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Subaru Forester Engine problems



  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Sounds like the Coolant Temp Sensor is bad. That's not the T-stat, it's an electronic sensor that tells the ECU what temp the car is running at so it can compensate for it with the fuel mixture.

  • My 2006 Forester stopped a week ago. After it was towed to Subaru I was informed that the reason the engine clanged to a stop is that there was carbon buildup in the engine. While I do have 67,000 miles on this less than 3 year old car I have also had four other Subs and have never had a major problem. Sommechanics I have talked to said this "carbon" explanation sounds bogus. Any suggestions on the issue and also how to deal with Subaru?
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    A friend's Element began to run poorly and suffered a drop in mpg at 30K and continued to 60K when it got so bad she took it the dealer. It was diagnosed with carbon build up on the valves. They offered a chemical treatment, very costly but cheaper than a mechanical repair. The Element ran better for awhile but then the problems appeared again. By then she had given it to her daughter and I don't know what happened to it.
    You say your Forester "clanged" to a stop, and titled your post with "seizure". That sounds like mechanical failure, not carbon build up.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Yeah sounds like a rod or timing belt issue.

  • dengosadengosa Posts: 4
    I need your help please.
    I purchased a 99 Forester last September. Immediately I notice a oil leak. I replaced a head gasket.
    I took the car to multiple repair shops to get few opinions but the guy who did head gasket did not think there was anything wrong with the engine. He did a test on compression rings and he said they were fine.
    But now, it is very obvious that the engine is burning oil.
    When I start the car, there is ridiculous amount of smoke comes out. It stays smoking for about 5minutes or so and then it stops.
    I have read other discussions similar problem.
    I came to a conclusion that doing the valve job is the best solution for me.
    If anybody has advise for me, I would really appreciate it.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    It could be valve seals are leaking and allowing oil into intake manifold.
    Compression test would not find leaking valve seals.

    I had similar problems with two other cars.

    Also, one of the "high mileage" oil additives could help for the short term.
  • dengosadengosa Posts: 4
    So, basically, I need to have "volve job: done, right??

    How much does that cost usually???

    And I read on the yahoo that not all mechanic would do this kind of job.
    so for me to find the "right " repairman, what are the things I need to ask???
  • dengosadengosa Posts: 4
    I bought 99 Subaru Forester last year and now it is burning oil.
    well, so I was told.

    What can I do? Somepople say I need "Valve job" done. Some people say it wont fix the rpoblem, or they can not tell what it is that causes..

    Do I really need to look into replacing the motor???

    Please help.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    I'll try to be clearer about the potential problem....if any other Subaru crew folks wish to correct me please do so. :confuse:

    Short of holed pistons or cylinder walls :sick: there are only two ways Oil can get into the combustion chamber: from the bottom (past the piston rings), or from the top (from the valve/camshaft area).

    The compression test you had suggests the piston rings are ok. This suggests oil's getting into combustion chamber from valve/camshaft (valve block) area.

    Valve rockers, valve stems, and camshafts are lubed by engine oil. The only "passages" between those parts, and the valve surfaces doing the actual combustion chamber sealing, are drilled passages in the valve block. Seals sitting at the top (camshaft side) of the passages "wipe" oil off the valve stems and keep it from leaking into the cylinders.

    If those seals go bad, then vacuum in either exhaust or intake manifolds will pull oil from camshaft area into cylinders where it gets burned.

    Two general rules: If it smokes when you are accelerating, the intake valve seals may be bad. If it smokes when you are deaccelerating, the exhaust valve seals may be bad.
  • dengosadengosa Posts: 4
    Thank you for your response.
  • shirleytshirleyt Posts: 1
    I have 86,000 on my Forester SUV - Check Engine light was on - and it didn't have the pickup it once had. Dealer replaced the catalitic converter - is this normal after only 86,000 miles - always use Regular Gas in it! Any thoughts on this?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    We don't really have enough info to go by, but that seems pretty early for a Cat failure.

    Though if you have a misfire (which would trigger a check-engine light) and keep driving for a long period of time the unburned fuel that gets through would eventually clog it up.
  • jeep1988jeep1988 Posts: 40
    My 2006 Forester has 48,000 miles on it. When traveling at 55 miles and hour, there is a thumping sound coming from the engine when I accelerate.

    It is not from the wind, because it is only when I hit the gas pedal.

    My questions is: Does anyone have any ideas of what it might be? When I say thumping, it is like a fan blade or some plastic that flaps in the wind. I know it is not that, I has that checked out? Thanks. :sick:
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    CV Joints?

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm thinking tires also. See if the wheel well liners are loose and rubbing up against the tires.

    That happened to my Miata after a visit to the body shop - they didn't secure the fender liner properly at first.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Along those lines the undertray could also be loose from an oil change too.

