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Subaru Forester Engine problems



  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Mmmm.... head gaskets. $800 sounds pretty cheap, especially if that is for both gaskets. You might try to wrangle with Subaru a bit on this one, since it is a well known and well documented issue with these engines. Typical cost for both gaskets tends to run more toward $1800-2200, so I have to wonder if that is a reduced cost already.

    Anyway, if you have had no overheating issues, there might not be more of a problem with it.

    Of course a dealer is going to encourage you to go with a new car, so anything other than an affirmation of your inclination to replace with new from the dealer would be a surprise to me. If you are ready to dump it though, your peace of mind is worth a heck of a lot more than a new round of car payments. ;)
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I would have my lawyer write a letter and threaten to sue. The car was fine when you brought it in... Subaru isn't responsible, but the dealer is however.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    What did the dealer do to make the gaskets fail, though?

    02s are borderline. Some early ones were still affected, later models were OK.

    I agree that they probably already reduced the cost substantially, though.
  • dtos01dtos01 Posts: 22
    I have 44k miles on my FXT and I notice a distinct CLICK when the auto transmission upshifts in the lower gears...

    Its like vroooooom...autoshift(CRICK) vroooooom...

    Can anyone give me some ideas? Thanks!
  • sanjay4sanjay4 Posts: 4
    I recently bought a 2004 subaru forrester; when
    I stop the engine, it keeps making some clutter
    sounds - does this indicate any engine issues?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    To some extent it's normal and characteristic of a large boxer 4.

    If it shakes more than other models (you can check at a dealer, perhaps), then have the engine mounts inspected.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Do you mean the engine keeps running after you turn it off? If so then yeah there is something wrong with it.

  • sanjay4sanjay4 Posts: 4
    No Mike - the engine stops running - but continues to make
    some sounds (like tinerking of some metals pieces) -
    the sounds stop after a couple of minutes..
  • sanjay4sanjay4 Posts: 4
    Thanks - that was helpful.. I shall have the engine mounts inspected.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Not your motor mounts. It's most likely your exhaust cooling down or a heat shield cooling down.

  • We caved in and traded the Forester for a new 2007 Honda Accord EX-L.

    Our Forester was an early 2002-but Subaru and dealer both said it was not one of the identified problem motors.

    I told the Subaru Service Manager that I will never ever own another Subaru. Subaru clearly knows there is a design flaw, that is why they put the chemical additive in the coolant at 48,000 miles-which plugged the leak areas until it was out of warranty and then told he was a high mileage car. Pure BS!

    Thanks to everyone who offered assitance with comments and suggestions! We really appreciate your help.

    Galen Diehl
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Yep, sounds like typical metal contraction noise - little "ticking" noises emanating from the car's engine bay area for a few minutes after shutting the car off. You should hear it when the ambient temperature is -50F! :P
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    True that. I often walk by parked cars that are popping.

    Slow down. ;)

    Nah, just drive easy the last mile or so of each trip to let the engine cool down a tad before you get out.

    My Toyota is even stranger - you hear a pump go off after you leave the car for a while, "whiirrrr". It's emissions related.
  • i have a 2001 subaru with 116 000 mi. its an automatic and when it accelerates, the car jumps with a click sound...its quite audible but the jump is felt but not uncomfortable...i bought it from a dealer in fairfax VA...i got an oil (10W-40, Synth) and a filter change. its a great ride and very reliable but this clicking and jumping that comes when accelerating is something i am clueless about. actually a lot of things related to my subaru are simply unkown to me...
    does anyone know as to what could be the problem or what should i get my subaru diagnosed for?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It does not sound normal, so you might want to ask your mechanic to inspect it at your next oil change, or at the 120,000 mile service, which is the next major one.
  • kona4kona4 Posts: 1
    just about to buy a 99 forester. have done all due diligence i can imagine including carfax; calling subaru to track that all SB's have been fulfilled... now just got to get over the fears driven by the immense amount of stuff i'm reading about head gaskets on this car. the current owner has done the coolant conditioner... but how long does that last? anybody know if that is a permanent fix? Subaru said that they cover head gaskets in the normal warrantee up to 60k miles but after the coolant conditioner fix is done, they will cover this year until 100k miles... anyone with any experience "post" conditioner? with this year car? it currently only has 64k miles and I'm hoping for years more... thanks, kona4
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I had a 98 and it was perfect, even without the conditioner.

    We needed more space, so we got a minivan, but we plan to trade our Legacy on an 09 Forester when those come out.

    You're covered for, what, another 36k miles? That's as long as some new car warranties.
  • I don't know that this is actually an engine problem but I figured I'd start here.

    My wife has an '03 Forester XS. It's got just over 40k miles on it and the only thing it's needed so far besides regular service was a new oxygen sensor a few months ago.

