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2009 Subaru Forester



  • This was posted in the 2.5XT first drive topic by a poster who had written Subaru Canada regarding the AWD system.
    FYI, the Subaru folks at the Portland Auto Show were unable to offer percentages of Forester F/R power distribution.
    Here's Subaru Canada's response to the other poster:

    Thank you for contacting Subaru Canada, Inc.

    The Forester does not have a Variable Torque Distribution (VTD) centre differential. For the 2009 model year, the Forester 2.5XT includes a Multi-plate Transfer (MPT) System that adjusts torque from 60/40 (F/R) to 50/50 (or anywhere in-between) depending on throttle input, road conditions and input from the Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) System. VDC operates like most electronic stability control (ESC) systems in that it can adjust engine output, adjust individual brake pressure and even front rear torque distribution to retain/regain vehicle stability.

    It is not possible for the system defeat the role of the centre differential and thus torque output will always be split between the front and rear differential. Meaning, the system cannot direct 100% of power to a single wheel - whether it be with VTD or MPT.

    We trust this information is helpful.


    Rosanne Kernerman
    Bilingual Consumer Support Representative
    After Sales
  • Ya know, I grew up in NYC and learned on a 'Standard shift'. Never gave it a thought. How soft this country has gotten. I agree , an automatic tranny is easier to drive. :) One shift and away you go. I agree, a clutch pedal is a pain in the neck. 1st , 2nd, 3rd gear, shift shift shift. My 1st experience with this dual tranny, Auto/manual, was with my 2008 Chev Malibu. It has the 'Paddles' on the steering wheel that operate the gear shifting. In the Forester 2009, instead of 'Paddles' you use the Sportshift ( actually the shifting handel) control to move into the higher gears. Just nudge the handel forward a tiny bit to shift gears. I love having the option to use manual or Automatic. I have better control over the vehicle in being able to 'downshift' to 2nd for going into turns, coming to rolling stops. A person who never used a 'Standard Transmission' has no idea of what I'm talking about, I'm sure. But all you guys/gals that learned on a standard, know what I saying, right?
  • billwvbillwv Posts: 48
    "Forester 2.5XT includes a Multi-plate Transfer (MPT) System that adjusts torque from 60/40 (F/R) to 50/50 (or anywhere in-between)"

    Interesting -- these percentages are different from what I have been told -- 90/10 to 50/50.

    Does this apply to all 09 Forester 4AT or just the Turbo??

  • billwvbillwv Posts: 48
    The Sport Shift is especially good for engine braking on all these hills here in West Virginia. I really like it.

  • At the Portland Auto show I got to talk to a few tuners playing with the Forester mapping. It looks like, for the brave, there is considerable extra power lurking in the motor. One limiting factor is the catalytic converter, which is more restrictive than the tuners would like. Changing that to a freer-flowing version is a big help.

    Of course, all of this voids the warranty. :blush:
  • I just noticed that the new 09 Foresters have very, very thin door glass. Does anyone else think that is a little strange?
  • wouldn't be surprised. the body metal is super thin. if you barely lean on it, it will dent. the interior is cheap and scratches easily. the leather tears easily- i have holes in the middle console from my puppy standing on it. the only saving grace is that the 4wd is good. at least so far. subaru went really cheap on this one. my first subbie and not too impressed.
  • Actually, the middle console is not leather but a synthetic plastic. Apparently not claw proof, though.
    The seat leather is pretty substantial in the sides, but not in the middle.

    Yes, the interior is cheap in many ways. But frankly, most of the cars I saw at the Portland auto show were no better in terms of scratch resistance, even the expensive German brands.
  • volkovvolkov Posts: 1,306
    This has been known for a while. A simple reflash has F-XTs pushing numbers at the wheels roughly equivalent to 265/285 HP/TQ at the crank. That torque is all available by about 3k rpm too!! That's more and earlier than my WRX.
    Part of what makes the change so dramatic is the understating of the power output of the XT. Despite SAE standards, many dyno runs have shown the XT putting down torque values of 220 at the wheels when that was supposed to be the flywheel value. Given expected drvietrain losses of about 30%, those published numbers from FHI are very conservative.
  • orcorc Posts: 39
    Yep... our 09 Forester center console has holes in it from doggy claws... not big claws either. My wife's 2003 Ford Focus has a much nicer and more durable interior all the way around. The dogs have never punctured anything in it including the center console.Like others... I didn't really look closely enough at the interior before buying. We still love the huge moon roof and some other things like the small turning radius and good rough road handling but I've noticed few new vehicles have such cheap interior materials. I won't try and defend that. Just because I bought it doesn't make it perfect. :D
  • Not exactly the curve I saw for the Forester reflashes, but interesting. The '09 XT is a bit different.

    The concern is once the engine is reflashed, can it be _reflashed _back to factory stock without any consequences?
    The other concern is whether or not the drivetrain is up to the additional power.
    The tuner shops say yes, but I am not sure. I'm loathe to blow my warranty away.
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    What does the reflash due to octane requirements and fuel economy?

    Call me a cynic, but the old truism comes to mind, "There's no free lunch". :P
  • volkovvolkov Posts: 1,306
    The ECU can always be returned to stock. Depending on how it was done, it can be as simple are removing the new map in the case of the Accessport for example. There doesn't appear to be any issue with just a reflash from the standpoint of the engine or transmission holding up if it's a good tune. That being said remember that even stock engines can have trouble, so if you've modded the vehicle and have engine or tranny trouble in the future, don't expect any warranty coverage. Mike should be a good first hand source of info on this subject.
    Mileage may suffer, but some people actually report improved economy in sedate driving - most manufacters tune their vehicles to run a little rich because it builds in more safety room for reliability. BUT, if you are driving to take advantage of that new power, FE drops like a stone.
  • 204meca204meca Posts: 370
    Is there any difference in the sway bars between the X & XT models?
  • I think there is a small difference as the XT does not lean as much as the X does.

