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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • mws1672002mws1672002 Posts: 19
    I think it sounds like the exact same problem we had to stop the car and put it in park in order to start the car. If you want to email me at I will fill you in on what we have experienced.
  • huzunhuzun Posts: 1
    Hi all

    First, thanks for all the messages in this and other forums. Very useful information.

    I am planning to buy a Forester, but I have a big decision to make. I am thinking of a 2003 XS Premium (manual). These days, one can buy it for a reasonable price. The only problem is that I will be out of country for 6 weeks around October. I am just wondering if parking the car for 6 weeks, 4 months after buying it, would cause any problems for the car. My other option is to wait until I am back and then buy a 2004 model. Any ideas?

    (Of course, I am still thinking if I should get an XT instead. That's another cause of a headache for me...)

  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    Still, it doesn't hurt to open up a case with Subaru Customer Service using that 800#. Sometimes the dealer try to figure out a solution on their own and not enlist the help of SOA. It's a free call too! ;-)

    Regarding the mileage, with the electrical problems you've had, I'd fix that before looking into the MPG. Easier to investigate that way.

    Also, please join us in the Subaru Crew discussions or through the Owner's Club topics.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sounds like a bad ECU. I think they reprogrammed some of the early ones, not a lot though. Has it happened again since the dealer looked at it?

    huzun: I'd change the oil right before I left, and then again when I got back. It should be OK. You might need to charge the battery when you get back, or maybe disconnect the negative battery terminal before you leave.

    Now is a good time to buy if you want a good price. The 2004s are coming and incentives are up on the 2003s. I helped my sister buy one this weekend for invoice minus the regional incentive, plus 6 free oil changes.

  • georgeinmdgeorgeinmd Posts: 27
    There was a discussion on clutch shudder in Foresters on the NASIOC board a few days ago
    ( 6 ), though I can't find the thread now. Someone posted a scanned copy of a TSB, # 03-51-02, dated 1/15/03, which prescribed replacent of flywheel, disc and pressure plate with updated parts on all '99 - '03 vehicles with a shudder problem. I saved the scanned copy, if anyone would like to see it; obviously, I can't vouch for its authenticity. With my '99 out of warrenty, would I have a ghost of a chance of free replacement?
    Thanx! -- George
  • junkherjunkher Posts: 27
    I think JD gave Subaru a break!
    My wife and I have had more wrong with our 2002 Outback than right. Back in the shop again!
    (NUMBER 5) Car has less than 20000 miles. Worst most unreliable vehicle we have ever owned.

    The shutting off thing . I would prefer that to what our crappy car does.
    Ours shutters first, bucks like a damn bronco then accelerates by itself rapidly forward. Be quick on the brake or you'll smash into someone....... Scares the bajeebers out of you. Ours sits parked a lot 'cause my wife is afraid of it. I prefer our gas sucking p-up truck.

    P.S. For those of you who love Subs..
    I am happy for you ..
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    If you're not driving it, trade it in soon. There's a bad apple in every batch, and if you're the one that got it, cut your losses.

    I'm tempted to ask for a free new clutch, though mine is OK. ;-)

  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Or as a last resort... if you can't get any satisfaction from the dealer or Subaru, check out your state's "Lemon" law. No one should be saddled with an unreliable car.

    -Frank P.

    P.S. Sorry your Subaru experience has been so bad. Hope you have better luck with whatever you replace it with.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Here is a summary by state:

    Though the word "lemon" is overused, often it has to be less than a year old to qualify for that term (legally).

  • junkherjunkher Posts: 27
    Although the car has about 20,000 miles on it, it is only 7 months old.

    The mistuned AM radio noise the transmission makes is present on all the the Subaru Outback cars I have been in. When you get over ~60mph the car tranny sounds like the radio is between AM stations. The shop does not know WHY they do it. They even tried replacing the transmission...... They cant fix it. Some are worse than others. The rest of the stuff the car is doing is plain dangerous, not JUST annoying.
  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    I wonder if the tires have a bit more noise than the past ones. You have an '02 with the Bridgestones, correct? How are the tires wearing - evenly? How much tread is left?

    FWIW, no mistuned AM noise from the tranny here in my '00 Outback. :)

  • junkherjunkher Posts: 27
    I wish the noise was only from the tires ( which ARE noisy by the way). They are wearing evenly and frankly seem to be lasting very well. I have looked carefully at all four, none of which show anything out of the ordinary such as camber/caster mal-adjust. The noise is a high pitch at the same frequency an AM radio as carried on. I originally thought it was a noisy alternator because it varies with speed. The Subaru shop took the car out and traced it to the transmission ( they said anyway).
    It truly sounds JUST like a radio is on and squealing quietly in the background ALL of the time. If you like to ride in the quiet (i.e., no tunes ) it drives ya nuts.
  • jlawton2jlawton2 Posts: 25
    I was going to write in about a deal I just got (got snookered for?)that has my wife an I kind of upset but I'm wasn't sure if it's appropriate on this board to do that. Is it ok to post about a sales experience if I don't mention any actual names? I would kind of like to know what any Subarau representatives thought so far as the kind of standards and practices exhibited. (my own lack of car-buying savvy will be only too apparent). If only you didn't have to wait to learn the lesson after you have the car, expensive lesson.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    be one for the smart shopper board, not M&R, right?

