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Subaru Forester (up to 2005)



  • erictooleyerictooley Posts: 13
    Howdy folks.

    After weeks of shopping and test-driving, we just purchased an '03 Forester XS. One of our objectives was to replace our Civic with a quieter and more utilitarian vehicle. While the Forester is much quieter than the Tribute we test-drove, there's certainly room for improvement (my partner is hard of hearing, so soundproofing is important to us). Other posters on this board have wished for more sound insulation as well.

    With that in mind, I'm about to undertake a soundproofing project, and will be posting updates to this board (although I may maintain a separate web page with details and pictures -- any free hosting suggestions?). I've chosen QuietCoat (, and plan to begin this weekend by coating the cargo area floor, door skins, and hood. I may also lift out the rear seat and coat the exposed metal surface below -- it looks easy enough to remove. I'll try to get ahold of an SPL meter so I can provide before-and-after statistics. My project's total budget is $300 and a full day's work. Wish me luck!
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Eric- Impressive. Please keep us posted on your progress and results.

    -Frank P.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    You may want to browse through the archived discussion on Soundproofing for some interesting leads and ideas.

    tidester, host
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Eric, let me give you some advice from an acoustics guy -- try to identify the sources of noise before taking a comprehensive soundproofing approach. You could save a lot of time and money, not to mention avoiding a potentially useless exercise that requires tearing apart a new car.

    As an example, let me cite the aerodynamic component noise coming from the mirror / door gasket area. Other noise reduction work could potentially be undetected in comparison. The way sound adds up, you really need to go after the loudest sources to have an impact. Reducing noise from other quieter sources will not have a noticeable effect.

    So, all I'm saying is make sure you have a clear strategy in mind before you embark on this.

    good luck!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I also find throttle tip-in more aggressive on newer Subies. My '98 is much smoother than our '02.

    Eric: Congrats and welcome.

    Cool project. Keep us posted?

    For starters Forester is about as quiet as a sport/cute in this price class gets. But it would be interesting to see how much improvement you get.

  • erictooleyerictooley Posts: 13

    Thanks for the gasket tip. The wind noise of the Forester isn't objectionable to me, although I'll probably remove the roof rack cross rails, which can cause buffeting and the occasional whine. My top priority is to address road noise, which rises markedly on some surfaces (especially on a rough freeway). I plan to use my SPL meter to identify noise "leaks" in the interior. Since I'm upgrading the stock speakers in the doors (which require the removal of the door panels), I might as well add some insulation while I'm in there.

    Anyone replace the stock Geolanders with another tire that seems quieter?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I'm gonna have to go against you guys on that one. Everytime I see a Jag/Saab/Volvo that has a rear fog, the owner is a complete IDIOT and leaves it on all the time, which in turn makes it VERY annoying for people who are following. Generally I'll combat the rear fogs with my twin hella 4000 130W Flame Thrower Lights. Now I have rear facing 55w Halogens for loading the boat, so that will be my future reply to improperly used rear fogs.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    With the caveat that they're not good in snow, a good quiet tire is my Nitto NT460. They also last forever, I've put 25k miles on them and they have a long ways to go.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    I think the throttle tip-in on auto Foresters became quite touchy since the Phase II engine came in play in MY99. I'm not sure if it's the engine itself or a non-linear throttle cable.

    Rear fogs -- yes, that can be annoying on a clear night. But I'd still want them on my vehicle.

  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
    paisan: Following someone who's left their rear fogs on is no different than being approached by someone who's left their front fogs on; the light is just coming from different ends of the vehicle. The latter is much more common; people use their fogs as auxiliary driving lights when skies are clear as well as in the rain. Many Subaru owners are guilty of this as well.

    Fogs, front or rear, are a great feature on a car when used properly. Just because you have the feature doesn't mean you should use it all the time. If drivers used them responsibly the problem wouldn't exist - but how to enforce their use? As part of the licensing process? Or as a ticketable offense by state and local police? The latter would cause great ire as many people, rightly or wrongly, would see that as an attempt by those jurisdictions to increase their revenue. In this era where Federal funding to states is being slashed and states are being forced to either kill programs and services or find new ways to pay for them, it's a legit concern. And yet somehow states find ways to subsidize sports stadiums for private franchise owners; there are two in my metro area going up as I write.

    I'd better stop before I go off further on a political tangent. Again, rear fogs are a good idea where it's frequently foggy, but they must be used properly.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think you're right, Ken. They said something like "50% more torque at half throttle".

    Sure, that may be true, but what they mean is 50% throttle position. It's probably the equivalent of where 80% throttle used to be, if you follow.

  • bsvollerbsvoller Posts: 528
    <political commentary>

    Hear! Hear!

    </political commentary>

    I'll leave it at that...

  • subkidsubkid Posts: 94

    I was wondering what does ignition kill feature on Forester's OEM alarm actually do? Prevents engine from running or just from starting. In other words, can manual transmission equipped car still be "hot wired" and then pushed to start or I'm safe from that with the OEM.

