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Subaru Forester (up to 2005)



  • spark plugs--since the change interval is not dependent on the tip, the only disadvantage is cost of the plug.

    30k on the brake fluid may be too often it all dependents on how much moisture absorption you get in your fluid. In muggy climates parked outside all the time, 30k is probably about right.

    Silicone fluid has a major advantage in that it does not absorb water. However, that is also its major disadvantage too. The water will end up collecting at the low spots of the system and cause more corrosion than the standard fluid.

    Hope this helps. I did my 30k on my XS myself last year, it took about half a day. Had I an AT instead of MT, I probably would have taken it in. The 30k cost me about $100 in parts. If you are mechanically inclined, I recommend saving your money for something more critical.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Go ahead and flush the fluids - my Miata had a bad clutch slave cylinder (the system uses brake fluid, by the way), and the fluid in there was discolored and basically just nasty. The new fluid was probably 10 shades lighter in color.

    I don't recall the mileage, but I only have 58k miles now, so it wasn't with a lot of miles.

  • bayview6bayview6 Posts: 141
    Changing the brake fluid at 30k is probably excessive but excessive maintenance has not be known to cause problems. GM doesn't recommend changing the brake fluid at all whereas BMW says to do it once a year. I had the brake fluid on my 95 Dodge Ram pick-up changed recently at 75k miles when I had a front brake job done. I would stay with the DOT 4 fluid. I read somewhere that brake fluid loses about 2% of its compression every year because of water absorption.

    Subaru's maintenance schedule might be one reason some Subaru owners get 250 to 300k miles out of their vehicles. ;)
  • poodog13poodog13 Posts: 320
    I was in an accident over the weekend and would like any thoughts on things to be careful about while getting repairs done.

    The short version: We spun on ice, 360 degrees across oncoming traffic (thank god nothing was coming), off the road and down a parks access road (thank god the access road was there or it would have been a guardrail instead) and straighted out just in time to go headfirst into a snow bank. The car came to rest at about a 30 degree angle with the right wheels up on the snow bank and the left wheels on the dirt road.

    Damage was amazingly minimal considering we were going 45 MPH. The front bumper and underassembly needs replaced, as do the plastic fender liners. Other than that, just scratches all around from sliding through the gravel of the access road.

    Other than making sure I get a 4-wheel alignment, is there anything else I should mention to the dealer's collision center? We were on our way out of state and have probably driven 500 miles since the accident with no known problems, but not sure if there might be something else to get checked out, especially with the AWD drive train.

    Any thoughts, thanks.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    First, let's be glad noone was hurt.

    Black ice is tricky, you never see it coming. All you can do is keep an eye on the outside temp gauage, if it's under 35 be careful, especially on bridges and overpasses. In certain places there's not much you can do.

    Have them check out the tires, the rims for any dents (most can be fixed), the alignment, and maybe the wheel bearings, which would be been stressed if you hit a curb.

    It's probably fine if you didn't notice anything in 500 miles since.

  • bayview6bayview6 Posts: 141
    I would buy the extended warranty protection for the drive train components. Normally, I would be against it but it is now something for you to consider.
  • raybearraybear Posts: 1,795
    If a problem occurred which was attributed to an earlier accident the warranty wouldn't cover it.
  • rochcomrochcom Posts: 247
    My '98 specifies DOT 3 fluid. DOT 4 is compatible but has a higher temperature rating, so for a few extra dollars it is good protection. DOT 5 is a silicone based fluid and is suitable only for vehicles that were designed for it. It can cause damage to systems that were not.

    I used to drive in club sponsored "driving schools" - basically excuses to drive around a racetrack very fast, and they all required that the brake fluid be changed within a few months of the track event for safety.

    Brake fluid is relatively inexpensive, though labor costs can be high because it takes some doing to "bleed" the system of air before the vehicle is drivable. If I were really strapped for cash, the LAST thing I would skimp on is brake fluid. If you can't stop, it will be a lot more expensive to repair the damage -- that is if you are around to pay for it.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    So I got a chance to play with my OBDII scanner, my Forester just threw a P0302 code, cylinder #2 misfire. The handbook says it's a minor fault.

    The only symptom was a slightly rough idle, and a little more NVH from the engine at speed.

    I reset the code, changed the oil (it was due anyway), and filled up the gas tank with some decent Chevron gas, and it hasn't come back. It's smoothed out, also.

    So, what do you folks think? Bad tank of gas?

    I'm curious as to why only Cylinder #2 recorded a misfire, though. Which one is that, BTW, passenger side rear IIRC?

