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2017 Forester 2.5i Premium
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I just recently moved to Colorado, and my 2002 Tacoma TRD Pre-Runner (My 1st vehicle, owned for 9 years) hit 200k and was not prepared for the Colorado altitude (8000+ where I live) and the winters. So my wife and I traded the Taco in and got a 2017 Forester 2.5i premium just off lease that we love! I am slowly doing modifications to it like change the interior, new tires, new sound system, and later performance mods like cold air intake, muffler, etc. And would love some insight and help from y’all that have done it already. Tips, tricks, things to stay away from, anything! I have always wanted a Subaru and now that I have one, I’d like to keep it running for years to come. I’m pretty handy and enjoy doing things myself. As I do them, I plan to make videos and tutorials on how to do everything I do to my Forester. Everything from basic maintenance to removing and installing interior modifications to later performance installs. Thanks for the support and appreciate having this for more research.
 

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2022 Forester Limited 2018 Forester XT
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Welcome. Don't waste your money of "performance mods" the power you have is the power you have. 20mm rear sway bar is a good thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Welcome. Don't waste your money of "performance mods" the power you have is the power you have. 20mm rear sway bar is a good thing.
Thanks for the insight, the performance mods that I would be doing wouldn’t necessarily be for adding power, but for potential added fuel economy or more off road ability (sway bar, suspension, brakes). They would just be aftermarket and an upgraded tier, “performance”.
 

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2015 Forester "Premium", 2.0 NA
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92 Posts
Take the advice man. The intake and exhaust won't be worth it on a naturally aspirated subaru, especially with the CVT. It won't really help fuel economy, and won't really help performance. You definitely won't like the sound of an intake on the vehicle if you have to drive it up a long mountain with that CVT.....
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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5,986 Posts
The only way to increase mileage would be to have lower rolling resistance tires, lessen the weight and drive really slow - keeping the RPMs down.

In reality, anything you want to do to increase your mileage will probably decrease the enjoyment factor and/or drivability in a Colorado winter.

For example, lower rolling resistance tires will have less grip off-road or in the snow... Adding skid plates to protect the under-side if you go off-road will add weight and change the airflow/aerodynamics... so that will decrease mileage...

To keep the Foz around for a long time - keep up on the maintenance and repairs, the recalls and all the rest. My first Subaru (I'd bought it used) went to 320,000 miles... It was a mid-80s DL wagon (before they had names).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The only way to increase mileage would be to have lower rolling resistance tires, lessen the weight and drive really slow - keeping the RPMs down.

In reality, anything you want to do to increase your mileage will probably decrease the enjoyment factor and/or drivability in a Colorado winter.

For example, lower rolling resistance tires will have less grip off-road or in the snow... Adding skid plates to protect the under-side if you go off-road will add weight and change the airflow/aerodynamics... so that will decrease mileage...

To keep the Foz around for a long time - keep up on the maintenance and repairs, the recalls and all the rest. My first Subaru (I'd bought it used) went to 320,000 miles... It was a mid-80s DL wagon (before they had names).
Thanks! My forester already has a skidplate (from factory or previous owner though it was a lease prior) and I’m registering at 29.8 mpg average (which I know is not bad or anything to complain at). I’m also considering either Firestone Weathergrip tires or Continental TrueContact tires which perform admirably in adverse conditions (wet/snow) and have a great tread life. I hadn’t considered their rolling resistance to affect the efficiency. Thanks I’ll keep that in mind.
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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More rolling resistance - not as easy to roll, more energy in getting and keeping the car rolling. You should thoroughly enjoy your adventures in Fozlandia....
 

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2018 Forester Premium 6-speed
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291 Posts
Welcome to Colorado! Which county are you in? I have lived in Summit County for a while and work for the state's department of transportation out of the Eisenhower Tunnel. Here is some advice I found that works living at altitude:

1. Dedicated snow tires. Buy a separate set of rims, throw on a set of Nokians (what I use), Blizzaks, whatnot. It'll save you money in the long run swapping them out on your car as well as time, since you will avoid having to take your car to a shop to swap out tires on 1 set of rims. You'll also need the snow-tire traction not only for handling your own car, but avoiding on the road all the out-of-towners and those without snow tires who have very little to no idea how to handle a car in snow -- crashes, rollovers, spin-outs are seen a lot in the snow season by us CDOT folk because of poopty, bald, and/or non-dedicated snow tires.

