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Subaru XT Turbo Forester

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Comments

  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    I hate to argue with experts at TireRack about their own products, but in this case they're wrong. The steel wheel they sell for the 2003-2004 Forester X or XS models will fit the XT equally well, because there are no brake or hub differences that would affect clearances. People are getting around this by simply specifying that their XT is actually an X/XS when ordering these wheels from TireRack.

    The steel wheel found in the spare tire compartment of every XT is identical to the steel spare wheel on every 2nd-gen naturally-aspirated Forester. They fit the latter, and of course they fit the former. Likewise, the OEM 5-spoke steel wheels that are standard on the base Forester X fit on an XT perfectly.

    Now, if only I could find a good used set, I'd be buying snow tires right about now...
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Bob- Hmmm... you must have been asleep at the helm cause Steve beat you by a whole day with posting that link :-)

    -Frank P.
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of all Subaru models getting the enhanced gearset, but a 300HP XT sounds interesting too!

    Ken
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,917
    I think Bob was thinking he was posting that AJAC link over in the Infiniti FX35/45 vs VW Touareg vs Porsche Cayenne vs BMW X5 vs Cadillac SRX discussion instead of in here.

    Just kidding Bob! ;-)

    Steve, Host
  • leo2633leo2633 Posts: 589
    If not for exhorbitant shipping costs from NJ to WA, you would have had that set of brand new 16" Forester X steelies from me. They had your name on them (I checked!). Alas, they have since found a new home.

    Len
  • leo2633leo2633 Posts: 589
    Forget about the 5 speed. That's already beefy enough. Give us a decent clutch (yeah, I got the upgraded parts, but it took 3 replacements in 80K for Subaru to get it right!).

    Finally "judder free" in NJ,

    Len
  • jimeejimee Posts: 9
    thanks for your help. I went with the new steel rims from tirerack @$49 each - how much cheaper could a good used set be? Will let you know how it works out...

    I realize that I am being a bit picky with how the aluminum rims performed in the slush, but I plan to do hours of winter driving in the Tug Hill/Southwestern Adirondacks area of New York State where snow is a near-constant fact of life.

    Getting on the ground regularly to wax up the rims on what is widely viewed as a great choice for a winter car just doesn't make me happy!
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    I went with the new steel rims from tirerack @$49 each - how much cheaper could a good used set be?

    I've seen steel takeoffs from the '03-'04 base Forester X go for $35 each / $140 per set, and that's about what I'd be willing to pay. The problem is that they never seem to be located in Portland, and (as Len noted) the cost to ship four steel wheels from elsewhere can be prohibitive. I haven't priced shipping from TireRack for wheels only, but they want $66 to ship 4 wheels with 4 mounted tires to Portland from Nevada.

    Getting on the ground regularly to wax up the rims on what is widely viewed as a great choice for a winter car just doesn't make me happy!

    That's understandable, but what would cause the snow buildup problem you mentioned to be any worse on a Forester than on any other vehicle driven in the same conditions? If there is a design flaw causing it that is unique to Subarus, I'm having a hard time figuring out what it would be.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Jim- Hopefully a decent wax job will last you all winter and of course the ideal time to do it is when you take them off to rotate them (trying to do it while they're still on the vehicle really would be a pain).

    -Frank P.
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    If not for exhorbitant shipping costs from NJ to WA, you would have had that set of brand new 16" Forester X steelies from me. They had your name on them (I checked!). Alas, they have since found a new home.

    Story of my life. Day late, dollar short.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Waxed rims stay clean, and snow/slush doesn't stick. They're easier to keep clean once you've waxed them even once.

    I've had snow/slush throw several wheels off balance in the past, on different cars. Subaru's wheels are all that different from anyone else's.

    -juice
  • jimeejimee Posts: 9
    Juice,

    This could all be my fault for never having driven a relatively fancy car before, but shimmying has never been a problem for me, and I have driven in wildly varying snow conditions, as I mentioned, for the past 20 years in about 15 different cars throughout upstate NY.

    Regardless of the fact that other cars may behave similarly, that doesn't take away from the unfortunate reality that these types of wheels can have problems in the snow unless they are babied, which wasn't mention in my car manual (nor by my salesman or service dept, which I'm sure has heard this one a number of times before).

    Seems to me that for $30k or so a pop Subaru could at least give a heads up that this is an issue for those of us intending to use the car as advertised. This issue is topping off a poor dealer car delivery experience for me which is too long/tortured to detail in this forum, so I admit that perhaps that is also coloring my reaction to this problem. But it IS a problem.

    Nonetheless, I appreciate everyone's help on this one - I am not sure what I would have done without it!

    Jim
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    Seriously, I'm still trying to figure out exactly what could be materially different between a Forester wheel and the wheels on any other car that would cause a Forester wheel to build up appreciably more eccentric weight of snow or ice than any other wheel. Every car I've ever driven in snow would do this to one extent or another. I think the shimmy you experienced due to snow buildup probably had more to do with the specific temperatures and road conditions than to any actual shortcoming in Subaru's design that they would be obligated to point out to buyers. It would be the responsibility of a buyer to establish what actual or alleged design defect it was that caused the problem, and that is not common to other vehicles. I can't think of any.

