In 2011 I posted to the forums at seeking guidance on getting the car’s seals redone, a typical midlife expense for Subarus. As part of my ongoing attempts to recapture miscellaneous posts I have contributed elsewhere on the internet I am posting my content from that thread here. I will follow up with the some procedure for the other two threads I have posted in that locale.

I have an automatic 1999 Forester L, 169k, cosmetically pretty good in and out.

However, the car has the following issues:

  • Oil leak
  • Strange engine sound, clicky
  • Hesitation in shifting
  • Measurable head gasket leak

I have two repair estimates in hand for the seal-related issues only, no transmission work, at 4k and 5.5k, each approaching the resale value of the car in good working order.

A quick spin thru CL shows non-running 99s on offer at 1.6-2k. This car still runs, but it will fail. I am having a hard time figuring out a fair resale value.

I also have a cosmetically rough, mechanically sound ’93 Camry SE manual v6, 107k. It is hard to find sale examples for this car but given the dings and scrapes I would guess the car would be fairly offered at 1.5 to 1.7k.

I would prefer to just keep the Camry and drive it to the bitter end, but my household has a nonnegotiable need for a hauler/ snow car.

If I could get the seals fixed for 2k I would do that and sell the Camry, but that seems unlikely. I am not a mechanic and can’t do any work on either car.

This community might be able to help me decide if the 4-5k estimates are market or inflated for the vehicle, and to help me set a proper resale offer price for the Forester, as well as thought on disclosures of the extant issues.

I am emphatically not looking for a new car or even a low-mile used car; any replacement car needs to come in at 5k so that the whole operation is a wash. I am sure folks here have faced this dilemma with regard to 98-99 foresters hundreds of times in the past. What should I do?

Posters on the thread criticized both the scoping and cost quotes from Carter and suggested getting it examined and estimated by All Wheel Drive on the Eastside, which is what I did. They suggested getting the seals done and quoted it at $2.3k. The work came in at $2.6. Additionally, the next time I brought it in to a shop, they noticed a minor issue with the install on one of the seals, and I took it back to AWD, who repaired the problem without any complaint or argument.

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