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2003 Forester Manual
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29 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2015 Forester and when the vehicle is accelerating or I'm going up a hill and give it more gas, sometimes a clackity-clack noise comes from the engine. It's not constant and it doesn't happen at idle. Seems to happen in warm weather more often. The best I can describe the sound is it's like when your bicycle chain is sort of between gears. I guess it could be valves tapping. It happened on my old Forester, but that one has 200K+ miles on it so paid it no mind. Is this normal?
 

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2015 Forester Touring 2.5 CVT
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1,318 Posts
Could it be engine knocking? Try some better gas and see if it goes away. If it's a 2.5i it should run fine on regular, 87 octane gasoline though. I get no knocking at all, nor do I get the noise you describe. For what it's worth, you should always use top-tier gasoline, not the cheaper stuff. Top-tier has better detergents to keep the engine clean over its lifetime.

Have you taken it to the dealer? It's still under warranty.
 

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2015 Forester XT [White]
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11 Posts
Hey FTS, What kind of clacking? It could be 'pinging' or 'knocking'. IE: pre-ignition of fuel from incorrect engine timing, or too low octane fuel.
Some people say it's like a can of ball bearings shaken up the front there.

I certainly would have thought a 2015 has a knock sensor to stop that happening though, so could be something else.

Have you recently put in lower than usual octane fuel?

Ant
 

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2017 Limited
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1,018 Posts
If you are in too high of a gear, you can induce detonation yourself. Downshift and save your motor. This is also called lugging the engine.
 

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2014 2.5i Premium 6MT
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82 Posts
If you are in too high of a gear, you can induce detonation yourself. Downshift and save your motor. This is also called lugging the engine.
This is actually pretty easy to do with the manual transmission. I've found it necessary to downshift even at freeway speeds in order to take on a slight grade or simply to get the power necessary for a passing maneuver. You may even have to downshift into 4th at times.

The car is pretty gutless at low RPMs in the higher gears.
 

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2003 Forester Manual
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29 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I have been using regular at various stations Exxon/Shell and it doesn't seem to make a difference. I have a CVT so I'm not lugging the engine. In fact it happens more at higher RPM's. It sounds like a rattling or like a bicycle chain that's not completely in gear. My only guess is that it's valve noise. But it's not constant and only happens when the car is under load and revs up to make more power. Does this engine have variable valve timing?
 

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2003 Forester
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15 Posts
It sounds like you have an exhaust rattle. The heat shields on the cat are bad about that. To duplicate put your car in drive with the park brake on. Then put your foot on the brake and give it a good amount of throttle (for no more than 3 seconds).
 

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16 Forester
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151 Posts
I have been using regular at various stations Exxon/Shell and it doesn't seem to make a difference. I have a CVT so I'm not lugging the engine. In fact it happens more at higher RPM's. It sounds like a rattling or like a bicycle chain that's not completely in gear. My only guess is that it's valve noise. But it's not constant and only happens when the car is under load and revs up to make more power. Does this engine have variable valve timing?
Does it happen around the same RPM range? I recomment crawling underneath and checking for loose heat shields.
 

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2015 Forester XT CVT
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255 Posts
I think I may have had this happen to me once too. It was when I gave it a good amount of gas.. I swear it was the car.. but then when I got to the stop light just ahead I noticed people were nailing a new roof on in the area where I heard it... soooo... It may have been my car.. or the roofers. I'll play with my gearing/gas again and see if it can be re created
 

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2014 Forester XT CVT
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1,365 Posts
You would be surprised at the amount of load the engine is under just "lugging" around town at 40 mph with the CVT....I was seeing 60-70% load consistently and if you gave it any amount of gas while you were driving...it sometimes approached 80-90%........(especially in "I" mode)......it really makes senses though...it is all in the name of fuel efficiency.....anyways.....back to the topic at hand....it sounds like it is knocking/pinging.....do you have an XT? if so.... you SHOULD be using premium gas......either way....try going to a tank of top-tier premium and see if that changes things....
 

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2013 Forester 2.5X 4EAT
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33 Posts
Oh man. Those videos are exactly what mine is doing. I have an automatic, and when I "give it the beans" to merge it knocks like that badly every once and a while. My STI was a problem child as well. I wonder if they were conspiring against me...
 

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2014 Forester Manual Trans - the only way to go!!!!!
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41 Posts
I've got the same thing show in the video....what's the fix for this? I'm already running premium through the engine and it still makes the same noise as in the videos. Does it need a tune? My dealer has given me the "its normal" or "I can't reproduce the sound" speech each time I've taken it to them.
 

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2015 Forester Touring 2.5 CVT
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1,318 Posts
I have found a few youtube videos of Foresters making the exact same noise. Please follow the links and take a listen. From what I'm reading in other places, some dealers are saying this is a normal sound. "They all do that" they say. What do you think?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kHqVC52ooQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLDsgCeZs84
Maybe I'm deaf, but i didn't hear any engine pinging in either of those videos. The first one sounded like something is loose clanking around, and in the second I didn't really hear anything at all.
 

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2015 Forester XT CVT
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83 Posts
My 2.5i has spark knock really bad between 5-6k rpm. Dealer confirmed they heard it and did a high altitude spark knock re flash.

It didn't fix it. Not happy.
 

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2012 2.5X Premium M5
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109 Posts
You sure its from outside the cab? Some people have had rattles in their dashboard.
I've had this happen, and it still does every once and awhile. It sounds like it's coming from behind the speedo cluster. I can't replicate it repeatably, so I haven't brought it up with the dealer. I originally thought it might be detonation, but I ran 3 tanks of 91 octane through it, but it kept happening. It still happens from time to time.
 

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2017 Forester
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58 Posts
9000 miles here, I've noticed a clacking noise when the engine is cold and under load. Have not noticed it on the highway at normal temps, but haven't been listening for it either. It's definitely coming from the engine bay. Being new to Subarus and boxer engines I just assumed it was how they sound in the morning lol
 
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