    Maybe cars sold in snow country should offer Teflon-coated wheels to help shed the buildup?

    I've never waxed a wheel in my life, but there's a first time for everything.
  • leo2633leo2633 Posts: 589
    Hey, Jack, you may be on to something there! I'd take that option if it was offered (as long as it was more durable than my wife's Silverstone cookware).

    Len
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    One more favorable reply, and I'm running out to apply for a patent!
  • lucien2lucien2 Posts: 2,984
    that Subarus rims are manufactured by a company that also makes rims for Honda, Acura, Toyota, and many others. I understand that you personally have never experienced eccentric weight shimmy due to winter weather before, but I sure have. It isn't likely to happen on a car with steel wheels and/or hubcaps since there are no significant nooks for buildup to start. But almost every car with alloy rims I have ever owned has done this. NOT often, I should add, it is not like it happens every snowstorm, but maybe once or twice over the course of the winter. I don't baby my rims like Juice does, but I do wash them thoroughly and I wax them every autumn.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Are you used to bigger vehicles?

    Maybe it's the light wheels, and low unsprung weight in general that Subies have, that makes them a little more sensitive to ice/slush accumulation compared to what you are used to.

    You probably would not feel it with a live axle, for instance, or any non-indy suspension.

    There are spray waxes that are very easy to apply, you could probably just do that after a car wash or even before a snow storm with little effort. Even just hosing the brake dust out should help some.

    Look at modern wheel weights - they are tiny. A snow ball certainly weighs more, it's no wonder it can throw a wheel off balance.

    -juice
  • Hello all...I've been reading and lurking here for a bit (as well as needling the fellas in the "swanky suv" thread) and the amount of information and good vibes about this vehicle is very impressive. The Big News is that I have clearance from the financial officer (the Mrs.) to proceed with an XT purchase sometime in February. Thats going to be a difficult wait but hopefully I'll make it.

    I currently drive a 2000 Passat 1.8T manual station wagon and the wife drives a 2003 MDX (the family hauler...simply marvelous vehicle). My main reason for looking to purchase at this time is my commute has taken a sharp turn for the worse the past year and stop and go is the name of the game...so although I'm not thrilled about it...I'm looking to move to an automatic. I'm happy to hear that all the auto owners seem to be particularly pleased with this engine/tranny combination.

    I have test driven the auto/PP twice now and been very impressed. This thing just takes off when you hit the gas. The exterior styling is pretty bland but that is actually a plus in my book. The interior fit and finish isn't quite as good as the Passat but it isn't bad and the leather seats were very comfortable. The moonroof almost makes this thing a convertible ;-). The XT seems to be the perfect blend of quality, performance, fun and utility for my needs (kids, dogs, triathlon gear, bikes, sweaty clothes, snowboards, etc.). All wrapped up in a package that says "responsible family man".

    Right now I'm thinking Silver because of the roof rail issue...but we'll see...wife might veto that because the MDX is silver as well. Either way I'm looking forward to being a subie owner in the near future.

    overtime
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Jim- No offense but I think you're blowing this issue out of proportion. In almost four years on this forum, I can only remember one or two other posts on the subject. And once it was explained that the shimmying was caused by ice build-up, the poster was satisfied knowing that no permanent damage was done. Additionally, the conditions when it happens are fairly specific. The roads have to be very slushy but with the ambient air temperature below freezing in order for the slush to both be thrown up and stick to the rims. In other words, if it's melting slush, packed or powdery snow, your wheels will stay clean. Also, as has been pointed out, alloy wheels are more susceptible and the bigger the wheel the greater the likelihood of it happening. Just be glad you don’t have a set of 18” spinners! :-)

    -Frank P.
  • jimeejimee Posts: 9
    Frank P.,

    Point well taken that I am probably blowing this out of proportion a bit.

    The conditions you described are exactly the ones that existed when it happened - problem is, these are fairly common conditions during the winter in parts of the Northeast, especially in February and March as the sun warms. I do realize that this is not causing permanent damage and for that I am thankful. There was some MAJOR wiggling going on, however, at and speeds over 35 mph.

    I'm going with the steel rims from TireRack, will wax them up nice nice before having them mounted with the Hakka Qs, and hopefully that will be the end of that (for this season anyway!) Both sets of wheels will be waxed to the max from now on. Never had alloys before, either, so that might explain why I was so perplexed.

    I just wish I knew before I bought the car that this would be a precondition to a successful winter season with it; I would have asked the dealer to take care of that upon delivery. :) I really think the teflon coating idea is an excellent one.

    Thanks again for all of the focus/help on this issue - I am truly impressed by the amount of information/thought all of you have offered.
    Jim
This discussion has been closed.