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hi guys

I'm hoping this post will be a work in progress, and in the process help me to learn about the car, and which areas of maintenance to concentrate on in order of importance.

My competence level: I've done various jobs on various cars, but nothing major in more recent times. I have no experience of Subaru's.

OK, I've long since fancied owning a Subaru Forester and finally bought a 54 plate Forester 2.5 XT (1st reg Nov 2004).

It's got 155,000 miles on the clock with 2 previous owners, and a fair amount of service history, mostly main dealer.

Has a stainless cat back exhaust so sounds nice but not too loud. The engine is pretty quiet and pulls well.

Since buying the car, the following work has been done.

  • Full service, including front rear diff oil (Millers fully synthetic engine oil)
  • NSR wheel bearing replaced (was noisy when I bought the car)
  • Cam belt (Gates) replaced (not water pump or tensioners though),
  • Antifreeze flushed and replaced along with a new thermostat
  • Brake fluid replaced
  • Front drop links and anti roll bar bushes replaced

Jobs still to do

  • Drivers door window doesn't work -
    • have already bought a 2nd hand motor ready to replace
  • NSR rear shocker was leaking at last MOT and was replaced with an aftermarket one (not self levelling)
    • OSR is still stock self levelling, so only one side replaced (grr).
    • I have bought a set of Pedders EziFit struts ready to fit,
      • but want to take the time to clean down and paint the suspension strut housings with zinc primer and then coat the arches with under body seal/stone guard before refitting the new struts.
  • OSF side light bulb is much dimmer that the NSF, so needs replacing

Jobs I would like to do

  • Do something with the brakes - they seem to work ok but have a very dead feel and not confidence inspiring
    • Sensible upgrade suggestions appreciated (£££)
  • Stop the wind noise!
  • Clutch is stiff which I believe is a worn pressure plate, so may need changing at some point.

Things I've heard but not sure what they are or what to do about them

  • Ticking noise on light throttle - sounds like an injector - which stops immediately when off throttle
  • Whining noise on acceleration - turbo?

I've already fallen for the car and want to do 'right' by it, and the intention is to keep it for as long as possible.

As it's a 2nd car, the annual mileage will be low and in the region of 6000 miles. I'd like to try and get the car to 200k if that's possible.

Taking into account what has been done.........

Comments so far welcomed and suggestions for other jobs that I should do or things I should check or just plain should be done would be great.

  • Over to you....






FrontOS_800x600 - Forum.jpg

Edited by nidgep
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Hello & welvome, ò

Looks nice !

Wind noise is pretty much a given due to the pillar less doors, you can do all kind of diy fixes but they never truly work,

Assuming you have 16" wheels then the stock brakes is all you'll be able to use, bigger calipers don't fit under the wheels, so you could go better pads and braided lines, or if your still not happy then a set of 17" rims and you can get this package


A new clutch flywheel skim spigot bearing will cost around 350ish from a good independant,

May be worth just doing a fluid change 1st as this often gets overlooked at service time,

Ticking noise from injectors is a 'subaru' thing 90% of cars do it and not much you can do to stop it, the whine could be anything gearbox/drivetrain/turbo related, if it's not smoking or buying oil then again not a great deal to worry about in my opinion

I would have replaced the tensioners when doing the belt as these are usually the things that let go long before the belt does,

Looked after and with regular oi it should easily get to 200k 🖒

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Thanks for the reply stants.

Yes wheels are standard 16", brake fluid has been changed, so guess further changes limited although I do like the later SH 17" wheels or perhaps those from an Outback.

The GodSpeed brake kit looks good value for money at sub £300

Which clutches are recommended - Exedy? Is the flywheel skim something that should always be done (within limits of course).

Thanks re "ticking" noise, put my mind a rest about that one.

Garage checked the tensionsers and said they would replace them if they thought they needed it - again for piece of mind perhaps I should get the belt replaced again including tensioners.

Intending to use Millers 5W40 fully synthetic oil (thought process being that a slightly heavier oil will help with the engine miles being up).

Should I be looking at checking the turbo oil pipe banjos for blockages? (read this somewhere but not sure where they are!)

I live in the Crewe area of Cheshire - any recommentations for garages (car has been to AutoTecnica Buxton so far).

Car doesn't smoke (that I've seen) but does use a bit oil - I've had the car 2½ months = 1000 miles = 200 ml oil topup - is this excessive?

Edited by nidgep
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Tidy looking motor. I think they are the best shape, slightly biased since I have a 04 plate one, I bought it as it short term motor originally but I've fallen for it so want to keep it at least a couple of years, they're brilliant all round cars.

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200ml isn't excessive, I'd just keep an eye on it

I wouldn't bother with checking the oil feed to turbo, you'd know if you had one as the turbo would probably decide it didn't want to work any more.

Not sure about the garages around you may be worth putting a post up in the general section, autotecnica are supposed to be good but prob a bit of a trip for you

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Couple of pieces of advice.  Any sign of excess moisture underneath (how are the front fog lights looking? Fixtures rusted?)? Would suggest you get the oil cooler pipe at the bottom of the rad replaced/ checked out.  You don't want this pipe failing as it'll start all sorts of problems with overheating and head gasket issues.

