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Subaru Forester (up to 2005)



  • It shouldn't hurt the engine (your manual even allows for it, up to 10% ethanol). Cars today are made to interact with ethanol frequently found in gasolines (some states require all gasoline blends to contain 10% ethanol). You may notice a slight reduction in fuel mileage due to the lower energy content of the fuel (ethanol contains marginally less energy per unit volume than does gasoline) and you may also notice slightly more difficult engine starts in the winter due to the lower vapor pressure of ethanol. Your mileage will decrease approximately 2-3%, an amount not easily noticed.

    As an added plus, the ethanol will absorb any water in the gasoline tank.

  • 2001 Forester. Two new batteries in the last few months went into the automatic key opener/locker on the key chain. The buttons work OK for a couple weeks, then gradually lose effectiveness. Does anyone have a few suggestions on what to do for a remedy, before I take it into the dealer?
    Thank You!
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Sounds like something's draining the batteries. What about the other remote, does it have the same problem?

  • manamalmanamal Posts: 434
    Because of the high price of gas, we took our forester for the laborday weekend trip to the beach. It is an '05 LLBean. The car performed well. We kept it to the speed limit, and got 32 MPG of 380 miles!

    The only problem is that the radio was not turning on on the trip home: a significant problem because of the 3 yo in the back seat. This will be the fourth trip for repairs in 5300 miles. All minor though, and three dealing with the radio. Maybe I should buy an aftermarket radio.

    Oh, the radio works fine today.
  • eps105eps105 Posts: 216
    Try checking the battery terminal contacts. Rub them with an eraser head and then clean them with rubbing alcohol and let it dry for a few minutes before putting the batteries back in. Of course, you can verify if the problem is with the batteries or the contacts by checking the batteries with a volt meter. If the "dead" batteries measure full voltage, then it's the contacts. If the batteries are dead, then something is defective with the fob and draining the batteries.

    I've experienced on many occasions where dirty contacts show symptoms of dying batteries. Changing your batteries may have abraded the contacts enough to make the new batteries work OK for a while.

    I clean the battery contacts on my key fobs and garage door openers at least once a year, and I get at least 3-5 years of battery life from one battery!

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Your guess is as good as ours...

    What I would try is I'd disconnect the battery. That resets the ECU. Nowadays cars are computerized to that would basically "reboot" the brains and give it a chance to fix itself.

  • Sounds like something's draining the batteries. What about the other remote, does it have the same problem?


    Good gosh, I had forgotten I had the other remote tucked away in a hidden drawer over the years. :blush: Works perfectly, which means that EPS105 is probably right about the contacts on my current remote. I'll check into it.
    Thanks, I knew I came to the right place!!!
  • Our 2006 Forester is just a month old now, but we have run across some "noisy" issues.

    There is a groaning noise that emanates from the muffler (as diagnosed by the service technician) whenever the car accelerates under load. The noise is louder if say you are start from a stop light on an incline. The dealer says that 3 other brand new foresters in the lot have the same noises. In such cases, it seems that the noise is determined to be a charateristic of the car and no repair is done!.

    Does anyone else with an 06 Forester have the same problem?

    Any suggestions as to how you go about getting something like this fixed?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Check if any of the heat shields in the exhaust are loose. Often it's just a quick weld to fix. Others remove them.

  • You can probably afford a pretty nice aftermarket system with the money you save on gas. ;)

    BTW, I read a report on the new mpg guidelines coming out of Washington. It said that small "SUV's like the Subura Forester" would have to achieve 28 mpg. Wouldn't this be a step backward for some of you?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    They might base the goals on size, i.e. a multiple of the wheelbase and track width. So that would penalize Subaru for using a very short wheelbase on the Forester (which is also why it feels so nimble).

    This will make manufacturers stretch the wheelbases, watch. Problem is it sort of penalizes smaller vehicles. They'll just make 'em all big!

  • No sign of the Big 3 lobbyists meddling in the creation of this law, eh?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm sure, I bet a Suburban would be allowed to get 12mpg and pay no gas guzzler tax.

  • Hey everyone,

    I have a really frustrating problem I'm hoping someone here can shed some light on. In our city there is only one Subaru dealer, and their service center is absolutely atrocious. Most recently, I had the service center attempt to repair the moonroof action.

