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Subaru Forester (up to 2005)



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I had alternate hours for a while, but the Bank killed that. Bummer.

    I have 47k miles on my clutch, and it'll chatter on occasion when cold, but only on occasion. I can accept that, given I have abused it somewhat, and I do commute to DC in that dreaded B2B traffic.

    But is yours slipping, too? That would indicate the clutch is worn out. If it just chatters, I dunno, that's a characteristic I could live with.

    I'm younger than you and have probably owned fewer cars, but my old Datsun's clutch went out at about 74k. My Sprint's clutch went out even sooner. My Escort's was slipping at 107k miles, right before it was totalled.

    Talk with your dealer and get their take on the situation. But I bet you can milk it for a long time before it starts slipping.

  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
    Just a quick question to the crew about brake wear. At my 45K service the techs found that I had 6/32" of pad all around (4-wheel discs on the S). How does this compare to what the rest of you have been getting?

  • I was about to ask the same question, except for a different reason. I have 60K on my car, and I thought I'd have to be changing the brake pads soon. But when I checked it, they looked almost unused, it looks like I'll be able to go 100K with these. And this was for the front pads too. And I noticed all 4 brake pads (4 wheel discs also) looked to be wearing evenly. I'm used to going through 2-3 sets of front pads for every rear brake pad. Does this have anything to do with AWD or what? I would assume that most of the braking is done with the front wheels, but maybe subarus are different?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I've never measured it that precisely, Ed. I've always kind of eyeballed it. Mine look like they'll last forever after 47k miles.

    Your subie has a rear axle and diffy, so weight distribution is a bit more favorable. But the front brakes still probably do about 80% of the braking (usually it's about 90%).

    So yeah, that helps the fronts last longer, but they still usually wear sooner.

  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Looks like you guys have a very important upgrade in the works.

    I think they just got tired of the members and hosts habitually complaining about the search function! :-)

    SUVs; Aftermarket & Accessories
  • bsvollerbsvoller Posts: 528
    juice- No sign of slipping, even under heavy load (near GCVR) when towing uphill.

    I agree, occasional chatter I can live with, although in this price/performance class, it shouldn't be, and Subaru better stay on it until they really have it fixed. I was pleased that they bumped the tow rating on the '03 MT. I hope I'm not reading too much between the lines.

    I dunno, $20k+ for a car is still $20k+. I drove a '93 Plymouth Sundance with an awful clutch for 7 years. But it was a Plymouth, and an entry-level Plymouth at that. I didn't hold it to the same standards that I expect out of my Subie.

    ed, As for my brakes, at 30k they barely look touched. The Forester has a 55:45 weight distribution empty, so juice's point on the rear braking effort is well taken.

    Steve - A search function on an active message board ranks just under the ability to post a message for usability, wouldn't you agree ? Aren't we here to share and find information ?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    There are lots of reasons why our search function upgrades are taking forever. Mostly involving 1.5 million posts and the slashdot effect on our everytime something new gets rolled in around here, even after months of testing, it makes something else blow up.

    So enjoy the advanced search while it lasts- usual disclaimers!

    SUVs, Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards
  • bsvollerbsvoller Posts: 528
    Search can be a hard thing to do right, especially on a big site. I work as a software tester for a company than runs one of the top 5 - 10 web sites in the country, so I can relate to load-related wonders and unexpected dependencies in the code... :-)

    Our web servers see 4-6 million hits a day. It's a lot of traffic to manage.

    Hope you get a final release ready soon.

