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Subaru Forester (up to 2005)



  • kuttkutt Posts: 13
    Anyone know if seat covers will hinder the function of the side air bags on my S Premi?
  • tincup47tincup47 Posts: 1,508
    Yes they will. I would not recommend any seat covers not specifically meant for vehicles with side airbags.
  • sverd1sverd1 Posts: 1
    I just got a new forester S with Geolander tires what should the ideal pressure be. They have now 36 pounds in each tire.
  • armac13armac13 Posts: 1,129
    I'm now running 35/31 or there about. It's a little harsher then standard, but I do like to corner with enthusiasm and these pressures seem to cut down on the under steer and increase the upper limit. I think that wear will probably be decreased as well. BTW, my S has the AT.

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,070
    anyone had their transmission serviced (preferrably by a dealer)? How much did it run (filter and fluid change)?


    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sorry, no idea on prices for the tranny service or the struts. If I was quoted $200 per wheel for struts, though, I'd shop elsewhere. I would think you can get gas struts installed for less than half that amount.

    BTW, if the ride is stiff at 32psi, keep in mind Subaru does recommend 29psi. IMO that is low, but you could try it.

    Michael: you can get skid plates from the aftermarket. For a couple hundred bucks or so you can find steel or even aluminum ones. Lots of rally crossers get them. Lucien had the URL for those, but he hangs out in the Subaru Crew topics.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    D: I spent a lot of time researching this, so hopefully I can share some useful info.

    I got 16"x7" aftermarket rims from discount tire direct for $75 a pop. The offset was 40mm IIRC, vs. 48mm stock for my L model's 15"x6" wide wheel. The S model has a 55mm offset, according to them, so they went with a lower offset to put the tires further out and away from the spring base.

    I asked for 225/60R16 tires, and Tire Rack said they would rub, but Discount Tire Direct said they were OK. Tire Rack was wrong. Keep in mind this is not with the stock rims.

    235/60R16 will not fit, though. The 225s come OH-SO-CLOSE to rubbing the front mud guard. There is zero play there. Any wider or taller and it would surely rub, unless you removed the mud guards or filed them down (at least).

    The rears, which I was more concerned about, have a tiny amount of spare room. Not much though.

    I've heard the folks in the Yahoo Forester club managed to fit 215/70R15s and 205/75R15s on stock steel rims. But not 215/75R15s. So we're talking a tiny bit of play, not a lot.

    Now, what about the other sizes? 225/55R17 is a tiny bit bigger than mine, so I would avoid that, given I'm already borderline (it may, just may, fit with the right rims). 235/55R17 would rub for sure, so forget it. Actually, the ideal fitment would be 215/55R17.

    My springs are stock, but taller springs would just move the problem somewhere else. When you hit a bump, the wheels would move up to where they are now and could rub (or worse, scrape). Plus, Lovell springs are stiffer, and combined with a 17" rim you would have a buckboard ride.

    Wider rims? 7.5" would probably not make a difference. There is enough clearance for 1/4" extra per side on all my rims, again given my 40mm offset.

    So, IMHO work with the wheel/tire experts, and see if they think the 225/55R17s will fit with rims they may have. If not, stick with 215s or use a 16" rim.


    PS For an illustrative photo, look here:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    No problem. Two child seats on the sides, with a booster in the middle. Kids ages are 2, 3.5, and 2 from left to right.


  • Last Thursday July 5th, the ignition switch failed on my forester. I was out doing errands and upon coming back to my car from completing an errand I could not start it. I had it towed to Pep Boys in the German town,MD area where they discovered that no voltage was getting to the coil pack and the fuse for the ignition inside the dash was dead on both ends. They were not sure why this was happening. I was told that I should deal with Subaru or I would have to pay them 70.00 to find where the problem was. So I called a Subaru dealership close to me and told them I would be towing the car to them. They determined that I needed a new ignition switch which is a 500.00 repair.

    My car is just slightly over two years old and has 65,000 miles on it (yes I do drive alot). It seems very strange that an ignition switch should fail so soon into the life of the car. Before this time I have had no major problems and have been very happy with the forester. I am now fighting with Subaru to try to get them to absorb some of this cost. I am also having to spend 28.00 a day to rent a car so I can get around. Has anyone else had this problem so soon into the life of their vehicle. I was going to by another Subaru in about a year or so but now am not so sure.
  • Wow! $500 for an ignition switch. I would be upset too... in fact that really seems extreme.

