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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-13-2007, 03:11 AM Thread Starter
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Red FWD light

I test drove a 2004 Forester X and loved it. However the red FWD light on the speedometer never went out for the test. The drive was 20 miles round trip to my mechanic to have it checked out, and he never mentioned it being a problem, and I forgot to ask about it. Later I became more concerned about it as red lights are usualy never good. I have never owned a Subaru before having had SAABs since 1972, so I have no resources ( but this forum) to help me. Also the road conditions were clear and dry.
I left a deposit with the dealer but am I looking at major problems.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-13-2007, 03:39 AM
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It sounds like you're in Front Wheel Drive mode, which is usually only used when you have an irregular size spare on, which is only the Automatic transmission if I understand it correctly.

check your AWD fuse?
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-13-2007, 03:45 AM
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More specifically, I think you would not want a fuse in that slot, so pull it and see if the light goes away after restarting the car?

what size fuse to use to disengage awd
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-13-2007, 04:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DNash View Post
I test drove a 2004 Forester X and loved it. However the red FWD light on the speedometer never went out for the test. .
That light is usually on only if someone has installed a fuse in a special slot to lock out the rear wheel drive and convert to front-wheel drive only. This option is provided in case you have a spare tire that is not very close in size to other tires and have to use it. The recommendation is to put the spare on the back and lock out rear wheel drive until matching tires can again be installed. As this may tell you, the Subaru is sensitive to having four matching tires with about the same amount of wear.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-13-2007, 07:01 AM
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Damn, I wish I was a fuse away from converting to RWD... That would be awesome!
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-13-2007, 07:26 AM
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I would be concerned that the AWD system might have a fault, and some unscrupulous person has inserted the FWD fuse to mask that fault. Could even be a previous owner. I would either walk away from the car completely, or at least get that FWD fuse taken out and go for a LONG test drive. Also have your mechanic re-check the car at his own expense as he really should have noticed the warning light!

If the FWD fuse has not been inserted then you will want to get some proper diagnostic work done, or risk buying a 2WD Forester!

-- Steve

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-13-2007, 08:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sahunt View Post
I would be concerned that the AWD system might have a fault, and some unscrupulous person has inserted the FWD fuse to mask that fault. Could even be a previous owner. I would either walk away from the car completely, or at least get that FWD fuse taken out and go for a LONG test drive. Also have your mechanic re-check the car at his own expense as he really should have noticed the warning light!

If the FWD fuse has not been inserted then you will want to get some proper diagnostic work done, or risk buying a 2WD Forester!

-- Steve
+1

Buyer beware...

-Silke
04 FXT PP PSM ~ "Subed"
98 Forester S ~ "Slynki"
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-13-2007, 11:18 AM
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Take the fwd fuse out and do some low speed tight turns and see if theres any hopping. Also, does the car currently have all the same tires on it?

04xt/4eat, 16g, STI bits and bobs
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-13-2007, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by pleiad7 View Post
+1

Buyer beware...
+2

Something very fishy there. I'd also suggest that mechanics who ignore red lights are well worth staying a million miles away from.

07 Forester Sports XT 4EAT & 02 WRX wagon 5MT
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-14-2007, 03:28 AM Thread Starter
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First I would like to thank those who replied to my post. I told the dealer why the deal was in doubt, he has until noon today to explain the FWD light. The car was advertised one week earlier with new tires then when we saw it, very used tires were on it and the new tires was removed from the ad, so they must have been doing something in that area. I am thinking of a no charge extended warranty on the AWD, six months or a year or just voiding the deal.
Worst case, if the FWD was set to mask a problem with the AWD, and the AWD needed to be totaly replaced, what would the cost be ?
I asked three Forester owners at work yesterday about the FWD light and none knew about it ! But this forum gave me the answers I needed within minutes. Thanks again.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-14-2007, 06:05 AM
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^ Bring it to a garage that have experience with working with Subaru's.

Also does the A/T Oil temp light flash when you start it up? That's how how you can find out if its giving you a fault code.

Read this http://endwrench.com/images/pdfs/4EAatPh2Win04.pdf

This may clear up some questions.


Gary

2001 L 5 spd, Borla header, custom exhaust.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-14-2007, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by DNash View Post
Worst case, if the FWD was set to mask a problem with the AWD, and the AWD needed to be totaly replaced, what would the cost be ?
Well, for a start it would not need to be totally replaced since it is using a large part of it to work in FWD mode. Also, the rear axle is probably OK (especially if it has an open diff - does the one you are looking at have the premium package?) so it is likely to only involve a few parts in the main transmission. That said though, it won't be inexpensive to fix - even if it is only a solenoid which has failed, labour charges are going to add up (in fact, if that fuse has been in for any great length of time, it may have fried something anyway and be incapable of operating in AWD mode).

Personally, I'd pass on this car. There should be plenty of non-suspect Foresters around without having to deal with this one. We'd love to have you as a fellow Forester owner, but we'd hate it to be an expensive headache for you!

07 Forester Sports XT 4EAT & 02 WRX wagon 5MT
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-15-2007, 06:42 AM
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^+1

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-15-2007, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
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I voided the deal because I could not get an answer as to WHY the fuse was in there. It was a very ugly exchange with the dealer. A sad situation.
Much thanks again to this forum for the quick and accurate information that prevented me from losing scarce money an a defective car.
I am still sold on Foresters and am looking at a 2003 tomorrow. I am interested how it drives in AWD.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-15-2007, 05:41 PM
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Good decision! Good luck with the next one

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