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Subaru Forester Engine problems

1911131415

Comments

  • "... What about using a flushing machine? My closest servicing dealer said SOA advises against using a flusher but my mom's servicing dealer says they've never been told not to use this machine on a Subaru AT. Thoughts?..."

    A flush is the only way to replace all 10 quarts, because a simple drain only lets out 3.75 quarts. A flush also cleans which a drain does not. My dealer uses a BG machine:
    "BG PF5 Power Flush and Fluid Exchange System... cleans all internal transmission components including torque converter, valve body assemblies, lines and cooler vanes."
    http://www.bgprod.com/products/transmission.html
  • erikwierikwi Posts: 71
    I posted this info on subaruforester.org forum so I figured I'd put the info here too. SOA rep called me today, responding to the letter I sent to the CEO. Her offer is coverage of any future HG issues and a free 60k service. Does this offer sound like a good deal? I don't know if there is a mileage limit to the HG coverage but will ask.

    My local dealer does not have a flushing machine nor do they plan to get one since their factory rep told them SOA doesn't recommend the use of a flushing machine. I like the idea of flushing out the old fluid and [non-permissible content removed] but don't have a clue who can do it in my area. When I take it in for the 60k, I'm going to request that the external tranny filter be replaced. I don't care if they say it's supposed to be a lifetime filter, I want it replaced simply because there is no way that filter is supposed to remain free flowing for life. I'm sure there is clutch pack sludge buildup in the filter which will eventually restrict flow and may cause the clutch packs and bands to start slipping. That will lead to tranny failure down the road.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,400
    SOA rep called me today, responding to the letter I sent to the CEO. Her offer is coverage of any future HG issues and a free 60k service.

    That sounds like a pretty good deal to me. At least, it should put you at ease regarding the possibility of future gasket leaks. You need to have it in writing, though!
  • erikwierikwi Posts: 71
    Yeah that's what I'm thinking too. If I can talk to the rep tomorrow, I'm going to tell her 2 things: (1) I want this in writing and (2) I'm going to offer my car to the engineers so they can research it, so long as they give me something to drive.

    I'm more bothered by a lack of cause (other than open deck design) than the actual problem. OCD kicking in I guess.........

    If I had plenty of time on my hands, I'd take my own engine apart and find what could be causing this. I told her today it looked like the DS HG was showing signs of seepage again and asked her what the odds are I'd get 2 defective gaskets. Her response was a million to one. As I told her, I'm not faulting the tech or the servicing dealer for the new leak, unless I get evidence to the contrary. Wish I could find some UV dye to put in so I could tell if this is a current, ongoing leak or not.
  • "... When I take it in for the 60k, I'm going to request that the external tranny filter be replaced. I don't care if they say it's supposed to be a lifetime filter..."

    That is only part of what the Service Schedule says. Footnote 9 says:
    9. The ATF filter is a maintenance free part. The ATF filter needs replacement
    only when it has physical damage or if the ATF has leaked.

    One issue of Subaru's EndWrench publication says:
    The transmission filter does not require service under normal conditions.
    http://www.endwrench.com/pdf/drivetrain/02Winter4EATDiagServ.pdf

    Another issue of EndWrench says:
    The external oil filter requires no scheduled maintenance, although it can be changed if neces- sary. The new filter is in addition to the metal valve body screen found on previous models. The screen is still present and can be flushed...
    http://www.endwrench.com/pdf/feb2004pdf/4EATPhase2.pdf

    "... there is no way that filter is supposed to remain free flowing for life. I'm sure there is clutch pack sludge buildup in the filter which will eventually restrict flow..."

    If sludge buildup in the filter was a problem, then the filterless transmissions from 2008-on avoid it by distributing the sludge throughout the transmission. Which is a good reason for a BG flush by the dealer:
    -----------------
    BG Quick Clean for Automatic Transmissions is a safe and effective solvent/dispersant cleaner that will quickly remove accumulated deposits from the valve body, filter screen and other automatic transmission components. This product is designed for use in the BG Power Flush and Fluid Exchange System.
    The BG PF5 Power Flush and Fluid Exchange System dissolves and removes harmful deposits from... all internal transmission components including torque converter, valve body assemblies, lines and cooler vanes. and exchanges the old, oxidized ATF for new fluid...
    http://www.bgprod.com/products/transmission.html
    -----------------

    I have not seen where Subaru recommends against flushing. My dealer flushes.
  • "... My closest servicing dealer said SOA advises against using a flusher but my mom's servicing dealer says they've never been told not to use this machine on a Subaru AT. Thoughts?"

    My dealer pushes the flushes. The flushing machine is an expensive investment, and does take some training to use. Maybe some dealers don't want to offer that service and badmouth it.

