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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions

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Comments

  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    Please have your dealer call us when it goes in for inspection.

    Thanks!

    Patti
  • hypovhypov Posts: 3,068
    maverick1017 Apr 1, 2002 2:36pm

    Mike-
    I think your '98 Forester would be similar to my '98 OB. As in that case, sad to say that the filter is inside of the transmission pan :( The job didn't look like something a do-it-yourself'er would attempt (especially me).

    -Dave
  • hciaffahciaffa Posts: 454
    What year is your Forester. If its a 98 there is no external filter but an internal filter screen. If you have a 99 and newer is when they changed the AT to the 4EAT and it has an external filter. Looking at the tranny from under the Forester on the drivers side It looks like a oil filter and the drain plug is on that side as well. Don't get it confused with the oil pan plug. If your going to change the ATF filter you might as well drain the tranny and refill. You won't be able drain all of it but you can get most of it. I went to Mobil 1 ATF and I notice big difference of the tranny shifting smoothly. Hope this helps.
  • dmanzidmanzi Posts: 12
    I've had the cylinder heads checked, and compression is normal. Also, the dealer did check for combustion gases overpressurizing the cooling system. At this point, I simply can't rely on this car. I use it for commuting and family travel, and I need something more reliable than this car. Something is very wrong with this car, and unless it's discovered during this next visit, it's history for me.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    It's not a mystery, I mean a competant subaru shop should be able to fix it no questions asked. Maybe you should try a different dealer?

    -mike
  • Seriously. Cold starting this car in 45 F degree weather and attempting to roll away in first gear with no more power applied than what the fast idle gives, and the car jounces around on its tall springs like a burro with a wasp on his privates.

    This has developed at approximately 16K miles.

    The only way to safely handle this is to pour in way too much power, and brutalize the drivetrain into forward motion-never my style. This problem goes away after a few lurching visits to stop signs. Once things are warm, the car will pull away smoothly with as little as 600 rpm.

    It is shaking my nice, tight cabin trim apart, and can't be doing any favors to the powertrain.

    SF Bay Area dealer says the clutch went out of warranty at 12K miles. They also suggested that cold fluid in the car's viscous coupling could be the problem. At 45 degrees? Their other answer was that clutch chatter is typical of the make.

    My car never carries heavy loads, has been on dirt exactly two times, and has had fully synthetic oil in its sump from 1800 miles. The car had 90% of its brakes remaining at its 15K service. This sounds like an easy life to me...

    I have used quite byzantine, unsynchronized gearboxes in a variety of trucks in my past life as a packer in the Eastern Sierra, but this 2001 Forester S' morning tantrum makes them all seem like lap dogs.

    Love the car, and don't want to see this become cataclysmic. Anybody know anything?
  • bsvollerbsvoller Posts: 528
    Per subaru.com, the '01 Forester clutch warranty is 3yrs/36000 miles. Check it out.

    If this problem can be duplicated for the dealer, it sounds like a no-brainer. If the dealer balks, call Subaru, open a case, and get Patti involved.

    FWIW, we have an (early - May of) '01 with 24k miles, and tow with it in the Rockies. No clutch issues. I did my homework before we purchased, and the clutch problems reported in the early Foresters (per SOA) were resolved with a redesigned pressure plate. CR seems to confirm this with their surveys.

    I took the increase in the warranty from '00 to '01 as an indication that they thought they had indeed addressed it, although one might look at that differently. Some here have had some problems too, but most of those cases are older model years to my knowledge.

    hth, and good luck

    -bv
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    Clutch chatter is sadly a problem for many 2.5L Subarus and the WRX as well. There have been several revisions of the pressure plate; the WRX uses a totally different clutch and it has problems to.

    Root cause: fragile 5 speed gearbox originally engineered to live behind a 110HP 1.8L still being used behind much more powerful engines. This causes Fuji Heavy to use a soft clutch--a weak pressure plate, to be specific--to keep the gearbox alive under clueless or hard use/abuse.

    This results in the current situation, where many owners who have never had a problem with chatter or premature clutch failure in any previous vehicles find themselves with severe chatter and dealers saying "they all do that" or "what have you been doing to it?".

    Patti might be able to help. With luck, a new factory pressure plate and flywheel (it is probably uneven, and Subaru never advocates turning them on the lathe-- new flywheels only) might help. If it doesn't, you can either figure out how to drive around the problem or install a slightly uprated aftermarket clutch like an ACT Street, which uses a stock Exedy organic clutch disc and a firmer pressure plate.

    re: driving around the problem, we've discussed it here several times and it's too bad there's not a real search function where you could find these posts easily.

    -Colin
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    revcounter,

    Colin and bv pretty much summed it all up. The only thing I'd like to add is trying a different dealer? Which one have you been going to? I live in the Bay Area and have found Santa Cruz Subaru to be outstanding. I know it's a haul to get over 17, but it's well worth the trip.

    Ken
  • kate5000kate5000 Posts: 1,267
    My husband took his Accord'97 for 60K service, to the local mechanic known for reasonable prices... we ended up paying nearly $900, all maintenance but still -- $900? Timing belt had to be replaced, engine tuned up, brake rotors replaced (2nd time for that car!), etc.

    Did I mention the car had to be towed to the shop? Turned out to be a blown fuse, and such that shop had to special-order it from Honda and wait 2 days for it to arrive... My old Loyale never gave us so much trouble.

    So I guess they don't make 100% reliable cars anymore, at least I consider Honda's reliability a myth by now.
  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
    Not trying to start a flame war but it seems that Subaru's automatics are sturdier than their manuals?

