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2009 Forester XT Limited
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239 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've noticed in the last couple days, a burning rubber smell coming from my XT... I can't seem to pin point where, as soon as I stop and get out I can tell it's from the front..but opening the hood doesn't give me better direction. I was stuck in traffic after a hockey game last night and the smell made it's way inside... It's been about 700 miles since the last oil change and that smell (burning oil from drips) was gone a long time ago. Interesting note that one of the puddle lights is out, but I don't think it failed at the same time the burning rubber smell started.... so what rubber and burns most frequently on one of these ?
 

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2015 Forester premium
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63 Posts
burning smell

Om my MY09, I had a burning brake smell one time in the summer for no apparent reason, but not since then.

Now that the roads are wet and snow covered, I get a smell like something hot, a lot like spilling water on a hot stove burner. I'm sure it's just water on the hot exhaust. It seems to me the way the exhaust crosses over under the engine w/large heat shields exposes it to more splashing from ground water than other cars.
 

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2008 LL Bean (4EAT)
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4,909 Posts
On my MY09... Now that the roads are wet and snow covered, I get a smell like something hot, a lot like spilling water on a hot stove burner. I'm sure it's just water on the hot exhaust. It seems to me the way the exhaust crosses over under the engine w/large heat shields exposes it to more splashing from ground water than other cars.
All those heat shields used be covered and protected from water, mud and salt by a plastic undertray, which was deleted in 2009 because so many people complained about it. Some damaged it using it as a skid plate. Others damaged the plastic pop screws when changing oil.

On my 2008, the protected heat shields are still shiny as tin foil, and the fibrous material they are packed with is still clean and white.
 

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2009 Forester X Premium
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132 Posts
I get a slight burning rubber smell as well, I suppose it could be the brakes now that it has been mentioned. But, it is unmistakeably rubber smelling. Usually omits the this smell after hard acceleration or when I encounter the patch of ice at my subdivision entrance then I crank the wheel and hit the gas to power myself out of the understeer. This usually makes the VDC go crazy, etc. Even my Blizzaks have a hard time taming that ice. So, in hindsight it could be the tires that smell. I guess I don't know, it doesn't worry me.
 

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2009 Forester XT Limited
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239 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I get a slight burning rubber smell as well, I suppose it could be the brakes now that it has been mentioned. But, it is unmistakeably rubber smelling. Usually omits the this smell after hard acceleration or when I encounter the patch of ice at my subdivision entrance then I crank the wheel and hit the gas to power myself out of the understeer. This usually makes the VDC go crazy, etc. Even my Blizzaks have a hard time taming that ice. So, in hindsight it could be the tires that smell. I guess I don't know, it doesn't worry me.
Ok so I've noticed that it is much stronger after driving when hard acceleration is done just prior.....so perhaps that is the ticket. Could it be when the VDC kicks in and hits the brakes it heats them up that much ? I drove up to the ski area today and nothing... but screwing around in the snow and having some fun in my own driveway created the smell again. To me it doesn't smell like brakes tho, which is different than the burning rubber...weird.. more testing required ! Are the stock brakes made of a different compound that smells this way ? could just be a 'new to me' thing I suppose.
 

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2009 2.5X Limited 4EAT
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389 Posts
Hi. Long time reader, first time poster. I too had the same problem on my 09 Forester 2.5X Limited, the same burning smell, which is akin to a overheated/burning clutch on a manual transmission vehicle. Of course, on an automatic it's a different story, and I immediately attributed the smell to the VDC (maybe it was the transmission tho). I've been noticing that the common denominator in this issue is ice/snow and/or lots of harsh conditions.

I got the smell after driving in tons of I-80 traffic, during a pretty big blizzard, and coming down the Sierra from a Tahoe trip. It was definitely the harshest winter conditions I've put the car through. It happened once. The next times I drove back up, I didn't have the same problem, so I didn't worry anymore. However, I wasn't in the same nasty, blizzardy mess. Anyway, it's gone...out of sight, out of mind.
 

