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Subaru Forester (up to 2005)



  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Forester > Spudster?

    I LIKE it!

    tidester, host
  • I like the name Spudster also, but Mrs. Spudman keeps calling my car the Spudmobile. I kind of favor the Silver Spud. Eventually I may get a vanity plate. I'd like to visit Idaho someday. It's my fantasy Utopia, my Shangri la, my Oz, My Mecca.

    Had the Spudmobile (aka Spudster) for over a week now and still no regrets or second thoughts which is unusual for me. Bought some 10 foot lengths of PVC pipe at Home Depot and could almost fit them entirely inside. They extended a few inches out the front passenger window which was fine by me.

    First tank of gas only yielded 19MPG. Must be from lugging those big spuds. The ride is fine but in an effort to get a smoother ride I bought a set of Mashelins. I like the look of the Mashelins but the ride is a bit lumpy with them.

    Below is a pic of my car with the new tires.


  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    We better keep our eyes on this tot.

    Steve, Host
  • Spudman- I have a new hero. Mashelins I like it.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Yokohama onion rings!

  • I hear that these onion ring Yokohamas are preferred by those who want tuberless tires!

  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    FYI - those tires come with a warning indicating that driving on ketchup is risky! :-)

    tidester, host
  • I retrieved the car from the dealership service department Friday evening. The source of the problem was the oil separator plate, as I had surmised. I've only driven the car 22 miles or so since picking it up, but all seems well. At least there's no new oil on the driveway.

    --- Lowell
  • Hi, new here. Have a couple of questions. Got my new Forester 2003 last week. Am happy with it but have a couple of questions. Got an automatic and haven't driven one of those in years. First few days the weather was stormy, so haven't had much driving time. Today took it into town and at first there was this high pitched, not loud, whizzing sound, as it changed gears, I think. Hadn't heard that before. It went away after I had stopped, did an errand and was back driving. Temperature was about 58 degrees.

    The car was very new on the lot when I bought it. They said had arrived the day before, still wrapped outside in sticky paper. Hardly any miles. Dealership is about 60 miles away so I bought one they had just received. Had been dealing with them a month, so the price was good, or I thought so. We had finally negotiated to just over invoice on a car. They were going to bring in one for me, in the color and options I wanted (or nearly), but didn't want another trip, so took the one that I liked that they had just received.

    Now wonder whether they did all the pre testing on it. Was there for hours waiting and needed to get home. Also the inside of the warrenty book didn't get signed by them.

    See any problems?

    Question #2, I realize it is different driving an automatic, but do these have power on the freeway? No freeway here to test. Seems very low key compared to my previous manual (VW). Is there an overdrive? Have a steep hill to go up at about 25-30 miles a hr. I have to push the pedal harder? Know this sounds strange, but haven't driven an automatic in over 25 years.

    Am very happy with the car, love the room, the visibity, feel of it and it turns on a dime! Just need to know a couple of things and maybe how to drive it!

    Also how is one supposed to drive with a new engine? To break it in gently? No info in the manual that I can see, but lots of info on warnings! Would never have learned to drive if I had had to read one of these at 15!

    From the Pacific Coast

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    Congratulations on your Forester purchase.

    By any chance, was your Forester warmed up when you heard the "whizzing" noise? Automatics can be noiser than manuals when cold.

    If you have any concerns regarding your vehicle, you should set up an appointment and have the dealer document your concern and try to address it.

    As for the break in process, you should be very gentle on the engine for the 1st 1000 miles. Try not to rev the engine over 4000RPM unless in an emergency. Also, try not to keep the engine RPM at one particular level for too long (such as on the highway). The whole idea is that you want to give the engine internals a chance to seat themselves without over straining it. After the 1000 mile mark, you can slowly start going above 4000RPM.

    The automatic transmission in your Forester is controlled by a Transmission Control Unit (TCU). The TCU will "learn" your driving habits over the next few thousand miles. On your "hill", just apply enough gas to keep you at the speed you want. The TCU does the rest in downshifting to the right gear you need. If you don't feel you're getting to the right gear, you can always manually select a lower gear. 4th gear is overdrive. There is also a torque converter lock that engages when you're crusing in one gear for a period of time to maximize fuel economy.



    Sounds like the Forester is getting the exact same engine as the US WRX. Where'd the 2.5T go?