  • jtm4jtm4 Posts: 60
    This is my first post. I've been enjoying this forum for quite some time. My wife and I own a '98 Forester L. We've been very happy with our first Subaru. 60k and no problems. Original clutch and wheel bearings. I'm about to have the 60k service performed. I don't have the time to do it myself. I found a local Subaru dealer who will do the 60k service for 450.00. That's the works. All the fluids changed, plugs, fuel filter, tune up, etc. Compared to the other dealers I've talked to, it sounds like a decent deal. Does anyone here have any experience with the 60k service? Any advice whether it's worth the price. We plan to keep this Subie for a while and want to keep it maintained properly. I actually had one Subaru dealer tell me that I "Had" to have the timing belt changed at 60k, even though the book says 105k. Same dealer told me I needed new front brakes but after reading some of the previous posts I'll have to check for myself.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    which was a California car, I got exactly the same thing - "change the timing belt" at 60K from the dealer - this is usually a sign they are not a good service department. I shopped around until I found a dealer that actually knew that the belt was good for 100K, and got my service there, which worked out OK for a while, and yes, the timing belt made it to 100K no problem.

    That car had clutch chatter since it was new, that got worse as the clutch aged, but was never bad enough to cause me to spend the $1000 to have a new clutch put in, and when I sold it, the car still had the original clutch (115K or so). It also still had the original brake pads! I don't know what Subie puts in their brake pads, but other car manufacturers should get on this one in a hurry!

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I found on my Trooper that the rears actually wore quicker than the fronts, same on my Rodeo. Maybe subaru is similar and has the proportioning valve set to more of a 50/50 braking action than 80/20 etc?

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,103
    I've had brakes last as long as I've owned some vehicles. Reason being they were manual trannies. Normally, you don't use the brakes nearly as much with a manual as an auto.

    I know Juice's is a stick. Is yours as well, ducktapeguy?

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I wonder if Subaru purpose-builds the clutch so that it fails first if there is a drivetrain failure. In other words, to save the tranny and drive axles. Clutches are $300. A new trans would run a couple of grand at least.

    Just a thought.

    But honestly, I'd rather have a clutch last 115k and beyond with a little chatter when cold, versus wear out at 60-80k miles or so.

    As for pricing, the average car costs about $25 grand, so we're talking below average prices, here.

    60k service for $450 sounds like a deal, if they do all the stuff you describe. Skip the belt - they only call for an inspection at 90k, maybe change it at 90k if you want to do it early.

    Interesting, mike. The rear rotors are smaller and the swept surface is smaller, so maybe the pads are taking more pressure/heat per square inch of surface area, and thus they wear more quickly than the fronts.

  • rochcomrochcom Posts: 247
    There is a wide variability in the life of clutch and brake pads. Materials, overall design, and most important, driving style make the difference.

    I have had brake pads wear out at 18,000 miles (on old Toyotas), 60,000 to 80,000 on my latest Saab, and on my Forester, they were about 50% worn at 60k.

    Clutch experience with my 4 Saabs:
    1. Car wrecked at 71k with original
    2. Replaced at 117k (80% worn) because other work was being done, saving money later.
    3. 90,000 This turbo bought used, so I have no idea what the previous owner did. But there was evidence that it was driven hard.
    4. Still original at 125k when sold.

    Forester: replaced at 44k chatter, slipping, glazed disk, stiff pedal action.

    At 68k stiff pedal action, occasional squeal on release, chatte when cold, but not ready for replacement.

    Based upon past experience, I don't think it is my driving that is the problem.

    If you spend a lot of time on the highway, you use the clutch less. If you drive mostly around town, you use it more. If you slip the clutch while waiting for the light to change, it wears MUCH faster. If you are slow to get off it after shifting, again it wears faster. If you carry heavier loads, etc.
  • jtm4jtm4 Posts: 60
    Nippononly, your right about this particular Subaru service dept. They try to tack on all kinds of extras. I had my drive belts changed at 55k and they tried to get me to change my timing belt. I thought about calling the Subaru home office and complaining. Don't know if that would help at all. There are only three Subaru dealers in my area so that leaves two that I have to choose from. Hopefully, the dealer that quoted 450.00 for the 60K service does what they advertise. 450.00 does sound like a good deal, if everything is performed. As far as brakes go, I've never checked for brake wear. Our Forester has a manual trans. I'm not hard on brakes, either. Maybe I can get an honest and objective assessment from the service tech performing the 60k service. I know, the words honest and objective don't always equate to dealer recommendations.
  • bsvollerbsvoller Posts: 528
    I think we're prolly of one mind on pricing - the Forester is a fantastic value, given that it's below the overall average.

