RE: Subaru Forester STI: PH Fleet

RE: Subaru Forester STI: PH Fleet

Sunday 28th April

Subaru Forester STI: PH Fleet

Dan's JDM-twist on the 'all the car you'd ever really need' marches on



Everyone dreams of their dream, money no object fleet. Honestly though? Even accounting for the fact they're very much real-world cars my all-Japanese car pairing of imported Forester and Eunos Roadster (we'll ignore The Dirty Polo for now) continues to tick every box.

Let's catch up on the Forester though. Long-time readers will be aware of this car and my love for it. Having originally intended to 'go full Harrogate' and track down a UK Forester Turbo (complete with two-tone paint and Essence d'wet Labrador) I got a little... sidetracked in the PH classifieds. Ignoring the fact I overspent by a factor of two the man maths has stood me pretty well too. Go on, indulge me...

First up the six-speed gearbox in the STI (UK cars have a five-speed) means I can cruise at motorway speeds without waking the turbo. OK, it's still a 2.5-litre engine and hardly frugal. But even with bike racks permanently in place I can tickle 30mpg on a run and even a more spirited cross-country pace only drops to the mid- to low 20s. That's way better than the old MY95 Impreza WRX wagon I used to run and just about tenable - closing my eyes and dreaming of the Clubcard points as it slurps another tankful of Momentum 99 is my coping mechanism. VED almost exactly half the £555 it would cost to tax an equivalent UK-spec 2.5 XT Turbo helps, too. Then there's the fact I could sell it now for pretty much what I paid for it three years ago.


So much for the financial self-justification. It's more about the emotional bond, and I confess that is yet to wane. Just the other day I was pottering about, Hayward & Scott enhanced burble rumbling away and thinking "god, I love this car!" Sometimes I catch sight of Mrs Trent heading off as I walk my daughter to nursery and grin at how cool it looks among the rest of the school run traffic. And with bikes onboard it is literally, the definition of Sports Utility Vehicle, as I enjoyed recently on an early morning run into North Wales. I'll admit I was happier on that occasion the bike was stashed inside and not clinging on for dear life to the Thule racks on the roof.

Back to reality though; what's it costing to run? I had to do discs and pads all round on top of an annual service recently and that saw the final bill nudge into four figures. Apparently the Brembos are notorious for seized mounting bolts too and, sod's law, seven out of the eight came out fine, leaving one that had to be drilled and tapped. The Pagid pads that went in squealed for a while at low speeds but seem to have calmed down now and the extra braking power (and bling) is another welcome upgrade over a UK-spec Forester Turbo. I've had to do a couple of drop links too, but these count as consumables on Subarus. There's probably a new cambelt in the not too distant, so I'll have to brace myself for that. But other than that I'll readily take the nod of approval and "good car, that" my local Subaru specialist Richard Henry Motorsport signed off with last time I picked it up.

And an even better one now, following a visit to Litchfield as part of my travels. Back in the day most of the Forester STIs in the country came through them and they were the go-to guys for hot Subarus. Fashion has moved on, and with it the business, and I was there to drive the GT-R LM20 Track Edition. Before I could get near their latest lunatic Nissan I had to navigate a crowd of enthusiastic Litchfield guys, who swarmed round the Forester and enthused about how it was their favourite from the Subaru era. They even dusted off their old map and, after a quick run on the rolling road, 280hp became 306hp. More to come if I want it, I'm promised. But that's a pretty healthy figure and, though it's hardly my style, I take satisfaction in the idea my boxy old Subaru could give the Golf R massive a run for their money.


It could use a bit of a tidy up, mind. There are bubbles of corrosion appearing on the alloys and the soft Subaru paint is suffering under the combined assault of bird crap and sap that showers from the trees outside my house. That was bad enough, the ding in the roof from a falling branch insult to injury. A mobile dent guy worked his magic on it, which was a relief. And an Autoglym Headlight Restoration Kit did a sterling job of refreshing my cloudy headlight. Following advice I've sealed it with Chemical Guys Jet Seal to keep it looking crystal clear.

