Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Subaru Forester (up to 2005)



  • Thanks, all, for the CEL feedback. And particularly Juice, for noting the difference between a flashing indicator and one that just glows continuously. Have to pay closer attention to the pump jockeys at the local filling station.

  • The Forester is touted to be one of the most reliable mini SUVs, according to Consumer Reports, and I'm in the market for a used one. On the other hand, a personal friend bought one new in 1999, and had to have the engine replaced in the first year (manufacturing defect, he was told). I thought this was probably a fluke, given Subaru's good reputation. But just yesterday I found a used 1999 Forester at a car dealer lot, and called the original owner to get more information. I found he had the rear wheel bearings go out within the first year, and was told the wrong type had been installed at the factory. The car has 54,800 miles and he said he had the transmission replaced under warranty at around 49,000 miles, again, he was told it was a manufacturing defect. The dealer is asking $15,200 for the car. Now this doesn't seem like such a reliable vehicle, considering the only two people I know who owns one had serious problems. If this were an American made vehicle, I wouldn't give Subaru a second thought, but I really like the features and the way the Forester drives. Has anyone out there had bad experiences with their Foresters? ("Bad" includes problems even if they are fixed under warranty.)
  • joseph50joseph50 Posts: 235
    Sorry to get philosophical/psychological on you, but it is a fact of nature that people find what they look for. If you are looking for a string of bad experiences with any car, you will find them. If you are looking for recommendations about the same make, you will find them.
    Still, best of luck in you endeavor.
  • rictomrictom Posts: 76
    My sister in law has a 99 Forester. Over 60000 miles. She loves it. Lives in CT, loves the AWD. Says they've only done the basic maintenance on it. We drove it while we were back there because we're looking at the Forester and a CRV. Liked it a lot. Today we drove a 2002, a simple on/off the freeway, how does it feel, how's the visibility, etc. type of test drive. Really liked it. Subaru is supposedly coming out with a redesigned 2003 Forester in April, so maybe that will free up some 2001 and 2002's and maybe you can make a deal on a new(er) one?
    Also have another friend with a 98 forester who likes it. He is ordering the STX so I guess he must like Subaru. I understand looking for a good used one, and I think you're going about it the right way, it just may take awhile to find a good one that someone sold for reasons other than problems....
  • I'm up for my 15k maintenance on my forester. Does anyone here do this themselves?

    How difficult is it with basic knowledge of car repair.

    Also, can anyone suggest a good book on a '01 subaru forester?

  • Maybe you misread my post about Forester's reliability. I was "looking for" (expecting)people to have good experiences with the Forester; it gets great reviews in most magazines. My question arose because I was suprised the only people I knew who owned Foresters had bad experiences. I would like to think Forester is still an above average car in terms of reliability, because I really like the way they drive and was set on buying one. So I'm looking to hear good experiences--what is your experience?
  • ldw40ldw40 Posts: 1
    Has anyone had clutch problems with a 2001 forester s+. I had mine dealer replaced at 22000 due to "shimmying" when the car is cold. After the car warms up the problem tends to fade away.
  • joseph50joseph50 Posts: 235
    I've had my Forester S for exactly one year, plainly long enough to react somewhat defensively when assuming that someone is attempting to use this board to fish for barbs. ("Has anyone out there had bad experiences....") I apologize for assuming incorrectly. What I appreciate most about the car is the sense of driving confidence it induces as a result of its terrific visibility and handling.
    Again, best of luck in your decision process.
  • felch1felch1 Posts: 19
    I drove my 2002 forester s last night for the first time in snow.
    Handles great! One thing I noticed however on occasion was a thump sound in the rear when first accelerating. It almost sounded like something was trying to kick in? It happened 2 or three times. Just wondering if it was something activating when you are on snow?
    Then of course I got paranoid and thought it was something that the people who installed my hitch may have done wrong. I has the hitch installed on Friday. Anyone out there shed some light on the thump sound when in snow? There was about 4-5 inches of fresh snow down.
  • jeijei Posts: 143
    My '99 "S" bought new has 88K miles and has been the best car I've ever had. Including Toyotas, with their famous & deserved reliablity record. Reliability has been very good although not Toyota perfect. The cruise control failed at 54K; I got it fixed out of warranty for $100, with Subaru helping out the rest of the cost. The alignment was off, causing some early tire wear. I've had brakes & rotors done. BUT: No wheel bearing, drivetrain or other major problems. At 3 years old, the car is rock-solid.

