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Subaru Forester



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Probably not. I was just searching for a price reference.
  • The clock on 5 1/2 year 2002 Forester went out a month or 2 ago. It briefly came back on the next day, but then faded out for good. Is this a similar problem to yours? How do you get access to the clock? Pry it out with a screwdriver.
  • All,

    I'm a Canadian buyer tossing up whether to buy the Subaru Forester X with the Columbia trim (sunroof, etc) but am starting to have second thoughts when I see the better handling equipment at the XS or XT level.

    Are there any X owners who can tell me if I will miss the limited slip differential, stability control or four disc brakes? I can spend the extra $ but would prefer not to.

    I'm a city driver, looking to own for the long term. Not planning any off-road activity but will be driving in the Canadian winters.

    Thanks in advance
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    I cannot speak for the Forester specifically, but having gone from a '96 with open differentials to an '07 Outback with a rear LSD, the LSD is very nice. Here in Fairbanks, breakup is in full swing and there is about 6-7" of heavy slush on the 1/4 mile nearest home (including steep driveway). Even with the terrible OE tires on it, it powers through the slush far better than the '96 ever did.

    If you have the option of LSD, I certainly recommend it over an open differential.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • kavoomkavoom Posts: 181
    Thinking Canadian Winters (shivers uncontrollably) the LSD is nice as I could feel it shifting power back and forth this last winter.

    It was an improvement over the standard AWD (I had an 04 basic X), but in reality, the Subaru AWD itself is the exponential difference. My girlfriend has an automatic and I prefer my manual transmission for driving through the white stuff...more control.

    Don't forget the seat warmers. Everyone says, nice, but I don't need that...and then they use them on a single digit day and become converts bordering on fanatics. You live in Canada right? I noticed the four wheel disc as much or more than the LSD as a difference I would say.

    If I had my choice though and were going to spend the money now, I would go for an XS sports. You can get one for within 500 bucks of a Premium Package X (US). It cuts some of the "luxury" items while keeping the performance ones and you get Turbo...

    But all of this is "want" land not "need" land. A good basic X Forester is one of the best buys out there now. You cannot go wrong. I drive my girlfriends basic X and it has everything you "need."
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Mine (a '98 model) was simple.

    Just above the beige trim that frames the clock, you see two tiny slits. Insert a small flat screw driver in each of those and it pulls out very easily. No need to pry.

    Then you disconnect the electrical plug.

    Now remove the back cover of the black case around the clock itself.

    Inside, you'll probably find cracked solter connections to the circuits. I found 3 circuits and basically added a dot of solter to each. That fixed the clock permanently.

    Cost was zero, as I already had the soltering iron and solter. Took me maybe 5 minutes, but 4.5 of those were waiting for the iron to heat up! :shades:
  • I know many of you Subie owners commute a long distance. Mine starts at the WV border and ends in the Sterling, VA. I am still researching the Forester but have questions on seat comfort. Are they comfortable on the long commute? Would you recommend upgrading to the X Premium for the power seats and moon roof upgrades? Thanks to all.

  • dirtbagdirtbag Posts: 57
    I have the X Premium with the power seats which are of little use to me since I'm single. If I had a wife who moved the seat when she drove it, then the power seat would come in handy. The seat is pretty comfortable until I've been in it for an hour or more. For long trips, it's far from ideal and would be one of my only complaints about my Forester.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The seats are very different than on my '98, so I can't comment on comfort.

    I have an L model, and many times I wished I'd sprung for the S just for the seat heaters. The cold season for us (I'm not far from you) pretty much means you could use the heated seats 8-9 months out of the year.

    Get it, the heat is almost therapuetic. I love riding along with Bob to NY because his wife's Forester has them and so does his WRX Limited. :)
  • jetfishjetfish Posts: 15
    Hi all,
    I'm looking at buying a 1999 Subaru Forester from a private owner in my town. Carfax report shows there's only one owner. It has 92 K miles, auto transmission, AWD, ABS, all options including 6-disc CD player, THULE roof/bike rack.

    The owner recently changed new front tires, battery, and timing belt, Head Gaskets at 90K miles.

    I am seeking the advice and reliability of this '99 S model. MSN Auto shows this model often has transmission engine and engine problem...

    Thank you guys...
  • samiam_68samiam_68 Posts: 775
    I have an '04 with manual cloth seats, and both driver and passenger seats become very uncomfortable after a couple of hours. I drove from NJ to FLA and halfway through the trip, the seats became a pain in the [non-permissible content removed] (literally).

    Can't comment on leather / power seats because they may have different padding and/or adjustments.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Well, the fact that the head gaskets were recently replaced should rule out a major threat of engine problems. I cannot comment on the transmission - I never had any problems with mine (220K on '96 OBW), but there are folks who report "engagement" issues with their transmissions. Basically, they state that the gears (Drive/Reverse) are slow to engage and get worse over time until eventually a replacement is needed. If you drive it and shift gears several times with no lag, then it is not likely a current problem.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • tifightertifighter WAPosts: 1,895
    I hate to say it, but the seats on my 06 X start to get a bit uncomfortable after 2-3 hours. Adjustable lumbar support helps, but most of my discomfort is in the mid-back area.

