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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • Actually, when I first got my Forester, I occasionally noticed a bit of a transmission-like whine at highway speeds. My assumption at the time was that AWD would sound a bit different than my previous FWD car because of the shaft running to the back (which is not something I'd had since my last RWD car, a Ford T-Bird). Don't notice it anymore -- probably just got used to it, rather than because it somehow went away. But the sound I'm thinking of was quite subtle and very low volume, so I can't say if it's what old jayhawk is experiencing.
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Does the noise change if you lift off the throttle? What about if you pop the trans into neutral? It could be that the drive shaft is out of balance -- that is a typical cause of whine on RWD vehicles, and it obviously applies to AWD cars too. If it's a driveshaft problem, the noise will vary with engine/transmission load.

  • Tex_Subaru: The whine I heard is not loud. It is of low volume, sort of stays in the background. I hope that when I get Juice to testdrive my Forester, he can be a judge of how severe the noise is.

    Craig: I have not compared the whining noise before and after lifting the throttle. I will try that the next time I am on a highway. Similary, I have not tried to put my Forester at neutral when I cruise at a highway speed. If I put the car at neutral after it has reached a stable highway speed, would it damage the car, e.g. the tranmission, when I put the transmission back to D at a highway speed?

    Folks: Having to replace the rear differential in my new Forester (of course done under warranty, so it was free in terms of money but it still took two trips to the dealer's service department) at less than 1000 miles, I wonder whether I should buy the Subaru's extended protection plan to prepare for potential repairs in the future. Currently, I have Subaru's gold plan protection for 3 years or 45,000 miles (the manufacturer's original warranty on the drivetrains of new Foresters is 3 years or 36,000 miles, but the dealer gave me the gold plan of 3 years or 9,000 miles over the warranty of 36,000 miles free of charge when I purchased my Forester). At the rate I am driving my Forester, it would reach 45,000 miles in 3 years. Any idea from anybody out there? I remember someone stated in this chatroom that he always got his money worth on buyer's extended protection plans. But I am thinking that I already have 45,000 miles of coverage. If I buy Subaru's gold plan for up to 80,000 miles, I would be paying for 35,000 miles of coverage. Would it be worth the money? It would be difficult to predict what repair would be needed.

  • tincup47tincup47 Posts: 1,508
    In the US the powertain warranty on Subarus (Forester included) is 5yr/60000 miles, The rest of the car is 3yr/36000 miles.
  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    My wife was starting to regret not getting the extended warranty on her OB. Quite a few things happened near the end of the regular warranty (no extensions). Shakes due to out-of-spec axle, several bulbs went bad and broken window switch.
    The axle was covered under the powertrain warranty and she paid about $120 including parts & labor to have everything else fixed. A lot cheaper than we expected. Yeah, it is difficult to predict problems and if the warranties are worth it. Peace of mind I suppose.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Both my dad and my aunt have had the warranty gold on their subies. My aunt's SVX developed a problem in her tranny about 6 months after the warranty gold had expired (she had about 65K miles) dealer wound up talking to SOA and they re-did her tranny for free, even though it was out of warranty, mostly cause she had the Gold warranty from them. My dad's '97 legacy has had the rear axle and rear engine seals done under it w/o having to pay a dime.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The Miata goes to the shop on Tuesday. His insurance will deal with the body shop direct, I just drop it off. Fine with me.

    Good idea with the paint. I'll ask. Crystal White is the WORST paint color Mazda had - most Miata.netter are surprised mine hasn't already peeled.

    Four O2 sensors? Give Patti a call.

    Jayhawk: e-mail me at I was out yesterday, but I'm at work today. I could run it over to Clara Barton for a quick highway jaunt and still be back in half hour.

    If you prefer, we can do it tonight or tomorrow AM. Let me know (off line).

  • Thanks to all who responded wrt my vibrating car.

    I took it to the shop this morning and they didn't think the vibration was unusual. I am terribly dissapointed. This is not what I expected from my new car.

    I am hoping that it is caused by a *very* stiff suspension and that it works itself out. I am not convinced, though.

    - Jan
  • hondafriekhondafriek Ottawa CanadaPosts: 2,970
    Hope everything goes well at the bodyshop Juice, did they say how long it will be? Hope you can swing a deal on the paint you may as well get something positive out of the experience.
    Cheers Pat.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'll let you know next week. I'll ask about painting the whole thing, too.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    I'd also like to add that in the US, you can buy an extended warranty at any time while the manufacturer's original warranty is still valid. My advice to people has always been to wait until the last minute to decide. You don't get any benefit in buying the extended warranty early. In fact, all you're doing is loosing out on what other investments you could have spent your money on in the interim.

