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Discussion Starter #1
Just bought a 2010 Suretrak. The engine had a rough idle and rattled.
Dealership said it had a 'loose piston' and they had fixed that. Engine now only rattles when it's working harder to get up a hill or when it's a cold start (it's still 15° here overnight).
It's had an auxiliary belt replaced and an ECU update, but is now running worse than before. There's also an intermittent whistle from the clutch - only when the engine is running.
All the work was done under warranty, I've only had the car a little under 30 days. I was told the car had been well looked after and was reliable. I am thinking of rejecting the car. I'm concerned that once the really cold weather arrives, it will let me down. Can anyone advise me please?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Can anyone advise me please?
It's getting colder in the UK now and the engine really rattles until it's warmed up, which can take over 10 minutes. It's jerky when pulling off and going through the lower gears, but appears fine after about 20 minutes.
I'm trying to get the dealership to take back the car, as it hasn't improved and is worse when the weather temperature drops. I just need some information on what the problem might be. Thank you.
 

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Get rid of it!
First, the diesels are no good for daily commuting / short trips; this was even stated by Subaru.
I think the dealership is jerking your chain - exactly how did they fix a "loose piston"?
Diesels do rattle when cold - this is fact. Is the 10 min warm up at idle or actually driving? Diesels do take longer to reach operating temperature which can be annoying on a cold morning!
I found this article interesting: https://carleg.com/The-tips-of-2010-Subaru-Forester-2-0D-SureTrak-replacing-hydraulic-lifters
Perhaps @pitrack_1 can give us an opinion based on his experience with the diesel in cool temperatures.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hello Kevin,

Thank you for answering me, I really appreciate it.
I've tried a 10 minute warm up at idle, but it was still rattling when I drove off. It can take a good 10 minutes or more to stop rattling when I drive straight off. I end up driving it very carefully until the rattling stops, as it sounds terrible.
The dealership have asked me if I've "ever had a Subaru before", which I haven't, but I still wouldn't expect an engine to sound like that. Surely if it was in good condition, it should sound like it does once warmed up.
I have a feeling the previous owner sold it during the summer to hide the problem.
 

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2010 Forester Diesel 6MT
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Perhaps @pitrack_1 can give us an opinion based on his experience with the diesel in cool temperatures.
Harrumph! Kevin has suggested I comment, which of course I can. Whether I should is another matter entirely :)

I'll try to put some comments/answers against pertinent parts. Some may seem a bit harsh.

Some quick comments first:
* As per
Get rid of it!
and
Go with your gut
Do it
get rid of it if you're not happy and get a petrol.
  • Make sure the oil quality and viscosity are correct.
  • How many Klms/miles?
  • Get an OBD-II dongle and Torque Pro and monitor some parameters to see if anything's obviously off.
Just bought a 2010 Suretrak. The engine had a rough idle and rattled. Dealership said it had a 'loose piston' and they had fixed that. Engine now only rattles when it's working harder to get up a hill or when it's a cold start
I think the dealership is jerking your chain - exactly how did they fix a "loose piston"?
What do they mean by a 'loose piston'?! Get them to explain. And whilst they fixed a loose piston, you asked them to fix a rough idle and rattle. If they haven't done that, they haven't done as you asked (or legitimately explained otherwise) AND you haven't held them to it.

(it's still 15° here overnight).
I assume you're in UK/EU?? Is it 15°C or 15°F?

It's had an auxiliary belt replaced...
Shouldn't affect the rattling unless perhaps they didn't change the tensioner as well. Or the water pump.

It's had ...an ECU update, but is now running worse than before.
Re: ECU update, It's possible that it may need an injector recalibration. The dealer should be able to initiate this and the car does it itself at various times/distances.

There's also an intermittent whistle from the clutch - only when the engine is running.
What on Earth is a 'whistle from the clutch', how do you ascertain it's coming from the clutch and why on Earth would you think it could whistle when the engine is NOT running?

It's getting colder in the UK now and the engine really rattles until it's warmed up, which can take over 10 minutes. It's jerky when pulling off and going through the lower gears, but appears fine after about 20 minutes.
I've tried a 10 minute warm up at idle, but it was still rattling when I drove off. It can take a good 10 minutes or more to stop rattling when I drive straight off. I end up driving it very carefully until the rattling stops, as it sounds terrible.
These engines are efficient (i.e. don't generate much heat) and therefore don't warm up quickly or easily, certainly not at idle. It would take ours 5-10 mins (several klms) to warm up enough to blow warm air from the heater. You need to drive yours (under throttle, not just idling in traffic) to warm it up.

We had NO trouble starting it when cold (down to -7C, parked outside overnight and started at dawn) even WITHOUT glow plugs (which had failed and were disconnected) and the engine ran smoothly with very little change from warm, I was actually quite astounded, but then I'd been used to the rattle of cold tractor engines plsu their utter refusal to start without excessive glow-pluigging...

I'm trying to get the dealership to take back the car, as it hasn't improved and is worse when the weather temperature drops.
It's possible that maybe a sensor (such as an air intake temp sensor) isn't reading accurately (but not badly enough to throw an error). An incorrect sensor measurement will throw off the car ECU about how to meter fuel. Again an OBD-II dongle plus program such as Torque Pro is your friend, you can monitor these parameters.

