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2009 Subaru Forester



  • billwvbillwv Posts: 48
    Hi "confused25"

    I now have 6,000 miles.

    After dealer kept car overnight for Subaru engineer to diagnose, I talked with engineer. He explained, and convinced me, this is normal (by design) for PZEV 4AT.

    On first cold start in the morning the computer wants to warm up the catalitic converter as fast as possible to reduce emissions. It does this by holding some valves shut for about 30 sec which causes the roughness and noise.

    It will not go away, it is by design. It is typical of all PZEV AT -- not only Subaru.

    Here is how to tell if operation is normal:

    1. After start slightly depress gas -- roughness will stop -- computer thinks you are ready to drive off and changes logic. or

    2. After start immediately shift to neutral -- same result as above.

    So, if it acts as described above and runs fine once warm it is normal.

    Engineer also claims it is impossible for engine to malfunction without check engine light coming on.

    Subaru has PZEV in all states even though all states do not require it. My state does not require it, and so my dealerr was not aware of this characteristic -- had not seen it before. To his credit, he called in the Subaru Rep to see the car.

    Are you in a PZEV state?

    I think the transmission characteristic you describe is normal.

    Hope this helps. Would appreciate hearing back from you.

    These are great cars.

  • bigfrank3bigfrank3 Posts: 426
    My 2006 PZEV had some idle roughness when new, something I had not experienced in my 2 previous non-PZEV Foresters. It also stopped doing it after the vehicle got some miles on it.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    The '09 XT appears similar. It idles fast and a bit rough during the first 20 - 30 seconds after cold starting, during which time the engine's driving an air pump sending air into the cat converter to help "light it off". The idle threshold gradually reduces as the XT warms up.
  • confused25confused25 Posts: 11

    Yes, it is disappointing that what you described is exactly what I'm experiencing. It was 67 degrees F this morning and there was a rattle in the front passenger door. When I left work this evening it was 82 degrees F and there was no rattle. I'll pass this onto the dealer. Thanks.
  • Recently purchased a new '09 Forester 2.5X (4th Subaru we've owned) and before completing the paperwork noticed a significant scratch on the hood of the car (someone had keyed it apparently). I was told they would repaint the hood and get it back to me the next day. The next day they weren't sure they could get it done until I reminded them I had been told it would be finished by end of business that day. Thankfully, one of the sales reps had them exchange a clean hood from another Forester on the lot, and I had the car roughly 24 hours after purchasing it. On the way home I noticed the steering wheel vibrating at 65 mph+, so I called the dealership and was told to bring it in last Friday. Brought it in, they replicated the issue and was then asked to bring the car back Monday (today) to have some tires replaced and have it balanced. Went to pick up the car today and the replacement tires were also said to have been defective, so now I have a loaner and have been asked to come back tomorrow. It's been nearly a week since a purchased this vehicle, and I've driven over 300 miles having to go back and forth from our house to the dealership. When asked what they would do to compensate me for my troubles the best they came up with was a free tank of gas! I'm a pretty level headed person, but this seems asinine to me. Anyone have similar experiences? What is a reasonable compensation request considering that the car is less than a week old and has already been to the service department 4 times? I love Subarus, but this is the second car I've purchased that has had initial quality issues.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    It was 67 degrees F this morning and there was a rattle in the front passenger door

    Hopefully your dealer will know what to do to get rid of the rattles. It took two tries on mine with foam added different places.

