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Subaru Forester (up to 2005)



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    2002 - if you are truly concerned about the head gaskets, avoid 99-02 models, go for an 03+. Keep in mind if you use the coolant additive you're fully covered for 8/100.

    Drum->Disk conversion? I'd find a wrecked car and salvage all the parts from that. This junk yard specializes in Subies:

    They're in New England, of course, where 95% of all Subies live.

    Towing 1000 lbs should not be a problems. You're at less than half the capacity.

    If power is a concern and you really want the base model, wait until the 06 models arrives, since they get 173hp and AVLS for smoother power delivery.

    But I'd still recommend a turbo. At altitude when everyone else is wheezing you'll be passing them wondering why they're going so slow.

  • crashton6crashton6 Posts: 245
    I'm also going to recommend the XT turbo. It will handle the altitude better than the NA motor. It should also get as good or better mileage than that Cherokee.

  • Dave,

    Thanks for the info. I've been so excited about the vehicle that I did not notice that number. It is P130. I guess I will look in Google Groups and some of the IRC Channels to see if there is anyway to get more details about the unit.
    The main things I am trying to find out is 1) does the unit support a mute function and 2) does the unit have an aux port in the back or support one of the Crutchfield aux plugs.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    I'm actually averaging about 5 mpg better in the FXT than I managed with my Cherokee :-)

  • tim3tim3 Posts: 28
    Thanks for the feedback about towing at high altitudes. The XT is an intriguing possibility. I’m having trouble envisioning my 67-year-old parents in a vehicle faster than a Porsche, but then they’ve surprised me before. Perhaps I’m just envisioning the disappointment I’ll suddenly feel in our 04 X, if they get an XT. I’m not sure, however, that they will like the extra cost, increased insurance, decreased gas mileage (over the X) and the premium fuel requirement of the XT (even though it will only amount to a few hundred dollars a year). And will a turbo engine last 250K or more? What they didn’t like about the Cherokee was the crappy gas mileage and the fact that it felt like it was more vehicle than they needed 90 percent of the time. Their needs/wants for a vehicle are simple and modest: it has to handle the 1,000 pound trailer, cost around $20K, be cheap to maintain, get around 30 mpg on the highway, last forever and have AWD. :) And, oh yeah, it has to be low enough so my 5'1" mother can lift her end of the canoe up on the car. (Surprisingly, the Cherokee was low enough – barely). But they’re not asking for much really...honest...

  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Well the X satisfies all those requirements. Just don't expect "zippy" performance while towing that trailer. And I'll echo Juice's suggestion that they wait for an 06 since it gets an 8 hp bump.

  • dcm61dcm61 Posts: 1,552
    I'm not sure that I'd recommend the X for towing in the mountains as it has rear drum brakes.

    I don't think they want to experience brake fade going down a mountain.

    Remember that the Rocky's are REAL mountains. :-)

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Also consider an Outback with the H6 motor. It would handle that trailer better than a Forester, just because of the added size of the car. They will probably like the H6 better than a turbo H4 too.

    Some of those requirements are divergent, so your parents will need to make a few compromises.

  • hypovhypov Posts: 3,068
    The main things I am trying to find out is 1) does the unit support a mute function and 2) does the unit have an aux port in the back or support one of the Crutchfield aux plugs.

    No, and No :(

    I've heard of one or two people attempting an autopsy on the unit to see if any DIYs [Aux plug] can be performed with the External CD changer input, but I've not seen any updates.

    I have the upgraded OEM sound system when I bought my WRX, and was looking in the direction you were but finally decided to go the aftermarket route.
    Anyway, I recently replaced my OEM with the Kenwood KDC-MP828 and added another underseat subwoofer with intent to upgrade with aftermarket speakers later. However, I was delightfully surprise that the OEM upgraded speakers are pretty darn good with the aftermarket HU [22watts RMS/50watts max]. Pushed the volume to 23, which is plenty too loud for me, and the speakers held without distortion.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm with Craig here, the need to tow and the 30mpg desires are kinda tough to satisfy.

    Forester X comes closest to meeting all those, IMO. 1000 lb trailer won't kill the brakes, just use engine braking (3rd in an auto, 3rd or 4th in a manual trans).

