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1999 Forester L & opinions

Forester ForesterL

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9 replies to this topic

#1 GypsyFeet

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 05:12 PM

I've become more and more set on getting a subaru as my first car after a good amount of researching around the web. I've come across a local dealership that is a decent sized lot (about 15~25 cars) with the dealer specializing in Subarus. I've found a 1999 Forester L there. It has 108k miles, automatic with a 2.5 engine. The one thing that leaves me a bit weary is the HG problem in the 2.5 engines. I haven't come across a 2.2l yet, the only one I did sold faster than I could call. With small cosmetic damages here & there such as faded paint and a kind of tore up seat, I worked the price for 4,400 to 3,500, which is the lowest he'll go.

I know the HG problem isn't super hard to fix, but aside from checking under the car for external leaks, asking about the timing belt, checkign the tires, small things like that, what is your opinion on this? I've got a maximum budget of 5,000 so I don't mind looking around more for something with a better deal, but this car seems reasonable. I'm mostly going to use the car to commute to work, and school. I wouldn't mind taking it to the mountains either to go backpacking and camping. From what i've read the forester has good handling compared to the imperza or outback. Any opinions, comments, or feed back is greatly appreciated. Thank you & have a good day!



#2 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 11:56 PM

timing belt should've been done ~4-5 years ago (time side of schedule, not mileage)

Personally, I might call around and price a combined headgasket and timing belt job and just figure that into the cost of the car.

maybe post a new thread asking for shop recommendations in Fremont - arrange a pre-purchase inspection. You might get lucky and a good soob tech may be able to spot multi-layer steel gaskets and new-ish timing belt/parts on the car.

Edited by 1 Lucky Texan, 12 October 2013 - 11:57 PM.


#3 Rooster2

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 10:37 AM

I seem to remember that in 99, the Forester got the revised 2.5 motor with single over head cam. If so, it is less prone to HG problems. I hope someone confirms this.



#4 Prwa101

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 11:13 AM

The 99 had the 253 which did have hg leaking problems but easy fix with oem WRX?(can't remember) Head gaskets. Also it came with a factory oil cooler along with the better 4eat that came in the foresters. If it leaks run Subaru's coolant stop leak.

#5 Fairtax4me

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 12:44 PM

99 forester has the phase 2 block (251 iirc).
Bigger rod bearings (good), but suffers from the external head gasket leaks. Not the internal failure of the phase 1 2.5l blocks.

Did you ask the dealer if head gaskets and timing have both been done on this car? Timing is overdue on both age and mileage. Best time to do head gaskets is the 105k timing belt interval.

It sounds like a good price as long as the car is in decent shape (no rust, brakes and tires good), and the timing stuff has been replaced.

#6 GypsyFeet

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 03:56 PM

He said the timing belt and HG were replaced, but when I test drove it the idling was off, when it started up it made a weird noise. I didn't like how it felt or how it sounded so I turned away from the offer. The guy really wants me to test drive a 2000 impreza with 198k miles. The mileage is high for me, but it has a 2.2L engine which I like. I'm going to test drive it and see how it feels. Is basically 200k miles worth it for a 2.2L engine?

 

One other i'm looking at is a clean titled 2003 outback for 5,500. Very clean, and drove smooth, but the only thing was in the beginning the engine made a sound simillar to that of a card against a bike tire. It wasn't too loud, but it was a soft sound and went away after a couple of minutes.



#7 Bushwick

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 10:24 PM

Any car you get serious about that makes any weird noises, have YOUR mechanic of choice look it over (do NOT take the car lot's word for it or the car lot's mechanic). Most often used car lots get a big chunk of their cars from auction houses, and are NOT trade-ins to their own lot, rather the car isn't nice enough to be sold on a new dealer's lot so they sell it at auction instead. Depending on the used car lot, they might drive it off the truck and put it out front with nothing but a quick check that it runs and a detail to make it presentable. Many used places are SUPER cheap with what they'll put into it (like replacing 2 tires instead of 4, no oil or trans fluid change, etc.) I went and looked at a Jeep once that had no bolts in the fan shroud and the fan was rubbing on it! I also worked at a used car lot in my early 20's so I learned a few things (many bad things to be honest).