    That said, The Forester is a real pleasure to own and drive. It's comfortable, powerful, handles & brakes very well and has all sorts of thoughtful details including a flat cargo area, robust roof rack, heated mirrors etc. Great in snow & rain. Not too big or too small. Aside from its utility, the Forester has a certain cheerful, friendly character & personality - intangible things that are hard to pin down - real pleasure and value for that hard-earned money.

    Bottom line? I'd buy a Forester again because of its combination of performance, design, personality and reliability. However, I look forward to keeping my '99 for well over 200,000 miles. If I were looking for a used Forester, I'd check its history and condition carefully to avoid the few problem units out there.
  • lakepoplakepop Posts: 221 you have AT?

    I've read in other posts that it has something to do with a diffy transfer thingy that happens with AT. The AT coupling is different than on the manual tranny ergo a"thump" when slippage is detected.

    I have experienced it on my 01 Forester with AT.
  • I have a 2002 Forrester L automatic. I also sometimes notice a thump-type sound from the rear when I accelerate. Something like the cartoon characters moving their feet until their feet hit the ground.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    It's the power being shifted to the rear. I get it on my XT6 AT, and my Trooper exhibits a similar sound in the front when the power is shifted from the rear (normally 85% rear power) to the front. On the Trooper I know it's due to the power shift cause I have a guage that tells me how much torque is on each axle, so the thump coincides with the shift in power. Completely normal.

  • schollischolli Posts: 10
    I think you can always find someone who's had a problem with a car that you're thinking of buying. My 99 Golf caused me a lot of heartache - noises, screeches, and thumps that I've never heard in 20+ years of driving. But other people who've had 99 Golfs have had no problems.

    Have had my Forester all of 10 days and I love it. Jei summed it up perfectly - it's got a cheerful, friendly character that makes me smile. I'm still waiting for that whopper of a snow storm - we just got rain today. But in the rain/slush we had, it was great.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'd rotate tires regardless of your planes to replace them. My Duelers lasted 28k miles, FWIW.

    Will: engine problems are rare. Tranny problems aren't really common, but there was a TSB for manuals popping out of first, though Subaru fixed those for free. Clutch complaints are more common, but keep in mind all these are already factored in to the "better than average" CR rating for reliability.

    The rear wheel bearings were overtightened on some installations, so I've seen that a few times.

    My advice? Buy one with a little warranty left over on it, since you seem to worry about that type of thing. They carried a 5 year 60k mile warranty, so that should be easy.

    Better yet, can you afford a Forester L? A 5 speed goes for about $19k, and you'll have a long enough warranty that it'll be paid off before you have any repairs to pay for (not so with Honda).

    In my case I have 43k miles and still love it. I was the founder of the Subaru Crew, along with a few other regulars here, and we host a chat every week on Thursday. You'll find a dozen enthusiastic owners for every disgruntled one. Even some that have had problems still like their Subies so much that they buy another. :-)

    15k maintenance is just an oil change and tire rotation, I believe. 30k is the first major service.

    Michael: you probably felt the AWD system kicking in.

  • Subaru Forester has been named as the leader in customer loyalty among compact SUV buyers, according to the Polk survey. Does that mean I will get another one? Let's see the all new '03 forester this april, and my wife might get one.
    The part I like about the Subaru Forester is that it is just right, not too big and not too small, and it is neutral, even in steering. My 30K service is coming up, anyone has good suggestion as to where I could bring it to in the DC/VA/MD area? I also need a snowboard rack, anyone who wants to get rid of his, may contact me off line.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I do the services myself, even though we do live in the same area.

    Do you have a URL for the Polk story?

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Cool link, John!

    Did anyone notice that the Subaru Legacy is listed under Midsize Sedan?

This discussion has been closed.