Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!





99 Forester L - oil leak, tires -- worth repair?

ajpaajpa Posts: 2
Advice needed!
I have a 99 Forester I bought in 98 (new) with around 85000 miles. It's had all scheduled maint done at the dealer, except for the latest, where I've been worrying about the price and if other things will start breaking too, would it be more cost-effective to get a different car (I would buy used this time). Or which ones should I get fixed pronto, or should I just find an outside mechanic (worried about finding a good one...).

Findings:
1. oil leak
2. vibrate while braking
3. throttle body dirty & throttle cable out of alignment
4. new tires needed
5. Replace air filter

Service rec'd (& estimate)
1. a. replace cam seals
b. oil pump reseal & access ports $480
c. replace timing belt $90
2. a. resurface front rotors $190
3. Full fuel system service $159
4. Tires ... would be the 3rd set if I get them. I'm guessing $600-$800 depending on if I can find a deal somewhere
5. Strangely no estimate for this?
So it's roughly a thousand bucks plus tires if I get it all done at the dealers service ...

What would you do? This is actually the first car I've ever owned so I guess I'm sort of attached to it. But money is really tight and I don't want to spend 1500 on it then have it again break something soon, or even worse die?

Comments

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,677
    I would call all of that normal for the age of the car and (regarding the oil leak) the boxer engine.

    The oil leak does not need addressing unless it is getting bad. This leak is rather typical for the boxer engine, especially given its age. The timing belt, however, does need to be changed. The mileage change point for the belt is 105,000, but the age (probably thirteen years for a 1998 model) means the belt is likely at risk of breaking and you do NOT want that to happen. When changing the timing belt, it is very little extra work to replace the camshaft seals, crankshaft seal, reseal the oil pump, and replace the water pump. I would say the total cost listed above ($570) is about right; you can add another $120 or so for the water pump, which you might as well replace while it is torn apart. The belt itself costs $90, so the shop is accurately assessing labor cost as part of the camshaft seals and adding no additional labor for the timing belt (since the old belt must be removed to do the other work anyway).

    Front rotors - again, the vibration while braking is probably caused by this, but the work is something that is not time critical unless you are extremely annoyed by the vibration. This, also is a normal wear item depending on braking conditions, etc.

    Fuel system.... well, maybe. You can start by running fuel system cleaner on your next couple of fill ups and see how that goes. Unless your car is not idling properly or responding well to throttle input, i am not sure I would worry much about the "throttle cable out of alignment" bit.

    Replacing the air filter is so simple it would be a crime to charge someone for it. A good one will cost you $15 - $25 and you can either do this yourself or have it done with the next oil change.

    Tires: For your car, you can get an excellent set of tires for $450-500 installed and it is another one of those wear items, so no sense holding that against the car.

    I think it is worth the investment, though none of the items (except may be the tires and air filter, depending on condition...) are a MUST DO NOW! so you can budget for them. Even so, $1500 is a far cry less than a new or new-used car. You should plan on $1000 annually for maintenance and repair costs for your car; I bet you will end up paying less than that over the remainder of your ownership even if you get hit with a big ticket item (head gaskets?) or two in the years to come.
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I agree - put off the other stuff, it can wait, and the vehicle may not last long enough for those to pay off.

    The timing belt calls for inspection at 90k, replacement at 105k. So I'd just wait...unless the mechanic is in there for some other reason.
  • ajpaajpa Posts: 2
    Thank you very much! That's very helpful.

    You can start by running fuel system cleaner on your next couple of fill ups and see how that goes.

    I'll try that ... are they basically all the same or shoudl I get (aor avoid) a particular brand?

    How long do you think a Forester will last if it's taken care of? As you can probably tell, I don't drive very far at all -- mostly just around teh neighborhood.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,677
    I have used two different brands: Chevron Fuel Injector Cleaner and Amsoil PI (Performance Improver). Both do a great job and cost about the same (probably ~$7 a bottle, at least here in Alaska). I have also used a brand called Sea Foam but, as I recall, it was a little less user friendly and more expensive.

    As far as longevity, it likely has a lot of life left. They key repair that will likely crop up down the road is head gasket leakage/replacement (expensive - about $2000 for a shop to replace).
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    "... How long do you think a Forester will last if it's taken care of? ..."

    It will last as long as you take care of it. In practice, it will last until you decide you would rather stop paying maintenance and repairs, and buy another new or used car. That decision will not be based on economics, as it is cheapest to keep your present car, but on whether you continue to like your present car.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Just do not keep driving if it's overheating. If that happens, the gasket probably failed, park it and get it towed.

    So long as that doesn't happen you should get plenty of life out of it.
  • My wife had 1999 legacy with the 2.2. It had developed an oil leak around 75,000 mi. Not a bad one, but enough to leave a spot(s) on garage floor overnight. Don't know if you have same problem, as I am not fluent in suburuese, but I found they have an inspection/access hole on backside of block (yes between engine and trans). It was originally made of a hard fiber/plasti/etc material from factory. It cracks...and leaks. When I picked up new cover for car, it was made of aluminum. I said to parts guy "they obviously know they screwed up with the old part, but aren't going to let the owners of the cars know". So for approx $12.00 I fixed oil leak. Oh... forgot to mention, you have to disconnect and drop transmission, and lift engine up a few inches for ample access if your not doing on a lift. have fun! : ;)
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    edited March 2010
    "... they have an inspection/access hole on backside of block (yes between engine and trans). It was originally made of a hard fiber/plasti/etc material from factory. It cracks...and leaks. When I picked up new cover for car, it was made of aluminum..."

    It's called a separator plate, and is a part of the crankcase breather system that removes oil from the blow by gasses. It forces the vapor to hit the inside plate surface and condense back to a liquid, flowing back to the crankcase before it gets into the breather system as a vapor. The flywheel spinning outside of the plate acts to cool the plate enough to condense the oil mist.

    When the plate leaks in a manual transmission car, the leaked oil can get on the clutch.
  • So what do you think it would cost to have a garage fix this?
Sign In or Register to comment.