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Subaru Forester (up to 2005)



  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Vifam - Congrats on your new Forester. I've never read of problems with reception due to the use of metallic tint.

    Bear - Let it go. Get a good night's sleep. E-mail me if you feel this is so important.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817

    I'm not trying to beat up on you, but I'm afraid that the MDX has four-channel ABS. The MDX doesn't have VSA, and VTM-4 doesn't use braking as a traction aid. Therefore, and unfortunately, I suspect that the reason the CR-V doesn't have it is simply cost.

    On rollover resistance ratings:

    Varmint is correct that they're limited as they are more of a static measure without regard for vehicle dynamics. I think they're useful for general comparisons but shouldn't be taken as the gospel.

    However, NHTSA has shown statistical correlation between SSF and actual rollovers. But I think that's more statistical smoothing than anything else, e.g. "all other things being equal." NHTSA is still very interested in doing actual rollover tests but I think they have to work out the methodology and how they're going to pay for it (your tax dollars at work).

    Just for thought, here is some math.

    The star ratings are based on Static Stability Factor ranges. SSF is based on half of the vehicle's track width divided by the height of the vehicle's center of gravity off the ground. (Detractors say that the tests are just a fancy way to measure width and height and come up with a number.)

    If we take Honda's specification of the 2003 CR-V's track width, the NHTSA's SSF of 1.17 indicates that the height of the vehicle's center of gravity is 25.85 inches. (I'm not sure if the measuring of the center of gravity is based on an empty vehicle, or a vehicle with some weight in it -- it's explained in some very technical NHTSA docs that are hard to find on their huge site.)

    If we take Subaru's specifications of the 2002 Forester's track with, the SSF of 1.19 yields a center of gravity height of 24.33 inches.

    A three-star rating requires an SSF of 1.13 to 1.24. Four-stars requires an SSF of 1.25 to 1.44.

    With an SSF of 1.22, the RAV4 AWD came close to four stars but not quite.

    Dunno if the 2003 Forester will make four stars. Mathematically, it would require:

    - Widening the track by 2", and dropping CoG from 24.33" to 23.96".

    - Or widening the track by 1", and dropping CoG from 24.33" to 23.56".

    - Leaving the track the same as the 2002, and dropping CoG from 24.33" to 23.16". I doubt if that'd be easy to do.
  • qmarkerqmarker Posts: 20
    What does this statement mean to me? Can someone please explain the part about viscous limited-slip rear differential. I live in Wisconsin, is this something that will benefit me?

    The standard All-Weather Package adds a viscous limited-slip rear differential, dual-mode heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer.

    Thanks, Donna
  • qmarkerqmarker Posts: 20
    Hmmmmm, maybe they made the picnic table a tad larger.

    You know, that completely turned me off when I looked at the CRV. Why would you hang a spare tire outside the vehicle where it can easily be stolen and protect your useless picnic table? I was not impressed :)

  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Bear - "Spreading disinfo"? You mean, like stating that the CR-V doesn't come with EBD?

    Juice, Kens, Bob, I'd rather that you guys handle this character.

    Wmquan - Good point. I'd forgotten about the MDX. However, the question remains about whether or not the difference is a paper advantage. For example, we know that the MDX was been shown to fishtail in braking tests. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that the sort of thing that a 4 channel system is supposed to prevent? The CR-V manages to avoid this with only 3 channels. Would the addition of another channel do anything other than raise the cost?
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    I have a hunch the CR-V would be even better with four-channel ABS -- though the number of situations where it'd help isn't super-large, I'd agree with that (and thus I wouldn't make it a deal-breaker, just another plus). The idea is that the four-channel ABS will give you better control if you're braking under more slippery conditions, as opposed to ideal conditions. Braking performance is, after all, not just about stopping distances as measured on the track, but also braking in adverse conditions when you tend to need it the most.