    Today I noticed some spots in the driveway where she parks, small pools of an off-whiteish liquid. There are a few of them and they're maybe 2" across. In a left/right sense, they appear to be coming from the middle of the car. In a front/back sense, I can't tell because she doesn't always park in exactly the same spot.

    When she gets home, I'll check the fluid levels. What are the likely possibilities here, and with each one, what's the urgency? (I'm not trying to blow it off, I just like to know whether it's a case of "must get to mechanic immediately and drive no further" or "it's ok to wait a few days until the dealer can take you.")

    Thanks for any info.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    White liquid? Personally I'd stick a sheet of cardboard to see exactly where it's coming from.

  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Maybe you're leaking WhiteOut! Seriously though, other than wheel bearing grease, I don't know of another lubricant that's white.

  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    Oil and coolant whipped up together can be whitish.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    What is the texture like? Oily? Watery?

    I wonder if it's just water from the condenstation of the A/C system. Not sure where it picked up the whitish color, though.
  • I have been experiencing multitude problems with my 04 forester, 70,000 miles...need struts, had hesitation at start, skipping, cel on..and have in the last months replaced spark plugs, fuel injectors, ignition coil, and now they say I have to replace the head gasket. Is this normal??? Is anyone else having these problems??
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Head gaskets were common up until 2002, but not for 2004 models. That's strange.
  • I don't know about head gaskets being "common." I sold my 2001 S Forester to CARMAX last week. I never had a head gasket go in 130,000 mis. I just bought an '08 xt Limited and am thrilled so far. Just bad luck I guess in your case.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Among the complaints, head gasket was listed about as often as any other issue, is what I meant.

    Consumer Reports still recommends every single model year Forester, since it arrived here. So reliability is still good.

    #1 complaint was probably wheel bearings, actually. I'd say head gaskets were #2.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Although resources like Edmunds are invaluable in helping owners and potential buyers ask questions and get answers, they do tend to distort the number and magnitude of problems. I've seen where someone said they were considering getting a Forester but that after reading about all the problems, they were having second thoughts.

    What they failed to realize is that there are a number of factors that contributed to giving them the false impression that the Forester isn’t reliable.

    Take this topic for instance, it's almost 2 years old and has 140 posts while other Forester topics have had hundreds and even thousands of posts during the same time span. And of those 140 posts, you can figure that well more than half are responding to someone asking a question, so the actual number of head gasket complaints is pretty small.

    And then as Comendatore pointed out, it’s only natural that just the owners who have problems are going to post in a head gasket topic, there's no representation for all the owners who haven't had any problems. So say 20 owners had head gasket issues, there’s no doubt hundreds of others who haven’t had a problem.

    Also, the Subaru forum is one of the most active ones on Edmunds with plenty of owners ready to offer advice or opinions which ups the number of posts in the problem topics. This leads to more total posts which can give the impression that there are more problems than there actually are.

    For comparison purposes, The Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee forum has a total of 12,500 posts while the Subaru Forester has 28,200! Now obviously the Cherokee and GC are way more popular vehicles which also happen to have far worse reliability so clearly all forums aren’t equally active. In fact a while back, I tried to get input to a transmission problem with a Grand Cherokee. Not too surprisingly, I didn't get a single response to my question.

    All this isn’t to say I’m trying to diminish the problem with the head gaskets. We all want to drive the perfect vehicle and get understandably upset when a supposedly reliable one like the Forester has a problem. But at the same time, it helps to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

  • My new 08 Subaru Forester LT Limited is making weird engine noise.
    When I go up hill, I hear loud knocking sounds from the engine (and yes it is getting louder)
    I went to the dealer 3 times (3 different dealers). When I take them for test drive, they all say 'oh! I hear it and it is weird' but later thay all say it is normal. And the cause of the knocking noise could be bad california gas (I always put premium :mad: ).
    I feel like since they cannot fix the problem, they are saying it is normal.
    Does anyone have same problem as me?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    I feel like since they cannot fix the problem, they are saying it is normal.

    That is typical.

    How long has the car done this? There are a few things you can do to try and mitigate the problem, though. If you are hearing the sound just when going up hill (i.e., the engine is under load), then it could involve the fuel system, timing, injectors. It might even involve the transmission; if it is not downshifting properly then it might cause the engine to "bog down." Try adding a bottle of Heet to the fuel to make sure there is no water in the tank. Put a good fuel system cleaner in there as well, just to make sure there is nothing partially clogged. Granted, it is an '08 (i.e., basically new), but who knows at this point. At least you can reduce the possibility that the fuel is the culprit. Even premium can be "bad" if it is contaminated!

    It is not normal and should be addressed.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • phil2000phil2000 New JerseyPosts: 195
    I had the same problem. Two weeks ago the pulley went and cause the timing belt to jump. Repair ran $775.00 on my 2000 Forester. But the engine misses now and the dealer (who I am not happy with) said I have valve damage but did not say which ones. I wonder did he put the belt on correctly. The engine had 254,000 on it. :( :(
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