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Looking at a 2001 Forester


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14 replies to this topic

#1 BillZ

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 12:15 PM

Hello all!
I am new to this forum. I bought a 91 Legacy, front wheel drive version, about 9 years ago. It has been a good car but needs to be retired. I am now looking at a 2001 Forester with 62,000 miles. In doing my research, I came across many owner reviews of complaints about the wheel bearings. I realize that the person who is upset about a problem is more likely to add their review so the frequency that I see it may not be an accurate representation. Nevertheless, it worries me. Some posted having to change all bearings multiple times in the first 50-60k miles! Is there now a more permanent fix to this problem or do these people just have bad mechanics?

Also, any advice on what to look for when I test drive this Forester is much appreciated. It is an L, manual tranny.

#2 unibrook

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 02:54 PM

It's the rear bearings. Expect them to go b4 100k miles.
You can replace them yourself with the right toolkit (about $350). I did.
Windshield is a bit fragile.
Front pass axle inner boot will crack early due to heat from exhaust pipe directly beneath it.
Clock will need a simple resolder.
Add the gasket mender goop to your coolant to keep the internal head gasket failure at bay.
Front 02 sensor may need replacing every 40k miles.

But that is about it. We like the car.

#3 frogstar7055

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 04:08 PM

Hello all!
I am new to this forum. I bought a 91 Legacy, front wheel drive version, about 9 years ago. It has been a good car but needs to be retired. I am now looking at a 2001 Forester with 62,000 miles. In doing my research, I came across many owner reviews of complaints about the wheel bearings. I realize that the person who is upset about a problem is more likely to add their review so the frequency that I see it may not be an accurate representation. Nevertheless, it worries me. Some posted having to change all bearings multiple times in the first 50-60k miles! Is there now a more permanent fix to this problem or do these people just have bad mechanics?

Also, any advice on what to look for when I test drive this Forester is much appreciated. It is an L, manual tranny.


It's the rear bearings. Expect them to go b4 100k miles.

You can replace them yourself with the right toolkit (about $350). I did.
Windshield is a bit fragile.
Front pass axle inner boot will crack early due to heat from exhaust pipe directly beneath it.
Clock will need a simple resolder.
Add the gasket mender goop to your coolant to keep the internal head gasket failure at bay.
Front 02 sensor may need replacing every 40k miles.

But that is about it. We like the car.


My rear bearings went at 115,000mi after being sunk in a mud pit.
(I'm a little rough on the old Foz)
unibrook is right about the coolant additive to keep the head gaskets fresh.
At about 100,000mi do the timing belt and you'll be fine.

Love my 01,most fun I've ever had with a car.

#4 frogstar7055

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 04:09 PM

Oh and welcome aboard.:)

#5 BillZ

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 05:34 PM

Thanks for the advice!

Unibrook, how difficult is it to do the bearings? I am fairly mechanically inclined but only have experience with light maintenance/repair such as changing oil,plugs,alternator,starter etc...With a repair manual and the right tools, I normally feel pretty confident about my ability.

I called to recheck the availability of the Forester before going out to see it and it had just been sold. :mad: I plan to keep looking for another one or something similar.

I just saw an ad for what looks like a cherry 98 Outback. 102K mi, leather, good tires and a fresh mechanical overhaul. Maybe worth checking out but it would take some convincing, the wife wants something newer.

#6 hankosolder2

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 06:30 PM

Re: that '98 outback. You are familiar with the head gasket issues on the Phase I DOHC 2.5 engine, right? If not, do a search here.

Nathan

#7 BillZ

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 07:33 PM

Re: that '98 outback. You are familiar with the head gasket issues on the Phase I DOHC 2.5 engine, right? If not, do a search here.

Nathan


I have heard stories about Subaru head gasket issues for a while but am not familiar yet with all the specifics of the different years and models. Thanks for the info.

#8 hankosolder2

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 08:01 PM

In a nutshell, the Phase I 2.5 DOHC was used up till around '99 (the change over year varies slightly by which model it's in) and is prone to HG failure (exactly how prone it is is a source of ENDLESS DEBATE here.) The common failure mode is overheating, often intermittent after a longer drive. The cars can often seem just fine during a short test drive, which is why so many of the used ones you'll see are bad...people unload them to pass the issue on to someone else. There's an upgraded gasket from Subaru which supposedly does a pretty good job of preventing the problem from cropping up again.

The later phase II 2.5 engines do also have some HG failure issues, but it's an external leak, generally slow and shouldn't strand you. This is sometimes addressable via Subaru's "coolant conditioner" (stop leak.)

#9 unibrook

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 01:06 PM

It is a pretty tough but doable weekend project in your driveway. Where do you live? If in rustbelt, you can bet your lateral link bolts are frozen and the bushings need to be melted out. Just adds some time/effort/expense. PM me with your email if you want me to email my step by step notes to you.

[quote name='BillZ']Thanks for the advice!

