On Feb 2nd, 2013 I found this 1998 Forester S in Saint Pail, MN.
After looking over all the maintenance records the prior owner had for the last 120k or so, and discussing the details given to her by her mechanic regarding the head gaskets, I purchased the car and towed it back with my '99.
I spent a week or so doing a bit of research, building a shopping list, and ordering parts. After I pulled the engine I found a few more parts that I wasn't anticipating on, the center timing cover was chewed up, whoever did the timing belt on the car must not have torqued down the pulley properly, and the throwout bearing was feeling pretty rough, even though the clutch was replaced not too long ago. I also ended up needing to do the rear main seal, as apparently it had been replaced before, and it was pushed in too far. I ended dropped off the heads at the machine shop and had them cleaned up, milled, leak checked, and had them install all new oem valve seals. I also had the machines check the block to make sure it was not warped.
While I waited for the heads I cleaned up the block as much as I could, cleaned out the IACV, the throttle body, and the intake manifold. The intake manifold took forever, there was a lot of oil residue inside of it. After I got the heads back, I re-assembled the engine, new head gaskets, valve cover gaskets, valve cover bolt gaskets, re-sealed the half moons and the cam seal caps, replaced the cam seals, crank seals, oil pump o-ring, the oil pump, intake manifold gaskets, iacv gasket, all new timing idlers, tensioner, water pump, belt, thermostat, and also replaced the pcv/oil separator plate with the updated metal one with corresponding bolts.
On February 15th, 2013 she fired up, while filling the radiator I found that there was a nice hole in the side of the radiator, so I ended up pulling the radiator, hoses, brackets, and overflow from my `99 and swapping it over.
On February 16th, 2013 she was officially on the road. Shortly after starting the car, I ended up throwing a knock sensor code, so I had to replace that sensor, wish I would have known this before putting the intake manifold back on, because its a much tighter fit on the EJ25D than on the EJ253. The car ran great and felt very strong, I had no smoke, temp issues, or any fluid leaks. My only gripes were the excessive amount of play in the shifter, suspension, and bushings/mounts, the car is definitely sloppy feeling, and I will be addressing these issues as time progresses and the air warms up.
On February 22nd, 2013 I was involved in a fender bender on my way home from work. The involved vehicle, one Ford Escape was stopped behind a city bus at the bus stop, and she apparently decided she no longer wanted to be behind said bus, and turned into my lane, causing our vehicles to collide. I had no real way to avoid the accident as there was a vehicle on the other side of me that didn't allow for me to swerve, and I didn't have enough distance to stop (I did try). She told the officer that I came into her lane, so it ended up being a he-said she-said, and I'm stuck with the bill to repair my vehicle. Sad day seeing as I hadn't even been driving this car for a whole week.
The accident also knocked a wheel weight off of the front passenger wheel, so I decided it was a good time to throw my '02 WRX wheels on from my `99.
On March 1st, 2013 I installed an eBay short shifter, which greatly increased the feel, best $35 I think I've ever spent. There is still additional play, so I've ordered Prothane rear shifter bushings, an OEM shifter u-joint, roll pin, and spring, hopefully I will have those in by this weekend.
March 7th, 2013: Installed Prothane rear shifter bushings, oem shifter u-joint, and spring. Also installed o2 sensor spacer for P0420
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