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MY06 MY06 & MY10 Forester 5MT/DR + 4EAT (Sports)
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Gidday All

Sorry if this has been discussed before, but I searched for these things and could not find anything specifically about build quality.

I'm only a very recently joined member here, but have been a member at offroadsubarus.com and a few other Subaru sites for some years.

I bought my first Subaru Impreza 5 door hatch new in 1993. That car, Roo1, served me extremely well for nearly 18 years and 234,000 kms. It had an EJ-18 engine with a 5MT gearbox.

Just before I traded it in on Roo2, a 2.5L N/A MY06 Forester with the EJ-253 engine and 5MT/dual range gearbox, I drove Roo1 from Melbourne to Brisbane and back in ambient temperatures of (mostly) between 35-45°C. The air-con ran all that time, with the exception of one or two days and maybe 500 kms of the 4,500 km round trip. During that trip, the car used no measurable amount of engine oil, tranny oil or water. Much of this trip was sitting on around 120-140 km/h (about 74-87 mph/US), and it was fully loaded with crap. It averaged about 8.8L/100 kms over the entire trip.

During the entire time I owned it, it required brake pads about every 90,000 kms; normal services/oil changes at 10,000 km intervals; new wiper blades, tyres, etc; a rear tail pipe and muffler; the air-con overhauled; the water pump replaced; and the two major services at 105,000 kms and 205,000 kms. I recall busting a CV joint or two. That's it. During this time it used no measurable amounts of oil or water between normal services.

Over its entire life, it returned about 9.0L/100 kms fuel economy (about 26 mpg/US).

For most of its life, I drove it like I stole it, without actually abusing it. It towed a trailer around town and at highway speeds for probably around 10-15,000 kms.

We bought our two Foresters s/h. The MY06 had around 100,000 kms on the clock when bought; the SH MY10 around 65,000 kms. Neither uses a measurable amount of oil or water. The SH just had its brakes done at 80,000 kms.

That's the history.

Now to the topic of this thread.

All Subarus sold in Oz are JDM. The engines etc vary slightly from USDM Foresters (etc) - e.g. we got the EJ-253 in our Foresters from MY06 onwards (i.e. build date from around July 2005), not 2007 onwards like the USDM Forester. Up until the latest model, we have always had the 5MT/DR gearbox as an option with all but the turbo Foresters. So there are differences.

As I wrote before, I have been a member of several Subaru forums for some years before joining this one.

What has struck me as strange is the number of build quality issues that many on this forum keep mentioning. I have not noticed people having these problems with the JDM vehicles we get here. Of course, there is always the odd occasion that someone has a problem. They are mass-produced machines, after all.

I am wondering what other people's experience with this is here (a predominantly US based forum membership).

Is there some significant difference in build quality/quality control between JDM Subarus and USDM Subarus?
 

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2004 Forester XT Premium 4EAT
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29,431 Posts
USDM Foresters are built in the same Japanese plant as the JDM vehicles, so I doubt that there would be a significant difference in build quality. SIA in Indiana only builds the USDM Legacy/Outback and Tribeca model lines.
 

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2014 2.5i Premium CVT
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105 Posts
Differing specs pose different potential issues, but I expect that some of what you've observed owes to market size. Subaru's Australia/U.S. sales ratio is currently about 1:9 (4,232 to 36,621 for November), and the number of reported problems likely is proportionate.
 

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2008 Forester X Premium 5MT
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8,064 Posts
......

Now to the topic of this thread.

......


As I wrote before, I have been a member of several Subaru forums for some years before joining this one.

What has struck me as strange is the number of build quality issues that many on this forum keep mentioning. I have not noticed people having these problems with the JDM vehicles we get here. Of course, there is always the odd occasion that someone has a problem. They are mass-produced machines, after all.

I am wondering what other people's experience with this is here (a predominantly US based forum membership).

Is there some significant difference in build quality/quality control between JDM Subarus and USDM Subarus?

