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2010 Forester XT "Clunk"

pger_98pger_98 Posts: 9
I just bought an 2010 XT in January. I have about 1500 miles on her.

Lately, when I start in the morning and drive....and I give her normal gassing, i hear a "clunk" type noise coming from the front. Dealership cannot find it no matter how I explain. It also did it when i was backing out at a slope.

I am very frustrated.....

Has anyone had this issue?


  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Not that I've heard.

    Does it feel like the transmission is engaging? Do you hear it, or also feel it?

    Does it happen while you are already moving, or just when you start to move?

    Forward and reverse?

    Steering wheel straight or turned?

    Sorry for all the questions, just trying to narrow it down a bit.
  • pger_98pger_98 Posts: 9
    Other than that noise, everything is fine. Transmission engages fine. I do not feel anything. It only happens when I start out, and only if the car has set more than a couple of hours. So far it is forward, however my husband and I tried using the e-brake on a downward slope and it did it in reverse. After that, we could not replicate in reverse. Steering has been both...I have to try that out.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Now I'm thinking it's a sticky brake caliper. It pops loose and could be the cause of that clunk.

    Some surface rust is normal, and at times the brake pads will stick to them. The clunk is what you hear when it breaks loose.

    Could also be the parking brake.

    At the next oil change, I would bring it up to your dealer, have them inspect the brakes and lubricate the calipers with high-temp stuff.
  • pger_98pger_98 Posts: 9
    Now that you say that, it makes sense. They said they checked everything to make sure it was ok just to be sure, however I am for sure going to mention this.

    You said it could be the parking brake, how so?
  • pger_98pger_98 Posts: 9
    Now that you say that, it makes sense. They said they checked everything to make sure it was ok just to be sure, however I am for sure going to mention this.

    You said it could be the parking brake, how so?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    If the parking brake is sticky and won't release, the same thing could happen.

    I'd have them clean the brake parts and make sure the moving parts have heat-resistant lubricant so they continue to move freely.

    I had to rebuild a rear caliper on my 93 Miata because it was sticking like that. The rebuilt caliper solved the problem.

    Yours is new so it's more likely to just need lubrication.
  • billwvbillwv Posts: 48
    Just in case you are not aware--

    The ABS/VDC system goes through a self-test when you first start up and drive off. It involves, among other things, a grabbing of a brake which can sound as you describe--sometimes more noticeable than others. This is completely normal.

    Could this be what you are experiencing?

  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    This normal ABS self-test has been reported as a complaint on another Forester forum, too. I do not notice it on my 2008 Forester, but can plainly hear it on my 2006 Scion xB.
    Others have complained about their Forester engine "knocking" after being shut off. That turned out to be the ticking of cooling heat shields.
  • pger_98pger_98 Posts: 9
    Thank you all for your response. I am going to get her in again. It is very disruptive to my schedule when I hear the noise each day and they have it for two days and do not hear it. I am going to make these suggestions as well so they check something. I swore my 2006 S40 AWD did the same thing....however I cannot remember. It only did it once in awhile, as this is daily. It is fine after that.

    More to come!
  • bcj77bcj77 Posts: 6

    Did you ever discover the cause of this clunk or knock? I have a 2011 XT with 2k miles on it that has been making the same noise, typically only when the engine is cold. Any feedback you can share would be appreciated.

  • I had taken it to the dealership a few times. I have been told it is the AWD system "checking". It only does it initally when i drive off and it is cold.
  • bcj77bcj77 Posts: 6
    Hmm, thanks. Sounds a little suspicious, but I hope they are right.
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    You said: I have been told it is the AWD system "checking".

    I think you misunderstood the dealer. The AWD system does not check itself. However, the ABS systems on all cars do check and reset themselves upon restarting and moving. And on some cars under some conditions, this reset can be heard.
  • They had mentioned the ABS also. When I took it to another dealer they said ABS. I did not mention that-apologies.
  • bcj77bcj77 Posts: 6
    I took mine in today for this same issue. Dealer says it is a normal sound that the secondary air injector makes when it is cold, standard on turbos.

    My guess is that they were not able to replicate (or hear) the sound...
  • I have something similar happening, but not on a turbo. 2011 normally aspirated Forester that I have only had about two months. Shortly after a cold start, usually around 15-40 yards after putting it in drive, there is a clearly audible noise. Not loud, but noticeable. To me, it sounds like a lightweight sheetmetal flap closing against something else metal. One clank and that's it until the next cold start. Can't feel it in the steering or transmission. VDC-check of some kind seems plausible, but I'd like to know for sure.
  • Just google "ABS self test noise" and you will see that all cars do it, you just can't always hear it.

    "Are you sure you're not just hearing the ABS self-test? That makes a bit of a clunk, I believe. I've noticed it in every Subaru I've driven."

    #11 in

    "I think I've come up with a way to prevent that awful ABS Self-test brake noise to occur. Right after starting the car, press the brake pedal down a few times before putting the car into gear. I've been doing that for the past few days and haven't heard that sound since!"
  • Page 7-16 of my 2008 Forester Owners Manual:
    "ABS system self-check.
    You may feel a slight shock in the brake
    pedal and hear the operating sound of
    ABS from the engine compartment just
    after the vehicle is started. This is caused
    by an automatic functional test of the ABS
    system being carried out and does not
    indicate any abnormal condition."
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    edited February 2011
    "... VDC-check of some kind seems plausible..."
    VDC is traction control that senses vehicle direction and uses brake, throttle and engine management to help maintain stability. I don't think Subaru has such a thing a self-checking VDC. Some Subarus have VDC, although not my 2008 X with the 4EAT automatic. VDC is a completely transparent feature as it is not even mentioned in the Owners Manual, much less any self-checking of it.
  • 2011 Owner Manual has similar language now that I look. So ABS seems likely, even though I haven't noticed anything in the brake. Thanks.
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