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2009 Subaru Forester



  • volkovvolkov Posts: 1,302
    Which is why a block heater can have such a significant improvement for fuel economy since that heating is done directly with electricity and not with gas before you start driving.
    I remember an instant improvement in FE when I switched to synthetic in the old WRX.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I missed a bunch, too busy at work.

    Let's see, people asked about reliability, well I got good news from TrueDelta, that web site that registers VINs of actual vehicles and tracks reliability as things happen, and they actually said the 2009 Forester was a stand-out among new models this year. They singled out 2 of the best new cars, and it was one of them. :)

    Kurt commented that the non-turbo engine was responsive, and I have to agree, in fact I've said that all along. volkov mentioned it was the higher compression (agreed) and that the gearing was the same in the 1st three gears. True, except the turbo has a taller final drive ratio. So effective gearing is taller on the turbo, another reason the non-turbo feels more responsive until the turbo spools up.

    As mentioned here, the Ltd model does have the power seat. So as you step up among the naturally aspirated models, you get a lot of the content of the XT. One thing you don't get is the telescoping wheel, but the position is fine for both me and my wife, so we don't miss that.

    kurt: what do you mean by "dry lubricant" in post 2635? Just curious.

    TPMS saved us, too. It went off and sure enough, one tire had low pressure. I know some people complain and don't want to see more idiot lights, but this one is actually useful.
  • Dry lube is a kind of spray lube that creates a dry, powder-type coating. It is not oily, and does not smear or stain much.
    Liquid Wrench and a few other companies make this, usually sold at Home Depot and other builder supply stores.

    Wrt the Nokian WRG2's, they seem to be doing fine. Pressure is 34 front, 32 rear (PSI). They've definitely made the XT's ride less harsh on small bumps, and seem to grip the road better.

    So far the front doors, with vibration supression insulation added by the dealer under warranty, have stayed quiet.
  • w8ifiw8ifi Posts: 78
    Once in awhile we would have 35 below and I had no garage. I had to put both feet on the clutch with the shift in neutral and let it run for 10 minutes before I dared release the clutch in neutral! You probably had more than a few mornings like that. There weren't synthetics in those days but they sure would have made a difference.
  • w8ifiw8ifi Posts: 78
    Exactly, and all those little things really help on cold mornings.!! The savings on batteries, starters and engine components is worth it. One car dealer near me won't sell a car without a block heater.
    My Subaru will warm up well in two miles, my chrysler takes 6 miles at highway speeds.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    Hahahah - bingo! I know that technique well. On extremely cold mornings (~minus 50), I can actually hear the lube begin to spin in the transmission as I (slowly) release the clutch. That was on my old '69 Chevy pickup; I never experienced anything that cold with the '07 Outback, and this is the first winter with the Escort (coldest so far is about -25F). I am not even confident the car would start at -50 - even after a few hours sucking electricity. :mad:
  • billwvbillwv Posts: 48
    Hello All,

    I have had my 2009 Forester 2.5X 4AT for three months, now. I love this car -- best car I have ever had -- no problems, so far.

    I have been reading the forum with interest. One question I have is:

    When you are refering to the engine being "warmed up", are your refering to the blue light going out or some other criteria.

    Here in West Virginia winters are not nearly as severe as many of you are describing, yet, the cold weather effects are quite noticable.

    Thanks for your comments. I have learned alot from these forums.

    West Virginia
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    Ah, the blue "dummy" light. I think I would find that annoying - I like gauges. :blush:

    In my experience, the engine can warm up at different rates than the rest of the car. In terms of engine operating efficiency, the blue light turning off is a good indicator that the engine is warmed. But, in very cold weather, accessories and drivetrain components, like the transmission and differentials, could take longer to warm as it is all based on heat-by-friction. The more they turn, the more the fluids warm, but the colder it is, the more heat is required to warm them to normal operating temperature. The parasitic loss on the engine is all a matter of the fluid viscosity (resistance to movement). Therefore, the lower the viscosity of a fluid at a given temperature, the less energy will be used to move that component. In a differential or transmission especially, that translates to more energy at the wheels.

    When choosing fluids for a vehicle, you want to go with the fluid that will give the best protection at the lowest viscosity within a given ambient temperature range. Fluids that work best at extremely cold temperatures are not likely the ones that would provide the best protection at extremely high temperatures (typically >100F), so I would not likely put the same fluids in my car here in Fairbanks, Alaska as I would in, say, Florida.
  • volkovvolkov Posts: 1,302
    But don't forget that tranny fluid needs some viscosity to work properly. Tough to strike that balance without feeling like you're mixing cement with the shifter when it's 30 below.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    Right - ATF is always a problem in cold temperatures. That is one thing that blows me away about the transmission in my Escort. Manual, but uses ATF???? Hmm.

    All automatics are winterized here with a pan heater on the transmission. Manuals are not, as the fluid can (should) be swapped out with an appropriate gear oil.