    It is unlikely that SOA would really tell some dealers it was OK and others that it was not.
  • erikwierikwi Posts: 71
    I'm just going by what the closest dealer told me. I have 2 other dealers to chose from, both about an hour away, so I'm going to call them and see if they have a machine. If I can find someone to flush, then I won't worry about changing the filter out. Back when I was a Honda/Acura tech, we changed the ATF on those cars every 15k. I don't know about the new Honda products but the mid-90's models didn't have a filter at all, just a screen inside to catch the large particles, thus the reason to do a drain/fill every 15k. Drain plug was the magnetic type and I don't recall ever seeing one that didn't have some metallic sludge sticking to it.
  • vtdogvtdog Posts: 163
    My son has an '02 Forester with just under 90k miles. He is losing coolant and I suspect the HG leak. Does SOA have a "policy" of extended warranty to cover the HG problem?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Some 02s were covered, others were not. That was the last model year.

    But...you had to have gotten a letter from SoA and used the coolant conditioner at a dealer, then the warranty was extended for 7/100 IIRC.

    You may be past the 7 years, though, and did they ever send you a letter?

    Our 02 Legacy was not covered, then again it never had a problem, either.
  • "... If I can find someone to flush, then I won't worry about changing the filter out..."

    If my 2008 had still had an ATF filter, I would want it changed with a flush. It would become filled with the crud that the solvent and flushing was removing.

    "... when I was a Honda/Acura tech... the mid-90's models didn't have a filter at all, just a screen inside to catch the large particles, thus the reason to do a drain/fill every 15k..."

    The Subaru 4EAT has always had an internal screen. The draining the ATF does not lift and remove material from the screen.
  • "... Does SOA have a "policy" of extended warranty to cover the HG problem?"

    Not officially. I think it helps if the car was serviced at a Subaru dealer every 30 months or 30,000 mile with new Subaru coolant and Subaru sealant additive. If the old coolant was left in for 90K miles, or replaced with the wrong type of coolant, or the sealant additive not used, Subaru might not be as generous.
  • jef123jef123 Posts: 3
    got crank positon sensor code as well as misfire on all cyls, does this mean I need a new cps sensor? runs great around town, but dont take it on a trip! Have been through two turbos and engine rebuild at dealer warrantee expense. Now off warrantee and have encountered these new codes. Would like to resolve before selling car. HELP!! When last to dealer they claim functioning to spec for $85 fee. Maybe cps sensor malfunctions due to sustained elevated temp? Car has never shown any overheating problems. Possible the turbo creates this on trips? I think that the turbo puts too much stress on this otherwise dependable engine. Othewise i love this car but I am being forced to sell due to reliability, dont ever buy a turbo! Four strikes and thats enough. any advise on the cps code would be appreciated.
  • jef123jef123 Posts: 3
    I dont think any body reads this stuff!
    jeff
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,400
    We read it, but do not always reply - it depends on whether folks think they have something meaningful to contribute.

    If you are getting a crank position sensor code in conjunction with misfires in all cylinders, there is a very good chance that is the problem. If that sensor (or the camshaft sensor) is not sending, the ignition coil is not going to fire at the correct time.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I read it also, but have no experience with such a problem so I had nothing to add, unfortunately.
  • I'm no car mechanic so the questions will be... yeah; you've been warned. I'm trying to recall common problems found in the 2010 Subaru Forester models that I've read about online.

    How do you know if one of your head gaskets has blown or is broken? Is it as obvious as the engine making sounds that are not normal for a working engine (or just breaks down literally)? Or is it a slow process of continuous engine break down unnoticeable until it gets very expensive and finally yells "Are you blind? I'm right here!" when it's too late?

    The whole thing with turbo engines falling apart after 500 or so miles or so has been fixed so far, right?

    I'm sure I'm missing other common problems found in the Subaru Forester engine-wise. What did I miss? I know there's some turbo lag, according to one car review source (I forget the name). I'm assuming that's usually normal for turbocharged engines? There's always going to be some kind of lag regardless of how long it takes the turbo to finally kick in, right?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Very little.

    The older 2l turbos in the '02 WRX had more lag.

    The 2.5l has AVCS plus more displacement. It's also not a high-pressure turbo, so it spools up quickly.

    If you look at the torque curve of the 2.5l, it's enviable. Compared to, say, the benchmark V6 for this class, the RAV4's 2GR 3.5l V6, the torque peak arrives much sooner.
  • Ah, I see. I've never driven a turbo before. It responds like any other engine when trying to pass slow moving cars on the highway, right?
  • "... How do you know if one of your head gaskets has blown or is broken?..."

    It takes years and tens of thousands of miles. It mainly affected Foresters before 2004. It is caused by the open deck design of the cylinder blocks, which stresses the gasket. That basic design has not changed, but Subaru has improved the gaskets and required a sealant to be part of the coolant.

