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Subaru Forester (up to 2005)



  • lakepoplakepop Posts: 221 you have AT?

    I've read in other posts that it has something to do with a diffy transfer thingy that happens with AT. The AT coupling is different than on the manual tranny ergo a"thump" when slippage is detected.

    I have experienced it on my 01 Forester with AT.
  • I have a 2002 Forrester L automatic. I also sometimes notice a thump-type sound from the rear when I accelerate. Something like the cartoon characters moving their feet until their feet hit the ground.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    It's the power being shifted to the rear. I get it on my XT6 AT, and my Trooper exhibits a similar sound in the front when the power is shifted from the rear (normally 85% rear power) to the front. On the Trooper I know it's due to the power shift cause I have a guage that tells me how much torque is on each axle, so the thump coincides with the shift in power. Completely normal.

  • schollischolli Posts: 10
    I think you can always find someone who's had a problem with a car that you're thinking of buying. My 99 Golf caused me a lot of heartache - noises, screeches, and thumps that I've never heard in 20+ years of driving. But other people who've had 99 Golfs have had no problems.

    Have had my Forester all of 10 days and I love it. Jei summed it up perfectly - it's got a cheerful, friendly character that makes me smile. I'm still waiting for that whopper of a snow storm - we just got rain today. But in the rain/slush we had, it was great.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'd rotate tires regardless of your planes to replace them. My Duelers lasted 28k miles, FWIW.

    Will: engine problems are rare. Tranny problems aren't really common, but there was a TSB for manuals popping out of first, though Subaru fixed those for free. Clutch complaints are more common, but keep in mind all these are already factored in to the "better than average" CR rating for reliability.

    The rear wheel bearings were overtightened on some installations, so I've seen that a few times.

    My advice? Buy one with a little warranty left over on it, since you seem to worry about that type of thing. They carried a 5 year 60k mile warranty, so that should be easy.

    Better yet, can you afford a Forester L? A 5 speed goes for about $19k, and you'll have a long enough warranty that it'll be paid off before you have any repairs to pay for (not so with Honda).

    In my case I have 43k miles and still love it. I was the founder of the Subaru Crew, along with a few other regulars here, and we host a chat every week on Thursday. You'll find a dozen enthusiastic owners for every disgruntled one. Even some that have had problems still like their Subies so much that they buy another. :-)

    15k maintenance is just an oil change and tire rotation, I believe. 30k is the first major service.

    Michael: you probably felt the AWD system kicking in.

  • Subaru Forester has been named as the leader in customer loyalty among compact SUV buyers, according to the Polk survey. Does that mean I will get another one? Let's see the all new '03 forester this april, and my wife might get one.
    The part I like about the Subaru Forester is that it is just right, not too big and not too small, and it is neutral, even in steering. My 30K service is coming up, anyone has good suggestion as to where I could bring it to in the DC/VA/MD area? I also need a snowboard rack, anyone who wants to get rid of his, may contact me off line.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I do the services myself, even though we do live in the same area.

    Do you have a URL for the Polk story?

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Cool link, John!

    Did anyone notice that the Subaru Legacy is listed under Midsize Sedan?

  • "In addition, for the first time in the history of the Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards, an import manufacturer captured more than one award during the same model year. Subaru won in two categories: the Forester, a repeat winner in the Compact Sport Utility Vehicle category; and the Legacy, winner of the Mid-Size Car segment award." in other words, GM with a large Fuji stake makes great Subies!
  • Great link John. In terms of service in the DC/VA/MD area, I've used Paul Brothers in Herndon for the past year. Had oil changes, an AC relay repair and a power steering pump replacement done there. It's a small shop, so it can take a few days to get an appointment. But, folks are nice and service has been good.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's a truly impressive award. Think about it, we're still on the first generation, despite the mild update in 2001. That means owners are coming back and buying the same vehicle again the 2nd time around. The number could improve significantly with the arrival of the 2003 Forester.

    CR asks buyers if they'd buy the same vehicle again, and the Forester gets their top rating in that category, too, so the Polk Award should not come as a surprise.

    Go Subaru! :-)

  • armac13armac13 Posts: 1,129
    All that really means is that we were crazy the first time and don't learn from our mistakes. :~) Stop throwing things, I'm kidding, I'm kidding.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It takes one to know one! ;-)

    Actually, I want a professional opinion. Oops, just got one!

