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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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)?

  • 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:

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


  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    oops-- was going by memory.

    the 12mm bolts holding the AC tensioner pulley should be about the same. take one to the hardware store with you to get the right thread pitch.

  • lspivalspiva Posts: 49

    I just want to ask opinion of you guys.

    I have 03 Forester XS.

    First time (at 1.6K miles) I noticed that the engine oil level was somewhere in between "L" and "F" on the dipstick. I brought car to a dealer and they said that it is normal for Subaru vehicles to consume up to 1 quarter of oil per 1K miles. They will the oil up to the "F" mark and send me on my way. Is it a correct statement? I had multiple cars before but never saw a new car to consume oil. BTW, there is no leaks for the engine compartment.

    After that at 1.8K miles I changed oil with Penzoil Syntetic 10W30 and I hoped that the engine will stop consuming oil. Unfortunately, it did not happen. Today (at 4.7K miles), when I checked the oil level (before engine was started, with 46F outside) my oil level was just a little bit above "L" level. I had added a quarter of oil and it brought it to a "F" level. However, after I started the engine, run the car on a freeway for 15 minutes and then let it cool for about half-an-hour, the oil level was above the upper notch on the dipstick. Does it mean that I over filled the engine oil?

    I just want to know what is a correct way to check engine oil level (cold or warm)? And if the Subaru's engines known to consume oil? Does this oil consumtion indicates a potential problem and is it something that I should do to look into?

  • I have a '98 Legacy GT wagon, 2.5L engine, 69K miles. Starting a couple months ago, I've been having occasional problems when I start the car in the morning and immediately get on the highway. The check engine light comes on after a few minutes, although the engine seems to be running fine. When I pull off on to an exit ramp, the engine dies as I get very slow or come to a stop. If I wait a couple minutes, then restart, everything runs fine for the rest of the day. The check engine light stays on for most of the time, and then it goes off after a few hours or a day.

    My mechanic says there's a problem with the idle air control valve. He's cleaned it once and it didn't fix the problem. He said then that he would have to replace it, and that it was around a $800 job.

    Is the idle air control valve the likely culprit? I've seen other discussions that it could be the EGR - should I ask my mechanic to check for that? Unfortunately the computer code for the check engine light seems to be "undocumented condition" - this is according to a gas station where I pulled in the first time this happened.



  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    I went to my local HW store and bought a screw similar to the one that had snapped. They only had one that had a 13mm hex cap, but it had the same thread and length.

    Anyway, the new screw went right into the tensioner and all seems to be okay for now. I just tried to guess the appropriate tension by comparing it to the A/C belt.

    That one screw seems like an Achilles' heel -- it's the only thing preventing the alternator from swinging down and causing the belt to slip off. I searched over at i-club and it doesn't seem like an uncommon event. Just something to keep in mind in case you get an awful squeeling, loose power steering and the battery light comes on!

  • lucien2lucien2 Posts: 2,984
    I was going to tell you it was probably those WRX brakes..... :-D
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Do I hear some WRX brake envy? ;-p

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    It's not uncommon for boxers to consume oil. Subaru usually won't address oil consumption as a problem until you get to 1qt/1000 miles. I've been going through 1qt/2000miles for quite some time now. All my seals check out and I don't get blue puffs of smoke from my exhaust so I'm not worried. Then again, there are others at my milage that don't burn a drop.

    However, it is kind of strange to think that such a new vehicle as yours is consuming oil. If I recall, I didn't notice my oil consumption until well past the 40K mile mark. You might want to make sure the dealer is noting your concerns just in case it does get worse. In the meantime, try and track exactly how much oil you are consuming.

    As for checking the oil level, cold before any driving will probably give you the most accurate results. When you're measuring cold, the "F" is the highest the level should be. The notch above the "F" is used for when the engine is warm.

    The dipstick on Subarus is a little tricky to read sometimes. Check both sides of the dipstick and take the lower reading of the two. Also make sure you're on level ground when doing so.


  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    My buddy snapped mine this week when putting in my Oil Pressure guages sender unit. He replaced it with a bolt from Homie Depot all is well with that.

  • single snowlady looks for maintenance schedules (owner's manual)to prepare for purchase of used LEASED99ForesterS: any advice eagerly awaited ;o)
    //this VIN: JF1SF6552XH708203
  • Ispiva,

    It is normal for a new car to consume some oil during the breakin and even for a while afterwards. I also find it worth noting that you say you've "never had a new car use oil" (they all do), and in the same post ask the correct way to check oil. If you don't know how to check oil (without doubt the MOST basic thing to know about an engine), then I think that statement is suspect at best.

    You also gave us no miles, and you also do not state if you checked the oil at any time. Given all that, I would not worry about what has transpired with your car.

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