    More advance question - does OEM alarm have a separate horn? Is it possible to have alarm armed with the ignition kill and not sound? Before somebody asks why I would do that - looks like sound is more annoying than helping. When somebody's alarm wakes me up three times in the middle of the night I can't wait for that car to be stolen, so I can get back to sleep :))

  • huxley123huxley123 Posts: 10
    We need to replace the original tires on our 2002 Forester S+. We have been thinking of buying it from Costo. Their recommendation is Michelin® XGT V4 P215/60VR16 for All season high performance.

    I tried to search if this particular tire has been discussed on the board - but could not find any reference to this particular Michelin brand.

    Any comments suggestions would be most welcome. I am an absolute novice in this respect and would appreceate any help from the experts on this board.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    The XGT is probably a relabeled Michelin tire. I have some X Radial Plus tires from Costco that are really (mostly) X One's. Someone over in Tires, tires, tires may know, but I'd poll the Forester owners here for suggestions.

    I guess the $50 Michelin coupon expires in a week.

    Steve, Host
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Kid: I know the horn is seperate because I've seen it on S models. I don't have one so I can't comment on how it works, though.

  • krccrkkrccrk Posts: 36
    I was told the oem alarm just disables the starter. It sounds like it does not use a separate horn, not sure how hard it is to disable.

    On two of my previous cars I rigged up hidden kill switches that disabled the fuel pump relay. Required getting the electrical schematics.

  • mckeownmckeown Posts: 165
    Depends on the year...Earlier models have a seperate "horn" or speaker. Later use the standard horns. But ALL just disable the feed to the starter relay. I have an aftermarket and via a DPDT relay I disable the starter relay AND fuel pump relay.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Makes sense, because I'm sure I saw the little horn for the alarm. I looked because I change my horns from "beep" to "honk".

    Don't forget the chat tonight, folks. Last week was our biggest crowd ever expect for special events.

  • logtraillogtrail Posts: 74
    These tires were standard on my 96 Mazda millenia S (215/55VR 16). I got only about 30k miles since they are a soft compound and so recently replaced two of them with another type of Michelin. The XGTV4 is a quiet tire but not very good in snow and I dont think a particularly good tire for a Forester. Isnt the current price about $175 per tire. ?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    $175 each? No wonder I've never heard of it :-)

    Tire Rack may have some consumer reviews about it - see the ad on the left for a link.

    Steve, Host
  • gened1gened1 Posts: 256
    How many miles do you have on your 02? I was wondering about the life of my 02L tires.
  • mjsnd80mjsnd80 Posts: 48
    There was a reference a few posts ago about switching the beep-beep factory horn with real HORN.

    I have an '03 Forester, and could not find the little beep-beep!! Where IS it??? It seems to be near the battery (driver-side front) but I about went deaf trying to find it (though my daughter enjoyed honking the horn!)

    I've replaced car horns before. If I can find this one, I assume it's an easy thing to switch it out.

    = = = =

    Switched out the dirty air cleaner Saturday with a paper filter... and have improved from 32 to 34 mpg with my 5-speed '03 XS. Very excited!
  • russskirussski Posts: 47
    "Beep-Beep" located behind left hand side fog lamp (under battery).You actually have to remove fog lamp to see it.

  • huxley123huxley123 Posts: 10
    We have put about 38K on the tires. I would say its been appx 60-70% on highways.
    The car spent the first 34K of its life in upstate NY tackling the rain, snow and slush. Its now taking a break in sunny southern California (Orange County).
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I guess they've moved the horn around over the years. Mine has one right behind the grills and a second under the intake, behind the passenger side head lamp.

  • joseph50joseph50 Posts: 235
    Bottom line: the reviewer was decidedly less than impressed with the performance and look of the total package.
  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
    I also have the Hella Supertones; Ken actually gave me installation tips not long after I started posting here. I actually like their tone - they sound like something off the European Continent. They get people's attention but would do better with a relay installed.

    Now for my Q: I'm always in denial when it comes to calling the Forester an SUV. I refer to it as a car or, more specifically, a tall station wagon. Yet today my wife asked me if she could "borrow the truck" this weekend. I've noticed also that some parts catalogs refer to Foresters as "Subaru truck." I'm curious: how many of you refer to your Foresters - or have had them referred to - as "trucks"?

  • gened1gened1 Posts: 256
     We say here in Upstate NY that we have two seasons...winter and the 4th of July. I've got about 11000 miles on my 02 so I guess the oem tires have a ways to go. I think I'll replace them with Nokian tires when the time comes.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Truck? No, I would not go that far. I don't consider the Highlander, CR-V, RAV4, or Pacifica trucks either.

    I usually refer to small car-based SUVs as "sport/cutes", it's a clever way to summarize "compact car based-SUV without low range gearing".

This discussion has been closed.