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2009 Subaru Forester



  • volkovvolkov Posts: 1,306
    Which is why a block heater can have such a significant improvement for fuel economy since that heating is done directly with electricity and not with gas before you start driving.
    I remember an instant improvement in FE when I switched to synthetic in the old WRX.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I missed a bunch, too busy at work.

    Let's see, people asked about reliability, well I got good news from TrueDelta, that web site that registers VINs of actual vehicles and tracks reliability as things happen, and they actually said the 2009 Forester was a stand-out among new models this year. They singled out 2 of the best new cars, and it was one of them. :)

    Kurt commented that the non-turbo engine was responsive, and I have to agree, in fact I've said that all along. volkov mentioned it was the higher compression (agreed) and that the gearing was the same in the 1st three gears. True, except the turbo has a taller final drive ratio. So effective gearing is taller on the turbo, another reason the non-turbo feels more responsive until the turbo spools up.

    As mentioned here, the Ltd model does have the power seat. So as you step up among the naturally aspirated models, you get a lot of the content of the XT. One thing you don't get is the telescoping wheel, but the position is fine for both me and my wife, so we don't miss that.

    kurt: what do you mean by "dry lubricant" in post 2635? Just curious.

    TPMS saved us, too. It went off and sure enough, one tire had low pressure. I know some people complain and don't want to see more idiot lights, but this one is actually useful.
  • Dry lube is a kind of spray lube that creates a dry, powder-type coating. It is not oily, and does not smear or stain much.
    Liquid Wrench and a few other companies make this, usually sold at Home Depot and other builder supply stores.

    Wrt the Nokian WRG2's, they seem to be doing fine. Pressure is 34 front, 32 rear (PSI). They've definitely made the XT's ride less harsh on small bumps, and seem to grip the road better.

    So far the front doors, with vibration supression insulation added by the dealer under warranty, have stayed quiet.
  • w8ifiw8ifi Posts: 78
    Once in awhile we would have 35 below and I had no garage. I had to put both feet on the clutch with the shift in neutral and let it run for 10 minutes before I dared release the clutch in neutral! You probably had more than a few mornings like that. There weren't synthetics in those days but they sure would have made a difference.
  • w8ifiw8ifi Posts: 78
    Exactly, and all those little things really help on cold mornings.!! The savings on batteries, starters and engine components is worth it. One car dealer near me won't sell a car without a block heater.
    My Subaru will warm up well in two miles, my chrysler takes 6 miles at highway speeds.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,908
    Hahahah - bingo! I know that technique well. On extremely cold mornings (~minus 50), I can actually hear the lube begin to spin in the transmission as I (slowly) release the clutch. That was on my old '69 Chevy pickup; I never experienced anything that cold with the '07 Outback, and this is the first winter with the Escort (coldest so far is about -25F). I am not even confident the car would start at -50 - even after a few hours sucking electricity. :mad:
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • billwvbillwv Posts: 48
    Hello All,

    I have had my 2009 Forester 2.5X 4AT for three months, now. I love this car -- best car I have ever had -- no problems, so far.

    I have been reading the forum with interest. One question I have is:

    When you are refering to the engine being "warmed up", are your refering to the blue light going out or some other criteria.

    Here in West Virginia winters are not nearly as severe as many of you are describing, yet, the cold weather effects are quite noticable.

    Thanks for your comments. I have learned alot from these forums.

    West Virginia
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,908
    Ah, the blue "dummy" light. I think I would find that annoying - I like gauges. :blush:

    In my experience, the engine can warm up at different rates than the rest of the car. In terms of engine operating efficiency, the blue light turning off is a good indicator that the engine is warmed. But, in very cold weather, accessories and drivetrain components, like the transmission and differentials, could take longer to warm as it is all based on heat-by-friction. The more they turn, the more the fluids warm, but the colder it is, the more heat is required to warm them to normal operating temperature. The parasitic loss on the engine is all a matter of the fluid viscosity (resistance to movement). Therefore, the lower the viscosity of a fluid at a given temperature, the less energy will be used to move that component. In a differential or transmission especially, that translates to more energy at the wheels.

