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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions

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  • We are considering buying a 99 Forester L in Virginia. In a used car are there any particular problems we should look out for? Where on the web is the best site to find a reasonable selling price? Thanks. frazee1
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Use Edmunds own appraisal tool, for starters.

    Take a thorough test drive, here are things to look for:

    * rear wheel bearings - they should be quiet and ride smoothly
    * front main seals and head gaskets - look for any evidence of oil leaks
    * clutch - should be smooth
    * engine - will have a characteristic growl, but should run smoothly when warm

    The good news is that problems tend to stand out like a sore thumb, so you'll likely find them if there are any. Check the oil level and condition. Drive with the radio off, open the windows, and listen for any strange driveline noises. If it's quiet, you should be in good shape.

    You'll probably find them for $12k and up or so. That's what I've seen.

    -juice
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Wasn't there also a recall on the MAF for the 99's? I'd check that too.

    Ken
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, and generally the intake is not to be messed with. Do so and you'll blow the MAF and pay close to $400 for a new one.

    So if you keep it stock, go for it. But if you tinker with your cars, modify the intake, avoid the '99 in particular. '98s and 2000 and later are fine for modding.

    -juice
  • rochcomrochcom Posts: 247
    I found a few mentions of Forester Clock problems on this board from about a year ago, but no solutions except to replace it. I was wondering if nayone has come with anything new. My '98's clock display did not go on the other day while I was driving in a snow storm with headlights on. I turned them off momentarily, but there was no change. After I had stopped and parked for a while, it started working agin, but now it is as dim with lights OFF as it was with them ON. With the lights on, it is amlost invisible. It could be a flourescent display going bad, but has anyone cured this problem?
  • nygregnygreg Posts: 1,936
    Just wondering what weight people are using for their oil, mainly 5W30 vs. 10W30 and do people move to 10W30 when they use synthetic. I am currently using 5W30 Mobil 1 and am thinking about going to 10W30 instead. Any comments?

    Greg
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm using dino oil, but 10w30, yeah.

    -juice
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    I use Mobil 1 10W30, mainly because it seems to quiet lifter noise in the mornings. It doesn't get cold enough here to require a switch to lower weight oil in the winter.

    Ken
  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    I use 5W30 in the fall/winter, and 10W30 in the spring/summer.

    -Dennis
  • nygregnygreg Posts: 1,936
    That is exactly why I am asking the question. My boxer makes a very slight thumping noise for the first 5 mins or so when accelerating after being in a heated garage all night. Think the 10w30 would help.

    Greg
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Greg,

    It wouldn't hurt to try. Do you use synthetic already? The better flow characteristics of synthetic will probably work better with a 10-weight oil in the winter.

    I've found 10W30 does reduce the valve noise (the light chitter-chatter) at cold startup.

    Ken
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 224
    Combining information from various Edmunds sources and www.bobistheoilguy.com , 1. 10W30 is more long lasting than 5w30 because the lower number is the base oil and the upper number is the result of "viscosity additives" which break down under stress of engine operation. So after some point the 5W30 is like 5W20 and so on down. If you change after 3000 mi it probably doesn't matter. After that who knows. 2. I combine 1 qt 10W30 synthetic with 3 qt 10W30 dino giving some benefit of synthetic at little added cost. In Denver my outside parking down to -5 or so results in no problems so far. If I had a problem it would likely be my 5 year old battery. 3. "Syn Blends" are over-priced having little synthetic oil as there is no required amount. Others have claimed less than 10%.
  • nygregnygreg Posts: 1,936
    mobil 1 5W30 in both the OB and Sienna. Only 600 miles since the last change so it will be a while before I try the 10W30. I'll keep you informed. Thanks.

    Greg
  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    I used to assume that a 5W30 would protect as well as a 10W30 at operating temp. Take a look at most oil manufacturers oil specs, and you'll see that the 10W remains thicker than the 5W.

    -Dennis
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Good info to have, Roy, thanks.

    How are ya? Haven't heard from you in a while.

    -juice
  • lucien2lucien2 Posts: 2,984
    just putting you on notice, I'm closing in on 60K, so when we get into the Spring it may be time for a trip to your place. I just can't justify springing $500-$600 at the dealer.....
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 224
    Juice, Doing well in a dry winter in Denver so far. Above average snow to the west which I'll get to check out Dec 27-30 on a trip to Winter Park. I've got my snow tires with half set of studs on. Also ordered a class 1 hitch from www.hitch-web.com and wiring. The hitch mount was too tight for me to do so took it to U-Haul where they used pro "fish wire" to get the two hard bolts in place. The wiring was easy in comparison. Roy
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    We can do that, it'll be fun. We'll BBQ too, you bring the wine!

    You can also drool over the Blitzen catalogs Ken sent me.

    Hmm, the OE hitch was plug-and-play, just 7 overtighetened bolts to deal with.

    -juice
  • luck11luck11 Posts: 425
    I have a 2000 OB that has a persistent burning rubber smell. It occurs when the car has been driven and is warm, and very noticeable when it comes to a stop. My dealer has replaced my valve cover gasket a few times, the first time seemed to work. They did so again a few weeks ago but the smell persists.

