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Subaru Forester, Wagon, SUV
#1138 of 1436 Just bought 2001 Subaru Forester - Need Help with Possible Problems?
Aug 17, 2007 (8:03 am)
Hello everyone. Thanks for reading my post. I'll get right to it. I recently purchased a 2001 Subaru Forester L. It has a manual transmission, and 88,000 miles. It is my first Subaru, and I am very excited. The car has been well cared for and the previous owners kept meticulous records.
After driving it for a few days, I began to notice several things that could be potential problems. I had a Subaru dealership check it out (they did the basic $70 used car 1,200,063 point check). It got a clean bill of health except that it has a small leak in a valve cover that is leaking into the plug chamber (i hope i got that right). He said tht it was not something I needed to worry about right away, but something I would want to get fixed in the future - and then he sent me on my way.
I will now list out the other things that I think could potentially be wrong. Any insight into these problems would be very much appreciated. Here goes:
1. The rear brakes are squeeling when coming to a stop at low speeds. It's a high-pitch squeel, and only when I come to a stop. Wouldn't the dealer have seen poor brakes when inspecting? Any ideas?
2. The rear-end jumps and shakes the car when I let-off the clutch in first gear? The car bounces, and I have to re-engage the clutch and let it out slower. Is this an AWD thing (I have never owned an AWD before), or is it something I should be concerned about?
3. The clutch feels like it might be slipping. When shifting from 2nd to 3rd, or from 3rd to 4th, there is a delay from when I let off the clutch, and when the gear catches. I let off the clutch, and then there is a 1-3 second delay, and then the gear catches (you can feel it and hear it).
4. Puff of blue smoke when starting in the morning. I believe this could be from the oil leaking into the plug chamber. After first startup, the exhaust looks and smells very clean.
So sorry for the incredibly long email. I'm just worried that our new (to us) Subaru might have some issues. I need to figure this out before it is too late to go back to the seller with the problems. Thanks so anyone who can help me out with this.
#1139 of 1436 Re: Just bought 2001 Subaru Forester - Need Help with Possible Problems? [acleme2]
Aug 17, 2007 (8:37 am)
I would probably go ahead and have someone change the valve cover gasket, it's not that hard. You do not have to drop the engine like some myths would have you believe.
The rear brakes are drums, so it's probably just collecting some dust inside and causing the squeeking. I would spary in some brake parts cleaner and see if that helps. While you're down there go ahead and spray some lithium grease on the sway bar links.
The rear-end jump is probably caused by a bad wheel bearing. Have those inspected. Up until MY2003 that was a common occurence.
Good news is I don't think any of those issues are very serious. Enjoy your Forester.
#1140 of 1436 Re: Just bought 2001 Subaru Forester - Need Help with Possible Problems? [a
Aug 17, 2007 (5:40 pm)
I have a 2001 Forester S, purchased new, which currently has 168K miles. The leak around the spark plug is common with these engines. I've found that I've needed to change these gaskets (a rubber o-ring, actually) every other spark plug change, or 60K miles. The shaking sounds like the clutch "judder" problem, which affected several years, including 2001. This would be most noticeable upon a cold start, and more noticeable in damp weather. The fix for this is to replace the entire clutch assembly. Subaru has some newly designed parts, which eliminated the "judder" problem. Some other common problems include defective rear wheel bearings and a leaking head gasket (the number 4 cylinder...check under the car for leaking below the driver's side rear cylinder).
My Forester has experienced all of the above issues, and a few more. Despite these problems, all of which have since been repaired, I really love my car, and would probably buy a new Forester again. Best of luck with yours.
#1141 of 1436 Re: Just bought 2001 Subaru Forester - Need Help with Possible Problems? [a [leo2633]
Aug 17, 2007 (6:06 pm)
At 88k miles you may be due for a clutch.
As for the jumping in 1st gear, it's common that 1st gear really can't be used on a subaru while moving. You can use it to start out but you can't go back into 1st until stopped.
Smoke is probably from the valve cover gasket leak.
#1142 of 1436 Re: 60 K service quote [paisan]
Aug 22, 2007 (1:21 pm)
I must say, you guys are a splendid resourse. Thanks for all your suggestions/pointers.
Finally got new air, fuel and oil filters and the fluids changed (transmission, diffs, brake, coolant, oil). Since the Falkens were worn down to the wear-bars, I finally got the Nokian WRs for $136 each (balanced, mounted, alligned, tire-disposal, free lifetime balancing & rotations). After those Falkens came off, it was like driving a new car.... where was all that road noise? These Nokians are quiet... The car rides smooth. Now I'll sell my Blizzaks, and save the yearly switching expenses.
The total for all but the tires was about $365, taxes included. I only provided the oil & filter.
By the way, should I always stay with 5W30? I hear people with higher milage going to 10W30. That's not what the manual states. I plan to stay with Mobil 1, and aim to run this car into the ground. If the change is advised, at what milage can this change take place?
PS: 4-Blizzaks WS50 215/60/16 for sale!
#1143 of 1436 Re: 60 K service quote [brainlessbozo]
Aug 24, 2007 (6:42 pm)
If anything I'd run 0w30 in the winter. 10w30 will yield worse milage and generally isn't suggested.
Mobile 1 is ok, but I'd suggest going to Amsoil or Redline as they have a better synthetic than M1.
#1144 of 1436 225/55-16 on Forester XT
Aug 27, 2007 (12:23 pm)
Tire replacement time... I'm thinking of replacing the stock Geolandars (blech) to some 225/55s on the stock 16" wheels on my XT (2006). Anyone know if there's enough wheel well clearance to do this safely? Also, anyone have any opinions on the Conti Extreme Contact? Tirerack seems to like them.
#1145 of 1436 Re: 225/55-16 on Forester XT [cgrocho47]
Aug 29, 2007 (4:20 am)
>>Anyone know if there's enough wheel well clearance to do this safely?<< You can put your head in there if you want. They put 17 inchers on the XT's so you shouldn't have any problem. SubaruForester.org has every question you might have answered...
#1146 of 1436 Re: 60 K service quote [paisan]
Aug 29, 2007 (2:20 pm)
Thanks for the tip. I'm going to look for one of those here in Cincy, OH. I was in South Dakota, and never had an issue with M1 5W30 even in the heart of sub-zero winters. Always had good, smooth starts. Oil analyses were consistently good, without any sign of engine wear or break-down. Oil changes were twice/year in Spring/Fall, and averaging about 7500 miles per change.
Maybe, as the engine ages, I'll try the Redline/Amsoil. I plan to change filters every 3.5K miles, and change oil every 7K.
#1147 of 1436 Re: 225/55-16 on Forester XT [cgrocho47]
Aug 29, 2007 (2:27 pm)
Why are you planning to change the size? I wanted to do the same thing, but the feel I got from this forum was there is an argument for and against both options. I did not want to change the full-size spare, so I elected to go with the stock size of 215/60-16. I went with Falkens (512s) 3 years ago. After those wore out, I went with Nokian WRs in the stock size (2 weeks ago). I had forgotten how much fun the car could be, and how quiet it could get. There previous deafening road-noise is history. Just amazing. And the traction is nothing to scoff at. I haven't noticed any drop in milage. I keep the pressures at 38 psi.
Other than Nokians, there are the Michelin Exaltos and Bridgestone Potenza G009s to choose from. Hope this helps.