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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    18.5mpg sounds very low. The worst I've ever recorded on my 98 Forester S (5-speed) is 22mpg and that was with lots of stop and go with A/C on all the time.

    You mentioned 235R16 tires. If you're using 60-series tires, then your total tire diameter is about 1" more than the stock 215/60R16s. If you are using your odometer to calculate gas milage, this would cause you to underestimate you mileage by about 4%, if I did my math correctly.

    Also, a bigger tire will affect gearing and can result in slower 0-60 times.

    You may want to try Mike's suggestion and reset the ECU. Simply disconnect the negative battery terminal for about 30 seconds when the engine is cold, re-connect, start the engine and let it idle for 15-20 minutes. Shut down the engine, start it up again and then drive around at various RPMs to allow the ECU to get some data points. Normally, fuel economy drops for the first tank but then improves as the ECU learns your driving habits.

  • theobtheob Posts: 148
    Thought I might be the only one seeing this. The evaporative super-cooling expressed earlier is the best explanation I could come up with.

    Saw some posts earlier about synthetics. Has anyone calculated out expenses to determine what the bottom-line difference is? Someone mentioned fiber filters. Who makes them? How much are they? I assume the Subie ones Darlene sells are paper. The VDC has a 6500 rpm redline, which we'll probably only approach a maximum of twice per month. Any opinions?
  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
    Patti - have 17,500 mi checkup coming this week so that'll be a good time to have it addressed. Having read Chuck's post just before yours, his description sounds like what I'm observing. So maybe it's just an upper radiator hose that's leaking. I added a small amount of coolant while cold, ran some errands Saturday afternoon, and checked again - coolant levels are in the acceptable range. At any rate I'll make an appointment this week and have it checked out. A new hose clamp is worth peace of mind.

    Thanks for listening. Will keep you posted. Off to work.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Ken beat me to it, cdb420, but the tire size also raised a red flag in my mind. I'm surprised you even managed to fit 235s, given my 225s (also a tad bigger than stock) have barely enough clearance.

    It may be 4% on paper, but the actual diameter can vary by more than that. You may even consider getting your speedometer adjusted for accuracy.

    Forest7: the dealer is your best bet. You don't want to damage your wheels trying.

    Pat: you use the heated seats while driving. In fact, if it's real cold outside, some folks recommend you warm up the battery before starting the vehicle. That would mean using the heated seats even before you turn it on could be useful.

    Theo: with that low redline, I think synthetics are overkill. Others argue it's cheap and you have nothing to lose, but IMHO it's overkill.

    There are gauze filters like K&N, as well as foam filters like the ones Amsoil sells. Both are "wet", with special oils.

    K&Ns have less surface area than paper filters because the paper ones have many more pleats, plus each pleat is deeper. I've seen two articles that claim they allow more dirt through also. Still, some people swear by them, and they are reusable. I had one on my previous car, but that was before I read those articles.

    Amsoil is a foam filter, like a lot of motorcycles use. The K&N folks claim they allow less air flow, but who knows. I've seen no criticism on the amount of dirt it allows past, though.

  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    I use synthetic blend for it's lower pour temps and easier cold starting. And because it was $1.54 at Wal-mart.
    I was talking with a Sube tech this past weekend about synthetics. He said they do offer more protection but didn't know if the higher costs were justified. I asked him about sludge and he said the boxer engines usually don't have a problem with sludge (he hasn't seen it). He did add that he's seen an engine that used Mobil 1 and it was spotless.
    Like juice said, it might be overkill if you keep the rpm's down like that.

  • armac13armac13 Posts: 1,129
    that's not what's meant by "warming up the battery". At very low temperatures, batteries provide much less power. In very low temp climates some people have plug in covers for their batteries to physically heat up the battery. Using the seat warmer or any other electricity demanding device will further decrease the likelihood of starting the car.

  • Hi,
    I mentioned a while back that I was getting only 20MPG on my 2001 Forester. I think I found the cause. Yesterday while washing it, I sprayed some water on the front disc, and it was so hot it vaporized the water. Both front brakes were red hot, while the rear discs are hot to the touch, but not vaporizing hot. I've put over 6K on the car already, so I'm worried that the entire front brake assembly may be damaged beyond repair. I don't know if the parking brake goes to the front or back tires, but it was definitely released when we were driving. It's at the dealers now, and I'll pass along their diagnosis. Has anyone heard of this type of problem before?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Could be the salt air froze up the front calipers on the trip over from Japan.

