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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591
    59k on a '08-- wow!

    You drive a lot, and I feel that it's technically possible for there to be a bushing issue-- but I agree with the others that fraud is more likely. They're fishing for revenue.

    My state doesn't have inspections and occasionally, yes, this does result in some clunkers on the road that shouldn't be. But it does mitigate a lot of bogus 'repairs' in the name of safety or emissions.
  • I bet we could start a thread on "BS Inspection Horror Stories". Here's mine for the week, thanks to a coworker I've been slowly educating on car stuff for a few years.

    Takes his late model Volvo in to the dealer this week, passes inspection just fine, except for "weak headlights". Won't pass without two new "headlight assemblies" for only $800. Now his lights are fine and he knows it, so he takes off the failed sticker (which describes the problem) and goes to another shop, non dealer. Headlights are fine of course, but they do find a "worn brake line", but that's only $250 to fix and you can only take so much time off from work to mess with this stuff, and $250 is lots less than $800, so he lets them do it. Who knows, maybe that brake hose did have a scuff on it. I should probably get down and at least see if it looks like a new line, but what's the point. Damage done, and in my local this is simply the norm.

    For us guys that grew up with Gus' Model Garage this stuff is murder.

    OK, next?.....
  • phil2000phil2000 New JerseyPosts: 195
    Okay everybody. At 15:21 (3:21 eastern daylight time) on the 30th of July 2009 at mile marker 19.1 on the Atlantic City Expressway, New Jersey. NORTH latitude 39 degrees 32 minutes 05.59 seconds by WEST longitude 74 degrees 42 minutes 48.9 seconds.

    I reached 300,000 miles on my 2000 Forester.
  • mr_jmtmr_jmt Posts: 9
    picachu, Thanks for the update. I've been traveling for work and have not yet been back to the dealer. Planned to last night, but had meetings until 7:30 pm. The a/c issue is somewhat annoying, but I have gotten used to it, but will still report it when I go in. Same with the noise. The only other issue I am having is the rough idling. Otherwise, I really love the car. Rides very smooth, is very quiet and gets 28+ mpg on the highway. Since this is my first Subaru, I will keep a close eye on how things go as the car ages.
  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591
    Wow, greater than 30,000 miles per year. Congrats!

    I average 16,000 miles per year and I feel like that's too much. :)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587

    And on the original Rear trailing arm bushings, no less! :D
  • Cool, have you posted a 300K mile repair history anywhere?

    (Still loving my 2006 Forester, with all of 22K)
  • where in VA are you with these crooks? In 20+ yrs. I've had no such problems in No. VA at a couple of different inspection places/garages.
  • In beautiful Charlottesville, really a very nice town. But we're dominated by academics and students, yuppies and "more money than sense" folks, imo. And local tradition. If basically every local shop is corrupt, what is your alternative? Mine is to take at least part of a day off work, drive over to the valley, have my wife follow me to drive me home, leave the car for a day or two, maybe catch a ride with a coworker and go pick up the car. All this because the State of VA mandates a program but does nothing to enforce it's integrity. And yes, I always try to give the shop at least an oil change or some minor job to help compensate for the too low fee ($18) that the state allows for inspection. Gov. Kaine tried to at least change the law for new vehicles this past year, making the first inspection due after two years on brand new vehicles. The auto lobby convinced everybody this would cause thousands of accidents and deaths, the change went nowhere.

    Some of my inspection stories are pretty damn comical, at least they would be if they didn't end up costing me money, time, and 20 blood pressure points :-) Bottom line, if you don't know anything about cars then it's just fine, the mechanic fixed my dim headlights for just $800, everybody needs two new tie rod ends at 30K miles, that brake light that worked an hour ago really did need to be replaced for just $25, and you really can't just replace the halfway worn brake pads, gotta have new rotors and calibers, dontcha know?
  • sorry to hear about your bizarro universe there, I know Cville well, my br-in-law lives there.

    ... they do, however, do some compliance checkups in VA, I know because even my honest & thorough local inspector here (a Sunoco station) who I get all my inspections from got nicked by the state on something minor when they sent an inspector by, "undercover" (and even though I've never had any service done there, they have never even once dinged me on an inspection and suggested or required any work).
  • kafenkafen Posts: 2
    I have exactly the same problem for my 09 Impreza. I purchased it last December and started noticing this rattling sound a couple of months ago. It seems that it only happens when accelerating from 40 mph or so. Softer accelerating seems to be easier to trigger this noise. I should pay attention to the engine rpm. After some internet search, it seems the source of this noise is the heat sheilds of the exhaust and it is a quite common problem for subaru. You may ask your dealer to check whether the heat shield is loose and you can take it off to see whether the noise is gone. I will do this in my next oil change. Hopefully this is helpful.
  • phil2000phil2000 New JerseyPosts: 195
    Well everyone,

    It passed inspection. Well, the garage got it to pass. They cleared the code, then drove it until they got ready signals from all the sensors and before misfire of P0420 showed up. Now I have two years to run down those problems.

