing with the potential for breakdown's or repairs. Either by purchasing a warantee package or by putting aside money for the potential. It's really no different than buying health insurance for most people - you take your chances if you don't. Same with cars.

There are things you can do if you can't afford repairs or warantee's to minimize the risk - mostly that involves doing a lot of homework on what brand/model to buy that is least likely to have a breakdown in the first place. The Phase II EJ25 is typically not that bad but the head gasket issue is well known and should always be dealt with premtively or at least money set aside for the repair as it can happen just about anytime on those.

GD

#11 StructEngineer

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 10:07 AM

Thanks for the financial advice. Getting this economy to turn around would help out as well.

My point is that when stating a headgasket job is trivial, you should put a qualifier on the statement so not to mislead people. I'm thinking the majority of people cant or wont do this job on their own.

#12 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 12:17 PM

Thanks for the financial advice. Getting this economy to turn around would help out as well.


I know what you mean. I'm laid off right now myself.

I'm thinking the majority of people cant or wont do this job on their own.


You are right about the won't part. I think a lot more people could do the job if they only had some confidence and understood that it's really only a gasket - only thing required is basic hand tools, and a manual. Most people at least know *someone* with a garage.

GD

#13 valvestem

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 01:54 PM

My wifes' 2003 Impreza OB Sport had to have the HGs redone last summer if that helps in your quest for info. The dealer warranteed the work, after I squawked a little, and OK'd other work (brakes, rotors) to be done.

#14 Attempt6

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 02:29 PM

About a year ago, Subaru replaced the HG on my 2003 Forester as a warranty extension. I wouldn't have known they'd do it 'free of charge' except I happened to take the car to the dealer when the coolant leak became noticable.

#15 unibrook

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 09:23 AM

I always just "price in" the assumption that this sort of major repair will happen kinda soon when I bid on a car. I pick a fair price in my head, then I subtract $2000 or whatever I think the due repairs and maintenance will amount to, and I stand firm on the price. If this deal doesn't happen, move on to the next one.




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