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2001 Subaru Forester Acceleration Problem

jcm1208jcm1208 Member Posts: 3
edited March 2014 in Subaru
I have an intermittent problem (about 3 times a week) where when I depress the accelerator the vehicle starts to move, then feels like the brakes are being depressed and then accelerates forward. It is much the same if someone grabs the back of your shirt when you start to walk from them - you accelerate but are being held back. In the world of carbureators this would be symptomatic of a bad accelerator. Needless to say this makes crossing a 4 lane highway exciting. Has anyone heard of a similar problem with this vehicle? The dealer and a Subaru rep could not find the problem and so have done nothing.


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well, intermittents are very difficult. So you're saying that the diagnostics test showed no error codes or incidents of any kind? Is that what they told you?
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Is this an automatic transmission vehicle with severe engine lugging at low speeds only, but ok at speeds over 30-40 mph? If so it could be caused by the torque converter's stator roller clutch freewheeling backwards.
  • jcm1208jcm1208 Member Posts: 3
    OK, I got this now.

    According to the Subaru dealer there were no error codes in the computer. The check engine light has never come on except when I start the vehicle. The "hesitation" only occurs when I first start the vehicle when it is cold, as in not used for 5 hours or mere, and I go forward. If I back up first the "hesitation" does not occur.
  • rkot2000rkot2000 Member Posts: 2
    I have the same problem with my subary
  • kiwikid01kiwikid01 Member Posts: 3
    I have a 98 Outback - same problem when engine cold. didn't show up until about 15,000 miles - dealer said they all do it - I didn't accept this and they contacted Subaru who had them do some tests and also required me running the car on Premium for a couple of tanks - it went away after they had it in on two occasions after contacting Subaru North America but i notice 6 months later that it is coming back - this is only when the engine is cold - the finance guy at the dealership has ths same problem with his 99 GT wagon. Maybe Subaru North America can give a better answer
  • rkot2000rkot2000 Member Posts: 2
    I send couple emails to subaru, but i am thinking to report this problem on this web site :

    this may push subaru to do something, because


  • jcm1208jcm1208 Member Posts: 3
    I'm glad to see that I am not the only person to experience this problem. It may not be present in a lot of vehicles but Subaru should be aware of the problem. Thanks for the link - I have it bookmarked. I have contacted Subaru North America and have been told, via email, that "someone will contact you regarding your situation". Stay tuned.

    I have another intermittent problem with ths vehicle. Stopping is mostly straight and true. Occasionally the vehicle wants to swerve right or left when the brakes are applied. This is not a little pull one way to another - it is a "turn here now" action. I have reported this to the service department, but they could not duplicate the problem and thus no fix.

    Can either or both of these problems be caused by a bad transaxel?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    My dad's Olds had a problem where the tranny would be in 2nd or even 3rd gear, and it hesitated to shift down to 1st when you started off, like from a stop sign.

    Could your problem be similar?

    You may want to do an ATF flush if you have 30k miles or more (or if you're close). That may help.

    I do know that the ECU sort of "learns" your driving style, and can adjust the tranny shift points accordingly. You can reset the ECU by disconnecting the negative terminal for half an hour, then reconnect, start her up and let her idle for a while. Then, when you drive off, drive aggressively so the ECU knows you want to have power available right away, with no hesitation. Just a thought.

  • kiwikid01kiwikid01 Member Posts: 3
    Found the following on a website today re accleration problems on Subarus
    HESITATION ON ACCELERATION - 11-53-98 (2/99)

    Applicability: 97-98 Legacy, Impreza, and Forester Manual Transmission Vehicles with 2.5l and 2.2l engines.

    In the event you encounter a customer complaint of a slight engine hesitation between 1500-2500 rpm's when the engine is cold or hot, perform the following

    Eliminate all external influences, such as an incorrect or dirty air filter, loose or tracked intake duct, dirty fuel filter, low fuel pressure, PVC system, or low engine vacuum that would indicate an external leak or an internal engine component.

    If all external components are confirmed to be operating within vehicle specifications, the hesitation may be caused by the ignition control logic in the ECM. Under certain low rpm driving patterns, the ignition control system can pick up engine vibrations through the knock sensor and may retard the ignition timing. This ignition timing is learned by the ECM and placed in memory. NOTE: This area of memory can not be viewed by using the Select Monitor. When the vehicle is driven uinder these conditions, the timing may be retarded and could cause the engine to hesitate on acceleration. To confirm this condition, road test the vehicle while viewing the Knock Sensor Signal on the Select Monitor. If you duplicate the hesitation, and the reading on the monitor is around -10 degrees, you will need to change the ECM to correct the concern. [my note: this is an enhanced ECM, not a replacement with the same component]
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    WEll, THAT sure sounds like the problem, doesn't it? I do wonder though why Subaru persisted with this ECM, given the dates of the TSB

    Nonetheless, right or wrong, good detective work, kiwi!
  • frbockfrbock Member Posts: 1
    Years ago, we had a pair of Ramblers 65/66 with automatic that had the same kind of problems with bogging when cold (especially low RPM - starting from a stop sign). The problem as I recall was due to the thickening of the ATF at low temperatures. We used to idle the cars in neutral after starting them as it helped heat up the ATF faster since it was being swirled in the torque converter as opposed to park where it just sits.
    My Forester has standard, and, it's not a real jewel when cold either.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    You might check for a more recent TBS at http://www.batauto.com


This discussion has been closed.