    The Camry and even the Hyundai XG300 have 4-channel ABS available. I'd have to think they've found it to be an actual advantage to include it in their vehicles (either that, or it's just marketing, but somehow I doubt it -- 4-channel ABS is not as safety-sexy nowadays as, say, stability control and side curtain airbags).

    Thus, I think Subaru has taken a more effective approach with its AWD and braking system to give folks that edge when the going gets rough.

    The MDX's tail does step out slightly during braking tests. Motor Week said it was "slight" and "easily" correctable. I attribute it to the combination of the MDX's high weight (compared to a CR-V) and heavy front-end bias (greater weight distribution in the front than the CR-V). Put those two together and add in weight transfer during braking, and you get longish stopping distances and some of that step-out, even with 4-channel ABS. It's quite possible that with 3-channel the small step-out could be a lot worse, especially with slippery conditions.

    I also think that the Motor Week tester was the model with the Goodyear Integrity's, which aren't bad tires, but they're not great tires either (especially compared to the Michelin Cross Terrain SUV's). But I still suspect the lopsided weight transfer was the primary culprit.

    Realistically, this is where a stability control system would help more than 4-channel ABS. Maybe next year!

    (The Honda Pilot will also have 4-channel ABS.)

    Now, let's see Subaru make a turbo-4 Forester with VDC for the U.S. market! Unfortunately its price would be up there.

    I like the Forester, though I don't think the CR-V is a slouch either. I like the CR-V's roominess, price, and general all-around ability. And I like the Forester's further refinements (e.g. available leather) and enhanced foul-weather capability. You can do a lot worse than these two vehicles!
  • wmquan,

    Interesting idea. '03 Forester has a lighter hood and upper frame so probably the number will be about the same as the 02. The issue is the softer suspension which may increase the body roll, and in turn, make it more prone to tip over. Still, the car runs far more stable than the CRV.


    CRV fans will give you a simple solution... just go buy some fancy lock then no one can steal the spare tire! BTW, you know my wife also likes red and white the most? :)


    Ah-Ha! Got you! I was wondering when you would fall into the trap! Anyway, first I have to say sorry that you have insomnia in the CRV dream land!

    I did not talk about the 4 channel ABS/EBD thing on purpose. I was waiting for you to bring it up so I would have the pleasure to discredit you once more. So, what's the difference between a 3 channel ABS and the 4 channel one? In a 3 channel system, you have one channel for each front wheel when the rear share the same channel. Each wheel has one channel in a 4 channel system. EBD is basically an integral part of the ABS system. In CRV's case, the brake force distribution option is very limited, basically just front/rear split, not really an EBD system. Calling it EBD is just like GM called the one channel thing ABS in the past.

    It really cracked me up when you said the 4 channel ABS should cure MDX'es fishtail problem. Not quite, the ABS has not even kicked in yet, how could it cure the fishtail? Sound like you mixed up ABS with those stability control functions. The fishtail problem is more about the suspension design and weight distribution. Sure, as a big FWD car, MDX does impose a bigger design challenge.

    And hopefully the last, perhaps you should sell the CRV and go get an Escape. I think the term 'escape' suits your image better. Man, even try to get other people to help you this time? Well, I remember Forester owners are among the most well educated. Lots of knowledgeable people here. If you want to play, go back to fool around with your scape2 and hondaman buddy. I am the least educated one here and looks like I am more than enough to handle you already. Hahaha.

  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Subaru's approach of the boxer and other weight distributing measures definitely helps with lowering the Center of Gravity, though I don't think it owns a monopoly on this approach.

    E.g. Honda dropped the CR-V's engine lower.

    Unfortunately, while I have seen some automotive reviews claiming a lower CoG for the 2002 CR-V vs. the 2001 CR-V, the NHTSA SSF numbers don't bear this out, sadly. Indeed, they indicate that the 2002's have a higher CoG, I'm surprised and disappointed to say.

    The 2002 CR-V has an avg. track width of 60.5". With an SSF of 1.17 assigned, that means the CoG is at 25.85 inches. (SSF = track width / 2 / CoG height.)

