('14+) 2017 Forester, indefinite airbag repair - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 04:07 AM Thread Starter
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2017 Forester, indefinite airbag repair

2017 Forester XT purchased in September 2016. In February 2017, at 6800 miles, the SRS airbag error light came on one morning when I started the car. It stayed on most of the day then was off upon starting later that evening. The dealership called me, starlink emailed me, and Subaru corporate called me all to say to take the vehicle in if the light came back on. (It's my understanding that the SRS light on means no airbag will deploy in a crash.) The light was back on the very next day. So off to the dealership we went. The light was off when I arrived, they hooked it up to the computer and said it came back as "uneven weight distribution" I got very specific instructions on how to sit in the seat properly along with instructions to never put anything under the seat. I was told that no one should fall asleep in the passenger seat ever or leaning to one side would trip that SRS error light as well.
I drove home and the light came back on in my driveway. So the next day my husband took the vehicle back, where he was met with another condescending lecture on proper sitting and how very sensitive the seat issue. The service rep didn't even do paperwork on the visit, and gave him a painfully detailed instruction set on properly sitting in the car. (With a due respect to Subaru, we know how to sit in a seat!) At my husbands insistance someone did check the car, where they again said the error code for "uneven weight distribution" came up. They also brought in a sunglasses case and said it was under the seat. (Questionable)
A few weeks went by without an error light but then it was on again when I was leaving the gym one morning. So no passenger in the car, only a driver. Later that day I started the car and the light was off. Then my daughter and I rode together somewhere and the light blipped on while we were driving. I pulled over, tried restarting the car, light still on. So now here we on are in the interstate with no airbags.
I took the vehicle BACK to the dealership on March 24. Again. Same thing. "Uneven weight distribution" The service rep asked if I ever drove with a credit card inside the vehicle. Yes. As do 99.99% of adults. He suggested that having a credit card in the car was the issue. A different service rep stepped in and said they would keep the vehicle to take a closer look. As I was leaving the original service rep said "I'll ask corporate to replace the seat. But I can't guarantee this will stop the needless visits." NEEDLESS VISITS. I left in an Outback loaner with the promise that someone would call me Monday morning with an update. No one called.
Tuesday (car had been at the dealership 4 days) my husband stopped by after work to get my mailbox key from the console. The service rep that we now affectionately refer to as "our best friend" *rolls eyes*, told my husband "we ordered the part. No time frame on when it will be here." My husband has decided he will write a strongly worded letter about this guy as soon as the repair is completed.
A week went by with no word from the dealership. I called the following Monday (car has now been there 10 days) and spoke to my best friend again who told me "I believe I already discussed this with your husband" (Seriously this guy!) He said the part is coming in 2 pieces. Half the part is in, the other part is expected to arrive that day or the next day.
Thursday (car at dealership 12 days) my bestie called and said bad news, the part is backordered. It should arrive in another week to week and a half. My husband called the service manager that night and found out the part they need essentially does not exist. There is a waiting list from the manufacturer. The service manager said that until they could obtain the part, that there was nothing they could do.
We contacted Subaru Corporate who said "the dealership is waiting on the part" multiple follow up calls to Corporate result in the same answer. That they will contact us when they have an answer. They have never contacted us.
We're now sitting at 24 days of my car at the dealership. Baking under the Texas sun. (dealership refused to put a sunshade in the front window even when we offered to pay for it) I hate this loaner Outback. I hate having a loaner for an extended period of time with kids. We had to rearrange our Easter weekend road trip plans because we don't have my vehicle.
I'm so frustrated. Saddened. Insulted. A vehicle with 7000 miles on it that is down for indefinite repair. The fact that something in the car failed isn't a huge issue. That's why warranties exist. But the huge failure from the dealership, the transfer of blame to us, and corporates flat out ignoring the issue is. If we are on a waiting list, that means others are in our position.
We're starting lemon law proceedings today. We've discussed even if the repair miraculously gets fixed soon, just trading the car in and taking the financial hit. I can't imagine ever trusting Subaru again.

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 04:12 AM
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What a mess. Sounds like your dealership has a horrible service department.

Please share which dealership is handling the problem... I understand if you want to wait until the ordeal is over before posting this info.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 04:36 AM
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There is one common situation that can light that light, and it's an easy DIY fix. After that it gets well beyond DIY capabilities.

When the dealer said not to put anything under the seat, they were most likely referring to the fact that there is a connector down there that hooks the seat sensor into the airbag system. It can tend to get jarred by objects that slide around under the seat, or sometimes even if there's nothing under there. The connector is easy to spot, as it's colored yellow. It can appear to be properly connected, but sometimes the contacts get separated inside, especially as the car ages and tarnish might have begun to form. It happened to me on my 2003 and my wife's 2016, both on the same historic day.

