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Subaru Forester (up to 2005)



  • joseph50joseph50 Posts: 235
    I have never once seen a Forester pulled over for speeding.
    Could it be that their non-aggressive appearance makes them immune to electronic or human eye detection by law enforcement, Hmm?
  • dinosaurdinosaur Posts: 19
    Well, mine isn't. A month ago the state trooper ignored the red Accord coupe passing me and pulled me over instead on the 4-lane highway.
  • dinosaurdinosaur Posts: 19
    I've seen numerous complaints about this. My '04 X does it too, right at the RPM you mentioned. I believe it has to do with the ECU adjusting the fuel mixture around this RPM to a very lean mixture. I very much doubt that anything can be done. Mine started this at just under 30k miles. My theory is that as long as the fuel system is very clean and your gas truly is the octane rating it is supposed to be, ping will be minimal or non-detectable. As deposits form in the combustion chamber (which can happen very qucikly) the problem will manifest itself. I'm very skeptical of gas quality where I live.

    I have found that a high dose of a strong fuel system cleaner (Techron concentrate, or possibly BG) does help. I added Techron for 3 straight tankfuls and the problem is much lessened, but still present to a small degree. The bad part is that doing this is nearly as expensive as using higher octane gas.

    I must have bad luck with this. I've owned 8 new cars since 1984 and 3 have done this to one degree or another. Its certainly not unique to Subaru.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You might be lugging the engine a bit, that's low rpms if you're pulling a heavy load or going up hill. Shift gears in those situations. Peak torque is in the 4000s so you want to be near there when under load.

    I've manually advanced the timing on the Miata, but it pings like crazy if I'm at too low rpm going up a hill, e.g. using 2nd gear while coasting to go up hill. Sounds like a hammer banging on my block!

    She's just begging for another gear.

  • dinosaurdinosaur Posts: 19
    My Forester tends to ping when under just a slight acceleration at that RPM. A heavier foot doesn't cause it. That's one reason I think its related to ECU programming. The manual says a very slight ping is "normal", and with the cleaning I've done, its not bad. I wouldn't even worry about it, but for the 2.5's tendency to have head gasket issues. I don't want any "banging" to loosen things prematurely.
  • mnfmnf Spokane WaPosts: 405
    I e-mailed Maclean’s regarding the artical they showed no artical showing this so I sent it to them there response was (" Sorry. This is a website add-on. Maclean’s editorial does not produce that.") I told them that they may want to look into who is using there name.... M/F
  • I agree with Dino--there is nothing stealthy about the radar profile of the Forester. I saw a Forester pulled over by the Ft. Collins PD (was that you, dinosaur?). When there are so many Subarus in town, the police have no choice.

    IMHO, Forester drivers should be let off with a warning.
  • kgbskgbs Posts: 1
    I bought a 05 Forrester (automatic) about 2 months ago. I could shift smoother in a manual....... Most of the time I can feel it shift and downshift. This isn't normal right? Also, it seems like sometimes there's a delay when I let up on the gas pedal, like a little surge before it slows down. Please help & advise. Thanks, kgbs
  • dinosaurdinosaur Posts: 19
    Mine's a stick but from what I've heard, both conditions are normal. The delay in throttle response is definitely normal. It has to do with the emissions control system. My simple understanding of it is that it has to burn off whatever fuel is still in the combustion chamber before it begins to decelerate.

    Don't feel too bad about the rough shifting - the manual isn't all that smooth either. Partly I think a result of the AWD system - alot of things to have to mesh smoothly.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I was pulled over in the Outer Banks but I was let off when I told the cop I was just running to the grocery store in the wagon to get milk for the kids. I guess he perceived the Forester as pretty harmless and let me off with a warning.

    Now, do you *really* think he would have let me off if I were driving my Miata? HA!

  • once_for_allonce_for_all Posts: 1,640
    I would think they look for the hood scoop first: scoop = ticket, no scoop =harmless.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Just lie and say it's fake. :P

  • asaasa Posts: 359
    Thanks for the post. My wife says that the fuel system/injector cleaner helps a bit too. But, like you, I figure that high-octane gas costs what the additives do. It's irritating and, yep -- the fault is probably in the ECU code somewhere, but I doubt Subaru will address it with an '04.
  • asaasa Posts: 359
    Yes -- it's that light throttle and the the pinging is what bugs me. If I drive our '04 2.5X like a Formula I racer, it never pings; only when I drive it conservatively (which is my normal driving style), does it ping! I guess that validates the notion that the ECU cuts the fuel a bit too much at some points as it tries to maximize economy.

    I'm easily impressed, but our little 2.5L (non-turbo) usually sounds so sweet otherwise. I often leave the stereo off because the engine sound combined with the 5-Speed shifter is so much darn fun to listen to and feel when I open it up.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
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  • dinosaurdinosaur Posts: 19
    Actually I doubt there is anything that CAN be done. Unless there was an electrical failure somewhere the programming is very likely correct. The worriesome thing is that if its this way from the factory, the problem will get worse as the car ages and things get dirty in the fuel system.
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,785

    Without wishing to disagree with Dinosaur, I initially had problems with the mixture in my Subaru Outback. Subaru's use an adaptive learning system in their Engine Management Unit, which modifies the fuel air mixture based on recent driving expeience. That means that if you have been driving very gently, the EMU progressively leans out the throttle response. In extremes, this reaches the point where you can detect the increments of each fuel addition, the response being digital rather than analogue.

