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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • Found an OEM alloy rim for my 01 GT wagon. Ordered it from Liberty Subaru ( for $159. Dealers locally wanted list of $230. So now I will have a full size spare... wonder if I should include it in the roatation?

  • The manual for my 01 GT wagon says every 7.5k front to rear. I'm on a 3K schedule.

  • hciaffahciaffa Posts: 454
    I am glad to see (though not really in a meanfull way ) that others are speaking out about the pinging issue. I have been complaining to my dealer and SOA since we purchased our 99 Forester (in Nov of 98) about pinging and poor gas milage because I feel that both are related. I have tried every major and non major brand of gas as well as octanes from 87 to 93 and it continues, more so in the warmer months than the colder months. I have pestered my dealer about this but they have "not been able to duplicate it" or I get the usual that many Foresters do this. From Subaru after I ran a gas log for several months that they felt the engine performance and the milage was acceptable and within their specs. I am so annoyed over this, really no modern day auto should ping with the techical advance in engine control. My dealer did reset the ECU but that didn't work. I can honestly say as one person posted that as the warranty in nearing the end I feel that my wife and I are going to trade this vehicle in as we have no confidence in this vehicle and that I cannot recommend this or any Subaru vehicle to our friends and co-workers. Maybe Subaru should start to study up on this problem.
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    To summarize - octane and brand have no effect. Pinging occurs anytime the temparture is above about 70 degrees. The pinging does not appear to occur until the engine is at around normal operating temparture. Pinging occurs under acceleration and climbing hills at around 2000 - 2500 rpm.

    Eric, climbing hills at 2000 rpm?

    Try downshifting. Or if you must try that hill in whatever gear at 2000 rpm, decrease throttle input.

    Let me know if the pinging still occurs after this.

  • erics6erics6 Posts: 684

    It's an automatic. When you're climbing a steep grade the transmission shifts down and revs climb above 2500 rpm, and the pinging does not occur. The pinging occurs when the grade is not steep or the transmission has shifted back up and the revs drop to around 2000 rpm. If I manually shift down and pop the revs back up the pinging disappears. The pinging occurs in all gears but only at around 2000 - 2500 rpm. It also pings in city driving when accelerating - same thing at around 2000 rpm. As the revs climb above about 2500 rpm the pinging disappears.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    I must agree that accelerating up a hill from 2000RPM can be a little strenuous for our engines, especially if you go WOT. I typically try to keep my revs up past 2500RPM by downshifting. On uphill climbs on the highway where I'll need quick acceleration, I'll delay my upshifts to at least 3500RPM.

    BTW, I'm not in any way trying to downplay the reports of pinging. Just looking at the issue of accelerating uphill from such a low RPM.

  • owellsowells Posts: 16
    I have to concur with Eric. The AT, which we also have, wants to be at around 2000 rpms or just above on slight inclines or moderate accelerations. Getting the revs up does eliminate the pinging, but it's rather awkward in traffic not to mention trying to downshift the AT manually on a regular basis.
  • kate5000kate5000 Posts: 1,264
    is it like coins rattling in a coffee can sound? or something else?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Do they ping @ 2000-2500 in neutral?

    Kate, pinging is more like marbles in a can, coins dropping usually is a heat shield expanding/contracting or catalytic converter.

  • Are the pinging Soobs being reported here all ATs?

  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    Do they ping @ 2000-2500 in neutral?

    No way, there's no load on the engine.

    Patti, there's some really good information here. Powertrain engineers should be able to duplicate this and then reprogram the TCU or ECU to fix it.

    My guess... you're cruising along and the converter is fully locked up to help gas mileage. You accelerate a bit and since the converter is locked up there's no slippage to allow the revs to come up a bit. It needs to unlock the converter more quickly or upshift sooner. Or both. Engine tuning could help this, but I'd look at the tranny first.

    Eric-- if you abruptly mash the throttle wide-open right when the hill starts, is the tranny smart enough to instantly downshift? Does it ping?

  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    post. If your Subaru is pinging, make sure that a dealer checks it out. If the dealer suggest a fuel change, try at least 4 or 5 tank fulls. Because the ECU can "learn" from data it gathers from various systems in your car, it could very well still have the learned behaviour. After a few tanks with a fuel change, it may resolve itself. If it doesn't, you should contact the dealer again and explain what you have tried. I do not think it is a good idea to re-set the ECU yourself as any codes that may be stored in the computer will be erased and it may prove more challenging to resolve the issue if it doesn't straighten itself out. I'm not a technician and I'm not saying that it is "definitely" fuel related. I'm only sharing with you what MY experiences have been. That is based on reviewing case files, talking to our tech. group and tracking the issue. We have even seen some situations where the vehicles have "black fuel". This is where motor oil is being dumped into the fuel tank at the gas station ($2.00 a gallon)?