In relation to the wind noise, I got hold of some tubular piping (can't remember the width though).  Pulled back the rubber around the front door frames and slotted the piping into a little gap that's within there.  You can't go too thick with the piping as the rubber will protrude too much and stop your window from going all the way up.  Too small a thickness and it'll not be effective.  Get the width right (and I did trial and error) and the rubber will be pushed out just enough to create a better seal.  Didn't fix the problem 100% but it's wayyyy better than it was.  The plastic gusset (by wing mirror) has split just at the top on mine and I think that's where most of the wind noise is now coming from.


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Thanks stants - have been happy with Autotecnica, they know their stuff - straight forward non nonense approach which is like a breath of fresh air. I would recommend them based on the work they've done on the car so far. They are around 30 miles from me which is a pain, but worth it.

Thanks Steve (ocarros), I'm due to replace the drop links and ARB soon (supposed to do it weekend just gone but wrong bushes supplied) so will take a good look then but front fog lights look fine.
When Autotecnica did the cam belt they mentioned that it was a bit tight and one of the reasons was the oil cooler pipe below the radiator, nothing was mentioned at the time so assume it's ok but no harm in double checking.

I've tried using 8mm clear tubing around the drivers door rubber without any success, so perhaps I need to up the size. Any reduction in wind noise would be welcomed.
Took the tweeter/door mirrow cover off and looks to be well packed with foam but agree that it's also a source of some wind noise. Trial and error I guess.


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Finding a good garage is the best way, mines a 70 mile round trip to but well worth it he's more knowledgeable and cheaper than a main dealer, forgot to say an exedy 'blue box' clutch kit will be fine for your needs unless you plan on putting any more than 300bhp through it any time soon

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  • 1 month later...

It's been a while so I thought I'd post a quick update.

Swapped the sidelight bulbs to amber but think I'm going to swap them back again as the MOT is due soon and concerned car will fail because of them.

Polished the head light lenses using an autoglym kit (they were everso slightly beginning to fade).

Swapped the front drop links for the Meyle ones recommended by Mr.B (have also bought the same for the rear but not fitted yet).
Decided that if I was swapping the drop links, that I would also change the front ARB bushes - decided to go for SuperPro 21mm.
It seemed necessary to remove the front chassis connectors in order to get at the ARB mounts properly, and while they were off I took them to get powder coated.
Then waxoyled them inside and out before refitting along with as much of the chassis as I could get into.

Although the oil and filter have been changed during the full service I had done, I didn't know what had been fitted etc., so I decided to change the oil and filter again.
This time I've fitted an OEM JDM black filter and new washer, along with Millers 5W40 XF LongLife (Autotecnica recommended Millers and going up to 5W40 to help with any potential oil consumption).

- given that the XF LongLife 5W40

Cold Crank Viscosity (cP) 6,600

 is on par with their XF LongLife 5W30

Cold Crank Viscosity (cP) 6,600


Off work tomorrow, so next job is finally getting around to fitting the rear Pedders, along with a good clean down and zinc primer and underbody waxoyl/stone guard before refitting....maybe I'll have time to WaxOyl the rear subframe, but we'll see.....

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  • 1 month later...

hi guys.

Been a while since the last post.
The pedders rear struts are now fitted.
Car now sits much better and height matches on both sides of the car around 670mm measured from the bottom rim of the wheel to the top of the arches.

Turned into a bit of a job TBH.
Removed old struts, drop links and rear anti roll bar.

Took a good look at the condition of the underneath of arches, strut housing etc., and found that there were signs of rust.
Removed all under body sealant around the strut housing including all of the 'holes' in the curved metal lining/strengthening insert (apologies, I'm sure there's a better description!)..

Now that it was back to bare metal, I could see the rusty bits which clearly needed treating and protecting.
Luckily it seems I caught it in time as it was surface rust and not corrosion.

  • Used Hammerite Kurust to treat the rusty areas,
  • Followed by 2 coats of U-POL Davids Zinc 182 primer
  • Treated all seams (including the circular 'holes' in the strut housing) with U-POL Grey Stripe seam sealer
  • Followed by a healthy coating of Hammerite Underbody seal Shutz.

While leaving it to dry, changed the rear anti roll bar bushes. (fronts are SuperPro but have fitted First Line on the rear).
Noticed the rear silencer rubbers were quite badly split so replaced them with Powerflex EXH009
Replaced the rear drop links for new Meyle HD - part no. 34-16 060 0004/HD
Due to MOT concerns, I replaced the side lights again - removed the amber and replaced with long life clear bulbs. (OSRAM W5W 501 Ultralife)

Have taken photos if anyone is interested - I can post them up.

Car has been off the road for around 6 weeks now and MOT has expired, so that's next on the list.

To complete the rear arch protection I still need to Waxoyl the interior of the boot.
Still plenty of other jobs I want/need to do, one of which is the drivers door window....and do something with the brakes.

I've also bought on impulse, a set of 17" 5 spoke alloys from a Forester SH - still in 2 minds about fitting these - I do prefer the 5 spoke design but at the same time wanted to keep the car fairly standard looking with the 16's, but the 17's have more scope for the brakes....


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  • 2 weeks later...

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