    For those who want less leaning, Cobb tuning apparently now has stiffer sway bars for the '09 Forester.
  • Wrt hardware mods (new header, cat converter, non-approved muffler) that appears to be true.

    As for flashing, I assume that if you took a reflashed engine in for warranty service, the reflash if detected would also void the warranty. Audi and some other manufacturers specifically state flashing ("chipping") is grounds for warranty denial.

    Then again, perhaps Subaru itself will over time determine a better ECU map and offer it to previous same model purchasers either as a TSB or a paid upgrade.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    While I am not saying the interior materials do not lack resistance to physical abuse, anyone who wants to keep the interior of their vehicle looking pristine should seriously consider relegating their animals to the vehicle's cargo hold. ;)
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • good point, but i would venture to say that even without the presence of pets/animals, you will find the interior showing wear and tear at the slightest use. perhaps if i wore gloves... granted, i was not expecting a luxury interior but i think subaru went a little too cheap in their efforts to save money. the other models (ie outback) do not seem to have the same problem
  • volkovvolkov Posts: 1,306
    That's an older design though. It may turn out that the same criticisms start coming for the redesign. Hope not. Looking overall, I think all vehicle interiors have cheapened over the last decade.
  • sgloonsgloon Posts: 323
    Although, I don't have any animals and my cargo hold is already marked up just from packing for a few camping trips. I'm pretty careful with a new car.

    Also got scratches on the glove box area, in part when someone put a foot up there to tie their shoes. Not excessive wear.

    When I read about the cheap interior before I bought my Forester, I wrongly assumed that it must be from such as animals or excessive abuse. I was wrong.

    Word to the wise who are buying, you will scratch the interior no matter how careful you are. Just something people need to know before making a decision.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    No free lunch - agreed.

    I think I found the price for that lunch, though.

    Keep in mind Subaru recommends premium fuel but doesn't require it.

    Cobb states that the 265hp happens with 91 octane, and I think it's safe to say that octane would now be required.

    They also say it made 270hp with 93 octane.

    I've seen similar statements from other tuners - you chip a turbo and premium is absolutely mandatory.
  • For the turbo, premium is required (91), not just recommended.
  • Yes, 91 octane is minimum requirement for turbo.

    In Japan, the octane is much higher, adding another challenge to Subaru engine programmers as they adapt their engines to American fuel.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    I agree with you, Barney. I had both an '07 and an '08 Outback, and I felt the interiors of those cars scuffed/scratched quite easily. I was coming from a '96 Outback with 220,000 miles on it when I purchased the '07. Other than the typical seat wear one might expect after nearly a quarter-million miles, the non-upholstered interior looked pristine, and I made only marginal (occasional dusting & protectant application) effort to keep it that way. Even the seats were free of any tears, but the driver seat's door-side bolstering was pretty flat and the material certainly showed wear.

    The '07, after four months, already had some scuffs, etc., that were a permanent addition, and you can imagine that I treated the car with extra care due to its newness. For the '08, it was purchased as temporary transportation, so I treated it as though I did intend to sell it in the near future. I covered all the seats with sheets, fussed over unnecessary cabin touching, etc. :blush: Considering the light-colored interior, I must say that it was essentially as good as new after the 7500 miles I clocked, but there were two small scuffs on the passenger side dash that I could not remove. Not bad, I guess, considering a 3.5 year old boy rode there for 3,000 miles over five days.

    I think the '96 would have been absolutely perfect in those conditions.
    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
    Interesting. Isn't there a tidbit about it being OK to use 87 octane on a short-term basis if that's all you can find?

    I suspect the chipped setup would actually cause engine damage in those situations.

    Any how, it was a nice theory. ;)
  • my dog only weighs 5lbs and punctured the center console just standing on it. it seems damage will happen at the slightest touch. are all subbies like this? i wonder if the honda or rav have the same problem
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    How sharp are his nails? Do you clip 'em? That seems kinda strange. :confuse:
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    I think the little guy used an ice pick! :P
  • volkovvolkov Posts: 1,306
    It all depends how you drive. Driven conservatively and kept off boost should be just fine even when chipped, as the car will still adapt and pull timing. Prolonged driving on 87 octane pushing the vehicle hard with the turbo cramming in lots of air, and you're likely to be in trouble.
    But I always go back to my motherhood statement. Don't buy a vehicle which requires/recommends premium if you aren't going to pay at the pump.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    My Miata has manually adjustable ignition timing so I'm familiar with that whole process. Modern ECUs just to the same thing automatically, I suppose.

    Stock timing is 10 degrees BTDC, but you can advance it to 14 and still use 87 octane. It's peppier that way. If you're willing to use premium fuel you can advance as far as 18 degrees. On regular fuel you will actually hear it ping as you adjust too far.

    When a shop replaced my timing belt I knew the timing was off when I felt a *substantial* loss of power, as soon as I got it back I knew they had screwed up. Got my timing gun, and sure enough, they had set it to 8 degrees, more conservative than even the stock setting.

    I advanced it back to 14 degrees, and she's running great again.

    This is a 1993 model, I doubt there are any new models where you can set the timing manually any more.

    I think it's safe to say you would be losing power on the cheap stuff with an XT turbo.
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