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Subaru Forester (up to 2005)



  • cat_meowcat_meow Posts: 4
    It's me that taught him to drive *Grin*

    and I also had two Siamese Cats students:

    They are crime fighters! Enjoy!


  • bsvollerbsvoller Posts: 528
    Just back from a week in the Black Hills, SD. What a blast !

    Towed our 1600# (curb weight) '95 Coleman Rio Grande (big, comfy, sleeps 7) 385 miles each way from Denver with nary a problem. Got 22 mpg going 75 into a strong headwind ! Can you spell very pleased ? Best tank was over 30 without the trailer touring the area. Our '01 S+ was rock solid the whole way despite very strong, gusty winds, sometimes from the side. Plenty of power in the hills.

    Saw Mt Rushmore, hiked to Harney's Peak, toured Jewel Cave, rode the 1880 steam train, visited Mammoth Site, spent an afternoon swimming in the natural hot springs at Evan's Plunge, drove through Custer State park and the Needles Highway. Lot's of quality time with my 6 yr old and darling wife. Weather was perfect and no crowds. (Got lucky, frankly, might have had snow.)
  • qmarkerqmarker Posts: 20
    Is 3 percent off of everything priced at MRSP a good deal or not? MSRP is going to be a bit over 27k

    I am getting down to the bottom line and appreciate all your help.

    Thanks, Donna
  • bsvollerbsvoller Posts: 528
    First of all, let me say that I'm not all that impressed with the '03... It's a trade-off between the mechanical enhancements (bigger, stronger, smarter brakes, decreased, better distributed weight, stiffened unibody, etc) and the interior revamp, which I personally dislike. As far as I'm concerned, the outside is a wash. Whoever described the first generation as "frumpy" a week back needs new glasses, sorry. :) Buicks are frumpy.

    The new interior feels chinsy to me, compared to my '01 S+. I don't like the dash, the instrument cluster, the cloth seats, or the decreased headroom. They also did away with my cubbies ! We use the cubbies in the doors for all kinds of stuff, keeps the clutter down.

    OK, nuff said on my personal take of the '03. Here's the news (at least it's news to me) that's pertinent to the Subaru club at large...

    Has anyone heard of the "all new" manual 5-speed transmission on the '03 ? I confirmed at the dealership and on the tech hot-line that the '03 has an "all new" 5-speed (tech line parts specifier's description), with a revised clutch disk and pressure plate. The '03 clutch and pressure plate are not compatible with the first generation 5MT. This is why they bumped the towing capacity on the MT and not on the AT in the '03.

    Also, there have been 4 revisions of the clutch disk and 1 revision of the pressure plate during the first generation ('98-'02). The last revision of the pressure plate was in Sept of '99. Most chattering issues with our clutch can be traced to the clutch plate lining being sensitive to dampness, which explains why most complaints are related to cold weather (condensation). They've been adjusting the clutch lining material. The pressure plate itself has been less of a problem on stock cars.

    Thought you guys would find this interesting. I did.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    is a pussycat, er, a really friendly, nice dog. He's actually a lap cat, er, dog.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    3% off is still a high price. Invoice is about 10% below MSRP, but more importantly try negotiating up from invoice, not down from MSRP. 1-3% above invoice is common now.

    Interesting indeed Brian. 46k on my original 1998 clutch, though!

    Dog, yes, though he refused to bark for Bob, further fueling the controversial cat/dog fire. ;-)

    I like the idea of where the new cargo nets are. Mine is at the opening and it blocks me from getting things in some times.

    Plus stuff is less likely to roll around. It also makes the oddly shaped sides more useful, while leaving the big box at the center available for square cargo.

    When did the Forester get the pop-out grocery hooks? Is that new for 2003? Our 2002 Legacy has them and they are especially handy if you have no cargo nets at all.

  • nypaulnypaul Posts: 35
    No, our dog doesn't drive, he makes me do that. In fact he's got his own room in the back behind the doggie divider. And as for how I knew he liked the Forester best, he told me so. No no, not in words you silly cat, it was his body language. He jumped right up into the Subaru and layed down just like he was at home!

