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HayRiverDrifter
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05/19/2023 11:29AM  
I am looking for my next vehicle and thought I would run it by you all. Any Subaru Forster owners out there?

I like the Subaru Forester because is checks all the boxes for what I need in a vehicle. This will be my camping/traveling vehicle.

I am still clinging to driving manual transmissions and there seems to be a fair number of them available. Also the CVT transmissions appear to have some issues, so I will continue with the manual

My main concern is oil consumption. From what I have read, they reduced the tolerances on the pistons a bit to eek out better gas mileage and if you do not change the oil every 3000 miles, they can develop excessing oil consumption that can lead to other issues.

Thanks in advance for you input.
 
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05/19/2023 11:49AM  
I have owned 10 Subies to date, most with the 2.5 liter normally-asperated engine that's in many used Foresters, and a couple with the older 2.2 engine. I change oil & filter on a 5,000 mile interval, and have not observed the rumored oil consumption issue you're hearing about. I did have one 2.5 engine in a 2003 Baja that started using oil, but the problem was a head gasket. I use only full-synthetic Mobil 1 oil--don't know how that impact consumption. I like Subaru because the boxer engine is easier to access than transverse-mounted engines when changing timing belts, etc, but the later models now have timing chains. I've only owned one CVT-equipped Suby (2011 Outback); it currently has ~125K on the clock and the transmission has not had any issues. Hope you find one you like. Check roof rack clearance; on our late-1990s Outbacks I could carry a canoe with the portage pads in place, but with our 2004 and 2011 Outbacks we had to pull the pads before loading the canoe.

TZ
 
martian
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05/19/2023 12:39PM  
If you can avoid the CVT and get a manual you'll be doing yourself a favor. My daughter's crosstrek CVT went out with 100K and change on the clock. It would cost us $9000 for a remanufactured one or less for a used one. It became a lot of heartache for her.
I stand by my manuals only policy. They have become much harder to come by in the United States.
Enjoy the shopping mission.
 
airmorse
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05/19/2023 12:56PM  
I WOULD NEVER EVER OWN A SUBARU AGAIN. EVER!!!!!!!

Having got that off my chest.

In 2013 I purchased a Outback Limited. New.

Everything was fine for the first 60,000 miles.

After that I replaced the following.

1. CVT
2. Short block
3. Water pump
4. Alternator
5. 3 sets of rear hubs (yes 3 sets)
6. 2 power steering pumps
7. Catilatic Converter

Keep in mind I take very good care of my vehicles. They cost too much not to. After every time I would get that Damn car fixed I would think to myself that this has to be it, no more. I would bring the vehicle into the service department and the manager would say, "that is the cleanest Subaru in here" to which I said "ya too bad it's here more than in my garage". I sold the vehicle with 140k miles.

Do yourself a BIG favor and buy a Toyota RAV4 Adventure. I purchased one last year after selling the subaru and love it!!!!!
 
thegildedgopher
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05/19/2023 02:07PM  
Look at both outbacks and foresters if you can. The Outback actually has more cargo room I believe. I like the Outback better for hauling canoes as well, for two reasons: It's not as tall, and it's about 9 inches longer.

My family has owned a BUNCH of subarus over the years and have nothing but good things to say. My dad has 473,000 miles on a 2010 forester that he used as a delivery vehicle. Of course it's had a bunch of work but 473k is ridiculous. He still drives it. The dealership plans to purchase it from him after 500k and use it as a showroom piece. The guy should be in one of those commercials if you ask me :)

Their other vehicle is a 2019 forester with the CVT and they love that as well. I'm driving a 2008 Outback with 160k on it. Base 2.5 model. Nothing out of the ordinary in terms of maintenance thus far, and I can get 5k between oil changes going full synthetic.
 
AlexanderSupertramp
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05/19/2023 02:49PM  
I feel as though Subarus are hit or miss, especially the newer ones that have more complex transmissions and fuel systems. You either get one that lasts forever, or it has constant breakdowns and engine issues before it hits 50k miles. My dad still has his 2005 Outback that he bought new, I suspect it's close to 300k miles on it. He had to have the valve cover gaskets done around 200k but otherwise it's been solid. But I also know people who have bought new Foresters and Outbacks in the last 5 years (with the 2.5) that have returned them for something else in the first year, they usually gravitate over to Toyota or Honda it seems.

