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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • joe_sinjoe_sin Posts: 32
    The idea of bad gas is nice, but it doesn't gel in the long run. If you buy your gas at the same place every time you get fuel, it might make sense. If you had trouble with the car for 1 tank of gas, it might make sense. It doesn't make sense to blame 15 mpg on an enivironmental factor after 8 months of driving. Who buys gas at the same place every time? Are all the gas stations where you live old and contaminated, or nefariously adding water? I've been back and forth with the nice folks at the EPA about my own situation, and I'm pretty convinced that whatever might be wrong with the car, it's not the gas.

    The sticker on the car gives a broad range of EPA mpg numbers, of which the 22/27 number is just an average. Even so, 15 mpg is out of range. I had a Subaru customer service rep tell me flat out on the phone that such poor mileage indicated a problem with the car.

    The reps I was chatting with the other day started laughing when I repeated one dealer's advice that it would take 15K miles for my car to break in. I'm 1500 away from 10K miles now. If my mileage suddenly jumps, I'll eat crow and be glad to do it. By the way, the same dealer told me I should avoid Amoco, Mobil, and BP fuel. Since Exxon and Mobil are the same, I guess I can't use that either. Pretty soon, I'll have to start drilling and make it myself.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,375
    the engine would run like hell with water in the gas--it would be barely driveable.

    I thought maybe you meant by "watered down" the idea of selling 87 gas as if it were 91.

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  • rexaroorexaroo Posts: 174
    Avoid Amoco? C'mon, they really told you that? I'd find another dealer if that's the case. It's the highest rated gasoline of the buying public, and my two Subies have always run like Swiss watches on it. The one time I had an engine misfire was when I tried a tank of a local brand. I think the high standards Amoco requires its station owners to uphold is probably the best reason to use it, along with the quality of their products. If you'll recall, I said there was a "slight chance" of contaminated gas--that it was something to rule out if you are getting poor mileage. Of course, it could be an engine problem too, but if the dealer says no, you have to look at other factors.

    Two other things to consider for poor mpg are chronically under-inflated or leaky tires, and again, the "slight" chance that gas is being siphoned off--not likely, but if you live in the inner city or park on the street overnight, it's cheap insurance to get a locking gas cap for the Forester.

    Regarding the engine break-in, it should be virtually complete after no more than 3000 mi. The close tolerances they build engines to these days means the days of the 10,000 mi. break-in are long gone. I've even heard estimates that most of the break-in occurs within the first 300 mi. after you drive off the lot, so I'd agree your problem is not due to lack of break-in time.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,375
    In addition to underinflated tires, poor wheel alignment on all four wheels can hurt mileage as well. People generally underestimated the effect of inflation pressures and alignment on fuel mileage, but it can be considerable.

    Let me think here of significant factors that hurt fuel mileage:

    1. Underinflated tires
    2. Poor wheel alignment
    3. Frequent use of A/C (a gas gobbler especially in city driving)
    4. Improper shifting (lugging the engine in a higher than needed gear)
    5. Trying to estimate fuel mileage over too short a period of time. If you miscalculate a fill-up of 15 gallons by just one gallon, that's like a 7 or 8% error right there.

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  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    Clutch release
    Clutch fork boot and return spring
    Clutch cable
    Clutch operating
    Clutch hydraulic line
    and gasket
    Clutch master cyllnder
    and connecting link
    clutch master Cylinder piston and
    piston seal
    master cylinder push rod
    Clutch damper assembly and bracket
    Clutch pedal, washerand bushing
    Clutch pedal lever and
    return spring differential
    dip stick

    so a lot of stuff except "wear" parts
  • I just took a 600 mile trip. Average MPG was about 28 mpg, city and highway. The best mileage on the trip was 30.3 MPG (almost exclusively highway @ 65 mph on cruise control). There was a city and highway combined segment that was 25+ MPG. And there was a pure highway segment that clocked out at 26+ mpg, driving @ 75 mph on cruise control. The air conditioner was on constantly. Gas octane varied between 86 to 88 (I get 87 where available: here in NM some places only have 86 as the "regular unleaded" octane). Tire inflated to about 31 psi cold. Ambient temperatures during driving hours were between 90 and 98 degrees F. No wind to speak of. Altitude was between 3500 and 5000 feet above sea-level. The terrain was hilly many portions of the highway segments. I have a rather light foot on acceleration; my wife, who drove about a third of the time, has a heavy foot.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,375
    a/c on the highway isn't so bad because with the windows closed you can sometimes cut aero drag quite a bit if you are in the 75 mph range.