  • I have three Subaru's (2 Foresters and a SUS) that I absolutely love. I must admit however that I am really unhappy with the CEL on my Foresters. I religiously lock the gas cap to 6 clicks and yet starting at about 60,000 miles my eldest Forester CEL started coming on (I have 130,000 miles so far). So at $45 a whack for a mechanic to turn this little annoyance off every 10,000 I was getting a little hot. Mind you the code is NEVER the same twice. Now this annoys me, but the part that REALLY upset me, is that I asked each mechanic (each in a different state) how I can reset the light myself. The answer, some computer that they can not sell me that costs $1000's of dollars. Then a few months ago I discover that the computer is standardized for all cars mfg since 1996, and not only that but I can buy a cable and software for my palm pilot on ebay for less than $100.00. They retail on automotive tool site new for anywhere from $150-$300. Talk about a dealer rip off. I think the CEL is a scam for dealers to pump a little extra cash into thier repair departments. I would not be so hard on them but more than 7 dealers have lied to me about this 'expensive' computer it is against Subaru policy to sell. The wierder part is it still turns on every 10,000 miles, and the codes are always different....
  • lakepoplakepop Posts: 221
    James.. I'm on your side with the frustration of a recurring CEL. I would certainly want to know why the thing comes on with such regularity.

    Is it a steady light or a blinking one? Obviously a blinking one causes more concern and would cause me to shut down and get to a mechanic. If its a steady one I think I would try a reset on my own. If that clears on. If it comes back on...You are back to the original problem...arrgghh! You do know that a reset is possible by pulling a neg battery cable?

    Just a small input and something to ponder...if you haven't done this already. I think you may also consider escalating this thing up the Subaru chain.....
  • mckeownmckeown Posts: 165
    CEL, this comes on after 2 repeated failures without correcting the error condition. I live in NJ and in this state you CAN NOT pump your own gas. 4 times in 4 months, my CEL light has come on. Each time I could "ratchet" the gas cap, BUT after careful examination, I see the Cap is Cross-Threaded and NOT sealing. So from now on I get out and check to be sure the cap is Properly Seated. (still annoying). I have ALSO purchased an OBDII tool to use with my PC since I take care of quite a few neighbors cars.
    TEMP SENSOR, I have seen where people want to know where the sensor for the Dashboard thermometer is, well its right in front of the radiator.
    2003 Forester, Maybe go to and look at the Baja, it's a 4 door "Brat" built on the Impreza wheel base. Was told this is what the "new" Forester would look like. About the same size as current, maybe with wishbone rear suspension to eliminate rear strut towers, and Outback type Front end.
    My 2 cents..
  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    is built off of the Legacy/Outback chasis, not the Impreza.


  • ...but I cured the engine light problem on an old Datsun with a piece of tape and a very, very tiny drill bit. Apply the tape to the dash and drill one hole through it until the bulb breaks.

    Oh, those were the days.

  • I have posted before at the request of my sister, and do so again.

    She has always been successfull getting the higher MPG out of her previous vehicles and she only gets 20/20mpg in her 2002 Forester.

    She really likes Forester (Automatic) but is very concerned about the MPG. Rightfully so, I can get that kind of mileage in my Jeep Cherokee or S10 4x4.

    One previous posting suggested she slow down to 60mph on the highway for better mileage or keep the RPM's low. She will try to "slow down" to see what happens but she wants to know if there is an engine difference with the 2002 or something that she needs to consider that is keeping her from getting the 23-27 advertised.
    How long was the "break in" period for your Forester before mileage improved?

    I will send on your comments to her. Thanks.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Would you get 20mpg in your Cherokee or S10 with 4wd engaged? I don't think so. :)

    60mph is about where you'll get the best milage, don't forget that they aren't exactly aerodynamic and higher speeds will adversely effect milage a lot.

    Break-in on the Forester has been mentioned to be about 3-8K miles before optimal milage is attained. Also don't forget about winter fuel mixtures, longer warm-ups and lots of starts and stops. Everytime you gun it to start out from a light you need to overcome the friction of the AWD system and this can kill milage.

