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 Post subject: 2007 Subaru Forester X
Unread postPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 1:05 am 
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I somewhat recently, reluctantly purchased a 2007 Subaru Forester AT (non-Turbo) with 69,000 miles off my aunt-in-law. I say reluctantly because she would not allow me to get it inspected before I purchased it citing that her "mechanic" that had done all the work to it since the day she purchased it brand new from the lot said it was in "perfect condition". I used to work at a dealership when I was younger so I know you ALWAYS get a car checked out before you buy it. However, since it was family, she was elderly and needed the money & I had the extra money I bought it knowing that it could potentially have every problem imaginable. After purchase I took it to a Subaru dealership in Syracuse NY and had them do a full inspection on it. They came back telling me that it had cracked head gaskets stating it was in the "very initial stages" and that the 60K service was never done (which her mechanic lists in her owners manual as completed but from the air filter, color of fluids it looks like he never did the 60K or the 30K service).

The car runs fine aside from the rough idle for the first 2-5 seconds after starting it. I do not have white smoke as of yet. I only get a slight burning oil smell briefly if I floor it (which I have not done since getting the news from the dealership). It makes me a little sad that she kept the outside of the car up so well but didn't take it to a proper shop to have the service done. I do like the car (I wish it was the XT & Manual) and want to fix it but when it comes to head gaskets on a Subaru.....that is just not a repair I feel comfortable having a small local shop in this area do unless they are experienced with Subarus. I have since purchased all the parts needed for the repair: New blue racing belts from Gates, a 6 Star Head Gasket kit that includes the valve cover gasket, head bolt kit/set, spark plugs, new oil filter, oil, new coolant. coolant system conditioner, etc.

Could someone please recommend a local shop or person that could do the repair/install the parts?

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Since those pics were taken I have added:
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 Post subject: Re: 2007 Subaru Forester X
Unread postPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 6:52 am 
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Location: Syracuse
Awesome ride man. Sounds like your head gaskets are seeping to slightly leaking which is mostly an external oil leak. Realistically it's not a hard job just a very long one. As for a small shop goes I know of a good tech at John's auto in Solvay. Not sure how much a small shop is going to charge but I know the dealer is asking 1800-2000.



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 Post subject: Re: 2007 Subaru Forester X
Unread postPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 9:45 am 
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Yeah Romano Subaru wanted $1960 for the head gaskets and belts. That was with them charging me their max labor rate per hour. But I would never have them do any work on my car, because their first suggestion to me was that dealerships do not check head gaskets on trade in and how I should just take it to Fox Subaru in Rochester to trade it in. I bought all the parts for the repair because a friend knew a Subaru tech that said he could do the repair/labor for $800 since I had all the parts. However, after 13 no-shows from the tech just to come and look at the car.....I said screw that because if a person can't even show up to look at the car/no shows that many times I am too apprehensive to have them even do an oil change on the car. So now I am stuck with all the parts.


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 Post subject: Re: 2007 Subaru Forester X
Unread postPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 9:03 pm 
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I went in and made an appointment with "The Car Shop" based in Oswego, NY. The owner said from what I described that it doesn't sound like the head gaskets to him, but rather a rear engine seal and stated he would hate to charge me for repairing the head gaskets and have me get down the road and still have the burning oil smell. So I will find out Wed if it is the head gaskets and/or rear engine seal. The owner also said head gaskets do not seep oil so he doesn't know why the Subaru dealership would say such a thing.

I just can't wait to have this done :P
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 Post subject: Re: 2007 Subaru Forester X
Unread postPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 6:34 am 
OVER 9000 HP!!!
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:10 pm
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Location: Syracuse
Well I hope you have good luck. If I had time outside of work I would help ya out, but it's hard to get out of work and work on more cars. Subaru head gaskets do seep before they really leak. Rear main seals are no where as common but do happen. Keep us posted as how it's going.



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 Post subject: Re: 2007 Subaru Forester X
Unread postPosted: Fri May 20, 2016 12:46 am 
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The shop got back to me. They verified that it is the head gaskets and want 1400-1500 for the repair (and that is with me supplying the parts). The labor seems a little bit high considering the dealership wanted 1920 to do the head gaskets and belts (they were supplying the parts). They also said I should do the water pump when everything else is done so that will be another 60-100ish. Also the car has a shudder when going 30-40 and then from 50-60 (has had that since the day I got it). The Subaru dealership said nothing was wrong with the transmission other than it needing a service/flush. The shop owner said it is most likely due to it needing a flush or because it is low on fluid. I should have called him though before he started work on the head gaskets because if that shudder is not going to be easily fixed by doing a flush or adding fluid it would be sort of a waste in my mind to fix the head gaskets only to then have to shell out $ for a new transmission. So I guess my fingers will be crossed :P


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 Post subject: Re: 2007 Subaru Forester X
Unread postPosted: Fri May 20, 2016 10:09 am 
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Doing the water pump when you do the belt is kinda standard practice (and the price seems low is that parts and labor), but I've never had a bad water pump at 69k. 110k on a POS Saturn? Yes, that I've had.

Shudder? Define shudder. Have you noticed this, or was it brought to your attention? I've had cars shudder because 2nd gear was stripping itself through poor engagement.
I've also had a car shudder in a fairly similar fashion that actually meant that the coil pack at least partially gave up. And another time was a ground wire fault causing the transmission to almost never downshift. Very festive light display on the dash for that one.
Is it because you're going those speeds? Or is it because the car just upshifted and is now lugging low-rpm high-ish load?
That is, does this happen even when you put your foot hard down to get on the highway? Drove an oldsmobile for a very long time by never allowing it to get into overdrive.

In any event, I'd suggest getting the head issues sorted first. The shudder could just as easily be because the car is running like a pig. If I had a cracked headgasket, I'd be expecting to have some amount of misfires/weak bangs.

This car/you are starting to sound like a shop service writer's wet dream, though.



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 Post subject: Re: 2007 Subaru Forester X
Unread postPosted: Fri May 20, 2016 4:10 pm 
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@Trqless Wonder: I noticed the shudder when I got the car. It is more this -------> "Or is it because the car just upshifted and is now lugging low-rpm high-ish load?"
I am willing to bet it still has the original transmission fluid and filter in it. Another friend told me that fluid starts to break down after a few years so maybe the clumps hitting the filter are the shudder, or because it is just after a shift point and it is not getting enough gas etc. The shop owner said it is in good shape and said just the flush is needed. It will be done Monday.


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 Post subject: Re: 2007 Subaru Forester X
Unread postPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 6:39 pm 
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I am still waiting to get the car back from the shop but I did have a nice update. The shop owner is going to have me redo his website and he also wants me to shoot him a price on detailing his Land Rover (since I used to do that as a side business years ago and recently purchased all the Auto Magic products I used to use). We are going to meet Tues when they are done with the car to talk about how much I will charge him for the website and the car detail.


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