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2017 Forester XT Touring
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
---UPDATES ARE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST----

I finally got around to doing this. After reading all of the other threads here I dug in and just did it (it kept coming and going and I got tired of it). This is for a 2008 XT, so your year may vary.

Step 1 - Remove trim

Lots of colors, I know! So here's the key:
  • Red - These are 5 screws to remove. The one circled at the bottom-left is actually the top of the strut behind the seat. There is one screw and then that plastic piece just pops right out
  • Red - The top-left one is not a screw. This is the seat belt. There is a cover on the seat belt that you can pop off with a small flat-head screw driver. Once off, use a 17mm (I think) socket or ratcheting wrench (my preference) to get it out. It's a long bolt... meant to save your life!
  • Green - So once you you get all of those red items out, the trim is next. The trim is held in by plastic clips around most of it and the best place to start is the metal railing in the middle. Works well as a handle to give it a yank. This should pull out most of the lower plastic clips, but what I pointed out in green is that once you get the lower and side clips out, you have to pull down. So what i did was slide the plastic back and over the strut tower and then pulled down - worked great.
Step 2 - The roof lining
In order to do this fix, I did not remove the entire roof lining although you could if you wanted.
  • Blue - the 08 has 3 plastic clips on the roof lining in the back. There is a plastic piece covering them that just pulls right off. I used a small screw driver to pop these 3 white plastic clips out one by one
  • I removed the handle above the rear passenger seat. It has two coverings on either side that expose two screws. Unscrew and it comes right now
Once you remove those things, the ceiling will lower plenty for you to get in to where you need to be. Where the handle was, the roof is just tucked into the weather stripping inside the car. If you pull it down gently it will come right now and you can tuck it back in later.



Step 3 - Remove bracket
Here are two photos of what it looks like. This was after I put it back, so the screws aren't totally tightened:





It is not in the easiest place to get at but with the roof lining lowered a bit, it's more than manageable. I switched off between a socket and the ratcheting wrench (depending on the angle I found worked the best) to get the two bolts off. Once off, the piece comes out by moving it away from the side of the car and then down. The reason is, there is a metal finger that slides in/out above the window (see photos in next section).

Step 4 - Protecting it from squeaks
I debated a bit on what to do. Some methods I read were:
  • Teflon dry-lube
  • Grease
  • Teflon tape
  • Wet lube
  • Anti-seize
First try (lasted 1 week)
I employed a few technique. First I put some teflon tape on the areas that make contact with metal as seen below. Then I put some grease on the teflon tape for overkill/good measure. The one thing that I circled was, I decided to wrap this piece with a little bit of teflon tape just in case, but I did it after taking the photo:





Second try (lasted 2 months)
After the sound from the first try came back, I took it all apart again, took off the Teflon tape and this time sprayed the whole thing with Teflon Dry Lube. It takes about 5-10min to dry after sprayed on and then I reassembled everything.

Third try (still going!)
After talking to a few people who contacted me about my experiences, two people had success with anti-seize. You know, this stuff:

So once again I took it all apart and lubed all the areas that touch metal-on-metal (including the tab) and put it back together.

Step 5 - Reassembly
Needles to say, put everything back in reverse order. The only helpful hand I would give is the side trim clips need to be popped back in and I did the top first, then the sides and then the bottom. Don't forget to also tuck the side of the trim back in the weather stripping that is on the right-side of the hatch.

Step 6 - Go for a ride and enjoy!

12/2/2009 UPDATE: After about a week I started hearing intermittent squeaks again. It is important to note that about 6 months before I did the above write-up, I tried just bending the bracket slightly down as per a suggestion on this forum. Any ways, once it started on-and-off squeaking, I decided to hell with it and ordered another one brand new (subarugenuineparts.com).

Bracket part #: 65403SA000 - $4.60
New bolts part #: 904586006 - $0.94 x 2

Once it arrived I put them side by side and notied that the tab in the back on my old one was REALLY bent. So, I sprayed the new one with dry lubricant front and back and after a few minutes of drying, I put it in. It has been in for over a week now and I haven't heard a sound from it.

I would guess that once the bracket starts to warp/bend, it just goes down hill from there so I would recommend just replacing it... since it's inexpensive (unless I ordered it from my local dealer, where it was $16!).

4/17/2012 UPDATE: After many months I noticed this squeak came back. It is quite frustrating I took everything a part again and all signs still point to the bracket. This time I actually removed the entire headliner and had my buddy ride in the backseat, with the glass open, and pinpoint the sound - he said it was at the bracket. We took off the bracket and the noise stopped, but I don't feel comfortable leaving the bracket completely off. When I got back I took both brackets off and sprayed them with plastidip, thinking that a good coat of rubber may keep everything from squeaking. Well, that didn't work. I'm still figuring things out.

5/30/2012 UPDATE: I read a TSB about how the brackets could have burrs beneath where the nut is welded on to the top of the bracket. The TSB talks about deburring this area to make it smooth. I took that info and a queue from another member who had good luck with cardboard. I removed the brackets. I saw some uneven burring on one of the brackets so I took my Dremmel and buffed it smmoth. I then cut 2 cardboard pieces per bracket. I made sure the pieces were larger than the bracket piece itself. One piece of cardboard went between the bracket and the sunroof rail. The second piece went between the bracket and the car. I had pre-poked holes after I taped the cardboard (so it wouldn't move) to the bracket, so the screw could go in. I put the bracket back in place and I screwed it in.

