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New Subaru Forester Owners - Give Us Your Report!



  • erics6erics6 Posts: 684
    You might check out for more information on the smell.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Well since it's been 6 months it's obviously not the undercoating still burning off (unless you seldom drive it). Since you're otherwise happy, rather than trying to get rid of it, I'd focus on figuring out what's causing the odor. It could be something simple like a small coolant leak caused by a loose hose. Maybe you could find a dis-interested 3rd party to confrim the smell?

    IRT your customer service experience, keep climbing the ladder until you get to someone responsive (of course keep in mind the old saying that "you catch more flies with honey than vinegar"). I know for a fact that there are people working at SOA who are caring and considerate and will work with you to resolve your problem.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Call 800-SUBARU3, but be nice! Get a case number.
  • First, let me say thanks for all the responses, it is greatly appreciated. I have a case number, I've been nice but firm about not wanting my three-year-old daughter to have to smell the fumes that make even me a little nauseous...

    After being told a scenario by an otherwise incredibly rude and abrupt supervisor in customer service that if my car cost $5k to trade in that Subaru might pick up $4k of the cost, two months later and one month after I brought my car to the dealer for an estimate of the trade in. I also requested and was granted another supervisor, whose only role was to deliver the offer. The offer? Subaru would pick up 50% of the trade-in cost.

    That means it would cost me $4500 out of pocket to take a chance on another vehicle from them...something I'm not willing to do. They've abused and betrayed my trust, and I will no longer recommend them to anyone.

    Some responses suggested I look for ways to fix the problem...makes sense. I just lost confidence when the dealer's own service technician described the problem as being due to undercoating sprayed on the engine (a manufacturing defect) and then stated the problem was not fixable. If Subaru can't fix it, I figured, nobody can.

    But I am open to having the car looked at (assuming it's not going to cost me anything to look) just to see if what I'm describing makes your nose and throat cringe as it does mine. And who knows? Maybe there is a fix, maybe the tech was wrong. Stranger things have happened.

    I'll also be writing a letter to Subaru certified mail return receipt requested insisting they fix the car within twenty days as the first step to having the car declared a lemon, something I realize is not a slam dunk, and taking all possible measures to publicize my dissatisfaction with the car and the service I've received since Subaru didn't consider my problem to be worthy of addressing properly when it was just me complaining.

    I also believe the trade-in value assigned the car was unbelievably low ($13.5K) for a March 2007 Forester Sports X with 7000 miles which did have some body work done for a non-structural scrape on the driver's side. But losing $10k in value in less than six months? I think low-balling the trade-in value was just a nice way to have the dealer and SOA combine to make it look like they were being generous while having me pay most of the cost of trading out of their lemon.

    I just drove home in the cold rain last night, and even in the rain as I walked away from the car I could smell that bitter stale odor...of the engine with the manufacturing defect, and the car company that positions itself as the environmentally aware automaker but doesn't care for the drivers who have to suck on stale fumes from their vehicles.

    What I need is to have a consumer advocate read my letter in a public forum, at which point the attitude would change and Subaru would suddenly be eager to resolve what was certainly an unfortunate misunderstanding.

    I really don't like the way I was treated by customer service who try to deny the smell, then blame the smell on third-party alterations (the remote start and alarm installed by the dealer!), the misleading "don't quote me" scenario of an 80% coverage by Subaru being floated for two months only to get a 50% offer.

    P.S. They knew about the body work from the start of the discussions, so that was no surprise. And I was told in no uncertain terms after I calmly expressed my dismay at the low offer that it was the only and final offer Subaru would make.

    As a standup comedian, one of my advantages is I can turn this scenario into a funny bit that will make audiences laugh and think twice about who they hand their money to.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    They have a Guaranteed Trade-in Program right now so many owners are seeing the exact opposite - very high offers for their trades.

    The damage may disqualify yours, though.

    Still, keep fighting, sounds like you can do better.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Undercoating getting sprayed on the engine is quite common (and I doubt it's limited to Subaru). Were that the problem then the tech would be correct in saying it's not fixable. However, the undercoating normally burns off after a few weeks at most so I can't see that being your problem.

    Since the dealer's service dept is no help, it might be worth taking it to an independent mechanic to see if he can ID the problem then you could take it back to the dealer with specifics of what needs to be fixed.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    So you mean to tell me that you are hinging all this on one single tech who looked at it? Unfortunately in this world, you generally need several opinions to get a problem fixed. As I said I'd take a gander at it just cause I'm curious to see what the problem is. Having worked on Subies since about 1999, I've seen it all.

  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    I think he said the regional rep looked at it and didn't smell anything either.

    I too am curious what the problem is. Maybe if he's in the NYC area he'll take you up on your offer.

  • Sure, one opinion doesn't do it for surgery...but I figured no one has seen more 2007 Foresters or should be more invested in fixing the problem than the dealer's service department. Naive, perhaps.

    That said, I'd be happy to get a second opinion. Where are you?

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    NNJ, exit 138 on the GSP. I live in NYC though.