    When choosing fluids for a vehicle, you want to go with the fluid that will give the best protection at the lowest viscosity within a given ambient temperature range. Fluids that work best at extremely cold temperatures are not likely the ones that would provide the best protection at extremely high temperatures (typically >100F), so I would not likely put the same fluids in my car here in Fairbanks, Alaska as I would in, say, Florida.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • volkovvolkov Posts: 1,306
    But don't forget that tranny fluid needs some viscosity to work properly. Tough to strike that balance without feeling like you're mixing cement with the shifter when it's 30 below.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,908
    Right - ATF is always a problem in cold temperatures. That is one thing that blows me away about the transmission in my Escort. Manual, but uses ATF???? Hmm.

    All automatics are winterized here with a pan heater on the transmission. Manuals are not, as the fluid can (should) be swapped out with an appropriate gear oil.

    Amsoil universal ATF has the best cold-weather properties I have found, but even it will get very gummy at -50F (according to the temperature ratings - I have not experienced those temps with the Amsoil yet), but at least it is still quite fluid at -30F, which is a far more common winter temperature here than -50!
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sounds useful. Had never heard of dry lube before. Thanks for the explanation.
  • w8ifiw8ifi Posts: 78
    Sometimes you'd have to crank the engine extra long and the battery would get so low the specific gravity would drop so all there was left was frozen water, buckled battery plates and ice ooozing out!! Or someone might offer to give you a push to get started and the tires wouldn't turn over and you'd do a tandem slide until you found a spot of dry pavement so friction would make the wheels move.
    One real cold night I went into my dad's garage and found a can of mobil one and a can of ten thirty. the 10-30 wouldn't pour and the mobil one poured slowly like molasses.
    fun days......
  • The cold and snowy Wisconsin winter has finally hit! I had actually been looking forward to the snow so I could test out the fabled AWD system the way it was meant to be used, and I have to say, it blew me away! This is the first AWD vehicle I have driven in Winter and the difference is night and day.
    However, I have noticed that even on a 10 minute drive to work through 4 inches the accumulation of packed snow and ice in all four wheel wells is just unbelievable! To be expected I suppose and normally wouldn't bother me, but I got the rugged package and if I try and kick the ice off, the flimsy splash guards and wheel arch moldings feel like they're going to come away with the ice even with the lightest tap.
    It was to the point where I could hear and feel the packed ice rubbing on all four wheels, and when braking the noise was awful. Unfortunately I haven't got a heated garage, so it's going to be spending the majority of the Winter outside.

    Anyone else finding the same with the splash guards? Any tips or suggestions?
  • havent been in the snow yet but one of my mud guards fell off from hitting a bump- they are flimsy and only held on by one screw and 3 plastic rivits. the body of the forester seems thinner than most cars, if you barely lean against it, it will bend. runs well but cheaply made. the interior scratches really easy too. just hoping the engine/4wd is not going to fall apart like the body
  • w8ifiw8ifi Posts: 78
    Up here in the U.P. it happened on all my cars. Road vibration, heat from the tires, and road salt will usually keep enough of a groove so the tires won't lock up. Sometimes after a long straight stretch you will find it's a little difficult to turn from the ice on the sides. Nothing to be alarmed about, just be prepared for it. Sometimes a chunk breaks loose when you are moving and can sure make funny noises until it breaks free. I've never had any serious trouble on any car from the build up.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,908
    That is my experience as well. If you do not have a heated garage to let it clear, I tend to either bum 4-5 hours of garage space from a friend to let it melt out, or head to an indoor car wash and have them spray down the undercarriage with high-pressure hot water. a couple minutes through one of those has the ice gone and the car all shiny again, to boot! But, then a few more minutes on the road..... :P

    Happily, sticky snow is the exception here rather than the rule. It is mostly too cold for the snow to stick in appreciable quantities.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • sgloonsgloon Posts: 323
    I am definitely finding the same snow build up and more. I am in CO and we have just had 2 snowstorms. The slush/snow build up is not only on the wheel wells, it is all along the side of the car by the doors, etc. The splash guards appear to be pretty worthless IMHO.

    I expect the splash guards will be worthless(or gone) after one season as they made them so that there is a "hole" that the snow is pushed up into on the tire side. I expect after a few freeze thaw cycles with the build up in there, they will break and start to fall apart. Bad design!!! I don't understand the hole. Any comments?

