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Discussion Starter #1
I posted about this back on the old forum, maybe a year ago. Hadn't been driving on many long trips until this past month and now I want to strangle the car. Ok, not quite, but it's still bugging me. Here's the scoop:

I first noticed this on our '04 XT before I installed the AP, so I know Cobb's part isn't the cause. When I first start a trip, I can set the cruise for any speed up to 85 mph. It may work higher, but that's just the highest speed I tried it at, and only for a couple seconds to see if it would activate.

After driving for a while, let's say an hour or longer, the speed at which cruise will work slowly creeps downward. This is not to say that the cruise will slowly start to drop my set speed, but that after a while it'll only work up to maybe 75 mph, drive a bit longer and it now works up to only 73, etc etc. The longer I drive, the lower the top limit goes. My last trip, making the boring 4-hour trek on I-90 from Chicago to western WI, at one point I couldn't get it to work above 68 mph.

It'll start working okay but will eventually start to deactivate itself when going up or down slight inclines. By slight, I mean such as a hump caused by an underpass on the highway. So I notch it down a couple MPH and after a while it starts to do it again at the lower speed. So I notch it down again... on that last trip, it was deactivating on flat sections at 68-70 mph. Sometimes, when I flip the lever up to the "Resume" position, the car will accelerate quickly (not smoothly, but like I floored it) up to the previous setting and then deactivate again. This is even if I'm already using the gas pedal to get within 1-2 MPH of the previous set speed. If I flip to "Resume" from a HIGHER speed (meaning that it should coast until reaching the old setting), it won't re-activate at all.

Given that the maximum speed creeps downward, I don't think I have a problem with either the brake or clutch switches, especially since the range is so great - from 85 (or more) mph down to 68 mph. Last thread, someone mentioned heat... maybe if something inside the passenger area was getting too hot? I'd think that stuff in the engine bay, once up to normal temp, would stay fairly constant. And it does the same in summer or winter.

Lemme stop a couple negative responses before they start:

1. "Then don't use cruise control. It's for weenies anyway." Well, when you've got a 480 mile trip on the low-density interstate highways across the relatively flat midwest... yeah, I'm gonna use cruise. The car came with it; it oughta work.

2. "Go the speed limit and it won't be a problem." Depends on the state in which I'm driving. If I go 12 miles west to MN, the limit is 70 mph and that 68 mph cruise speed just ain't gonna cut it. If I go to ND or SD, or other points west, the limit is 75 mph.

Has anyone else seen this and found a solution? I'm interested to hear what fixed it... When I get a chance back home, I'm going to drop the car off at the dealer to let them have a look. I may have to wait until spring, when I can pull out one of our "summer cars" and use that for work for a week or two while my boy is in the shop.
 

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'09 STI
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4,129 Posts
You're not alone. The only solution i've seen was the replacement of the neutral safety switch. I haven't tried using the CC at speeds lower than 80 MPH but at 80 MPH it's hit or miss. Sometimes it works for hours other times it wont work at all. Problem is trying to recreate this at the dealer. If it only does it at 80MPH, they wont fix it. Maybe i'll try another dealer before the warranty ends.
 

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2014 328i xDrive Wagon 8 spd Auto
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I could see where somthing might overheat when subjected to a sustained high temperature, even when that temp is constant. Some items like resistors can change their values under a "heat soak" sometimes some of the analog input circuitry in a microcontoller can as well. So I wouldn't rule heat out as a cause.

Some of what you describe could cetainly be caused by a flaky controller.

Hardest part is going to be to duplicate it for the dealer.
 

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2004 XT 5 MT
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1,093 Posts
same exact thing

The cruise works fine then as you drive further the speed it will set it decreases. I have had the neutral safety switch replaced which fixed it for 2000 miles of a 4000 mile road trip. Then it started again. I asked the dealer to have a look and they told me they couldn't replicate it, which I knew they wouldn't be able to do because you have to drive for several hours for the thing to act up. I am going to open a case file # or whatever with SOA and try to get them to ponie up and fix it. Try this, next time it won't set or is acting up try pushing on the stick shift, i.e. if it's in fifth push it up more into fifth, I bet it will engage then, which means it's the neutral safety switch. Or so I've been told. Good luck, and get a case number, call SOA. The more complaints they have the better off we all are.
 

