Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Subaru Forester Engine problems



  • ellengelleng Posts: 33
    Thank you! you just saved a ton of money that I don't have to spend just yet.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yep, 105k, though they recommend an "inspection" at 90k. I think I'll just change mine at 90k, since the labor is already paid for (they gotta take the timing cover off IIRC).

  • eps105eps105 Posts: 216
    My 4-year old 2003 Forester XS Auto suddenly began starting roughly about a month ago. The starter seems to turn fine (so I don't think it's the battery), but when the engine turns over, it sputters briefly -- only for about a second or two -- as if it's about to stall, but then it "finds" itself and kicks up to normal idle RPM's.

    This problem only happens when the engine is cold -- it starts up without hesitation if it has been driven within the last few hours.

    Since it only happens when cold, I'm leaning toward thinking the battery may just be getting a little weak, but I've heard that batteries should last a lot more than 4 years.

    Also, I believe but am not 100% sure that the problem started around the time that oxygenated fuel here in Philadelphia switched to 10% ethanol. I've been researching the message board archives and Googling for answers, but haven't found any mention of Ethanol causing rough starts consistently for Subaru owners, only a mention of theoretically rougher starts due to the lower vapor pressure of ethanol.

    I'm also thinking about resetting my ECU, but I've been consistently getting 26 MPG inexplicably in mixed driving for the last few months, up from about 23-24, so I really don't want to mess with the ECU if I don't have to.

    Anyone have any ideas?


  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    How are the fluid levels in that battery?

    I neglected mine and it died prematurely.

    Top off the cells with distilled water.

    The OE battery is pretty weak anyway. Mine starts much better after I replaced it with a WalMart battery with nearly twice the CCAs. It was cheap too, under $60 IIRC.

  • eps105eps105 Posts: 216
    Juice, thanks for the input on my rough start question. I was already planning to buy the high-rated Wal-Mart battery, so it was good to know you've had a good experience with it.

    My electrolyte levels were fine, but I figured that since I'd probably need a new battery in a year or two anyway, it wouldn't hurt to get a good new battery (with a full 3 yr warranty and 8 year prorated) now to hedge any risk of a dead battery this winter. So I bought the top-end Maxx-35 battery at Wal-Mart for $62.

    (My dealer quoted $120 for a new OEM battery installed, so the Wal-Mart battery + easy DIY install is a steal.)

    I've had the new battery in for 3 days, and it seems to be starting a little better. I still get some hesitation starting it in the morning, just not as bad as it was.

    In the end, I think it was the reset of the ECU from disconnecting the battery that made the most difference. In fact, the very first time I started the car after replacing the battery, it immediately stalled! On the next try, it must have "learned" the proper fuel mixture as it then started up readily.

    I am also thinking about buying some fuel injector treatment to put in my next tank of gas. I don't think this could hurt anything, and could do some good.

    Any additional thoughts from anyone are appreciated.

  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,971
    I didn't see Juice or anyone mention the fuel pressure trick yet - some people get better results if they turn the car on but don't crank it for a few seconds. This gives the fuel system time to pressurize and helps the engine crank easier. Or something like that. :shades:

    Steve, Host
  • eps105eps105 Posts: 216
    Steve, thanks for the tip! I will give this a try.

    If this works, my next question would be if this trick is a band-aid for a larger problem. Since my problem only started a month ago, I would assume that something in the fuel system is broken or about to break, which is band-aided by pressurizing the fuel line.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Good point, that's something we should do every time. On Subies, the fuel pump is loud enough that you can clear hear it prime up.


  • kaarstenkaarsten Posts: 3
    I have a 99 Forester that started losing 1 quart of oil every 500 miles at 60K. What was your final diagnosis? After almost a year of troubleshooting and repairs, Subaru is finally going to begin engine diagnostics.

  • tazerelitazereli Posts: 241
    As my wife was pulling away from the curb this morning, I noticed that her 02 Forester L/4AT hesitated some when she was attempting to accelerate. Any one witness this before and any potential cause and fix to the problem?

  • erikwierikwi Posts: 71
    Is the 4.2 quarts in the owner's manual correct for the 2006 Forester nonturbo? I changed my oil at 2500 miles and put 4 and a quarter quarts in. Oil was a hair above the full mark on the dipstick but not above the notch. I checked it today and it was just over a quarter of a quart down in 1000 miles. I saw somewhere else on the forums that oil capacity should be 4.8 quarts. Which one is right?
  • dstew1dstew1 Posts: 275
    On another Subaru forum (search "scooby mods"), they posted this clarification of the owner's manual directly from SOA:

    Dear xxxx:

    Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We do apologize for this inconvenience. We appreciate that you brought this to our attention. The correct capacity for the engine oil for the 2004 Forester XT is 5 quarts when replacing the engine oil and filter.

    The 4.2 quart capacity noted in your owner's manual is for the 2004 Forester non-turbo models when just filling up the engine oil and not replacing the filter. The capacity of the non-turbo models when replacing the filter is 4.8 quarts.

    We have advised our Publications Department that this information needs to be added to future Forester owner's manuals.

    Thanks for the opportunity to be of assistance. If you need any future assistance, please feel free to contact us.

    Best wishes,

    John J. Mergen
    Subaru of America, Inc.

    While this specifies 2004, note that this letter is from August '03. I'm assuming this information is true for the '05 and '06 MYs as well.

  • erikwierikwi Posts: 71
    I thought so! I guess someone didn't get the message in the publications department. Also, book recommends 5w-30. In my area, temps regularly see 90+ in the summer. I switched to Syntec 5W30 at 2500 miles. Would Syntec 5W50 be a better choice? It would cover the entire temperature range of my climate.
  • raybearraybear Posts: 1,776
    I always stick to what the manufacturer recommends.
  • erikwierikwi Posts: 71
    Well, the book is confusing. In the maintenance section, it says 5W30 is recommended but in the same paragraph, it says to use the proper weight for your local climate. I think I'm just going to use Syntec 5W30 and be done with it. Synthetics handle heat and cold better than dino juice anyway.
  • rochcomrochcom Posts: 247
    I think it would be almost impossible to burn a quart in 500 miles unless there were serious ring problems, in which case you would see blue smoke in the exhaust, OR a seal leak. I had several seal leaks in my '98 and the seals were replaced under warranty. You should check for leaks where you park and for odors where the oil may hit an exhaust pipe - the latter is how I detected mine. My '98, uses almost no oil at 125,000 miles.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Join us OCD Clubbers - just fill the oil filter before you install the new one. That pre-soaks the filter element.

    And yes, you end up using almost all of 5 quarts.

  • kaarstenkaarsten Posts: 3
    Thanks. I know it seems unbelievable, but it is true. I've had the cam seals replaced twice. There are no leaks when the car is sitting, but there are exhaust like odors when I am idling and black/blue exhaust when you rev the engine up to 5 rpm. Was it your valve guide seals? It sounds like it is my rings. Honestly, I've been patient with Subaru for over a year while they misdiagnose. The oil consumption began in earnest at 61,000 miles and Subaru continually dismissed me as the problem got continually worse. I'm open to suggestions because an engine overhaul at 75,000 miles seems a little absurd.
  • erikwierikwi Posts: 71
    I must already be a member :) I've always prefilled my filters whenever possible. When I was going to school for my automotive technician degree, the instructor told us it was always a good idea to prefill when you could.

    I did that to mine and put it 4.25 quarts. 1000 miles later it showed up about a half quart low. Juice, are you saying that even with prefilling the filter, it still takes 5 quarts?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm including the oil used to fill the filter in my 5 total quarts.

Sign In or Register to comment.