    Ed
  • armac13armac13 Posts: 1,129
    I sort of got that impression when I was researching Subaru 2 years ago. It was one of the several factors which led me to buy my first AT after 35+ years of MT only.

    Ross
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Ross -- But you still ended up buying a Subie! :-)

    Ed -- I get that impression too. I'm actually curious about the history of the two now that you mention it. I thought I read somewhere the the AT was based off a Nissan design.

    Ken
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    I'd agree with that opinion, no flames need be involved. The 4EAT is on the whole much more robust being bigger and heavier, and of course the planetary gears inside an automatic offer much larger engagement teeth than a manual.

    Subaru did finally address the problem with the manual, but it's in the (thus far) STi-only six speed. It's bigger, heavier and far more robust. The bigger case allows for ... you guessed it, bigger gears. Case flex is a problem with the 5 speed too.

    -Colin
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    The one in my XT6 takes ALOT of abuse so I can verify that. I'm hoping my copper clutch and upgraded pressure plate doesn't cause my MT to blow up... :(


    I do believe that the 4EAT is shared with some of the Nissan pathfinder and Mazda MPV (the real MPV) http://subarusvx.com/faq.html


    -mike

  • Thanks guys for the info. I kind of figured that the filter was gonna be inside the ATF pan. I'll give it a shot and see if I can do it myself, if not I can always put the fluid back and take it to a professional. I am considering switching to Mobile 1 ATF as well, maybe I'll just bite the bullet and do it.

    Mike
  • hypovhypov Posts: 3,068
    Mike-
    I had my fluids replaced at the Dealer Service.
    It took the Tech about a good 1/2 hour to remove the pan to avoid damage. The pan was cemented @ factory with some killer apoxy.

    -Dave
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Hey auto tranny fans - the 2003 GT 2.5 gets VTD AWD and a Shiftronic control for the tranny, too. I know Lark is itching to upgrade, so hopefully this tranny will become available on more models soon.

    -juice
  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    juice - you talking about the '03 Legacy GT? guess I better go check MTM or the cafe for more info from the show.

    -Brian
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yes sir! That was the big news. :-)

    -juice
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    juice,

    That's cool news. I'm off to MTM!

    Ken
  • perhaps that would loosen it up enough to remove it? don't know if the pan is plastic or not, don't want to melt anything. Maybe a hair dryer woudl help. Does it have to be resealed with the same stuff afterwards? hmmm, i wonder how much the dealer would charge for a tranny fluid & filter change. I know most other places will flush the tranny and put new fluid in but wouldn't change the filter.

    Mike
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I think that my XT6 and/or my Trooper has a re-usable screen in the ATF.

    -mike
  • peterson10peterson10 Posts: 116
    Sam: please forgive me, I hope I don't come off sounding critical; I'm sure I'm misunderstanding your (and other's) recent post. But, if you "pull away", on level terrain, at only 600 rpm, you are putting a terrific load on your engine. A cold engine is already, effectively, under load, so engaging the clutch without getting those RPMs up will shake your bumpers off. Now, I haven't had a moments trouble with any of my (three) Subaru clutches...YET (I'm not superstitious, but I am touching a piece of wood with crossed fingers at the moment). I probably baby my clutches more than most folks could tolerate. Heck, I even turn off the stereo when I'm in town so that I can hear/feel that moment when the engine revs get picked up by the transmission-so don't assume I am an average driver in any respect. Sam, do you get any of that burned-halibut smell that others have reported? Anyone - Is that smell from the surface of the pressure plate or something else?
    YetAnotherDave
  • Went to Pepboys and checked one out. its a filter that comes with a rubber ring that's suppose to go around it.

    Mike
  • bsvollerbsvoller Posts: 528
    Not to be argumentative, a lot of you guys have been driving Subaru's longer than I and are certainly more knowledgable, but before we bought our camper, I called 1-800-Subaru and asked if I could tow in 5th. The rep checked with technical and said "Yep. The tranny will take it. It's been tested under all conditions."

    The owner's manual puts no restrictions on towing beyond weights, etc either. In fact, they're more concerned (with overheating) on the AT than the MT.

    For '03, the tow rating on the MT is now higher than on the AT (2400#'s vs 2000 per Patti). Isn't this an indication that the MT isn't made of glass ? Just how abusive do you have to be with your clutch to get into trouble, anyway ?

    I understand that an AT is fundamentally the better choice for towing by the way (torque multiplication from a standstill and all that), and that planetary gears are generally stronger, all else being equal. I'm just wondering if there isn't more to the story, so to speak...

    tia,

    -bv
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Let's distinguish - tranny vs. clutch. The tranny isn't the issue, it's the clutch. So getting starting is more of a concern than cruising in 5th.

    My clutch chatters slightly, but it's withstood 44k miles of abuse, including towing, driving in sand, Pine Barrens, etc. So I think while it may be an issue, it may not necessarily affect longevity. Anyone had theirs replaced completely yet, say in less than 60k miles?

    -juice
  • kate5000kate5000 Posts: 1,267
    Does anybody know the spec for screws (bolts?) that are used to mount plastic cover underneath the Forester (something that has to be taken off when you change oil)?

    I nearly lost that plastic cover on the highway, thanks to missing screws. I want to buy replacement screws and fasten the cover back on.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think they take a 10mm or 12mm socket, but I forget. The thread is metric, but I'm sure exactly which.

    -juice
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    It's not the towing that hurts them. It just can't handle 300+hp + Torque. That is the problem with the 5MT. Guys are already blowing up parts on the WRX 5MT!

    -mike
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