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Discussion Starter #1
New To Subaru but loving our Forester. We had an excellent dealership that treated us well while we were in Victoria, BC, Canada but recently moved to Ottawa and have had a bit of an issue with our local dealership.

Our passenger side front speaker overheated and burnt out a few weeks back. The overall heat from it was pretty extreme (we thought something was on fire) and all we could smell for 3 days was burnt wires/plastic. When we looked at the dash in the day light we noticed that it looked warped as it took form around the airbag compartment underneath it. If you run your fingers around the top and side closest to the speaker you can actually feel the ridges of what’s beneath. - my only thought is that this HAD to have been from the heat of the burning wires.

We took the car in that day and luckily the speaker was covered under warrantee! HOWEVER, the dealership said that the dash is not warped and that it was "Normal Characteristic" to see/feel the airbag under the dash. They had sent my pictures (which were not very good) to Subaru Canada that supported the dealerships statement.

I'm looking for advice, is this something that we(I) should continue to pursue? Am I correct in thinking that I should not be able to see or FEEL the airbag through my dash? What is the best way to move forward if I am being unsupported by my local dealership?

Many thanks!
529951
529952
 

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2011 Subaru Forester
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384 Posts
To be honest, I cannot really see it in your pictures, but my bigger concern would be how did the heat affect the passenger airbag module? If the extreme heat of Florida and other climates can cause them to degrade and increase the risk of unintentional explosion, what would be the aftereffects of an unintended heat source nearby in the dash???.
Did they explain how and why the speaker overheated? Did they find a bad ground or wire?

I think there might be a bigger issue here than the cosmetics of the dash.
 

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2004 FXT 4EAT
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563 Posts
I can see the outline of the airbag. And considering that the airbag needs to "break through" the material, it can't be too firm. In some vehicles they put an outline around the crease where the airbag would "op out". Some vehicles they try to make it "flat". In my opinion, you can almost always tell where the "crease" is, if you look at the right angle/close enough. If you know what you're looking for.

Is it possible that the crease/indentation has always been there, but you just now noticed it?

P.S. I've never heard of a speaker (or speaker wires) overheating!
 

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2009 Legacy
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912 Posts
Speakers may overheat but you'd have to drive something that looks like a sustained squarewave through it. It takes a bit of doing. Hard to believe the heat generated by it would be intense enough to cook a dash. It is only rated at 100 W(rms), which really isn't that much. Edit: the midday sun would cook that dash more than speaker heat ever could.
If the speaker's coil didn't give its spirit, its cone would and you wouldn't want to turn your radio on after that because even horrible music - the stuff that makes your trunk vibrate - would sound even more horribleler. Those finals used in those radios would probably shut off or catch fire first.

I think they are blowing smoke. I'm wondering whether it isn't due to a hot air duct having been knocked off, not properly secured or something like that.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks all, like I said, the pictures aren’t very good! You can physically feel the ripple in the dash. I am almost certain that it was not there previously but asked the service manager to show me another car in order to compare.

for the speaker, they didn’t actually tell me what it was, I just assumed it was a ground fault. I did some searching online and it seemed to be a thing... the heat and smell as pretty intense, we turned off the entire center consol (music, maps, etc) and turned off the heater as we weren’t sure what it was and feared the car was going to ignite. We checked under the hood and couldn’t see anything or feel any heat under there so it was obviously coming from the speaker. Interesting theory about the hot air duct - it is winter and has been fairly cold. We isn’t need our heater where we used to live so this is the first season it’s gotten any use
 

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2011 Subaru Forester
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384 Posts
So no one else is concerned about the passenger airbag module having been exposed to a live heat source?

A disconnected heat vent would simply allow hot air to escape, you would not smell burning. Basically you have the blower motor assembly under there, possibly a lighting wire for your glove box, passenger air bag and its wiring, and your speaker (tweeter). I would want to know the cause and source of the short.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I never even considered what this would have done to the Airbag, and how it would have impacted its operational capability.

Honestly, they never gave me an excuse for why it over heated/burnt - I just assumed it shorted out. Subaru Canada finally agreed to cover the costs of the replacement dash but dealing with the dealership has been absolutely horrible (with the exception of the service manager). It took 3 attempts to prove my case, almost 2 weeks of my car being in the shop, and now I have a cracked windshield (conveniently directly above where the work was) which apparently was already there (according to the technician) but as you see in the imagery above... there was no crack. The saga continues.
 

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Sahuarita, Arizona USA 2018 Forester Limited
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Honestly, they never gave me an excuse for why it over heated/burnt - I just assumed it shorted out.
Anytime I have warranty work done, the service invoice indicates the fault and the corrective action. What does your invoice say?
 
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