I left the trim off in case I needed to do any more work. After driving around for about 2 weeks I did not hear any noise. I felt satisfied and put the trim back in. I then took a 1,200 mile trip and used the sunroof on and off. At one point I had it open and was driving over very bumpy and rutted streets. It was then when I started to hear the noise come back. Getting frustrated I closed the sunroof and it stopped. The next day I opened it up again on a road void of unseemly ruts and it was fine.

I'm convinced that part of the issue was metal touching metal and for that issue, the cardboard is creating that buffer. However, I believe there's another issue of metal flexing somewhere, and that is what caused the noise to return on the really rough roads, and to go away when I closed the glass. I'm going to continue to drive around as is, using it on the road and highway, but not when the roads get too bad, and hopefully the noise gremlins will remain at bay (for the most part). If it gets bad I have thought of putting sound deading material (Raamatt) where the bracket attaches to the sunroof rail... that is where I think the metal is flexing - but I can't be sure.
 

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2004 Forester XT Premium 4EAT
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30,106 Posts
Great write-up and pics! I added a link to this in the knowledge base.
 

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2011 CT200h/E90 M3
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660 Posts
I'm not sure what squeak you're referring to. I must not open my sunroof enough to notice. I'll have to pay attention to it next time to see if it'll bother me. Great write up though!
 

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2017 Forester XT Touring
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1,078 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks. It's something that some people have and it will sound like a squeak but is actually the metal bracket rubbing on the metal it touches. I heard it while driving with the sunroof closed but the shade open. When I opened the glass it sort of went away but it could have been the wind that kept me from hearing about it.

There's a TSB about it I believe because a lot of people have the problem. However, if you haven't noticed anything, don't strain to hear it and consider yourself lucky :)
 

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Premium Member
2007 Forester XT 4EAT-VTD
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2,145 Posts
This is exactly the spot that I found too. In my case, I just pulled the rear window trim away from the window at the top, pulled the headliner down a little in the rear and was able to reach the bracket. I losened the bracket (without removing the bolts) and used some anti-sieze compound and coated the areas you show. That was over a year ago and it's still quiet.
 

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Smooshed FOTY 2011
2005 Lifted 2.5 XT 5-Speed MT Dual-Range
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5,813 Posts
Hmmmm. Maybe THAT is where that obnoxious freaking squeak is that I hear when it's cold outside. (sounds like its in the right spot too).

I wonder if gobbling on a good thick layer of adhesive sealant on the contact side of the bracket would work too. Hmmmm.

Now only if I can find what the hell is rattling inside my center armrest console. :biggrin:
 

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2006 Forester XS
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1 Posts
Top work on the guide. Just followed you instructions, pulled the bracket out, coated it in dry lube and also cut out 4 thin cardboard spacers to go betweent the metal parts and it worked a treat. No more damn squeaking!

Thanks a million.

Cheers, jingles.
 

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2017 Forester XT Touring
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Discussion Starter #12
Yes there are 2 brackets and they are on opposite sides of the car. The reason I didn't touch the other one was because it wasn't making any noise and I didn't want to disrupt anything.

Because I did not take the headliner down all the way, it would have been just as much effort for me to get to the other one. I think getting the entire headliner down is a lot more work so I didn't want to do that either.

Best of luck!
 

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2003 Forester
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5 Posts
Can someone tell me I have the problem as discussed? My sunroof can squeak when closed, but only at speeds from 150 kph or faster. It also squeaks when a large truck passes me in the other direction.
 

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2017 Forester XT Touring
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Discussion Starter #14
I am still battling with this issue. I came across a TSB titled, "2003~05MY FORESTER SUNROOF SQUEAKS" from this website.

It talks about de-burr'ing the bracket, under the nut, where the bracket makes contact with the sunroof frame from on top.

I am hoping to examine the brackets a bit more this weekend and see if there is a burr visible.
 

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2008 Forester X SG9 4EAT
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12 Posts
any updates on this squeak?

Hello,

I owned a 2008 XT which had the exact same problem of yours and it was fixed by a guy (retired now, I'm trying to contact him) at my dealer, unfortunately I do not know how. I sold the car a year ago, regretted I did it and now I purchased another one with the same problem but this time I'd personally like to tackle it.

Although your original topic is indeed enlightening and helpful, do you got any new experience regarding it?

Thanks a lot,

Rodrigo
 

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2017 Forester XT Touring
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Discussion Starter #17
I have not done any more work on the sunroof and I use it on and off. I typically don't hear the horrible sound but sometimes I do. In my last update I talked about metal flexing (either the bracket or the sun roof rails) and I'm sure that's what is causing the majority of the sound...

The reason I think this is back in the thick of the investigation I had the headliner removed and while driving slowly on a rutted road with a friend in the backseat, it started making the noise. My friend swore the sound was coming from the bracket in question. He then put pressure on the backet and the sound went away. We drove for a few more minutes and he would release pressure and put pressure back on, and every time the sound went away and came back, respectively.

If I ever decide to go back in I'm going to put sound deadening on both sides of the bracket and on the run roof rail where the bracket touches - because I believe that this will keep the vibration down and thus, keep the sound away.

But if you ever get a hold of the mechanic that fixed the issue, please come back on here and let us all know what he did.
 
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