Subaru Forest Questions

#1
Hey Expo,

I'm thinking about picking up a Forester. Looking for something under/around 10k, so 2009-2011 is probably where I'll end up. I'm shooting for the lowest amount of miles possible, but certainly not more than 75k. I also want a standard transmission.

Does anyone have any words of warning or wisdom? Is one year significantly better than another? How is the 2.5l?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 
#2
Not too much to say, '09-'13 was all the same body style, so most aspects are pretty similar. There are bigger differences between different trim levels than years.

'09-'10 is an EJ25 engine (SOHC, timing belt), and '11+ is the FB25 engine (DOHC, timing chain). The EJ25 are pretty notorious for head gasket issues (SOHC EJ25 head gasket failure is an external oil leak, almost never leads to overheating and other failure though, as long as the oil doesn't run out), although less so in the later years (SOHC EJ25 was discontinued after 2012), and the FB25 is pretty notorious for oil consumption. There was a class action lawsuit almost 2 years ago for the oil consumption, and they extended the warranty to 100k miles. Although the tighter rings on the replacement short blocks do mean less fuel mileage.

EJ25 calls for conventional 5w30 oil, FB25 calls for syn 0w20, switching to syn 5w30 is a common change to help combat the oil consumption.


Not all of the FBs have excessive oil consumption, my mom has a 2012 Impreza with about 140k miles on the original FB20 engine, the only time the low oil level light comes on (about a quart low), is when she pushes the recommended 7500 interval. And my best friend has a 2013 Forester that he bought new that's never had an issue either.


Here's a fantastic resource for trim levels and year changes on the Forester:
http://www.cars101.com/forester.html
 
#3
My wife drives a 2010 Forester 2.5X. It's the EJ25 with an automatic. Gas mileage is around 21 city and 26 highway. We bought it new and currently are around 76,000 miles. Replaced spark plugs once. Second set of tires. Re did brakes. New belts, minus the timing belt. Normal fluid changes. No issues so far. My biggest complaint is the rattles in the headliner. Needs padding underneath. Stock radio is garbage, but we can deal with it as it's a daily driver for the most part

I also had a 2011 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport. I changed tires, added some suspension modifications for handling improvements and took it into the mountains and snow. The AWD system did fine in snow, ice and sand at the beach. We live in Houston now, i've since sold the Impreza and still have the Forester.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
#4
The First gen cvt Forester with the FB engine had oil consumption issues. Its also on a different smaller lighter derated Impreza platform. The earlier EJ powered versions sat on the OLD legacy platform with a higher load rating. Old platform was rated for 2400lb towing the new lighter impreza based one is 1500lbs.

If its just a local hauler the Forester is a nice rig. If you plan on xcountry, road trips packing gear etc just get the Outback. It sits on the larger heavier Legacy platform its superior in every way especially regarding road trips and gear / passenger room.
 
#5
Not too much to say, '09-'13 was all the same body style, so most aspects are pretty similar. There are bigger differences between different trim levels than years.

'09-'10 is an EJ25 engine (SOHC, timing belt), and '11+ is the FB25 engine (DOHC, timing chain). The EJ25 are pretty notorious for head gasket issues (SOHC EJ25 head gasket failure is an external oil leak, almost never leads to overheating and other failure though, as long as the oil doesn't run out), although less so in the later years (SOHC EJ25 was discontinued after 2012), and the FB25 is pretty notorious for oil consumption. There was a class action lawsuit almost 2 years ago for the oil consumption, and they extended the warranty to 100k miles. Although the tighter rings on the replacement short blocks do mean less fuel mileage.

EJ25 calls for conventional 5w30 oil, FB25 calls for syn 0w20, switching to syn 5w30 is a common change to help combat the oil consumption.


Not all of the FBs have excessive oil consumption, my mom has a 2012 Impreza with about 140k miles on the original FB20 engine, the only time the low oil level light comes on (about a quart low), is when she pushes the recommended 7500 interval. And my best friend has a 2013 Forester that he bought new that's never had an issue either.


Here's a fantastic resource for trim levels and year changes on the Forester:
http://www.cars101.com/forester.html
Thank you for the information! I've been reading a lot about the head gasket issues, and the oil consumption. I'm starting to get a bit turned off from the purchase, but still really am interested in what the forester has to offer. Would you feel comfortable buying a 2010 forester with the EJ motor, and just expecting to do a head gasket at some point?

Also, thank you for the link.
 
#7
Good note on the road trips. My most common trip that I make about twice a month in the summer is 5.5 hours each way. Sounds like I should check out Outbacks.
 
#8
Good note on the road trips. My most common trip that I make about twice a month in the summer is 5.5 hours each way. Sounds like I should check out Outbacks.
If it was me I would pick an outback. I was going to buy one until I switched jobs and the vehicle allowance was contingent on having a pickup so I bought a Colorado. I looked at both and test drove both and in my opinion the outback was the winner
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
#9
Im on my 2nd EJ 2.5 I don’t worry about it much. My 01 actually had the real HG issue single layer Subaru replaced it with a multi layer gasket at 62k. One day job. Litterally beat the crap out of that car for 180,000 towing sailboats etc. sold it with zero issues to a neighbor kid in 2010, he ran it another 5yrs zero issues 240,000 and bought a new one.

My replacement in 2010 was the first all new ground up new 2010 with the last gen EJ. Same deal beat the living crap out of it the cvt is solid but Subaru had a bad batch of torque converters wrong material used on a bushing that releases lockup pressure. Subaru responded with a 10yr 100k coverage on the cvt 2010-12’s to address any issue. I have two 10’s my moms Legacy one of the first off the assembly line and my OB a late 10. Both have been rock solid zero issues. Both are identical cars BTW.

Number one enemy over heat!! Never Ever run the Subaru hot. As in never!! It gets hot no limping home! Pull over get a tow! It will save you $$$$ and drama. Limp it home you now have a large garden sculpture that looks like a subaru.
 
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#10
We have an 08 Forester, called the Sg model- it’s the last of the wagon body like the earlier ones (called SF) rather than the suv models (SH/SJ).
Ej25 headgaskets are notorious but that engine was used in the Impreza and Outback forever as well.

Come check out subaruforester.org for more..
 
#11
I also have an SG forester. Mine is the turbo model. Oil consumption has always been an issue. Lucky the turbo models don’t necessarily suffer from the headgasket but they have many other issues. Personally these engines suck and are very underpowered. I would never take my forester offroad or overlanding. There’s just too much crap in these cars to go wrong.


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#12
Alright, well I feel like I keep being directed towards an Outback. I'm going to test drive two 2012's this weekend... one with the 2.5, and one with the 3.6. We'll see how it goes! I'll probably be more interested in the 2.5 as long as it doesn't feel extremely under powered.
 
#13
If you are looking at Outbacks ( I most certainly think you should) then you can look at the 3.6L as well. I got a 2010, auto 3.6. It is a 5 speed regular automatic transmission. I absolutely love the car. Comfortable, spacious, capable. Excellent in snow. I also had a a 2004 Impreza with the 2.5 engine. Had zero issues with it.
To each their own, but I honestly do not think there is a better car that drives so well on the highway, yet it keeps its own in the dirt and snow. It is not a Wrangler Rubicon offroad, but it is no slouch either.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
#15
3.6 is a nice engine. Not a power house in terms of modern engines but a nicely done package. If I lived at 6000+ ft the 3.6 would be my choice. The 2.5 easily gets it done though. Realistic Load hauling ability doesn’t change between the two engine choices.