 

If you have 5500 cash, you'd get a WAY better deal buying a car from somebody selling locally. Even craigslist would find you a nice car with that mileage range for HALF of what a car lot wants to sucker you with. On CL, just type the price range MAX and put "Subaru" in the search box. You'll also get a more detailed history this way as you are meeting the actual owner and it's pretty easy to tell when they are BSing you. Any "strange" noises that are easy fixes can be used to lower the asking price. Personally, when I look at a car someone is selling, I'll look it over for 30-50 minutes (let it idle the entire time and watch the temp) while making sure each lock works with the key, each window moves, everything inside turns on/off, seats move, etc. Look over engine compartment THOROUGHLY for unhooked wires, hoses, leaks, unusual smells, etc. If you find something wrong, point it out to the seller but do it nicely. Most people aren't aware, or they are and hoping you won't catch it. Check for rot in the rear if AWD, check for bad struts, etc. etc. Take for a test drive and comment if it pulls, squeaks, etc. Explain it'll need it 4 wheel alignment. Then, and only then talk price, but be sure to state that the extra things wrong will need fixed. This puts the seller at a disadvantage as they now know there are extra things "wrong" and the car they "thought" was cherry, isn't. Don't let on if you can do the work yourself either as it costs more to "pay" someone to do the work which in theory gives you better leverage for chipping the asking price down. If the ad states "firm" in price and isn't a cherry car, needs work, you can say you are interested in it, but with the work needed could they work with you on the price. If they really want to sell the car and think you are a serious buyer and not wasting their time, they might be willing after you pointed out what needs repaired. I'll only buy new cars or very special (rare, hard to find) from dealers or car lots as they get that 5k car for 2k at auction and double the price to make money from it sitting. GL with whatever you get.


Edited by Bushwick, 13 October 2013 - 10:29 PM.


#8 Rooster2

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 09:10 AM

Any car you get serious about that makes any weird noises, have YOUR mechanic of choice look it over (do NOT take the car lot's word for it or the car lot's mechanic). Most often used car lots get a big chunk of their cars from auction houses, and are NOT trade-ins to their own lot, rather the car isn't nice enough to be sold on a new dealer's lot so they sell it at auction instead. Depending on the used car lot, they might drive it off the truck and put it out front with nothing but a quick check that it runs and a detail to make it presentable. Many used places are SUPER cheap with what they'll put into it (like replacing 2 tires instead of 4, no oil or trans fluid change, etc.) I went and looked at a Jeep once that had no bolts in the fan shroud and the fan was rubbing on it! I also worked at a used car lot in my early 20's so I learned a few things (many bad things to be honest).

 

If you have 5500 cash, you'd get a WAY better deal buying a car from somebody selling locally. Even craigslist would find you a nice car with that mileage range for HALF of what a car lot wants to sucker you with. On CL, just type the price range MAX and put "Subaru" in the search box. You'll also get a more detailed history this way as you are meeting the actual owner and it's pretty easy to tell when they are BSing you. Any "strange" noises that are easy fixes can be used to lower the asking price. Personally, when I look at a car someone is selling, I'll look it over for 30-50 minutes (let it idle the entire time and watch the temp) while making sure each lock works with the key, each window moves, everything inside turns on/off, seats move, etc. Look over engine compartment THOROUGHLY for unhooked wires, hoses, leaks, unusual smells, etc. If you find something wrong, point it out to the seller but do it nicely. Most people aren't aware, or they are and hoping you won't catch it. Check for rot in the rear if AWD, check for bad struts, etc. etc. Take for a test drive and comment if it pulls, squeaks, etc. Explain it'll need it 4 wheel alignment. Then, and only then talk price, but be sure to state that the extra things wrong will need fixed. This puts the seller at a disadvantage as they now know there are extra things "wrong" and the car they "thought" was cherry, isn't. Don't let on if you can do the work yourself either as it costs more to "pay" someone to do the work which in theory gives you better leverage for chipping the asking price down. If the ad states "firm" in price and isn't a cherry car, needs work, you can say you are interested in it, but with the work needed could they work with you on the price. If they really want to sell the car and think you are a serious buyer and not wasting their time, they might be willing after you pointed out what needs repaired. I'll only buy new cars or very special (rare, hard to find) from dealers or car lots as they get that 5k car for 2k at auction and double the price to make money from it sitting. GL with whatever you get.