    Subaru reminds me of Saturn, whose vehicles also had numerous interior trim rattles.
  • bikerguy3bikerguy3 Posts: 43
    Since purchasing my Forester, I had noticed ocassionally a rattle from inside the passenger door. It was more pronounced in cold weather and when going over larger bumps.
    When I removed the door liner (to install a decent set of speakers) I found that inside the door there is a plastic "waffle" style baffle (the purpose of which I have no idea!). This baffle loosely floats in a sheet metal cutout in the door, and it was obvious this was making the rattling noise.
    I suppose there are lots of ways to address this...I looked around my garage and found some good caulking material, and placed a bead between the plastic baffle and the sheet metal.
    This appears to have worked, because the rattle has not reappeared.
    Hope this helps...
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    How easy is it to remove the '09 Forester door trim?
    What steps did you follow?
  • pgb0517pgb0517 Posts: 84
    I'll have to say that I am not happy with the interior quality of my 2009 Forester LL Bean (yes, we bought one of the last of those designations in April 2008). At first, I didn't think the posts regarding the rattles and flimsiness of materials were valid. Now, having seen how easily scratched the "metallic" portions of the armrests are, and how easily scuff marks appear in places where you don't even think of things scuffing, like the dash, and the intermittent rattles in various places, and how the little cover on the gas cap release keeps falling off (after having been replaced once at the dealer), and how the rear seat recline buttons keep popping out (after having been replaced by the dealer), and how easily the leather seats show marks ... Not really happy. And it is mostly my wife and I using this car, kids are not allowed to drive it unattended, we don't carry junk, we don't have a dog, and so forth. We treat it pretty gently overall. The materials and interior quality just don't hold up. And the paint job -- very weak. It really does scratch easily. Oh well. We made the mistake of buying a redesign in its first year, but we were banking on Subaru's reputation. Won't make that mistake again.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    Subaru's not the only one.

    I took a look at a $55,000 Lexus RX450H. Many of the interior materials are just as flimsy as anything in the Forester. The door arm rests are covered in very thin vinyl like material that will easily tear. There are a number of hard, shiny surfaces that will scratch.

    Some of the BMW's I've seen are similar, and Edmunds reported how banged up one of their expensive BMW's consoles became during a user test run.

    Wrt Forester, I don't know of any user applyable finish that will protect the interior painted areas, and neither did my generally knowledgeable dealer.
  • robert142robert142 Posts: 18
    Following up on my own message re: windshield distortion. Finally checked it out at the dealer's and it turns out that all of the 09 Foresters have the same distortion along the lower one half inch or so of glass. The service rep. said it felt like he was looking through bifocals, and said it should be replaced until we checked the other Foresters and they all seem to have it. Most noticable from the passenger seat where it is lower and the bottom lip of the windshield is about at eye level.
  • bikerguy3bikerguy3 Posts: 43
    Removing the interior door panel on the Forester was similar to other vehicles I have owned. It's not all that difficult and fairly intuitive. I will try & remember the process:
    - using small screwdriver, pry up the small plastic screw-head covers and then remove 2 screws (1 by the door-latch & 1 in the armrest).
    - gently pry up the armrest plastic piece (with the door/window control buttons) and seperate from the door panel. I think there is an electrical cable to disconnect from this piece (note this connector has a tab-lock). Remove the 2 (or was it 3?) screws you will then see that fasten the door panel to the door.
    - starting at the bottom of the door panel, using 1 or 2 thin flat pry-bar tools, "pop" the door panel away from the door. Try to apply pressure as close to the plastic
    "snap-fasteners" as possible.
    - after all door panel snap-fasteners have been "popped", swing bottom of panel out and push panel up to disengage the top ridge from along the window line.
    - the door panel will still have the door latch cable attached, but even with this connected, you will adequate access to fix the white plastic "rattling baffle".

    Reverse this process for re-installation.

    One important thing when snapping/unsnapping pieces etc is try not to scratch or dig up the plastic pieces with your tools.

    Hopefully, this helps (and I haven't forgotten any steps above!)...
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    thanks...when I have decent pry tools, I will give it a try.
  • pgb0517pgb0517 Posts: 84
    I am afraid that quality is going to continue to go out the window to achieve the MPG mandates coming down, reduce cost and weight, and so forth. But the MPG requirements will probably be the biggest factor. We will all be driving junk in a few years.
  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 694
    But the MPG requirements will probably be the biggest factor. We will all be driving junk in a few years.