    The service manager told me this morning that several OBs have come in with the same symptom and they have not been able to diagnose the problem. Subaru Canada has been aware and same deal...no solution. They questioned whether it is a problem with the catalytic converter, but they are not sure.

    I did have my car undercoated, but the smell of the Krown product burning off is very distinctly different, and regardless, the burning rubber smell was evident before I had the Krown applied. The Krown "burning off" smell was gone in about a week. It can't be the original undercoat....my car is 3 years old.

    I notice that ZROCK posted back on Nov 1 regarding the same problem. I did not see whether he responded with a resolution.

    I have had a few too many little problems with my Subaru, and question whether I will get another when time comes next year to get a new vehicle, even though warranty has covered them all. This "smell" problem may be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

    Any thoughts or suggestions?

    Thanks.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Did oil spill on the block as a result of any earlier leak? That'll burn off slowly.

    If you see any oil spots, try to WD40 them off.

    Meanwhile, keep the air on recirculate, and crack the moonroof open.

    -juice
  • 5W30 here, year-round, because a) it gets COLD here!, and b) my oil change intervals don't always coincide with weather changes. I change every 3k miles regardless of calendar time.

    Cheers!
    Paul
  • I have noticed a rather annoying rattle in dash area of 99 Forester.

    It appears to be coming from dash area ( not in console housing speedometer) directly in front / marginally to left of the driver. It sounds as if a bracket were loose and two or more pieces were hitting / rattling together. The rattle occurs whenever the car is jarred from a bump or rough pavement. Not excessively rough mind you. It pretty much occurs every few minutes during city type driving. The car has to be travelling 50 to 60 km ( will not occur when going over speed bump - too slow0

    Unfortunately for me , lucky for the dealers .. roads around their business are not rough . Local shop was kind enough to look at undercarriage. Could not find cause.

    Anyone else have a similar situation? Solutions?Any help will be appreciated.

    P.s. sorry if it is duplicate. tried to research but only found dash rattles with middle console( had that too , before it was fixed)
  • hondafriekhondafriek Ottawa CanadaPosts: 2,924
    same here, at the winter temps, we get any thicker and the oil would be molasses, in any case I use Synthetic,even in summer I use 5w30.

    Cheers Pat.
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Is the sound coming from right around the dash or further in?

    It could be that something is loose in the engine bay area. I've had two noises that I was able to track down and remedy. One was the clamp on the fuel filter. It rattled anytime I came off the gas quickly. Greasing the clamp cleared it right up. The other was the engine hood. Every time I hit a big bump, I would hear a rebound "clunk". It turned out that the rubber bumpers pushing up onto the hood needed to be extended by turning them counterclockwise. This put pressure on the hood and allowed the latch to close snugly.

    Ken
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Came across a sudden problem with my Forester today. I started the engine as normal and began backing out of my garage. When I turned my steering wheel, I started getting a very loud squealing noise coming from the engine bay. I also noticed that the steering wheel motion was getting choppy -- as I turned the wheel, it would get random resistance. I think the battery light flickered on briefly as well.

    Just the other day, I did notice that I a very short "squeak" and some resistance, also right after starting the engine. However the problem was just for a second and never came back up.

    Since I had a bunch of friends waiting on me to give them a lift, I didn't have time to figure out what was the cause. Tomorrow, I'll check it out again but I wanted to have some ideas of what to look for. I'm guessing it's the either the accessory belt or the power steering pump failing.

    Any ideas?

    Ken
  • eric102eric102 Posts: 122
    Sounds like a loose belt to me. The squealing is because the belt is slipping on the power steering and alternator pulleys, which causes the steering problems and batt. light (alternator) to come on. If the power steering pump bearings fail (pump seizes up) and the belt is tight, you will hear a very loud squeal, smoke will come out from under the hood (belt melting on engine pulley) and then the belt will fall off.

    Are you hearing any unusual grinding sounds coming from the vicinity of the power steering pump or alternator? If so, that would be an indication of bearing problems.

    Good luck.

    Eric
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    Check the tension on both accessory belts and the ps fluid level. Regarding the battery light, the ps pump has its own belt while the alternator and AC compressor share one.

    -Colin
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Thanks for the inputs, guys.

    I checked the PS fluid and it looks okay so I think my belt is probably slipping. It's time I changed it anyway.

    Colin -- it looks like the alternator and PS pump are on one belt while A/C is on it's own.

    In the mean time, I'd like to get rid of that awful noise and restore PS. Is the tension in the alternator belt controlled by the position of the alternator alone? Is there any other way of measuring belt tension other than getting a spring gauge (which I don't have)?

    Ken
  • hondafriekhondafriek Ottawa CanadaPosts: 2,924
    Usually adjusting the alternator adjusts the tension on the belt, rule of thumb is a half inch deflection on the longest stretch of belt.

    Cheers Pat.
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Okay, I think I know what happened. I removed the top covers and checked out the PS/alternator belt. It appears as the bolt that holds the alternator had snapped causing it to fall down and loosen the belt.


    It's the bolt labeled #2 picture 3/4 of the way down this thread:

    http://www.scoobymods.com/forums/showthread.php?postid=1067


    Anyone know if it can be swapped with any old bolt?


    Ken

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