pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
120,000 miles
Total Complaints:
4 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replaced head gaskets (3 reports)
  2. not sure (1 reports)
1999 Subaru Forester engine problems

engine problem

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1999 Subaru Forester Owner Comments

problem #4

Jun 162010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 152,000 miles


First off, since I bought this used I never knew about the bulletin Subaru issued regarding this faulty gasket. Now since having it replaced, the engine runs rough while stopped in drive. Took it in and now they say that it is on its last legs and the vacuum is low and internal pressure as well. Needless to say I am very disappointed!

- , Indian River, MI, USA

problem #3

Sep 012007

Forester LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 170,000 miles

Yep - head gaskets and Subarus. Poorly engineered for the 1999 Forester.

My wife was driving home from work and the engine overheated significantly. No prior sings (like oil in the cooling water, or the sloshing under the dashboard sound) Cost $1500 to fix, and replace the water pump at the same time (not needed, but easier to do with the engine out - just in case)

That was two years and 30,000 ago, and no major problems since - only mechanical wear and tear (ie brakes) But that is on top of a tranny rebuild that was done in 2005. Read all about it in my other complaint.

- , Lebanon, NH, USA

problem #2

May 102005

(reported on)


  • 58,000 miles

Took the vehicle in for its 96,000 km service and to have an "oil pump leak" repaired (the latter was apparently found when we had the vehicle inspected by an authorized Subaru dealer BEFORE we purchased it). The 96 K service is a hefty Can$1,200. Got a call from the dealer (who doesn't) telling me that the head gaskets are leaking and need replacing and it's an expensive job, but they said they'd give me some "goodwill" so I wouldn't have to cover the cost. This made me a tad suspicious so went tot he web and searched for Subaru head gasket problems and discovered Skip's Subaru Repair Page ( http://home.comcast.net/~skipnospam/ ) which has many customer's complaints about Subaru head gasket failures to the point that many believe it is a design flaw and that Subaru should recall the vehicles. Thought I did a good search on the web when I was looking to buy a Subaru and they are rated very high but this appears to be a major problem. Before you buy a Subaru have a look at Skip's page; it may save you some grief and lots of money!

- , Parksville, BC, Canada

problem #1

Jan 172007

(reported on)

Forester S

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

Car showed coolant leak that was attributed to head gasket failure. Engine had to be removed to replace head gaskets.

- , W, ON, Canada

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