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    Is it possible to take your vehicle to another Subaru dealer? Not saying they are incorrect with the diagnosis, but in this case it wouldn't be a bad idea to get another set of ears to key in on the noise.

    Also, have you tried rotating the tires? Normal rotation is front->back, but perhaps a X rotation may help?

    Lastly, do call the Subaru 800# and start a casefile if you haven't already. It could help get the right SOA technician into the communication loop with the dealer (whichever one you end up with).

  • jlawton2jlawton2 Posts: 25
    I just read some of the posts on noises. What a coincidence.

    I was little dismayed to note the noise in the car I just purchased which I didn't notice before because of a.the sales person talking continually during the test drive, or b. the noises are just now starting at (car has about 80 miles on it now.
    I do not have super-sensitive hearing as someone was saying of another earlier poster. But these noises do get irritating (hair-pulling after the first few minutes) and I'm trying to imagine being accompanied by them on long drives. I really do want to like this car, I even bought it some rubber mats and mudflaps...

    Noise list:
    -Crackling sound coming from right speaker with CD  or radio no matter what volume.
    -Buzzing in right speaker when volume is over 7. -Forget turning the volume over 7 or 8 or  significant distortion occurs,(I'm not looking  for  the latest sound in a trick stero just not  Blaaaat!!! when the sightest bass shows up in a  song that you've turnd up high enough to  actually hear.)
    -Woofing sound/sensation, for want of a better word, with stero at any volume that is audible, actually makes my ears ache, like being bassed without sound.

    -Buzzing from right edge of dash, hit a slight  bump in the highway, buzzzz for several minutes  after. Hwy a little less than smooth, bzzzzzz.
    -Buzzy rattly noise from right side, mid to  rear,door window, frame, I can't tell.

    Warbling- This may sound weird but I swear there is some kind of high pitched hummy, warbly chuffing sound when I am going at higher speeds, 50-60 or so. It's like a dull ringing, I'll have to try the am radio station thing because maybe that describes what I'm hearing. I swear I am not making this up.

    -This is the worst discovery. When in any gear but Park or Neutral I feel like I'm holding onto a pad sander. There is a fine high speed vibration that travels from the lower frame into the seat and steering wheel. It makes your teeth buzz. I got the automatic because of the problmes with the manual clutch. Do all automatics do this? This could get old on a long drive and unfortunately I do a lot of long haul driving.

    The last vehicle I had for any length of time was a Mazda B2600 2.6 pickup so it's not like I'm comparing my Forester's amenities to the latest Lexus. I'm beginning to think that I didn't fully appreciate the Mazda its rough charm though I do appreciate it maintaining the cabin when last year I was hit broadside and flipped by a car traveling at 60 mph. Not what I expected from a little pick-up, thank some guardian angel.

    Next car purchase will be from somewhere that lets me take a demonstrator model home for a day. Forget upgrading the speakers , I think I'll need earplugs to travel across country.
  • jlawton2jlawton2 Posts: 25
    thank you, I was looking at the "subaru Problems" title and forgot I was in M&R.

    I wish I had found the edmunds discussions groups and other info sooner! oh wel,l next time.
  • jlawton2jlawton2 Posts: 25
    I'm searching about for a discussion on how NOT to buy a car, trying various keywords, but finding nothing. Before I start a new discussion on the shopping board if anyone has any knowledge of where else here I might find a discussion of this kind of thing or where the Subaru customer service ears hang out, let me know. thanks,
  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    A Subaru rep (Patti aka Subaru_Team) use to hang out in the Subaru Crew Owner's Club topics. She has been on hiatus for a while now (reassignment?), but we are trying to get her or someone like her back participating. She was always trying to go the extra mile to get a resolution for a customer with a problem.

    Until then, you should still consider posting over in the Subaru Crew - Meet the Members topic, as many of the regulars hang out there and could possibly offer more advice on the problems you guys are having. Seems like this topic doesn't have a direct link from within the Subaru Crew Owners Club, so it's possible that some don't even know this M&R topic exists! Here's a direct link to the Subaru Crew home page:

  • jlawton2jlawton2 Posts: 25
    I know your question was more along the lines of what is good for the car vs cost but I just wanted to say good luck getting a deal on a 2003 Forester, and I really don't mean that sarcastically in any way.

    Be careful, I visited 2 dealers this week and experienced something of a shell game from both along with pressure to sign before it was time. One had responded via internet with a quote and assured me by phone that they could meet my price but things changed after I drove an hour to the dealership.

