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Subaru Forester Engine problems



  • rlc0750rlc0750 Posts: 2
    thanks for the reply. yes that's what I thought. The noise is also very loud when the car turns off. More like a loud cracking. Could it be a problem with catalytic converter. Recently brought the car in on recall... for software re-programming with software that controls cc.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,512
    It's possible. Something may have come loose inside the cat. You could test that theory by crawling under the car, placing a block of wood against each of the cats, and gently tapping on the wood with a hammer. If something is loose in there, it should illicit a bit of a rattle/crackle. It is only typical to hear the crackle/ticking noise as the exhaust system cools down after turning the car off.
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    edited June 2010
    I think a loose heat shield will rattle but will be unable to crackle.
    And a properly tight heat shield may crackle but will be unable to rattle.

    Cracking sounds in the exhaust system can occur both as it is heating up and cooling down. It is the sound of pipes and shields tightly fastened to each other and expanding and contracting at different rates.
  • abe67abe67 Posts: 2
    I am brand new to this site, and do not know a thing about cars. I appreciate any feedback, and I have enjoyed reviewing the posts here this evening.

    My 2003 Forester has 148,000 miles on it. For the past 6 months, it had hesitated, and sputtered and backfired. It "chugged" and then finally kind of "kicked in" and had good acceleration. During this time, the check engine light had been on. My mechanic (not a Subaru dealership) first replaced the spark plug wires, which seemed to help just a bit for just a while. It became as bad as before, and then he replaced the spark plugs this time. He said the check engine light was on (constantly) for "some environmental code" and that there "must be some dust in it....don't worry about it."

    The new spark plugs helped immensely, and I thought it was fixed. But a few times this summer, I would go to start it, and when I turned the key, the dash lights came on, but it just clicked -- the engine didn't turn over at all. Then, within a minute at the most, I would try again and the engine would come on perfectly.

    A few weeks ago, the blower quit entirely (no air conditioning, no heat, no defrost) And in Minnesota, it would not be out of the question to need all 3 of those features in one day!! So I had a used blower put it, which I now regret (though it "saved" about $240 at the time). The new (used) blower seems VERY weak, and it's not cooling the car very well (past few days have been mid- 80's to low 90 and extremely humid). Also, it seems like there is an odd sputtery sort of noise under the hood. It's just running louder when it's idling since bringing it home with this blower.

    Finally, today, I went to start it, while it was in my very hot and very humid garage, and it didn't start (same as before -- just a click and dash lights on). I tried intermittently for about 10 minutes and if finally started. I ran some errands, started and stopped it about 4-5 times. 3 hours later, I went to start it and the same thing. It didn't start for 20 minutes this time, and finally didi start. I drove it straight to my mechanic, who will see it tomorrow.

    Is this all related? Does anyone know what is happening or what I should do next?Any advice at all is greatly appreciated. I've had somewhat regular oil changes (every 3000 - 6000 miles). Sorry this is so long, and thank you.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,512
    If that blower is used, it is very possible that it is simply a "weak" unit. The more they are used, the more resistance tends to build up in the motor. I could not believe how well the blower worked in my car ('96 Outback) after it quit at about 200,000 miles and I installed a new one. The new motor was about $140, if I recall correctly, and worth at least three times that much come winter in Fairbanks, Alaska! :P

    I strongly suspect that your problems center around your camshaft and crankshaft sensors... possibly the knock sensor as well. These sensors are all in the $50-60 range, but are incredibly easy to replace (especially so for the crank/cam sensors... the knock sensor is a little more difficult to access).

    While I did not have outward problems with my sensors originally, I did have that no-start situation you describe for *years* (really frustrating). My knock sensor went out one day and caused the car to run awful, so I replaced all three sensors at the same time. Not only did the car run perfectly again, but I never experienced the no-start situation again.

    It may be worth a shot. That said, if you have a check engine light on, get it read out and write down / relay the codes!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    An ignition coil is about $80, and if yours is original it is overdue.

    I mention that since the spark plugs helped. A new coil cleared a CEL for me after some chipmunks ate some wiring in my engine harness.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,512
    That's a good point. If there was high resistance in those wires over a long period of time, it could have resulted in degradation of the ignition coil as the electrical charges looked for an easier route to discharge. It is certainly worth inspecting, anyway. An ohmmeter or multimeter could be used to verify the integrity of the coil.
  • abe67abe67 Posts: 2
    Thank you very much to the 3 replies to my questions about my 2003 Forester (Post #375 above). I had it in for almost 3 days last week, and it started EVERY TIME for the mechanic. He tried starting it cold and hot, and it started up each time. The only code he ever gets on it is this "emissions" code (PO420 EVAP Code), and he indicates it's not related to how it's running.