    No, it won't be junk at all. But it probably will be considerably more expensive, necessitating a longer ownership period for new cars. Increased mpg in the same size vehicle means more costly materials like high strength steel, aluminum and magnesium, composites and new designs for heavy components like seats. brake master cylinders and discs, wheels, tires, and glass. The old way is to get strength from material thickness; the new way is to improve the design.

    Some of these new designs pose problems for reconstruction after a crash: That may raise insurance cost. In short.....expect to spend more and keep your car longer.
  • pgb0517pgb0517 Posts: 84
    You make valid points, but when I say junk, I mean that the trend toward junky, flimsy interior and exterior finishes and trim will continue to get worse, as it has for a while. That's where manufacturers have been and will continue to be shaving costs and weight. We should demand cars that run well and wear well.
  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 694
    flimsy interior and exterior finishes and trim will continue to get worse, as it has for a while.

    Worse includes not having standard protective cladding and door bump strips on the Forester as compared to the Outback; there is a reason for the lower price besides reduced overall length. At least you can order many of these at extra cost.
  • confused25confused25 Posts: 11
    Thanks. I came across a really good picture of what you are referring to on the Subaru Forester Owners Forum ( You have to register (it is free) and type "2009 Subaru Forester door rattle" in the search field. The pictures are pretty good. I tried to cut-and-paste them in this reply but it will not work. Hope this helps others.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798 - -

    is that actual page at Apparently the fix was called a "Tech tip" and not a TSB. ip-2009-forester-buzzing-rattle-noise-front-doors-09doorrattlett.jpg

    is a concise summary the site posted as a .jpg.

    The waffle baffle they describe is on the lower left of the driver door (lower right of passenger door), behind the interior trim and a thin plastic air barrier held in place by butyl rubber strips.

    If you look very closely at the pics you can see the holes where the inner trim snaps into the door.

    I also saw internal wiring that might be the cause of a buzz just above the door handle release.

    When I get brave I may try removing the door trim to secure everything.
  • pgb0517pgb0517 Posts: 84
    I copied my comments about interior/exterior quality posted above into an e-mail that I sent to Subaru. Their customer service rep has replied and assured me such e-mails are reviewed at their monthly product planning board meeting. She also is passing them on to my dealer. However, as I told her, our dealer is great, and we have no complaints there. But we all need to put pressure on all car makers to stop with the cheap stuff, already, on a car we pay well over 20 grand for.
  • birdboybirdboy Posts: 158
    hello, when my sunroof is fully opened there is a persistent annoying rattle coming from the vibrating headliner shade. Does anyone have a fix suggestion for this?
  • Hi all--Haven't posted for a while, but happily really nothing to post--my XT Ltd. has been amazingly free of any glitches, rattles or general annoyances (except as noted below), and getting on toward 7k miles. Average mileage since new is only 18.3 mpg, but the bulk of my driving is short hops and city traffic, so not optimal mpg conditions for any car. An 8" diameter, 12 foot long tree branch fell on it last month and dented the roof a little, but the fact that it didn't do more damage is a testament to the strength of the roof rails, which bore the bulk of the hit and are absolutely undamaged.

    As to my one general annoyance--I wouldn't do this, it would be wrong, but theoretically if I were to want to disconnect the seat belt chime, does anybody know how to do this? I don't mind it really except it immediately starts bitching at you the minute the car starts to move--the one in my Acura at least has the patience to wait about 30 seconds before doing so. I always wear the belt, but don't always want to have to do it by the time I reach the end of the driveway.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    it immediately starts bitching at you the minute the car starts to move

    Really? That sucks. In previous generation Foresters, it would ding at you for a few seconds after you started the car but remained blissfully silent from then on. Unlike most American makes that periodically continue to annoy you until you either go crazy or fasten your seatbelt ;)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    To be fair, though, the average new car sells for $28 grand nowadays and most Foresters fall well below that amount. You pretty much have to get a loaded turbo to spend more than that.

    So in that manner we are paying a below average (cheap?) price for it.