    For me, the real bugbear was the behaviout after the vehicle had beeen on nil throttle during a long fast downhill run off a mountain range. when I reached the bootm of this run and returned to very getle throttle application, the vehicle would judder badly as fuel was alternately supplied and then backed off to match suppoed control input. It was rather like kangaroo hopping when you first learn to drive a manual car, but happening at 110kmh.

    Subaru attended promptly and reloade the EMU software with a modified programme. Whilst this was a partial improveent, the real fix came from using a different fuel, a 98 Octane Premium with detergent sold in Australia (Shell Optimax). This rectified the problem, increasd economy by 10% and improved performance markedly. I would expect there are similar products in the USA

    You might want to try a top engine cleaner. Subaru in Australia, recommend using this about every 6 months.


  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
    I've only gotten two speeding tickets in my lifetime: one in my first car ('66 Ford Mustang) and one in my '00 Forester S. I've not gotten one in the Forester XT...yet.

  • 204meca204meca Posts: 370
    I am seriously considering getting this credit card -- sounds like it has a better return than the Travel Bucks. :D Suppose I had $200 in Sub Bucks How does one actually use them to pay a bill?
  • once_for_allonce_for_all Posts: 1,640
    You have to spend it in $100 increments (no change back).

    You record your VIN number on it, and it spends just the same as cash.

    You get 4 years to use the certificate, you can earn up to $500 per year. Maximum that can be accumulated is $2000 because of the 4 year limitation.

  • gusbgusb Posts: 1

    Good to see not too much has changed around here in the last few years. Not much has changed in my neck of the woods either, apart from the fact that i have retired. Still driving the 2000 forester, now with 140k on the clock and going strong.


  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Hey Gus! Wecome back! Hope you're enjoying retirement—and your Forester! :)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    These rock.

    I used $100 to buy accessories on-line. They took it, I just had to order slightly more than $100 worth, ended up paying $6 on my credit card for $106 worth of stuff.

    Then I used $300 for some body shop repair. My insurance reimbursed me so that ended up being pure cash profit. KA-CHING!

    We have $100 more accumulated now. Since the wife is comtemplating a new Legacy automatic (or a newer used one) we might spend it on that. If not we'll save it for service or whatever.

    They're easy to use, in fact my problem is I can't seem to save them up!

  • pamela3pamela3 Posts: 5
    Thanks for the response. As a matter of fact I have the car in again today for the brakes (got worse after they cleaned/adjusted a couple weeks ago) and of course the pinging noise. Did a trip to PA this weekend and even at 65-70 mph I could hear it...annoying to say the least. I just may have to bite the bullet and put premium gas in the car...hate to do it but don't want to cause any engine damage...will the pinging do that? But aside from that I love the car...although I sometimes wish I had gotten the Baja...maybe next time!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Make sure you call 800-SUBARU3 to simply register the complaint, even it's a "customer says" complaint. That way you are covered if something occurs down the road.

  • Had pinging on a '92 Loyale. 2 biggest dealers in Balt area couldn't fix it. One wanted to charge over 300 bucks to check with a borescope. BTW car was still under warranty & they told me, "That's just how they run, nothing is wrong.
    Went to indy shop for other issue & they fixed it for free. How I asked? QUOTE: "We set the timing to factory specs" No BS. I trust no living dealer. They never ever even looked at the timing, just blew me off for the 1st 70,000 miles. Ran great on 87 octane after that & had much more power. You draw conclusions.
  • manamalmanamal Posts: 434
    Hi, I have an '05 Forester xs llbean. I am getting an XM radio, and want to install it in the car. I know that there is no obvious aux input. So, what I plan to do is use an in-line (wired) FM modulator: the kind that goes between the antenna and the radio. My questions are: How hard is it to pull the radio head (I do not want to void the warenty), The radio in the car is in the process of being replaced (by subaru) due to a warenty malfunction...would it be ok to ask (and pay) the tech to do it while the radio head is out?

    And is there any sites that document how pull the head unit? Circuit City wants about $75 to install.
  • pamela3pamela3 Posts: 5
    Thanks for the tip...I'll call that number today. As usual the dealership did not hear anything regarding the brakes or the engine pinging so at this point I figure I have it recorded with them and if anything happens they will have to cover it under warranty. Getting close to just getting rid of the car and looking into Toyotas...but just thinking right now!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Not sure how they even could do that - the timing is not manually adjustable. Unless they re-programmed the ECU.

    You sure about that?

    My Miata does have manually adjustable timing, but nowadays most of the time that stuff is computerized.

  • mckeownmckeown Posts: 165
    Loyal was the 'older' Subaru available since 1985. When they introduced the Legacy in 1990, they called the older model the Loyal. It had an 1800cc engine with dual cam belts and a distributor. Timing it was easy. Had a 1985 GL wagon 5 sp 4WD. (4WD lever was next to shifter)
This discussion has been closed.