    Just to be clear, some ping and then a correction where the ECU makes an adjustment. I'm understanding your issue as being a "constant" ping that is duplicated by a dealer.

    A thought? Could someone who is not having a ping concern, post what type of fuel they are using? Maybe some of the "ping" cars can try the same fuel for a few tankfuls and see what happens?

    I am reporting this issue and I'll share what you are telling me. I am concerned and I'll do my best to try to help.

  • erics6erics6 Posts: 684
    The pinging occurs under moderate load. What happens is on an incline you accelerate, the transmission drops down into a lower gear and revs shoot up. As you're climbing at a steady speed the transmission drops back into a higher gear at around 2000 rpm and steady pinging begins. If you accelerate again, the transmission drops into a lower gear and the pinging goes away. Same thing with city driving. If you mash on the pedal the revs shoot up... no pinging (or if it does ping you go through the 2000 - 2500 rpm range so quickly you can't hear it), but if you accelerate normally it starts to ping in that same rev range. In city driving the transmission spends a lot of time in the 2000 - 2500 range. The only pinging noise that I can use as a reference was my old Volvo that was made for leaded higher octane fuel and pinged when I used reg. unleaded. It sounds the same to me. Any ideas why this problem seems to be temparture dependent?
  • bigfrank3bigfrank3 Posts: 426
    Neither my wife's AT '01 Forester nor my MT '01 Forester ping. We use Sunoco 89 exclusively.

    Here in MA we have oxygenated fuel and CA emission requirements.

  • bigfrank3bigfrank3 Posts: 426
    Just a thought. Is your "cold air" ductwork properly connected to the air box, and are the 2 halves of the air box properly mated?

  • hypovhypov Posts: 3,068
    I would like to share my input on the "ping", but I'm a bulb without a filament when it comes to "meaning of life" as far as the engine is concern.
    Like a blind deer, I've got "no eye deer" what a PING is.
  • armac13armac13 Posts: 1,129
    under any conditions, 87 exclusively, usually Chevron. I am very familiar with pinging. As my Golf aged I had to go to 89 to eliminate pinging. So far this year the temperature has been low so I will keep my ears open when I go into the interior in the next week or so (mountain driving, often high temperatures).

  • erics6erics6 Posts: 684

    "Just to be clear, some ping and then a correction where the ECU makes an adjustment. I'm understanding your issue as being a "constant" ping that is duplicated by a dealer."

    Yes. The pinging is sustained. If the car is under moderate load between 2000 - 2500 rpm it pings. Ron Brady has driven the car and has duplicated the noise. (Your probably aware of this since you have my case, although we haven't talked since Ron drove the car. He's driving it again tomorrow to download data for the engineers, but it's suppose to be cool here in Portland, so there is no guarantee that the pinging will occur - remember it is temparture dependent - usually occurs above 70 degrees.)

    I really have to question the fuel brand issue. #1, I'm limited to two major brands nearby my home, Texaco and Union 76. #2, when I'm on the road I often don't have a choice of brands - I get what's offered at that off-ramp. (Remember out West we have a lot of open space so choices in fuel brands are limited.) I'm assuming the engineers are trying to find a fix to this problem since sticking with a specific brand is not practical.

  • bigfrank3bigfrank3 Posts: 426
    My '01 OM lists 2 different Champion heat range spark plugs as "recommended". This implies to me that under some types of use, the colder plug might be needed. A colder plug will help the pinging, the only downside is whether it will foul.

    What type of driving do you folks who are having ping problems usually do, highway, bumper to bumper, or country road?

  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    Hypov-- pinging is also known as detonation. Detonation is when the fuel mixture explodes before it is ignited by the sparkplug. This results in cylinder pressures much higher than normal (3-5 times as much) which leads to ... well let's keep this simple and say broken parts.

    Eric-- have you tried premium fuel? Whatever octane that might be in your area... probably 92. Because of climate, manufacturing tolerances, fuel quality, and a zillion other reasons not all cars will be able to use Subaru's initial recommendation of 87 octane. Let's also not forget that not long ago this EJ25 required premium fuel (96-97).

    For example, my '99 Impreza RS has a fondness for premium fuel basically any time but winter. I have never heard detonation but I can feel hesistation and a lack of performance when it doesn't get what it likes. It took is rated for 87 octane fuel, and we don't have mandatory oxygenates in my area.

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