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Really need some advice please!

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Hello everyone,

Just joined the club and was hoping someone could offer some advice about a potential new (old) Forester that I am thinking of buying. I currently own an '04 Forester 2.0lx wit the All Weather Pack, manual transmission. I've had the car for 10 years and absolutely love it to bits...quite literally to bits, as the corrosion on the rear subframe and wheel arches has now become too bad to have fixed. We live in a remote, off road location with pretty harsh winter conditions and our best efforts to keep the car well maintained have not prevented the rust setting in.

So, I have had to accept that my poor Fozzy has had it's day...

I am now looking at a 2004/5 2.0l XT Forester with automatic transmission, petrol engine. Mileage is 155000 BUT it does have a full Subaru service history and it currently lives in inland England away from coastal air and salty roads. Only 2 owners from new and very well maintained. 

I'd really appreciate any information anyone can offer on this model and year. Never had an automatic car before and I wonder if I'll regret getting one now? Is it a basic 4-speed auto? Not CVT, I think? I am reasonably confident that this is a good car, haven't seen it yet as it is 400 miles away but seller seems dead honest and will be sending photos of the underneath. 

Thanks in advance.

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I have always owned Foresters since they first arrived in this country  and apart from a new diesel version, which I ordered to my spec' I have loved every one of them. So dependable. You will gather that I am an experienced Forester owner. For 10 years I lived deep off road in a hillside Forest and all of my manual  - and the one Automatic  - coped well with the mud and snow, with the advantage of the low ratio box in the deep snows of 2010. When I got a 2.5 XT  I ended up with  permanent grin, driving a Wolf in Sheep's clothing, the performance is amazing.  However, do bear in mind that the turbo versions of the Forester must be treated with respect and not over revved. A blown head gasket is expensive to replace. Rust should not be an issue, if you clear any mud from the wheel arches on a regular basis. Find a tool that you can use to scrape behind the arch rims.

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Main issue is will you like auto !
I think you going have drive one and conclude that yourself .
150K plus is what I class as upper limit buying used, pending on use and quality of care they can be A1 beyond that but wear and tear niggles will occur higher the miles and harder the use and you likely incur more minor faults/repairs on higher mileage examples, having said that most very low mileage cars can be garbage as short journeys in rough roads wear them out quicker so don't go crazy chasing ultra low mileage cars .
All you got do is conclude you like auto box and make proper effort buy cleanest example you can find and don't be afraid over pay a little for proper clean example as it will pay you back 10x over .
I will say from my experience cleanest examples I find always tend be automatics and also auto prices not as high as a manual for turbo model .
turbo engine and auto box can have more expensive faults over non turbo and manual transmission so be thorough and be prepared have spend on at least one fault get it A1 .
Just be diligent and if not 100% happy walk away, plenty 04 to 06 XT models available if willing travel and can wait 3 or 4 months for right one crop up .
Good time of year see them cropping up too .

Once you get one and happy with it look into quality underbody coatings like lanolin based products and good quality cavity wax for inner arch  front c frame and sills  .
Keep on top of underbody protection from day 1 on a clean base car and you get 20 to 30 years out them .

Hope you sort one out and fall in love all over again 🙂 ....

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