When I lived in the mountains the most common car I saw on flatbeds getting hauled off the highways were Subarus.

I am biased towards Toyota myself and will probably only own those until I die.
 
05/19/2023 03:35PM  
I have a manual transmission 2014 Forester (base model) and have used it to haul canoes for many years. the base model didn't come with a roof rack, so I put Thule aero bars on the top. Have been very happy with the combination.

Overall I have had very few issues with the car that have cost me money. I have 110k miles on the car at this point and it is still running great with regular maintenance and repairs given it's age and mileage. Clutch is still going strong (knock on wood)! It was stored outdoors (no garage) for the first 9 years I had it.

the one issue that I had was that this model year had oil consumption issues, for which there was a recall. The car got a new short block at no cost to me. Keep this in mind if you are looking at the manual trans '14s. Outside of that I haven't had to do any major repairs. I do try to get my oil changed every 3k miles.

I find that the Forester is a great size for my needs. It's not too tall. In a pinch, I can my 70+lb royalex Old Town on the roof bars by myself. I have done some pretty rough forest roads (the unimproved ones that are two dirt tire tracks and plenty of boulders) without issue. This is with stock tires and suspension.

Overall very happy with my purchase. Would get another Subaru. I'm hoping to make it to 200k miles before I have to do that.

I heard that Subaru will soon be electrifying their lineup. My plan is that my next vehicle will be electric or hybrid if electric range isn't up to 800-1000 miles for this style of car by that point.
 
05/19/2023 05:05PM  
My only experience is with the 2015 Forester that my wife has. No problems at all except a battery issue, only 30,000 miles on it, but they are all Duluth miles. It has a few canoes on the roof rack.
 
05/19/2023 08:25PM  
On my third Subaru and second Forester, have been great cars for camping and canoe hauling, not sexy but they do all the things well in all seasons. I prefer the Forester over the Outback because of the slightly larger clearance into the back hatch. My current is a 2013 and I do have to keep an eye on/add oil between changes. Other than that just the usual maintenance and repairs.

I recently test drove some 2022 Foresters and Outbacks and thought they felt sluggish. Thinking I’ll take a hard look at a Toyota when it’s time for a new ride.
 
MRH
member (26)member
  
05/20/2023 06:15AM  
I had a 2009 Forester and sold it at 200,000 miles. Automatic. Dealer serviced.
Great car. Carried canoes and kayaks, as well as pulled a 4X8 utility trailer. Needed a head gasket at 75,000 miles. Other than that ran like a top. I currently have a 2017 Outback with 148,000 miles. More comfortable than the Forester I had.
Automatic. Dealer serviced. Needed ball joints recently. Otherwise, an almost perfect car. I still carry canoes and often pull a trailer. I will likely buy an Outback again. Oil changes are every 5,000 miles and oil consumption has never been a problem. A decent canoe rack may cost more for an Outback than for a Forester. Both Toyotas and Subarus are fine cars. Read more reviews to help decide.
 
Sparkeh
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05/20/2023 06:51AM  
I bought a 2018 forester manual transmission new. It had oil consumption issues from the start. I have to add a quart of oil every 800-1000 miles now it has 56,000 miles on it. The transmission may be more harsh on the engine especially when engine braking. Its annoying to have to keep checking the oil every week. I change my oil around 3500 miles just in case even though subaru claims 6500 miles between oil changes.
I love everything else about the vehicle but I will not buy another subaru with boxer engine in the future. Make sure you get the pcv valve serviced since these engines have a lot of piston ring blow by and build up gasses in the crank case.
 
airmorse
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05/20/2023 07:20AM  
The oil consumption issue Subaru boxer engines have has to do with the type of piston rings. These rings will accumulate oil sludge that prevents them from "free floating" within the piston wall. When this happens the rings get locked in place and will over time deform the piston wall allowing oil to bypass and get burnt in the combustion process. Over time this will clog up your Catilatic converter resulting in a engine fault code and your car to default to limp mode.