    Thanks for the input. That should give him a benchmark of sorts. 31 psi sounds about right and your numbers sound very plausible.

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  • joe_sinjoe_sin Posts: 32
    Third tank of gas since SoA's last repair attempt. 100 miles on the highway with no A/C. 50 miles city driving with no A/C. 70 miles city driving with the A/C. 19.5 miles per gallon. Total average over three tanks of gas, 20.3. And for the other two tanks, I didn't use the A/C at all.

    I used to get 24+ as an average with my 2001 Forester.
  • rexaroorexaroo Posts: 174
    if your results are within normal limits is to take the car 100% on the highway at the same speeds as goldencouple1 did theirs (with tires inflated to 31psi) and compare what mpg you get. Mixing city and highway driving isn't going to work because there are too many variables at work: how many stop lights did you hit and how much time did you spend idling? How fast did you take off from stop lights-- all these things are going to cause your mileage to vary. A 100% highway run at a steady speed and then fill up the tank is the only way you will know for sure, IMHO.
  • rexaroorexaroo Posts: 174
    All of us get gas that's a little water-contaminated in the winter-time whenever our gas tanks are almost empty. Moisture condenses on the inside of the tank and settles into the gas, which is why it's good to keep your tank full in cold weather.
    Also, say a gas-station owner taking on a shipment of 5000 gallons adds only 3% water (150 gallons) to the supply. I seriously doubt his customers filling their tanks there would notice any difference in terms of driveability, but if they stopped to figure their mileage, they would probably notice a slight decrease in mpg. I'm not saying this happens very often and stations do under-go periodic inspection, but it has been known to happen in the past.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,375
    Well, 3% water in a 20 gallon tank would be 2 full quarts + of water. I think if you poured that in your tank your engine wouldn't like it one bit.

    A tiny bit of water might even make an engine run better, if it were injected in a vapor.

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  • rexaroorexaroo Posts: 174
    Bet it would still run although you might notice a loss of power and some hesitation. We are still talking about a mixture that's 97% gasoline.
    I'm going to ask around and see if anyone has a definitive answer on this for us.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,375
    Trust me on this one, the car would barely run with two quarts of water in the gas, because the water would not blend uniformly, as might milk in coffee. The water will clump into large globules so when the engine eventually eats it, it won't like it. Also a large dose of water might swell up the fuel filter and clog it completely.

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  • rexaroorexaroo Posts: 174
    it turns out you are right about water not being soluble in gasoline. However, if water does get into your gas tank, the car might still run OK for a while because the water is heavier than the gas and immediately sinks to the bottom of the tank. In doing so, the water just sits there and doesn't evaporate unless the gas gets so low that the water is drawn into the fuel system where it can cause a lot of damage.
    So it looks like we're both correct in our statements. The car can run OK with water in the tank (as long as the water isn't being drawn into the fuel system), but once the water does finally hit the fuel filter and/or injectors, it's good-night-Irene and serious problems can occur.
    Since most cars have a 2-gallon reserve of fuel when the gas gauge reads empty, it's possible to drive around with as much as a gallon or so of water in your tank and never suffer the potentially serious consequences (as long as you always remember to fill up in time :-)
  • danyidanyi Posts: 2
    I have a 97 Impreza outback and have been having a problem with smelling exhaust in the cabin. I took it to the dealership and they replaced the pollution hose, but I still have the problem. Anyone else run into this?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,375
    Yep, that could be true, but what usually happens is that as the car bounces around the water gets agitated and does in fact get sucked up into the fuel line. But water does tend to sink to the bottom, that's right, which is why you do a test drain on small planes before you take off. Once the plane is in the air, the water could get sucked into the fuel supply, which has more drastic consequences than with a car of course.