2. Since you have fogliights, Lamin-X makes a yellow fog light cover film you can trim and place on. They are inexpensive (around $15) but look quality, and the yellow will help you see better in snow storms.

3. Have a clear bra installed on your entire hood, as well as the windshield pillars (on each side of the front window), the front part of the roof that meets the windshield, and the headlight housing. Kirby with Colorado Clear Bra in the Denver area is fantastic and highly regarded. A lot of gravel is thrown on the roads in snow seasons, and that stuff is kicked up into the air and lands on vehicles. The OEM bug deflector looks pretty but is worthless on these roads. On a related note, if you ever find yourself behind a plow, stay back at least 7-8 car lengths because the speed of the gravel kicked out the back will shred your car up; plus, the plows will call Colorado State Patrol and report if you are too close, have your brights on, try to pass, etc. We work very close with CSP, and vice versa.

4. A lift kit would be beneficial if you plan on running on US Forest Service roads. Sounds like you already have a skid plate (you'll want it for the front as well as the transmission, called a mid-plate; Primitive Racing has rally tested their gear and worth checking out if in need), which will also help tremendously if your underside is smashed because many of the trailheads lack cell service. 20mm rear sway bar is too much for running on FS roads; 19mm is what you want. There was a thread earlier today that had several people on it who take their Foresters on these roads and stated 19mm is the way to go. If you're just on paved roads, I'm sure 20mm will be more applicable.

5. Window tint your front windows. It looks like you have a sunroof. 3M Crystalline CR-40 is installed on my sunroof glass and has been one of the best add-ons -- the heat allowed through is slight and allows me to have the cover off the sunroof year round. Because I'm that much closer to the sun, I also wax my car 2x a year.

6. If you need a solid shop for maintenance, SubieSmith in Lakewood (Denver area) is solid. Great group of guys. For mods, I have used Simply Subarus in Arvada (Denver area); Dave is kick-donkey and will give you all you need to know about Subie mods. For warranty work, Auto Nation West in Golden has been excellent; Ben in the service department has been my go-to guy. I'd be more than happy to hand over his number.

7. For hoarfrost on your windows, which you will experience regularly living at altitude, the Swedish Ice Scraper is hands down the absolute best for removing it.

8. Avoid having a warm/hot windshield in snow storms, as counter-intuitive as it sounds. In snow storms, this is how I handle them: At home/work, I'll scrape off all the snow and ice, load up the car, start it, and drive off keeping the RPMs below 3k until the blue warm-up light goes out. From the time I start the car and am driving, even with the blue light on, I'll have the defroster on the warmest temp until the inside frost clear out (air won't really be warm yet, just not really freezing). At this point -- and this is important -- I drop the temperature to 68 or so and switch the setting to floor only. If the window starts to fog, I'll temporarily switch the setting to defrost (along with A/C since it is a defogger), let it clear the window, then back down to feet. I avoid at all costs letting the windshield turn warm. I say this because snow falling on a warm windshield will melt on the window and then flash-freezes to the wiper blades, and tons of wiper fluid will be wasted trying, if at all, to clear off the glass. Having a cold windshield allows the snow to hit the glass and fly off. In a typical snow season, I use maybe 1/2 a gallon of fluid -- if that.

All this has worked for me since I live at 8,800'. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.
 

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2017 Forester 2.5i Premium
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Welcome to Colorado! Which county are you in? I have lived in Summit County for a while and work for the state's department of transportation out of the Eisenhower Tunnel. Here is some advice I found that works living at altitude:

1. Dedicated snow tires. Buy a separate set of rims, throw on a set of Nokians (what I use), Blizzaks, whatnot. It'll save you money in the long run swapping them out on your car as well as time, since you will avoid having to take your car to a shop to swap out tires on 1 set of rims. You'll also need the snow-tire traction not only for handling your own car, but avoiding on the road all the out-of-towners and those without snow tires who have very little to no idea how to handle a car in snow -- crashes, rollovers, spin-outs are seen a lot in the snow season by us CDOT folk because of ****ty, bald, and/or non-dedicated snow tires.