  • tim3tim3 Posts: 28
    Hey everyone, thanks for the input. My parents know they're looking for a vehicle that may not exist. And I believe the trailer has its own brakes so I don't think that's an issue. A slightly used Outback H6 is a real possibility, although they're hard to find Arizona. But my wife and I live in Salt Lake where every third vehicle on the road is a Subaru so they should be able to find it here if it comes to that.

    But the Forester X is still near the top of the list. They're main concern is that towing a trailer around the Intermountain West will, as my dad says, "tow the guts out of the car." We were hoping someone had experience towing in the West with a Subaru. I've suggested that a transmission cooler, oil cooler and full synthetic oil would make any vehicle pretty much bombproof no matter what you did to it. But piece of mind is priceless and a 6 cylinder or XT might be the best answer in the end.

    Thanks again, Tim
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The automatics have an engine oil cooler standard.

  • msavadmsavad Posts: 14
    on the 2005 forester, does anynone know the dimensions under the seats in this car? i want to see if i can place a larger subwoofer if i wanted too. could it fit under the back seats?

    also are the speakers pre-wired? could i add a tweeter myself if i wanted to later on?

    and last question, the option of corner bumper things, i think it's a good idea to have them - how well do they stick? i suppose it would be best if i bought it at some other time and installed it myself. but since this protects the car, i wonder how well it sticks in the long run.


    ---Mike Savad
  • jeandjeand Posts: 1
    One of my friend had a similar problem on is subaru , if it do not start ( starter do not crank)
    check for the neutral switch , by moving the shifter from park to neutral position a couple of
    time to activate the neutral switch , this is for and automatic . The same switch is on the
    clutch pedal and does the same thing. Hope those informations helps you Kiangster .
  • Between my wife and I, we've put about 5-6000 more miles on the '01 Forester L this month. After she drove it back from North Carolina, I was cleaning it and noticed that the (auto-dimming) mirror had a white-ish, wavy haze. I clean all my glass with Armor-All window wipes and can get everything off, including bugs. But the haze didn't appear to be on the surface and wouldn't come off.

    It's noticeably hazy to the point that my rearview vision is blurred. Happen to you? Could it have been caused by driving 15 hours per day?

    The compass still works.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    lift her end of the canoe up on the car

    That's easy - just have her (or Dad) prop the bow on the rear cross bar of the rack and then lift the stern and slide the canoe forward. You may need a pad to protect the paint before the gunnels reach the cross bar.

    Taking it off is just the reverse. Otherwise you're horsing a big long boat around with extended arms and it's easy to drop in on the side mirror (voice of experience!).

    Steve, Host
  • hypovhypov Posts: 3,068
    Under the back seat? :confuse: ....
    There isn't any space under the back seat.

    The front doors are pre-wired for tweeter add-on.

  • matt14matt14 Posts: 6
    Where is the best place to buy oil filters and crush washers? Are the dealers competitively price or is there someplace online?
  • lfdallfdal Posts: 679
    I've had an auto-dimming mirror fail in that manner. It was in an 03 Forester XS. The mirror had been exposed to too much sunlight when I had the roof open. Literally melted the coating behind the glass. I've also heard of other cases where the liquid has actually gone so far as to leak out. No personal knowledge of those however.

    We also had the replace the auto-dimming mirror on my wife's 03 OBW because it responded way too slow to changing light conditions.

    BTW - In 04 at least on some models, Subaru switched to a different OEM auto-dimming mirror - seems to hold up and perform much better. I know the one on my FXT works very well.


  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    If you are buying one, buy from your local dealer, try to find a coupon if you can.

    Shipping alone will kill any thoughts of getting a good deal on-line on a single oil filter.

  • mpgmanmpgman Posts: 723
    Anyone have the trailer hitch/bike rack attachment? Curious to know what you paid and how you like it. Are there other/better after market bike racks for the rear of the Forester? I have an 05. 2 bikes are all I need to carry. Thanks.
  • moe5moe5 Posts: 7
    Hey all, I installed the Subaru Subwoofer and Tweeters in my 2005 XS and it was pretty simple. The tweeters took about 5 minutes tops. The sound improved, but the main "upgrade speakers" still sound muddy. I listened side by side with a friends '04 standard speakers (same 6 disc CD), and the "upgrade" sounded much less crisp and punchy. Odd. So, I could put in some Alpines, but they'd be rated at 250 watts max, and I wonder if the OEM cd player can drive them okay. I'm not an audiophile really, but the sound in those speakers isn't good.