    On the other hand, at 20k+ it's not "cheap" either, which is what I was driving at. (And the median price point would be a good bit lower than the mean, FWIW).

    $20k is still $20k - not exactly small change for normal mortals. And for $20k, I expect a smooth drivetrain.

    You get what you tolerate.

    For example, house build quality is at an all-time low in the Denver area. Why ? Because people stand in line for housing built to the lowest common denominator, and pay top dollar to boot. Discriminating buyers have no negotiating position, because builders don't need you.

    I'm advocating a consumer rebellion. Demand better, politely, of course.

  • No kidding its low. When we still lived in the Bay Area (Burlingame) I couldn't believe the crap they were building. And this was after they ripped down wonderful 1920s craftsman bungalows to get the lot. I saw lots of great old homes with all the nice wood built-ins and dimensional redwood framing being dozed. Then replaced with cheap stucco giants that were just slapped together... all for a $million plus.

  • hayduke01hayduke01 Posts: 128
    Only reason this one's close to being on topic is because I just heard this sales pitch when getting my Forester washed:

    "Do you want me to leave the brake dust on the wheels to damage your wheels?"

    That wash tries to sell all sorts of add on services, including wheel cleaning, so I just told the saleman to leave the brake dust.

    On further review, I wish I'd said that I expected the wheels to be cleaned with the wash that I was paying for.
  • hayduke01hayduke01 Posts: 128
    Last automatic I owned was a 1970 Pontiac LeMans.

    Since then, I've had these new vehicles, never replacing a clutch:

    '79 Fiat X1/9, sold at around 45,000 miles, no probelms (no problems with the clutch, anyway).

    '82 Mercury LN-7, sold at 90,000+, engine problems, no clutch problems.

    '87 Subaru GL wagon, sold at 105,000 miles, clutch probably needed replacement, but still worked, i.e., no slipping.

    '93 Honda Civic, sold at 98,000 miles. Mechanic said at 70,000 miles I'd need a new clutch eventually, but to keep driving it until it started slipping. Two years later, still no slippage.

    '02 Forrester. Experience the occasional shudder, but not much of a problem.

    I'm guessing on the Subarus and the Civic it was an even mix between highway and city. The city traffic is lousy here; one study has us with the worst traffic for a city under 500,000 people.

    FWIW, I never ride the clutch. I use the handbrake to hold the vehicle in place while stopped on a slope, not the clutch. I do use the transmission for braking occasionally, but I use gravity where I can, too. Occasionally I'll skip third gear, i.e. when accelerating down a hill I travel every morning, or somethimes when the next light turns red as I'm just getting started, but I don't need to brake quickly.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Stiff pedal? Really? Mine is super-soft, in fact I think it's one of the most user-friendly characteristics of the vehicle.

    Brian: Agreed. Subaru has made incremental improvements to the clutch, but maybe it's time for a full redesign. The one in my wife's 2002 Legacy is much better.

    I see from your profile that you tow regularly. If so, I'd avoid the Odyssey. Honda requires a tranny cooler as well as a power steering cooler. Add the hitch itself, and you'll spend an arm and a leg to tow (roughly $1200 installed), plus the tranny has proven to be fragile.

    You think $300 clutches are bad, check the Ody threads and you'll find $2-6 grand tranny failures.

    Any how, the MPV went to a JATCO 5 speed tranny this year, and is a good choice for towing. So it the Sienna. Wait to see the redesigned Sienna before you bite, though.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587

    AN had a similar article. They reported 24,000 failures so far.


