Last post on Nov 02, 2006 at 6:19 AM
You are in the Subaru Forester
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Subaru Forester, Wagon
#16905 of 18028 Will my Forester live for long?
Aug 01, 2005 (4:37 pm)
I have a 1999 Forester L with 132,000 miles. I had a head gasket blow in October and having that fixed cost me $1700. Now the check engine light comes on and off. I live in a smallish town in Alabama and the nearest dealerships are 80 miles away. I have taken it to 2 Subaru dealerships. One ( which no longer was Subaru, having recently sold its franchise) said I needed a new catalytic converter, $720 and they would have to order the part. Another dealership did something that took 40 minutes and charged me nothing ( receipt said it was under warranty?) and told me that I shouldn't see that light anymore. they said if I did see the light, it might mean that I needed a new catalytic converter which would cost $1100!
Needless to say about 500 miles later the light reappears. It is unnerving and I don't know whether it is just a Subaru idiosyncracity, like some sensor gone wrong, or should I should I take it to a local mechanic, who has little experience with this car, for a better deal on a catalytic converter. I can't put $1100 into this car.
I have been shopping for a new car (believe it or not I love the scion XB), but all of my research tells me to buy another Forester. I'd rather not because the service issues are so difficult. Also I would like to get another car with better mileage. I am trying to wait until all of the 2006 models appear so I can make a decision. But I feel like I have the sword of Damocles over my head!
How much life is left in this car? If it is indeed some sort of catalytic converter, are there aftermarket parts that will fit this car? It drives great if I ignore the CEL. I really cherish reliability and peace of mind, but I don't want to get rid of a perfectly good car.
Your advice is desperately needed!
Aug 02, 2005 (5:56 am)
Given you're out of warranty, yes, I'd look for aftermarket parts.
A cat can be as little as $80 for just the part. Labor is $85 per hour or so at the dealer, less at your indy mechanic.
The vehicle is still worth a few grand at least, so yes, I'd fix it. I bet you can get it done for $400-800, and that's just one or two car payments. Will it last you another month or two? I'd say yes, very likely a lot longer than that.
132k is a lot of miles, fix it and don't sweat it. I'd still consider it a very reliable vehicle is this is the first major failure. On some brands that would have happened at 80k miles or fewer.
#16907 of 18028 Forester Quirks
Aug 02, 2005 (8:30 am)
2005 Forester X....engine pinging on regular & middle grade gas...seems much better with premium but shouldn't have to use it...any ideas? rear brakes squeaking/howling...dealer cleaned/adjusted but just got worse?????
Aug 02, 2005 (9:38 am)
Sorry to hear about your rough start. My '98 hasn't ever shown either symptom.
Brake pads can be scuffed to rid the squeeking. They get glazed over when they get too hot. Try to avoid panic stops, because the pads and rotors get hot, plus if you hold the brakes down they cool at different rates. Also check the torque on the lug nuts to see if they might be overtightened.
For the pinging, that's a bit odd. I would let the dealer diagnose that since it might be a symptom of some problem, perhaps a bad knock sensor.
#16909 of 18028 Re: Will my Forester live for long? [zelenka]
Aug 02, 2005 (10:12 am)
There should be plenty of life left in your Forester. Why heck, it's barely entered middle age
You probably can get some place like your local Autozone to read the CEL code for free and reset it. If all it really needs is a new Cat, You will eventually have to fix it before you sell it but in the meantime I don't think you're going to hurt anything by continuing to drive it. It won't pass an emissions test but I doubt that you have to worry about that in Alabama
#16910 of 18028 Re: Forester Quirks [pamela3]
Aug 02, 2005 (3:34 pm)
We have exactly the same pinging problem on our 2004 2.5X 5-Speed, but only around 40 mph at about 2200 RPM and it's intermittent, so not one of three Subaru dealers admits to hearing it.
Our brakes are fine. Do you do a lot of local driving? That sometimes glazes the pad surface because of frequent, slower speed use. Just a thought.
#16911 of 18028 Invisible to Police?
Aug 02, 2005 (7:36 pm)
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?
#16912 of 18028 Re: Invisible to Police? [joseph50]
Aug 03, 2005 (5:48 am)
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.
#16913 of 18028 Re: Forester Quirks [asa]
Aug 03, 2005 (5:57 am)
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.
Aug 03, 2005 (6:03 am)
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.