  • eps105eps105 Posts: 216
    This weekend, my brother and I headed out to the Penn State game, but I completely forgot he was parked in the turnaround in my driveway when I was backing up. I scraped the corner of my rear bumper on my '03 Forester XS along the entire length of his driver's door. I left a 2 foot long dent on his car and my bumper had tons of paint scraped off of it and was bashed in about the size of a cantaloupe, like someone had punched it.

    As I sat there in dread looking at the damage to my prized, three month-old car, I remembered reading on this board about other people's experiences with the Forester's bumpers fixing themselves as they rebounded back to their original shape. Well, just as I thought that, "pop!" the bumper fixed itself!

    Now all I have to do is get the bumper repainted. The bumper was soft enough that it did not take any paint off of my brother's car, it only dented it. So he can get that fixed relatively inexpensively at Dent Wizards.

    Subaru definitely deserves the Insurance Institute's top rating for bumpers. I am very pleased.

    Has anyone had to have their Forester bumper repainted? Does anyone have a feel what I reasonable price should be?

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    It's sitting in Subaru's parts closet, probably waiting for the the '05 Legacy to debut. The engine exists. Subaru just needs to figure out what car to put it into.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Just as I suspected, the US-bound turbo Forester will be close to the JDM model. I didn't think Subaru would intro a new engine so soon.

    I wonder if the engine will be tuned any differently. The link above implies the engine makes the same 227hp peak.

  • Brooks11,

    We've owned Honda vehicles for the past 10 years until this past August when I decided to purchase an '03 (Forester) X 5spd. Used to the smoothness of Honda engines/drivetrains (catastrophic failures/assembly issues aside), I also seemed to hear a "whizzing-whirring" noise of sorts coming from the vehicle and was of course concerned - though not concerned about it enough to take it in.

    Three months and 7500 miles later no problems. I have nothing to support the next comment, but I think it has more to do with the AWD system. Frankly, I don't hear it anymore, so as far as I know the noise may have been break-in related or I'm just used to it. And considering that I've read another post similar to yours and my own experiences, I believe it to be normal.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I agree and I'll share a suggestion Patti made to someone which worked - drive in a "figure 8" pattern a few times to break it the differentials a bit. Sounds crazy, but this was advice direct from SoA and it worked for one of the Crew.

    The other thing is I'd check the ATF level now, even before doing the figure 8.

    Love those bumper stories. IIHS does rank the Forester as the least-costly-to-repair among Small SUVs:

    Oh, by the way, 2nd least costly? The previous generation Forester! LOL

    Also, not I did not say "cheapest", because it earned a Best Pick in IIHS safety ratings. Each test result by itself is a good accomplishment, but combining both is truly impressive.

    Hmm, Spudster would be a roadster. Maybe if you had the Premium we could call it that! ;-)

    Lowell: cool and thanks for updating us. Glad to hear it.

    144 miles, crooked shifter, strange noises? I'd avoid it like the plague. It was probably in an accident of some sort, or abused in some way, to say the least.


  • rochcomrochcom Posts: 247
    I am happy the turbo is coming, but the 2.0 has a few problems. People on the WRX baord have complained of slow torque build-up. Perhaps the Forester version will be tuned differently. Also, the WRX engine is the Phase I engine, which is an interference type. If the cam belt snaps, the valves are pretzels. But I still want one.
  • If the WRX 2.0 liter engine is installed as-is in the Forester, there will be a lot of griping when the rev-happy engine needs to lug out of a mudhole. I had a WRX 5-sp before my auto Forester, and although I loved it for what it was, I grew tired of having to keep the engine north of 3000 rpm to get any power out of it. I never drove an automatic, so it may keep engine rpm's higher. Don't be dazzled by the 0-60 times. You will almost never use all of its acceleration potential once the new wears off. But then, I loved smoking those 5-liter Mustangs....
  • First yes, the engine was cold. Early very cold morning. Took off just starting it. Secondly, haven't heard the whizzing sound again.

    Seems to take some time to adjust to the sense of a new car, particularly coming from a manual VW. Different road feel and different engine sounds.

    I thank you both for your input. It is most appreciated, particularly the advice on the breaking process. They surely don't mention that at the "store", do they? And couldn't find it in the manual.

    Also very glad to hear that Pnassmac is doing fine at 7500 after initial whizzing sounds.

    I may be a tad anxious being as my prior vehicle developed problems at early mileage. Am hoping not to go down that road again!

    Loved the VW, problem ridden though it was and at the same time couldn't wait to get a more "reliable" car. Hope the Forester will be that. And I must say, am so very pleased with it. Couldn't believe what I was able to get into it today, where I went easily, and the visibility and it has real workable sun visors! Plus a smoother ride than I am used to. Feel like I have gone from a cocoon to a sunroom. Nice.