  • carmarshelcarmarshel Posts: 10
    When I test drove the 03, the clutch pedal did feel "stiffer" compared to other manual transmissions that I have driven. But I chalked this up to being a new car. Anyone else have this impression, or more info. on the Forester manual transmissions, clutch, etc...?

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    It's got that Hill-Holder feature.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    The hill-holder clutch doesn't really have anything to do with the clutch. That just attaches to the cable/arm of the clutch pedal. I have the hill holder (currently not installed) on my XT6.

  • hayduke01hayduke01 Posts: 128
    Cargo nets are so easy that I even installed one on my '02. You need two different size bits, 7/16 and 3/16, I think. It probably took me about 45 minutes, but half that time was finding tools, rereading directions before I did anything irrevocable like drilling a hole. I've heard that the '03 system is different, that there are nets for the sides, not just the back. Haven't seen one yet, though.

    Good luck!
  • jimmyj1945jimmyj1945 Posts: 141
    No. They are trying to get to you. Look at the invoice price here at Edmunds and start there. As Juice said, a 1-3% over invoice is more appropriate.
  • sierratripsierratrip Posts: 53
    Does anybody have any experience or ideas on how to re-insert the net into the fastener?

    Mine pulled out and try as I might I cannot get it back in.

    I've tried using a very small flat head screwdriver and pushing the loop past what looks like an inverted 'V' inside the base of the hook but without anything even close to success.

    Any help would be appreciated!

  • ace57ace57 Posts: 13
    thanks for the congrats, ateixeira......boy thats a hard name/handle to spell LOL

    wife seems to love charlie the forester, and if shes happy, im happy.

    does seem like a good little ride so far.......
    the interior is not luxurious, however thats not what we bought it for, and quite frankly, i would have bought another kind of ride if thats what we wanted.............of course each to their own

    cheers ace57 from mass.
  • ace57ace57 Posts: 13
    ps....... boy, i've been on a lot of website and chat areas here in edmunds, and all i keep hearing is how yucky, boring,ugly,blahblahwoofwoof
    about the Forester's looks


  • qmarkerqmarker Posts: 20
    Thanks again for all the advice & the good people I've found here. Now, I need some more help.

    I have placed my order. Actually my new 2003 Forester XS Premium is somewhere in shipment. I made my 6th trip to the dealership today, took a test drive in the 2003 & decided to order a white one with a second choice of red. They called back later to tell me a red one close to what I wanted was on its way here. It was only missing 4 options that I wanted & can be dealer installed. I went back and sealed the deal. I will have my new Forester "sometime" before the end of June.
    After we settled on a price, we got down to three more "brochures". I could sure use some more of your sage advice on what to do about these things....

    1. Subaru extended warranty

    2. Dealership Maintenance deal(s) for regular
    maintenance. example: 3,000 mi service plan 23.95 oil change, lub, 18 point inspection.
    6,000 mi plan is oil & filter change, lub and 18 point inspection. Rotate tires, inspect brakes, inspect hoses etc. 76.95 etc. etc price goes up.

    3. Protection package(s)
    Sound shield
    Fabric Shield (I ordered leather)
    Paint Shield
    Rust Inhibitor

    To give you a bit of background on how I treat vehicles. I have a 1994 Saturn with 38,300 miles on it :) I also have my late husbands 1993 Fleetwood with every toy imaginable and less than 60,000 miles on it. Both are cleaned and polished to the hilt and both are always parked in a garage. They will both be gone, and my new Forester will have a king size garage to itself and be treated like royalty. :)

    All opinions are appreciated muchly!!

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    First off, congrats on your wise choice!

    My advice to your questions are:

    1. Wait on the extended warranty. You can buy it at any time during your factory warranty. No need to pay up front for it.

    2. You don't have to use the dealer for service. Shop around and compare prices on what other places offer. Dealers can be quite expensive at times.

    3. Say no to all of those items -- they're basically a way for the dealer to fatten profit margins on you.

    Sound shield -- not sure if that's something you really need. Drive your Forester for a while and if noise is an issue, then think about it.
    Fabric Shield -- you can easily do this yourself with a can of 3M Scotchgaurd (for fabric) or use any aftermarket leather conditioner for your seats.
    Paint Shield -- Regular washing and waxing will take care of this
    Rust Inhibitor -- Totally not necessary. Your Forester uses double-galvanized steel where it counts. It's also covered with a rust warranty.