    In the past, I have kicked a bunch of the build up off, but with this car it takes some work. Not like the old rubber flaps. ;)

    To say the least, I am very disappointed with this issue. Still like the car though...

    Also, my last Subaru was a 2WD. This Forester with AWD is fishtailing on all corners, even when going slow from a start-up. And not in what I would typically consider icy conditions. My 2WD didn't do that. Is this normal for AWD? Or should I have something checked? :confuse:
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,908
    The fishtailing is likely a grip issue, which means the tires are not performing well. What are the specs on your Forester (year, model, etc)?
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Also, comparing a FWD to an AWD's a little tricky. In very slippery conditions a FWD will usually understeer as its front dances over the road, dragging the rear behind it. AWD has potential to "fishtail" either end of vehicle, depending which end of vehicle looses traction first.

    But xwesx has good point wrt tires. Most of Subaru's new tire choices don't seem to work well on ice. Old tires without sipes or flexible tread compound will perform badly on snow as well as ice.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,908
    That's true. I wasn't thinking about it in terms of expectation/experience. I notice that - now having my first true FWD. I lose traction a lot in this car, but unless I am turning, it has no noticeable impact on my directionality since the whole car follows the front. I have to pull the e-brake for a moment if I want the rear to swing around.

    Sadly, even though the car has studded tires, they are cheap ones and the studs do little to make up for the hard (in cold) tread compound. I may end up replacing them for next winter. 14" tires are dirt cheap compared to 16" or 17", and good tires make for a more enjoyable driving experience.... even in a crappy car like mine! :D
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • I was considering trading in my old Forester and moving up to a new one. Test drove an 09 XT LTD with NAV today. This is how it compares to my 04 XT:

    - Interior is slightly more roomy. Biggest improvement is in the rear seat leg room.
    - Ride is softer, not as sporty as the 04. A bit more body roll than I like.
    - Seats are just slightly more comfortable than the 04, maybe because I don't have leather on mine.
    - Acceleration - much slower than the 04. Of course, there is the fact that mine is a stick shift, but the car felt heavier and the engine/transmission not very responsive.
    - Steering and braking are on par with the 04.
    - Interior SCREAMS CHEAP!!! - I have not seen such a lousy dash layout in a long time. No temp gauge, stupid blue arcs on the instruments, nothing in the center console. By comparison, my 04 dash looks and feels luxurious.
    - Automatic climate control - much worse than even the 04 garbage - this thing has absolutely no idea what it is doing - the cabin was like a pressure cooker after a few minutes, even on the lowest setting. Also, you don't know what speed the fan is on unless you set it yourself. The 04 has indicators telling you what speed the fan is on.
    - Visibility - almost as good as the 04, with the exception of side mirrors - they are plain strange, both shape, size, and location (far away from the door glass).
    - NAV system is so-so, washes out in bright light, no text-to-speech.
    - Sound system - not as good as the 04, sounds flat and tinny, but I didn't fool around with adjusting it, so could be the settings.
    - MPG during the test drive, about 6 miles long, 16.2 MPG according to the meter. Pretty scary, considering I reset the meter as the car was idling and already partially warmed up. My 04 has averaged around 21 during 53,000 miles.

    In summary, I think I will be keeping my 04 for a while longer.
  • sgloonsgloon Posts: 323
    I totally agree on the side mirrors. I had thought it was just me. My old subie mirrors were a lot smaller, but visibility was much better...totally different design.
  • sgloonsgloon Posts: 323
    I have the 09 forester Premium X, with the 17" tires - the Geolanders came on them.

    Good point about the tires. I remember reading that someone here switched out the tires that came with the car right off the bat. Should I consider contacting Subaru if these tires are the issue? We will have lots more snow to come and I don't wnat to get in an accident just because of the tires.

    IF it is the tires, does anyone recommend a good replacement?

    I tried stopping in a parking lot and it takes a lot longer with these tires than my old FWD did with any of the tires I had on it over the years. A bit more weight, but I only got up to 20mph to do the test stop. It is also my first time with the ABS brake system, I'm used to pumping the brakes, which I'm told we aren't suppose to do with this car...although it did stop sooner in the parking lot by pumping vs stomping on the brakes.