    Three service visits later, the moonroof works but now it rattles like mad even when the car is stopped, they broke the plastic wind breaker and didn't tell me, I found 5 or 6 broken metal clips on the floor of the car, the interior molding pieces they removed are loose and ill-fitting, they broke one of the interior molding pieces, left dirt and fingerprints all over the car, and so on. This is all AFTER the service center manager told me that considering all the work they had to do, I'm "lucky" they didn't break more.

    I love my Subaru but the dealer here in town in ruining my car. I plan to take it elsewhere for non-warranty work, but does anyone have any suggestions on what to do when I need the dealer? Can a differnet dealer than the one I bought it from do warranty work for me?

    Also, as I mentioned above, my car has damage the service center made when trying to fix the sunroof. The normal procedure would be for me to take it back to them for them to fix what they broke, but I'm pretty sure if I take it back there again they'll make it even worse. Can a different dealer repair damange another one created?

    Any information anyone can provide is totally appreciated, thanks.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Can a differnet dealer than the one I bought it from do warranty work for me?

    Absolutely, in fact I'd be willing to drive a while to get better service.

    Call 800-SUBARU3 and report their incompetence. Take photos to show evidence of that, ask if you can e-mail it to SoA. I'm sure SoA would want to know where they can improve, and there seems to be a *lot* of room for improvement.

    Good luck.

  • Thanks for the info. I did call 800-SUBARU3 and they listened to me, apologized, and explained they can't do much directly since the dealerships are privately owned. Still, they did seem genuinely concerned and made me feel somewhat better about things.

    They also confirmed that what I've done in the interim is what they would suggest: take the car to a differnet dealer.

    I called a different dealer about an hour a way that comes recommended, and explained the situation to them. They said they can continue the warranty work the other dealer did, although if they encounter parts that the previous dealer broke, it may get difficult (this is understandable, such parts wouldn't be covered under warranty.)

    We'll see how it goes. If any readers here live in Madison, WI, I strongly urge you to avoid the sole Subaru dealership in that city, based on my experience.
  • After reading the serious of unfortunate events above, it is good to hear a story like this:

    The link is to one of the best known political bloggers in America, who is converted to his Subaru.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    Never heard of him (but bookmarked :-)) -- but he's driving a stick in the Bay area? Maybe he's not actually on the city hills that much; have to wonder, in spite of his disclaimer, if he knows how to shift.

    Chat starts in ~20 minutes!

    ooooh, Bob has harvested a good link from that blogger's comments too. :shades:

    Steve, Host
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Thanks for sharing that.

    Indeed, some dealers are great, and we should give credit where credit is due.

    My wife complained about a throttle that didn't feel smooth, they tore out the entire throttle cable and replaced it proactively. We had a Mercedes C240 4Matic wagon as a loaner when I asked for something similar to our Legacy wagon.

    We were not complaining. :D

  • I just bought a 06 Forester 2.5X premium recently. On the test drive, I noticed that as I started the engine, I can clearly feel engine vibrates very obviously -- actually you can see the vibration. I asked the dealer to try another new 06 forester, and it was the same. The dealer explained to me it was because the special setting of the engine (horizontal). I have read the discussions here, it seems to me this is typical for Forester. However, I am still thinking the vibration in my new car seems "too" obvious --- I mean you can physically see from the hood that the engine is shaking in some degree, most of the messages I have read here are talking about feeling from the gears...

    Can I say that my new car has a more serious vibration problem? I was trying to convince myself that there is no problem in my new car, anybody can help me out?

    The vibration do disappear once the car fully starts.

    Sorry for my poor English! Thanks!

    Also, I'd like to share my buying price for this one:
    06 Forester 2.5X Premium Option (no other accessories), automatic transmission, red color:

    diving out price: 22.2K. (no tax as I am in NH)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think it's OK. They use liquid-filled engines mounts and insulation to manage engine noise.

    Basically it's just cold and different metals expand at different rates. The block is aluminum, while most reciprocating parts are steel.

    They keep tuning the idle speed to minimize fuel use. They could probably smooth it out but you'd give up some MPGs, and nowadays you don't want to do that.

