2003 subaru forester

Asked by May 25, 2016 at 04:13 AM about the 2003 Subaru Forester XS

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My 2003 Subaru forester overheated one day I limped it
home and parked her. The next day when I tried to start it
it started  for a moment and coolant started shooting out
the exhaust. Is there hope I love this car?

5 Answers


The hope is it can be repaired. The question is it worthy of repair..Subaru is NOTORIOUS for having head gasket issues from 1998 to the present, much less so now than the last few years but still guilty! 2003 is the highest failure rate year! about 20% of there vehicles in 2003 wow. If the body is like new and the overall vehicle is excellent I would consider an engine change. I don't know the mileage but if its over 100,000 or the Forester is rusted or beat-up just say bye bye to it.


The generalizations spouted above are a bit messy: The atmospheric head gasket issues plague the 2000-2009 2.5 SOHC motor; replacement of head gaskets is a common fix that results in very longterm remaining life. So ignore the 100k comment; what's important is that you have a 13 witer old carcass. So it's about rust.... 1996-1999 2.5 DOHC motors, however, suffered from HIGH pressure gasket rupture, overheating violently rather than just running wet diapers. BUT, sometimes the newer motors' gaskets can rupture internally too, but that's quite rare. If overheating incidents are frequent and severe enough the heads warp, such that it's cheaper to start with a clean used motor swapped in. I'd proceed to strip the heads and have a machine shop prep them carefully for new gaskets. If one or both are warped or cracked, swap the entire motor instead of buying new heads. It should be noted that eventual failure rates of the HGs for these years will approach 100%, not 20%. It's just a matter of time...somewhat like prostate cancer for men.... A thorough HG job will cost $1400-1700 through a good indie wrench, inc parts and machine shop prep. I'd use rust as an indicator for judging the tipping point for the decision, as well whether you also need tires, exhaust, brakes, etc. soon. I know some owners like their chunky, noisy, Jeep-like old Foresters, but I was never a fan, as Legacys are far better iterations of Subaru's art. Good luck.


are you saying that the 99 motors are better than the 03's???


Not at all!



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