I just need some information on what the problem might be.
For info on what the problem might be you need to take it to a competent independent diesel mechanic who knows a bit about car diesels, in particular Subarus. Tell them the issue and see if they agree also get them to give you a report (yes, pay) on the overall condition and issues. Then make the dealer fix everything under warranty.

The dealership have asked me if I've "ever had a Subaru before", which I haven't, but I still wouldn't expect an engine to sound like that. Surely if it was in good condition, it should sound like it does once warmed up.
Whether you've had a Subaru before or not is irrelevant and condescending on their part. If they can't explain why it sounds different and if it should then they don't know themselves. Also, ask them to show you another Subaru diesel that does exactly the same thing.

I was told the car had been well looked after and was reliable.
Are they ever going to tell you it was NOT well looked after and NOT reliable?!! And to quote our finance industry disclaimer, “past performance is not an indicator of future results”

It's jerky when pulling off and going through the lower gears, but appears fine after about 20 minutes.
It could be something like the turbo VGT (Variable Geometry Turbo) mechanism is a bit clogged and not able to change angle smoothly. May need an inspection and clean. It should NOT be jerky unless you're ham-footed with the throttle- except in first gear which can be a little touchy esp with the clutch.
Also make sure the fuel is good AND the fuel filter isn't (partially) clogged either with debris or water. It's also not impossible the high pressure side of the fuel rail has issues, e.g. the suction control valve and/or pressure regulator and/or high pressure fuel pump, and these are settling down as the engine (and fuel) warms.
 

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2010 Forester Diesel 6sp Manual
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maybe it could be chain tensioner or something. Maybe previous owner did some mods to engine software? It it has been "tuned" before there are a lot of things to mess up, like timing and other thing. Worth a try to reflash to latest version anyway. Sometimes mine isn't the quietest in the mornings too, but it can be smooth as butter in 0c and be noisy at 10c...
 

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About the whistle from the clutch !. I've recently cured the same problem with mine, by refitting the turbo hose between the IC and Air Valve so it didn't leak !. Last year while sorting a long standing engine problem I replaced the turbo hose as a precaution, it's one that does fail. And once refitted correctly, improves the running. So does cleaning the MAP sensor which gets very dirty/gunged up.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The car has done 54,000 on a 2010 plate. I'm in the UK.
The car is back at the dealership again. They just tell me "That's how Subarus are". I'm insisting there's a problem. I don't know anything about engines, but I've driven enough cars over the years to know that there's something wrong with it. I've asked them to refund me, they're only offering trade price, which is about half of what I'm paying. I've not had the car 2 months yet and have taken it back since the beginning with the same problems.
I will write down the fault suggestions that you've all mentioned and hand those over to them. I have one month of my warranty left.
Thank you all very much for taking the time to reply to me.
 

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The car has done 54,000 on a 2010 plate. I'm in the UK.
The car is back at the dealership again. They just tell me "That's how Subarus are". I'm insisting there's a problem. I don't know anything about engines, but I've driven enough cars over the years to know that there's something wrong with it. I've asked them to refund me, they're only offering trade price, which is about half of what I'm paying. I've not had the car 2 months yet and have taken it back since the beginning with the same problems.
I will write down the fault suggestions that you've all mentioned and hand those over to them. I have one month of my warranty left.
Thank you all very much for taking the time to reply to me.
Where in the UK are you ?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Finally, the dealership have agreed that there is a problem with the engine. They drove it from cold (10° here this morning) felt it and heard how badly it's running. I'm so relieved! However, they don't know what's wrong with it as it didn't throw any codes up on the diagnostic test and they couldn't find out what the problem is by any other means. So, they've said it needs to go to a Subaru specialist.
I am still wary of keeping the car and would still like a refund, but since they've disagreed that there was a problem from the beginning, I've now missed the 30 day rejection period - I think.
Thank you all for your help, I really appreciate it. I'll let you know what happens.
 

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I don't know UK law, but common sense would say that if you complained of a problem during the warranty that wasn't fixed, and they can't fix it now, they breached their contract.
In the US, it would be a slam dunk in court if you had documentation of your story. Speaking of which, the "loose piston" story sounds like (is) total bovine excrement.
Find a repair place you can trust to get a second opinion about what is actually wrong with the car and make your decision based on that, because I doubt you will ever hear the truth from the bozos you are dealing with.
If the engine needs replacement due to some major damage, they may decide to take the car off your hands and foist it onto someone else rather than paying for a large expense they don't seem to be qualified to address.
Cars seldom (never) get better with age on their own, so if you have problems now, count on more later.
I'm with the other guys - If you can get out of it do so.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
To help anyone else in the future, if you have a problem with a used car that you bought from a dealership, don't file a complaint for rejection with the finance broker, go straight to the company who supplied the finance. It may seem obvious but the broker assured me they were handling the rejection and have not.
Since calling the actual finance company themselves I have been assured that I have a good case for rejection of the car and at the very least a replacement car, even though it is now past the Consumer Rights 30 day rejection period usually advised.
It appears that if you buy at least part of your car on finance, which I did, you have protection from a large company to fight your case and investigate as the car is legally theirs until the finance is paid off.
Still crossing my fingers though, but feeling in safer hands with their reassurance.
This is a horrible, stressful situation to be in.
 
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