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2016 Forester 25i CVT
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Discussion Starter #1
My partner has a 2014 CROSSTEK that needs the rack and pinion replaced at just over 100,000 KM.

Our garage (a high end garage, not Subaru) brought to our attention Subaru Technical Service Bulletin 04-21-18 dated July 24, 2018, regarding this matter.

Not only Crosstreks, but Foresters 2014 to 2018. The steering rack and pinion is subject to corrosion in areas of high concentrations of road salt. The gear box housing can crack resulting in uneven steering. In my partners case, damaged lower ball joins as well. Rack and pinion needs replacing. Pricy.

Subaru introduced a new steering box assembly to address this, and these were incorporated into production, and recommended as replacements for affected vehicles and new vehicles from that point. No recalls or advisories were issued. Subaru has known about this since before July 2018.

So, my partner is facing a pricy repair. Our local Subaru dealership has offered no help, as the car is no longer under warranty, even though they knew of the issue back when under warranty.

Affected vehicles are 2012 to 2016 Impreza, 2013 to 2017 Crosstrek, and 2014 to 2018 Foresters. For Foresters, the new gear box went into vehicles starting with VIN J*462815.

So beware you northerners and have this checked.
 

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2015 Forester Premium CVT
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Thank you for the heads up.
Please update us on how it goes.

For Foresters, the new gear box went into vehicles starting with VIN J*462815.
I am not quite sure how Subaru's VIN is formulated. I say this because mine is 2015, got it in Sept 2014 and my VIN ends with 47xxxx. If these last numbers don't repeat then only 2014-2015 are affected but the TSB says that only some of 2018 are not affected. I am confused.
 

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Important note from TSB: corrosion will not cause loss of power steering, uneven steering effort is the symptom described. TSB says a crack can form in the steering gearbox body, and goes out of its way to mention occurrences are very limited. Sounds like it does not result in a safety concern, so very low potential for a recall
 

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So, my partner is facing a pricy repair. Our local Subaru dealership has offered no help, as the car is no longer under warranty, even though they knew of the issue back when under warranty.
Go beyond the dealer and contact SOC, Subaru of Canada. Subaru of America routinely helps out in situations like this with full coverage or at least partial coverage of the parts or labor. Expressing loss of faith and confidence in the vehicle and brand usually helps them want to approve a 'goodwill' repair reimbursement.
 

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2016 Forester 25i CVT
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Discussion Starter #7
The rack replacement is $1991 parts and labour.....Canadian. the rack has to come from Subaru and is $1637. Three hours labour
 

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2018 Forester XT Limited CVT
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I am not quite sure how Subaru's VIN is formulated. I say this because mine is 2015, got it in Sept 2014 and my VIN ends with 47xxxx. If these last numbers don't repeat then only 2014-2015 are affected but the TSB says that only some of 2018 are not affected. I am confused.
I have a 2018, and the last six digits of my VIN are later than the last six digits of the VIN on the TSB, so I assume I have the newer part.

There are VIN decoders on the Internet. Here is one:

 

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Discussion Starter #9
Important note from TSB: corrosion will not cause loss of power steering, uneven steering effort is the symptom described. TSB says a crack can form in the steering gearbox body, and goes out of its way to mention occurrences are very limited. Sounds like it does not result in a safety concern, so very low potential for a recall
Presumably, a TSB is to alert service advisors and techs of a potential problem. But the crack in this steering gearbox was way up top and you could not even take a picture of it. Unless a customer has stiff steering and reports it, no technician will look at it during service. My partner was experiencing no steering problems but her mechanic spotted it during routine service. So it seems problems will not crop up while under warranty, even if the crack is there. And I cannot see a technician spotting it and suggesting a pricy warranty repair on something a customer is not complaining about.
Point in fact, this Crosstrek had "hard starting" issues almost since day one, to the point where roadside assistance (CAA) had to be called for a boost. One driver told her that he had never boosted a Subaru before. Nice to know. But then she needed a new battery as the starter had wrecked it. Somewhere along the line, I think from the battery shop, someone told us about a Subaru TSB regarding the Crosstrek and hard starting. And that the starter electronics had to be "flashed" to correct the computer electronics. So back to the dealer where this was confirmed, and the repair done under warranty. But we had brought this car to the dealer for service a few times, and my partner had mentioned the hard starting problem. The service advisor had ignored my partners complaints, as if "shes a woman and cant start a car right". We pointed this out to service, as we were arguing Subaru should replace the battery too, (because of their ignoring the problem over the last 2 yrs) but this was declined. had to buy a new battery.
So.....sometimes a TSB is worthless for a heads up to dealer service
 

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I’m wondering if this part that cracks due to corrosion can be mitigated with spray paint?
If you can get to it without removing the entire EPS?? It’s quite a bit of work to remove., but I think it’s do-able.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited by Moderator)
But water gets in the crack and corrodes the inside of the rack as well.....no telling how long the crack has been there. we have a lot of salt on our roads up here...hence the issue in the first place.
 

