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#5551 of 19336 Nightmare 1998 Forester S
Aug 20, 2005 (6:50 pm)
First time posting here, but wanted to share my nightmare with other owners. Bought the 1998 Forester in 2002. Everything was fine until 2005. This year I have had new a short block engine put in due to blown head gaskets and other leaks. New radiator. Replaced transmission with used one. Replaced rear wheel bearings. It seems like everything went wrong this year and I have spent close to $7,000 in repairs. Now the transmission is going again and I had fluid leaks. Leaks fixed for $100 and now transmission is slipping from first to second. I'm about ready to give up on this car and Subaru. Local dealer is a sham. I'm not in a position to buy a new car. Should I replace transmission with rebuilt for $2500? Or should I say goodbye to this nightmare and get a late year used car? Any recommendations?
#5552 of 19336 Re: Nightmare 1998 Forester S [catep]
Aug 20, 2005 (7:43 pm)
I am sure that opinions will vary, but when my 7+ year old Toyota Corolla began to cost me very serious money (purchased new and basically faultless until approaching its 7th birthday), I knew that it was time to bail out. That is about the age in which major subsystems begin to cry out for renewal.
You had the additional jeopardy of not knowing how well it was taken care of during the first 4 years. Used cars are such an unfortunate gamble in that regard. The upside is that you probably bought it at a depreciated price being that it was used (50 to 60% of new price), so you are bound to have to pay some of that back in higher repair bills as the car approaches end of life.
Personally, I think you should move on. Good luck with your next used car purchase (whatever brand that might be). I hope you fair better.
#5553 of 19336 Re: Bad 02? Subaru doesn't know, do you? [fibber2]
Aug 21, 2005 (8:01 am)
Thanks for the detailed post. I will mention the radio to Subaru and ask about the grounding wires. Overall, I have to say, they've been helpful in the fact that they are willing to work with me and have not charged me for the 2 days it took them to potentially rediagnose what they think is the wiring harness. They're also paying for a rental car when I bring it in this Wednesday to get it fixed. For a car that is no longer under warranty and has 93, 400, I think that's a good show of customer service on their part.
People keep saying it could be the catalytic converter. If the rear o2 monitors it as you said, why aren't they checking into this? Can't a clogged cat cause driveability issues, too?
On a last note, after my previous post I was thinking of all the things I've had done to this car. I did have the dealer replace the alternator this past April. You don't think that might be a cause of any of these seemingly loss of power type issues?
Just trying to be patient and hoping their fix works. Want my car back to normal and out of shuddering phase!
Again, thanks for the advice. It's good to hear different opinions other than just the dealer.
#5554 of 19336 Re: hang in there Stella... [once_for_all]
Aug 21, 2005 (8:04 am)
Thanks John. Hopefully I'll have more news this week when I bring it
in on Wednesday. I'll keep everyone posted....
#5555 of 19336 Re: Bad 02? Subaru doesn't know, do you? [stellab]
Aug 21, 2005 (5:48 pm)
Wish I could offer you more words of wisdom, but I am at a loss. I did think about the possibility that the rear sensor was on target and that the cat was clogged, but you reported that sometimes the car ran so well. In my (limited) experience with this issue, driveability problems related to high back pressure don't suddenly dissappear. The car runs bad until you cut the pipe!
You introduced another item of interest, related to electrical systems - namely the alternator. I would be checking for damaged wires, loose connections, etc. Do you get static on AM that varies with engine speed that you never heard before? Ever have dash lights come on, or glow dimly? It could be a bad unit. Unfortunately, we are shooting in the dark here!
#5556 of 19336 Re: TPMS question [cptplt]
Aug 21, 2005 (11:41 pm)
There are 5 major components to the tpms system... the tpms unit (the brain/receiver) and the four valve stems (the tire pressure sensor/transmiter.) If the only change is the tire, then the system will function as normal. The light will re-set if the pressure is within spec. You need to do nothing else, just drive the car. Lets say, you decide to change the complete tire and rim combo for the winter season. I imagine that is what you are asking here. You have about three options. 1...Deal with the light on during winter season. 2... Transfer the tpms valves over to the winter setup (then back again to the stock in the summer.) 3...Purchase a new set of tpms valve stems from the dealer for the winter tire/rim setup. You'll have to get the dealer to scan and upload id's with every season change. The id's are nessecary to keep the system from falsely reading other Subarus passing by. I don't know how much the valve stems or the dealer upload will cost you, but I bet they won't be reasonable. Maybe you could deal with the light on for the winter. It only warns of low pressure. It will not cause any driveablity issues other than the amber glow from the tpms light. By the way, tpms is not on every Subaru model. It currently is standard on the B9 Tribeca and available on certain Outback H6 wagon and sedan trim packages for '06. So if it doesn't have an H6 engine, you won't have to worry about it.
#5557 of 19336 Re: Nightmare 1998 Forester S [fibber2]
Aug 22, 2005 (4:47 am)
Interesting comment on the Corolla. Mine was the same way, although it happened quicker. I put about 35k on per year, so I guess that was expected. I didn't spend a penny on repairs since new, then within a few months, I had engine problems, emissions problems, and a broken door handle, each of which would have been quite expensive. I bailed at that point, since I also needed brakes and tires and the miles were getting very high. On the Subaru in question though, its a tough call. The money is already invested and these are all the major known trouble spots on the car. I might be inclined to stay with it.
#5558 of 19336 Re: Nightmare 1998 Forester S [catep]
Aug 22, 2005 (5:27 am)
Boy, that sounds like a tough round of repairs/problems.... you have my sympathy. I wonder how much of it is due to poor work at the dealer? (maybe all!) How many miles are on the car now? How many when you bought it? What is the book value of the car?
In my experience, Subarus have been very reliable, but problems do crop up on ocassion. A poor or dishonest dealer can take minor problems and turn them in to major ones, either by doing unnecessary work and breaking stuff in the process, or by creating new problems when they fix old ones. I hate to hear about situations like this, because it really gives Subaru a bad reputation.
#5559 of 19336 Re: Nightmare 1998 Forester S [c_hunter]
Aug 22, 2005 (7:11 am)
Good point. Excellent vs. bad service can make all the difference. There are some good Subaru service departments out there, but in general Subaru doesn't seem to excel in this area. I think its because almost all Subaru dealers carry the brand as a secondary line. If Subaru continues to try to move upmarket, they really need to upgrade their dealer network.
#5560 of 19336 Re: Nightmare 1998 Forester S [dinosaur]
Aug 22, 2005 (11:20 am)
I agree completely. That has been my observation as well.