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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • Any thoughts from anyone as to the benefits of higher octane gas with the Subaru engines. I have been putting in regular gas for the most part and have had decent gas mileage (25-30 Hwy) and also noticed a knocking sound from engine. I have switched to mid range gas to see if there is any difference in mileage, engine noise etc. I only started putting it in this week so i dont notice any difference right away. I also notice that when i turn the steering wheel to the right, theres a growling noise as the car rolls away. It must be something rubbing but it is not obvious. I really hope its not a wheel bearing or something like that. Any thoughts??


  • I have a 96 Legacy wagon. The last few years it idles very noisily. I often shift it into neutral at lights to quiet it some. Is this a common problem? Any fixes?
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    Are you sure the sound is knocking due to fuel pre-ignition? Your Forester engine has been designed for 87 octane fuel. In some cases, you might hear some pinging under load, but knocking is probably extremely rare. Can you describe the noise a little more?

  • belotbelot Posts: 1
    My '00 Forester ( AT ) has recently developed a strange
    problem : when I come to a stop and then accelerate
    again ( even very gradually ) I occasionally feel
    a jolt within several seconds. It feels like
    something was held and then is released , or like
    something suddenly engages. The car was driven very
    rarely in the past 6 month ( I was out of town
    most of the time ). The problem appeared a couple
    of weeks after I resumed regular driving. Does this
    sound like normal behavior for this
    particular vehicle ? I understand that when front wheels slip rear ones get more power. Is it a gradual increase or could is happen with a thump that I can feel ? How bad does traction need to be on the front wheels for the transfer to take place ? I am mostly experiencing the problem on slippery roads, but first time it happened under normal driving conditions.
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Sounds like you might have a problem with the AT. Under very hard acceleration, you might feel something as the tranny upshifts, but certainly not a jolt.

    Have the dealer take a look at it so it gets documented.
  • Ken,

    It almost sounds like a quiet diesel when it is idling. Not sure about wether it's pre-ignition or what but it sure does knock some.

    Any ideas??

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    Is the noise there at all times? I was thinking it could be bad spark plugs or even piston slap, but it's hard to say without actually seeing it. I would take it into the dealer since your 98 is probably still covered by the powertrain warranty. Same for the noise you described while steering.

  • I just bought a 2001 Forester S last week. The next day, my windshield was chipped by a rock while driving on 95 (darn trucks!!!!)

    I found out today that the windshield, because it is heated (windshield wiper de-icer is standard in the S), cannot be repaired under any circumstances - it needs to be replaced. I was told that the windshield retails for $1,600!!! If I pay cash, rather than going through insurance, they would charge me $800. If I go through insurance, I have to pay a $500 deductible. (This is questionable, too - my insurance company is giving me trouble about even being covered in my new car, since my policy paperwork was not officially switched to my new car until a couple days later! This was NOT my fault - I called them right after buying the car, but they were slow in processing the paperwork. I did ask several times about whether or not I was covered during this interim, and they said YES.)

    This is a warning to anyone who has this car: lower your windshield deductible if you can. I didn't know I had that option. Now I'm stuck paying lots just because of a little rock. So much for the honeymoon period of having a new car...

    Do I have any other options? Is it only Maryland that won't repair a heated windshield? Could a warranty possibly cover this, since it happened the day after buying it? Any chance the dealer would help me out? (Fitzgerald's)

    This is really terrible.

  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    I have State Farm for my auto ins. They state that you are covered in any new (or new used) vehicle for up to 30 days, as long as you're in good standing (ie: policy is paid). I've never had a problem switching to new cars with them.

    As for the windshield, they too will repair a cracked windshield, if possible. Probably for more of those tiny hole type cracks, and not the cracks that go across the glass. If the glass can be repaired, they do it for no cost to you (no deductible). If it can't be repaired, you'd then have to use your deductible to get a new one.

    I had my windshield replaced last winter on my previous ride (Chevy Z71). It was cracked along the bottom half - so no repair! I paid my $50 deductible and had KD AutoGlass put in a new one. At least in my area, State Farm uses KD AutoGlass and Auto Glass Specialists (the guys in the little red trucks).

    Our Outback has the same heated windshield. I would suspect that a repair of that windshield wouldn't be advised since the heating elements put a bit more strain on the glass itself. So, that repaired portion of the window would be put under even more strain.

    But, alas, I'm no engineer! I'm probably wrong. And hey, my post made it!

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Wow, all my car's that have had comprehensive insurance have had a zero $ glass deductible. I thought that was standard since most glass jobs would come in under the $500 deductible.

  • I picked up my '01 Forester S Premium with automatic from a dealer about 2 weeks ago. So far, I have put 290 miles on it. It performed quite well in the first snow storm of Washington a couple of days ago. However, the day after I picked up the car from the dealer, I noticed a low-volume whining noise coming from the front whenever I accelerate from a low or medium speed, i.e. below 45 or 50 mph. I am a little concerned. Could it be noise from the transmission. Does anyone have a similar experience? I wonder whether I should take it into the dealer to have a look now? The prudent thing to do is probably let the dealer look at the car now, but my work schedule is very tight, so I would like to avoid it as much as possible. Any suggestions?

