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New to Subaru: Interested in a Forrester


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14 replies to this topic

#1 vjulew

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Posted 10 January 2005 - 08:09 PM

Hi all,

I'm new to the Subaru world and am thinking of getting a Forrester. I've been looking around here and have seen many people talk about the head gasket problems in the 2.5 L phase 1 engines. It seems that they have remedied this problem in the phase 2 engines (when did the phase 2 first come out?). My question is if I consider a used Forrester, which years should I avoid/buy (of the newer models)?

Thanks for your help.

#2 Commuter

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Posted 10 January 2005 - 11:33 PM

The 98 Forester has the Phase I 2.5L. The 99 and up have the Phase II.

99 to 2002 (?) engines are getting the "goop" and extended warranty. Nothing was done by Subaru regarding the Phase I engine (head in sand syndrome).

There are other things that I'm sure other will bring up (eg wheel bearings). If you want the first generation Forester, try to get the newest you can afford (up to 2002). The 2003+ seems to be pretty good. Top crash ratings, etc. I don't think I've heard of many issues with them, but, they are only a couple of years old at most.

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#3 Johngenx

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Posted 10 January 2005 - 11:35 PM

Only the 1998 Forester (one "r") has the phase 1 DOHC 2.5L engine. The 99- has the SOHC engine.

There was some significant improvements in the 99 model over the 98's with regards to structural integrity and crash performance.

I'm not 100% sure, but I think there were cosmetic changes in the 2001 model year, with different bumpers and changes to available colours and different wheels. We only looked at 2001 and later models and "S" or "Limited" trim. I wanted the limited slip diff, heated seats etc. and CD changer.

We've only owned our Forester for a couple weeks, but really like it. We've had our OBW for 13 months and it's been reliable and enjoyable. In some ways I prefer the Forester to the OBW thanks to the lack of limo-black tint on the rear windows, more upright driving position and lighter weight. But, the OBW has leather (couldn't find a cherrry Forester with leather, boo) sunroofs, and the interior materials and dash design is much more luxurious.

From my searching the threads, I have found that SOHC engines also suffer head gasket failures, but evidently the failure pattern is a more manageable external leak and the incidence level is much lower.

#4 Gnuman

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Posted 11 January 2005 - 12:43 AM

The 98 Forester has the Phase I 2.5L. The 99 and up have the Phase II.

99 to 2002 (?) engines are getting the "goop" and extended warranty. Nothing was done by Subaru regarding the Phase I engine (head in sand syndrome).

Commuter


Actually, they have a new head gasket available that improves reliability of the DOHC EJ25's . Also the incidence of head gasket failure is over-represented in a forum like this one, as those that do not have the problem do not speak out on it. That said, I would go for anything '99 and up in the Forester line. Find one you like, and grab it. We will help you keep it in top form after. . .

#5 Cougar

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Posted 11 January 2005 - 12:46 AM

If you can afford a 2003 or newer I would go that route. They kept making improvements on them. I didn't really care for the models before '04 but the lastest ones are better looking I think.

#6 Commuter

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Posted 11 January 2005 - 01:23 PM

Actually, they have a new head gasket available that improves reliability of the DOHC EJ25's . Also the incidence of head gasket failure is over-represented in a forum like this one, as those that do not have the problem do not speak out on it.

The head gasket was revised 3 times that I know of. I've heard claims of more, but have not seen it substantiated.

Failure incident may be overrepresented, but that is of little consolation to those of us that have had it happen. (97 OB, failed at 160k miles.) Even if the estimates of 20 to 25% failure rate are way overstated, it's still "too much".

I keep my fingers crossed all the time. It's nearly 3 years and 100k miles since my head gasket job was done. Knock wood (too).

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#7 vjulew

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Posted 11 January 2005 - 05:55 PM

Thanks everyone for your help so far.

One of the reasons I posed this question is that I really like the look of the recent generation of the forester (2003+) but may not be able to afford one...so I would like to consider the previous generation but don't know when the improvements were made. So judging from people's experience, it's probably best to stick between 1999-2002, unless I see a smoking deal on a 2003. Anyone know if the drivability between the two generations are similar?

Johngenx, glad to hear that you prefer the Forester to the OBW (in terms of functionality) since I was also considering this as an option. Yes, it's more luxurious but the Forester seems to be the equipment that I'm looking for.

Thanks...and keep the comments coming please.