    He tested some things - I'm not sure of what exactly -- and he determined it was not the starter or the alternator. He thought the battery was somewhat weak, and that it turned over "a little quicker" with a new one. So he wanted me to drive it a week or so with the new battery (didn't want me to pay for it yet) to see how it's working.

    So I've driven it for 2 days and it's backfiring, sluggish and "catching" around corners. It chugs when I slow down, and then lurches when it gets power. The check engine light is constantly on. This evening, it DID NOT START at all for me again (after driving it all around all afternoon, starting and stopping multiple times). It didn't start for an hour and I left it for another 3 hours. Still doesn't start. Doesn't turn over at all - just clicks and the dash lights come on.

    When I bring it (tow it) in Monday morning, I'll plan to share the suggestions that have been made here and see if he has checked those things yet. Someone else suggested to me that a "transmission flush" might help. Does anyone think it might?

    Thanks again, and I will share your suggestions with my mechanic. He knows I know nothing about cars, so I'll mention I was on this site. I do believe he's trying to figure it out honestly for me.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,512
    Someone else suggested to me that a "transmission flush" might help. Does anyone think it might?

    Because of the backfires, especially, I believe this issue is engine-related only. The transmission can only work with the power it gets from the engine.
  • carlosh1carlosh1 Posts: 4
    I need to complete the test for O2 Sensor, EVA and CAT; how do i perform a drive cycle?
    This because i tested with CAN OBD2 3130 after changing both O2 sensors, and erased the DTC, now the code reader has O2, EVA and CAT blinking; but shows no DTC codes.

    I wrote to the manufacturer of the reader and answered me: "When a monitor icon is flashing it means that the PCM has not tested that particular system yet. The only way to set those monitors to a "done" status is by driving the vehicle until the requirements for that monitor have been met. To speed up the process you can perform a drive cycle. A drive cycle is a set of instructions for your particular vehicle that tells you how to drive in order to meet all of the monitor requirements. This information can be found in a service repair manual for your make of vehicle. Once the PCM sees that the enabling criteria have been met, it will test the system and set the monitor. "
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Paging girlcarbuilder....

    Don't they just mean on, full warm up, drive, off?
  • Ah, if only the bat light only worked in Metropolis. Sorry, I was pretty much off the web back then.

    A late entry, but good for everyone. Check out . They do a very good job of explaining how a lot of electronic stuff works with the OBD II stuff. Generally a drive cycle is so many miles. Like 50-100. Prevents someone from resetting the computer/light and then getting a safety sticker!

    Not sure I would trust that reader. I would do a drive cycle which you probably have done by now! Anyway, check out Autotap. So far, my smarts have kept me from having to buy OBD II tools. This is what I would buy if and when I need to.
  • I have a 2011 forester with the new FB25B engine .when i start it up in the morning the motor makes a noise like the main bearings are worn. the noise clears in a couple of seconds.the dealer told me this was maybe normal for a car with 200,000 miles on it,but this car has 600 miles on it.any reason for this noise. this is not a good selling feature.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    This is VERY common on all new cars. You can thank the Federal Government for it. The noise you hear is likely the emissions system which activates an air pump during warmup.

    Subaru Guru and Track Instructor
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    This is VERY common on all new cars. You can thank the Federal Government for it. The noise you hear is likely the emissions system which activates an air pump during warmup.

    Subaru Guru and Track Instructor
  • montville524montville524 Posts: 3
    edited February 2011
    does this model have a belt driven pump. also herd there was an oil preasure leak down in the cam chain area in an interior seal after the car sets over night
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    As far as I know all the new subarus (post 2006) have electric operated air pumps.

    Subaru Guru and Track Instructor
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    edited February 2011
    "I have a 2011 forester with the new FB25B engine .when i start it up in the morning the motor makes a noise like the main bearings are worn. the noise clears in a couple of seconds.the dealer told me this was maybe normal for a car with 200,000 miles on it,but this car has 600 miles on it.any reason for this noise. ..."

    The sound is a loose rattling timing chain. The check ball in one of the two tensioners on the left chain does not seat and allows the new thin weight oil to drain out overnight. That relaxes that tensioner, which makes a noise against the chain on a cold start. When the oil gets going after a couple of seconds, it refills the tensioner which stops the noise.

    Dealers have a TSB on it:
    Service Bulletin # 02-113-11 Pages: 3
    Bulletin Description: If you encounter a customer complaint that there is a knock type sound in the engine for about one second on initial start-up after the vehicle has been parked for an extended period of time, there is the possibility the left side timing chain tensioner is causing the sound. If the check ball within the tensioner doesn’t seat completely, it may cause the tensioner to leak down, decreasing the amount of pressure to the timing chain guide.
    The sound is non-detrimental and has no effect on the reliability and durability of the engine.
    While we do not recommend disassembling the front of the engine for replacement, the sound can be eliminated by exchanging the original left side tensioner with a modified one.