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2009 Forester X Premium
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132 Posts
Another thought that I had was maybe the belts. Nevertheless, I don't hear them slipping or squealing. Maybe when I turn the steering wheel hard all the way to lock it makes the belt on the power steering pump slip. This would make sense when you are out messing around in the snow, you tend to crank your wheel and hit the gas to get out of an understeer situation. Again, unless somebody chimes in with a serious issue, I'm not too worried.
 

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2015 Highlander AWD XLE 6AT
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Same here... several times in the past couple of weeks. Seems to emanate from the area around the front left wheel...

:confused::confused::confused:
Jim / crewzer
 

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2009 Forester
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5 Posts
Count me in - my X Ltd. AT has done the same thing 2 or 3 times over the last month or so. The first time was in snow, not sure about the other times. This is the second winter since I've owned it, never noticed it during the first winter. About 30k miles on it now. At first I thought I might have run over a plastic shopping bag, but the smell is different - this is definitely burning rubber, not plastic.
 

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2015 Forester X 6MT 6-Gear Manual
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1,373 Posts
The VDC in our 09 is terrible - I cant drive the car properly in the snow. Is it defeatable? Also the hillholder almost got me wrecked - try threshold braking when in a reverse spin and have the brakes lock on you. Try making it up a steep snowy hill with moderate wheelspin and have the VDC cut almost ALL the engin epower! Absolute Garbage! HATE ALB VDC and hilholder! Detest IT!
 

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2017 Foz 2.5i CVT
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The VDC in our 09 is terrible - I cant drive the car properly in the snow. Is it defeatable? Also the hillholder almost got me wrecked - try threshold braking when in a reverse spin and have the brakes lock on you. Try making it up a steep snowy hill with moderate wheelspin and have the VDC cut almost ALL the engin epower! Absolute Garbage! HATE ALB VDC and hilholder! Detest IT!
There is a button on the dash, lower left side, that disables the VDC.

George
 

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2009 Forester X Premium
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132 Posts
Same here... several times in the past couple of weeks. Seems to emanate from the area around the front left wheel...

:confused::confused::confused:
Jim / crewzer
Hmm, another thought would be the CV Boot...? But, if it got hot enough to bind and melt then somebody would have noticed it by now. Right? Seems very unlikely to me, but just thinking outside the box.
 

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2009 Forester X 4 A/T
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308 Posts
The VDC hadn't been involved with the smell, nor was any really tight turning.

I'm thinking it is ice in the wheel wells against the tire.

As for the VDC-yeah it really sucks in deep snow. I was having trouble in 10 inches on a "no winter maintenance" road. The I remembered to turn the darn VDC off and the FOZ plowed through like a little snow cat.
 

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2009 Forester X Premium
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132 Posts
Rubbing ice in the wheel well could be one source. Nevertheless, I just got back home after getting a carwash, then did the jackknife an punch it routine on the ice at the entrance to my subdivision, and could smell the burn when I pulled into the garage. Funny, I almost try to recreate that smell now.
 

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The burning rubber smell is possible from the winter gas formulated with sulphur ... I also had that smell starting mid Nov. The first detection is idling sitting in traffic after exit from Expressway.

I just switched current fill-up from "Hess" to another brand "Shell w/nitrogen" to see any change/difference.

I will report result after this tank in 2 weeks time.
 

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2009 Forester
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hi guys=) im from philippines.. my 09 XT also has that perm/rubber smell but it only comes out after hard driving..my fellow fozzie owners also experience this as well as sti's and the new legacy gt.. they say its coming from the catalytic converter but a friend of mine had it removed when changing his exhaust but the smell is still there..seems like its not an isolated case on our subarus
 

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09 XT
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448 Posts
just wondering.... did those affected by this smell also get a recall letter regarding the PCV?

maybe thats what this is? It may be sticking and causing the odor you are complaining about.

I would have the dealer look into it.
 
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