    So really, one you are underway, even a small amount of water can interfere, but if you are just sitting there idling, maybe not. On a moving car, two quarts of water will definitely bring it to a halt in a few miles at most.

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  • joe_sinjoe_sin Posts: 32
    ...for the persistent rotten egg odor, which is caused by a very narrow set of conditions. Contaminated catalytic converter, or an excessively rich fuel mixture. Since the cat was replaced 2000 miles ago, that narrows the possibilities to one. Also, I got 24+ out of my 2001 Forester (destroyed on 9/11). My driving habits haven't changed, and I still live in the same place and drive to the same places. This car gives off a bad smell and gets nearly 20% less mpg. Those two together with the known performance of an identical vehicle under the same conditions I think bears me out.

    The smell today, during a mere 60 miles of driving, was choking. SoA is supposed to see the car again on Tuesday. I have high hopes...
  • idahodougidahodoug Posts: 537
    What do you mean by smelling exhaust? Most '97 vehicles properly tuned would hardly put a smell into the air. Are you talking about a rotten egg smell that's quite a bit stronger than exhaust?

    Regardless, when do you smell it?

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,375
    Hmmm...I wonder if the fuel enrichment isn't shutting down as the temperature reaches normal.

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  • hciaffahciaffa Posts: 454
    We Have a 99 Forester L Auto tranny, with almost 30,000 miles on it (it should be broken in by now)and we get about 15-16 in city and about 19-20 on the highway. I have gone over this with our dealer and back in 99 went over this with a SOA rep. He told us that we live in New England so its hilly and the mileage will be poor and he said to "live with it". Dealer said he can do nothing because no info from SOA. We are careful drivers and I maintain the Forester well such as air pressure and alignment even switched to Mobil 1 in the tranny , oil and diffs. We don't do jack rabbit starts. I even did a gas mileage log for SOA for about 6 months and I used pretty much the same name brand gas and the mileage was still poor but the response was that it must be us. We even drove one day on the highway on a trip to Vermont up I91 doing 55 mph to see if it got better and the average was still 20-20.5 mpg. when we first bought the Forester the mileage was much better about 21 city and 24 highway but after 2weeks of owning it the tranny blew and instead of a new one they re built it. Much to my arguing, and the mileage has been poor ever since. When I brought this up with the service manager that maybe having the tranny re built is creating the problem he sad I had no confidence in the service that they offered. Sad to say we had just finished having our daughter finish collage and paid off their loans and we decided to buy a new car and settled on the Forester for my wife to use. Its pretty sad when you invest the money into something like this and have blame but back on our shoulders. This car has had other problems as well including the notorious brake squeel. Thats another story. Any way we have no confidence in this vehicle and its pretty bad when my Ranger 4x4 gets better gas mileage than the Forester. Buy another Subaru, pretty hard to do/ Recommend one to a friend I don't think so.
  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    Jon - Flemington uses Enterprise for rentals. I got a Neon, but once they gave me a Metro because all of the Neons were gone. :-D
    The caveat is Enterprise picks you up and takes you to their office about 5 miles away, so it takes an extra 20 minutes or so.

  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
    Have been following your Forester tales of woe for some time. Seems to me that you have, if not a lemon, at least one of a bad batch. What surprises me is that you still have the car.

    My Forester has not been without its problems as well - mostly related to rear wheel bearing failures - and I have had some frustration in dealing with Subaru dealers' attempts to correct the problem. Mostly this has been along the classic "they all do that" or "you are hearing things" line. However, SoA corporate has treated me very well throughout the process and that has gone a long way with me. While I'm not 100% sure that my car is "bulletproof" I at least know that someone in Cherry Hill has a vested interest in leaning on their dealer network to set things right.