  • bsvollerbsvoller Posts: 528
    Yeah, the Ody is really too big for our needs. It's just the three of us, so a van capable 7 when necessary but normally configured for 4 with lots of cargo room would be perfect. Plus, smaller should handle better, be easier to park, fit in the garage comfortably, etc.

    I really like the MPV since they put an engine in it. Test drove the ES this spring after the '02's came out. Nice "ride". Because we tow, the 2000-01 version doesn't cut it with the smaller engine. Our H-4 makes more power sooner !

    Rumor has it that the new Sienna will be bigger, which would be a negative in our case. The current version "floats" too much. Horrible, unless you like that completely-disconnected-from-the-road-like-a-classic-caddy feeling. Not for me.

    I'm keeping an eye on the MPV's new Jatco 5AT. If it holds up in the real world, we'll bite.

    OT, need to finish paying the Forester off first, though. Should be out of that loan by the end of '03, 1.5 years sooner than required. Now if Subaru brings a 7-passenger cross-over vehicle to market at the same price point, the whole Mazda thing could go out the window.

    We'll just have to see.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, the new 3.0l engine is much better. We test drove one but my wife just didn't buy into the whole minivan concept.

    I haven't driven the Sienna. The interior seems to be a generation behind the best vans, IMO. Where the folding seat? The side-by-slide?

    Subaru does need to fill this gap - but I think it'll be about a year later than you'd need it. I might get that 2005 big SUW myself, if I don't buy a turbo Forester first.

  • This is a follow-up to my posting from a couple of days ago regarding the poor mpg, pinging while accelarating and rotten egg smell from my wife's '02 Forester.
    I called the dealer today to make an appointment. After going through the symptoms with the service writer, she asked me if I had recieved a recall letter. I said I had not. She stated that there was a recall on the O2 sensor and she thought the MAF sensor as well. I told her that I had a 2002 MY and thought the o2 recall was for earlier model Foresters. She said she checked the computer and that our Forester was recalled. (Hmmm)
    Is anyone aware of a recall on the 2002 Foresters?
    I'm thinking that IF it is either the O2 or MAF sensors that are bad, this could be the cause of my problems. I'm curious what the Crew thinks.
    (I'm just a "dumb user" though, so my diagnosis could be way off.) I'd love to hear what Juice, Colin, IdahoDoug and Paisan think.
    Thanks all,
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Do it, because I think they also reprogram the CEL to be less sensitive. Heck, you're even lucky.

    That could definitely be it. The MAF measures air flow in the intake and basically tells the ECU how much fuel to inject. So if it's off, it certainly could be causing your symptoms.

    An O2 sensor measures exhaust gases and those inputs are also used by the ECU to make the fuel mixture more lean/rich. Again, this could be the cause.

    I'd say they are right on target.

    You are actually smart, because you came to the right place to ask that question. Each person has his/her niche, I'm sure you have yours, too.

  • It's great to have a resource like you and the rest of the Crew to tap into for advice!
  • joseph50joseph50 Posts: 235
    Is anyone experienced enough with the '03 Forester to compare it with previous models in terms of "road handling"? If there is a difference, is it enough to entice an upgrade from, say, an '01 Forester?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The track is a little wider, and it got the same internal rebound springs in the shocks that the Outback got, supposedly netting a smoother ride.

    I haven't tried them back to back. I'm still waiting for a turbo. Now there's enticement!

  • sjbrodysjbrody Posts: 39
    My '03 Premium has 3500 miles on it. Usually the clutch seems fine, but I also sometimes have some chattering first thing in the morning, especially if it has rained the night before. I'll have my dealer check it when it goes in for service.

  • I waxed the new 03 X Forester and our 95 Escort for the winter. I am 6'3" (I used to be 6'4" but kids make you shorter) and I was on my hands and knees waxing the Escort. Waxing the X Forester with the cladding I only had to bend down.
    I get a stutter on my 03 Forester clutch on wet mornings. If I add a little more gas I make up for it.
This discussion has been closed.