So, check under the seat with a flashlight, find the yellow connector, grab it securely on both ends, and give them a good solid wiggle and a good push together. Good luck!
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 04:44 AM Thread Starter
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The vehicle has been in the dealerships possession for 24 days and counting. I cannot check it myself. I did suggest when dropping it off that something was loose because it's an intermittent problem. The problem isn't even the real problem here. It's the lack of solution.
I will share all dealership information when the entire issue is over. Having the loaner Outback is doing a great job as bad advertising for the dealership because everyone I know screeches "Why don't you have your car back yet?!?!?!" Every time they see me driving the stupid loaner still. I still hold on to hope that Corporate will call and say "This isn't ok, let's get you a solution" but every day that goes by makes me less hopeful.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 06:09 AM
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Call Subaru at 1-800-SUBARU3 a couple times a week and pressure them into resolving this issue ASAP.

At the least, they need to cover your car payment for this month since you haven't been in possession of your vehicle.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 08:37 AM
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This is the kind of story that you just hate to hear about. First off, the service rep at the dealership needs to decide if he really wants a job there or not. I wouldn't take that from him even once. Second, Subaru has to step up. If the part isn't available they should have told you that and offered some accommodation. They should have at least made it look like they actually care. I hope you keep us updated. This is just a ridiculous situation for Subaru and the dealership to put you through.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 08:52 AM
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Wow, very sorry to hear this story, especially as a new FXT owner.

I think you have a very good lemon law case here, thanks to your dealership's actions. Be sure to document EVERYTHING.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 09:01 AM
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Wow.... I'm sorry but I am laughing. If a service rep told me I didn't know how to sit in a car seat, I probably would have told him to go sit on something himself.

Car left out in Texas sun.... Not good. I don't blame you for starting Lemon Law proceedings.
You should get a new car.

Welcome to this forum and post the resolution.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 09:11 AM
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Wow, just wow. Good luck getting it resolved.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
Wow.... I'm sorry but I am laughing. If a service rep told me I didn't know how to sit in a car seat, I probably would have told him to go sit on something himself.
This. If someone told me a resolution to my problem was to sit differently, or "never fall asleep" in the passenger seat, or don't carry credit cards, I would immediately end the conversation and ask for a manager, and keep moving up the food chain until someone starts talking some sense.

Quote:
Car left out in Texas sun.... Not good. I don't blame you for starting Lemon Law proceedings. You should get a new car.
Depending on where in Texas they are at, sun may be the least of their concerns - I think we've already had 2 widespread hail storms here in N Texas this year...

I don't see anything in the service manual about "uneven weight distribution" in the airbag systems diagnostics section. Not saying they are lying or that I know better - I don't have access to Subaru Select Monitor - but just seems weird, and would like to know what code it's showing. Can't hurt to ask and gather as much information as possible...

Similarly, if you google search "subaru seat uneven weight distribution" nothing relevant but this thread comes up in the several pages of results I skimmed. It would seem you either have a never before seen/reported problem, or the dealership is not explaining the problem properly, or you misheard or misunderstood them - but since you quoted that phrase several times, I'm guessing you're repeating what they told you.

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 09:44 AM Thread Starter
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Yes "uneven weight distribution" is what they keep calling it. The repair order states "code B1650 Occupant Classification System Malfunction"
Another call to Corporate resulted in an extended holding time and leaving our number for a call back..... with no call back.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 09:59 AM
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Yes "uneven weight distribution" is what they keep calling it. The repair order states "code B1650 Occupant Classification System Malfunction"
Another call to Corporate resulted in an extended holding time and leaving our number for a call back..... with no call back.
Ah, ok, at least they put it on there. Seems like it could be a few things:



The diagnostic procedure they mention is mostly checking connectors and harnesses - don't know how the way someone sits in the seat could be a factor here...
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 10:02 AM
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^^^ There's nothing there which suggests that occupant is faulty!
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
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Yes my husband has told everyone there what utter BS "not sitting properly" is. Everyone is like "oh well the technology...."
No. IF it were our fault it would have happened immediately upon purchasing the vehicle, not 5 months into ownership.
I mentioned my daughter once and they were like "children can't ride in the front!" She's 5'6" and 130lbs. She's not a baby.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 07:50 AM Thread Starter
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Over a week of radio silence from the dealership and no call backs from Corporate, despite multiple calls. Which puts us at a grand total of one call from the dealership and zero calls from Corporate in 28 days.
*Sigh* I'm just going to stop calling, stop questioning and let the Lemon Law do its thing. Who knows how long that will take, but since nothing is being done anyways, I guess I've got time. Come on Subaru. Really? I wanted to be a lifelong customer. I wanted to drive it into the ground. I didn't even get to make the 5th car payment before this happened and they totally turned their backs. (I know this is a board of Subaru enthusiasts and I'm genuinely happy for everyone who loves their Subaru and has found it reliable. I truly wish I could say the same.)
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