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Subaru Forester (up to 2005)



  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    You were probably going too fast for the conditions, or you have the stock tires with 48K miles on them, which would most likely be useless in the snow.

  • The stock tires unfortunately wore out very quickly. I currently have Dueler H/L's with about 13K on them. As for going too fast, it's possible, but I was slowing down for the conditions.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    But I found even when I slow down for conditions I generally still drive too fast for them.

  • Yes, it's possible no speed was really slow enough for the conditions. My main concern is whether the ABS was functioning properly. Should the brake pedal continue pushing back even when my speed has fallen below 6 mph? If the ABS had disengaged once the speed had fallen below that speed, I feel like I would have been able to "wedge" the front wheels in order to stop.
  • bsvollerbsvoller Posts: 528
    The CR-V is an entry-level economy vehicle ? Wow ! You drive some pretty nice economy vehicles then...

    How 'bout a Focus as an entry-level economy vehicle, or a Neon, etc. They sell for 2/3's what the CR-V is going for, are smaller, lighter, no AWD, etc.

    The CR-V might be an entry-level SUV, but that get's back into the whole "what's an SUV" thing again... :)

    Anything that goes for nearly 20k can't be considered entry-level in my book, even if the "average" is a bit higher than that (I bet the median price isn't much different).

    Just my .02
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Congrats in advance, John. I'll be looking at a 2003 as well, so maybe we'll own two!

    I've heard the Dueler H/Ls were better than the H/Ts, but I haven't sampled them.

    ABS can be bad in the snow, because in a way you want skidding - it piles up snow in front of the tires and shortens stopping distances. I'm not sure, but is ABS disabled when you pull up the parking brake just one click? That might work if you're in those conditions again.

    I'd suggest testing the car in a parking lot, perhaps with the parking brake at one click.

    On mine, yes, the ABS works at all speeds.

  • jdwagsjdwags Posts: 3
    Thanks to all you Subaru folks for your feedback on my questions concerning AWD, boxer engines, and reliability. It is hard not to like a product produced by a company named Fuji Heavy Industries. Just the name gives me confidence.

    From reading some of the earlier posts, I've decided to wait for the 2003 Forester to come out before I make up my mind to buy. May even wait for the turbo to come out the following year.

    At any rate, I'll be looking forward to reading what you current Forester owners have to say here once you have a chance to try out the 2003.

    I do believe Consumer Reports will be reporting on small SUV's in the May issue. I wish they had waited to include the 2003 Forester in their comparison.

    One last question. Why did Subaru choose to go from a double overhead cam engine to a single as Juice noted in post #4761?

  • bsvollerbsvoller Posts: 528
    Subaru went to what they call the Phase II 2.5l engine in MY1999. The changes to the head were made to increase low end torque - they roughly doubled the torque available at 3000 rpm, while maintaining the same high-end output.

    This was accomplished by changing the valve angles to increase the charge tumbling, among other things. Going to an SOHC instead of the old DOHC design enabled them to reduce friction and increase the life of the timing belt. Recommended change interval went from 60k to 105k miles.

    At the same time, they met passenger car NLEV emissions, which as I understand it, means that they meet the 2004 proposed standard now (i.e. as of 1999). Not too shabby...
  • Thanks for your suggestion, Juice. I was so excited by the prospect of being able to disable the ABS by simply pulling up on the parking brake, that I just went out and tried that. Unfortunately, that does not disable the ABS. I tested this out a few ways. First, I left the parking brake at one click, accelerated to ~15 mph, and then slammed on the brake pedal. ABS kicked in. Then, I tested the ABS by accelerating to 15 mph, then simultaneously pulling up several clicks on the parking brake and slamming on the brake pedal. In that case, the ABS still activated. In a third test, I pulled up hard on the parking brake first, then hit the brake pedal while still pulling up. The ABS still activated. So, pulling the fuse seems to be the only way to disable the ABS, but I have read on other message boards that SOA advises against doing that. Of course, one could always try stopping with just the parking brake :-)

    I also tested out the 6 mph limit, which can be tricky since the speedometer doesn't start registering until exceeding 5 mph. I tested this by coasting and waiting until the needle dropped to the 5 mph mark and then slamming on the brakes. The ABS did not activate, so at least on dirt, it seems to be functioning within parameters. I'd be interested in what anyone driving on snow finds out.
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    The other reason (and probably the bigger one IMO) for going from DOHC to SOHC was cost. The SOHC engine has fewer moving parts and is most likely less expensive for Subaru to build.

    The timing belt change frequency did not change between Phase I and II, however. Both are 105K miles.

