To Buy a good old cheapie for less than R50k: suzuki vitara or subaru forester





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  1. #1
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    Default To Buy a good old cheapie for less than R50k: suzuki vitara or subaru forester

    I'm in the market for a good light robust vehicle that can do gravel roads, with decent ground clearance for exploring farms around the cape.
    I like the feel of well looked after old vehicles.
    I'm looking at the suzuki vitara 1.6 or 2l models that go for R30 000 to R55 000, older models around 1998 with 250000km.
    Then there's subaru forester 2002, 2l that also seems good, really cheap which makes me worry about how expensive it may be to run.
    I'm Thinking I get them tested by mechanics before buying.
    Just wonder about maintenance, reliability and driving experience.
    Any input and suggestions welcome

  2. #2
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    Default Re: To Buy a good old cheapie for less than R50k: suzuki vitara or subaru forester

    I can only speak for the Forester.

    Some of those vintage models had self-levelling suspension, guaranteed to be shot by now. They were horribly expensive to replace 6 years ago, which is why some owners converted them to standard suspension. It is not just swopping out dampers, an interface kit is required, then you can swop out dampers in future.

    The radiator would also have gone by now - in practise, useful life around 150000km. This sometimes takes the head gaskets with it.

    A CO2-in-the-coolant check at a radiator shop should give some confidence.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Note that some operators jippo this test. A colour change from blue to green and the bubbles should indicate a shot head gasket - or both - but this was not the case.

    The test starts off with blue fluid up to the line. Like so:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The car is then idled until the thermostat opens. If the radiator is full, the water will push into the test tube as the temperature rises.

    Some water should therefore be drained from the radiator prior to the test to prevent the water from pushing into the test tube as this dilutes the blue and makes it look green. So this image is of an invalid test. Make sure you witness it and do NOT accept the result if the fluid level has risen during the test.

    They were very keen to book the car in straight away for a head gasket replacement. I declined, and my son drove it another 6 months before it met with a wall and was written off with very little damage - alas, both airbags popped.

    Then the timing belt and pulley replacement - is this up to date? Every 100 000km.
    Last edited by JJJ; 2020/02/28 at 01:27 PM.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: To Buy a good old cheapie for less than R50k: suzuki vitara or subaru forester

    Hi JJJ
    wow, that is very useful to be aware of
    Thank you
    I see how I could get burnt very easily without testing these things before buying.
    So best to get the vehicle tested before...

    I wonder what to look for in the vitara

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    Default Re: To Buy a good old cheapie for less than R50k: suzuki vitara or subaru forester

    1st Gen Sportage, Jeep Cherokees and Outlanders will also be in your price range.
    My name is Rainier and I drive a Frotuna.

    Why are you always in such a bad mood? Experience...







  5. #5
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    Default Re: To Buy a good old cheapie for less than R50k: suzuki vitara or subaru forester

    2002 to 2006 Jeep Cherokee worth having a look at. Had mine for about 7 years now. Very capable and no issues thus far. Bought the 2.4, very slow though

    2006 Discovery 3 TDV6.
    2003 Jeep Cherokee 2.4 - Surprisingly capable
    1996 Suzuki Samurai - work in progress

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    Default Re: To Buy a good old cheapie for less than R50k: suzuki vitara or subaru forester

    Quote Originally Posted by Philip72 View Post
    2002 to 2006 Jeep Cherokee worth having a look at. Had mine for about 7 years now. Very capable and no issues thus far. Bought the 2.4, very slow though
    Thank you, been having a look online... Looks good but feel like Suzuki is lighter so would likely go for that first.

    Also considering an Isuzu kb280 trooper or dc bakkie....

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    Default Re: To Buy a good old cheapie for less than R50k: suzuki vitara or subaru forester

    Quote Originally Posted by nicmclean View Post
    Thank you, been having a look online... Looks good but feel like Suzuki is lighter so would likely go for that first.

    Also considering an Isuzu kb280 trooper or dc bakkie....
    I have also just missed out on a really clean Subaru Forester...
    And looking at the Diahatsu Terios, or Honda CRV.
    Seems like pretty good options, lighter than the Isuzu but not sure what the pros and cons are of each in terms of running costs and driving feel.

    just my thoughts on finding a good all rounder for 70% on road and 30% offroad...

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