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Subaru Forester Engine problems



  • erikwierikwi Posts: 71
    Is the 4.2 quarts in the owner's manual correct for the 2006 Forester nonturbo? I changed my oil at 2500 miles and put 4 and a quarter quarts in. Oil was a hair above the full mark on the dipstick but not above the notch. I checked it today and it was just over a quarter of a quart down in 1000 miles. I saw somewhere else on the forums that oil capacity should be 4.8 quarts. Which one is right?
  • dstew1dstew1 Posts: 275
    On another Subaru forum (search "scooby mods"), they posted this clarification of the owner's manual directly from SOA:

    Dear xxxx:

    Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We do apologize for this inconvenience. We appreciate that you brought this to our attention. The correct capacity for the engine oil for the 2004 Forester XT is 5 quarts when replacing the engine oil and filter.

    The 4.2 quart capacity noted in your owner's manual is for the 2004 Forester non-turbo models when just filling up the engine oil and not replacing the filter. The capacity of the non-turbo models when replacing the filter is 4.8 quarts.

    We have advised our Publications Department that this information needs to be added to future Forester owner's manuals.

    Thanks for the opportunity to be of assistance. If you need any future assistance, please feel free to contact us.

    Best wishes,

    John J. Mergen
    Subaru of America, Inc.

    While this specifies 2004, note that this letter is from August '03. I'm assuming this information is true for the '05 and '06 MYs as well.

  • erikwierikwi Posts: 71
    I thought so! I guess someone didn't get the message in the publications department. Also, book recommends 5w-30. In my area, temps regularly see 90+ in the summer. I switched to Syntec 5W30 at 2500 miles. Would Syntec 5W50 be a better choice? It would cover the entire temperature range of my climate.
  • raybearraybear Posts: 1,795
    I always stick to what the manufacturer recommends.
  • erikwierikwi Posts: 71
    Well, the book is confusing. In the maintenance section, it says 5W30 is recommended but in the same paragraph, it says to use the proper weight for your local climate. I think I'm just going to use Syntec 5W30 and be done with it. Synthetics handle heat and cold better than dino juice anyway.
  • rochcomrochcom Posts: 247
    I think it would be almost impossible to burn a quart in 500 miles unless there were serious ring problems, in which case you would see blue smoke in the exhaust, OR a seal leak. I had several seal leaks in my '98 and the seals were replaced under warranty. You should check for leaks where you park and for odors where the oil may hit an exhaust pipe - the latter is how I detected mine. My '98, uses almost no oil at 125,000 miles.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Join us OCD Clubbers - just fill the oil filter before you install the new one. That pre-soaks the filter element.

    And yes, you end up using almost all of 5 quarts.

  • kaarstenkaarsten Posts: 3
    Thanks. I know it seems unbelievable, but it is true. I've had the cam seals replaced twice. There are no leaks when the car is sitting, but there are exhaust like odors when I am idling and black/blue exhaust when you rev the engine up to 5 rpm. Was it your valve guide seals? It sounds like it is my rings. Honestly, I've been patient with Subaru for over a year while they misdiagnose. The oil consumption began in earnest at 61,000 miles and Subaru continually dismissed me as the problem got continually worse. I'm open to suggestions because an engine overhaul at 75,000 miles seems a little absurd.
  • erikwierikwi Posts: 71
    I must already be a member :) I've always prefilled my filters whenever possible. When I was going to school for my automotive technician degree, the instructor told us it was always a good idea to prefill when you could.

    I did that to mine and put it 4.25 quarts. 1000 miles later it showed up about a half quart low. Juice, are you saying that even with prefilling the filter, it still takes 5 quarts?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm including the oil used to fill the filter in my 5 total quarts.

  • erikwierikwi Posts: 71
    Ahh, I understand now. Thanks for the info!!
  • rochcomrochcom Posts: 247
    I am not sure which specific seals, but there were two different ones. A small amount of blue exhaust smoke at high revs might not mean anything, but at the rate you are burning oil, I would expect blue smoke constantly. The smell I referred to was almost like burning rubber. There was a problem with grease burning on the exhaust pipes of early Foresters and this smwll was similar, but turned out to be leaking oil hitting the hot pipes.

    Some other possibilities: Are you using synthetic oil? In an older vehicle, I had been using Mobil 1 (original formula) for some years with no problems, but on a high speed trip during hot weather, it all slipped past the rings. During a 1000 mile trip, I ended up replacing it all one quart at a time with regular 10W-30 oil and that stopped the problem.