  • azealazeal Posts: 11
    Hi folks,

    My wife and I are considering a 2nd car for long road trips as well as backpacking/canoeing.

    We end up on some pretty gnarly gravel and dirt roads in Oregon/Washington, and are looking for a new vehicle that can haul us and our stuff without losing an oil pan or getting stuck on steep hills. She loves the 02' CRV interior room/looks, but I am a bit dubious about it off road.

    Does anyone have much experience with current generation Foresters on rough/rocky/steep dirt and gravel roads? The 2003's sound interesting, but the lower ground clearance has me dubious. I really wish the Australian version with a low range transmission was offered here in the states!

    Final question... will skid plates designed for the Impreza fit a Forester? Should we purchase one I'd like some heavier armor to protect the guts of it up front.

    Thanks in advance for any info.
  • gened1gened1 Posts: 256
    Hi all, If you go to I-club and click on forums scroll down to the Forester forum and click on the Forester video all those turbo "waiters" will enjoy the 99/00 Forester turbo review there. It may be a bit dated but very enjoyable!
  • joe_sinjoe_sin Posts: 32
    Continued from post #6194. On the dealer's advice, I drove the car empty (actually drove it until it stalled) and filled up with generic gas. The poor mileage and rotten egg smell persist. Now the dealer wants me to "run 2 or 3 tanks of gas through the car". They also claim that I won't get my best mileage until I have 10K to 15K miles on the car. So far, I've found out that Subaru's shouldn't be run on Amoco, Mobil, or BP fuel, and that you have to drive them for a year before they work right. I got my letter for service program WWF89, and the same dealer said the software update had already been done, and that the O2 sensor didn't need replacement. Who did this update? When? Needless to say, we're not believing the dealer about anything anymore. SoA keeps telling me that they handle service through their dealers, but I don't seem to be able to find one that can actually solve the problem. If anyone has any advice on how to resolve all this, I'd be grateful. With SoA unresponsive, and no reliable dealer service, my options are becoming very limited.
  • kajkokajko Posts: 70

    I too am considering a Forester for the same purposes you do (I love the mileage!) and wish for the Australian version... From what I found out so far I am convinced that Forester is going to be better than a CRV or Rav4. Though the CRV has more clearance (not the "minimum clearance" but in general more room between the wheels, entry/exit angles, etc.), the undercarriage has all kinds of things sticking out. Take a look, for example, at the lower arms on the back suspension... Forester is relatively "flat" and clean underneath. In addition, the Subaru's AWD system has been around for years and in the manual version is 50/50; the Other Two, IMHO, are new kids on the block.

    To make it a bit more rugged, Juice, a few pages back, suggested I get some larger springs to gain a couple of inches. In addition, we can get a skid plate set from primitive made for the Forester...
    i think i will do both once i get the 2003.

    Forester is definitely not a 4WD, but for dirt/gravel roads and some light off-road it will definitely do. Take a peek at the Queensland 4WD Subaru club's webpages and the places people take them!

    Keep us posted.
    As a side note, I wonder if the hill-holder feature comes in handy in akward spots (an eroded creek crossing).
  • Azeal,

    I have driven quit a few fire roads, back roads and things that resembled roads here in Oregon, my 2001 S+ forester has never failed me. I have not added extra springs, but that is certainly an option. I did add the rear diff protector and replaced the junk plastic in the front with a real skid plate. I have heard things skid on the bottom before but as Kajko mentioned the bottom of the forester is relatively clean and there isn't much that can get tangled up in brush, rocks etc...

    Personally I don't think you could find a better small suv for off-roading.
  • eps105eps105 Posts: 216

    I agree with Ken's response, but I am even more adament about a few things.

    1. Subaru extended warranty: As Ken said, you can wait on this and decide later. Subaru's are so reliable, the only reason to get the warranty is for the peace of mind that you won't have a large out-of-pcoket expense later on. But statistically, you'll save money by not getting it.

