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#3078 of 3748 09 Subaru Forester AC Problem
Mar 01, 2009 (6:29 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.
#3079 of 3748 Re: 09 Subaru Forester AC Problem [jgroveman]
Mar 01, 2009 (10:29 am)
__sometimes__ this person is helpful to owners. He's been referred to at other Subaru forums:
Tim Colbeck, VP Sales
Subaru of America
He's located at Subaru's New Jersey office: address should be at Subaru website or found by web search.
#3080 of 3748 Re: 09 Forester AC Problem - Don't Buy Subaru [robm2]
Mar 01, 2009 (12:01 pm)
The automatic climate control system, in the Forester and the Impreza is horrible
I quickly figured out that trying to use the auto climate control was an exercise in futility so I switched it to manual mode. Now 5 years later, I've been perfectly happy leaving it that way.
#3081 of 3748 Re: fragile paint on the arm rest [kurtamaxxxguy]
Mar 02, 2009 (12:05 pm)
I blame the trend towards metal-look paint rather than trim that was just one color all the way through, not painted.
My 98 Forester has plain old black trim. Even if you cut or scraped it, it was black all the way through.
Our 2002 Legacy had a near-black metallic paint on some of it's trim. It actually wore well, we had that car for 6+ years. It may have helped that the color was similar to the color of the plastic behind it.
Now in 2009 they use what I call "pluminum", i.e. plastic painted to look like aluminum trim. It's lighter so whatever wears really shows the black plastic behind it.
They should just go back to using unpainted plastic trim. It may be cheap but it lasts forever.
#3082 of 3748 Re: fragile paint on the arm rest [ateixeira]
Mar 02, 2009 (12:18 pm)
Amen to that.
I really like the look and feel of the interior dash & door materials in my '96 Outback. It was very similar to the look/feel of the '92 Camry materials, so maybe that was the "style of the '90s." Whatever it was, it looked nice, felt nice, and lasted. The worst wear that showed on that car was the steering wheel, where the textured look of the vinyl had worn smooth after 220,000 miles of driving. But, it still looked nice.
#3083 of 3748 Re: fragile paint on the arm rest [xwesx]
Mar 02, 2009 (1:23 pm)
Gimme plain-old matte black, unpainted plastic trim, any day.
#3084 of 3748 colored plastic fine as well
Mar 02, 2009 (1:43 pm)
It's certainly possible to use good quality colored plastic, with a clear coat.
But that does cost a little more, and unfortunately Subaru chose to use paint only this time around.
Once my trim gets fixed I'll research an autoshop repainting all the interior door rests and transmission center plate with a clear coat protective film.
#3085 of 3748 Re: colored plastic fine as well [kurtamaxxxguy]
Mar 03, 2009 (8:56 am)
That's how my Sienna is - clearcoat over the pluminum trim.
I still prefer plain ol' unpainted plastic.
#3086 of 3748 2009 Forrester 2.5X MT, 2 wheel drive only?!
Mar 05, 2009 (5:52 pm)
When I purchased my 2009 Forrester 2.5X MT, two months ago, I thought getting a permanent all wheel drive 50/50 system.
Apparently not, as in snow driving the rear end fishtails during turns!!!
As a test, after lifting the rear only (car in neutral and no hand brake), I can freely spin the back wheels, while the front wheels remain still.
Needless to say I will schedule a visit to the dealership repair shop ASAP!
My points/questions are:
a) Others may be in the same situation, so be forewarned.
b) Is there a better/easier way to check if this specific AWD system is working or not?
c) Feel free to shime any ideas, comments, questions.
#3087 of 3748 Re: 2009 Forrester 2.5X MT, 2 wheel drive only?! [froggy3]
Mar 05, 2009 (6:37 pm)
I'll be looking for your update!
Mine does the same thing. It is my first AWD, so I had thought I was told it is suppose to do that, fish tail on turns, especially under any slight amount of acceleration.