    15.5 XC70 T6 / 16 Soul EV / 17 Toyota 86

  • erics6erics6 Posts: 684
    Hope the tires have matching tread. You should replace all 4 tires with Subaru's awd.
  • Thanks for the seat comfort input. I will test drive the X Premium and work my way through the power seat settings. My big peeve has been the length of the seat cushion. Some makers have really chopped the length down resulting in no thigh support, and that is the area where long distance driving seems to get me. I used to make that drive from the NJ shore to Fla. I think the only car that I was ever really comfortable in for that distance was a friend's 1979 Caddy Coupe de Ville..
  • dirtbagdirtbag Posts: 57
    Part of seat comfort comes down to your body shape and how it reacts to certain sitting positions. I had an Acura Integra for years and never ever got uncomfortable on very long trips. A friend of mine had to sell hers because she said it was causing her back problems, just driving around town. Go figure.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The two concerns are the wheel bearings and the head gaskets for that model year. Transmission problems aren't one quarter as common as wheel bearing failures, so MSN Auto is way off.

    Take a test drive, turn off the radio, open the windows, and ... listen. Does it ride quietly? If you hear a chunk-chunk-chunk that varies pitch with speed, the bearings are shot, most likely the rear ones.

    Check out the engine itself, top to bottom. Any oil stains?

    New head gaskets are good, but you want to check to see if the heads got warped from overheating before the gaskets were changed. If so, you may spot oil stains on the engine block. Check underneath especially.

    Also check the front and rear of the block at the seals for oil leaks.

    Those 2 items probably consist of about 90% of the problems we've observed here.
  • I couldn't agree with you more. My everyday driver is a 2005 Scion XB. To me the seats are shaped perfectly. I can drive for hours in the Box with very little discomfort. My wife on the other hand is only comfortable for about an hour and a half. It leads to a lot of pit stops when we go long distance in the XB. I drive it regularly from Eastern WV to NJ and it fits my frame fine. It's a bit "tinny" and underpowered for the long distance drive but I can tolerate it. I'm waiting for the new XB redesign to hit the showrooms next month before I decide between the Forester and the '08 XB.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The new one will get the 2.4l engine. I like it better, but I'm concerned about the blind spots, since the new pillar is so wide.

    Forester will easily win in terms of visibility. But that's just one aspect. Let us know how you like it.
  • once_for_allonce_for_all Posts: 1,640
    all, I wasn't getting any feedback from my post over in the maintenance section, so I am re-posting here. Mark it up as too much splitting of topics...

    I need to do "maintenance" for my '03 Forester wheel bearings. Is this simply a pull the hub, repack the grease, and re-adjust the nut? Or is there more involved?


  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I don't really know of any "maintenance" that is done on these, they are sealed bearings. You maintain them when they start to break by replacing them.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    John, I never had to replace bearings on my '96 Outback, but I did take a look at them (on front axles) when replacing axles. They appeared to be a sealed unit, so the axle replacement job was actually quite clean!

    The bearings on my '69 Econoline are as you describe, but that is a totally different beast. :blush:
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • once_for_allonce_for_all Posts: 1,640
    well, I'll be...

    I suspected such, but couldn't figure out the "maintenance" requirement in the Forester manual.

    A bit gun shy because I had an Isuzu Trooper where I "did nothing" to the front bearings, and ended up burning them up at 90k. They had a similar halfshaft going into the front hub.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    I would still recommend continuing to look into it, just to be sure. My model was different, so the bearings might have been different as well. My final statement has to be "I just do not know!" :blush:
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, I'm not sure exactly when Subaru switched to the sealed ones.

    Perhaps it was for MY2003? That was when the Forester was redesigned.
  • once_for_allonce_for_all Posts: 1,640
    yup, it was '03 the first year of the new bearings. However I guess the manual didn't get corrected?

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    As far as I know they've been sealed at least back to 1990. They have changed from needle to barrel bearings over the years but still sealed and not servicable.

  • jetfishjetfish Posts: 15
    Hello ateixeria,

    Yes the mechanic check@ an auto body shop found some oil leak in the rear of engine. Is it very critical?

    Anyway, I just bought this '99 Forester and join the Subaru club:) Thank you all for the info..

    I'll keep updating in this forum for the problems/questions I find on this car while enjoying the Subaru ride:)
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    We did a clutch in my buddy's aunt's 99 OBS, and found that the gasket on the oil passage cover on the rear of the engine, under the bell-housing was leaking severely, this caused oil to get on the flywheel and clutch. We re-sealed it before replacing the clutch.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Check for that, then. I'm more familiar with the front of the block (O-ring front main seal).
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