There is/was a class action lawsuit against Subaru because of this. If your vehicle fails their "test" you get a new short block. I had to take this test 3 times b4 my Subaru failed. The last test I was told to drive highway miles.

The test is very basic. You bring your Subaru to the dealer for an oil change. They instruct you to bring it back at 1200 miles. They pull the dipstick, and if the oil level is below a certain point you get a new short block. Keep in mind that this oil level check is totally at the discretion of the tech doing to oil change.

The 1200 mile range is based on some government ABC group that states gas engines shall not consume more than 1qt of oil per 1200 miles. Something like that anyway.

If you do your research you can verify all of this.

The fact that this is a known issue and has been for quite some time will tell you that Subaru does not care. Do not fall prey to their clever marketing commercials on TV that show outdoor people enjoying their Subaru off road or dogs driving their Subaru.

I have made it my mission to warn people about Subaru. Ultimately it's your choice of what to buy. Good luck. Do your homework!!!
 
BigPaul
member (24)member
  
05/20/2023 10:11AM  
I’ve a 72 VW bus as my canoe hauler. Last year I stuffed a 2.5L in to replace the anemic type 4. I do all my own mechanical maintenance and consider the little subi near bomb proof. Starts every time too!
 
05/20/2023 01:17PM  
I've had 4 Subarus. All have been decent cars, the last two (2011 Legacy, 2017 Outback) have been fantastic. Seriously considered a Forester when I bought the Outback but I was doing lots of driving between Minnesota and Idaho and the Forester (17) was just too loud at speed (they are better now). Forester visibility the best among almost any car. I think Toyota is more reliable- but the AWD system of the Subaru is noticeably better than that of the RAV 4 or the CRV (really both are FWD conversions- though the RAV4 hybrid is fantastic) and I hate the rear blind spots of the RAV. I've had friends that have gotten Subaru oil burners and one with a bad transmission that Subaru paid for though it took a lot of arm twisting.

If I was buying new now I'd probably go RAV4 Hybrid- that mileage is too good to pass up. However they don't really exist in the real world so its a sellers market.
 
05/20/2023 02:32PM  
My first one - '22 - now has 33K miles and I really like it. I've owned some problem vehicles in the past (F350 comes to mind) but so far so good, and it does very very well in dicey conditions. I even hauled a buddy's ford Expedition out of the ditch in snow with my Outback.
 
Diego
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05/20/2023 03:43PM  


Subaru Ascent
We’ve been fairly happy with our at 66000 miles. Only real complaint is a soft windshield and some rattles.
 
scottiebaldwin
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05/20/2023 05:34PM  
airmorse: "I WOULD NEVER EVER OWN A SUBARU AGAIN. EVER!!!!!!!

Having got that off my chest.

Do yourself a BIG favor and buy a Toyota RAV4 Adventure. I purchased one last year after selling the subaru and love it!!!!!
"


+1 on the Toyota RAV4 (Limited Hybrid) vs any Subaru I've owned. I have never been happier with a vehicle. Toyotas will outlast you if they are taken care of.

 
thegildedgopher
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05/20/2023 06:54PM  
I love Toyotas as well, my wife’s Camry hybrid is a wonderful vehicle and there are things I like about it more than my Outback or the Forester I owned. But the RAV4 and CRV do not feel as capable in the snow or towing department to me. And do Toyota or Honda even make a true wagon that you can compare to the outback?
 
05/20/2023 07:56PM  
My momma has a 2007 Forester that she swears by. No mechanical issues to speak of other that what you would expect (e.g. brakes, plugs, tires, etc.). Keep in mind she is 435 years old and now walks more miles each year than she drives.
 
