Subaru forester problems

Well I just made my last payment on my 2005 forester and the differential went by by. Should run me $1400 for a repair or they can service the unit and limit it to 2 wheel drive for around $400. I guess I will go the cheap route or sell the car in the future. Any suggestions on a good canoe/kayak hauling vehicle in the future. My last Forester was a bit of a dog and leaked like crazy from the rear hatch as well as having transmission problems. So purchase of a new Subie is not going to happen.

what happened?
Take it the center diff went? Automatic correct? Did they say the reason why? Other than mismatched tires (causing the LSD to continually try to lock) and the turbo Subaru crowd from launching, I haven’t heard too much about center diffs going on Subarus.

Sorry for your misfortune!

reason given. I am about to pick the car up now. actually brought it in for a recall on the gas tank. Will see what the response is. I do use the car for hauling about 100lbs of boats on top but not sure that would be a cause.

We Can Talk
I just test drove a bunch of cars and had my nose stuck in a Consumer Reports car edition. The 3 vehicles I enjoyed driving were the Mazda 3, VW Jetta wagon, and the Hyundai Elantra Touring. I bought the Elantra. Hope it’s good. Consumer Reports liked it. Check 'em out.

As owner of an '04 Forester,
could you tell me how many miles were on yours? Just wondering what I might be in for. Sorry for your misfortune.

Mismatched tires? Don’t believe it.
I had put a year of wear on a set of tires when one was ruined on a road hazard. I bought a new tire like the others and put it on. I had no problems whatsoever with the differential, and that set of tires lasted 70k. This was on a '97 stick shift Outback.

If you think about it, just driving on gravel most of the time would put as much or more strain on the differential, because the power split puts most of the power through the front tires, so they will slip more.

Subaru Reliability
As a former Subaru owner, I must say that they sure do enjoy a rather un-deserved reputation for reliability.

my 01 Forester has 160000 miles on it and no problems at all.

Our 09 has just 30000.

We live a mile and a half off pavement.

Among people I know more are pleased than displeased. But those that have problems seem to have big ones early on.

mismatched tires will do it

– Last Updated: Apr-02-10 4:49 PM EST –

There's enough fudging in the OEM Subaru diffs that a reasonable difference in tire circumference (beyond what Subaru states) won't cause an issue.

It isn't slipping on gravel roads or snow that's the issue. It is the constant attempt of the LSD over thousands of miles with fairly large tire circumference differences that lead to premature wear.

If you got 70K miles out of a set of tires, one year of driving probably didn't wear down the replaced one enough to make that much of a difference in tread depth.

As far as OP and vehicle selection goes... Are you looking for the same class of vehicle? CR-V and Rav-4 are obviously direct competitors. 2WD suffice? You then start looking at Matrix (and if used, Vibe), Mazda5/Mazda3, VW Jetta wagon/Golf, Fit, etc.... Not sure which cars standout nowadays in terms of racks.

I know Subaru pissed off people with the new Outback and their integrated cross rail system, not sure if anybody else is doing the same.

"But those that have problems seem to have big ones early on."

That was my experience.

I loved the car from a functional stand-point. But… I had some very expensive problems well before the 100,000 mile mark and I am very kind to my cars.

Holy crap…get ready for a beating!
Dissing a Subaru on this forum is a big onion’s move!

That’s akin to suggesting Kevlar has limitations, or the BCU isn’t the “only” source for quality instruction. Shame on you!

Of course the mechanical experts will enlighten you as to why it’s your fault that the under-powered, inefficient POS that everybody thinks is awesome let you down.

Get a truck, canopy,real rack, and get on with life. Your sleeping bed can go with you and the thing can actually haul, tow, get over a mt. pass, and even last 300k or so. Toyota, Chev, Ford, Dodge Cummins, etc…

Or, just put an Obama sticker on the Subbie and sell it for far more than it’s worth…

Yes, my point is that driving on gravel
or other slippery surfaces is NOT and issue, and therefore a discrepant tire should not be either. Subaru dealers advise four new tires if just one is replaced, even if little wear has occured. Subaru dealers sell tires.

Now, if someone has two or more years of wear on the tires, then it would be intelligent to start over with 4 new tires. But Subaru’s advice simply puts more tires in landfills, and sometimes more money in their pockets.