    For what it's worth, auto manufacturers pay attention and improve product once they lose customer base and market share, as well as when they are subject to very public criticism such as we can give in these fora. If you haven't sought recourse under the lemon laws in your state, perhaps you should. If not, cut your losses and get rid of the car.

    Good luck,
  • jresjres Posts: 69
    Whelp, the can't hold idle, stalling issue is still unresolved. I brought the car in Sat. and they replaced the throttle position sensor. The tech took the car for a test drive and was sitting in it (engine running) when I asked how it seemed.

    He explained that it was fixed, I explained that I could hear that it was not a steady idle even if the tach wasn't showing much fluctuation. As we discussed the issue, the tach started to slowly, visably, waver. I explained that the car was not right, I was given the excuse that the computer could find nothing wrong. The wavering got slowly worse. I explained that the car did not do this for the first year I had it, The tech explained that this was normal, fluctuation and that the engine has 26,000 miles so it is not "pristine".
    I was about to politely ask if Subaru corporate or the sales people would agree that their engines should not be able to hold an idle after 26'K, when the idle started to bounce up to 1250 and then down to 750.
    Finally, watching the tach, the tech said "Nope that's not idling right" you better bring it in Monday.
    While we're on the topic of loaner cars, Bill Kolb Jr. has been using Enterprise, they've put me in a Mirage and an Escort, wow! no comparison the escort really felt poor after the mirage.

    Patti, I'll open the file when your phones are working again this afternoon.

  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    are you noticing this weaving idle between 750rpm and 1250 at all times, or only (or especially) at cold start?

    when warm normal idle is 650rpm. some vibration and shaking can be normally be felt as the engine isn't amazingly smooth nor the chassis isolation all that robust...

  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    Did the Metro have power steering?
  • hciaffahciaffa Posts: 454
    In CT. I did not qualify for lemon law because of certain qualifications. Not in the dealer enough didn't stay overnight. Manufacturer made attempts, yada, yada, yada. W e are just frutrated in the way everything has gone with this vehicle. Though the Forester has defects it is a pleasent vehicle to drive and my wife enjoys driving it. I was waiting for the 2003's to come out and maybe were a gluton for punishment we may get another.
  • jresjres Posts: 69
    The wavering idle problem is just the opposite, it only occurs only when the engine has been running for a nice while. It's actually much better when it's cold/freshly warmed up. I have to have it going for 20 plus min. before I'll see the problem pop up. Also, it gets slowly worse the longer it runs. It starts out as an almost imperceptible audible fluctuation (I'm sure a scope would pick it up), and eventually builds to a 500-1000 rpm fluctuation which ends in a stall. After the stall, the car will start right back up but still has the (now bad) idle problem and will usually stall again fairly quickly and repeatedly. The Subaru techs are baffeled because it doesn't pop up any codes on the computer.

  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    Sad. Surely they can do their own diagnosis but examining and testing the fuel and ignition system components?

    What did they do a decade or more ago when the customer had these problems? Besides slap on a new carburetor or fuel pump, sometimes they did a little thinking and experimenting.

  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
    Sorry to hear you couldn't gain recourse through CT lemon laws. I hope that I don't find myself in the same situation. I agree with you about the Forester's driving characteristics - it is a very satisfying car to drive and I continue to find new uses and situations where it works very well.

    From my own perspective I am heartened to hear from several sources that the wheel bearing design for the new Impreza (and, hence, the new Forester on which it is based) has been changed. Of course I will wait and see how those who have bought '03s will fare.

    Again, good luck.

  • otis123otis123 Posts: 432
    My LLBean struggled to get over 19 mpg for at least the first 10K miles. Now (25K miles) it averages around 21 to 22mpg mixed 75% 75mph highway and 25% around town.

    I just recorded 25mpg (yeah!) over the weekend with a long road trip (90% highway), full air and at about 80mph.

    Mileage seems to be better when I go faster with max air on? Can't figure that one out....

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