  • rochcomrochcom Posts: 247
    I suggest that those worried about uneven tire wear purchase a tread depth gauge. They csot only a few dollars and they will allow you to measure uneven wear before it becomes visible, giving you time to correct alignment problems before they destroy the tires. I have one now, but wish I had it when I bought my Forester.

    One thing to note, however: don't panic if the gauge shows that your tires are wearing quite rapidly at first, as long as the wear is even across the tread and from one side of the vehicle to the other. Accelerated early wear is a result of the greater flexing when the tread is new and deep. Wear decelerates as the tread depth decreases and the compund hardens a bit.
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,783
    I'd worry about those tellytubbies. They have an insidious brain drain effect on the owner's parents. After only days of exposure, the mothers run screaming from the house under the strain.

    Well, thats what my wife says...

    Kids look cute but i have to admit that three seats across the back seat of my Outback was a bit hard for me.


  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Nice pics, juice! They make the Forester's rear seat look so roomy. ;-)

  • Juice, I love what you do but your memory has slipped a bit. I am a culprit in the Yahoo who persists in running the oversize Cooper A/Ts on my subie. Yes, the 215/75/R15 guy. I have about 15K on these puppies and still have no complaints. I smile every time I take my clearance-enhanced forester over some back-road obstacle without a scrape. No, I won't race you 16" wheel guys on pavement, and I don't drag trailers, but I sure appreciate what these tires can do off-road!
  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    Well, so far we've only had 2 in back of our Outback - my wife and Brooke in the middle (in her rear facing car seat). That infant car seat is probably a bit wider (at least IMO) than the regular forward facing child seat.

    Juice - I see a tether strap on one of the seats. Once Brooke outgrows her carrier, we'll be using our forward facing Fischer Price seat with tether. Hook up will be a breeze! Have to order the tether anchor kit for our Saturn though...

  • allhorizonallhorizon Posts: 483
    Thanks so much, juice - great information.

    Now if you could enlighten me about who you think these "wheel/tire experts" are ...

    Thanks also to subaru_72941. My research indicates that a bit over 27" is OK, close to 28" is pushing it. But it also depends on width. That's another way to pose my question: how tall can you go on 225's or 235's - and what wheel offset do you need for that?

    Of course, like anyone else, I am curious about what's ahead with the upcoming model changes. I truly believe the Forester is slightly undersized for the American market.

    - D.
  • pattim3pattim3 Posts: 533
    If you have a file with us (1-800-SUBARU3) ask the Rep. you are working with to come and see me?

    I'd like to try to help.


  • pattim3pattim3 Posts: 533
    Just as an FYI - If your company is a participant, your HR department would be able to direct you. As far as the affiliations - you have to be a member for a while before you are eligible.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Ellen: here is what I suggest - see if you can sign up for a Subaru extended warranty. Tell them you'll only do this if they cover the ignition. It'll cost right around $1000, but you'll recover half that amount immediately, and walk away with a couple extra years worth of warranty.

    To me that's win-win. If you argue with the dealership and they get adversarial, it's lose-lose. You'll end up going back to Pep Boys for a cheap ignition fix.

    Rick: I must be geezin'. They say two things go when you get old - your memory, and the 2nd thing I forget. ;-)

    I stand corrected! I thought I heard someone say theirs rubbed with 215/75s, but I guess not. Maybe someone THOUGHT it would rub.

    Holy cow - that's a full half inch more radius than even my tires. You have almost an inch extra clearance vs. stock. No wonder you never scrape!

    Brian: yes, the infant carriers are wider than a booster, which is pretty small. But check out my cousin's '99 Outback, with an infant seat and two toddler seats:


    For tires, I'd check out and The latter was actually more helpful to me. Check under Wheel Specials. Mine were a bargain. People pay over a grand for a set of 16" rims, I paid $643 with tires, delivered and ready to bolt on.

  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    FYI - with 65K on the car, it wouldn't be eligible for the Added Security coverage. But, I'm sure I can help in some way.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Ellen: translated, that means call 800-SUBARU3 to open a case file and then e-mail Patti ( with your case #. You've got a friend inside SoA.