  • Hi everyone,
    Have not bought a new car in many years. Researched many cars,decided on the Subaru Forester 2007 Sports edition. I was very excited about finally getting a new car for me since the kids are older.
    First off it starts off very rough in the morning for about 20 secs. Happens again after work. Does not happen in between if driving in less than 8 hrs.So of course it doesnt happen when I bring it in.Thats number 1.
    2. I don t feel the AC gets cold enough. Had a 2002 toyota corolla that got colder.
    3.When I accelerate I can hear a knocking noise. When u take your foot off the gas it goes away. But when u accelerate, it again it happens again.
    I took the car back for the first 2 problems & was told: that is the way the 07 & 08's start up. (why dont they tell u that before u buy it so u can decide if u want to deal with that) haha
    They checked the AC & said nothing was wrong with it. Tues I take it in for the knocking noise. Cant wait to see what they say about that.
    I guess my point is I was hoping for 3 years without problems but I have a funny feeling that is not going to happen.
    Would I buy another Subaru, probably not.
  • My cousin has an 07 xT forester... I think I was originally interested in that before I got the Ford Freestyle I have now. Mind you, I've had the freestyle since start of 06. And am just not sure if I want to go back to a geared vehicle or not, considering the freestyle's CVT. But I feel the Freestyle is a bit too much car for the engine it has.. [4100ish pounds and 3.0v6] Therefore hurting the gas mileage a bit.

    I might need to research more though...
    I do like Subaru a bit, rode in a couple off and on over the years. But I dont know really....
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    First off it starts off very rough in the morning for about 20 secs

    How cold does it get? Suggest you leave it at the dealer overnight so they can observe it running when it's cold. Also, the boxer engine isn't know to be the smoothest idling engine.

    I don t feel the AC gets cold enough

    On a warm sunny day, due to greenhouse effect of all that glass, it can take a while for the Forester to cool down. Tinting the windows helps alot.

    When I accelerate I can hear a knocking noise.

    Try putting in a tank of higher octane to see if that stops the knocking noise but a new Forester shouldn't be doing that (unless you've got really bad gas).

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    What frank said :)

  • Hey Frank & Mike,.
    Took my 2007 Forester to the dealer today with the complaint of knocking noise expecially when accelerating. I made sure I drove with the tech. CV joint was the problem. Noise much better but I think another one has to be replaced. Also they got a report as to why the car starts rough after sitting for a few hours. It has something to do with the gas in Ca. it is different in different states. I have a photocopy o f the report from Subaru.
    thanks for your responses
  • joybelljoybell Posts: 275
    I haven't been on this board for a while. I bought (or rather my husband did) a 2003 Forester, new in June 2003. It made engine noise so I took it to the dealer. They put in a rebuilt engine. My Forester had less than 37,000 kms on it. and more than likely that rebuilt engine has a lot more kms on it. I was planning to keep the Forester for a long time. I had it rustproofed every year and took really good care of it, taking it a long distance to a Subaru dealer for even an oil change. My husband feels we should dump it. Not only that but he will not get another Subaru for me. I've been a Subaru costomer for over 20 years so this is all a very hard pill to swallow. :cry:
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    "... I had it rustproofed every year..."

    Is not the car rustproofed as made? Galvanized metal body panels, dipped in primers, doors and cavities sprayed with wax compounds, etc?

    Is there any need to rustproof the car every year, and what does that include? Is that just spraying bituminous coating to the underside and wheel wells-- the old undercoating treatment?

    And do Subarus have a rust problem if not undercoated every year?
  • joybelljoybell Posts: 275
    Well, I do it because of past Subarus I've owned. They rusted apart but were mechanically still fine. I didn't use Subaru's own rustproofing, but went instead to a local body shop that does an excellent job with undercoating. I brought the Forester straight there after buying it and did it again every fall since then. So the new owner will have an excellent body but a rebuilt engine! What a switch!
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    My Forester had less than 37,000 kms on it.

    If it's your Forester then you should have the final say in whether to trade it in for something else! That's just my humble opinion, for what it's worth. :)

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • joybelljoybell Posts: 275
    and in my case it's my husband. Besides, he does have a point and I'm beginning to see it.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    he does have a point and I'm beginning to see it

    Glad you can cause I'm not seeing it :P

    FYI, all the car compaines have made great strides in the past few years in preventing rust (hence the long rust warranties) so annual rust-proofing isn't really needed. In fact, when applied incorrectly, it can actually cause rust by trapping moisture between the coating and the body panels.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Yup, undercoating these days causes more rust than it prevents due to the moisture trapping issue.

  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    "... past Subarus I've owned. They rusted apart..."

    Is this a problem with Foresters? Maybe because so many are used in snowbelt states?
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    She was refering to cars built well before the first Forester came out (1998). You really don't hear much about rusting problems any more.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    joybell was referring to 80's and earlier cars, which all rusted out, post 80's cars are relatively rust free these days.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Subaru is pondering a CVT, but it may take a while before we see it.

    They have CVTs in some JDM models, like the tiny Stella.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    It's been hinted at that the next-generation (2010) Legacys and Outbacks will have a CVT.

  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,770
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  • mb789mb789 Posts: 89
    I am now the proud owner of a 2008 Forester Premium in beautiful Newport Blue! I love the 6-disc player and the sunroof.

    I bought it on Halloween and -- true story -- I was sitting at my desk at work and I thought, "I'm buying a car on Halloween - that's kinda spooky." So then a few minutes later I left work and got in my previous Forester to go home, and when I started it up and turned on the radio, the station was playing. . . spooky little girl like you. . . sooooooo. . . I nicknamed the new car Spooky.

    Anyway, I've had it only a few days, and it's a pleasure to drive. I think Newport Blue is the best color Subaru has had in years.

    What are some of your favorite Subaru colors?
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