I'm new to the board as I just recently purchased a VERY used 2004 Forenza with 110k miles. I got it pretty cheap because it idled rough, had a bad shake at highway speeds, and the brakes didn't work very well.
In all honesty...the guy didn't know anything about cars and he was in the military so the car would sit for months at a time off an on over the last 2 years.
I immediately took it to the shop and had it gone through completely and here's what I had done:
-Replaced engine oil & filter
-Replaced power steering fluid
-Replaced transmission fluid
-Replaced serpentine belt
-Replaced engine coolant
-Replaced brake fluid
-Replaced all four sets of brake pads
-Turned all four brake rotors
-Replaced all four tires
-Complete four wheel alignment
-Replaced hub caps (shiney
-Replaced air filter (there was a nest of some type in there
-Replaced cabin air filter (black and moldy
-Replaced the spark plugs
-Replaced plug wires
-Replaced the gas cap (throwing a code
-Added remote start and keyless entry
In all...I spent about $1750 on repairs/mods and now the car runs and drives like a top...darn near perfect.
The only issue I have now is that the valve cover leaks oil, which I've read is very common (if not 100% of the time).
The leaking is bad enough that when I went to replace the plugs, I found a significant amount of oil in the holes before I pulled each plug. I used long strips of toilet paper (only thing I could find thin and absorbant yet strong enough for extraction) to soak up the oil in the hole before I pulled each plug.
I have no doubt this contributed to the poor running condition of the car when I bought it (along with the nest in the air filter box). The old plugs did not look fouled...but were definitely coated with toasted oil on the outside. It didn't appear oil was getting past the plugs and into the chamber...I don't know what effect it was having on the connection between the plug and the wires.
I ordered a replacement valve cover gasket and am preparing to do the repair myself. It looks pretty straight forward (except for the funky star shaped bolt heads
) but I thought I better ask if anyone has done this and if there are things I should watch out for, look for, or consider doing while I have the cover off.
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. I may take pictures as I go and post them here as a step by step guide if others think it would be helpfull.