    I still get P0301 and P0420 (with new up/downstream sensors). I will try the cat sometime in the spring.
  • Have you taken your Impreza back to the dealer to confirm this is a heat shield, and not engine ping (improper combustion)? My 08 Impreza (2.5i, auto trans) is going back to the dealer tomorrow, 4th time in a year. I had to contact Subaru of America on this. I have asked them to reflash the engine control module and transmission module all the way back to factory setting just to see what happens.

    The engine ping on this car happens with softer acceleration too, (as well as others) when I am telling the engine to deliver power, and it can't seem to get with the program. Up hills as well. Slow to downshift to deliver power. No one has said anything about rattling heat shield - and this sounds vaguely like a tambourine.

    SOA rep is saying something like the problem is caused by the engine detuning plus ethanol gas, and that it is not harmful. Not so sure about this. In reading the WRX forums, I have seen various comments that the factory tuning that comes with these cars is really poor (causing them to run lean and therefore cause engine ping). And what I read on the internet is that true engine ping is likely to cause engine damage over the long haul.

    I would encourage you to confirm what the noise is one way or another. My dealer service center claimed they couldn't replicate the noise the first 3 times I had the car in.
  • re compliance checks: My impression is that every now and then an inspector checker might make the rounds with a known problem or two. If the shop doesn't find those problems, they are cited. Finding 3 or 4 other "problems" is not an issue, just have to find the "real" problem (bald tires, brake pads near zero, etc.) Also, I'd bet the shop can spot an inspector 90% of the time, just the way things work in the real world.

    Does your bros. in law have a shop he likes here? I've had decent luck actually with Airport Auto, just depends some on the mechanic you get.

    Overall though, my coworkers experience with "dim headlights, $800" (shop 1) morphing into "worn brake line, while we're at it we should replace both $350" (shop 2) is the norm here. Kinda reminds me of when we first moved here. Wife called me at work, our 1995 Caravan wouldn't crank. The woman next door had the identical van, same problem, assured my wife it would only be $1000 for a new starter, new alternator, new cables, new battery. I guess just maybe she did need all that, but I cleaned my battery clamps and jumped it, seemed to do just fine for exactly $0.00.....

    Now, please don't get me started on dentists.....
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,669
    That is good news! I cannot figure what is causing the P0301. Regarding P0420, maybe, though, with the outrageous number of miles on your car, the cat converter really is running out of steam.... :cry:
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • phil2000phil2000 New JerseyPosts: 195
    I replaced the CAT at about 200K in the spring of 06. And since, drove with 8 bad valves for fifteen months, who knows what's going on in the converter.

    As for the P0301, I still think the wear on the spokes of the crankshaft sprocket are causing intermittent readings on the pickup sensor.
  • mr_jmtmr_jmt Posts: 9
    Update...I took my car in to have my short list looked at. As all have told me, the a/c is what it is. When the compressor is engaged, cold as ice. Unfortunately, that is only 20% of the time. As my car is dark gray, it will never get cool enough for me. A/C was check and I was told it is working to specifications. Rough idle is from PZEV, or at least that is what I was told. Though it did not idle rough the first 3 weeks I had th car. The noise underneath that I hear when I first move forward...I am told it is all-wheel engaging. Not sure I buy that story, as others in this forum have stated it was an antilock brake system check. Still really love the car, and if I hyper-drive, I can get 29+ mpg on the highway.
  • phil2000phil2000 New JerseyPosts: 195
    Where is the trailing arm bushings exactly? I see a lot of rubber sleeves with bolts going through them on several parts for the rear wheels. Some look like they are part of suspension.
  • I too have an 08 OBW with an identical issue. I haven't had it into the dealer yet. Any updates from the dealer or SOA rep on how to fix your problem?
  • I had the car at the dealer on Monday, and I specifically told the SOA rep I wanted them to reset both the engine control module and transmission control module back to the original factory settings - and then let's see what happens. What I'm being told is that this mostly has something to do with the way the car adapts to my driving habits. Well, I don't think a car should adapt to the point that it exhibits this kind of problem at 15k (actually it started after 1000 mi.) So -- if this is true, I assume the car will perform more as it did when I first had it, without pinging, and then slide back into the pinging/sluggish behavior after about 1000 mi.

