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Subaru Forester (up to 2005)



  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Remember what octane ratings mean. Higher octane fuel simply resists pre-detonation more than lower octane fuel -- it doesn't mean it burns cleaner or will give all cars better performance.

    The only time you should go beyond what the manufacturer recommends is if you experience pinging or knock.

    Frank -- Nice story. Did you also flip back the fron passenger seat and remove the headrest for even more space?

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Just used it towing 5000lbs across PA up and down the allegany mts. in the trooper. I had no performance issues and no milage hit.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Amoco was slapped in the wrist for claiming they remove "harmful impurities" to create Amoco Ultimate. They even had to pull the ads.

    That means their 87 octane gas does not have any harmful impurities. Pure nonsense marketing.

    At wholesale the price of premium is about 3 cents higher than regular, so the other 17 cents is paying for oil company CEOs' Porsche payments. ;-)

  • I need a replacement drivers side back brake light cover for 2001 Forester. The larger part that wraps around to the side of the car. Can anyone give me an idea of where they sell an affordable replacement?

  • dhdunndhdunn Posts: 51
    Folks, I just test drove a Forester S today for the first time. I liked the vehicle, but had one concern. The rear end seemed to sway when making quick lane changes. Also, I read a review on it comparing it to other "small" SUVs. The review basically said, "Great car, but it ain't no SUV." That's fine, because we have an Explorer which has been outstanding. But I would like to be able to take it at least on moderately challenging roads to go camping/hiking and the like (Rockies are my home).

    Could y'all please let me know what you think of the car in general, and let me know if you find the sway problem as well? Also, what are your top 5 reasons for buying this vehicle? Kindly respond to Thanks so much!!

  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Ken- Nope, all 10 fit in the cargo compartment. I put in 4 bales stacked 2-high width wise first and then 6 more bales stacked 2-high length wise. The 10 of them did pretty max out the useable cargo space since they were almost touching the head-liner.

    -Frank P.
  • hey everyone. Yup, my wife and I finally committed and bought the 2002 L in Green (we didn't like the titanium panels on the S)and basically we maganged to get the Auto for $200 more than the Stan and they threw in the rear cover for free. Before we pick up Friday AM I'd like to go over the math of our contract to see exactly how the monthly payment is determined. I've already consulted many of the monthly calculators online (edmunds, dealer web sites) but I always seem to be off by $1.00 to $1.30 lower than the dealer's number. I'd like to figure this out manually, so for all the number crunchers how do I do that? The list of numbers I have are:
    my price with taxes included and all charges.
    my down payment.
    my interest rate.
    my term (60months)
    Anything else?
    If it helps I'm in Montreal, Quebec.

    p.s I'll submit more posts on my car buying ordeal if it will help/interest anyone. I took a lot of advice from everyone's postings so I figure it's time to give back.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    dhdunn- I don't have a problem with rear end sway and I find it hard to imagine that the Forester's would sway more than an Explorer's. However, if it bothers you, you can easily install a stiffer anti-sway bar for about a $100.

    Reviews frequently mention that the Forester isn't a "true SUV". This is mainly because reviewers expect SUVs to be truck-based with a harsh ride and a high seating position and therefore tippy. The Forester is car-based and therefore rides and handles much more like a car than a truck. The seating position is also lower than most of its competition, which does somewhat diminish your capability to see around traffic (Excursions and the like). However, you gain by having a lower center of gravity which makes the Forester the sportiest handling "mini-SUV" and also the least likely to tip over. Some SUV purists also claim that it's not an SUV unless it has low-range gearing. However, many other mini-SUVs also lack this feature so the Forester isn't alone in that regard. For off-roading purposes, the Forester is capable of handling most of the non-technical stuff. If you really want to venture off the beaten path, then you're better off with a Liberty. Since in addition to not having a low-range, the Forester lacks good approach and departure angles. Therefore boulder hopping isn't one of its strong points. However, for the vast majority of owners, the Forester is more than adequate for their occasional off-roading needs.

    -Frank P.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Bill: LAMP #84201FC011 $107.96 + SHIPPING, from I just had mine replaced after an accident. The shipping was $16.50 but also included a bumper fascia. Warning - they were slow, slow, slow by e-mail. Consider ordering by phone.

    dhdunn: check your inbox. An 18mm rear sway bar will make it corner a bit flatter, and I paid just $82. Even stock it leans less than a CR-V or RAV4.