#8 felipe01forester

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Posted 11 January 2005 - 06:05 PM

Hello and welcome from a Forester driver. The 2001 Forester L is one of the better cars on the market and is also one of the safest. Trust me, I've been in 2 wrecks and come out without even a scratch! The AWD is wonderful for driving in slick weather, climbing hills, and even off-roading. Good choice, my friend.

#9 Cougar

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Posted 11 January 2005 - 06:24 PM

If you really can't afford a 2003 now and don't have to have a newer car right away I would consider saving a little longer for one. I also like the newer models better and you may be happier with it if you wait.

If you can't wait you might consider a small loan to make up the difference. The rates aren't too bad right now.

#10 wkoepp

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Posted 11 January 2005 - 08:12 PM

I'm also new to Subaru ownership and so far I'm really impressed with our green '04 Forrester XS (I've owned a 4wd jeep and a 4wd toyota). It has the best lighting of any car we've had, headlights, foglights, parking lights, running lights and the best ride of any 4wd I've owned. A fun car that handles great; tomorrow we'll go up into the snow for a little fun!

#11 vjulew

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Posted 14 January 2005 - 04:51 PM

Looking at a 2001 model year now (based on several people's experiences). Have the engines in this model year been reliable?

As well, which line has the limited slip? I guess the model line designations have all changed with the newer generations Foresters so I'm not familiar which models I would be comparing the new and older ones with (i.e. X, XS vs L,S).

One more thing, I've heard people talk about their AWD systems binding. What's all this about and will the 2001 or 2002 Forester be affected?

Thanks

#12 photo2001

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Posted 15 January 2005 - 01:06 AM

I have 2000 Forester S, leather, sunroof, remote start, etc. I purchased it at the end of my lease, (expensive way to buy, but a comparably equipped new model was way more).
Minor problems. Keep getting the 'check engine' light, had the O2 sensor replaced under recall, light still comes on. It doesn't seem to have any effect on the way the Forester runs. When I fill up the tank, I make sure to tighten the gas cap 3 or 4 'clicks' and the light usually goes out. Also, not topping off the tank seems to help.
The other problem that just cropped up is the single-cd player is acting up. It suddenly started playing only the beginning of a song then just stops playing. I think condensation might have gotten in.
I am very happy with the Forester. Very easy to get in and out of for my bad back, (heated seats a plus too). I had a '98 Forester before, with no problems, but glad I got the 2000 because of the Gen 2 engine changes.
Good luck with your choice!

#13 fyates

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Posted 16 January 2005 - 01:51 AM

We just purchased an 05 Forester XS. We stayed away from the turbo(premium fuel and lower mpg). We opted for the 5 speed and the standard equipment is awesome(heated seats, climate control, fog lights, pwr seats).
As far as getting a used sub, the area of the country you live in makes a difference. We are from the midwest and subbies aren't as popular as say on the east and west coasts. The cost of an 2002 (the ones I could find) were pretty steep. I would say, if you can, research on edmunds.com the prices of the 05. An X model(pwr windows, locks, cruise,a/c, single cd player recently had $2000 cash back). You could pick one up for under 20k. Well good luck...............Frank...........

#14 trbscpa

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Posted 17 January 2005 - 11:50 AM

I just picked up my first Subaru, a used 2000 Forester L with 60K mi. on it on Saturday, and, I hate to admit it, but it's already scaring me. This may just be buyer's remorse, but I hear a window leak noise at speed and see a bit of condensation on the inside of the windows at the seals. Reading forums this morning, I see a lot of horror stories about wheel bearings, head gaskets, etc. (though apparently there are fixes for this problem. My car has a 1/1/05 recall/service bulletin for engine cooling system conditioner (stops leaks?) and oxygen sensor.) I haven't had the car long enough to speak to reliability, but the Carfax Vehicle History Report on it has it in the shop every 3,000 miles or so. I thought before I bought it that this was evidence of good regular maintenance, but now I wonder. Any feedback would be appreciated.

#15 subeman90

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Posted 17 January 2005 - 11:58 AM

LSD is on the XS and up models and in the older gen it is the S model and up. Simple rule of thumb....if it has painted bumpers then it should have an LSD. If you are looking at older stuff the presence of a cold pkg. is a good indicator too.

I agree with whoever said buy an 03 or newer if you can.....we had an 00 and it was great but our 04 is soooo much better. BTW, the stick shifts rock!

Matt




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