    2001 CR-V (4x4) has a track width of 60.4". It got an SSF of 1.19. That means that CoG is at 25.38 inches -- lower than the 2002!

    I hope my math is wrong, I was surprised. Maybe NHTSA is wrong. Dunno, I'm just confused now.

    (Technically, the 2002 CR-V 4x4 has a minutely lower CoG than the 2001 CR-V 4x2 but it's not a valid comparison.)
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Let me try and address a few of the recently asked questions:

    Re benefit of a viscous limited-slip rear differential (LSD): This allows the vehicle to maintain forward momentum even when only one rear tire has traction. It does this by transferring power from side to side in addition to front to rear. The practical benefit would be if your vehicle was half off the road and stuck in a snow drift. On a AWD/4WD vehicle without a LSD, all the vehicle's power would go to the two spinning tires and you would go nowhere. With a rear LSD, enough power should be transferred to the rear tire with traction to pull you back onto the road. The ideal set-up is to have both front and rear LSDs but only a few top-end SUVs offer that.

    Re window tinting: As far as I can tell, metallic tint interfering with radio reception is more myth than reality. I've certainly not noticed any degradation. For more on tint related issues, go to Edmund's Aftermarket & Accessories - Archived Discussions and read through the Window Tinting topic. There's a wealth of info there covering the different types of tint, brands, opacity and more.

    Re Tweeter Kit: With it, high-range sound should be noticeably improved. I recommend getting the kit from the dealer (an exception to the rule that aftermarket speakers are cheaper and better). In the 01-02s (not sure about the 03s), there's already a cover for where the tweeters mount in the doors and installation is a five minute do-it-yourself job.

    Re Aftermarket Leather: Everything depends on the installer. I'm sure you can get aftermarket leather that is better than what Subaru offers. However, you'll have to pay a premium for it. If the aftermarket leather is cheaper or the same price as Subaru's leather option, I'd be surprised if it is as good. My reasoning is that with Subaru's leather, you're getting the materials at a bulk discount and labor is reduced since it's a factory installed option. In comparison, aftermarket leather is very low-volume and labor is a larger factor in the price.

    Re Forester vs. CR-V (cat_and_bear vs. Varmint):

    Cat- Please turn the volume down. Varmint has been a valuable contributor to these boards for a long time. I believe that he makes an honest effort to keep his posts objective.

    Varmint- Methinks that you miss the old CR-V vs. Forester topic and the lively debates contained therein. Care to reopen that topic and continue your debate there?

    -Frank P.
  • storytellerstoryteller Posts: 476
    Right on, Frank. You even got the apostrophes right, so Loosh won't come down on you.

    '03 Foresters have tweeters mounted high on the door (just inboard from the side mirrors) as in current Legacy models. Given the convenience, you're surely right that Subie tweeters are a better buy than anything from Crutchfield or whomever.

    Good to have you around, Varmint, although you seem mellow. Weren't you the one who had that endless fracus with the strange kid who thought so highly of the Aztek? Bear: Varmint is good people.

  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Frank - Nope, actually, that's the last thing I wanted to do. The vehicles haven't changed enough and the debate would be over the same issues with only slightly new numbers. It was old when we were doing it three years ago. I wanted to keep my participation to that single short post, but, I admit, I got trolled into this.

    I will concede that Wmquan's info does contradict what I recall from the press releases. I'm probably remembering a statement like, "low center of gravity" and interpreted it as "lower CoG". Maybe Bear will be willing to leave it at that. My apologies for getting everyone riled up.
  • hayduke01hayduke01 Posts: 128
    Good to see you over here. Eventually I narrowed my new-car finalists to the CR-V and the Forester. You provided some great info on the CR-V. Had cargo capacity and rear seat capacity been more of a priority, I might have gone with the CR-V rather than the Forester. (But coming from a Civic, I still got a lot more of both). Eventually chose the Forester, though, for several reasons: sportier, better content (e.g., the cold-weather package on the Forester, similar to what's available on the Candian CR-V but not the U.S. CR-V), and better AWD. Finally, I even liked the dealer better: much closer to home, latte bar, and for support of community causes that I also support.