While I can currently enjoy the lifestyle dream of days out on bikes with the family there's no escaping space is getting a little tight. And as little bikes start getting bigger it may be time to consider my next move. Reluctantly this may well be the twilight of my ownership of this car but, if that's the case, I'm going to make damned sure I eke it out as long as possible. And enjoy every damned minute.




FACT SHEET
Car:
2005 Subaru Forester STI (JDM import model)
Run by: Dan Trent/the long suffering Mrs Trent
Bought: December 2015
Mileage: 122,843km (at purchase)
Purchase price: £9,500
Last month at a glance: Tired paintwork may need addressing soon. Wait, I said that two years ago...

Previous reports
Dan scores himself one of his all-time dream cars
Living the Subaru lifestyle dream
Dan versus JDM wind deflectors (with a little help from Sticky Stuff Remover)
JDM habit runs deep in the Trent family, which could prove costly
New exhaust brings the noise!
Getting a grip with some fresh rubber

 

Author
Discussion

Cambs_Stuart

Original Poster:

466 posts

25 months

Sunday 28th April
quotequote all
I'd been wondering about how this car was going. I miss my impreza, but I'd got to the point where my children and their stuff (bikes, drum kits) were just getting too big. I always wondered if a forester would have worked.
The logical upgrade is a legacy. Preferably a WR Ltd ..
Like this one:
https://www.scoobynet.com/members-gallery-5/103856...

Edited by Cambs_Stuart on Sunday 28th April 08:03

rossub

2,105 posts

131 months

Sunday 28th April
quotequote all
Personally I wouldn’t be taking Litchfield up on their offer of ‘more to come’. The 2.5s head gaskets are fragile as it is, without throwing more boost at them.

PomBstard

3,370 posts

183 months

Sunday 28th April
quotequote all
Lovely car! Logical upgrade is indeed a Legacy/Liberty and whilst the 03-09 Gen 4 looks better and is probably a little more nimble, from experience the 09-14 Gen 5 is usefully bigger for kids and kit. And if you love a Forester, the Gen 5’s looks won’t offend...

Had mine for just over 2 years now...

https://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?t=16...

Iamnotkloot

271 posts

88 months

Sunday 28th April
quotequote all
Yeah, cool car.
We had two 5sp UK turbos and loved them; however, with the boys getting bigger it was getting cramped in there.
Always lusted after the 6sp box.....

wab172uk

1,287 posts

168 months

Sunday 28th April
quotequote all
Very cool car. Loved these back in the day.
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jwwbowe

116 posts

113 months

Sunday 28th April
quotequote all
Lovely car, nice update.

Currently toying with the idea of a BL gen Legacy or Outback as a daily to replace my Defender. I always take comments on the internet with a pinch of salt but the general consensus seems to be either buy a 3.0UK car or a JDM turbo. I’m not sure the 2.5s N/As are as prone to HG issues as the turbo’d versions. Obviously steer well of the diesel! Do any JDM Forester’s come with the 2.0 turbo?

defblade

5,189 posts

154 months

Sunday 28th April
quotequote all
Another (biased, BP/gen 4 flavour in my case) vote for a JDM Leggie!

It's your fault I got mine anyway... I went to look at a JDM Forester because I'd seen your articles; at 6' 4" I didn't really fit in it frown
But across the garage was a sleek black thing that I did fit in... only 2 grand over my absolute max budget wink

Matty322

14 posts

34 months

Sunday 28th April
quotequote all
Great cars.

we shipped ours from japan around 6 years ago now, having had it's loyal service there for various jobs. Probably cover 3k miles a year in this car, but its a hoot to drive.

No problems with it what so ever in anytime of ownership.

Happy to share a specification list if of interest.

One thing i dont like about the OEM interior is the "sticky" vents / centre unit which nearly all of them have. so had a company in japan, create ours from carbon and do the steering wheel at the same time.