    They also ran some kind of solvent in the engine to dissolve any carbon that might have built up that would have contributed to higher than normal compression. I really don't think there should be carbon buildup at 15k - especially since I don't use junk gas. If there's carbon - I wonder if it's because the fuel isn't combusting properly.

    So - I am reserving judgement on all this until I drive the car a few days. I have read on the NASIOC forum that the 2008s were tuned "lean" - which, as I understand it, can lead to engine ping. I'm not an auto expert - but I've sure learned more than I ever wanted to know in the last year with this car.
  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591
    Sounds like something isn't right with your engine.

    They're trying, but in the end what they're doing is unlikely to resolve it. Hang in there, and I bet eventually you get either a topend rebuild or a whole new motor. Pinging like that is not normal.
  • I agree with you that it's not normal. What I'm wondering is if the normally aspirated 2008 Imprezas will end up developing serious engine problems like some of the 2008 WRX models requiring new engines at early mileage. I haven't seen anything like that yet on the forums, regarding the lower-end Imprezas. I just hope this engine doesn't blow up on me in the middle of some road trip, 200 miles away from a Subaru dealer. I'm going to have the next oil change done by a good auto shop in town, rather than the dealer, and see what they think about what might be going on (or what they've heard anyway).
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    >What I'm wondering is if the normally aspirated 2008 Imprezas will end up developing serious engine problems like some of the 2008 WRX models requiring new engines at early mileage.

    the NA 2.5 is the same on an Impreza, Forester or outback/legacy and a different beast to the 2.5 turbo in the WRX
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    "... I really don't think there should be carbon buildup at 15k - especially since I don't use junk gas. If there's carbon - I wonder if it's because the fuel isn't combusting properly... I have read on the NASIOC forum that the 2008s were tuned "lean" - which, as I understand it, can lead to engine ping..."

    Maybe you did use junk gas. Junk gas would be the brands that do not have the detergent content of the Top Tier:

    The ECU assures the fuel is combusted properly, or it gives a warning light with a diagnostic trouble code. The engine is prevented from pinging by a knock sensor that tells the ECU to retard the ignition. If the knock sensor allowed pinging, that also would bring on the light and a code.

    In your driving habits, do you start off easy, with the transmission upshifting sooner than you want which bogs down the acceleration, and then do you apply more throttle to cause a downshift back to the previous gear? The rattling could be the transmission being confused about what it is supposed to do under light acceleration. If so, using more aggressive acceleration might stop the problem.
  • I've been using either BP or Mobil gas in the car for the last year; I considered this to be adequate quality fuel. Yes, I usually pull away from a stoplight/sign with a light foot. Have always driven that way so as to avoid rear ending someone in front of me, waste gas, or squeal tires. And yes, this transmission and engine frequently act confused about what they should do! Makes no sense to me to have a car that can't readily adapt from light to moderate acceleration. Example: I might pull away from a stoplight gently, only to have to floor it seconds later to avoid some hazard. I use aggressive acceleration only when it's called for.

    I drove an 08 Outback auto trans loaner car for the day my car was in the shop (not a turbo model). Car performed *just fine* going up hills, freeway entrance ramps etc. No ping, no sluggishness. As a loaner, that car is probably driven by someone different every day, yet it knew exactly when to shift, when to deliver power. No problems.

    If a car can't seem to switch back and forth easily between driving styles, I think there's a design or other problem. Do ALL new cars do this? Why would a manufacturer design a car that won't reliably do what you tell it to do?
  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591
    Problems from bad gas go away after your get it out of the system, and it's very unlikely that any busy station has poor quality fuel. It's fuel that sits around a long time you have to be worried about.

    There's not a design problem either. There's a specific and uncommon issue with your car. And like I said, I give Subaru and the dealership an "A" for effort, but their efforts are likely in vain. It's rare, but sometimes there are bad engines.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,669
    I did not follow this all the way to the original post, but has resetting the engine/transmission control unit memories been tried yet? If it is an oddity of learned driving style, resetting these units would clear the problem immediately even though it would likely return (if driving style remained the same) after a while.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591
    Yep, that's been tried.
  • If any of you want to read more about engine ping in these late model Subarus, look at the forum. There's a fairly active thread right now on the same type of engine ping problem (and I've been posting there, too). I don't know much about cars, but other folks are weighing in on the problem in that forum, as well. This doesn't seem to be an entirely isolated problem.
  • jerrys2jerrys2 Western massachusettsPosts: 189
    After reading about this on the Tribeca board, I checked my '06 and discovered I have the ghosting problem with the champagne gold paint.
    Have other models had this problem? Will Subaru correct even though I am out of warranty ( 49 months, 46k ) ?
    Thanks ,

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