Unibrook, how difficult is it to do the bearings? I am fairly mechanically inclined but only have experience with light maintenance/repair such as changing oil,plugs,alternator,starter etc...With a repair manual and the right tools, I normally feel pretty confident about my ability.

#10 Durania

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 01:09 PM

More than likely you will have an external head gasket leak and will leak coolant or like I did, spew coolant all over your engine bay.

#11 BillZ

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 05:55 PM

Thanks again for all the info.

I found another low mileage (68k) 2001 Forester to check out tomorrow. How do I check for bad bearings? what does it sound/feel like?

#12 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 08:42 PM

The rear bearings will start howling at freeway speeds. Looking over the reccords mine had been replaced about 3 or 4 times on each side prior to my ownership.

The Forester used ball bearings for the rears - which is the source of the repeat failures. The consensus is that replacing them with the tapered roller bearings from the Legacy's will cure the repeat failure problem. It's a direct swap - both bearings fit the same into the knuckle. You just buy the Legacy bearing instead of the Forester bearing. The Forester is built on the Impreza chassis but the Imp wheel bearings don't seem to hold up to the added size and weight of the vehicle.

The head gaskets will probably need done several times over the life of the car. Mine have just blown for the second round at 236k miles. External leaks on the coolant are common - not a problem till they start gushing out like a fountain.

Other than the wheel bearings and the head gaskets - both of which can be fixed - they are quite nice little machines.

GD

#13 BillZ

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 11:48 AM

I went and looked at a 2001 Forester L this morning. It was at a small used car dealer. It was a dealer trade in that they purchased for resale. Gold/tan, 69,000 miles. Carfax showed that it received regular servicing from a local Subaru dealer including the 60,000 mile recommended service. 1 owner. Very clean, in and out. No sign of head gasket leaking or bad wheel bearings. The only things I found were the tire tread was pretty worn, maybe about 6 months left on them and there was a slight heat shield vibration noise upon acceleration.

The asking price was 6,900. Edmunds.com shows a dealer retail at 7,876 and the trade in value of 5,602. I offered 6,100 on the spot and the guy wouldn't consider it or even try to negotiate. I gave him my number in case he wanted to reconsider and am thinking of calling with another offer of 6,400 if I don't hear from him this weekend.

I hate to lose this one but I don't want to find out later I paid too much. Does my offer sound fair or am I possibly going under the dealers profit line?

Edited by BillZ, 08 January 2010 - 02:47 PM.


#14 unibrook

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 02:14 PM

Hmmm kinda expensive in my eyes.
Here around Boston, but with 100k miles, the car sells on CrList for $5k.


I went and looked at a 2001 Forester L this morning. It was at a small used car dealer. It was a dealer trade in that they purchased for resale. Gold/tan, 69,000 miles. Carfax showed that it received regular servicing from a local Subaru dealer including the 60,000 mile recommended service. 1 owner. Very clean, in and out. No sign of head gasket leaking or bad wheel bearings. The only things I found were the tire tread was pretty worn, maybe about 6 months left on them and there was a slight heat shield vibration noise upon acceleration.

The asking price was 6,900. Edmunds.com shows a dealer retail at 7,876 and the trade in value of 5,602. I offered 6,100 on the spot and the guy wouldn't even consider it or even try to negotiate. I gave him my number in case he wanted to reconsider and am thinking of calling with another offer of 6,400 if I don't hear from him this weekend.

I hate to lose this one but I don't want to find out later I paid too much. Does my offer sound fair or am I possibly going under the dealers profit line?



#15 john40iowa

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 09:12 PM

I went and looked at a 2001 Forester L this morning. It was at a small used car dealer. It was a dealer trade in that they purchased for resale. Gold/tan, 69,000 miles. Carfax showed that it received regular servicing from a local Subaru dealer including the 60,000 mile recommended service. 1 owner. Very clean, in and out. No sign of head gasket leaking or bad wheel bearings. The only things I found were the tire tread was pretty worn, maybe about 6 months left on them and there was a slight heat shield vibration noise upon acceleration.

The asking price was 6,900. Edmunds.com shows a dealer retail at 7,876 and the trade in value of 5,602. I offered 6,100 on the spot and the guy wouldn't consider it or even try to negotiate. I gave him my number in case he wanted to reconsider and am thinking of calling with another offer of 6,400 if I don't hear from him this weekend.

I hate to lose this one but I don't want to find out later I paid too much. Does my offer sound fair or am I possibly going under the dealers profit line?

Dealer price, sounds about right for a quality, good condition unit to me; you will also pay a little more this time of year for any all wheel drive vehicle.
My is the '99 Forester, and is very similar to the 2001. I would buy another one in heartbeat. To read some posts about the 2.5 engine here, you might think it came from Ty won and every one em is doomed. I have not found that to be the case at all, nor, I has mine had the infamous head gasket leak; moreover, my original wheel bearings are still perfect despite some really rough episodes they've had to contend with. I have some problems, but who wouldn't with a 10 year old car carrying 170K city miles on it's back.
Best wishes on your search!




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