    It was a good choice to have, though. I know I couldn't have gone wrong with the CR-V, either.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    discussion would best be handled over here, as this thread is dedicated to that topic.

    ateixeira "CR-V vs Forester: 2nd generation ..." Apr 25, 2002 6:07pm

    In any case, until both the new Forester and CRV are compared in one or several magazines, head-to-head, all this bench racing is purely speculative at the moment.

  • sierratripsierratrip Posts: 53
    Thanks for the response. I would have prefered factory installed leather with the 'L' model Forester but, as I understand it, that is only available with the 'S' model and purchase of the premium package. If this is not the case let me know.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    that folks spend a Saturday afternoon visiting both Honda and Subaru dealers; examine the new CRV and Forester closely, and take them for test drives. Both models have been substantially improved over their predecessors. The seat-of-the-pants results may be surprising...

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yep, varmint is not a troll so please let's be polite to our guests. Opinions differ, sure, but let's keep the topic on the cars.

    FYI: cat and bear are actually two people. This confused me at first, too!

    Aztek fan? By any chance was that GM_litogation? Now there's a troll.

    I think the new 2.4l iVTEC engine is the CR-V is more than adequate. It may actually be a little quicker off the line than the Forester, because it's geared really short and sends power to one axle. Like I said, I chirped the tires in 2nd gear. But the short gearing makes it a bit noisy at high speeds, and mileage was lower at 21/25, so nothing is for free.

    The Forester would probably catch up by the end of the 1/4, and may have better passing acceleration (depends on the speed, and again, gearing), but I don't think any of these measures will show a significant advantage one way or the other.

    Of course the 2003 is a little lighter so who knows. I haven't seen any instrumented testing yet, but my guess is they'll be close enough.

    Honda should bring on VSA, and if that means 4 channel ABS, even better. The Open Air concept had it, IIRC. And a roof opening bigger than the Forester's, too.

    Jason: congrats. I used a razor blade to remove window stickers, and WD40 (very little) to get the excess goo off the window.

    I have SolarGard tint, but the dyed film type. It has not faded since 1998, though. I paid $170 for 7 windows tinted at 35%.

  • kate5000kate5000 Posts: 1,271
    I feel deja vu... reliving the past... I remember lurking at CRV vs Forester thread 2+ years ago... Oh, those good old day battles of titans (Juice/Ken vs Hondabro, etc)...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Actually I hope the 2004 Forester Turbo gets VDC, that would be great. If the Open Air is produced, I'd love to see those two duke it out.

    But a Forester with 217hp will easily be the quickest in the class. That may be my next ride!

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Hondabro was very troll-like. We had a guy on the Subie side that was similar, though, I forget his handle. Trolls don't stay for long.

    Ken and I are more like Spyponder and Varmint. Note that all four of us are still regulars.

  • Hi all, I am cat.

    Frank - Actually I posted once only to ask varmint to clarify the "CRV 2002's CoG is lower than CRV 2001'CoG" claim.

    To all,

    I want our discussion to be based on correct information. Discussion based on unclear/wrong info will be meaningless, right?

    For bear, he is a bit naughty only. If you skip the naughty words, he is actually trying to pursue and provide correct info for discussion. You can ask bear to quote his source of info. Of course no one can be completely objective when it comes to the feeling of a car.

    In fact bear has been contibuting a lot to this group. I don't think you will call him a troll, right?

    If someone found himeself/herself making mistakes, just admit it directly. Go on with meaningful discussion. Everyone makes mistakes, right?

    I appreciate wmquan's data. He is also keen on pursuing the fact, and is open to discussion.