    Amsoil universal ATF has the best cold-weather properties I have found, but even it will get very gummy at -50F (according to the temperature ratings - I have not experienced those temps with the Amsoil yet), but at least it is still quite fluid at -30F, which is a far more common winter temperature here than -50!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sounds useful. Had never heard of dry lube before. Thanks for the explanation.
  • w8ifiw8ifi Posts: 78
    Sometimes you'd have to crank the engine extra long and the battery would get so low the specific gravity would drop so all there was left was frozen water, buckled battery plates and ice ooozing out!! Or someone might offer to give you a push to get started and the tires wouldn't turn over and you'd do a tandem slide until you found a spot of dry pavement so friction would make the wheels move.
    One real cold night I went into my dad's garage and found a can of mobil one and a can of ten thirty. the 10-30 wouldn't pour and the mobil one poured slowly like molasses.
    fun days......
  • The cold and snowy Wisconsin winter has finally hit! I had actually been looking forward to the snow so I could test out the fabled AWD system the way it was meant to be used, and I have to say, it blew me away! This is the first AWD vehicle I have driven in Winter and the difference is night and day.
    However, I have noticed that even on a 10 minute drive to work through 4 inches the accumulation of packed snow and ice in all four wheel wells is just unbelievable! To be expected I suppose and normally wouldn't bother me, but I got the rugged package and if I try and kick the ice off, the flimsy splash guards and wheel arch moldings feel like they're going to come away with the ice even with the lightest tap.
    It was to the point where I could hear and feel the packed ice rubbing on all four wheels, and when braking the noise was awful. Unfortunately I haven't got a heated garage, so it's going to be spending the majority of the Winter outside.

    Anyone else finding the same with the splash guards? Any tips or suggestions?
  • havent been in the snow yet but one of my mud guards fell off from hitting a bump- they are flimsy and only held on by one screw and 3 plastic rivits. the body of the forester seems thinner than most cars, if you barely lean against it, it will bend. runs well but cheaply made. the interior scratches really easy too. just hoping the engine/4wd is not going to fall apart like the body
  • w8ifiw8ifi Posts: 78
    Up here in the U.P. it happened on all my cars. Road vibration, heat from the tires, and road salt will usually keep enough of a groove so the tires won't lock up. Sometimes after a long straight stretch you will find it's a little difficult to turn from the ice on the sides. Nothing to be alarmed about, just be prepared for it. Sometimes a chunk breaks loose when you are moving and can sure make funny noises until it breaks free. I've never had any serious trouble on any car from the build up.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    That is my experience as well. If you do not have a heated garage to let it clear, I tend to either bum 4-5 hours of garage space from a friend to let it melt out, or head to an indoor car wash and have them spray down the undercarriage with high-pressure hot water. a couple minutes through one of those has the ice gone and the car all shiny again, to boot! But, then a few more minutes on the road..... :P

    Happily, sticky snow is the exception here rather than the rule. It is mostly too cold for the snow to stick in appreciable quantities.
  • sgloonsgloon Posts: 303
    I am definitely finding the same snow build up and more. I am in CO and we have just had 2 snowstorms. The slush/snow build up is not only on the wheel wells, it is all along the side of the car by the doors, etc. The splash guards appear to be pretty worthless IMHO.

    I expect the splash guards will be worthless(or gone) after one season as they made them so that there is a "hole" that the snow is pushed up into on the tire side. I expect after a few freeze thaw cycles with the build up in there, they will break and start to fall apart. Bad design!!! I don't understand the hole. Any comments?

    In the past, I have kicked a bunch of the build up off, but with this car it takes some work. Not like the old rubber flaps. ;)

    To say the least, I am very disappointed with this issue. Still like the car though...

    Also, my last Subaru was a 2WD. This Forester with AWD is fishtailing on all corners, even when going slow from a start-up. And not in what I would typically consider icy conditions. My 2WD didn't do that. Is this normal for AWD? Or should I have something checked? :confuse:
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    The fishtailing is likely a grip issue, which means the tires are not performing well. What are the specs on your Forester (year, model, etc)?
  • Also, comparing a FWD to an AWD's a little tricky. In very slippery conditions a FWD will usually understeer as its front dances over the road, dragging the rear behind it. AWD has potential to "fishtail" either end of vehicle, depending which end of vehicle looses traction first.

    But xwesx has good point wrt tires. Most of Subaru's new tire choices don't seem to work well on ice. Old tires without sipes or flexible tread compound will perform badly on snow as well as ice.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    That's true. I wasn't thinking about it in terms of expectation/experience. I notice that - now having my first true FWD. I lose traction a lot in this car, but unless I am turning, it has no noticeable impact on my directionality since the whole car follows the front. I have to pull the e-brake for a moment if I want the rear to swing around.

    Sadly, even though the car has studded tires, they are cheap ones and the studs do little to make up for the hard (in cold) tread compound. I may end up replacing them for next winter. 14" tires are dirt cheap compared to 16" or 17", and good tires make for a more enjoyable driving experience.... even in a crappy car like mine! :D
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