SidewaysSi

5,260 posts

175 months

Sunday 28th April
quotequote all
Good timing - I have just put a deposit down on one! I couldn't think of a better and more fun practical family car sub £15k. I will get the H&S exhaust and probably a remap too. smile

Surely a head gasket can't be too much at a specialist?

SidewaysSi

5,260 posts

175 months

Sunday 28th April
quotequote all
Matty322 said:
Great cars.

we shipped ours from japan around 6 years ago now, having had it's loyal service there for various jobs. Probably cover 3k miles a year in this car, but its a hoot to drive.

No problems with it what so ever in anytime of ownership.

Happy to share a specification list if of interest.

One thing i dont like about the OEM interior is the "sticky" vents / centre unit which nearly all of them have. so had a company in japan, create ours from carbon and do the steering wheel at the same time.














Looks great! What's the spec and what do you think of the Kakimoto?

rossub

2,105 posts

131 months

Sunday 28th April
quotequote all
jwwbowe said:
Do any JDM Forester’s come with the 2.0 turbo?
Yes, the Cross Sports - I have one. Basically a Forester WRX in all but name.

EJ205 engine, TD04 turbo, same 5 speed box as the WRX (though manuals are scarce). 220ps compared to the STI’s 265.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SUBARU-FORESTER-CROSS-S...



Edited by rossub on Sunday 28th April 13:13

Coin Slot.

2,924 posts

104 months

Sunday 28th April
quotequote all
Matty322 said:
I fell out with Subaru/IM back in the day, swore I’d never buy another, that would make me change my mind cool

DaveEvs

25 posts

43 months

Sunday 28th April
quotequote all
Thanks for the update.
I loved my SF Forester Sport and tried to replace it with an STI, but work dictated an (even more) robust 4x4.

On a twisty Welsh road, nothing beats a Subaru of this era.


Jim on the hill

3,616 posts

131 months

Sunday 28th April
quotequote all
Last month Dan didn't like fast SUVs? I am so confused.

Jim on the hill

3,616 posts

131 months

Sunday 28th April
quotequote all
Matty322 said:
Great cars.

we shipped ours from japan around 6 years ago now, having had it's loyal service there for various jobs. Probably cover 3k miles a year in this car, but its a hoot to drive.

No problems with it what so ever in anytime of ownership.

Happy to share a specification list if of interest.

One thing i dont like about the OEM interior is the "sticky" vents / centre unit which nearly all of them have. so had a company in japan, create ours from carbon and do the steering wheel at the same time.














Who did the centre console for you? I'd be interested in getting one for my FSTI Looks fantastic!

MDMA .

4,730 posts

42 months

Sunday 28th April
quotequote all
I sold mine to another PH'er. They are a very good car. Would have another one sometime if the right one came up for sale.


GTI16V

433 posts

15 months

Sunday 28th April
quotequote all

One of my all time favourite car related memories was witnessing one of these absolutely monstering a 997 from a standing start onto the A1M at Stevenage. bow

llcoolmac

50 posts

41 months

Sunday 28th April
quotequote all
SidewaysSi said:
Good timing - I have just put a deposit down on one! I couldn't think of a better and more fun practical family car sub £15k. I will get the H&S exhaust and probably a remap too. smile

Surely a head gasket can't be too much at a specialist?
Think again, I went to a specialist in Dublin for my XT and he told me a minimum of €2p00 to do it right. He said it could be bodged for about €1000. The same guy warned me off tuning it when I spoke to him 6 months earlier as he said the HG were very weak and likely to go, so it would be money down the drain. He was right and saved me €500 in the long run.

At 120,000 miles this is bang on target to go pop.

Matty322

14 posts

34 months

Sunday 28th April
quotequote all
For those who asked.i bought this for my dad (his 70) so hardly uses it. It will be going to a new home im sure in the next couple of months, as they then enjoy their retirement. i would be amazed if another FSTI was in the UK with these items fitted.