    Last but not least, I am cat, not a troll ^0^

    -cat "meow~~~~~~"
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    I think it would be less confusing if each of you had your own member name here. In fact, I think our Member Agreement requires it.

    SUVs, Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards
  • storytellerstoryteller Posts: 476
    Juice: no, not GM_litogation. There was a kid with a name like Corey who was totally in love with the Aztek and ready to go toe-to-toe with any fool who thought Honda or anyone else might make a better car. I think it was Varmint who took him on. They eventually created their own thread. I got fond of Corey (if that was his name). He was like one of those inflatable dolls with the sand in the bottom; the harder you hit him, the quicker he bounced back up. The kid was a true believer.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    cat: no, a troll would have left by now, I wasn't implying that at all.

    I have a feeling Corey changed his handle, check out the Element thread. The new guy is just as arrogant if not worse.

  • storytellerstoryteller Posts: 476
    Juice: you might be right. GM has also done a bunch of posting on Azteks, although I remember Corey as having more innocent charm. I suppose we should expect a few factory shills as ringers on these boards, too.

  • mdrileymdriley Posts: 3
    My 2002 Forester automatic hesitates when pulling out slowly from a stop. This happens fairly consistently within the first couple minutes after starting the engine, even when the engine has been warmed up previousely (ie. driven for an hour, parked for a half hour). The dealer's only recommendations were to run 89 octane gasoline (which hasn't changed anything) and to give it a few thousand more miles for break-in (it has 7000 miles now).

    Is anyone else having this problem?
    Any info is appreciated,

  • cat_meowcat_meow Posts: 4
    Steve_HOST - I've a new member name now. Thanks for reminding us.

    juice - I didn't think you implied that. I am just a bit naughty too ;)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You might want to consider re-setting the ECU, so the tranny can re-learn your driving style. If it learns that you like quick starts, it'll provide quicker shifts, including down to 1st on slow corners.

    How? First let the engine cool. Then pull the negative battery terminal, and leave it disconnected for 30 minutes. Reconnect, start her up and let her idle for 15 seconds.

    GM gave Azteks to employees and told them to drive them around so people would see them on the road. Sales have been dismal, of course, despite the fact that they sponsored the #1 show when the model was launched (Survivor, the original).

    I also suspect ballot stuffing in the owner surveys, in part because many owners work for GM and probably didn't even pay for the car. Why else would the figures be so different than the minivans its based on?

    I love a conspiracy theory. ;-)

  • speterson1speterson1 Posts: 228
    Hey Mike,

    Yeah, your topic was brought up on this board not too long ago. Hesitation in recent AT Foresters is nothing new. Various octane ratings will not have any effect, as you have stated. Anyone less lazy than me got a post # for when that issue was discussed? Probably would be easiest for you to scan through those first before everyone here repeats themselves again...

    With practice, you will learn how to finesse your gas pedal to minimize this problem, but it seems to be characteristic of the Forester AT.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Another suggestion - consider trying the "single-point ground" mod. For details check out and do a search. People have reported smoother running.

    The basic idea is that some ground points are painted and therefore not well connected. So you connect a few wires to points that you sand (for better metal contact), and voila. Costs pennies and even a novice can do it.

    Mine is smooth so I probably won't bother.

  • mdriley, can you elaborate a bit more about the sympton? The AT shifts too late or you feel there's a lag between the gas pedal and the AT?

    Just my guess. Yes, higher octane gas will not help much. It only means more knocking in the engine hence the engine will drive the torque converter harder but this will not do much with a slow AT. First I will make sure the ECU works correctly, or more specific, the ECU talks with the AT in the same tongue. Some '02 ECUs need to be reprogrammed. I will check this one first.

    The AT takes a lot of fluid(9.8q). It will take some drive to warm up the fluid and have the torque converter fully worked up. Merely warming up the engine will not help this much. I *may* consider flushing the AT fluid but put it as the last resort.

This discussion has been closed.