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2016 Forester XT
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35 Posts
You've got a bad neutral safety switch - mine had the exact same symptoms, after the switch was replaced it was fine until I sold it.

In my case the dealer never could reproduce it either because it usually took an hour or so of driving to get it to fail - it's less than $20 for the part & easy to install, in my case was out of warranty anyways.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Very cool. I get to drive another 1000 miles or so for work next week so that'll be the perfect time to try the suggestions. Thanks, and I'll be certain to post back with the word from my local dealer.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
A quick update, in case anyone cares.

I put in, coincidentally enough, 479 miles today. It took quite a bit longer than normal for the problem to occur, but mostly because I was traveling country roads for the first 1/3 of the trip. Anyway, once it started happening, I got to play around a little in my attempt to confirm the suspicions you folks have voiced concerning the neutral safety switch:

- as long as I applied very light pressure to the shifter, it never cut out. By light pressure, I mean I was just barely pushing on it - not even enough pressure to slide a bottle of beer across the table (thought I'd use a reference to which we can all relate :D ).
- when re-activating cruise from a lower speed, as long as I had that light pressure on the shift lever, I had no problems getting it to resume. If I tried the same without a finger on the lever, it would be up to the same old tricks - accelerate strongly for a second, then cut out again.
- oddly enough, with cruise activated, I could not get it to cut-out by wiggling the lever around. I thought that was kinda odd.

If I get some time tomorrow, I'll pull the shift boot to see what I can see. I'm hoping that I can fiddle with the mechanical mounting of the sensor to make it a little less touchy. I'll post results and/or pics if I come with anything brilliant.
 

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98 Forester...what else
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Well, I can get the neutral safety switch if you want to simply replace it. It seems as though people have tracked the problem down...
 

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2016 Forester XT
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35 Posts
I'm pretty sure it just screws directly into the transmission housing, nothing there to adjust.

My bad switch was the same, light pressure on the shifter would keep it from tripping.
 

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1998 Forester "S" lifted. Bog-o-matic
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2,006 Posts
Another to try would be a reflash of the ecm, although since you have an AP I doubt it would do anything.

I just had a Outback in with a similar problem and I was able to reflash it and that fixed it.
 

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2017 Forester 2.5I - 6 Speed
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Is this cc problem with autos or manuals or both?
 

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For my 04 FXT with MT, the wiring diagram does not show the transmission neutral switch as even being part of the cruise control circuit. Only the clutch and brake pedal switches are part of the cruise circuit.
 
J

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have fun with the problem...

i also used to drive my 2005 FXT 5spd on trips averaging 1500 miles per week in the mid-west.
i had the same issue for over a year. i ended up involving SOA, 4 dealers in 2 diffrent states with more than 12 total service visits, and an SOA regional service manager (who told me to drive slower; said i shouldn't drive above 65mph, and said SOA will not look into the problem becuase the problem occurs above the posted speed limit!!! Bob, the SOA regional service manager who works out of Chicago, if you are reading this you can go to hell!. they replaced everything from O2 sensor to the clutch interlock switch, to the brake sensor, to the cruise control module to the switches.
My problem was a little worse than yours...the time required before the malfunction (cruise control) was directly related to the speed the cc was set to (85mph-15 min, to 65mph-3 hours), and would not start working again until the car felt like it; no matter how long the car was turned off, even if it was 4 hours. Shutting down, removing the battery, etc wouldn't even make a difference. I also had issues with erratic power output (accel ranging from 5.5sec to 8 seconds to 60 with no reasons like temp, load, etc), weak clutch, intermittant engine miss, etc.
SOA responded to my complaints by giving me the no deductible warr for 100,000 miles.
My problem was ultimately resolved when the FXT caught fire and burned up in a parking lot after sitting (turned off) for over an hour. The fire department determined that fire started in the computer that was located under the front passenger carpet.
Details?: 84,000 miles, 2005 model FXT 5spd, perfectly maintained, entire passenger cabin burned up including the dash and computer.
I sure enjoyed my FXT when it ran properly, but did i buy another? HELL NO! Now i drive a Chevy Equinox and yes it is a piece of crap, but atleast it runs properly every day.
I wish you the best of luck and a better resolution than i suffered.:mad:
 