  • joseph50joseph50 Posts: 235
    Wow. Searching for ABS low limits on various surfaces. Various emergency brake pulls. Can anyone say, "e-s-o-t-e-r-i-c"? But interesting reading for sure! But I also enjoyed a recent (Sports Illustrated) quote by a veteran NASCAR driver when asked what the pros do when "stuff" - like an 18 car pile up - happens. Response: "Aw, we all have our eyes closed." ;0)
  • tincup47tincup47 Posts: 1,508
    I'm surprised you would fall for marketing hype. While BMW uses the boxer engine in some of their bikes, they also offer a flat inline 4 and a Rotax built Single. In fact, the inline 4 engine (along with the 750 flat 3) were going to be the only engines available in their bikes. That was until there was lack of acceptance by traditional BMW owners, which led to development of the excellent (although down on power to comparable 4 cylinder engines)boxers they have now. In their automobile lineup, inline 4, 6, and V8's are the engines of choice with the inline sixes being on Wards Automotive's top 10 engines for several years.
  • subiemansubieman Posts: 10
    I've had the same ABS behaviors since my Subaru was new (with new tires.) I was unable to come to a complete stop in snowy (or low-traction) situations without some difficulty. There is a strong metallic crunching sound and seemingly no braking action at low speeds.

    Its kinda fun when no one is around, but as indicated in my post in General Maintenance, I slammed into a rock ledge last week partly because of this problem. I've seen this ABS "noise" mentioned before...i guess Subaru's system is just quirky.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    You people need to go slower in the snow. You need to leave 3-5x the distance you would leave in RAIN! Sorry but that is the truth. I've slid my cars with and without ABS in the snow due to going too fast for the conditions, not because my ABS caused a problem.

  • suzzannsuzzann Posts: 56
    That crunching noise is the ABS working. The brakes are activated and released several times a second.

    I drive on snow and mud quite often. Hate to suggest it, but perhaps you're backing off the brake pedal when the sound starts? Mine works flawlessly, but remember you still have to steer the car while braking!
  • joseph50joseph50 Posts: 235
    Just to remind, when I inquired here about braking on snow a few weeks ago, I was taught by others to do the old-fashioned foot pump stop (threshold braking is the term juice used), ABS or not. No mashing allowed.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Is how you should use ABS, pumping will cause problems as suzann mentioned above.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I agree with the description of the changes for the Phase II engine except for one thing - at very high rpm power drops off sooner, in fact they lowered the red line a little. That's fine, the new engine just doesn't require as many revs.

    Jon: oh well, it was worth a shot.

    The best thing about ABS is that you keep control of your steering. My Miata lacks ABS and is RWD, so that thing is a real handful in the snow. A simple drop of the throttle send you spinning in a turn. Stab the brakes and hello, 360. It's fun when you're playing, but I never, ever drive my Miata in the snow to get anywhere.

    tincup: I wasn't falling for the hype, I just found it amusing to hear BMW talk about how great boxers are in print. I like their silky smooth in-line sixes, too.

  • bkaiser1bkaiser1 Posts: 464
    I've never heard of this on any of my cars, but my 01 OB definately will engage its abs below that speed if I stomp on the brakes. Backing down my short, snowy driveway (I'm guessing just a couple mph) can be enough to activate it. Incidentally, I've have had ABS-equipped cars for at least a decade living here in the snow and I honestly do not understand why some people overreact to ABS and insist on disabling it. I understand the "wedge theory" of getting some snow/dirt built up in front of the wheel to slow you faster in some situations, but in practice I doubt there is any real advantage. And on ice, there's absolutely nothing to "wedge" in front of the tire. A good friend of mine was in an accident several years ago on a slick road and he swears it was the ABS's fault for sending him through a guardrail...I tend to disagree. If you're driving too fast, ABS or not, you're going to have trouble stopping on ice/snow. Period. I can't imagine owning a car without it anymore.
  • peterson10peterson10 Posts: 116
    I typically drive with extreme-paranoid-caution when slick snow is on the roads. Still, I've had a few occasions to experience the rapture of Subaru's ABS and feel its a trade-off between distance and steering-control. Having learned to drive in Western NY (the glorious lake-effect snow belt) I intinctively feather/pulse the brakes in all adverse conditions and, hence, only ever have the ABS engage at fairly low speeds. On those occasions when the ABS kicks in I let up on the brake pedal momentarily (fraction of a second) every car length or so, and find the stopping distance to be less with no diminished steering control. Question: I know that pulsing the brakes defeats the ABS, but does it do any damage to the system?

    BTW, I recall reading a few years ago that Subaru's ABS was unique in the industry; developed from FHI's aircraft landing-gear technology. Did I dream this or have others heard the same?

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