I’m with ya man…
Our Outback has smelled like antifreeze since new. All the plastic trim is falling off. Wheel bearings just went. Air conditioner is an issue today. It has 80K. I got 200K out of my last Ford and could have gotten a lot more, but I needed a change.

First and LAST Subaru.

Servive rep
at the dealer said it is not uncommon for the differential to go. I have about 90000 on the car. The rep noted that they had a forester in the day before with a similar problem. It appears to be a problem on all wheel drive vehicles. My old Honda CRV had the same issue at a few more miles.

mazda 3 is a nice car
Well made, lightweight, relatively long roofline for a small hatchback. Fun car also.

You came here preloaded. I don’t notice that sentiment much at all. I have to think most subaru owners are aware of the tradeoffs for owning one. Well maintained they can roll over three times but you have to keep up on the work. They are not toyotas.

I had similar problems and vowed never to buy a another subaru again.

While under warranty, on our 2005 Sub forester, I advised the dealership of engine problems we were having where the trans seemed to be slipping or possibly the engine missing. All of the complaints were documented on the dealership computer. My concern was so great that I contacted the dealership owner and told him of the problem.

His mechanics were never able to duplicate the problem nor diagnose it. I even told them to look into a possible valve problem. The owner told me to let them know each time I brought the vehicle in for service, since they were unable to find the problem. I advised him I do not want to pay for a $5000 repair 2 weeks after our car is out of warranty and his mechanics will, undoubtedly, discover the problem then. Owner explained that since each service is documented, if that was the case, he would have no problem covering the repair.

Well, lo and behold, just 3 weeks after my warranty expired, car goes into service and I get a phone call for a $6000 repair!

Long story short, I fought long and hard, filed a report with NITSA, Better Business Bureau, and threatened law suit, even meeting with an attorney. Needless to say, my bill was $0.

However, my car is doing the same thing again. I sent it in and guess what, they can’t find the problem. What a surprise.

Well, I got 160k without a
linkage problem. I had to pay for a burned valve, my AC quit working and the dealer couldn’t fix it after three tries, and they were after me to do front half shafts. But the viscous transfer linkage was fine.

“Well maintained they can roll over three times”

Well, there’s the rub for me. I’m pretty meticulous with maintenance, oil changes, etc. Many of the Subie issues have nothing to do with maintenance.

The other thing with Subie that drove me bonkers is that they have issues that persist model year after model year after model year… and they just never seem to address anything. Most other manufacturers will change a component design mid-model year to address an issue.

Need more information to make …

– Last Updated: Apr-02-10 9:52 PM EST –

... an intelligent choice, but I'd bet the sensible thing is to keep the car. How many miles are on the car? If miles are not terribly high (there is NO reason you can't keep it running beyond 200,000 miles with reasonable care), and if you haven't been plagued with repair problems up to this point, then for all practical purposes, $1400 puts the car back in its previous condition (better-than-previous condition, actually, since the center diff will be new or like-new). Let's say the repaired center diff fails again 90,000 miles from now (which statistically, is not likely unless you are doing something wrong). Can you get a used car that is good for 90,000 miles for $1400? Heck no. That makes this a no-brainer for anyone who wants reasonable bang for the buck. Fix the thing and keep driving. Unless a car is a complete piece of crap, it is cheaper to keep it running than to sell it and buy another.

Regarding transmission problems, I subscribe to the idea that anyone who drives and drives but never changes ALL the oils is asking for trouble. You may do okay without ever changing transmission oil, but if you do that, just LOOK at the stuff! Do you really trust that dirty, stinky, sticky fluid to do as good a job as clean oil? That probably applies to your center diff as well. Ever see what that oil looks like when it never gets changed compared to the oil in a diff that HAS been changed? Regarding all gearbox oils, if you change the oil at 5- or 10-thousand miles, and then every 50- or 60-thousand from then on, the oil will always look completely clear and clean (except at the first time you change it), like it came straight out of the can. This very long oil-change interval (after that first time) makes the cost of running your gears in pristine oil pretty small, and it's the one thing you can do that virtually guarantees that you will be free of gear-system breakdowns. Think about that before you put yourself in a position to be making monthly payments again, instead of making the equivalent of a few monthly payments and being done.