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Subaru Forester Engine problems



  • "We don't own a turbo, but I have test driven one, and I felt like overall it was more responsive than the Sienna, simply because it picked the right gear a lot sooner."

    When I drove one, it felt more responsive not in how it downshifted, but because it did not have to downshift. The turbo has the torque to accelerate hard in 4th gear without triggering a downshift.
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    edited February 2010
    "My Forester has 92,000 miles... When it died on the highway, I had it towed to my mechanic's shop.... he can't get compression. He is afraid it is going to need a new engine $5000. Tomorrow he is going to obtain some sort of instrument to allow him to look inside without pulling everything out as there is some possibility it could be the valves..."

    The events and findings sound like the rubber timing belt broke, which would cause the engine to suddenly die with valve damage. But if the belt broke, surely the mechanic would know it and say it.

    A broken belt would cause the valves to hit the moving pistons, which would bend some valves and prevent compression. The mechanic may suspect this is what happened because he wants to look in through a spark plug holes at the damage. Unlike a leaking head gasket which occurs slowly and does not destroy the engine unless loss of coolant and severe overheating occurs, a broken timing belt causes severe internal damage. It requires a major engine rebuild, or another engine that is either used or remanufactured. A good used engine is often the easiest and cheapest solution.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,910
    Given the age of the vehicle and mileage (standard mileage for replacement is 105,000 miles), that could very well be the cause.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • masanmasan Posts: 77
    Interesting. Just heard from the mechanic. He tore down the engine today and found a bent valve. But he said the timing belt was fine. Assuming he doesn't find more damage, I may be able to get by with valve job, timing belt, and water pump for $1200-1500. I hope I have something to trade in, now.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Low-end torque is a lot better than Toyota's 2GR V6 (we have that engine in our Sienna).

    The Sienna needs revs to get going, but when it does it is definitely quick.

    At least it's fuel efficient at low rpm (tall gearing).
  • "... Just heard from the mechanic. He tore down the engine today and found a bent valve. But he said the timing belt was fine. Assuming he doesn't find more damage, I may be able to get by with valve job, timing belt, and water pump for $1200-1500...."

    I wonder if he just removed the head for the cylinder that had no compression, or if he removed both heads, and whether he is proposing do something to all the valves or just that one valve.

    A valve job is a maintenance action of lapping all the valves to improve their seating and compression. A bent valve needs a repair that addresses the cause of the bending. Likely there was a problem with the valve guide, so both guide and valve will be replaced. I wonder what caused that one valve guide to wear out so much that it let the valve wiggle, bind and bend. I would then feel less confident about the other valves.
  • hmcgeohmcgeo Posts: 2
    I have a friend with a 2001 Forester with 114,000 miles. It runs fine. The check engine light is on interrmittantly. I pulled the code and need more specific information. All I have is something with the Catalyst. Any thoughts?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,910
    P0420 is "Catalytic Converter Below Threshold." Essentially, the differential in the oxygen readings between front and rear sensors is not great enough and therefore throws the code. The idea is that when this happens it is due to the catalytic converter not processing efficiently and is thereby not effectively reducing the oxygen levels through catalytic oxidization.

    The code can be a result of an inefficient cat, but can also be caused by other things, including old/fouled oxygen sensors. I had that code pop up intermittently for over 60,000 miles on my '96 Outback and the bi-annual "sniff test" performed for emissions compliance never indicated any reduction in cat efficiency through increased tailpipe emissions.

    If your friend noticed a gradual drop in fuel economy in addition to the P0420 code, that is a fairly strong indicator that the oxygen sensors are in need of replacement since they are part of the fuel mixture's feedback loop.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • hmcgeohmcgeo Posts: 2
    Thank you. Very helpful. Can you tell me where to find the O2 sensors on the vehicle??
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,910
    Not precisely, but one is located before the first catalytic converter and the second is located after the last one. I am not sure if your car has one or two cats.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • How often should the timing belt be replaced on a 2004 Forester?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    105k mile interval for replacement, though they call for an inspection at 90k miles.
  • i had the same problem with my '01 forester, traveling 1000 miles from home. i ended up doing it myself, and found out after I got home that there is a program called WP-99 that covers many cars until the year 2014 no matter who maintained the car. Ask your dealer about that. It basically says that they will add the "sealant" at $1.29 a bottle, and if that doesn't fix it, then they decide if they want to cover the head gaskets. Talk with the dealer and see what they will do for you, and if to no avail, it never hurts to write the CEO a letter and let the dealer know.
  • jstrjstr Posts: 4
    edited April 2010
    Would the oil pump make a knocking sound on my 2004 Subaru Forester XT?
    The oil light came on. I checked the dipstick - oil was full and clean. I started hearing an intermittant whirring/humming/slight squeal for about 10 miles as I tried to make it home. I didn't hear valves clicking or upper engine noise so I kept going. The engine never overheated beyond normal. Then I heard the crunching of the oil pump falling apart, and the engine stalled. It turns over but has a loud knock when it starts. I turned it off again as soon as I heard the knock. I don't want to run it long enough to hold the brake, give it gas while in 1st gear to do a poor man's load test. :sick:
    Could the oil pump make this sound or do you think it slipped a rod bearing that quickly?
  • jstrjstr Posts: 4
    Hard to find a salvage yard XT engine for my 2004 Forester XT with automatic transmission.