    Has anybody else listend to the 2005 speakers and thought they sounded really muddy? Any suggestions?

  • hypovhypov Posts: 3,068
    You will have to tune the subwoofer's high cut/low pass and volume to your liking.
    As it is now, it sounds like your high cut/low pass is set at minimum and the upper frequencies are still transmitted to the subwoofer.

    It is not so much of what max wattage the speaker can take but how much wattage is needed to power the speaker and how much continuous power it can take before distorting.
    The OEM HU is rated about 160 watts max., and I'm guessing it RMS would be in the 15 watt RMS ballpark. So, if the Alpine does not take much to be driven, they should be fine.

    I recently swapped out the OEM HU and replaced it with the Kenwood KDC-MP828 featuring 22 watts RMS and 50 watts peak x4, amongst other bells and whistles, and those OEM upgraded speaker system are even more lively - you can hear the variations of the accompliments in the background crisp and clear.


    p/s: You may want to check with the dealer if the speakers in your door now are the standard issue or the optional upgraded speakers.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Trailer hitch bike racks are definitely the easiest to use. I wouldn't recommend buying from the dealer though as they way over-charge. The Subaru bike rack is just a rebadged Yakima (I think) so go to your local bike store and pick one that you like.

  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    Try or I've used both and I'm very happy with their service and speed. allsubaru is running an OEM 30% sale, but I'm not sure if it's on everything and I'm not sure if it's on their web site (vs. advertised on another forum, and I'm in a hurry).

  • moe5moe5 Posts: 7
    Thanks for the info, Dave.

    The tweeters and sub actually sound fine, but the midrange coming out of the "upgrade" speakers in the doors sounds very muddy. I though the upgrade speakers were standard on the XS premium, but I don't see them noted on the sticker, so I'm waiting to hear back from the dealer regarding what I've really got. If I've just got the standard speakers, that's easy to solve.

    The alpines I was looking at say 50rms, so I'm thinking the OEM HU can't drive them? Sound right?

    I'll report what I find out!

  • hypovhypov Posts: 3,068
    Once you've got the high cut/low pass and volume set, adjust your front/rear fade to manupilate the overall mid-range. You'll notice that the sound will be less muddy as you adjust the fade more bias to the front speakers. After that, then you tune the bass/treble and re-visit the other settings for finer tuning, if your ears feels it is needed.

    Look at RMS as how much continuous beating it can take. In this case, 50 watts of continuous power without distortion or tearing apart. The max. 250 watt is up to how much it can take at short burst without distortion or tearing apart i.e. Cannon blast from '1812".
    Take a peek over at Crutchfield and look up your Alpine model. They have in their specs the recommended minimum Headunit RMS range for the speaker, and Alpine speakers can be driven at 2 watt RMS.

    I was eyeing the Kenwood KFC-X168 and X138 to replace my OEM speakers.
    Very good frequency response range 28 Hz -> 40 kHz, basically better than the others that are out there for the price. But alas the new HU have breathed new life into my OEM speakers, hence I won't be looking to replace them.

    Oh, you'll need spacers to install the Alpine.


  • Just picked up a new Baja, curious if anyone has experience with the cap from ARE. Was told the hard cover and soft cover both leak according to the Sub dealership. Any experiences or advice appreciated.
    Cheers Slayer ;)
  • My wife was out on the Outer Banks and parked the car at the beach for a few hours. It could have been pointed just right to take a direct hit from the sun. What kind of liquid is in there? I'd just as soon replace it with a normal mirror. Thanks for the info.

    Also, I second the above advise on canoe loading. I walk mine up to the rear cross bar and load it myself.
  • moe5moe5 Posts: 7
    You're the guru, Dave. Turns out I only had the standard speakers, so I popped in the upgrade set ($99, not too bad) and the sound is greatly improved. Now I'll fine tune the sub using your advice.

    If I get the urge later (more $) I'll try a HU like yours. And thanks for explaining all the RMS details and driving power needs. Really appreciate it!

This discussion has been closed.