USDM Foresters are built in the same Japanese plant as the JDM vehicles, so I doubt that there would be a significant difference in build quality. SIA in Indiana only builds the USDM Legacy/Outback and Tribeca model lines.
Differing specs pose different potential issues, but I expect that some of what you've observed owes to market size. Subaru's Australia/U.S. sales ratio is currently about 1:9 (4,232 to 36,621 for November), and the number of reported problems likely is proportionate.
Few things you have to keep in mind:

  • They are produced on the same production lines by the same people. Meaning that there isn't likely to be any noticable difference in attention to quality. That is unless there is still a few workers there miffed about the outcome of WWII and are doing it out of spite on USDM vehicles:N_poke:
  • USDM/North American(NA) sales volume as mentioned is higher. There are more of us to speak out.
  • Tolerance. Tolerance for issues. The ability to tolorate small issues often varries with the demographic(leaving out political views, don't go there please). The vast majority of people can live with a few minor flaws and understand nothing is perfect, but there is always going to be people out there that will complain to no end about some thing like a bubble/dimple on a dash, as they will settle for nothing less than perfection since they spent a large chunk of change in their mind on it. Does the NA market have a larger share the population that complains about things like this? You decide.
  • Auto manufactures often concider the NA market the toughest enviroment on a vehicle.
    • NA sees hot to cold temps, dry to humid conditions, often one can encounter these in the same trip in a couple hundred miles.
    • We also are a spread out nation, lots of driving. Again with conditions that range from wide open flats at 80mph to back woods roads that may not be anything more than 2 ruts defining it or stop and go city traffic.
    • Some of our driving population are flat out abusive and neglegent. The vast majority will spend $20K on a vehicle and never crack open the owners manual. How do you design a vehicle, a assembly of mechanical components that all have to be maintained with a list of procedures, when the owners wont take the time to read the owners manual to see what, when and how it needs to be maintained. Technology has become such a part of us in our lives, drivers have as a whole become ingrained with the idea that everything should come with some sort of wanring about when it is going to fail because they can't be botherd to use 100 year old technology like a dipstick once a week. Then when they are given a warning device like a oil pressure light or check engine light, they ignore it because they think "well it's just a light, it's not like it is a voice came over the radio screaming at me saying to shut it down". They got their warning device, but now they expect it to escelate as the problem issue becomes more severe.
    • Often it seems NA drivers only see the minimums in maintenance. Oil change intervals are speced at 7,500 miles for normal service and 3,750 for severe. Seems like all many people see the normal service spec on things like this and that is all. OR, they don't think that their service duty falls under the severe maintnance schedule.
 

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1998 S/TB Automatic
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322 Posts
The Germans use cheaper/simpler components for their cars designated for the North American market, maybe the same goes for the Japanese.
 

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2013 Forester 2.5XT 4EAT
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The Germans use cheaper/simpler components for their cars designated for the North American market, maybe the same goes for the Japanese.
I believe you're referring to the recently redesigned VW Passat and Jetta which received some negative publicity for being "cheapened" over their European equivalent models. But those are unique models designed to be sold only in North America. I don't think Subaru does anything like this to differentiate its USDM/JDM Foresters.
 

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1998 S/TB Automatic
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322 Posts
I believe you're referring to the recently redesigned VW Passat and Jetta which received some negative publicity for being "cheapened" over their European equivalent models. But those are unique models designed to be sold only in North America. I don't think Subaru does anything like this to differentiate its USDM/JDM Foresters.
Not really, the cars that Mercedes manufactures for USDM have weaker suspensions, brakes, cheaper lights and tires. As a trade off they have to appear more "luxurious", with more chromes, leather and so...
As for Subaru, seems that Australia and EU have been getting versions very similar to JDM. USDM had to wait for the first turbo 4 years after its been sold in Japan and Europe. As for Subaru parts, USDM versions are simpler and plainer, and even turbo versions have much less power, as for the quality of parts, no idea.
 
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