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I cannot see a technician spotting it and suggesting a pricy warranty repair on something a customer is not complaining about.

[...]

And that the starter electronics had to be "flashed" to correct the computer electronics. So back to the dealer where this was confirmed, and the repair done under warranty
Remember that a dealership does not act in the customer's best interests. It acts in the dealership's best interests.

Whenever I had my car into a dealership, before I knew better than to bring my car to a dealership, the dealership looked around for things to work on. They even told me that one of their regular tasks was to check all the firmware versions and update everything to the latest firmware versions, because they get paid for each update. (They didn't even ask me for permission to update my firmware.) On my 2007 they would also spray paint the back surface of the muffler each visit. We found that dealerships will also make things up and try to trick you into paying for that "repair" or "service." And often, the work will be improperly done.

These days I don't bring our cars to a dealership unless absolutely necessary for something like a warranty service that is above a certain dollar amount. If the parts for the repair are a few hundred dollars or so and the repair is in my (by myself or with the help of friends) mechanical abilities, I'll just buy the parts and do the repair myself. I've had dealership repairs done improperly and other things in the car damaged by the dealership repair, so it's just not worth having my car worse off than before the visit to the dealership, just to get some warranty service done.

I don't know why your dealership didn't flash your firmware as a regular part of a visit, but I do know that in order to get things done, you often have to go online and find step-by-step instructions for how to access the firmware or electronics, print them, and give them to the dealership, so they don't screw it up. The dealership is nothing special. It's just another shop, that has a business relationship with the car manufacturer. Just like with any other shop, there are honest ones, and there are dishonest incompetent ones.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I don't know why your dealership didn't flash your firmware as a regular part of a visit, but I do know that in order to get things done, you often have to go online and find step-by-step instructions for how to access the firmware or electronics, print them, and give them to the dealership, so they don't screw it up. The dealership is nothing special. It's just another shop, that has a business relationship with the car manufacturer. Just like with any other shop, there are honest ones, and there are dishonest incompetent ones.

But how does one know to go online and research anything like "flashing firmware"?

anyhow.....I have heard back from Subaru and customer care is reviewing our complaint regarding the rack and pinion. It may take a few days or so as it has to go to their warranty division. In the meantime, our private shop has the new rack in, if needed. we should have had them wait until we heard from Subaru
 

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It takes a little while but worth waiting to hear from Subaru. They will surprise you with Goodwill gestures. Is the new rack EPS an updated version ? OEM?
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited by Moderator)
The new rack had to be ordered from Subaru so I am sure it is OEM updated. But if we do not hear soon we may have to go ahead with our shop as its a driveability issue. And my partner does not like to be cooped up.
 

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But how does one know to go online and research anything like "flashing firmware"?
When Subaru connects their shop computer to the car, I think they use software called Subaru Select Monitor (SSM).

My car's turn signals had a one-touch lane-change function. I could tap the stalk and release it, and the car's computer would flash the turn signal 3 times. I didn't have to hold the stalk in position, or push it past its detent and then return it to centre later to stop the signalling. Some options in the firmware can be set by the user, but some can be set by only the dealership. Turning off this lane-change function was dealer only. The guy behind the counter had no idea how to turn this function off, and I'd guess many of the technicians didn't know how to turn it off either. I had to find the SSM instructions online and print them and give them to the dealership.

I installed an aftermarket blinker module in my car, and now I can set how many blinks I get for the lane change, and I can set some other things too. I needed the car's built-in function to be turned off before I could use the function in the new module.

But honestly, there is some variability in my lane changes, and they're not all simple 3-blink lane changes. Often I need more blinks, and often I want to cancel the blinks before they finish. I'm thinking of turning the one-touch off and just signalling manually, like I did with all my previous cars that didn't have one-touch.

Anyway. Once in a while there will be firmware updates for things like your stereo, the maps, etc. There are often ways you can download the new firmware and update the systems yourself (check subaruforester.org for one source of info). Some things will be dealer only.

My wife's car has a recall for a firmware update that has to do with stopping the car from applying the ABS when the car is in a car wash (2017 RX350). I don't allow my wife to take the car to a car wash (because car washes damage the car's paint), and the dealership is evil, so we just ignore any contact from the dealerships unless it's for something compelling.
 

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I am in a high salt area. Does running through the car wash rinse the underside sufficiently To avoid this?
 

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I have a 2015 Forester and haven’t driven in high salt areas. I drove it on plowed and clear roads for about a week 2 years ago but I couldn’t tell there was any salt. I was just noticing my steering getting stiff. I have over 105k and obviously out of warranty now. I wonder if this is the issue with my Forester.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I have a 2015 Forester and haven’t driven in high salt areas. I drove it on plowed and clear roads for about a week 2 years ago but I couldn’t tell there was any salt. I was just noticing my steering getting stiff. I have over 105k and obviously out of warranty now. I wonder if this is the issue with my Forester.
Print off the TSB and go to your mechanic for a look see. According to our mechanic, the trouble spot is in a location where it is hard to see a crack, but you can see the corrosion.
 
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