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • Hello,

    My wife's 2004 Forester has 63,000 miles and today she said the engine started to vibrate, and a little later smelled a burning smell. She checked the car when she got home and didn't notice anything. I started the engine and noticed that the 2 fans behind the radiator were cycling on and off (about every 30 seconds) while idling. I know my 2006 does not do this. I took the car for a drive, and after about 6-7 miles, I experienced the same thing - engine vibration, as well as a little loss of power.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
  • champ8champ8 Posts: 3
    Just found out from my local mech. that my 2003 Forester has a leaky head gasket (drivers' side). Because of the head gasket issues prior to 2001, I called Subaru customer service, but because my forester's got 125,000 miles on her, the guy said "tough luck" (just paraphrasing). He said I should first get a dealer to officially diagnose the prob and then Subaru will review the case.

    What are my chances of getting a little help with the (gasp!) cost??
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    To be fair that is very high mileage... I mean, even if you had bought the most expensive extended warranty you would not be covered.

    See if they will pay for parts, and you pay for labor.

    Honestly, if they offer any discount at all I think they're being generous.

    125k is more than double the promised 60k powertrain warranty.
  • tanagertanager Posts: 16
    I have a 2004 Forester XT with 105K miles on it, and today I found out that my connecting rod is knocking into the block and that my engine is basically shot. I am devastated. I have had my share of problems with this car, but I love it, and this is disappointing beyond belief. I have been excessively diligent with the maintenance on this vehicle and I have all records to prove it. I bought it in 2006 and it had 58K miles on it then. I have put a lot of miles on this car in the last 2.5 years, but is there any reason why such an important component of the engine would go bad so soon when the car has been well taken care of? What on earth should I do? My mechanic estimates that a rebuilt engine will probably cost me about 3K.
  • champ8champ8 Posts: 3
    So, chances are not great that Subaru will take pity on my high mileage Forester with the leaky head gasket. There were references earlier in the forum to stop-leak products used by dealerships, and I'm wondering if they are a viable way to get another 50,000 miles out of my car without fixing the gasket. As a temporary measure now, would an additive allow me to fix the leak later?

    Anyone have real world experiences with stop-leak products?
  • "... 2004 Forester XT with 105K miles... my connecting rod is knocking into the block... I bought it in 2006 and it had 58K miles on it... is there any reason why such an important component of the engine would go bad so soon..."

    This results from very worn or damaged big end bearings. It is likely that the first owner abused the engine for the first half of its life by frequent boost and infrequent oil changes.
  • I used stop leak products decades ago. They coat the whole cooling system with a residue to stop a pin hole leak at one point in it. The coating can reduce the cooling capacity of the radiator.
  • Just thought I'd update on my 2003 Forester with the leaky head gaskets.

    Called Subaru and they kindly agreed to pay HALF the cost of replacing the gaskets, even though the warrantee extension only applied through the '02 models. Apparently the 03's are not entirely free of the problem.

    I was very happy with the agreement, since I was sure I'd be out of luck completely. I had to pay the bill up front and am now waiting for reimbursement.

    Moral: It doesn't hurt to ask.
  • Congrats on that! :)
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Sweet and congrats to Subaru for doing right by the customer. Although they were under no obligation to help out, by doing so they demonstrate their willingness to stand behind their product.

  • ruskyrusky Posts: 2
    Just bought a manual 1999 2.0 turbo S. Seems to splutter when accelerating hardish from low revs, replaced air filter, fuel filter, spark plugs and ignition leads to find it still has the same fault. Engine/ turbo pulls like a train once it hits around 3000rpm but anything under that in 2nd or above gears engine is very jittery and almost misfiring although the engine management light does not come on at all...If you lightly accelerate in this rev range it is ok but maybe still a bit jerky when you take your foot off the accelerator pedal????
    Any help would be appreciated as i have fallen for this car and want to enjoy it!!!

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,908
    I would first try running some fuel system cleaner through it on a couple of back to back tanks.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Just bought a manual 1999 2.0 turbo S

    I assume that you bought a Forester since that's the name of the topic. In the U.S. the Forester has always had the 2.5 litre engine and didn't get the turbo until 2004. What country are you in?

  • ruskyrusky Posts: 2
    Hey Frank, It is a forester 2.0 turbo S, registered 1999 in England but is now with me in Bonny Scotland, Edinburgh. Have been struggling to find anyone who would have a clue about these apart from some impreza sites in the uk which cost a small fortune to join up.

    Put a new Mass Air Flow sensor on it yesterday, this has made a difference to overall pick up and it does respond better now although the original fault is still there around 2000rpm, is smooth if a small amount of throttle is given but if you plant the loud pedal it stutters away until it reaches the magic 3000rpm turbo range... engine revs like a dream not in gear, rev pickup is rapid and purrs like a kitten on idle but only when under load and on the over run around this rev range it is jerky ????
    Will Put some fuel cleaner in it tomorrow and i will clean out the throttle body, have done some small checks for air leaks but nothing apparant at a glance?

    I know this car can run better and its so frustrating not being able to drive it smoothly.

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