  • Long time lurker, first time poster....

    I own a 95 Legacy Wagon (FWD), and the past few weeks I've had a vibration while braking. When I apply the brakes, as I slow from 40 to 35mph, the car shimmies. At all other speeds the brakes are smooth. I've already had the front rotors replaced, and my tires have been balanced. Has anyone else experienced this? Could it be my rear brakes or a wheel bearing? Any comments would be appreciated.


  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Just a guess, but I'd say: rear drums, front pads not broken in properly or old (were they replaced with the rotors?), or?

  • My 2000 s makes a great jet engine whine , but only on wet roads with the Michelin Arctic Alpins, and then only on certain tar surfaces. It doesn't sound like tire noise, and I was convinced for the longest time it was something else.
  • fef1fef1 Posts: 6
    I just purchased a rear dust delector for my 2001 outback from Darlene at Q Subaru (low prices and great service), and am wondering if I should try the installation myself, or take it to a dealer or body shop to have it done. If anyone has intalled one Id appreciate feedback on the install. Im pretty handy but I do have concerns about drilling etc.! Also, if I take it to a dealer what would be a reasonable installation charge? THANKS !!!!!!!
  • tlimatlima Posts: 124
    I felt the same way when mine did that too. Give it some time and mileage. Mine took about 2k to smoothen out. Let us know how it works out.

  • hondafriekhondafriek Ottawa CanadaPosts: 2,970
    Hi Kris, you may want to have your tires checked for shifted belts also, I had the same problem on my 89 Accord and after replacing rotors and pads twice it turned out that the belts had shifted in the front tires and strangely the only time it showed was when I was braking from certain speeds, go figure normally when belts shift you cannot miss it.
    Cheers Pat.
  • blaneblane Posts: 2,017

    If you are feeling a pulsation in the brake pedal when this "vibration" is occurring your rotors may be warped, even if you have new ones. Whoever installed them may not have measured them properly to assure that they were not wobbling.
  • Just got the LL Bean Wagon 1 week ago and the famous Engine Check Light went on. Three clicks on the gas cap.... 100 miles later and bam. I did notice a delayed acceleration and some heavier engine vibrations when I come to a stop. Light first went on steady, then blinked for 30 sec. then steady. Next start up, had to press gas pedal during start up like it was choking. Has been only 12 hrs since it came on. More steady than blinking, When it stops blinking, does that mean it is ok to drive? I read you should not drive it if it is blinking, but it doesn't blink for more than 30 sec. Once on the road it stays on steady.

    I am suppose to go on a 6 hr. road trip tomarrow and wanted to take my new car. It is sunday and there aren't any subaru service centers open on sunday that I am aware of.

    Is this just a normal gas cap adventure? Or could this be serious? I'm trying to reset the computer by diconnecting the battery overnight. The car has a full tank of gas, for my trip...
    Any advice out there? Will I do serious damage if the light is just steady and not blinking? If it blinks for 30 sec. and then goes steady is it still ok to try to drive for a long ride and see if it goes out by itself? I don't want to do any damage to my 350 mile young engine.

    Please advise,

  • When I refilled I used premium just like a good boy should.

    This is my third subaru, the second one was a lemon experience that I ended up trading in and eating the loss because the dealership sucked... Ira in Danvers, MA. I only owned the car for 3 months when I asked for a new one because of all the problems it was having....three months later still problems and I was losing my mind and time. No I didn't get a new car, instead they wanted 7000 more to get me a new one. It is a waste of anyones time to have to visit the dealership 8 times for repairs within the first 6 months on a new car.

    So I think I lost 2-3k dollars on the trade in for what I felt would be a fair deal. But what gets me mad is there should have been no need for a deal just a trade because of the newness of the car.

    I did not buy again from them but instead went back to where I got my first subaru.


  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Blinking = bad
    non-blinking = emissions stuff, which is drivable

    Don't forget this is a new engine, so it's not out of the question that there are some gremlins in it.

