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2011 2.5X 5sp
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114 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Just curious how many 2011 owners with the new DOHC motor have a cold start rattle?
I took mine in and was told that there is a TSB(tech. service bullitin) in the works for the timing chain rattle that will include a fix.
If you look at the images here:

The All-New Subaru FB Engine

You can see the motor uses a pair of chain tensioners which I'd bet are tensioned by oil pressure. When my foz sits overnight, these must bleed down and there is a rattle for a second until oil pressure pumps up the tensioners. It's fine the rest of the day and makes no noise on start-up otherwise. I'm told that it will cause no harm and looking at the pics can understand why, but it's annoying none the less. Just an FYI. It wasn't a deal breaker for us, given the choice I would still take the 2011 over a 2010 SOHC model.
 

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2010 Forester X 5MT
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231 Posts
I was actually waiting for some one to mention the rattle. my 1996 240sx had a chain and that thing was loud as hell. Great car otherwise, it most def was annoying so I know what your going through.
 

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2011 Forester
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42 Posts
Mine has a rattle for about 1 second and goes away till next day. Has 1100 miles on it and started when it got cold out. I figured it was lifters or piston slap.
 

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2014 Forester X Limited CVT
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32 Posts
Mine has a rattle for about 1 second and goes away till next day. Has 1100 miles on it and started when it got cold out. I figured it was lifters or piston slap.
Ditto for me. It's nothing I'm worried about at all, but yeah, I have noticed it when it's below 30 or so outside. It's very minor for me and it goes away after a few seconds.
 

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2011 2.5X 5sp
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114 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
That's how mine is, I really don't know if it's better when warm because it's been 40* tops since I took delivery. It's about a second and it's gone.
 

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2011 Forester 2.5X
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17 Posts
I'm new here on these forums. My wife and I just bought our first Forester 2 days ago.
I'll ask my wife about this rattling noise. I'm not sure she's been paying attention to this.
I have only driven the car once so far and things seemed pretty quiet under the hood (much quieter than my WRX).
 

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2020 Forester Touring
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25 Posts
me too!

Bought our '11 about 4 days ago and we noticed the rattle right away .. our '05 Vibe (matrix) with 155K miles on it doesn;t do that at all.
 

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2008 XS 4EAT
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9,827 Posts
Bought our '11 about 4 days ago and we noticed the rattle right away .. our '05 Vibe (matrix) with 155K miles on it doesn;t do that at all.
Keep in mind that many of you are now dealing with an opposed 4 cylinder motor and they are going to have different characteristics than any of your previous engine configuration (in-lines, vees , etc.) experiences. Timing chain and timing belt placement requires associated parts to be located differently than you'd expect. I've owned two Subarus, a 99 with over 340,000 km (211,266mi) and still running and an 08 with approximately 54000km and I've gotten used to the peculiar engine noises associated with my generations of the Subaru boxer. Consider yourselves on a learning curve with a similar but new engine and enjoy driving it more.
 

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2008 LL Bean (4EAT)
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4,785 Posts
Just curious how many 2011 owners with the new DOHC motor have a cold start rattle? I took mine in and was told that there is a TSB(tech. service bullitin) in the works for the timing chain rattle that will include a fix....
The rattle would be from drain-down of the hydraulic tensioner(s) when the engine is off. The TSB will probably be a modification to the check valve that keeps oil in the tensioner.
 

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2008 LL Bean (4EAT)
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4,785 Posts
could the sound be the timing chain guides?
Yes, the sound is that of chains with too little tension allowing them to rattle or slap against the guides. This condition would be caused by overnight drain-down of oil from the hydraulic devices that maintain pressure on the long guides to keep tension on the chains.
http://subarudrive.preprod.dcim.com/Win11/_images/chain.jpg

It is a common complaint in early production models of engines with chain driven cams, and is usually quickly rectified by modifying or replacing the check valves that hold oil in the tensioners, which are little hydraulic cylinders.

I think it is a consumer issue, not a mechanical problem. The rattle is harmless and goes away in a few seconds as oil pressure is built. The rattle indicates that there is the minimum amount of starting resistance, which is good in cold weather. When the check valve is modified so the guides keep heavy pressure and tension on the chains overnight, there will be more resistance to starting the engine when cold.
 

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2011 Forester 2.5X Automatic
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60 Posts
I bought a 2011 Forester about 2 weeks ago. I have noticed the rattle and turned to google and that is how I ended up here.

I am quite disappointed. This is a brand new car and is supposed to be perfect at least at the beginning. It is embarrassing to build an engine so noisy that my old Altima looks like a more comfortable car now. And who knows how long we have to wait for a fix if any fix at all.
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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14,208 Posts
I am quite disappointed. This is a brand new car and is supposed to be perfect at least at the beginning. l.
History tells us that first year anything will have more problems than something that's been around. Reason being that they can't possibly put the time and miles on an engine as 10's of thousands of people will who purchase the vehicle.

