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#18023 of 19283 09 Subaru Forester AC Problem
Mar 01, 2009 (9:06 am)
I am writing to today to inform you about the poor customer treatment that my family has received from Subaru Corporation of America. Upon leaving the U.S. Navy, after serving eight years, I returned from overseas duty and took a Federal position with a DC-based agency. My family and I made the difficult decision of what new automobile would be safe for my wife and our infant daughter. Based on good reviews from Consumer Reports, we choose to invest in the newly redesigned 2009 Subaru Forester and purchased the vehicle in Syracuse, NY in May 2008. Rather than taking a loan for the vehicle we nearly used our entire savings to buy the vehicle for cash to avoid monthly bank charges.
Beginning in Aug 08 we noticed that our air conditioning system in the hot sun would only run cold at the very lowest setting. Even one or two degrees above the bottom setting and very hot air would come out. We took it back to Romano Subaru in New York and sought warranty service. They discovered that nearly our entire Freon tank was empty and Romano thought that refilling it would fix the problem. After one day the vehicle was back to blowing out hot air. After a second attempt to get it fixed, the dealer recognized the problem but said they could not find the source. That maybe it just worked that way. They were willing to "just replace the compressor" but didn't think it would fix the problem. We told them not to bother, realizing we were already moving to Vienna, VA in Oct 08 for my DC job, and said that we would just have it looked at in Virginia.
We lived with the problem for a few weeks while we got settled in DC and decided to bring the car in after the New Year, the problem never changing. Farrish Subaru took the car in for service and realized that our Freon was near empty again. They decided to put dye into the system and have us run the car for a week to see where a leak may be. We returned and they found a tube leaking and ordered the part. We returned Feb 19th and they took two days to replace the part, saying that the AC was fixed. They dropped the car back off Feb 20th and I tested the car that evening. Within 2 minutes of lukewarm air, on the AC setting, hot air came out again. I returned to the dealership on Feb 21st and showed their repair representative Stan the heating problem. He drove the car around their lot for 5 minutes and returned saying that he couldn't figure it out, the AC worked the day before, but now it didn't, and he couldn't hear the compressor kick on. They gave us a rental car.
That evening, based on 4 attempts to get the problem resolved, I faxed a letter to Subaru of America saying that we wanted final resolution for the problem or we would have no choice but to label the vehicle a lemon.
On Feb 23rd we spoke to Stan again who said they could not figure out the problem and they were going to contact the manufacturer to seek assistance with the repair. Furthermore, Stan said that they tested the heated air being released as 119F, which then cooled down to 105F after a few minutes. Hours later we received a phone call from Subaru of America Senior Customer Service Representative Deloria Marshall who said she would investigate.
On Feb 24th we received a call from Stan from Farrish Subaru that they could not find the source of the problem, they compared our vehicle to another new Subaru Forester, its AC did not have the same problem as ours, but that because they couldn't figure it out, they were assuming that they fixed our problem, and that "our" AC must just work that way.
On Feb 25th we attempted twice to contact Deloria Marshall who did not return our call. On Feb 26th we attempted to contact Deloria Marshall who promptly answered the phone, obviously screening our calls, "Hello Ms. Schiffman, I still don't have an answer for you." Later that day, she called and said that they are sending a tech rep from Headquarters on Thursday, Mar 5 to see the car because the dealer was now saying that they couldn't figure out our problem and that the dealer says it must be "fixed."
I called that evening and spoke to Deloria. I asked her point blank if the reason they were sending a Headquarters representative on Mar 5 was to rubber stamp our car "fixed." I told her that doing this would not remove our right to seek legal assistance. I told her that we were worried what 119F air would do to our infant daughter and how a non-functioning AC would affect our daughter in the summer. She said that the sole reason they were sending a representative on Mar 5 was to find the problem and fix it. She said they were a small company and care about their customers.
At 11:01AM Feb 27th I left a message on Deloria Marshall's answering machine that I wanted to attend the Headquarters tech representative's visit on Mar 5th. Furthermore, I was wondering if I could bring a privately hired, independent car technician to the Mar 5 appointment.
At roughly 1PM Feb 27th, my wife received a phone call from Farrish Subaru that the Headquarters tech representative had just shown up at the dealership and certified the vehicle as "fixed." That we had until that evening to pick up our car.
The primary reason we are worried about our non-functional AC is because of our infant daughter. We paid in cash for a vehicle that we trusted to be safe and reliable and regret our purchase. Subaru of America's senior customer service representative swore to me that their Headquarters representative was coming to help. Now certifying it fixed days in advance of the original appointment binds our hands.
