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I've owned many Subarus over the years, but not currently. Since 2007 I've had a company vehicle, so I had the option of buying older vehicles for personal use. I have a pending job change that won't provide a company vehicle and involve driving at least 70+ miles each work day, so I need to replace my car that wasn't even built in this century. I'd consider a 2009-2013 Forester as that's what's in my budgets, and I like them. I've done extensive research and have learned a lot from this and other forums. I'm aware of the advantages and disadvantages of the EJ25 and FB 25 engines.

In my state there's a dealership that specializes in used Subarus and claims to replace the head gaskets and timing chains on every Subaru they sell. I haven't asked what they actually do with the FB25's chain and if they still replace the head gaskets. Ideally, I'd find a 2009 or 2010 Premium from that dealership. I always liked and missed the heated cloth seats. This dealership also warranties their Subarus 6 months bumper to bumper, and one year on the engine. The prices are in fact higher than usual, but reasonably so considering the work done and the warranty. The other concern is a thrown rod, but I believe that's somewhat rare, but more common on H engines than V or inline.

I realize there are so many variables and not all FB25s have the oil consumption issue. I'm also hoping by buying one with around 100k miles or so the short block was replaced by now? Probably not an easy way to tell. I looked on CarFax's site and not one mentioned a short block replacement. I've learned on this forum that the FB25 can have other leaks, such as the cam seal and timing chain cover. Subarus still have an appeal to me that I just can't ignore. I've experienced their advantages in these New England winters. Just looking for opinions of what you would decide given a similar budget and situation, thanks.

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For what it's worth, my wife purchased a 2014 several years ago with 20k on it. We now have 97k. The car has burned 1qt of oil every 3k miles since we got it and Subaru refuses to acknowledge that there is a problem.

Both of us have owned Subarus for years and we have had. More problems with her car than anything in the past. That being said, it's still a fantastic vehicle, just carry oil :,-). The most serious repair was a wheel bearing at 90k.

 

We are hard on vehicles (frequent dirt roads, hauling, towing, and high rpms as we are always in the mountains). We have the CVT and have had no problems, I change the fluid every 30k and it is always dark, but still red when doing so.  Fuel economy is fantastic and they are great (as usual) in the snow.

 

I would but one again, but wind but an older one over a newer one of you could find one with lower or comparable mileage.

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I was surprised to see a few 2009-10 Foresters with 90k miles or less for sale at dealerships other than the one I mentioned that reconditions the Subaru engines. With those I'd budget replacing the timing belt soon, maybe before 105k miles since age may be a factor as well. Also probably a head gasket job at some point. I've heard after those two repairs you can get another 100k miles from an EJ25 engine.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/9/2021 at 10:13 PM, Stelcom66 said:

I was surprised to see a few 2009-10 Foresters with 90k miles or less for sale at dealerships other than the one I mentioned that reconditions the Subaru engines. With those I'd budget replacing the timing belt soon, maybe before 105k miles since age may be a factor as well. Also probably a head gasket job at some point. I've heard after those two repairs you can get another 100k miles from an EJ25 engine.

New timing belt kit and those both have the 4EAT. Great transmission. 100k here you come 

Issue you’ll have is rust. That’s age is ripe for being close to having rust issues but still looking clean sharp and like new.  Inspect them carefully. Or get one from the south or west without rust. Look at exhaust - specifically hanger welds and rear flanges.  And suspension and underbody as well - particularly areas close to the pinch welds and exterior body parts/sills. The real issues are parts you can’t see rear quarter wheel Wells snd front fenders   It starts from the inside snd works it’s way out.  You can Google pictures or look when you’re driving around unless your state has inspection laws that prevent that condition 

Replace timing belt, pulleys and tensioner.  Use Subaru parts or AISIN kit.  At a minimum replace belt and lower idler ($30) and inspect tensioner shaft seal for signs of wetness. 

I do them no matter what unless I know everything was replaced with Subaru parts. Those two are 2-3 years past subarus age limit for timing belts. Shops typically use inferior non Subaru parts or  just replace the belt or belt and water pump because it sounds good to buyers- but is otherwise foolish.

Those headgaskets start leaking externally slowly and give lots of time to plan a repair - like months or years. Never anything imminent or worrisome.

 

 

Edited by idosubaru

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I would think it be good to buy one with the timing chain instead a timing belt. Off hand I don't recall when that started.

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34 minutes ago, mdconvert said:

I would think it be good to buy one with the timing chain instead a timing belt. Off hand I don't recall when that started.

That started in 2011 Forester, and is the FB25 engine which has poor oil control rings leading to oil consumption and it comes with the CVT which is not as robust as the 4EAT.  Those aren't necessarily deal breakers but certainly doesn't make the timing chain any significant factor either. 

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16 hours ago, idosubaru said:

Issue you’ll have is rust. That’s age is ripe for being close to having rust issues but still looking clean sharp and like new....

That is a concern around here. I had to have the brake and fuel lines replaced in my 1999 Honda a few years ago. Those are things I don't hear too much about in Subarus. As mentioned, some of these 2009-13 Foresters look great in the online dealership photos. My state doesn't have an inspection program at this time.

As for the dealership that replaces the head gaskets and timing belts, if I was really considering one from there I'd ask what else along with the timing belts.

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On 8/11/2021 at 8:50 PM, Stelcom66 said:

That is a concern around here. I had to have the brake and fuel lines replaced in my 1999 Honda a few years ago. Those are things I don't hear too much about in Subarus. As mentioned, some of these 2009-13 Foresters look great in the online dealership photos. My state doesn't have an inspection program at this time.

As for the dealership that replaces the head gaskets and timing belts, if I was really considering one from there I'd ask what else along with the timing belts.

don't go by what the surface looks like - you want to thoroughly inspect the undercarriage - THAT is where the problems will show. Rocker panels and subframe are going to be the big concerns... wheel arches will be covered in plastic most likely but those are the areas that will have rust thru the quickest - especially the rears.

Check suspension components while under it.. looking for obvious worn or cracked bushings.

Ideally you get to take the car for a test drive and take it to a mechanic you trust to put it in the air and give it a thorough inspection.

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I'm thinking of getting this same generation Forester as well. I like the 2009/ 2010 models for the durable EJ25, but any used purchase will likely need a complete timing belt job and later headgaskets at some point. 2011 brought the FB25 engine so no more timing belt to worry about (and not much worry for headgaskets) but 2011 seems like the worst year for oil consumption issues (per carcomplaint.com). 2012 and 2013 still seem to have cases of high oil consumption, but not as bad as 2011- that's my biggest concern for those years. I like that all of the years for this generation-  2009- 2013 still had the durablee 4EAT transmission and 2014 and later had the CVT (which I don't care for personally).

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The round trip commute with my new job is around 72 miles. I'm thinking because about 98% of that is highway, I could expect to be adding oil often with a 2011-13 with an FB25. Probably not that much of a difference at highway speeds between an automatic or 5 speed manual. I had a 2002 5MT which was around 2750 rpm at 65 mph, looking at the specs of the gears and final drive ratio of the automatic it appears it would be maybe just slightly lower. I wouldn't want to be adding oil a couple times a month or worrying about it.

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