  • Last year at about this time my 99 Forester S cut out from time to time while driving. Had it to the dealer 3 times (once they kept it for 3 days so that the technician could take it home) but the problem did not so up, so nothing was done. In November of this year the car would occasionally not start (sometimes cold, sometimes hot) and dealer could not reproduce the problem. Brought it to another dealer; service manage said that could not be replicated. As I argued with her to say "Im not lying" and she said "the tech must have the problem happen to him" and was about to leave the tech came in to say that the car did not start. Hallelejia. I'm somewhat bothered by the policy that if the problem does not happen while the car is in the shop it cant be fixed. Let's see what the diagnosis is as I leave the car in for another sleepover. Noted in a recent Consumer Reports that the 2000 Forester had some fuel system problems. Wonder if the 99s have the same problems but not reported by enough CR respondants??
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Logtrail, how pre-tell do you expect them to fix a problem that doesn't exist? I'm not dealer-lover, but that is one policy that I kinda agree with. I mean they can investigate but it's hard to fix a car that doesn't start if it starts fine for them. Other policies like "they all do that" get me more torqued up personally.

  • Armed with some previous feedback from this forum, I assured my wife that paying attention to the cap would eliminate the CEL problem on her new '02 Forester, where the light came on after our first fill-up, at less than 400 miles. Alas, she made sure to turn the thing four clicks after filling up again this morning, and by afternoon the CEL was shining. OK, it's *probably* nothing more serious -- the light isn't flashing -- but it sure is a pain in the a--.

  • rsunicorsunico Posts: 82
    I've had my '01 Forester L for 8 months and close to 11,000 miles. I bought the car after talking to 4 people at work who owne Foresters (98, 99, 01, 01). All feedback was A+++. Its fun and EASY to drive. Superb in snow and rain. I don't anticipate any problems (unlike my $40,000 Saab convertible). By now any manufacturing defects should have been evident. Complaints: 1) I want more leg room in the back -- that's it. How much do I like my Subie? When I was in travelling in Hawai'i, California and Rhode Island the past month, I missed my Subie (GM rentals suck). When I got back home to NJ, I went straight to the Forester and went for a drive... and I LEFT the Saab (and left my Saab convertible in the garage. My one advice for buying a used Subie: try to find a newer model (00-01).
  • masanmasan Posts: 77
    I've been considering purchasing a Forester, but I'm concerned about the Check Engine Light problem. Has anyone tried replacing the original gas cap with a gas cap that doesn't have to be removed when pumping gas? Brookstone at one time made a gas cap with a slot in it for the nozzle. My father has one on his car.

    For over 14 years now, I've driven a Toyota, the same Toyota, in fact. In test driving the RAV-4 and the Forester, I was more comfortable with the handling of the Forester and therefore eliminated the RAV-4 from consideration. However, I really want the reliability of a Toyota and also think that parts would be easier to find in the future for the Toyota.

    My heart is with the Forester, but alas, I may have to consider the Camry even though I'd rather have the versatility of a hatchback/wagon/SUV.

    I would be interested in the Honda CR-V if it improves in the crash test ratings and if the dealers start discounting them. I'm not willing to pay a premium price just because they're new and in demand when I could get around a $1400 discount on a Forester L.

    I thought about waiting for the 2003 model Forester. With all the talk about the possibility of it being more SUV-like, though, I might rather have the current model. I would like having a cross between a car and an SUV.

    The Matrix, Protege5, and Impreza Wagon would be possibilities, but the slightly heavier vehicles such as the Forester, RAV-4, CR-V, Accord, and Camry would be safer.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    CELs can be triggered by many things including loose gas caps -- it's all due to the sensitive OBDII system on many cars today. It's not having to remove the gas cap that's the problem but rather not putting it back on properly. I would imagine the gas cap from Brookstone could also throw a CEL if the slot didn't close properly.

    The Forester has proven to be a very safe and reliable vehicle. It's a great balance between those who want a wagon with some SUV styling and light offroad capabilities.

  • lakepoplakepop Posts: 221
    mainemojo...most are aware of the need to close the gas cap securely (3+ clicks).Also if you "top off" during the fill in order to round off the cost to some value you risk an overfill. Given the sensitivity of the emmission system..this can also give you a CEL. Just remember once the pump gives you an automatic shutoff..don't try to squeeze more than a couple of pennies .
    As a last a reset to clear a "non blinking " light.
    Just a little more input.....:)
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