    Can I swap in a regular long block and use the turbo's external parts?
    If so, what years would be compatible? Thanks
  • fbkordfbkord Posts: 17
    Hello everyone,
    The short block on my 2002 forster was replaced. Does this mean they also changed the head gasket while fixing the block? So far I have not had any issues with the gasket but I've heard stories.

    Thank you

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Nope. Different block.

    The turbos have a semi-closed deck block, plus some different internals (forged connecting rods for starters).

    Parts are different.
  • jstrjstr Posts: 4
    To answer my own question -

    A local mechanic told me the oil pump bolts can loosen a half turn until they hit the casing. This is enough to lose pressure from bypass leakage.

    I figure I should have stopped driving right away, tho' the oil level was good on the dipstick. I think there'd be little upper engine noise (from lack of oil flow) due to the overhead cam design - no lifters clattering.

    So the mechanic and I are pretty confident I've spun a rod bearing. :blush: :cry:

    Anybody know where I can get a good used (low miles too) XT engine for my 2004?

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,910
    There's a pretty good chance you did! Lesson learned, albeit the hard way! That's better, though, than having thrown a rod or otherwise damaging the block itself. In this situation, you could tear down the lower end and rebuild it, maybe even saving some money in the process. I agree that valve noise would be a likely indicator of low (or no) oil flow. Squealing, though, is another very good sign.... :cry:
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • jstrjstr Posts: 4
    Yes, I'm concerned about the squeal. I'm hoping when I rebuild that the turbo didn't get bled dry. With so much potential of damage, I recommend Subaru install an oil pressure guage instead of an idiot light. It just made me feel like an idiot. :cry:
  • bpiribpiri Posts: 8
    I need a engine for my 2001 Subaru Forester it had a 2.5 sohc vin # 6 and automatic.

    What is the opinions about a rebuilt or used or a used JDM?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,910
    Both used and rebuilt can be good bets; I would go with one that comes with a warranty from the seller, as head gaskets always can be issues with these engines and you don't want to plunk one into your car just to find out a few hundred miles down the road that the gaskets are bad....
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • carlosh1carlosh1 Posts: 4
    edited May 2010
    I live in Colombia S.A., and just bought a Forester S 2002, from an USA diplomatic; it has 65.600 miles on it.

    The fact, it´s doing 18 MPG, i can not see the Check Engine Light in the panel when turn the key before starting. Is it possible it is disconnected now? if yes, how do i turn it on back again?

    The Subaru dealer here, they told me that USA version has problems with the Oxygen sensor, instead off the Japanese ones.

    What can i do with the consumption?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's not good - the previous owner may have disabled it.

    Get an OBDII code reader, and scan it for error codes. That will give you the best clues as to what's going on.

    I know that certain Miata owners that race their cars simply drill a hole to break the bulb to help them ignore check-engine lights, so it can be done.
  • carlosh1carlosh1 Posts: 4
    Finally the mechanic here in Colombia, activated the Check Engine Light, which was disabled for the previous owner.

    And it is ON in yellow color, the mechanic told me is showing Fail in the O2 Sensor # 1, but recommended to me to get both sensors (Forester S 2002) but to ask for sensors to places where the Gas is not so pure and is mixed with Alcohol (Ethanol) like here in Colombia .

    VIN # JF1SF65502H707396

    Con somebody help me? Is it true?? How do i Turn the CEL off?

    Thanks to you.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited May 2010
    Given that oxygen sensor is probably 9 years old now, it wouldn't be a bad idea to replace it.

    It could be working, though, and reporting a problem upstream, like a misfire. If that's the case it's spark or fuel - plugs, plug wires, ignition coil, etc.

    Can you borrow a code reader to get the code? I'll lend you mine if you're in the DC area.
  • carlosh1carlosh1 Posts: 4
    I´ll get a Code Reader to have it for the Forester so i can learn and check it sometimes.

    For sure i´ll get both O2 Sensors and change them.

    I´m in Bogotá Colombia, so i´m going to get one from USA (buy) what brand and type is better? I mean to reset CEL and other functions like check emissions.

    Once again thank you.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I got a simple Actron model, I think it was $99 or so.

    Make sure you get one that can read and reset codes. The cheapest ones only read the codes.
  • rlc0750rlc0750 Posts: 2
    2010 Forester, 11k miles. this problem started at about 4k miles.
    A loud crackling noise, seems to come from catalytic converter but not 100% sure. Was initially only happening when I turned off engine but now happens when idleing, at warm up or after driving for awhile.

    after turning off engine the loud crackling goes on for 2-3 minutes.

    thanks for any help
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sounds like the popping you normally hear with the exhaust parts heat up and cool down. It's unusualy to hear it while idleing, though.
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