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Let's see if this post actually works . . .

    I don't see why you couldn't repair the Subaru windshields unless the chip/crack was right over the heating element (down near the wipers). If the damage is elsewhere, seems to me that the heater would be irrelevant. Even then it might be doable -- simple warm-air defrosters (which we all have) already put thermal expansion stresses on a cold windshield, and I can't see how the wiper heating elements would be any worse (they don't get hot-hot, just warm enough to prevent ice from forming). I can see not going the repair route if it's a more serious crack, but small chips/cracks?

    I might be tempted to buy a repair kit and fix it on my own if possible.

  • ray_cray_c Posts: 36
    I also have the same problem with 2001 OutBack. Let me know what you find out from the dealer.

  • If the chip isn't right at driver's eye level, or otherwise in your direct field of view, I'd try repairing it first... using Novis or your local equivalent - insurance companies usually pay the entire cost of the repair, even if it's not successful.
    No harm, no foul!

  • nailitnailit Posts: 14
    I think every reputable insurance co. covers you for at least 30 days while your policy is switched over to the new car providing you inform them during that period and your previous policy is in force. It sounds like you informed them and that you're still within that 30 day period so I wouldn't let them bluster you into thinking that you're not covered. That's a bummer... I'm sorry you've got to deal with the extra cost "nonsense" to get it repaired. Is it a major crack or just a small impact "pit"? I have taken my car in and had the insurance repair the "pit" and frankly it was as good as new (it was up behind the rear-view mirror so not in the line of sight - your's might be different). FWIW - I made the decision to go with $0 deductible comprehensive on all my vehicles here in SoCal due to all the construction that's going on. For the small (less than $60 per year/per vehicle) premium increase I've replaced four windshields (2 at over $900 each and 2 at about $400 each) plus had my car repaired/repainted twice because someone "keyed" the driver's side ($650 and $800) and replaced a $200 Lexan headlight module that was taken out by a "rock" missile. All of this in the past two years and all at $0 out of pocket cost to me beyond the $240 premiums bump that I've spread out over that same period. It's really about how much risk you want to absorb and the damage "incidence" here is too high for me to justify the "out of pocket" costs. Just a thought. Good luck!
  • I finally found it, with the help of the local Subaru dealer. I didn't feel so bad when it took him 15 minutes and refernece to two shop manuals before *he* could find the thing. Here's what you do:

    Pull the wheel well cover up and on the passenger side remove the carpet section and soundproofing (you may need to remove the wheel well soundproofing/underfloor to do this easily). Now feel along up underneath the side panel and the harness plug should be there somewhere in the middle. You do need to reach up a little bit (small fingers help!). It's not too obvious.

    If you want, you can lead the wiring down through a plug in the bottom of the wheel well (need to remove the tire to see it). However, in my installation (a HiddenHitch), anywhere I can see to tie the harness up is pretty far forward and hard to get to for occasional use, so I'll probably keep my wiring in the wheel well and lead it under the tailgate when needed.

    (sorry I don't have a nifty digital camera to show you a picture of this...Santa, are you listening?)

    Hope this helps someone else.

  • I bought new Kelly-Springfield tires for my 98 Forester four months ago; the tires have just 4,000 miles on them. Two months ago, we were gently rear-ended, and had the bumper replaced. Shortly after that, the car started jerking a little bit when we first stepped on the accelerator, and it started making ominous rumbling noises when we turned corners (the noise came from the back of the car). We took it back to the Subaru folks, who checked the car bumper to bumper and found nothing EXCEPT that the back two tires are 1/4-inch smaller in circumference than the front two. The diameter of the tires is the same. Subaru told me that the tire circumference must be within 1/8-inch all the way around because of the all-wheel drive. The difference in circumference is the reason I'm getting the noises and jerking motion. This makes innate sense to me, and I took the car back to Sears, where I bought the tires originally (they were, by the way, very expensive, which annoys me even more). They want me to bring it back today when the manager's in, but I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas on this in the meantime. Thanks! Lauren
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    When you bought your new tires four months ago, did you get 2 or 4 new tires? I'm trying to understand how the tire tread differed by 1/4 inch. I'm assuming you bought the same tire size so I'm going to guess that you replaced just two at that time.

    The dealer is right about needing your tire tread being within 1/8 of an inch. More accurately, it's your entire tire diameter needs to be within 1/8 of an inch. The reason is that our AWD systems detect rotational differences and engage accordingly. When your tires are slipping, chances are one is going to be spinning faster than another. The AWD system can't tell apart from slippery road conditions and having tires of different diameters. It all just looks like different rotational speeds.

    With AWD vehicles, you pretty much have to replace all 4 tires at a time.