    Mike: do you have Excel on your PC? Use the Function wizard, they have a PMT() command that lets you figure it out.

    Forester has a 4 wheel independent suspension, like a Hummer. It has a unibody, like a Jeep Grand Cherokee. It has no low range, like a GMC Sierra Denali and many luxury SUVs. GMC even mimicks Subaru's manual-tranny AWD system with its viscous coupling.

    But Subaru chose the hard path, and certified the Forester as a car. Therefore is meets bumper standards, roof crush standards, and other safety standards that trucks don't have to meet. It lacks the mandatory rollover warning that trucks must display, too. And it must help Subaru meet the CAFE standard of 27.5 mpg, instead of 20.7 mpg for truck fleets.

    So, it doesn't guzzle nearly enough gas to be considered an SUV, and the handling is way too sporty for that. The price is also too low.

    Is that really so bad? ;-)

  • armac13armac13 Posts: 1,129
    My Forester is definitely not an SUV which is one of the reasons I like it so much. As to whether it can handle camping duties, I refer you to the following site:

    The last two albums show some to the roads Rufus handled. Zero problems except for the slight body mods shown in Rufus # 21 & 22.

    I find the Forester much more stable and predictable than the VW Golf that it replaced. Tire pressure is critical for good handling on a Forester. I wonder what the test drive had. I run 33/32 these days and am very happy. Overall, I think the Forester is the best car I have owned in over thirty years of new car buying. Hope this helps.


  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    If PhotoPoint were only up and running, I'd show you pictures of Sandy at the beach, the farm, and the Pine Barrens sand trails. I also have a pic of a flying Forester 6' in the air, and another Rally Crossing.

    So yeah, I think they can get you to a camp site. ;-)

  • Happy Holidays everbody! Just an FYI about the gauge pack. Some of you may know I've had multiple problems with my S+ gauge pack with problems ranging from internal condensation(loose seals), dealer installing wrong replacement model and dials that did not have consistent light bulb colors on each dial. Good News! My local Subaru District Manager informed me that there were manufacturing issues and I should hold tight until February when the issues should be resolved and then they will replace it, hopefully, for the LAST time!
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    The reviews are right -- the Forester is a hybrid vehicle, if you may. It's a passenger car that has increased ground clearance and a beefier suspension to allow it to venture a little bit beyond the pavement. It's aimed to the needs of 90% of SUV owners. It's very functional, gets you through all road conditions and it's sporty.

    If your needs go call for regular offroading, you probably shouldn't choose the Forester. While there are some who have taken it on very challenging trails, you do run a higher risk of damage to your vehicle.

    Consider your needs -- how often do you offroad? How much of a tradeoff are you willing to make between offroading capability and on-road performance.

  • ray70ray70 Posts: 18
    Like you, I needed a vehicle that could travel safely in the Mountana rockies. My kids have a cabin 10 miles north of Yellowstone Park at the end of a steep, badly eroded logging road. I have been pleasantly surprised at how well my Forester did on the roads. More ground clearance and power would have been nice, but not necessary. You just need to "ride the ridges" so you don't high center. I have been able to take my Forester everywhere I have been able to take my 86 Chevy Pickup in 4 high, I just have to drive it extremely careful. If you need low range to get to your destination, the Forester is not the vehicle for you.

  • dhdunndhdunn Posts: 51
    Thanks all for your messages!! They were most helpful!! Juice, thanks for the emails - very helpful insights.

    p0926, you're absolutely right about the Forester vs. the Explorer. The Explorer doesn't so much sway as careen!! :) But I expect that from this vehicle, so it's okay. My real "sin" in this question is that I'm comparing it to my Lincoln LS (well, not intentionally, but probably somewhat inevitably). That's a completely ludicrous thing for me to do, but the LS, which i ADORE (and which is a completely different vehicle - i would be more accurate in comparing the Forester to our baby grand piano, or the LS to the piano...).

    I wasn't at all deterred by the "You're no John F. Kennedy" approach to some of these reviews (substitute "SUV" for "JFK"). But I just wanted to get some feedback from folks who already have one. Any major offroad stuff we have to do will be done in the Explorer, which has been terrific.

