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Subaru Forester Engine problems

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Comments

  • 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!
  • "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."

    When I drove one, it felt more responsive not in how it downshifted, but because it did not have to downshift. The turbo has the torque to accelerate hard in 4th gear without triggering a downshift.
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    edited February 2010
    "My Forester has 92,000 miles... When it died on the highway, I had it towed to my mechanic's shop.... 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..."

    The events and findings sound like the rubber timing belt broke, which would cause the engine to suddenly die with valve damage. But if the belt broke, surely the mechanic would know it and say it.

    A broken belt would cause the valves to hit the moving pistons, which would bend some valves and prevent compression. The mechanic may suspect this is what happened because he wants to look in through a spark plug holes at the damage. Unlike a leaking head gasket which occurs slowly and does not destroy the engine unless loss of coolant and severe overheating occurs, a broken timing belt causes severe internal damage. It requires a major engine rebuild, or another engine that is either used or remanufactured. A good used engine is often the easiest and cheapest solution.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,282
    Given the age of the vehicle and mileage (standard mileage for replacement is 105,000 miles), that could very well be the cause.
  • masanmasan Posts: 77
    Interesting. Just heard from the mechanic. He tore down the engine today and found a bent valve. But he said the timing belt was fine. Assuming he doesn't find more damage, I may be able to get by with valve job, timing belt, and water pump for $1200-1500. I hope I have something to trade in, now.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Low-end torque is a lot better than Toyota's 2GR V6 (we have that engine in our Sienna).

    The Sienna needs revs to get going, but when it does it is definitely quick.

    At least it's fuel efficient at low rpm (tall gearing).
  • "... Just heard from the mechanic. He tore down the engine today and found a bent valve. But he said the timing belt was fine. Assuming he doesn't find more damage, I may be able to get by with valve job, timing belt, and water pump for $1200-1500...."

    I wonder if he just removed the head for the cylinder that had no compression, or if he removed both heads, and whether he is proposing do something to all the valves or just that one valve.

    A valve job is a maintenance action of lapping all the valves to improve their seating and compression. A bent valve needs a repair that addresses the cause of the bending. Likely there was a problem with the valve guide, so both guide and valve will be replaced. I wonder what caused that one valve guide to wear out so much that it let the valve wiggle, bind and bend. I would then feel less confident about the other valves.
  • hmcgeohmcgeo Posts: 2
    I have a friend with a 2001 Forester with 114,000 miles. It runs fine. The check engine light is on interrmittantly. I pulled the code and need more specific information. All I have is something with the Catalyst. Any thoughts?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,282
    P0420 is "Catalytic Converter Below Threshold." Essentially, the differential in the oxygen readings between front and rear sensors is not great enough and therefore throws the code. The idea is that when this happens it is due to the catalytic converter not processing efficiently and is thereby not effectively reducing the oxygen levels through catalytic oxidization.

    The code can be a result of an inefficient cat, but can also be caused by other things, including old/fouled oxygen sensors. I had that code pop up intermittently for over 60,000 miles on my '96 Outback and the bi-annual "sniff test" performed for emissions compliance never indicated any reduction in cat efficiency through increased tailpipe emissions.

    If your friend noticed a gradual drop in fuel economy in addition to the P0420 code, that is a fairly strong indicator that the oxygen sensors are in need of replacement since they are part of the fuel mixture's feedback loop.
  • hmcgeohmcgeo Posts: 2
    Thank you. Very helpful. Can you tell me where to find the O2 sensors on the vehicle??
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,282
    Not precisely, but one is located before the first catalytic converter and the second is located after the last one. I am not sure if your car has one or two cats.
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