Last post on Nov 02, 2006 at 6:19 AM
You are in the Subaru Forester
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Subaru Forester, Wagon
#2750 of 18028 Should I dump this car?
Sep 21, 2001 (8:30 am)
My wife and I just bought a 1999 Subaru Forester S with manual transmission. The car has 30,000 miles and is still under bumper-to-bumper warranty until January, plus powertrain two years after that. When we bought the car we were shown repair records that indicated that the rear crank seal had been replaced to repair an oil leak, the clutch had been replaced, the water pump had been replaced, and the brake rotors were recut. I thought that was a lot of work at the time (my 5-yr. Impreza had never been the Subaru doctor), but we bought the car anyway...what else could go wrong, right? Plus, it's covered. Well, after 450 miles, 5 quarts of oil, and a failed inspection, two cylinder heads are being replaced by Subaru (sounds close to a engine rebuild to me). Subaru dealer gave us a nice rental car free of charge, and we should have our Forester back in a couple day/weeks! Should we cut our losses and dump this car? Or just figure...nothing else could go wrong, right?
Sep 21, 2001 (8:39 am)
Glad to hear you weren't badly hurt (I'll bet you're still shaking though). Here are my two shillings worth: The Forester is a super car (I love mine too), but it has a bit more body roll than an Outback (and much more than a standard Legacy). The Imprezas are also very flat and stable in turns, although the OB Sport feels more like an Outback in that respect. So, if stability is a concern, but you want loads of cargo space, the Legacy wagon would seem an excellent (and affordable) choice. I wish I had some sage advice about "why" you lost control, but in similar experiences I was always too busy praying to take notes. My guess is that, like most of us, you simply over-corrected. When your vehicle starts to take off in a direction you don't intend, the natural inclination is to correct it NOW, AND HARD! Unfortunately, inertia comes around in its own sweet time and by the time it does, the steering wheel has probably been turned 30 degrees more than needed, which sends you off in another unintended direction (and perhaps sideways as well). My first experience with that came when I was 19 and hit a patch of black-ice. Seconds later (seemed like hours) I was facing south in the north-bound lane; big trucks on both sides of me. Reacting to the unexpected is, I guess, the name of the game. Actually, Its precisely because anything can happen on the road that I drive Subarus, and only Subarus.
Sep 21, 2001 (3:15 pm)
I'm sorry to hear about your accident. That must have been a terrifying experience.
As to why you couldn't regain control, that's hard to say. At highway speeds, even small disturbances (like the bump) can be amplified due to the speed and send you flying off in one direction. As mentioned earlier, over-correction can be a culprit, but it all happens so quickly that it's often hard to do anything. Don't feel bad about it -- even trained professional drivers can't recover from accidents.
Try shopping around the dealers. I also live in the Bay area and have seen lots of inventory building up at Carlsen Subaru and Santa Cruz Subaru. Auto sales have slowed considerably recently so you should be able to swing a decent deal.
I've driven other Subaru models and each one delivers a different experience. The Legacys (OB, L and GT) are on one end of the spectrum being bigger, smoother and plush. The Imprezas are spartan, but much more nimble and peppy. The Forester falls in between the two.
#2753 of 18028 Tires...tires....tires
Sep 21, 2001 (5:13 pm)
I am considering buying a Forester '01 or '02.
I live in New Brunswick , Canada where we get lots of snow and icy roads during our long winter season. To be on the safe side, most people put winter tires instead of the all seasons ones.
Which tires would you recommend for winter and which tires would be the best for the rest of the year.
Thanks and keep up the good work.
PS How do you get the cute little flag next to your name?
#2754 of 18028 Mysterious Lockout
Sep 22, 2001 (8:04 am)
I own a used '98 Forester S with remote keylock fob. Last night, it wouldn't unlock the doors. I got into the car with the key, but the system was still armed and, therefore, I couldn't start the car. After waiting a considerable amount of time (and several interim tries) the fob blinked rapidly and suddenly everything worked fine. What does this mean??? Is the battery on its last legs??? Is there some secret way to actually start the car in this situation??? What's a person to do??? Thanks for your help.
#2755 of 18028 RE Tires..tires...tires
Sep 22, 2001 (8:15 am)
I have a 98 Forester and I live in Fernie, BC where we get alot of snow as well. Snow tires are not required if you have an all wheel drive vehicle, but they can help. I bought my car used and it came with snow tires. My opinion is that they are not absolutely required but do aid in very icy conditions. My old Subaru had normal all seasons and I was never in a bind where I absolutely needed snow tires. And we get alot of snow here as well, usually around 2 meters a year.
#2756 of 18028 re: Mysterious Lockout
Sep 22, 2001 (9:15 am)
If you don't have a manual you should get one. My '01 manual says:
If you cannot disarm the system using the transmitter (i.e. the transmitter
is lost, broken or the transmitter battery is too weak), you can
disarm the system without using the transmitter.
To disarm the system:
1. Unlock the door with the key and then open the door.
2. The alarm will sound.
3. Insert the key into the ignition switch and cycle it from the "LOCK" to the "ON" position three (3) times within 5 seconds."
#2757 of 18028 Lockout
Sep 22, 2001 (9:24 am)
Interesting. The factory alarm unit on my 98 Forester stopped working at around 25K miles. I would stand right next to my vehicle with a transmitter with fresh batteries and it would work only some of the time.
The dealer verfied the concern and replaced the head unit under warranty. I'm now at 61K miles and the problem is coming back.
I'm suspecting there's something with the factory alarm head unit.