  • A strange thing started happening yesterday - I think I have pinned down what it's doing. My '98 Forester MT oil light comes on intermittently. I seems to come on under these conditions; Engine warm, deccelerating, clutch pushed in. The light comes on for a bit and then when i let the clutch out and accelerate above 2000 rpm it goes out. I checked the engine cold and there is plenty of oil. I'm not due for an oil change for a few thousand clicks yet. The only thing I can think of but im not sure if it's related is the installation of a K&N Air filter. It is also fairly cold in Canada this time of year but not that bad? Any ideas on what it could be - please nothing to serious!! Anything else bad goes wrong with this car and I will lose it!

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Generally indicates that there is not enough oil pressure. Either not enough oil, or some kind of leak, or the oil isn't circulating past the sensor. If you hit the gas and it goes off, it could mean that there isn't enough oil in the engine. Check the owner's manual, to see under what conditions the oil should be checked. I've had cars where you check em cold, and ones that say to check after the engine is warm.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    fef1: I've heard it requires special tools to install. My guess is a dealer would charge you for about one hour of labor to install it, which in this case is probably worthwhile.

    I agree with paisan on the CEL. Try the battery trick - disconnect the negative when it's cold, wait 30 minutes, reconnect, then start and let it idle for 15 minutes.

    If the CEL's blinking, park and call for the free roadside assistance that's included with all new Subies now.

    Jason: I'd change the oil and filter ASAP. You could have a clogged filter, or an oil meant for summer temps. 10w30 is usually OK, but try something thinner (like 5w) if it's bone-chilling cold.

    Get an OE filter from your dealer, or e-mail, and make sure to install the gasket on the drain plug.

  • sdqsdq Posts: 4
    (I posted about this problem a while ago - a loud diesel-like rattle from the engine area upon starting the engine the first time on a cold morning. The sound would go away after a few minutes of driving.)

    I finally left my 2000 OB (AT) overnight with the dealer's service manager a couple of weeks ago. He started it the next morning and diagnosed the cause of the problem as being the timing belt tensioner. He ordered a new one, which took a couple of days to come in. After replacing the part, he showed me the old one. It had a broken internal piece, which made a small rattle sound in his hand when he shook it, but which he said could make a loud sound in the engine compartment. I asked him how he diagnosed it, given that the part itself is not visible, let alone the broken piece inside it. He said that they used a stethoscope, and that they have seen a few other cases of the same problem. The service writeup called it something like a "timing belt pulley".

    It's been about 10 days since the part was replaced and I haven't heard the rattle since then.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Stan: that's cool. Internally, they call those the "ears".

    Worked like a charm!

  • hondafriekhondafriek Ottawa CanadaPosts: 2,970
    Jason, I would have a mechanic hook up an oil pressure gauge ASAP. YOU could have a faulty oil pressure switch or the oil pressure relief valve could be sticking or the oil pump could be going south.
    Having an oil pressure check is not an expensive test and could save you an expensive engine rebuild. It is possible for the oil light to flicker when the RPMs. are low and the oil is extremely hot but this is hardly likely to be a problem in the dead cold of a Canadian winter the problem is usually to get the oil to operating temperature when the oil is thick the pressure is higher.
    It is for this reason the first thing I install in any car I aquire is an oil pressure gauge usually when the idiot light comes on the damage is already done, when you have an oil pressure gauge you get used to the operating pressure under all conditions and can instantly see when something is not right, anyway in conclusion I would get it checked right away in this case guessing could be very expensive good luck I know from earlier posts that you have had a lot of grief with this particular vehicle.
    Cheers Pat.
  • fandcfandc MinnesotaPosts: 51
    Change the oil filter as the first thing to do. An identical thing happened to me a few years back. The oil filter had collapsed internally, so that there was 4lb of pressure at idle and 18lb at speed.

    That was a Fram filter. After that incident and talking to the mechanic that diagnosed the problem, I refuse to use Fram products again. But that's just my opinion.
  • Subie mechanic here thinks its a bad oil pressure sensor or something - having it checked this afternoon. The filter in there now is subaru OEM. Will give an update tommorow.

    Stan - had my tensioner replaced last month during a routine check and oil seal fix - seems to have fixed the rattle problem on mine too!
  • bkokbkok Posts: 4

    We have an S-Plus (2001) where the left rear door can't be opened from the inside.
    Pulling the interior handle won't open the door, you have to use the outside handle.
    Since we rarely have anyone in the back, this may have been a latent problem since we
    purchased in May 2000. She's due for inspection soon, anyone experience this before ?
    The right rear door works fine.

    Bill Kok
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