Welcome to the board.

Oh and as far as the Altima..if you have the 2.5 QR Engine its the worst engine Nissan ever built. :)
 

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2011 Forester 2.5X Automatic
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60 Posts
History tells us that first year anything will have more problems than something that's been around. Reason being that they can't possibly put the time and miles on an engine as 10's of thousands of people will who purchase the vehicle.

Welcome to the board.

It seems that Subaru keeps their TSB's on this web site:

techinfo.subaru.com/static/whatsNew.html

It is outrageous that people have to pay to view them though. And yes, they have a TSB for *Noise In Engine on Cold Start* issues on Jan 6.

Anyone has access to this TSB?

Oh and as far as the Altima..if you have the 2.5 QR Engine its the worst engine Nissan ever built. :)
Might be though I have never had a single problem with it after 150K. My Forester has less than 1K!
 

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2008 Forester X Premium 5MT
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8,070 Posts
^^ This is all that is out there right now. The full TSB has not been posted to the net by any one yet.

Service Bulletin # 02-113-11 Pages: 3
Bulletin Description: If you encounter a customer complaint that there is a knock type sound in the engine for about one second on initial start-up after the vehicle has been parked for an extended period of time, there is the possibility the left side timing chain tensioner is causing the sound. If the check ball within the tensioner doesn’t seat completely, it may cause the tensioner to leak down, decreasing the amount of pressure to the timing chain guide.

The sound is non-detrimental and has no effect on the reliability and durability of the engine.

While we do not recommend disassembling the front of the engine for replacement, the sound can be eliminated by exchanging the original left side tensioner with a modified one.

TSB are not recalls... TSBs are only there to aid techs in the diagnosis or repair of a condition. If you were a tech at a subaru dealership you would have access to them. Why should a manufacture provide information free of charge to the public that may take away from potential repair revenue in their service departments?
 

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2011 2.5X Touring 4EAT
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123 Posts
I've had my 2011 for 7 weeks and haven't heard this noise yet, but keep listening for it everyday.

The following is what I've found on the Subaru Technical Information System site.

"Service Bulletin # 02-113-11

Bulletin Description: If you encounter a customer complaint that there is a knock type sound in the engine for about one second on initial start-up after the vehicle has been parked for an extended period of time, there is the possibility the left side timing chain tensioner is causing the sound. If the check ball within the tensioner doesn’t seat completely, it may cause the tensioner to leak down, decreasing the amount of pressure to the timing chain guide.

The sound is non-detrimental and has no effect on the reliability and durability of the engine.

While we do not recommend disassembling the front of the engine for replacement, the sound can be eliminated by exchanging the original left side tensioner with a modified one.

Information contained in any technical document found on the STIS web site should only be used as reference material for highly trained automotive technicians. Only automotive technicians have the training and the special tools/equipment to repair Subaru vehicles."

It doesn't sound like it's anything serious, but who knows.

PS Just noticed that "flstffxe" posted this information a minute before I did.. Great minds think alike - lol
 

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2011 Forester 2.5X Automatic
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60 Posts
^^ This is all that is out there right now. The full TSB has not been posted to the net by any one yet.




TSB are not recalls... TSBs are only there to aid techs in the diagnosis or repair of a condition. If you were a tech at a subaru dealership you would have access to them. Why should a manufacture provide information free of charge to the public that may take away from potential repair revenue in their service departments?
Agreed with your statement to some extent but look what they have to say on their web site:

***************************
Are there charges or limitations to access information on this site?

Yes. The creation of technical information requires time and money. Maintaining a web site with constantly changing/evolving information requires time and money. To assume that information on this web site should be without cost, you would also need to assume that the creation and delivery of the information is without cost, and that is just not the case.
**************************

I find this cheap for a company with global sales. How much it costs to create those pdf docs and maintain the web site? How many full-time employees you need to build/maintain such a web site?

To me it looks more like they do not want the public to have easy access to this information. The last time I called my dealer they simply told me this is *normal*. When I call them tomorrow, I insist on fixing it by referring to this TSB. This of course will cost them money, and who knows how many of these cars area already out with this problem.
 

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2011 2.5x Touring
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31 Posts
The last time I called my dealer they simply told me this is *normal*. When I call them tomorrow, I insist on fixing it by referring to this TSB. This of course will cost them money, and who knows how many of these cars area already out with this problem.
Let us know how your dealer responds to you. I bought my 2011 about two weeks ago. I've only got 360 miles on it so far. I hear the rattle every time I start the engine, but it goes away within a few seconds.

Glad I found this site; it's a great resource. Thanks.
 
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