    I'm thinking about changing the spark plug wires, since they are original (81k miles, 8 years). The ones on my Miata only last 30k miles, so I'm about to replace my 2nd set on that car. Anyone think that might have contributed?

    Then, our Legacy threw a MIL. :mad:

    But get this, P0442, "emission control system leak". Anyone want to guess who forgot to put on their gas cap?

    Good news is a quick reset fixed that. Human error.

    Thoughts on the misfire, though? You guys think it was the gas? Should I proactively change anything else?

  • mckeownmckeown Posts: 165
    Cyl 2 is the passenger side front. Nearest the radiator. Misfire means the 'crank' sensor expected a pulse within 'xx'ms of the plug firing. Same as a 'miss' on the older cars. I would start with the plugs....then wires....coil....clean/swap injector #2....possibly bad connection on injector....seen this all the way back to be an ECU once. But start with the easy things first. Good Luck.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Plugs were new at 60k miles, so they have 21k on them. Bosch Platinum. I usually change them at 30k, but maybe I'll put it out to inspect the condition of it, replace it if it looks anything but in as-new condition.

    Spark plug wires - yeah, I was leaning towards that. 81k is a long time for a wear and tear item, I'm overdue.

    Coil I'm not familiar with at all. Maybe I'll Google that to see if anyone has worked on that. Or wait to see if the symptoms re-appear after doing the other, easy stuff.

    Thanks for the tips.

  • jtm4jtm4 Posts: 60
    Our '98 Forester almost always throws a cylinder misfire code when we travel outside of the reformulated gas area we live in. The first tank fill after we leave our area usually causes the light to come on. We just leave it on the whole trip and reset it when we get back. We buy the same brand, Chevron, when we travel.

    When we had the Bosch Platinum plugs changed at 60k the dealer put in the 30k plugs, not the Bosch Platinum. I just left them in for 30k and then the Dealer put in the Bosch Platinums for free at 90k. We didn't have one CEL with the 30k plugs.

  • xtsfoxtsfo Posts: 20
    Seeing this "cylinder misfire" report is interesting now as I have JUST seen that referred to somewhere in the last couple of days. If I can remember the details, I'll reply again. Right now, I don't remember exactly WHERE I saw it. I just took delivery of my new 06 XT :) and I visited my dealer's service dept this week to have mudflaps installed. I may have read it on a notice on the wall there. The other possibility was that I read it online. If so, it was either here, on or on What I do remember is that the "cylinder misfire" code is slightly misleading in that ONE potential cause for that code is something relatively benign and in that particular case it's not something to get excited about. I don't remember whether it was something like "winter fuel does that" or not. Now this is going to bug me for days. :) Note that as of this writing, is down because the hosting provider is doing unannounced maintenance or otherwise playing games of some kind.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The light has remained off after I reset it, even about 3 tank fulls later. I think I'll try to stick with Chevron gas.

    I think there's a web site,, something like that, and interestingly some major name brands are missing from the list of fuels they recommend.

  • bayview6bayview6 Posts: 141
    Which is why a little fender bender accident like this is best repaired by a local shop. Subaru would never know about it, much less be able to connect any further mechanical problem to it.
  • jeqqjeqq Posts: 221
    No one responded to my question on the "prices paid" forum, so I'm hoping you guys can help me out.

    I've been quoted 25,400 on an '06 LL Bean. It includes splash guards, homelink, tray, net and tail piece. Price does not include tax and rebate. How does this quote stack up?

    BTW, I drive an Audi A6 quattro and was blown away how well the subie handles. Great car for the money.
  • bayview6bayview6 Posts: 141
    I think it is a very good price.
  • prosaprosa Posts: 280
    Nice deal for a "Bean." Go for it.
  • jeqqjeqq Posts: 221
    John, I use these forums to educate myself about cars I own or am interested in. If I posted inaccurate information, I would be most appreciative if you would be so kind as to explain to me where I have gone wrong. I do realize I'm the new guy on the block but please don't send me off to my room:)


  • I bought an 06 LL Bean Forester at the beginning of November with every thing that you have except the homelink, whatever that is. I assume that all of the Beans have sunroofs, leather etc. My price was $24,348 after the rebates and $25,848 before the rebates. So your deal sounds ok.
  • jeqqjeqq Posts: 221
    homelink is a remote garage door opener. My rebate is $1000 yours was $1500. Was that November's special? Thanks for the info.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    If I posted inaccurate information...

