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2003 Forester X
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sometimes when I take off from a stop, it sounds almost like some water is running in the dash. I've wondered if it's fluid in the heater core or something, but I wouldn't think you could hear that or that there would be enough loose fluid in there to get the sound. I've heard the sound in other Japanese cars, so it seems pretty common, but it's very annoying. Any clue what it is?
 

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It could be your Automatic transmission fluid in the torque converter. If you have one of those that is.
 

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#8 Post ho
1999 Subaru Forester
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... Searching for similar topic...

Er..

well apparently I was wrong but I could have sworn I saw another thread on this.. maybe its just too late.. or that ap gov assignment fried my brain?
 

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2003 Forester X
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
MountainBiker said:
It could be your Automatic transmission fluid in the torque converter. If you have one of those that is.
I do have an auto. Mine's a 2003 X. You mean the fluid moving around in the torque converter could make that much noise? It sounds like it's coming from the dash, but I guess it could be lower than that.
 

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2004 fxt
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it could be air trapped in the heater core. I see it quite a bit at work.
 

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2004 Forester XT 4EAT
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There's a good chance you're low on coolant. There's air bubbles in your coolant system and the engine pushing coolant through it will make a water flowing sound--especially when you first pull out when the engine is cold.
 

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2003 Forester X
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
slizan99 said:
it could be air trapped in the heater core. I see it quite a bit at work.
That seems pretty logical. Shouldn't this fix itself after a few cycles of running the heater though? Shouldn't that circulate enough coolant through to push the air out, or are there pockets where the air gets stuck?

Being low on coolant makes sense, but I didn't think I was. I will check though. It seems to make the noise on acceleration or decceleration. I'm not sure if I made that clear. It has to be something common because I've heard the noise before especially in Toyota camrys.
 

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Wrong time of year for it (at least here in the Northern Hemisphere), but I had something similar on another vehicle when the AC condensate line was kinked, and the blower started filling with water. It was never enough to spill over and get into the footwell, but I always had this sloshing sound deep in the dash until I straightened out the hose as it went thru the firewall.

Made a really bizarre sound when the fan was at low speed, too.
 

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2004 XT AT
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I get the sloshing sound when I first drive off when it's been wet out. It's just water collected in the plastic tray below the wipers. Water also collects under the roof rails and that can make a higher-up sloshing sound too. Stops after it's all run off.
 

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2004 fxt
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sclough said:
That seems pretty logical. Shouldn't this fix itself after a few cycles of running the heater though? Shouldn't that circulate enough coolant through to push the air out, or are there pockets where the air gets stuck?

Being low on coolant makes sense, but I didn't think I was. I will check though. It seems to make the noise on acceleration or decceleration. I'm not sure if I made that clear. It has to be something common because I've heard the noise before especially in Toyota camrys.


it most likely won't fix itself. there are pockets where air can get trapped. I use a gravity style coolant refill tool that attaches where the radiator cap is. attach the coolant refill tool to the vehicle and raise the front of the car into the air. fill the coolant refill tool up about halfway with coolant and raise the rpm's to about 2000-2500. hold it steady for 5 minutes or so. this usually gets most of the air pockets out.

hope this helps.

Jake
 

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kickin_81 said:
There's a good chance you're low on coolant. There's air bubbles in your coolant system and the engine pushing coolant through it will make a water flowing sound--especially when you first pull out when the engine is cold.
Agreed. I was getting the sound of bubbling water in my RS w/WRX swap, so I checked the coolant level and sure enough it was low. Filled it up and the sound is gone.
 

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2017 Forester 2.5I - 6 Speed
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I had this problem in my Camry. It was the condensation drain. I guess spiders build nests in it in the fall. This same thing has also happened on my home heat pump. Got water in front of my air handler on the basement floor.
 

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The heater core on our '02 Forester gets the air bubbles out on its own, as long as the coolant level is correct.
 

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2004 XT
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Try this test. Drive around a bit and make sure you are hearing the noise. Then stop and with the car in neutral, slowly rev the engine. If you hear the noise, then it's not water sloshing around in the body someplace. If you do hear the noise, start chasing coolant issues (like air in the heater core or lines maybe?).

I had a similar noise on my '02 WRX and the dealership had a heck of a time diagnosing the problem. Turned out that the trickling water noise I was hearing on slow rev up was related to a fuel line problem. :confused: The dealer installed what they called a fuel line baffle and I never heard the sound again. To this day, I still don't know exactly what they did.. YMMV

cheers,
Scott
 

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98 Forester...what else
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derscott said:
The dealer installed what they called a fuel line baffle and I never heard the sound again. To this day, I still don't know exactly what they did.. YMMV

cheers,
Scott
Umm...I think you figured it out, you just don't know it.

"If you can't dazzle them will brilliance, baffle them with bull****".

They installed a baffle alright!! :p :p That's what the techs at my dealership do sometimes.
 

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2004 XT
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Roo said:
Umm...I think you figured it out, you just don't know it.

"If you can't dazzle them will brilliance, baffle them with bull****".

They installed a baffle alright!! :p :p That's what the techs at my dealership do sometimes.
You know, that was always in the back of my head, but it was a warranty "repair" and the noise did stop after that, so I didn't really care. BS or not, I was just glad the annoying noise finally stopped.

cheers,
Scott
 

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sclough said:
Sometimes when I take off from a stop, it sounds almost like some water is running in the dash. I've wondered if it's fluid in the heater core or something, but I wouldn't think you could hear that or that there would be enough loose fluid in there to get the sound. I've heard the sound in other Japanese cars, so it seems pretty common, but it's very annoying. Any clue what it is?

Did you get to the bottom of this?

I bought a my05 Forester about a month ago (show-room model) and I get exactly the problem you descirbe (water noise from the dash board). I only seem to get this whilst the car is cold (although this may be because the water hasn't had time to run off yet according to the rain-under-the-wiper theory).

I'm taking it back to the dealer for its first 1000 mile service in the next week or two, so I'll get them to investigate it.
 

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Got to the root of the problem.

The sloshing water noise is actually the clear plastic fascia resonating against the dials in the dashboard.

My Subie dealer told me that he'd had to sort out a number of these recently including Imprezas and Outbacks. He fixed it by taking the dash apart and trimming some excess plastic of the hidden portion of the surround.

The problem went straight away. As for why it only occured whilst the car was relatively cold, we think that it was because as the cabin warms up, the plastic naturally expands and resonates less.

The coolant levels where checked and these were definitely not the cause of the noise for me.
 

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2011 Forester X Limited Only manual for me!
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Thanks for posting this. I've got the exact same issue--a sloshing sound, mostly when the engine--and outside temperature--is cold, and it goes away fairly quickly. Was thinking of taking apart the dash to replace the light bulb for cruise control (cc works, but not the light in the button) and might check into this plastic thing.
 
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