    So, Kurt, based on your comments, this sounds as though the back end is definitely loosing traction. When I was on ice, I would have expected it, but it has also occurred when it was just slushy...not a good sign???

    Tires are not an area of interest for me, except to know that they work.
  • A major cold snap, snow storms and other stuff are on way to Portland OR this weekend. I'll know by next week if the Nokian WRG2's work well on ice and snow.
    This is my first winter in an AWD so I will have some learning to do.

    But sgloon's experience with the Geolanders reinforces my belief they had to be replaced to minimize Forester's becoming a hocky puck.

    BTW, the Subaru service writer that has been helpful wrt my Forester got excited when he learned I had Nokians, racing out to see them when my Forester went in for a recent tweak. He's researched them extensively (as did I) and is thinking about adding them to his Subaru.
  • I am currently sitting in the internet cafe' of my dealership as I wait for my 01 Outback to have its oil changed along with a state inspection. I just sat in an '09 Forester in the showroom. Tell me, are ALL the cupholders in the new Forester line square? For those out there that have one, are there add-ons to make a normal cup fit in them?
  • volkovvolkov Posts: 1,306
    For driving in Colo my tire recommendation would be simple: get snow tires. Any decent winter tire will slap an all season silly when it comes to cold performance, even without snow on the ground. I've seen the data somewhere showing grip loss of all seasons on dry pavement, and it happens above freezing. If you must have one tire, the Nokians are widely considered the best bet. If you have very variable weather and much of your driving will be on dry pavement and not too cold, avoid the spongy models which optimize ice grip like the early Blizzaks and go with a longer wearing model. Many brands even offer both types.
  • sgloonsgloon Posts: 323
    After using them for a few months, the cup holders are fine...I would just like them a bit bigger to handle my water bottles.

    When holding anything from a small cup to a large cup, nothing has ever spilled, tipped over, etc. I've had bottles in them as well, and some full cans.

    So despite the "funny" shape, they work fine. The square shape is actually a bit better in some cases with small containers as you can get your hands around the container better, with the extra space there, to be able to pick it up.

    My 2 cents.
  • sgloonsgloon Posts: 323
    Thanks for the recommendation, Volkov.

    We have extremely variable weather where I am. I was riding my bike in 70F weather on Tuesday and Thursday we got 8 inches of snow.
    And most of the year will be on dry pavement...(especially since they started using the Mag Chloride). I've never bought snow tires here for just that reason, can't justify the expenditure. And we typically don't get as cold as places like Wisconsin...although we may have a few days below zero. The coldest I've ever seen it here in 20 years is -20. And typically, we have at least one day up to 70 every month of the year.

    Do you think Subaru would replace the tires?

    Kurt, I'll look to hear your report after your storm. After it hits you, it'll be coming here, per our weatherman.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,908
    No, I highly doubt that Subaru will do anything to help with your tires.

    If you want all-seasons that are great in snow/slush at a decent price and won't wear down excessively on dry pavement, you should consider Goodyear Assurance TripleTread. I had them on my 1996 Outback and they were fantastic. With an 80,000 mile treadwear warranty, they also last a good, long time. I would normally keep 80K treadwear tires on my car for three years, and have somewhere between 65,000 and 75,000 on them at replacement. I only had the Tripletreads on the car for about 13 months when I lost it, but they were not noticeably worn at that point, with about 22,000 miles on them.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • I have to agree with xwersx - Subaru won't do anything wrt tires. In fact, the Forester's Tire warranty is through Yokohama, not Subaru.
    If your Geolanders are relatively new, the Nokian dealer may give you something for them in trade (as he did for mine - not much, but it helped).

    The Nokian WR model's definitely more spongy feeling than the newer WRG2. WR's a 2002 design lacking special tread stabilizers or an asymmetrical tread. Still, they may be cheaper.

    You can try AUTOSOCKS. I found the size recommended for the Forester XT works just fine on the Nokians (I only have one pair - intended for front wheels), and those are in reserve just in case the Nokians run up against ice they cannot handle.
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