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2010 Forester
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Discussion Starter #1
Went to start the new (few months old) 2010 Forester today and the first thing I noticed was that the drivers seat (powered) was in a forward/upright position - a position that my wife and I would never use.
The Forester is in a locked garage, so no one could have tampered with it.
Next, the Forester would not start as there was no power. The battery appeared totally drained.
I called Subaru roadside assistance and they sent the CAA over and gave me a boost.
Once I got the puppie going I noticed that the open door light was on and the tailgate door was not closed/sealed properly. The 2010 Forester tailgate does not always close tight on the first attempt - and sometime you have to whack it shut a couple of times before you get the proper seal - and we were warned by the dealer of this quirk.
Anyway, the last time it had been driven was a little over 2 days earlier.
So my questions:
1. Can a improperly closed tailgate drain the battery in 48 hours?
2. Why would the power drivers seat assume a forward/upright position upon battery drain?

TIA.
 

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2017 Foz 2.5i CVT
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1,931 Posts
If the interior lights are on for 48 hours, it would definitely kill the battery. This is the only result of a non-closed tailgate that I could think of. No idea on the power seat--I've got an FX with a manual seat. Again, I see no reason why a draining battery would affect the seat. Maybe the power seat switch is bad and hanging in an "on" position?

I have an '09 and have never once failed to have the tailgate close properly. I have never heard of a "quirk" involving closing the tailgage.
George
 

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2016 Forester XT AT
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1,295 Posts
Sorry to hear of your problem and as Yo notes, 48 hrs will drain any battery.

No idea about the seat, or your sure that no one got into the garage? Kids? Family members?

...

I have an '09 and have never once failed to have the tailgate close properly. I have never heard of a "quirk" involving closing the tailgage.
George
Actually there have been a few posts about this, it seems most prevalent when the temps are cold, well below freezing, but some have noted it at other times as well.

Some examples:

http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f88/2010-forester-tailgate-issues-66447/

http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f88/2009-troubles-closing-rear-hatch-65367/
 

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2010 Forester 2.5x Tour
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100 Posts
The 2010 Forester tailgate does not always close tight on the first attempt - and sometime you have to whack it shut a couple of times before you get the proper seal - and we were warned by the dealer of this quirk.
My dealer did some adjustment to the latching mechanism as a Warranty item when I was back in Winnipeg during the -30 cold snap. As well, I was instructed to leave 5 seconds between "releasing" the latch and trying to close the liftgate again as apparently the servo is slow to reset the latching mechanism when it is cold.
 

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2009 forester
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136 Posts
sorry to hear u already had to call the doctors on your new baby. im not gonna repeat what everyone alse stated about the 48hour light on im pretty sure u got your answers. but i do have an 09 and my trunk is very hard to close also it normally takes two tries to close it. glad to hear u got it running again
 

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MY09 XSn 2.0 Diesel 6MT
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967 Posts
The Forester is in a locked garage - would not start as there was no power - The battery appeared totally drained - noticed that the open door light was on and the tailgate door was not closed/sealed properly
Had you left it unlocked in your garage ? With an 'open door' it should fail to lock and give a warning via the hazard lights.
As the battery voltage dropped the controlling electronics may have 'got their knickers in a twist', resulting in your new driving position :eek:


A week and a bit ago I had a discharged battery. The initial problem manifested itself as a very weird dash display/check sequence.

This was after my call-out to Subaru Assistance where the Steering Rack was diagnosed as faulty. During that check the ignition was on to enable the 'electric assist' power steering, so that I could 'waggle' the steering wheel while the mechanic crawled under my Forester looking for the 'knock'. A few hours later I went to drive it, finding the drivers door unlocked/unlatched and an almost totally discharged battery. It took an overnight charge to get it back to a state that allowed the Forester to be started. So when it goes in this week for the new steering rack, it might also need a new battery. :shrug:
 

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2008 Forester X Premium 5MT
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8,070 Posts
The only way the seat could have moved is if the switches are used, the switches makes the connection to power the motors. There is no way the seat could have moved with out them being pressed or shorted. If they were shorted the seat would start returning to the forward/upright position you found it in as soon as you released them.

In short some one moved them or some one left some thing resting on the switches.
 

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2006 FXT
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12,367 Posts
I know that in my 06 model, if I leave the door open too long the key-in-ignition will chime, the interior lights will blink, and then the interior lights are automatically shut off. I would assume the 09+ models would have this feature as well. :shrug:

Could the power seat switch have gotten wet and caused the seat motors to activate and stay on, thus draining the battery?
 

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2010 Forester
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21 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
To all above:
Thanks for all your input.
1. As for the possibility that someone could have tampered with the power seat, let me say that there is no way and 0.0000% chance that anyone could have touched those controls.
The garage doors are locked and the only ones to touch either of our vehicles are my wife and me. There are no kids or anyone else who have access to the garage. And there is no way that either of us would have made those adjustments. So the power drain probably buggers up the computer and electricals..
As well, the garage is dry and relatively warm (it's underneath the family room) and generally stays well above freezing even on the coldest winter day. So there are no potential weather related issues which could have affected the electicals..
2. The tailgate issue hasn't bothered me as I now always give it a good push to close and I almost always get it right on the first push - the Forester appears to be very airtight and the pressure is probably a bit of blow-back. It's very difficult to see if the tailgate is still ajar as the gap is only about a 1/16th of an inch, and generally the only way to tell is that the door-open error light is on the dash.
My wife was the last one to use the Forester 2 days ago for some grocery shopping and she sometimes doesn't get the tailgate closed tight on the 1st try. When she got home and unloaded the groceries and then closed the tailgate it's easy too see that she would have missed the fact that the tailgate was not properly sealed and that would have caused the interior light to stay on resulting in our power-outage.
BTW, it is quite likely that this is not the 1st time we've done this (leave the tailgate ajar) when the vehicle is in the garage). But this is the 1st time we've not been out in the Forester for a 48hr period and that is what fully drained the battery.