Well said Bushwick. I couldn't agree more with what you wrote.



#9 GypsyFeet

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 09:23 AM

Any car you get serious about that makes any weird noises, have YOUR mechanic of choice look it over (do NOT take the car lot's word for it or the car lot's mechanic). Most often used car lots get a big chunk of their cars from auction houses, and are NOT trade-ins to their own lot, rather the car isn't nice enough to be sold on a new dealer's lot so they sell it at auction instead. Depending on the used car lot, they might drive it off the truck and put it out front with nothing but a quick check that it runs and a detail to make it presentable. Many used places are SUPER cheap with what they'll put into it (like replacing 2 tires instead of 4, no oil or trans fluid change, etc.) I went and looked at a Jeep once that had no bolts in the fan shroud and the fan was rubbing on it! I also worked at a used car lot in my early 20's so I learned a few things (many bad things to be honest).

 

If you have 5500 cash, you'd get a WAY better deal buying a car from somebody selling locally. Even craigslist would find you a nice car with that mileage range for HALF of what a car lot wants to sucker you with. On CL, just type the price range MAX and put "Subaru" in the search box. You'll also get a more detailed history this way as you are meeting the actual owner and it's pretty easy to tell when they are BSing you. Any "strange" noises that are easy fixes can be used to lower the asking price. Personally, when I look at a car someone is selling, I'll look it over for 30-50 minutes (let it idle the entire time and watch the temp) while making sure each lock works with the key, each window moves, everything inside turns on/off, seats move, etc. Look over engine compartment THOROUGHLY for unhooked wires, hoses, leaks, unusual smells, etc. If you find something wrong, point it out to the seller but do it nicely. Most people aren't aware, or they are and hoping you won't catch it. Check for rot in the rear if AWD, check for bad struts, etc. etc. Take for a test drive and comment if it pulls, squeaks, etc. Explain it'll need it 4 wheel alignment. Then, and only then talk price, but be sure to state that the extra things wrong will need fixed. This puts the seller at a disadvantage as they now know there are extra things "wrong" and the car they "thought" was cherry, isn't. Don't let on if you can do the work yourself either as it costs more to "pay" someone to do the work which in theory gives you better leverage for chipping the asking price down. If the ad states "firm" in price and isn't a cherry car, needs work, you can say you are interested in it, but with the work needed could they work with you on the price. If they really want to sell the car and think you are a serious buyer and not wasting their time, they might be willing after you pointed out what needs repaired. I'll only buy new cars or very special (rare, hard to find) from dealers or car lots as they get that 5k car for 2k at auction and double the price to make money from it sitting. GL with whatever you get.

Thank you very much. I really appreciate your post, it helped a lot. I have been using CL for my search and that's how I found the dealership. I'll keep on looking & hopefully find something!



#10 MilesFox

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 09:31 AM

For 3500 is not too bad. If you knew what you were looking at, you could determine if service has been done. You can avert the HG problem by using new coolant and the block conditioner. This is best considered with a new water pump, along with timing belt and idlers. It is the water pump or idlers that ruin the belt when they fail more then the belt failing itself.

 

Any 99-2000 and up are going to be in the same basket with when was the timing belt done, and has the HG popped yet.

 

Perhaps you can convince your dealer to go over the 100000 mile service recommendations and verify what's good and what will need work. I myself am not afraid of getting into a car that needs work if i can determine what the work is and the cost of doing it.

 

If you do buy from a private seller, make sure it has a full maintenance history and papers.







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