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2003 Forester
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Discussion Starter #1
I have an 03 forester x, and when I turn on the air conditioning, I can hear squeaking coming from my front end. It sounds like a belt just needs lubrication, but I'm not sure what to do to fix it.

I just bought this car less than 3 weeks ago and everything seems to be going wrong. The belts were brand new when we bought it, so I guess we should have realized there was probably a problem before.

Does anyone have any suggestions, besides bringing it into a dealer? We're hoping to save money and anything we can do ourselves would be great.

Thanks!
 

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I have an 03 forester x, and when I turn on the air conditioning, I can hear squeaking coming from my front end. It sounds like a belt just needs lubrication, but I'm not sure what to do to fix it.

I just bought this car less than 3 weeks ago and everything seems to be going wrong. The belts were brand new when we bought it, so I guess we should have realized there was probably a problem before.

Does anyone have any suggestions, besides bringing it into a dealer? We're hoping to save money and anything we can do ourselves would be great.

Thanks!
Whatever you do, don't lube it! New belts often stretch a lot so it probably just needs to be tightened. It's easy to do with just hand tools (10mm, 12mm and 14mm wrenches) but you might want to leave it to the dealer to get the tension right.
 

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04 Forester X, MT
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1,039 Posts
a good rule of thumb is that if you push on the belt mid-span it should deflect 1/4" but not more than 1/2" if it has correct tension.

some squeaking or noise could also come from idler pulleys or other components.
 

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If its not the belt itself its likely the A/C tensioner pulley. The bearing can get very squeaky (I had to replace mine at around 100,000 miles)
 

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2003 Forester
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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks! Looks like whatever it is, it's way too complex for a car idiot like me. :)

I have to take it in anyway since the air bag light came on and it's leaking oil... Great buy, right?
 

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04 Forester X, MT
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Well, good luck! The belt and idler pulley isn't too big a deal, so if you have a slightly more mechanically inclined friend and a Haynes or Chilton manual you could probably do that if you wanted to try without too much risk. Everyone has to start somewhere.

My '04X I bought a little over a year ago had the airbag light come on within a couple months or so after I got it and a detailed TSB I performed myself fixed it. I wouldn't trust most dealership techs to have the soldering experience to do this correctly, though.
http://www.scoobymods.com/side-airbag-trouble-code-t4110.html
Sometimes folks report back-seat passengers kick loose the plugs or simply unplugging and replugging can make the airbag light go back off.

I replaced rear wheel bearings due to a little noise, I was going to be towing, and was aware of OEM ball-bearings not lasting all that long.

I truly hope your oil leak turns out to be something minor like a valve cover gasket. My '04X had external oil leak from the Headgasket on the driver's side at 86,000 miles. I didn't like the smell as it dripped on the exhaust and a warranty partially covered the job, so I had a shop fix it. Didn't like spending the extra $, but I still like my Forester. The new gaskets were a better multi-layer design than the single-layer coated gasket that was on there.

Currently I'm an 91,000 miles and thinking of replacing OEM struts and front wheel bearings myself after it cools down a little. (Tire wear is getting a little more problematic in spite of alignments and I think I feel a little vibration up there.)
 
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