All the parts were purchased new. Things like the STI Carbon Mirror cover was hard to track down new but £300 later and it got added.

Kakimoto - has a bung. It's not loud unless you need it to be, but this FSTI runs with the cat.

Alot of the parts are now discontinued. Such s the Subaru optional "winter" pack mats, and trunk liner. (again bought new, as old discontinued stock)

If you want the optional front STI splitter. i paid around £500 for that (new)

The steering wheel was done by a local company in Tokyo. I had to buy an original wheel locally in japan, by the time the work was done (they did all the carbon work and retrim on my 32 and 34 gtr) the wheel was around £2,000. The centre console was around £1100, with having to buy a new centre piece from surbaru. il guess around £8k in mods over the last few years.

The interiors of the Forester is not great, hence the above upgrades. The Winter Pack certainly helps, in the rainy moths.

i have the Zerosports cooling panel (never fitted), and a number of OEM parts new in box.

Having purchased all the parts new the current specification of this SG9 is:

current spec is:

(runs stock boost, no boost controller fitted)

Robson Japan carbon steering wheel
Robson Japan Carbon centre console
Robson Japan leather gaitor
Yashio factory shifter
Rays CE28s
Project Mu locking nuts
Defi BF gauges and controller
Greddy sensor attachment
Subaru Winter Mat Option
Subaru Winter trunk liner
STI option lower bumper splitter
Apexi air filter
Zero Sports Rad and Oil cap
Zero sports air scoop
Zero sports radiator panel
Zero sports hard pipe
Kakimoto Muffler
Project Mu locking nuts
Brembo brakes (just been replaced with new pads/discs)
Project Mu braided lines
Beatrush tower bar
STI Carbon mirror cover
Cusco brake stopper
STI Lowering Springs (optional extra from STI)

Hope that helps.

Edited by Matty322 on Sunday 28th April 21:32


Edited by Matty322 on Sunday 28th April 21:34

SidewaysSi

5,260 posts

175 months

Sunday 28th April
quotequote all
Matty322 said:
For those who asked.i bought this for my dad (his 70) so hardly uses it. It will be going to a new home im sure in the next couple of months, as they then enjoy their retirement. i would be amazed if another FSTI was in the UK with these items fitted.

All the parts were purchased new.

Kakimoto - has a bung. It's not loud unless you need it to be, but this FSTI runs with the cat.

Alot of the parts are now discontinued. Such s the Subaru optional "winter" pack mats, and trunk liner.

If you want the optional front STI splitter. i paid around £500 for that (new)

The steering wheel was done by a local company in Tokyo. I had to buy an original wheel locally in japan, by the time the work was done (they did all the carbon work and retrim on my 32 and 34 gtr) the wheel was around £2,000. The centre console was around £1100, with having to buy a new centre piece from surbaru. il guess around £8k in mods over the last few years.

The interiors of the Forester is not great, hence the above upgrades.

i have the Zerosports cooling panel (never fitted), and a number of OEM parts new in box.

Having purchased all the parts new the current specification of this SG9 is:

current spec is:

(runs stock boost, no boost controller fitted)

Robson Japan carbon steering wheel
Robson Japan Carbon centre console
Robson Japan leather gaitor
Yashio factory shifter
Rays CE28s
Project Mu locking nuts
Defi BF gauges and controller
Greddy sensor attachment
Subaru Winter Mat Option
Subaru Winter trunk liner
STI option lower bumper splitter
Apexi air filter
Zero Sports Rad and Oil cap
Zero sports air scoop
Zero sports radiator panel
Zero sports hard pipe
Kakimoto Muffler
Project Mu locking nuts
Brembo brakes (just been replaced with new pads)
Project Mu braided lines
Beatrush tower bar
STI Carbon mirror cover
Cusco brake stopper
STI Lowering Springs (optional extra from STI)

Hope that helps.
Sounds like a great package. Do you mind dropping me a mail as I am looking to buy..?