weak battery/alternator problems on 2009 Forester? - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-11-2009, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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weak battery/alternator problems on 2009 Forester?

battery dies after a few hours of dome light being left on. I don't know if the car comes equiped with a cheapo battery, if the car has a known alternator problem or I'm just not checking something. I've always left lights on, door ajar, trunk open, forgot to wear pants to work, or left the dome light on many times in several other cars and if the battery was not approaching an anticipated death after 5-7 years then I would expect the battery to last at least overnight and still start the car. Not this one. Dome light killed it and tailgate doesn't close smoothly leaving the rear light on. Both drain the battery overnight. If I don't start it one day, it has a hard time cranking and might not start the next. Is this a known problem? I'm mechanically challenged; what should I go over before checking with the dealer asking for warranty work?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-11-2009, 11:40 AM
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The stock battery is not very good at holding a charge. You can turn off your dome lights or replace the battery with an Optima.

2005 Obsidian Black Pearl XT w/4eat
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-27-2012, 01:52 PM
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My 09XT is having similar issues...if it sits for any period of time with either dome light or other accessories on it's questionable if it will have enough power to start the engine. Looking at the replacement choices...I hear the Optima is good, but does it bolt in without special adapters? shape seems like it's not a drop in replacement.
I'm measuring 12.1 with a meter with engine off, running I read 14.3 which makes me believe the alternator is good but the battery is starting to fade. Suggestions on batteries please.
Also - I have a battery charger (Sears) that has 2amp, 10amp and 50amp (starting) modes. Should a new battery be charged overnight for some time and if so which setting ? 10amp mode seems to make batteries bubble a little too much...but in the manual is states that 2amp mode can actually hurt large batteries.

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2009 Forester XT Limited, Nav, Reverse Cam
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-27-2012, 02:05 PM
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might be worth charging the current battery first and re-trying.

2009 SH XCdiesel 6MT
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-27-2012, 02:12 PM
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dpm - agreed i'm going to let it sit all day tomorrow on the charger...last week I charged it on 2amp mode for a full day, but it still seemed taxed starting even after a 90min drive

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-27-2012, 02:45 PM
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I'd steer anyone away from Optima at this point. Horrible QC since they moved production to Mexico. After going through 4 of them in the past 3 years (for both of our cars) - which I find unacceptable, especially given their premium price - I will never buy another one. Interstate for me from now on.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-29-2012, 08:09 AM
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Replaced mine with a Carquest Severe Service 84 battery yesterday...back to a zippy start again..

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-29-2012, 09:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etelek View Post
battery dies after a few hours of dome light being left on. I don't know if the car comes equiped with a cheapo battery, if the car has a known alternator problem or I'm just not checking something. I've always left lights on, door ajar, trunk open, forgot to wear pants to work, or left the dome light on many times in several other cars and if the battery was not approaching an anticipated death after 5-7 years then I would expect the battery to last at least overnight and still start the car. Not this one. Dome light killed it and tailgate doesn't close smoothly leaving the rear light on. Both drain the battery overnight. If I don't start it one day, it has a hard time cranking and might not start the next. Is this a known problem? I'm mechanically challenged; what should I go over before checking with the dealer asking for warranty work?
Your '09's basic warranty covers just about everything for 3 years or 36K miles, whichever comes first. If the car is still covered, then I suggest taking it to a dealer for warranty replacement, repairs, and/or adjustments.

HTH,
Jim / crewzer

12 Forester 2.5X 5MT Premium (sold 11/2014)
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-29-2012, 07:48 PM
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The stock 2011 battery is a ~~350CCA/48AH battery.. I've had same issues.

I ran the battery down to 60% charge while idling in a parking lot during snowstorm.. waiting on someone grocery shopping.

I also had the rear light on for 2 hours and it drained the battery about 30% according to my meter.(although I dont know if it was at 100% before that obiviously)

It also starts really slow at 0F in the morning... like 1/3 speed starter and inside lights flickering off.

not sure why they put a 350CCA/48AH battery in these cars with a list of electronic gear longer than my arm.

Hell my old car I'd go out on break and put the heated seat on radio etc.. never any problem.. I wouldnt dare do that in this one (with car off)

I have a decent/good smart charger and I've been putting mine on about once a week or so to make sure its 100%

Its also not helped by the fact that 3/4 my driving during week is 6miles one way park for 8-10 hours.. repeat.

Its under warranty so I wont be upgrading but its mighty tempting to drop a 600~~CCA ~~96AH battery in there.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-30-2012, 04:11 AM
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Quote:
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The stock 2011 battery is a ~~350CCA/48AH battery.. I've had same issues.
.....
not sure why they put a 350CCA/48AH battery in these cars with a list of electronic gear longer than my arm.
Been a complaint of mine since my first Forester back in 03. They put a much beefier battery in the the Outbacks, and I'll assume it applies to the Legacy as well.

I think if you live in a warmer climate it's not much of an issue. For those of us in the snow belt, I know if I keep my car longer than 2 years I'll be moving to a heavier battery as a maintenence item.

Larry D
2014 BMW 328i xDrive Wagon
Until I Retire - then its back to Subaru

Last edited by lfdal; 01-30-2012 at 04:47 AM.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-30-2012, 04:39 AM
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After only two years on an OEM battery, I just replaced it this past weekend with a 640 CCA Interstate Mega-Tron Plus.

-Dennis

2004 PSM FXT
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-30-2012, 04:59 AM
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Size matters

It's always a good idea to put in a higher Ah battery when the OEM one dies. The less a battery gets discharged during starting, the longer it will last.

By the way, both Walmart and Interstate batteries are made by Johnson Controls.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-30-2012, 05:59 AM
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Quote:
"...They put a much beefier battery in the the Outbacks,..."
Yes and no. The spec for the battery in my brother's '11 Outback is 12 V / 52 Ah. The battery specs for both my old '09 Forester and my new '12 Forester are 12 V / 48 Ah (MT) and 12 V / 52 Ah (AT). But, the Outback's 75D23R battery is spec'd at 550 CCA, while the Forester's "big" 65D23L is spec'd at ~450 CCA.

There's another important vehicle difference. The alternator in his '11 is 110 A (nominal). The alternator in my '09 non-turbo was 90 A (turbo has 110 A), but the alternator in my '12 is 110 A.

A combination of cold weather, short drives, idling, comfort accessories, and night-time operation can really stress a car's electrical system. A larger battery might help, but a larger alternator might also be worth considering.

HTH,
Jim / crewzer

12 Forester 2.5X 5MT Premium (sold 11/2014)
09 Forester 2.5X 5MT Premium (sold 7/2011)

Last edited by crewzer; 01-30-2012 at 06:17 AM.
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