2. Since you have fogliights, Lamin-X makes a yellow fog light cover film you can trim and place on. They are inexpensive (around $15) but look quality, and the yellow will help you see better in snow storms.

3. Have a clear bra installed on your entire hood, as well as the windshield pillars (on each side of the front window), the front part of the roof that meets the windshield, and the headlight housing. Kirby with Colorado Clear Bra in the Denver area is fantastic and highly regarded. A lot of gravel is thrown on the roads in snow seasons, and that stuff is kicked up into the air and lands on vehicles. The OEM bug deflector looks pretty but is worthless on these roads. On a related note, if you ever find yourself behind a plow, stay back at least 7-8 car lengths because the speed of the gravel kicked out the back will shred your car up; plus, the plows will call Colorado State Patrol and report if you are too close, have your brights on, try to pass, etc. We work very close with CSP, and vice versa.

4. A lift kit would be beneficial if you plan on running on US Forest Service roads. Sounds like you already have a skid plate (you'll want it for the front as well as the transmission, called a mid-plate; Primitive Racing has rally tested their gear and worth checking out if in need), which will also help tremendously if your underside is smashed because many of the trailheads lack cell service. 20mm rear sway bar is too much for running on FS roads; 19mm is what you want. There was a thread earlier today that had several people on it who take their Foresters on these roads and stated 19mm is the way to go. If you're just on paved roads, I'm sure 20mm will be more applicable.

5. Window tint your front windows. It looks like you have a sunroof. 3M Crystalline CR-40 is installed on my sunroof glass and has been one of the best add-ons -- the heat allowed through is slight and allows me to have the cover off the sunroof year round. Because I'm that much closer to the sun, I also wax my car 2x a year.

6. If you need a solid shop for maintenance, SubieSmith in Lakewood (Denver area) is solid. Great group of guys. For mods, I have used Simply Subarus in Arvada (Denver area); Dave is kick-*** and will give you all you need to know about Subie mods. For warranty work, Auto Nation West in Golden has been excellent; Ben in the service department has been my go-to guy. I'd be more than happy to hand over his number.

7. For hoarfrost on your windows, which you will experience regularly living at altitude, the Swedish Ice Scraper is hands down the absolute best for removing it.

8. Avoid having a warm/hot windshield in snow storms, as counter-intuitive as it sounds. In snow storms, this is how I handle them: At home/work, I'll scrape off all the snow and ice, load up the car, start it, and drive off keeping the RPMs below 3k until the blue warm-up light goes out. From the time I start the car and am driving, even with the blue light on, I'll have the defroster on the warmest temp until the inside frost clear out (air won't really be warm yet, just not really freezing). At this point -- and this is important -- I drop the temperature to 68 or so and switch the setting to floor only. If the window starts to fog, I'll temporarily switch the setting to defrost (along with A/C since it is a defogger), let it clear the window, then back down to feet. I avoid at all costs letting the windshield turn warm. I say this because snow falling on a warm windshield will melt on the window and then flash-freezes to the wiper blades, and tons of wiper fluid will be wasted trying, if at all, to clear off the glass. Having a cold windshield allows the snow to hit the glass and fly off. In a typical snow season, I use maybe 1/2 a gallon of fluid -- if that.

All this has worked for me since I live at 8,800'. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.
DUDE, THANK YOU!!!! We live in Grand Co (Fraser) and I work in Granby. We love it here and appreciate everything that you have posted. Extremely insightful and relevant to where I am and will be. I plan on tinting my windows here soon because I am tired of getting a sunburn while I drive to work. Lol there are a couple of paint scratches 1-1.5” long that are down to the metal on 2 doors from the previous owner that I need to get fixed. Any recommendations?
 

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2018 Forester Premium 6-speed
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291 Posts
You're welcome (y)

I'd reach out to Kirby at Colorado Clear Bra (I found calling his busy shop is better than emailing). I had some paint chips from small rocks, and he hooked me up with one of his outside guys, who did excellent work for a very reasonable price. I'm sure he'd be able to give you a good recommendation for who to contact about thos those scratches.
 
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