    Recently Subaru has been providing dealers with kits to replace the tensioner with one that will not leak down.
  • thanks [aatherton] for the TBS information.that will help me when i go to the dealer for warranty work.
  • I'm in the process of securing a 2011 Forester Limited.

    I inquired about getting it with the Nav system and what dealer said was really alarming:

    "I don't have one-we try not to stock them as they have the worst navi in the industry-they offer a tom tom option in the premiums because their own is so bad. Any time a manufacturer offers another companies product it indicates their lack of confidence in their own product-they do not offer the tom tom in the ltd-their own is at least 5 year old technology and not user friendly."

    Any truth to this? Anybody have bad experiences with these nav systems?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It's nothing ground breaking but that is overstatement to say the least. And I'm a critic!

    The 7" screen is pretty standard for the class, and the rendering of maps is actually a little better than average. Check the CNET reviews for a good video review - nothing special, but better rendering than Honda or Mitsubishi in this price range. Watch the CNET reviews, you can actually see the street names being rendered.

    I had a big beef with earlier models (2009 in my case) because it didn't have a backup cam yet cost a bunch, and the maps were outdated. Both have since been addressed.

    Offering Tom Tom is about giving the consumer choices, including a cheap way to get a backup cam.

    You can even get an OEM backup cam on Premium/Limited models without getting Navi at all.

    Kudos to Subaru for offering up options.

    Having said all that, $1800 is steep, and for about $1000 you can get a better aftermarket system. It just won't be as well integrated - will your steering wheel controls still work? Warranty also may not cover it.

    I suggest sampling the backup cam sans Navi, and then just get a good portable GPS.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    $1800 is nutz.

    I bought a 2011 STi and eneded up installing a Kenwood absolute top of the line unit for $1200. Steering wheel control units now will integrate them pretty darn well. For the $ I wouldn't get an OEM system unless it's a lease or you are super concerned about the warranty on the radio itself.

    Subaru Guru and Track Instructor
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    True but we're not all as handy as you are!

    Did the steering wheel controls require an added adaptor?

    May as well spend another $100 or so on a backup cam kit, too.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Yes there is a steering wheel adapter that needs to be T-tapped into 2 wires when doing the stereo install. It shouldn't take a shop more than 2hrs to do the install, so that's about $150 for the install...

    Subaru Guru and Track Instructor
  • firesky1firesky1 Posts: 15
    I am going to buy a Subaru Forester and am trying to decide between a new 2011 2.5X (one up from base - i.e. w/sunroof) or a slightly used 2010 2.5X (same trim line w/12,000 miles on it). The difference in price here in Canada is $7,000. I understand that the 2011 Forester has a new flat 4 engine. My question is this - Do you think it is worth the extra money for a 2011 Forester w/the new engine etc.?

    Are there other benefits to buying a 2010 over the 2011 or visa versa?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    $7000 is a big difference, I'd buy the used one.

    The 2011 has a timing chain instead of a belt, but the belt is supposed to be changed every 105k miles and probably will cost you one tenth of your savings.

    The 2011 also gains 1 mpg, but again, $7 grand buys a lifetime of gas.
  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 683
    Are there other benefits to buying a 2010 over the 2011 or visa versa?

    If you keep the 2010 long enough (80,000-100,000 miles) you might be unlucky enough to experience a head gasket failure that would use part of the price difference. The 2011 is expected to have solved that potential problem; it has several design differences.

    I bought an XT in 2010 which has a different block from the naturally aspirated model to avoid that problem. I didn't mind the improved performance which came with the additional cost of premium fuel.
  • amkmeco90amkmeco90 Posts: 17
    hi guys. this is my first time to use z forum so i hope z i do well. anyways, i have a 2010 Forester with 15000miles and every morning or even after parking for a couple of hours i hear a knock like sound coming from the engine, does anybody have an idea about that? and one more question, i asked the dealer what kind of oil they use and they told me they r using a semi-synthetic blend (as i remembered), so if i changed to the synthetic will this be ok?
  • once_for_allonce_for_all Posts: 1,640
    edited June 2011
    if it is a 1-2 second slap-slap-slap and then silent, that would be the infamous piston slap. Mine was fine for 80,000 miles, with only a once a year piston slap incident when it sat for several days and then a cold morning start.

    Now, at 140k, if it sits for 4+ hours and the engine cools off, it will slap everytime. I use exclusively 10w-30 synthetic.

    Supposedly, this is "factory" and "fine" although many complaints have been voiced over the years.

  • amkmeco90amkmeco90 Posts: 17
    Thank u for ur answer, but the sound is just a knock at the start of moving then nothing not a slap slap. And one more question, f I want to change the kind of engine oil will this be ok? I know z they r using semisynthetic blend as I recall.
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