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2001 Subaru Or..Or...Or

I had a 1998 Legacy which blew the engine at 140,000 miles. (idler seized up, something went thru the cover, timimg belt jumped, valves warped).

Now I’m debating:

Get a rebuilt engine for the Legacy?

Buy a 2001 Forester w/rebuilt engine for $6,500? It has 170,000 on the original transmission - what’s the life expectancy for that? No problems right now.

Or buy something newer? I hate spending money on cars but over the last 7 years I’ve been buying cheap cars…over and over and over. And though every one I know has their Subarus for 200-300,000 miles, I’ve had two which have died under 150,000 so I’m a bit spooked by the thought of another Subaru, even though I love the Forester.

I’m lookng at all options now - Camry, Sonata, Civic, CRV, Vibe,etc., etc. and my head is whirling. Or is the 2001 Forester a good bet?

I’m a car dunce with bad car karma…

The '01 Forester with a 170k miles sounds overpriced to me. As to the transmission longevity that depends on what transmission it has.
The manual transmissions are decent; the automatics can be a toss-up all depending.

Since the '98 is roughly 13 years old I’d be leaning towards an used engine for that one; all dependent upon the price of course.
If you go this route change the T-belt, tensioner/idler, water pump, etc. on the used engine BEFORE it’s installed.

You might also check with some larger salvage yards about having the engine installed. Some yards will install what they sell for a nominal fee and guarantee it to boot. This often works out to be much cheaper than what an independent shop or dealer could do it for.

Subarus can last 200-300K WITH PROPER MAINTENANCE. People who ignore their Subarus because they think the cars are bullet proof find out the hard way they are not.

The early 00 Subarus are notorious for head gasket problems, and $6,500 seems awfully high for a car with 170K miles on it. If that’s a good price I’m going to put my '96 Legacy up for sale tomorrow.

The least expensive solution would be to put another engine in the Legacy. But that won’t mean the car can be ignored. Repairs to any car are more expensive than maintenance. Cars are expensive. You have to spend some money on maintenance or you’ll have to keep buying cars, which is REALLY expensive.

I have recently been debating fixing or replacing my 2001 Forester (which I bought to replace a 1999 Legacy that was damaged in an accident but otherwise very healthy). I have just discovered that Consumer Report rated the 2001 Forester as the least reliable year. Speaking from experience, I suggest looking for one a little newer. My sister has a 2003 Forester with way less problems than my car has had. I do perform PROPER MAINTENANCE, thank you very much, but I have often wondered if my car happens to be lemon. I think the whole model year is smelling a bit citrusy based on the over-representation on this forum and others.

It seems to me that you’re blaming the car for your maintenance neglect.
The idler, along with the timing belt and water pump, should have been replaced long before 140k miles. If this had been done there would have been no seized idler and engine damage.

The '01 is way overpriced and the transmission is a toss-up. The manuals are pretty decent but the automatics can be problematic at times.

And referring to neglected maintenance, spark plugs, fuel filters, and valve lash inspections could be thrown into that mix.

I agree with the above advice. Subaru did make some better improvements to the Forester in '03. Even if you have to extend making payments I think you would be happier with a little newer Forester. If you can afford to buy a used '09 or newer model I think that would be even a better choice.

You can do a search of the used market. Here is one nice example of a newer Forester that is currently for sale.