  • Patti, I sent you an email with the details of what has transpired so far. After lots of begging they have agreed to cover the part cost but that is it.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Ellen: what are they charging you for labor? I can't imagine it taking more than an hour or two, so hopefully it will be reasonable.

  • nygregnygreg Posts: 1,936
    if you can you might want to call other dealers for other price points. If you find one lower, use that to argue a lower price at your current dealer. good luck.

  • zorba52zorba52 Posts: 5
    I have read with interest most of this thread,am in a research mode at this time,and have a few Q's. 1) Any of you that have bought a MY02 Forester is there that wonderful" new car smell" that I have read about,or has it been eliminated? 2)My better half had lower back surgery many yrs ago,and because of this we have always driven vans where you sit more upright,is the sitting position in a Forester more car or sedan like, or do you sit fairly upright? 3)Pricing:I've seen alot of discussion about over or under invoice,inSatAZRepublic,aMY02 Forester"loaded,AC,PW,PL,CC,tilt,cass,AWD,more! $18,500,0 down,269.00 a month,36mo.There must be a catch here ?Also did some searching on the net,boy!big price diff at cartain sites,MY99,29,00mi,$22,000+ Opinions? I've only been able to test drive a CRV sofar,and doubt I will get to test the SUB any time soon(talk about hell on wheels!,most cars in the Phoenix area must be about 150-170 degrees inside in the summer)so will wait till things cool down a little.Not in any big hurry anyhow,might wait and see what the new model will be like. Thanks for all the great info here,will be back often,Tony P.S. If there are any Phoenix folks here ,do u have a recommendation on the local Sub dealers?TIA
  • tlimatlima Posts: 124
    Tony (aka Zorba52): Welcome. I can only comment on the seating, as I have an '01 Forester L. Seating is very comfortable in front, with bottom seat angle adjustments and seatback adjustments. There is also adjustable lumbar. You do sit higher and more upright than in a sedan. Entry/Exit is very easy. Many here have recommended heated seats for those with bad backs - though only available on S and S+ - although that may not make much difference in Phoenix.

    Is "Zorba52" in reference to the late, great, Anthony Quinn? Just a little trivia for you Subaru folks: Guess what car he used to ferry his young family around town in? White Subaru Outback (circa '97 or so)!!!

    How do I know? He took up residence about 3mi from where I live and could be seen visting shops and local restuarants in town with his family.

  • pattim3pattim3 Posts: 533
    If they offered to cover the part, that may be the "fair" thing to do. If someone purchases an Added Security extended service agreement, it covers the repair in full. It wouldn't be fair to the people who pay for the coverage if we gave others the same benefit. If I remember correctly, paying for the part amounts to about 50% of the repair. I'll check your message and file today.

    Thanks and I hope this is resolved quickly!

  • Hey Zorba,

    I've had my '01 Forester S for exactly one week. The smell disappated after a couple days (or I got so completely used to it I now can't smell it anymore). The smell was definately in the '02 model I test drove before buying my '01 sight-unseen, so I think it's a feature.

    Anyway, seating. Yep, I think it's definately more upright. I drove a 94 Accord for 7 years before this, and I could tell a difference immediately. I also have a lumbar support pad (gel-filled) that I use, which makes me sit even more upright. Your wife might want to try that (see the "relax the back store"). I find the seats also much firmer than my Accord. Not sure if it will be a good thing or a bad thing on an extended trip. We'll see.

    My only complaint is my windshield washer doesn't work as advertised. Only the driver side sprays fluid, and I thought it would squirt fluid if you pull the control towards you (mist). At least it seems like it should from the picture on the control. Anyway, will have to visit the dealer I guess.

  • Patti,
    The part cost is 210.00 the Labor is 290.00. Fitzgerald's labor rate is 83.00 per hour
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Zorba: my 1998 definitely had that famous new car stench, and I bet 2002s are no different since they use the same undercoating.

    The seating position is kind of inbetween. It's more sporty than most vans, but not quite like a sedan.

    The 2003 model will most likely get the ratcheting height adjustment for the seats like Imprezas have, which you may prefer.

    AJ: check for a clog in the system. Pop the hood and follow the tubes. Or let a dealer, but it should be a simple fix.

    Ellen: that's 3.5 hours of labor. Seems a bit long but I'm not that familiar with what they're doing.

This discussion has been closed.