    Well, gosh, Jeff, you're the first person ever to have posted inaccurate information on these boards ... JUST KIDDING!

    Seriously, forum members provide a wealth of information and we appreciate every bit of it.

    tidester, host
  • sammvasammva Posts: 2
    Pl. excuse me if this is a repeat question. I will be going thru the subaru board pretty soon but wanted to post just in case....
    Here is my situation... I'm looking for a second car and most likely to finish this deal and want to know if it might be worth it.... A 2001 subaru forester...with 87K for $4000. This is for my daughter who is a new driver and drives like about 5000-7000 miles a year. If this car comes along well for couple years or three years i will be happy... Considering these factors would you subaru owners agree if this is a good buy or not. KDD, NADA and edmunds price it like 7000 - 9000 but this guy says he is selling cheaper because he wants to close the deal fast.
    Pl advise and thanks a lot to you all.
  • bayview6bayview6 Posts: 141
    I would be suspious. Tell the guy that you need to have the care inspected before you buy, and then take it to a Subaru dealer for a through going over. Either way, the money spent will be well worth it.
  • leo2633leo2633 Posts: 589
    I have a 2001 Forester S 5 speed with 126,000 miles. I'd like to tell you that it has been a trouble-free 5 years, but that would be a lie. I had to have my clutch, headgasket, wheel bearings, catalytic converter, alternator, coil pack and oxygen sensors replaced, some items more than once. Luckily, most were replaced under warranty, costing me more in aggravation than in $$. However, with all that said, I really love this car, and I plan on replacing it with another Forester in about 2 years. We also have a 2003 Outback that my wife drives and she loves that vehicle as well.

    If the car you're looking at is in good condition and has been well maintained, some of the known issues (clutch, headgasket and wheel bearings) have likely already been addressed. These don't seem to be recurring problems if repaired properly. $4,000.00 seems like a great price for a well maintained 2001 with that amount of mileage. I would definitely have it checked out by a mechanic beforehand, and be certain to advise him of these problem areas so he can check them extra carefully.

    I hope this helps. Good luck!

  • drwalesdrwales Posts: 18
    Or, the line between optimist and pedestrian has been crossed. Yes, to my shame, I ran out of gas today. Fortunately, I was less than a mile from a gas station, so it wasn't a major inconvenience.

    Now I'm not looking for sympathy here, or even a masochistic humiliation, but a poll on trusting the light:
    The manual says the light comes on at 2.3 gal remaining, (13.6 used). In my '03 Forester that was pretty accurate (in summer, maybe closer to 14.0 in winter). And after 4 fill-ups, the 06 XT has been much the same.

    So to last night: The light came on as I was driving home, at 275 miles. With a screeching child in the back, I ignored it, thinking that at ~20mpg, I could easily get home and to work today, and I'd fill up at lunchtime, along with several other errands needing to be run. The trip-meter was 301 when I got to work today. Well, I got halfway between work and the gas station. Between the jerrycan and the subsequent fill-up, I only put in 15.5 gallons. The pump cut off immediately a second time after I tried to top it off beyond the automatic cut-off, so the tank was FULL.

    The crux of this post is two questions for your collective knowledge:
    1) At what point does your fuel warning light come on? Maybe I just need to recalibrate my safety zone with this new car... and
    2) Does the fuel pump run dry at a half gallon?

    Experience is those mistakes we don't make again.
  • I have an opportunity to receive a 1999 Subaru Forester with only 24,000 miles. It has been meticulously maintened and always garaged. If I take this car, I will sell my 2003 Hyundai Sante Fe with 63,000 miles. This seems like a no brainer, but I have read numerous reviews that state problems with the head gasket and wheel bearings which concerns me. I don't want this to become a money pit. This car has never had any problems mechanically to date and my goal is to get 2 problem-free years out of it. If I don't take it, I will sell it and keep my Sante Fe. Please help!
  • I bought my 2001 used and now have close to 120K. I replaced the belts last summer because they were due to be changed. Nothing else has broken and Subaru has no record of work done under warranty.

    I travelled extensively last year, about 8000 miles in the Forester. The 01 also has a real spare tire. ;)
  • dstew1dstew1 Posts: 275
    I can't personally speak to the reliability of the 99 Forester, but 24,000 miles in 6 (or possibly 7) years of ownership seems extremely low; low to the point where it may have been sitting too much and driving too little. You're looking at a range of 3-4k miles per year. Do you know if it was just driven for short distances most every day, or if it may have sat in the garage for days or weeks at a time?

This discussion has been closed.