  • just reread your message. Have printed it out. Tells me more than the manual or salesmen.

    Do mostly country and town driving, and not much freeway (we only have about 10 miles of it around here and it is 20 or more miles away). Will that give the RPM variety it needs for a good breaking in?

    Interesting that it the TCU learns your habits, as you say. As you can gather I am not engine savvy.

  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,783

    For the previous generation of Forester Turbo, it used a different tune to the WRX. It was very, very popular here in Australia.

    The rumour here continues to be that a 2.5l Turbo will be sold.


  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Brooks: Subies have lots of character, it does take time to get used to them.

    For one, the "new car smell" stinks. Let the outgassing and burning off of the undercoating pass, and it'll go away.

    2nd, gas mileage improves with age. Most people get 2mpg better at 10k miles than they did when new.

    3rd, the sounds are very different, you'll hear a boxer growl. I can hear a Subie coming, they are so unique.

    Patti gave us the hint about the figure 8. She works for SoA and has a lot of buddies that are the top Subaru regional mechanics, so I trust her. Not to mention it has worked for someone here at Edmunds.

    Avoid cruise control during break-in. Being in town/country will actually be better for break in because engine rpm varies more.

    Stick with us, we share good information and tips, and have the right contacts at SoA should any problems aries.

    I hope Graham is right!

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    You're quite welcome. It's a shame salespeople don't do a better job in telling you how to treat your vehicle. I guess they're only incentivized to sell the vehicle to you and no more. I thought the owners manual had something on the break-in process, but I'm not 100% sure.

    In any event, your mixed driving should be fine for the break-in process. The basic idea is that you want your engine to go through a range of rpms in it's early stages. Don't worry and enjoy.

    One tip -- with any vehicle, you should be easy on it when first starting it, especially on a cold morning. My recommendation is to let it idle for at least a minute before driving off. Make sure you drive very gently for the next few miles. A good deal of engine wear occurs when the engine is cold and your engine oil isn't flowing freely yet.

    Lastly, another popular practice is to change your engine oil and filter at the 1000 mile mark. Since your engine is going through the most break-in during this time, some folks (including myself) like to minimize the risk of having contaminants in the oil.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Ken: there are some exceptions.

    When we bought my wife's Legacy, the salesman gave us a complete tour of all the features, told us about the break in, even popped the hood and showed her all the fluids to check (marked in yellow). I was very impressed by their PDI, and they delivered a zero defect car. Even the tires pressures were correct.

    I will be very, very likely to buy my next car from him.

    I agree about taking it easy at first - it takes about 7 seconds for oil pressure to build. You should avoid putting any strain at all on the engine for at least those few seconds.

  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,783

    As far as the Subaru Australia folk know, the Turbo should be released sometime in 2004. It was such a big part of Forester sales that absence from the new line up had to be clearly explained and time frame given for next introduction. Given how big the Australian market is for Subaru (third biggest in the world - surprising given we have only 19m people in a space about the same as the 48 states) its clear that something different has to be done to the engine to make it work right. If they are selling 2.0l turbos elsewhere in the world, there has to be a really good reason why it is not coming here.


  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Good point Graham, and I hope you're right.

  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Elliot- I recently got a $450 estimate from the dealer to repaint the rear bumper of my Forester. Hope this helps.

    -Frank P.
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    That's a great dealer -- even the correct tire pressures!

    Yeah, I know some folks at work who literaly crank the engine and then drive off giving zero time for any oil pressure to build. Makes me cringe every time.

  • eps105eps105 Posts: 216
    Thanks Frank. I've gotten a couple of quotes. Just to have the bumper cover buffed and repainted is about $350, and a complete replacement is about $525. Both places were quick to point out that the textured surface of the Forester bumper would clash with the area being repainted, since it must be sanded smooth to blend the scraped paint. This means to make it look right, I need to replace the entire bumper cover.

    So there you have it - even a cosmetic scratch on a painted Forester bumper will set you back $500+ dollars if you want it fixed right. If I had a Forester L or X, I would simply have an almost undetectably scuffed bumper. Sure gives some credibility to those that argue that the unpainted bumper has much more practicality, given the rugged nature of the Forester. I guess that's the price I pay for a 6 disc changer, sunroof, heated seats......

  • New engine break-in info is in chapter 8 ("Driving Tips") of the 2003 owner's manual. It only takes up half the page, so it's easy to overlook.
This discussion has been closed.