  • Just talk to the dealer service dept. They examined the brake and found nothing wrong. They also drove another Forester on the lot for 20 minutes, and its front disc got hot enough to vaporize water also. They couldn't find anything out of spec with my car. My question to everyone here is: do you see the same thing on your Forester? I would think if the brakes get this hot it means the Forester really needs a bigger brake, or even a racing type ventilated brakes. Any comments?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Ross: I thought I'd heard someone suggesting that, though. Turning on something with a small load, that is.

    The parking brake is on the rear, FWIW.

    Brake discs get hot, that's totally normal. You just don't want the pads to get glazed, and result in brake fade. As long as they still grab, you're in good shape.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Just thought I'd give an update on where I am with getting the "1st gear popping out under load" problem I experience with my Forester.

    Patti (who Rocks ;-) ) got me in touch with a senior rep at SOA who then set up an appointment with the district technical manager at Santa Cruz Subaru two weeks from now. They even are arranging for a loaner/rental since Santa Cruz is a bit of a drive from work. The entire process since Patti stepped in has been fantastic.

    I've been checking and double checking on nearby hills to make sure I can have all the conditions nailed down as to when the problem occurs. Contrary to my original assumption, the problem seems to happen intermittently regardless of the number of passengers in the vehicle. The other day, I tried coasting in first down a steep hill and 1st gear popped out several times with just me in the car. Yesterday, I had two other people in the car so I tried the same hill again. This time, it happened just once and I couldn't get it to occur again despite numerous attempts.

    I'm wondering if there are other conditions that might influence the outcome. The last thing I want to happen is not being able to replicate the problem at this big meeting.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Ken: just suggestions, but I'd jot down each of the following conditions when it does happen: weight in car, engine temp, tranny temp, and slope of hill.

    There's obviously no guage for the tranny temp, but you can try to remember how many shifts were done at that point since it was started.

  • tlimatlima Posts: 124

    I too have been considering synthetics, mostly to lengthen the change intervals. The fiber filters allow you to do this, as they can trap more dirt than standard oil filters.

    As far as expense goes, I think the fiber filters cost at least $10, but if the intervals increase, the cost differences for the synthetics vs standard diminish.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    It's strange since it's always happened with the engine and tranny fully warmed up. I've also had a range of passengers (0-4) and a variety of slopes. The only thing consistent is it's inconsistency. There's gotta be some other variable(s) I'm overlooking.

  • I've had my 2001 Forester S for about a month now and it has about 2k miles on it. I love it, but....

    The whole car seems to vibrate (high frequency) a lot when it reaches highway speeds, >60 mph. I realize the Forester is not exactly a car but I expected the ride to be a little smoother than what I'm experiencing. The vibration seems to affect the whole vehicle (as opposed to shaking the steering wheel noticeably more) which leads me to believe that it is just the way it's engineered. It's like having one of those massaging chairs built right into the car.

    I don't want to be paranoid and take the vehicle to the dealer for everything that I'm not used to in a car :)

    Is this just the way the Forester drives? It certainly seemed a lot soother when I test drove it.....

    Thanks for any info,

    - Jan
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Maybe, Ken. I was trying to think of what those could be.

    Tony: even if you go synthetic, I'd do an oil/filter change at least every 7.5k miles. It's a relatively long interval already.

    Jan: check the tire pressure. Some people prefer firm handling, others a softer ride. Subaru recommends 29 psi up front and 26-29 psi out back (pardon the pun).

    If actually found those too soft for my liking, so they may be perfect for you.

  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    Jan, the two things you can have checked are wheel balance and alignment. If they are both OK then it is a combination of the suspension, tires and road surface-- two of which can be changed, at some cost to you.

    Good luck!

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    The Forester should be as smooth as any passenger car on the freeways. Check the small things first -- tire pressure or abnormalities to the tire tread/sidewalls.

    If those are okay, then have your wheels balanced. It's possible that you may have thrown a weight. Sometimes swapping the position of tires can also get rid of vibrations.

  • natescapenatescape Posts: 176
    My 2001 S+ is smooth as silk on the highway. I drive at 83MPH when there isn't traffic. In fact, I came to work late today and took advantage of an empty stretch of highway to push the car. Got it to 110MPH and it was still really smooth (and still had a lot left, but I was running out of room). :)
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    my 115mph is too much :)

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