    I am attracted by the gas mileage, and definitely by the AWD. Do you think the limited slip differential is a good reason to get an S instead of an L? I'm just about sold on the S, but I'm just curious. I assume that the handling in inclement weather in this car simply cannot be beat. Thanks one and all once again!!

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The LS is a fine platform that Ford over-engineered so it could be used for a Jaguar. Its sporty nature and RWD really put Lincoln back on the map for a lot of folks. CR even rates reliability as average, and gave the LS a higher overall rating than the Jag!

    So let's put it this way, the Forester is the most LS-like in its class. By that I mean car-like, smooth, quiet, nimble, and fun-to-drive.

    My worst tank ever was 20.7mpg in a week of driving at the beach, mostly off road. My best broke the 30mpg mark by just a tad. I usually get about 22-28mpg, averaging 25.1mpg. Frank does even better, and one guy reported a tank at over 33mpg! Wow!

    BTW, in your case, I do think the rear LSD is of benefit. Given you are concerned about its off-road potential, every bit helps. Also, the tires on the S are better and sportier than the ones on the L. But the L is a great value, and you could get snow tires for it to get you through just about anything.

  • Hi everyone,

    My Forester is a great car & I'm really enjoying driving it. Now I've decided I need a few more things - a trailer hitch is one of them. I read a while back about someone doing an install & provided pics. Was it you, Juice? Is the general consensus that it's easier to just let the dealer do the install or do you think it's easy enough for me to do? (I've been called the mechanically declined).

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I have nearly everything in the catalog. ;-) is down now, but when it comes back up, it asks for an e-mail to visit a friend's album, just enter

    It's not easy. 7 big bolts, remove and reinstall. They were very tight, so you should have a torque wrench with a long shaft. You also have to remove the exhaust vaccum canister and reinstall it below the hitch mounting point. I wouldn't call it hard, but you may want to let a dealer do it.

    I've seen DrawTite and Hidden Hitch models that fit the Forester, too, and those may cost a lot less. UHaul sells and installs them, as does Trick Trucks and Pep Boys. Shop around, I bet you can get it for under $200 installed for a Class I hitch and 4 wire harness.

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 42,374
    I heard a rumor that it was down for good this time. Let us know if you hear otherwise.

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  • forrester apparently sends torque front or abck no only when wheels slip but in proportion to how the weioght is distributed when going up or down hill. That is likely why traction is so very ery good in ice and snow. No body but me (I?) can get up the hill infront of my house. My mercedes was trapped in the garage for days. Forrester just went up driveway into bit hill and off to work. I am SOLD on the thing. No porblems yet at 14,000 miles. Pure adoration. Will get one for wife so she can be secure too.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    If you have an AT Forester, yes it will shift it based on weight. My Trooper does the same thing.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Boo-hoo. :-( I want my money back!

    I only wish I had snow to play on, goose!

  • dhdunndhdunn Posts: 51
    Paisan, what is an "AT Forester"? Thanks!!

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Automatic Transmission. We use lots of acronyms.

  • dhdunndhdunn Posts: 51
    I'm so manual transmission fixated, that I didn't even BEGIN to guess on that!! duh!!

    ...and that round thing that blocks the view of the speedometer?? :)

    well, I'm not all that acronym-challenged. My wife recently got an MPH, Masters in Public Health. I told her that if we ever move back to Europe, she'll have a KPH, Kilometers in Public Health...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    he he he. Clever.

  • dhdunndhdunn Posts: 51
    Folks, in my research I am pretty sure that I read that the Forester is on the same "platform" as the Outback/Legacy. Is this true?

    Can anyone address the relative merits of the Forester vs. the Outback, and vice versa? From what I see, the Forester is a bit less expensive. Why is that? Of course, the new 6-cyl Outback is rather prohibitive...


  • armac13armac13 Posts: 1,129
    No, the current Forester is definitely based on the previous generation (through 2001) Impreza platform. There is some speculation that the 2003 may be Legacy based. I, for one, hope that the new model is based on the new Impreza.

    In general, the Forester is lighter, a bit quicker and more agile/sporty. The Legacy/Outback is a bit more luxurious, has a softer ride and better rear passenger room.

  • jerrys2jerrys2 Posts: 188
    It is a problem... they both have so many I have one of each ( 2000 Outback Ltd. and 2002 Forester Premium+ ).

This discussion has been closed.