Anyone else experience the same?
#2758 of 18028 1 year update plus survey results
Sep 22, 2001 (1:15 pm)
Well, my '01 Forester L MT is 1 year old and I thought I would share my thoughts. My wife's '01 S+ AT is only 10 months old, but has a few more miles on it than mine, 8.5K vs. 8K (I drive my truck sometimes, and we use hers as the "family" vehicle), and since I drive hers often, those thoughts are included. Patti, there are some "survey" results included, for free, if you care to use them.
The bottom line is that I/we _still_ like these vehicles. I tend to get bored with vehicles but our Foresters still intrigue me. I love the engineering. I get the biggest kick out of how the gas overflow drain goes out _through_ the mud flap!
The AWD is seamless and works exactly as advertised, although I like the balance afforded by my 50/50 split better. We both have had a comfortable N.E. Winter under our belt, not to mention street-flooding torrential rains, and rave about the balance and control. We will both demand AWD from now on.
My wife never complains about anything with her Forester, and, well, that is unusual. Her heated seats are GREAT and that is an option she thought she would never use. I wish I had them in my L. She loves the Moonroof.
I feel my L is the better value, but hers is the better vehicle overall. I _still_ would not pay the money for an S+ though, and she would do it again in a heartbeat. I'm the Engineer and she is the bean-counter, so go figure.
I have averaged about 21 MPG in mixed driving, with the spread being 19 to 23, she has averaged about 19.5, with the spread being 17 to 21. Neither of us drive slow so we aren't complaining. We also have crappy oxygenated fuel here in MA so that doesn't help.
We have both been back to the dealer once. I asked about what seemed to me to be a "rough" throw-out bearing in the clutch actuation that wasn't there when new, and she had a slightly crooked steering wheel. They aligned her vehicle (4 wheel), and told me my roughness, which they _could_ feel, "was normal", after calling for factory assistance. I was mostly concerned that it get documented for the future, so we both came away pleased. The fewer times anyone touches my vehicle the better.
There are a few things I would change. I would like a couple more inches of legroom, even if it was at the expense of the back seat, which never gets used in my Forester. I would like the pedals to be a bit farther apart also. This always reminds me that it is a "small" vehicle, and makes me wonder if I am just too big for it. The couple of more inches of legroom would probably solve this complaint as my legs would be straighter to the pedals.
I would like more power, specifically more torque. This is more noticeable to me with my wife's AT. These vehicles are sprightly but my MT is much more so. I admire the torque curve they have designed into the H4, but I still want more. My wife says that if I only drove hers it would be much less of a concern, that it is the switching back and forth that makes it stick out. Perhaps a 5 speed AT would lessen the difference. We would both buy an H6 if available, neither would buy a turbo 4.
The syncros in the MT seem "sluggish". I never grind but I "catch a tooth" way too often, usually going into 3rd gear from 2nd. It is also difficult to get into reverse when cold, not the outside temperature, just the vehicle. Even in Summer, first-use of the day is difficult. I am going to change the trans fluid to Mobil 1 gear oil when I get a chance, and see if that fixes both problems. I sometimes wish I had the AT, so an AT with the H6 and a 45/55 split would serve me well.
The cup holder is flimsy and blocks access when open. Seems like an afterthought. I feel like I am going to break it every time I touch it.
That's basically it. I have added the "weathershields" to keep the rain out of my lap, and I want to add the 18mm rear bar to kill some of the understeer and lean, make the handling less "pedestrian", but so far so good. We both feel like we got good value and would do it again.
Here's the survey part. We find the Forester to be a "stranger magnet". We have never had so many people stop and ask us about our vehicles. There have been about 12 to 15 people doing this. This is not a gigantic amount but this is New England, people just don't come up and start talking to you! This vehicle makes it happen, and while there is always a danger using small sample statistics, there have definitely been some very consistent trends.
- No one thought of it as a wagon, everyone thought of it as an SUV, a small SUV. My wife had a very nice 70 something gentleman follow her into a convenience store parking lot just to ask about her Forester. He was driving an old Legacy wagon with ~150K miles on it. He said it ran like the day it was new, and he is having a hard time parting with it... but he _really_ likes the Forester. My wife said his car was immaculate, but she was betting he would be soon parting with it. He thought it was a "great looking SUV".
- Everyone commented about liking SUVs but said most were just too big with bad fuel mileage. No one was disappointed when told low to mid 20s.
- Almost everyone asked about a "V6", conditioning has made folks think "6" vs. "4", not power characteristics.
- Most cringed when told of price differences. Most thought $20K for an L was great, but $25K for a loaded S+ was out of their shopping range.
- All loved all the standard features, especially those leaning towards the L, all loved the warrantee.
- All knew a little something about AWD, Subaru ads are being watched. All listened intently when told of real AWD vs. AWD-only-after-something-first-slips. This is certainly of interest here in MA, almost everyone asked about snow and ice performance.
So, if it were my business, I would offer the H6 across the board, and not make people buy an "L.L. Forester" to get it, or even the S+. Price is important. I would market it as a small SUV, maybe an suv , with all weather dependability due to real, honest to god, AWD. I would play on the AWD in All Weather Dependability. These folks wanted the same things my wife and I want, so if you build it, they will come.
cub reporter Frank
Sep 23, 2001 (4:57 pm)
While waiting for more recommendations, check out the Tires, tires, tires discussion too. (btw, 2 years ago this day I was touring the Botanic Garden at Edmunstun <g>).
And your flag gets "changed" once you logout and back in, as you've probably noticed.
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