    I would print out the invoices on the various pricing sites where many of these dealers are listed to have on hand if need be. I got an email form a 3rd dealer with a price quote in B&W but unfortunately afer I had already paid alot more at another dealer. Patience is fortitude!

    I'm not an expert but I just read where the prices on the 04 models are only going up $50 bucks, (Subaru press release site I think) and interest in Subarus is down some, so there may be deals to be had with many of the 04 models, maybe not the turbo thing, but given depreciation it might be worth it to wait for the 04's. I think I'd do that if I had it to do over.
  • junkherjunkher Posts: 27
    Hey Jim......

    Wait 'till the shop manager sais
    " MAN, that would drive me nuts" when he is speaking about YOUR new car and all of the noises they dont know how to fix!

    My wife and I dream of the day when we can pawn off our nasty new Outback and get something quieter like a diesel train.
  • Junkher,

    You've done your venting and we get your point that your unhappy with your Subaru.

    Now lets return to these discussion boards being places for solutions and problem solving. Your venting and frustration is getting old.

  • K9LeaderK9Leader Posts: 112
    Do you have a sun roof? Many sun roofs when fully open will cause a "chuffing" or "whump-whump-whump" sound over certain speeds. That is why many sun roofs have an intermediate stopping point about 2/3 to 4/5 of the way back. On my Lincoln Mark VIII, the sun roof can be open all the way up to about 35mph, but above that you have to use the 4/5 stop. On my Subaru OB wagon, the sunroof has a stop point at about 2/3 for the same reason.

    The stereo sounds like a bad right speaker. You should get the dealer to replace it under the warranty.

    As to the other noises, I will have to let those more knowledgeable than I weigh in.

    Good luck!

  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
    I can't say I have the solution to all your problems, but I can offer some suggestions. I have an '00 Forester and, while it's not the same car as yours, it does make noises that I was unaccustomed to coming from a less square car.

    The Forester generates a lot of wind noise simply because of its shape and the fact that it has roof crossbars. The side mirrors also hum a good bit at certain speeds, but that goes away above or below those speeds. Physics wasn't my strong suit so I won't get into vibrational frequencies and such.

    Your radio problems may be the result of a damaged right speaker - maybe the speaker cone material is torn. The dealer should be able to easily remove the panel over the speaker, examine it for damage and replace if necessary.

    Window area noise could just require track adjustments, again can be performed by the dealer.

    The other little buzzes can be a pain in the rear to isolate. I've had that happen with many other cars in my lifetime; sometimes it's just a matter of letting someone else drive the car while you listen and isolate, then tighten down an offending bolt or screw.

    Not sure what to tell you about the transmission vibration. I also have an automatic (and a pad sander) but haven't experienced the sensations you describe.
    Good luck,
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    At least it's effective therapy, if you feel better.

    But yes, please, let's try to keep this discussion constructive. :-)

    Yes, I am lobbying to get official SoA presence on these boards. I have about 15 letters I'll be submitting tonight to one of their VPs.

  • junkherjunkher Posts: 27
    Sorry I got a little carried away with my thoughts and criticisms about my park it Outback...

    I will keep it lighter.
    I actually have found a few things here that have helped ( other than just venting from frustration ).

    My apology to those I have bored to tears.

    For those of whom have helped me find answers,
    THANK YOU sincerely.....
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Lance Armstrong? How much are they paying you to do their ads? LOL

    (just kidding)

  • jlawton2jlawton2 Posts: 25
    Thanks everyone, I'm almost certain I have a bad speaker and I assume the dealer will fix that. The other squeaking/buzzing stuff, I'm hoping maybe if I wait a bit and see if it'll settle some, like a house perhaps?

    I don't have a moonroof, I should have one! given what I paid but that's another story. The tires are inflated to 29 in front 30 in the rear. Maybe the vibration is from the tires being so new or am I reaching here? I thought perhaps with a few more miles on me and the car and maybe there would be less hum and jitter.

    I'm trying to be optimistic.
  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
    Inflation of 29/30 actually sounds a little low, JL. If you search in the Forester topic you'll find that many of us run with higher pressures, but not too high. Typical for me is 32/32, 34/32 or 34/34 F/R. Vibration in the tires would be something you could feel in the steering wheel. Causes could also include wheels/tires that aren't properly balanced (e.g., one wheel could have thrown a weight) or are out of round.

    JL and junkher: Not boring at all. Buying a new car is a big investment and if it's not right in your mind, then you want the problems rectified. I can tell you my Forester hasn't been perfect, but with the help of people on this board - including past SoA presence - and a calm, rational approach to Edmund's participants, the Subaru dealer service departments and SoA, I've been able to have those problems addressed to my satisfaction. In many of those cases the problems were addressed much more quickly than I expected, which has made me a pretty satisfied customer.

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