    Is there another Subaru shop nearby that you can take it to?
  • kaarstenkaarsten Posts: 3
    Thanks for all of your suggestions. The problem ended up being bad Valve Guide Seals in Cyclinder#4. They replaced them, and we'll see what happens next.
  • submansubman Posts: 1
    We have a 2002 Forester, and had the same trouble. You would start to accellerate, and it would suddenly slow right down. It was a pin hole in a vaccum line.
  • mb789mb789 Posts: 89
    I have an '06 Forester X with about 2300 miles on it, and when I start it up in the morning, the engine seems to be running very fast (sounds like a mini diesel), the RPM is between 1 and 2 I think. When the car is put into gear (reverse to back out of the driveway), the engine calms down to normal, and everything is fine after that and it runs smooth.

    Is this common, or is this some kind of problem that needs checked out? I didn't notice it doing this when I first got it 3 months ago -- it had about 120 miles on it then.
  • kate5000kate5000 Posts: 1,271
    do you have A/C turned on?
  • I have an '04 Auto XT and it does the same thing (runs faster when I first start it before I put it in gear). I do believe this is normal, however. I think it's the car's way of warming up the engine. As you let the engine warm up, the RPM decreases. Alternatively, if you put the car in gear, the car no longer tries to maintain that warm up speed.
  • once_for_allonce_for_all Posts: 1,640
    it should run faster... however if it sounds like a diesel, that may mean you are getting some piston slap along with it. If it is a consistent sound every morning, I would get the dealer involved.

  • bayview6bayview6 Posts: 141
    I would just use the new SM regular oils, 5W30. They are probably about 50% synthetic anyway. ;)
  • My 2003 Forester with 60K km and auto transmission. During these 2 mornings, when I started the car, the CEL was blinking for about one to two minutes. The engine was shaking. Ater driving for about one to two km., the light was gone and the engine no more shaking. The temperature was not very cold. It's around 6 to 10 degrees C. I'll take it to dealer to check the coming Monday. Anyone knows what are reasons for the light? My regular warranty expires last year (after 3 years). Will this be covered by the major component warranty, which covers up to 5 years and 100K km.?
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    Sounds to me like the oil was too thick. What grade are you using? How long did you let it sit at idle "warming up" :confuse:
  • I use 5w30 and it was changed with oil filter and air filter at the end of last month. I normally do not warm up, i.e. I just start and go. But this morning, when I found the CEL was blinking, I gave a little gas and hoped it would be gone. But it didn't. After about a minute, I drove away. Then after about one km., it's gone.
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    So, that tells us if you use the precaution, as you should do with any vehicle, of warming it up for 3-5 minutes, in very cold weather, before driving, the lubricants would be free-flowing. ;)

    You might want to switch, in Winter, to 0-30...
  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    A blinking CEL indicates an engine misfire condition and should not have anything to do with the weight of the oil.

  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247

    So far as I know, it is a multi-function indicator, and engine mis-fire isn't the only reason it would be on. Check the Owners Manual....
  • I think Brian is right. According to p. 3-11 of the manual: "If the light blinking while driving, an engine misfire condition has been detected which may damage the emission control system. To prevent serous damage..... The CHECK ENGINE warning light may stop blinking and come on steadily after several driving trips. You should have your vehicle checked by an authorized SUBARU dealer immediately."

    This is the whole part regarding blinking light. The other part is related to CEL staying on steadily.

    If it's engine misfire, can anyone confirm if this is under major component warranty?

    This morning when I started the car, the CEL did not blink nor come on. Please note that the temperature I used was Celsius and not Fahrenheit. This morning it's 2C, i.e. about 35.6F, which was colder than last two mornings, which were around 6-10C, i.e. 43-50F. So I don't think cold weather is the reason. I'll update the situation after I go to the dealer tomorrow morning.
  • The dealer said the CEL was due to ignition coil. It charged me C$408 + taxes for the replacement. Is this price reasonable? Is it normal to need replacement for just 4 years and 60K km?
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    As I posted, and as Lithia Subaru just told me, it is a multi-function light, not one that merely indicates engine misfire.
  • According to the scan result, the fault code was P0301 Cyl #1 misfire. The reason for the misfire was the defective ignition coil.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    We need the codes to know for sure, but ignition coil is likely, or ignition wires, or spark plugs. All those things can create a misfire condition (blinking means the condition occurs repeatedly).

    A new ignition coil costs about $80 and there's only one, so it's not that expensive.

    $400 sounds high to me. I've replaced one in less than an hour, it's not hard. It's right at the top of your engine, where the spark plug wires end.

    See if they changed the wires or anything else.

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