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jumajigger said:
My problem was ultimately resolved when the FXT caught fire and burned up in a parking lot after sitting (turned off) for over an hour. The fire department determined that fire started in the computer that was located under the front passenger carpet.
mad:
Yikes!
 

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2016 Forester XT
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Retserof said:
For my 04 FXT with MT, the wiring diagram does not show the transmission neutral switch as even being part of the cruise control circuit. Only the clutch and brake pedal switches are part of the cruise circuit.
Trust me, it definitely is :)
 

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Cruise

A buudy and I just drove 950 miles in our 2 company 2004 FXT that we just bought. In the Silver one I drove, the cruise would not set above 83mph and would not stay engaged for more than 5 mins. If I tried to resume, it would accel at full throttle then kick out and not set again. If I shut the cruise button off then on again, it would do the same as above. The black FXT that my buddy drove had no problems and the cruise would set as high as 95mph. He even drove with the cruise at 90mph for 3 hours on I-15 in Idano/MT (IMHO that is too fast for cruise, but to each his own)...

I guess I will get the nuetral switch replaced and see if that fixes it.
 

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#8 Post ho
1999 Subaru Forester
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85258 said:
A buudy and I just drove 950 miles in our 2 company 2004 FXT that we just bought. In the Silver one I drove, the cruise would not set above 83mph and would not stay engaged for more than 5 mins. If I tried to resume, it would accel at full throttle then kick out and not set again. If I shut the cruise button off then on again, it would do the same as above. The black FXT that my buddy drove had no problems and the cruise would set as high as 95mph. He even drove with the cruise at 90mph for 3 hours on I-15 in Idano/MT (IMHO that is too fast for cruise, but to each his own)...

I guess I will get the nuetral switch replaced and see if that fixes it.
Maybe the just proves that black is faster? :p







j/k
 

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2010 FXT Limited 4EAT Sport Shift
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Wow-
I can't think of many stretches of road where I didn't see a trooper for three hours...at 90 mph, my eyes would be worn out looking!
I have done same on AlCan on way to Alaska...after 6 days of not seeing a trooper at all, the 7th day we averaged 87 mph for 10hours, stopping only for gas, twice. Some of that was Cruise Control (I have 4EAT, seems the 5MT has CC issues), but more than half was fully alert heads up driving. Lots of charismatic megafauna (bear/moose/caribou)!
-Quick
 

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12 Premium 5-speed
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Discussion Starter #20
85258 said:
A buudy and I just drove 950 miles in our 2 company 2004 FXT that we just bought. In the Silver one I drove, the cruise would not set above 83mph and would not stay engaged for more than 5 mins. If I tried to resume, it would accel at full throttle then kick out and not set again. If I shut the cruise button off then on again, it would do the same as above. The black FXT that my buddy drove had no problems and the cruise would set as high as 95mph. He even drove with the cruise at 90mph for 3 hours on I-15 in Idano/MT (IMHO that is too fast for cruise, but to each his own)...

I guess I will get the nuetral switch replaced and see if that fixes it.
First off, welcome aboard. Not counting myself, this seems to be about the nicest and most helpful group of people on the 'net. The Pope's website should be so friendly.

Second, did you try holding the shifter up and to the right in fifth while activating or using cruise? If so, did it seem to help?

Third, what cool company do you work for that buys 2 XTs for business vehicles? :D
 
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