    Having said that, the AWD systems in our Foresters should be relatively transparent. That is, you shouldn't feel any jerkyness under normal driving conditions even if AWD engages. After you get the other two tires replaced, pay close attention and see if the symptoms remain.

    Good luck,

  • Ken, I bought four new tires when I replaced the old ones--I know that I need to replace all four at once. My dilemma now is, what should I ask for from Sears? I'm tempted to ask for four new--not Kelly-Springfield--tires. What do you think?
  • torektorek Posts: 92
    I got a small (dime-sized) round "ding" in my windshield shortly after I bought my 2000 Forester S. Got it repaired using the pull-a-vacuum, inject-plastic, set-it-with-UV-light method. The repair is visible, but looks kind of like a bug smear, and is well out of "normal viewing angle", so it is not a problem.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    Thanks for clearing that up. That makes it even more strange -- I couldn't imagine treadwear in 4 months being the culprit. Did you do any towing with the Forester? If the Subaru dealer is right about the size difference, then I would suspect a quality control problem with the the tires. I would explain to the Sears manager about the needs of AWD vehicles and see if they can verify the problem. Also, check to see if there is a treadwear guarantee for the tires. If they do agree, I would get a different brand.

    My concern is that there might be something else wrong that's causing the "jerkyness" you described. First, however, you need to rule out the possbility of the tires.

    Good luck,

  • I took my car to a glass shop today and they said I won't need to fix it in order to pass state inspection. So I'm just going to leave it - especially since it might get cracked again later this winter. If it does crack again, my new policy has no deductible for windshield repair or replacement. Thanks for all your suggestions!

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Glad we could help. Hopefully others will check their policy to make sure they Zero deductible on the glass coverage!

  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
    Hi folks,

    I'm back from SC with a couple of questions. First, how have you all dealt with the problem of having your Soob's window glass freeze to the weather-stripping? I left mine parked in an open-air long-term parking lot near the airport while I was gone. It snowed and thawed while I was gone and there was ice between the glass and the strip. I was afraid I would tear up the strip when I pulled the door open.

    Second, have any of you dealt with Hadwin-White Subaru in Conway, SC? They're primarily a Buick-Pontiac-GMC dealership and, if I recall correctly, were taken to task on one of the national news magazine shows (20-20, Dateline, I don't know which) for among other things reselling lemons (the GMs, not the Subarus). Due to my parents' health I have a feeling I'll be spending more of my time down there in the near future. H-W is the closest dealer for many miles; the next closest are in Wilmington, NC (75 mi.), Charleston, SC (100 mi.) or Columbia, SC (120 mi.). If they are as horrific as their reputation I might be better off flying down and renting a car each trip.

    As always, thanks in advance for your thoughts.

  • Ed: Here's a couple potential solutions:
    I've used aerosol silicone spray applied to a cloth, then wiped on the weatherstripping. Not a complete cure, but a big help.

    I'm fortunate that I have a heated garage available at work, so I can leave all the doors open to dry out once in awhile. Not an option for most, but the silicone thing usually works.

  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
    Thanks, Paul, for the tip. It'll come in handy with the blizzard we expect here in the Northeast.
    My Soob is rarely garaged; although we have an unheated two-car garage at home, my wife's Accord gets one bay while my '63 Studebaker gets the other. I figure the Forester can handle the elements better than the Stude.

    Thanks again,
  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    I've also had good results with the silicone spray. I've read to not to spray it directly because the aerosol chemicals are bad for the seal (plus it makes a mess).
    I'm originally from Myrtle Beach and had my '97 OBS serviced and H.W. a couple of years ago while visiting my parents. It was only for an oil change and I didn't have any problems (now I do my own). I liked the way the service area was set up because you drive into the service bay. With any dealer, it's a good idea to check their work thoroughly. Any problems just call SOA.

  • amishraamishra Posts: 367
    Garages are a mixed blessing in winter, especially if the temperature differences between inside and out are high they can cause accelerated corrosion. Quick changes in temperature can also cause cracking in glass or stress fractures in metals.

    As for keeping your windows from sticking, you might want to try a silicon lube on the rubber. Just make sure to wipe up the excess!

    see the following if you're interested in more:
  • Have had my '01 Forester I since late March. Around the Oct time frame noticed the driver's cloth lower seat cushion becoming wrinkled. All of the other cushions are fine and regularly used.

    Will be going in for service in January. Need some advice on how to discuss with dealer. Is this a problem for anyone else and is the cushion replaceable with no cost to me?
    Michael D.
  • Had my 98 Forester in for an oil change yesterday and wanted the technician to check an oil leak from the front of then engine. He told me it was from the front crank seal and would change it at the same time as the oil. No problem right, wrong - after taking the cover off the timing belt area, he noticed the timing belt tensioner was not working properly causing the belt to rub on another part and is now worn out. So, an oil change now becomes a timing belt tensioner and belt replacement. This stuff in addition to changing a wheel bearing, sway bar linkage and clutch in the last seven months is starting to make me thing the certified pre-owned car I bought is a bit of a lemon!
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