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Hi Gang,


I'm a first-time Subaru owner 'hopeful' and I am eager to know your opinion about purchasing a 2001 Forester, that has had some repairs and a lot of preventative maintenance. Thank you in advance!


This is for sale by a self-proclaimed Subaru mechanic (not Subaru certified).  He supposedly decided to specialize in Subarus since they represented a large percentage of what was on the road in his home state of Colorado.  He buys them, fixes them, and sells them.


He completed the work described below and explains that besides the cylinder heads and head gaskets, the rest was not necessary but was mainly preventative and done out of convenience since the engine was already out.  He said170k miles is really not much for a Subaru that has already had the two Achilles heels replaced (headgaskets and timing belt - idler pulleys seized up on previous owner).  


Here's the work:


Instead of just replacing the bent valves, he replaced the cylinder heads with ones from a 2003 with about 120k miles. Since the engine was out, he also did the following:

Valve grinding/lapping.
Valve adjustment.
Had heads resurfaced, cleaned, and leak tested.
Installed new fel pro MLS head gaskets
Installed new timing belt, water pump, pulleys, and tensioner.
Installed new fel pro valve cover gaskets, intake manifold gaskets, and exhaust manifold gaskets.

While engine was out, he went over and resealed everything that could possibly leak down the road, including the notorious pcv baffle plate, and wrist pin cover.

Oil change with Castrol GTX high milage, and a coolant flush.

He took the car on multiple long test drives, as well as letting it sit idling with ac on for a couple hours. The car did not overheat, nor have any issues. 

Engine runs great, transmission shifts like it should.  Brakes, and suspension are very smooth with no creaks, clunks, or any odd noises.  Ac/heat work great, all power options work.


Interior is in good shape. Has a few stains on the factory floor mats, but underneath carpet is almost like new.  Exterior is in amazing shape for a 15 year old car. Paint is nearly perfect. No peeling, chips, or rust. 

He explains the car will need nothing mechanically for a very long time and will be super reliable for at least another 100000 miles. He builds a warranty on all the work he does into the price, $3600.


Is there any reason *not* to purchase this car - can I get another 100k, you think, and is this really in great shape give the two 'achilles heels' have been addressed?  Thank you!

Edited by ksignor

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I class got an 01 Forester from a local small dealer that does essentially what you describe. New headgaskets, idlers, waterpump. By default, that is a reseal of most potential leaks. Had it for a long time, had over 200k miles on it when it began to get to rusty for my wife, and she wanted a newer one.


Normal timing belt and idlers change interval is 100k miles.


During the years we had it I did brakes, coolany system hoses - if them, there are several. Front wheel bearings, axles, catalytic converter. And the timing belts. And all the things that are just typical wear and maintenance older cars. Get in the habit of checking the coolant regularly, by sharply squeezing the upper hose, and the level in the recovery tank. Don't open the radiator cap just to check unless the hose test shows signs of a lot of air.

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The longevity of a HG replacement depends on the quality of the mechanic.  So you have to judge his ability and integrity.


Having said that, however, in my opinion is that you don't need a 100K on this car to be a good deal.  You should figure that, if a used car costs less then 10 cents a mile, overall, then it is a good deal.  In your case that would mean that the car needs to achieve 36K miles.  If the mechanic is guaranteeing 12 months or 12K miles, then I would say that the chances of the car exceeding 36K without major maintenance is good.  


So I would buy it.

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