05/21/2023 05:16AM  
We have owned 4 Foresters since the first (2001) purchased in 9/2000. The first 3 were purchased new. The 2005 and 2015 both had major mechanical failures: 2005 developed a stuck valve at 56000 miles requiring a head replacement (warranty repair) and the 2015 developed the known CVT issue at 118000 miles. We were quoted $7500 for a factory rebuilt CVT replacement by the dealer. I worked with Subaru America and they offered a customer loyalty $1000 contribution toward the transmission replacement. I opted to trade the vehicle for a used 2021 Forester with low miles. In October 2022 when this took place we were unable to order a new Forester due to factory problems because of Covid and parts availability issues. I asked Subaru America for a customer loyalty contribution towards the used vehicle purchase and they gave me $750. So I got to pay a new car price for a 2 model year old vehicle with a few useless dealer profit enhancing packs. This was the worst car purchasing experience I’ve ever had - it was a take it/leave it deal because the dealer had almost nothing to sell, no new vehicles (all were pre-sold before the dealer took delivery) and very few used vehicles, especially clean late model used. Oh, and I should mention the car had started using about a quart of oil between oil changes, something I never experienced with my previous Foresters. At least the dealer didn’t know about this issue when assessing trade-in value.

My wife has always loved Foresters hence the repeated purchases. My other car is a high mileage 2008 Mazda 3 which has been bulletproof, just like the 5 Toyotas I owned between 1973 and 2008.

Regarding manual transmissions, I just got home from 2 weeks hiking in Scotland and noticed that almost all the vehicles I saw there were manuals.

Thanks for the opportunity to vent on Subaru. I told the wife we are done with Subaru if we have another another mechanical failure with this one.
 
05/21/2023 08:02AM  
No input on the Forester specifically, but I own an Outback and it is a great canoe hauler.
 
05/21/2023 06:54PM  
I have a cross trek. 2 times after I passed or was close to 5000 miles, the low oil pressure light came on. I’ve never had this happen in any vehicle I’ve owned. Luckily I was passing through Ely and was able to find the synthetic oil it requires. Lesson: now I carry extra oil in my car if I’m out of town. P.S. I owned a 99 Forester and it was a POS. I had to replace the cat converter 3 times! Plus a number of other repairs that were quite expensive. Suburu wasn’t showing the love they clame to have when I complained about the expensive repairs.
 
HayRiverDrifter
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05/21/2023 10:24PM  
Thanks everyone for all the replies thus far. Please keep the info coming.
 
05/22/2023 06:42AM  
OK - on the negative side...while I like my '22 Outback, I dislike:

Roof crossbars, even with the max spread front-to-back, are still much closer together than I'd like. Something like 39" if I recall. Still better than our Highlander Hybrid (which is otherwise a great vehicle).

OEM hitch - hole on the receiver tube for the pin is set way back & up under the bumper and is very challenging to reach. PITA, and a surprising oversight.

OEM plastic/rubber cargo liner is a joke.

Too much stuff on the touchscreen, would like to see the return of some old-school buttons for a few things.

If you leave the tailgate open it drains the battery. I had always backed into my garage, and leave the tailgate open on my vehicles, often for days. Easier to load the dog, gear, etc...however that's really not possible with modern subies.

Headlights came set way too high - fixed by adjusting manually.

Eyesight "feature" is seriously inferior to Toyota's system. Almost not ready for public consumption. Have had it randomly disable cruise dozens of times - especially annoying on long trips, and more than a little precip will cause it to quit...when this happens you can't use cruise at all. 3-600 mile drive in the rain on an interstate with no cruise is annoying. It also applies brakes to avoid collisions, which is theoretically nice, but all I've had it do is make lane changes in traffic less safe by braking unexpectedly.

Also, I did have a bad battery, which they tested, agreed, and replaced.

Still, overall it's a keeper - any vehicle has its shortcomings.
 
05/22/2023 08:21AM  

Very happy with our 2019 Forester. No problems or oil consumption issues. We especially like the amount of storage room. Comfortable seats and good sight lines. Consumer Reports give it high ratings.
 
05/22/2023 06:36PM  
I will Never again buy a Subaru. They have many known issues and the company doesn’t give a **** about it. I’d go with a Honda personally.
 
airmorse
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05/23/2023 08:54AM  
thegildedgopher: "I love Toyotas as well, my wife’s Camry hybrid is a wonderful vehicle and there are things I like about it more than my Outback or the Forester I owned. But the RAV4 and CRV do not feel as capable in the snow or towing department to me. And do Toyota or Honda even make a true wagon that you can compare to the outback?"