#18024 of 19283 Re: 09 Subaru Forester AC Problem [jgroveman]
Mar 02, 2009 (11:55 am)
Thanks for sharing you AC problem on this site. Since I also had an AC problem before on a Toyota Previa it is good to know Subaru is not fixing the problem. This post will help switch my next vehicle choices.
#18025 of 19283 Re: 09 Subaru Forester AC Problem [ukko]
Mar 02, 2009 (12:06 pm)
You can't be sure that the previous post is an accurate description of the events. Subaru is generally responsive to owners' problems.
It is true that the automatic air conditioning system is not the best when I compare mine to my VW Passats' air. However, unlike the Passats, the Subaru does not need constant major electrical fixes.
#18026 of 19283 Re: blown engine [blueschaser220]
Mar 02, 2009 (12:15 pm)
How much do you like the old one?
If you've always liked it, sure, put in the new engine. You'll probably get another decade out of it, so then $400/year will seem like nothing.
If you were looking for a reason to trade up to the 2009s, here's the perfect excuse.
We have an 09 so I'd lean towards trading now. Just take it to CarMax before you take the dealer's low-ball trade offer.
#18027 of 19283 Is DualZone Auto AC effective/ worth it? (was 09 Forester AC Problem)
Mar 02, 2009 (12:28 pm)
"It is true that the automatic air conditioning system is not the best when I compare mine to my VW Passats' air. However, unlike the Passats, the Subaru does not need constant major electrical fixes."
My question is: Is the Subaru automatic (Dual Zone) AC [such as on the Outback Limited] less efficient or effective than the "stock" AC setup [as on the Outback SE]?
There's a huge price premium for the leather, sunroof & Dual Zone AC on the Limited and if the automatic AC is not good, that's probably not worth it. A poor AC system is the kiss of death for me in buying a car.
I'm used to the automatic AC on my current '01 Audi A6, which is an excellent AC system.
#18028 of 19283 Re: Is DualZone Auto AC effective/ worth it? (was 09 Forester AC Problem) [fendertweed]
Mar 02, 2009 (12:51 pm)
In a nutshell, Yes.
Buy the SE, it's the better value.
Having said that, we have a 2009 Forester Limited and the ACC has gotten a lot better, in fact we pretty much set it and forget it.
#18029 of 19283 1999 Manual Forester Problem - Center Differential?
Mar 02, 2009 (7:55 pm)
Searched the boards and couldn't find a close answer.
My 99 forester, stick shift, has 135,000 miles on it. I had the head gasket replaced about 1500 miles ago (and hoped this would fix the issue, but it had zero effect).
About 3k miles ago I started hearing a sound at high speeds (70 mph). It was barely noticeable, but sounded like knocking of a diesel. I know all about piston slap because I've had it since 10,000 miles and this is something different. The oddest thing about it is that it is unrelated to the engine RPM's, but directly correlated to the speed I am driving. (I tested it out last night coasting down a hill with the engine off in neutral - sound still there in spades) The sound seems like it is emanating from somewhere down below my radio. About 100 miles ago it became louder at lower speeds that I knew something was VERY wrong. I am afraid to drive it more than 2 miles at this point and hesitate to go over 35 MPH.
At about the same time, I also noticed if I drove the car a distance of at least 10 miles, I found the front wheels start to stick if I turned them sharply when in a parking lot. Unsure if these two symptoms are related.
I went and had my transmission fluid flushed at the dealer to see if that would solve it but it had no effect.
Can anyone verify this is the center differential going out. I cannot afford another $1000+ repair job that doesn't solve the problem. I have been quoted $1300 to fix. If so, do I get the clutch replaced as well??? You're starting to approach $2k which is about what the vehicle is worth.
The frustrating part about this is that I finally am able to take the bus and find a use for this second car about 1-2 times per month for local errands and the occasional weekend guys trip. If it weren't for this problem I might put maybe 2,000 miles/year on it. I just wanted it to last long enough for the new Diesel Outback . . . .
#18030 of 19283 Re: 1999 Manual Forester Problem - Center Differential? [jholtan]
Mar 03, 2009 (8:54 am)
Is there a universal joint anywhere near that location? A bad U joint or slip coupling with little load is sometimes louder than with load.
#18031 of 19283 Re: 1999 Manual Forester Problem - Center Differential? [jholtan]
Mar 03, 2009 (9:54 am)
Sounds like the symptoms of a bad wheel bearing. Have those inspected. It would certainly be cheaper to fix those.
Plus that's a common issue with the 99s.
#18032 of 19283 Subaru Super Coolant
Mar 03, 2009 (3:05 pm)
Does anyone have a link to the MSDS sheet for the Subaru Super Coolant?
Would like MSDS for whatever they are using for the refrigerant, which is listed as HFC134a in the owners manual?