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2001 Forester
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all: 2001 Forester, 138k miles. GREAT little car.

Don't yell at me, but the check engine light has been on for a couple of months. I had it hooked up to a computer and found the knock censor is the problem, was going to get it repaired when... I lost my job. I had to put the repair on hold, and since I don't commute anymore did not think it was essential to fix ASAP.

Today I get in the car (it's been sitting for a week, at least.) Pull out of driveway...ABS light comes on. Then goes off. I try putting car in drive, reverse, driving forwards a bit, applying the brakes. It's now going on and off with no apparent rhyme or reason.

Then AIRBAG light comes on. Then the icon for the battery. And the regular (hand held) BRAKE warning light. These are all coming on, staying on for a while, then going off. I drive the car for a bit. Airbag light goes off, ABS is off but comes on when I apply brakes. Battery icon and Brake are on.

There is zero discernible difference in how the car idles, drives, performs, etc.

One person I spoke to guessed computer. Someone else guessed alternator could be "dying". I think they just die, though, don't they? And like I said no loss of power. (I have had dead alts in other cars, know the symptoms.)

Any clues? It's going to the shop tomorrow anyway, but I would like to know if anyone has experienced this before, and what the culprit is, or might be.

Thanks much!
 

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Premium Member
2007 XT Sport 5MT
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24,101 Posts
Welcome to the forum from Niagara Falls!

Have you tried resetting the ECU and see if the lights are still acting up?
just disconnect the battery and press the brake pedal down for a couple seconds to drain off any residual juice in the system. If it's just a glitchy system, that should fix the issue... otherwise it'll be a somewhat more involved repair job, or even a dying battery.
 

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Registered
2001 Forester
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the welcome! Uh, what's the ECU? I will try the test tomorrow, either way. I have been reading old threads on this issue and believe it is probably the alt and or battery. Is it possible that all these lights indicate loss of "juice"? I wonder if the sitting for a week has anything to do with it....
 

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Administrator
2004 Forester XT Premium 4EAT
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30,106 Posts
Sounds like a bad alternator to me. Get it tested for free at any auto parts store.
+1

Christmas light dash syndrome is usually a sign of an alternator gone bad. Don't put this one off, though, you could really do some damage to the electrical system (think fried relays and modules) if the alternator's voltage regulator has gone haywire.
 

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2001 Forester
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Good news and bad news...

Good: I got it back yesterday from the shop. New alternator, replaced the knock censor.

Bad: Head gaskets are leaking.

I've done all the regular maintenance (timing belt) so I guess I bite the bullet and do this. Car is paid for and I hate car payments more than random repair bills.

$1600 quote from the dealership. Seem high?
 

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Good: I got it back yesterday from the shop. New alternator, replaced the knock censor.

Bad: Head gaskets are leaking.

I've done all the regular maintenance (timing belt) so I guess I bite the bullet and do this. Car is paid for and I hate car payments more than random repair bills.

$1600 quote from the dealership. Seem high?
around 1500 seems about average for dealers if they're doing both headgaskets (and they should be!). Just make sure you actually trust the dealer to disassemble and reassemble your motor!
 

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2001 Forester
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Good to know. Thanks! This is a trustworthy dealer. They've done all the big repairs for me. Little "generic" stuff I do elsewhere. After reading about getting aftermarket/cheap alternators and related fails, I went to dealer for that. I think the head gaskets fall under that category, too. Thanks again!
 
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