Rav4 Adventure and TRD have a towing capacity of 3500lbs. This was one of the reasons I bought a Rav4 Adventure.

 
bwcamjh
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05/23/2023 08:35PM  
Our first Forester was bought brand new. It was a 2000 or 2001, it lasted 16 years. It was needing a 3rd head gasket at about 176,000 miles along with all the other associated systems needing some overhauling sooner rather than later and I traded it in. Drove the Forester hard. Hauled canoes all over the place. Trips to the east and the west. Hauled our Space Trailer around as well. Really like the headroom and positive all around vision of the windows. Sure a little boxy looking but I don't really care about that. Recently purchased a used 2019 Forester--a base model. I do miss the stick shift. Don't know if I'll put a trailer hitch on it. Crossbars are already purchased but not installed. I'll keep an eye on the oil consumption. While I do agree that Toyota's have longevity in the brand, we've had several Toyotas as well and all of our Toyotas have gone 285,000 plus miles. I see a lot of issues the quality with most car brands these days. Yea either get a good vehicle or one with issues--how major the issues unknown until you know about them. I've also found that some dealers are better to work with than others. I won't go back to the dealer that I bought the first Forester from. Service just got worse as the years went by. No need to deal with that.
 
Driftless
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05/24/2023 08:04AM  
Have only had one Subaru, a 2018 Crosstrek manual that we got 3 years ago. It has 78K miles now and we had to do one major repair on the AWD system that cost $3K, so that was very disappointing.

You do have to keep an eye on the oil and coolant in between oil changes. I carry both with me.

So the verdict is still out for me. Let's see if we are done with major repairs.

I have close to 200K miles on both our 4Runner and Tacoma with no repairs and neither burn a drop of oil, so that is the standard I am comparing to.
 
05/25/2023 09:08PM  
I have owned 4 Subaru Foresters and what I like most about them is the name.
 
Sparkeh
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05/26/2023 06:15AM  
Go with a toyota or honda if you like reliability. If you like paying for repairs like clogged cats, gummed up throttle bodies, clogged pcv valves, oil leaks through silicone gaskets and burning 3 quarts of oil between oil changes every 3,000 miles get a subaru. I will never buy a subaru again.
 
05/26/2023 06:39AM  
Sparkeh: "Go with a toyota or honda if you like reliability. If you like paying for repairs like clogged cats, gummed up throttle bodies, clogged pcv valves, oil leaks through silicone gaskets and burning 3 quarts of oil between oil changes every 3,000 miles get a subaru. I will never buy a subaru again. "


This was also my exact experience with my 2012 Forester. I was putting quart after quart of oil into it, about a quart every 500 miles. Neither the dealer or repair shop could do anything about this. I bought it new and it started eating oil after about 50k miles. The worst was hearing the engine knock of other people’s Foresters cause the owner wasn’t a car person and just changed the oil every 3k. I swear Subaru markets to people who are more into the outdoors than cars, otherwise I don’t know how they stay in business.
 
airmorse
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05/26/2023 07:20AM  
YaMarVa: "
Sparkeh: "Go with a toyota or honda if you like reliability. If you like paying for repairs like clogged cats, gummed up throttle bodies, clogged pcv valves, oil leaks through silicone gaskets and burning 3 quarts of oil between oil changes every 3,000 miles get a subaru. I will never buy a subaru again. "



This was also my exact experience with my 2012 Forester. I was putting quart after quart of oil into it, about a quart every 500 miles. Neither the dealer or repair shop could do anything about this. I bought it new and it started eating oil after about 50k miles. The worst was hearing the engine knock of other people’s Foresters cause the owner wasn’t a car person and just changed the oil every 3k. I swear Subaru markets to people who are more into the outdoors than cars, otherwise I don’t know how they stay in business. "


As I said in one of my posts, clever marketing commercials showing outdoors people taking their Subarus off road. A family of dogs driving. Dog tested dog approved. NOT.

They market to Americans passion, the out doors and animals.
 
carmike
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05/28/2023 06:01PM  
We got a bad one -- insane oil consumption made life very annoying. We did the dealer test twice and both times it wasn't significant enough to warrant a replacement. Eventually we used the COVID-era insane car values to trade it in.

My in-laws own one and love it. Seems hit or miss with Subaru. But I never see the Taliban or ISIS driving Subarus around in the desert. It's always a Toyota, so that's what I'm going to go with.
 
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