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!



Your Answer

Add photo

Related Questions

  • check engine light on 2003 Subaru Forester means what 2 answers

    check engine light on 2003 Subaru Forester means what

    2003 Subaru Forester XS


    Maintenance & Repair

  • 2003 Subaru Forester 2.5x with a check engine light 1 answer

    Hey Scotty, got a 2003 Subaru Forester 2.5x with a check engine light. I think the engine code is 495 gas cap. Tried a generic and than put out $30 on a OEM. It is pretty consistent throwing the cod...

    2003 Subaru Forester X


    Maintenance & Repair

  • transmission swap subaru forester 4 answers

    I was just wondering if you could swap a 1999 subaru forester transmission with a 2001 subaru forester

    1999 Subaru Forester


    Maintenance & Repair

  • Engine swap on a 1999 Forester 3 answers

    I have a 1999 Subaru Forester and the engine just burnt up on me. I have been looking at local Junk yards for a replacement; I have called two so far. They have both told me that the motor for a 99...

    1999 Subaru Forester S


    Maintenance & Repair

  • engine swap on a 2003 forester? 2 answers

    I have a 2003 Subaru forester 2.5 xs and I would like to upgrade my engine for an XT model or something that will get me going faster. I want to do it but I don't have a clue where to start. I know I ...

    2003 Subaru Forester XS


    Car Customization


Looking for a Used Forester in your area?

CarGurus has 19,311 nationwide Forester listings starting at $1,099.


Search Subaru Forester Questions

Subaru Forester Experts

#1 Nick Eidemiller
Nick Eidemiller
Reputation 3,210
#2 walth
Reputation 2,580
#3 lifeson34
Reputation 2,280
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Subaru Outback"
430 Great Deals out of 29,666 listings starting at $1,295
Used Honda CR-V"
1,503 Great Deals out of 80,985 listings starting at $1,695
Used Toyota RAV4"
1,189 Great Deals out of 49,063 listings starting at $2,499
Used Subaru Impreza"
217 Great Deals out of 8,026 listings starting at $1,995
Used Subaru Legacy"
238 Great Deals out of 17,837 listings starting at $1,295
Used Subaru Impreza WRX"
40 Great Deals out of 1,324 listings starting at $2,500
Used Toyota 4Runner"
366 Great Deals out of 18,996 listings starting at $2,200
Used Ford Escape"
1,722 Great Deals out of 93,978 listings starting at $788
Used Toyota Highlander"
662 Great Deals out of 30,808 listings starting at $1,990
Used Jeep Grand Cherokee"
1,217 Great Deals out of 73,879 listings starting at $1,593
Used Hyundai Santa Fe"
637 Great Deals out of 35,618 listings starting at $800
Used Toyota Tacoma"
626 Great Deals out of 30,504 listings starting at $2,850

Used Cars For Sale

2017 Subaru Forester For Sale
3 Great Deals out of 10,157 listings starting at $20,970
2016 Subaru Forester For Sale
29 Great Deals out of 1,256 listings starting at $19,995
2015 Subaru Forester For Sale
76 Great Deals out of 1,723 listings starting at $14,950
2014 Subaru Forester For Sale
70 Great Deals out of 1,668 listings starting at $8,995
2013 Subaru Forester For Sale
20 Great Deals out of 433 listings starting at $11,991