    There may be one or more of various signs:
    1. Coolant seepage visible along the gasket seam on the under side of the head is usually the first sign, but only visible by getting under the car.
    2. Loss of coolant from the overflow tank requiring topping up is what most people notice first.
    3. Bubbles in coolant from exhaust gasses.
    4. Oil residue in coolant.
    5. Bubbles, foaming or discoloration of oil from coolant.
    These happen very slowly, but if allowed to continue long enough to lower the coolant level and cause overheating, then the engine can be damaged.

    "... The whole thing with turbo engines falling apart after 500 or so miles or so has been fixed so far, right? ..."

    It was a limited run of VIN numbers. It often took thousand of miles to happen. The cars that were sold have mostly all been fixed by engine replacement, as very few cases are still turning up. The engines were not actually falling apart. It was disintegration of copper connecting rod bearing shells:

    "... FHI have identified the problem as abnormal wear on con rod big end bearings..."
    http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f88/subaru-issues-turbo-stop-sale-certai- n-08-09-models-31757/index5.html#post372840

    "... Turbo Engine Stop Sale checking Procedure.
    Engine Screening Procedure Two... A) If there are copper particles larger that 1 mm in the material residue, the engine is damaged.... It may be necessary to clean the particles to determine if they are copper. Copper is reddish in color..."
    http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f88/subaru-issues-turbo-stop-sale-certai- n-08-09-models-31757/index10.html#post381869
  • "It takes years and tens of thousands of miles. It mainly affected Foresters before 2004. It is caused by the open deck design of the cylinder blocks, which stresses the gasket. That basic design has not changed, but Subaru has improved the gaskets and required a sealant to be part of the coolant."

    If your car is under warranty would the dealership check for that each time you took it in for the regular 15,000 mile inspection?

    "It was a limited run of VIN numbers. It often took thousand of miles to happen. The cars that were sold have mostly all been fixed by engine replacement, as very few cases are still turning up. The engines were not actually falling apart. It was disintegration of copper connecting rod bearing shells:"

    Ah, yes. Sorry, I exaggerated a bit there. I just wasn't aware of what really happened when that occurred.
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    edited February 2010
    "If your car is under warranty would the dealership check for that each time you took it in for the regular 15,000 mile inspection?"

    Most dealer service departments are always on the lookout for head gasket leaks, whether the car is under warranty or not. But an knowledgeable owner can spot the problem without waiting for the inspections.

    Subaru has been good about partial reimbursement for head gasket replacement after the 5 years or 60,000 miles power train warranty is up. Especially if the car has been regularly maintained by a dealer with the proper coolant and sealant additive used and changed at the right intervals.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    If you're cruising along at highway speeds, any engine will probably be at low rpm. My Sienna cruises at less than 2000 rpm at 55mph.

    So when I hit the gas, the hesitation is for the trans to downshift. It has to because the engine isn't making much power at 1900rpm.

    The Forester is geared shorter, so RPMs won't be so low, but it may go down one gear as well. The trans in our Forester is much quicker and more responsive than in our Toyota.

    We don't own a turbo, but I have test driven one, and I felt like overall it was more responsive than the Sienna, simply because it picked the right gear a lot sooner.
  • masanmasan Posts: 77
    My Forester has 92,000 miles and has been regularly maintained with Mobil 1 fully synthetic oil. When it died on the highway, I had it towed to my mechanic's shop. Now bear with me because this is greek to me: he can't get compression. He is afraid it is going to need a new engine @ $5000. Tomorrow he is going to obtain some sort of instrument to allow him to look inside without pulling everything out as there is some possibility it could be the valves. He thinks a car requiring a new engine @ 92,000 is "just horrible." I am thinking that I will not have it repaired if that's the case. Trade-in value at good condition is only 5600. So does anyone have any advice for me? Assuming it needs a new engine, can I get anything for the vehicle when trading in? Or what could I expect for scrap? Wow, I remember driving it home for the first time, thinking I was going to enjoy it for years to come. :-( My last vehicle, a Toyota, was still going strong when I traded it in after 15 years. My vehicle is driven back and forth to work. Never been off-road. Always treated carefully.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Let's see what the verdict is, but my guess is the head gaskets failed. Hopefully he can replace those, both sides would run about ~$1200 or so.
  • Wow, that much?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited February 2010
    If you need both sides done. Consider that a maximum.
  • Ah, I was going to say "isn't that a bit much for each head gasket?" :blush:
  • masanmasan Posts: 77
    The mechanic said that a head gasket failure is not one of the scenarios. I am going to have to pay for him to open it up and look inside. Best case scenario seems to be valves. There is no compression in cylinder 1. The owner of the shop told me today that this should not happen in a well-maintained vehicle such as mine at 92,000. This vehicle was meant to last longer. He also informed me that he had contacted Subaru and Subaru was not willing to help with repairs. This will be my last Subaru. It was nice while it lasted. I am sorry I chose it over a RAV-4 or CR-V. :lemon:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    RAV4? At least the Forester lets you choose when to accelerate. :D

    Joking. ;)
  • masanmasan Posts: 77
    At least the RAV4 would still accelerate!
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