That said, from now on we'll check to make sure we the door-open error light is off when we close the tailgate.:icon_idea:

Thanks again for all your feedback.
 

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2009 Forester (MT)
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226 Posts
When you close the tailgate (back door), place your fingers on an area below to license plate, and then lightly slam the door down to close. You should be able to see the interior lights dimming, unless you have another door open (not closed all the way).

I believe that leaving the headlights ON does not drain the battery. The same can be said for the interior lights. These go off after a few minutes.
 

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2009 Forester 2.5x
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702 Posts
re: seat moving by itself

Eh, strange things can happen in electrical systems when the system drains. A few yrs ago I was driving my Taurus on what I suspected was a dying battery. In fact I was driving to a garage to have it checked out, when the electrical system of the car just kind of died on me...the dash lights started glowing and fading, the engine lurched a bit then cut out, (I pulled over right away because I knew I was going to lose the power steering and brakes), and strangest of all, the windshield wipers made one, slow half sweep. And then all was dead. At no time did I touch the wiper controls. What made them come on as the car's electrical power faded to zero??? Don't know, but sounds like your electric seat had a similar reaction.
Steve
09 2.5X AT
 

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Casper reincarnated
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:icon_idea: :icon_idea:

Sounds to me like you need to get to work and change out the interior bulbs for LED's to reduce the battery drain should it ever happen again.
 

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2014 2.0XT CVT
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3,069 Posts
If you leave the tailgate open for more than 10 minutes the interior lights should turn off. Tested this myself on my '09 the other day. While watching my son play on the park I sat in the back of the car with the tailgate opened and after about 10 minutes all the interior lights turned off.

The other thing with not closing the tailgate all the way I noticed this happened to me once or twice and each time it did I realized my fingers were actually touching the latch button which for me caused the hatch to not shut properly.
 

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2008 LL Bean (4EAT)
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... 1. Can a improperly closed tailgate drain the battery in 48 hours?...
Page 6-2 of the 2008 Owners Manual says:
"NOTE - If a door or the rear gate is left open, the light flashes and a chime sounds about 30 minutes later and then the light is turned off automatically.

... 2. Why would the power drivers seat assume a forward/upright position upon battery drain?...
The seat requires power through the switch to move, and cannot receive power after the battery is dead. It also sounds like two switches are involved, both the seat bottom and the seat back.

... My wife was the last one to use the Forester 2 days ago...
The switches can only pass power if they were operated, or were shorted. If the switches still work properly, they were not shorted.

... the drivers seat (powered) was in a forward/upright position - a position that my wife and I would never use....
Maybe she powered the driver's seat forward and the seat back upright, while standing by the rear door, to help in removing a large package from the rear seat's foot well, and forget to return the driver's seat to its normal position.
The other night I stood by the rear door and powered the driver's seat forward a couple of inches to measure if there was room to carry a large portrait. I was well into my errands the next day before I noticed the loss of legroom, only because my knee hit some dash switches when getting in.
 

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2017 Foz 2.5i CVT
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Page 6-2 of the 2008 Owners Manual says:
"NOTE - If a door or the rear gate is left open, the light flashes and a chime sounds about 30 minutes later and then the light is turned off automatically.
.........
...and the 2009 Owners Manual does NOT say this....at least not near page 6-2 which does discuss interior lights.

It does say "when leaving the vehicle, make sure the light turns off to avoid battery discharge"

Maybe another cost-cutting move.
 

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2009 Forester XT Limited
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I just did an interior mod on my MY09XT and had the rear TG open the entire time with the doors open, after about 10 minuites the interior lights went out untill I closed a door and opened it again......then the same happened with the interior lights. Sounds to me like you have a ghost in the garage, they can move through solid objects. It's probably a short ghost........:biggrin:
 

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2008 LL Bean (4EAT)
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...and the 2009 Owners Manual does NOT say this....at least not near page 6-2 which does discuss interior lights.
It does say "when leaving the vehicle, make sure the light turns off to avoid battery discharge". Maybe another cost-cutting move.
My 2008 manual says both things, and it is likely that the 2009 manual does, too. The intent is to prevent unnecessary battery drain for the time that the light stays on.
The cost "cost-cutting move" would be deletion of the timer on the lights. Have you tried leaving your 2009 cargo hatch open to see if in fact the timer has been deleted? Hot09XT says his interior lights do extinguish automatically.
 

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2009 Foz
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It's page 2-5 in the 2009 owner's manual, under the heading "battery drainage prevention function". It can be turned off by the dealer, but is enabled by default.
 

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2017 Foz 2.5i CVT
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My 2008 manual says both things, and it is likely that the 2009 manual does, too. The intent is to prevent unnecessary battery drain for the time that the light stays on.
The cost "cost-cutting move" would be deletion of the timer on the lights. Have you tried leaving your 2009 cargo hatch open to see if in fact the timer has been deleted? Hot09XT says his interior lights do extinguish automatically.
Hey, cool. I just left my hatch open for 20 minutes and the lights did indeed turn themselves off, so I learned something...thanks...

One thing I DO wish I could do is to force the interior lights off at all times when a door or tailgate is open. My van and most other vehicles have this feature, which is useful when at a campsite at night unpacking or using the vehicle as a closet. It's nice not to get 20 minutes of mosquitoes into the interior. When my son was in Boy Scouts, we would often leave the tailgate of the van open to access supplies while just hanging around the campsite.

If I'm stupid and missing something here, please let me know that too...

George
 
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