    I agree, though, that as fuel economy is emphasized more and more there is a risk of less insulation or simply cheaper materials to accomplish cost and weight targets.

    Look at the headliner, then compare to a 2006 Forester. It's gone way downhill.

    Having said that, I'm one of the lucky ones with a rattle-free 2009.

    Sam - thanks for the correction on the EPA fuel economy estimates.
  • rich28rich28 Posts: 23
    I just replaced the stock speakers (including tweeters) with JL C2 650x component in the front and coax in the rear. Also had dynamat installed on 1/2 the door in all 4 doors and around the speakers. Auto Sound of Willoughby also secured stock wires and loose parts in the doors that were causing rattles/vibrations. I'm SO glad I did not replace the head unit because the stereo sounds awesome now, even in surround sound, which sounded terrible before. The doors also feel more solid when they are closed. Crutchfield says these speakers are not compatible with the stock stereo, not sure why, but they sure sound good with the 6-CD circle surround stereo! I also had my Sirius Sportster radio hard-wired for power and connected to the aux jack in the center console and it sounds MUCH better than FM transmission, plus it's much cheaper than buying the Sirius module for the car. Hope this helps someone else that can't stand the stock stereo and door vibrations.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    What was your budget for the upgrade?

    I upgraded the speakers on my 98 Forester and also noticed a significant improvement.
  • rich28rich28 Posts: 23
    Did not have a budget, but I didn't want to buy a new head unit, amp or sub if I didn't have to. Even though the bass is better than expected, I might add a sub and amp in the future to complete the system.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    What did the stuff you purchased cost you? Sounds like it was worth the price for the improvement.
  • Just completed my first major road trip with my 09 Forester X Premium 5MT. I drove
    just over 3,000 miles in 22 days - thruought Oregon, Utah, Nevada, & Arizona.

    1. Achieved GREAT gas mileage - 31.2 mpg overall for trip (which was almost all hwy driving). I tend to drive conservatively (65-70 mph, coast on long downhills, etc).

    2. Forester handles really well on open road, and I found I could drive for hours without being fatigued. The drivers seat has inadequate lumbar support (for me), but
    an aux pillow placed behind lower back kept me comfortable. Car had plenty of
    power to handle big mountain grades.

    3. Had an "incident" - a rock (kicked up from truck) chipped the windshield, which necesitated a $40 "chip repair" in Utah. Based on my experience (2nd chip)
    and other posts here, I think the Forester uses very thin glass which chips easily.

    4. Despite driving thru the desert in 115+ deg F temps, had no overheating issues
    (not having a temp guage kept me nervous, however!). And A/C proved more than
    adequate keeping interior cool and comfortable.

    5. The black plastic rear wheel well molding came loose again (already fixed by
    dealer 3 times previously). Apparently the adhesive strips used by Subaru to attach
    these moldings are having problems in extreme heat...

    6. Here's an interesting lesson I learned: I wanted to charge my cell phone while car was parked at hotel. But power outlets are active only with ignition turned on.
    So, I decided I would leave key in ignition, and take door FOB with me
    to unlock doors later after phone was charged up. BUT - Forester won't let you lock doors with key in ignition. Then I noticed if you hold down door lock key for 3 seconds, it overrides and lets you lock doors with key in ignition. Unfortunately, this also "deadlocks" the car and you can no longer unlock doors using key FOB - which I learned upon returning to my car and finding myself locked out!!! The good news is that I called the Subaru Assistance phone#, and within 40 minutes they
    had a local road service provider on-site to unlock my car (and for no $ charge).
    It's nice to know the Subaru Assistance service really does a good job helping you
    out if/when you need it.

    Overall, I really enjoyed how the Forester performed. It had lots of room for camping
    gear, bicycle, etc. The huge sunroof was great to have in the mountains. I got as much as 450 miles cruising range on tank of gas. Chalk me up as a VERY
    satisfied Subaru owner...
  • johnvjohnv Posts: 40
    Yikes! Thanks for posting #6 -- I've been tempted to do such things!
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