  • Bookmark | E-mail Msg
    At 1000 miles I drained the factory fill and added the required 4.2 quarts of of replacement oil (Pennzoil Platinum synthetic 5-30 wt.) Also replaced the filter with a Subaru oil filter. Checked the level after two weeks everything fine. Did not check the level again until 900 miles. There was no oil showing on the dip stick!! Added 3/4 quart. Decided to drain the oil again that weekend and start over. Drained the Pennzoil and decided to now try Mobil 1 5-30wt synthetic to see if maybe it was the Pennzoil. At this point car had a total of 2000 miles. Waited until I got 300 miles on the Mobil 1 and then checked the level again to find there was no oil showing on the dip stick again!! Talked it over with the dealer they said it may be the synthetic oil not allowing the engine cylinders to seat properly??? Where is the oil going??? I now am going to change back to regular non-synthetic oil. Does anybody have any thoughts on this subject??
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Make sure you check the oil once it has circulated in the engine and the engine is warm. Also make sure the surface is level.

    Another tip - fill up the new oil filter with fresh oil. By priming it like that it also helps the initial flow. You might end up using closer to 5 quarts by the time all is said and done.

  • I hate it when car manufacturers give you that "nothing we can do" line. Its a cop out. You took your car to an authorized Suabru dealer for warranty work, and they break things and damage your car. Then you have to go somewhere else and the damaged caused by the first dealer isn't covered? That's nonsense and I wouldn't put up with it. Your car never left the Subaru "chain of command". At some point along the way, and not all that high up (district manager, likely) there is a common reporting thread. There most certainly is something Subaru can do, in fact their warranty legally binds them to. Shame on them.
  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    There is plenty of evidence (used oil analyses) that supports the fact that you should wait until after 10,000 miles to switch to synthetic in a Subaru. If you contact SoA I believe they will also advise to wait. Depending where you live and your driving conditions it might be a better idea to switch to a 10W30 (see your owner's manual). At under 10,000 miles, there are a lot of wear metals floating around shearing down the oil. And yes, your cylinders/pistons need time to seat properly.

    I've seen oil reports of STi's shearing down 10W30 to a 20 weight in less than 2,500 miles and a Forester XT shearing down the factory fill oil to a 20 weight in 1,100 miles! 5W30 is "preferred" for fuel economy, but not necessarily the best choice for all applications.

    Also, when you switch between different brands you will have oil consumption. M1 5W30 is a thin 30 weight so I would not go past 3,750 miles on the oil until you reach 10,000 miles. The Pennzoil is slightly thicker and has slightly higher high temp high shear viscosity (Product Data sheets from and

    I thought Subaru would've fixed this "4.2 quarts" error by now. It's 4.8. Shoot SoA an email. So yeah, 5 quarts like juice said. :)

  • Don't let anyone slap a smiley face on it.

    The dealer told you the design of the horizontally-opposed engine makes it vibrate more? People here claim it is a smoother design.

    If it feels like too much vibration, it probably is. A well-engineered, properly assembled car should not do that.
  • leo2633leo2633 Posts: 589
    I have owned 3 Subarus with the 2.5 engine, including a 2001 Forester, a 2002 Outback and a 2003 Outback. We currently have the '01 and '03. Each has been with a 5 speed manual. Though I wouldn't consider it vibration, I can tell you that, without a doubt, every one of these three engines has some shake during idle. Much more than I ever experienced with any other 4, 6 or 8 cylinder engine. You get used to it, and I've come to regard it as a normal trait of this H4 engine.

    I know some folks have said these engines have some type of "perfect second order balance", or something along those lines, but I have no clue what that means. I know it's not evident in the smoothess at idle. However, like I said, I just regard it as normal for these engines.

  • We're looking to purchase either a 2005 or 2006 Subaru Forester and wondered if anyone could recommend a reliable dealer in the Vancouver, BC area.


  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    There is an inherent balance and for that reason Subaru does not require balance shafts.

    However, 2.5l is rather huge for a 4 banger, and large 4 cylinders tend to shake a lot at low rpm. The 2.0l engines are better, and the 3.0l H6 is butter-smooth.

    The '06 model with AVLS should tame that somewhat, because it can vary valve lift depending upon rpm. Every car in the lineup minus the Baja has that.

    Boxer engines have a characteristic growl that more than makes up for that, i.e. they have character.

This discussion has been closed.