    2. Dealership Maintenance deal: This dealer is obviously trying to lock in a commitment for a lot of money upfront. If you know that you will always use them for service and the prices are heavily discounted by prepaying, you might want to consider this, but I think it's a waste for several reasons. First, Subaru always sends me coupons in the mail. My dealer always has oil change coupons for $21.95. Second, you don't need to change your oil every 3,000 miles unless you are doing "severe" or stop-and-go driving. My '99 Forester manual recommends regular duty oil changes every 7,000 miles. Still, I change mine every 4,000-5,000 miles, but not every 3,000.

    3. Protection packages: The fact that your dealer is trying to sell you all of those packages scares the crud out of me. If they tried to sell me all of those, I would get up and walk away. It's almost unheard of for dealers to try to sell rustproofing and sound insulation packages. In fact, they usually do more harm than good. Sure, they're going to tell you that the rust warranty only covers PERFERATED rust, but guess what - you're Forester isn't going to rust! Don't buy it.

    The same goes for the paint and fabric package. Ask your dealer what the heck they're going to do to make the tough clear-coat paint finish any better? Sounds like a scam to me. Wax the car and treat the leather with Armour All a few times a year and it'll last forever.

    Buy the car and no add-ons and you'll be doing the right thing. My two cents worth.

  • eps105eps105 Posts: 216
    About a week ago, I posted a message (#6341) about the automatic climate control in the Forester XS, but I was surprised it didn't get a singe response. So I'm being a pain and posting this again in hopes of it getting some attention....

    To the new XS and XS Premium owners out there: How do you like the automatic climate control? Does it keep the temperature consistent even if you are driving in cloudy-to-sunny-to-cloudy conditions? Do you consider it "set and forget" to the point where you turn the car on and drive and never have to tinker with the temperature?

  • roopower2roopower2 Posts: 13
    Hi all. Just wanted to comment on how much I like the 2003 Forester XS model I bought two weeks ago (have 700 miles so far). I test drove the 2002 Forester Premium but decided to wait-I like the looks and features of the newer model. I got the platinum silver color and it looks great with the grey cladding. So far it has had no problems and first tank got around 25mpg. Second tank was a bit lower around-23 mpg.
    This is my fifth Subaru (79 4x4 wagon, 87 4X4 wagon-both gone) and our third active Subaru (81 BRAT, 95 Legacy LS, and the 03 Forester). Since I was driving the BRAT the last 2 years, my opinions may be biased but 22 years of technology improvements sure make a difference!
    Reply to above-love the auto climate control. I live in Georgia and we use the a/c about 8months out of the year. The BRAT doesn't have a/c and I am always fiddling in the Legacy with the fan setting depending. Also you can get fresh air. Hit the manual a/c button, set your fan speed, and then turn off the manual button. It was actually cool enough one morning to do that before the heat set in this week (it was almost 100 yesterday!).
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    You probably didn't get a response because there aren't very many owners yet. The car's only been out a few weeks.

  • beachfishbeachfish Posts: 97
    Whose skid plate did you put on the front?

  • rangerron7rangerron7 Posts: 317
    We own a 2000 OB and 2002 Forester and I agree with Ken & Elliott 100%.
    You have plenty of time on the extended warranty, if you choose to purchase it. (FYI - we decided not too on either one.)
    In regard to "Protection Packages" - definitely skip and either wash & wax your Forester yourself or find a good detail shop. Believe me, the money you save on protection pkgs will buy alot of wax jobs at your local detailer.
    The only thing that I would suggest that differs from what Elliott posted is consider using Lexol on your leather seats instead of Armour All.
  • jimmyj1945jimmyj1945 Posts: 141
    Donna: I agree with the others. You can always buy the warranty or add things later. Your driving habits are similar to mine (not very many miles a year) as well as taking care of vehicles. Warranties are usually not in our best interest, as the miles are way low. Of course if you keep the vehicle a long time, past the manufactures warranty, you may want to get one at that time. I hope you did well on the price. At last post you were way to high. Did you take our advise and get somewhere around 1-3% above INVOICE? Hope you did good! Where are you located?

    Jim J.
This discussion has been closed.