I found to following Forester that my wife and I are planning to take a look at tomorrow:
I'm curious as to advice on what to look for as well as your recommendations for this specific model/year...
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Posted 30 September 2013 - 11:06 AM
look for external headgasket leakage underneath at the head to engine mating surface. i wouldn't ever buy an EJ25 of this era without checking that very closely.
check for torque bind.
that's about it beyond normal stuff tires, brakes, boots, fluids, etc.
it's due for a timing belt job in 10,000 miles - that's $700 at the dealer.
which is sort of a good thing - if you buy it now you can make sure the timing belt job is done well - a complete timing kit and new tensioner. the dealer will only install a new belt, that's it. not a great 200,000 mile (next change interval) strategy.
Posted 30 September 2013 - 11:59 AM
Is this "head gasket leakage" something I'll likely have to deal with in the near future, or is it one of those items that if it hasn't happened yet, it likely won't? Also, what do you mean by "torque bind"?
Posted 30 September 2013 - 12:19 PM
The one weakness of the 98-09 forester engines (which also came in legacy/outback and others for several years) was that it was prone to head gasket failure. The 08 you're looking at should be far better than the earlier models. Depending on history, the head gaskets may have already been done, and may go in the future. On Subarus, this is not as huge a fix as with other makes, but still can be a costly repair. There are a number of write ups on how to do it yourself, or how to replace them so it doesn't repeat itself. My wife drive's an outback with this engine in it that is currently at 333,000 miles, so i wouldn't be scared away from this car due to head gasket concerns, just a good topic to look into with each subaru you look at. Check for external leakage, make sure the engine gets up to temperature during the test drive and doesn't run hot.
Torque bind is an issue with AWD from the trans. It can show up from driving with mismatched tires etc. When you test drive the car, be sure to drive it in a few tight turns. (U-turns or parking lot) Turn the steering wheel as sharply as it will go so you feel the full turning radius of the car. You are feeling for shuttering/shaking. If the car turns smoothly and feels normal - you should be good to go. If you feel a jolting shutter as it turns, you've got torque bind. Which is generally repairable, but a bit of a pain to fix as it requires some transmission work.
Good luck with the car. Hope it all check out well.
Posted 30 September 2013 - 12:32 PM
What's the typical lifespan on these head gaskets? Can this be remedied by regular torquing of the head bolts? I know exactly what you mean by torque bind now. Similar to the feeling when you turn an engaged 4x4 on dry pavement?
Posted 30 September 2013 - 01:18 PM
Not sure if there is a "typical." When the EJ25 motor first came out in the late 90s/early 2000s they were pretty awful when it came to head gasket failure. 2005 I think is where they got much better and by 07 not as much of an issue. I would think an 08 with those miles should be pretty solid and not much of an issue. I've seen these motors last well past 200,000 miles very readily. Sometimes they get a bad reputation, only because they are compared to the earlier EJ22 which was nearly indestructible. Compare the EJ25 to many other motors and it appears fabulous.
Making sure that the motor keeps cool will help extend the life. A coolant flush and a new thermostat from Subaru would be good preventative maintenance. An cooling issue can accelerate head gasket failure if the motor is allowed to run hot.
As I mentioned before, head gasket failure on a Subaru is not as big of a deal as many other cars. Since the motor is a horizontal one, the heads are more easily accessible compared to many. They can even be replaced without removing the motor if preferred. The big thing to watch for is if and when they do begin to fail, do not let the car overheat. If the head gasket fails, it can be replaced with a stronger gasket. Some of the repeated headgasket failures are a result of that overheating which warps the heads and prevents the ideal seal for the head gaskets afterwards.
And yes, same idea as a 4x4 on pavement. Sometimes a little more subtle, but if you've felt that before, then you know what to feel for.
Posted 01 October 2013 - 10:24 PM
Well, we bought it! And got a heck of a deal I might add. No wetness anywhere around the heads or signs of past leakage. Took it around a dry parking lot making tight circles lock-to-lock with no binding. The only thing I noticed is the exhaust appears to be very rusted and I don't think the window washers work. Who knows the best deal on a complete replacement exhaust and are failed washers a common issue?
Posted 02 October 2013 - 12:10 AM
Salt will do that to the exhaust. Not sure where to get the replacements, but unless it's leaking, no sense in replacing yet. The salt will eventually kill it, but may as well get as much use out of it as you can.
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