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Subaru Forester 2011 Owners - please read

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  • Jul 5th, 2011 5:32 pm
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Newbie
May 29, 2009
45 posts
Calgary

Subaru Forester 2011 Owners - please read

Folks,

I have a Forester 2011 with a problem. On cold start ups (e.g., when the car is parked overnight and I start it up in the morning), it makes a loud noise for about 20-30 seconds. Depending on the ambient temperature, sometimes there is no noise and the start up is normal like any other car.

My dealership tried a few tests but could not resolve the problem. They contacted Subaru Canada. Now, I have been told by the dealership and Subaru Canada that the noise I hear is a *characteristic feature* of the Forester 2011 itself, i.e., all Forester 2011's make this type of noise.

I am now trying to do a reality check on this. If you are a Forester 2011 owner, I would appreciate it if you would reply to this post to let me know if you have the noise problem or not.

Thanks in advance.
21 replies
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 20, 2004
2619 posts
165 upvotes
Mississauga
Can you get your dealership to show you with another 2011 in their lot that exhibit the same noise?
Deal Addict
Nov 21, 2004
1224 posts
30 upvotes
Is this just a noise while the engine is running after startup?

Also try Toronto Subaru Club and SubaruForester.org forums for some feedback as well.
Deal Addict
Jun 30, 2010
2317 posts
467 upvotes
Vaughan
Is this the XT or regular? What's the temperature been overnight when you have experienced this? I have a 2010 Forester XT, it has rough starts with some high pitched whining noise in overnight temps under -15'c, but no problems at all during these summer months.
Deal Expert
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Jan 7, 2007
17071 posts
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Poormond Hill
It would be better if you can record it and post it. What you are describing can mean different things to others.
A life spent making mistakes is not only more memorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
Deal Addict
Nov 15, 2009
1958 posts
148 upvotes
Yes, please post a recording of the noise.

There could be many different noises.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Jul 25, 2008
570 posts
18 upvotes
Was cranking a long time before it started?
Deal Addict
Dec 24, 2005
4790 posts
510 upvotes
is it the PZEV model?
if so it's sorta normal --
i dont have the PZEV myself but if you do i've heard the noise is normal and not bad at all during cold start conditions

if you have the Turbo model you're free to swing by and hear mine during startup
[OP]
Newbie
May 29, 2009
45 posts
Calgary
wing0 wrote:
Jun 17th, 2011 1:22 am
Can you get your dealership to show you with another 2011 in their lot that exhibit the same noise?

The noise is not persistent, meaning that sometimes it does not occur. The last time I was at the dealership, we tried a couple other cars and none made this kind of noise. However, that day, even mine did not make any noise. I am planning to go again to the dealership again.
[OP]
Newbie
May 29, 2009
45 posts
Calgary

Is this just a noise while the engine is running after startup?

Also try Toronto Subaru Club and SubaruForester.org forums for some feedback as well.
Yes, it only happens after start up when I let the car cool down for a few hours.

I plan to post a similar message to those forums as well. Thanks for the suggestion.



Is this the XT or regular? What's the temperature been overnight when you have experienced this? I have a 2010 Forester XT, it has rough starts with some high pitched whining noise in overnight temps under -15'c, but no problems at all during these summer months.
Mine is a 2.5X Touring.

I have not been able to find a deterministic pattern for it in terms of temprature.
It made this noise during some very cold winter days and still makes the same noise
during some warm summer days.


It would be better if you can record it and post it. What you are describing can mean different things to others.
I plan to do that as well. I will post a video soon.


Was cranking a long time before it started?
Thers is actually no noticeable cranking.


is it the PZEV model?
if so it's sorta normal --
i dont have the PZEV myself but if you do i've heard the noise is normal and not bad at all during cold start conditions

if you have the Turbo model you're free to swing by and hear mine during startup
Mine is 2.5X Touring. The dealership tells me starting with 2011 model, the same technology that
was used on PZEV is used in all Forester models. They actually contribute the noise to the
way PZEV tries to reduce emissions at start up. But this much noise is really excessive.
Sr. Member
Nov 4, 2003
548 posts
40 upvotes
We test drove the Forester last weekend and the sales told us that because the newer Foresters got timing chains instead of belts they are a little more nosiy. Could it be due to the timing chain?
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2004
19722 posts
1473 upvotes
lubi wrote:
Jun 17th, 2011 11:37 am
Mine is 2.5X Touring. The dealership tells me starting with 2011 model, the same technology that
was used on PZEV is used in all Forester models. They actually contribute the noise to the
way PZEV tries to reduce emissions at start up. But this much noise is really excessive.
PZEV is merely SULEV (which a lot of vehicles are these days) with no evap emissions. The funny part is PZEV, because of the name (Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle), has been used by manufacturers in marketing to suggest that a PZEV vehicle engine is something special. Subaru for example mentions "close to zero tailpipe emissions" in the same sentence as tooting PZEV. However PZEV itself has nothing to do with tailpipe emissions at all. The SULEV subset of PZEV does, but not the PZEV qualification. And again there are actually lots of SULEV engines out there some of which have been on the market for a half decade or more! There's really no need for Subaru to slap silly "PZEV" badges on cars but they do anyway. Meanwhile you don't see any SULEV badges anywhere do you?

This whole "Zero Emissions" bit is easily taken out of context by consumers (because they forget the first word Partial), and it seems Subaru is one of the manufacturers cashing in on this nonsense. Not really a surprise given their buzzwords and hyped marketing about "symmetrical AWD" which also doesn't really mean anything.

It is certainly true that fuel evaporating into the atmosphere is a major pollutant, but eliminating this has little to do with tailpipe emissions. Pretty much PZEV adds on additional measures to SULEV which prevent evap emissions, like an air filter that works both ways, to prevent fuel vapour from escaping out the intake path.

There is an air pump on SULEV (and therefore also PZEV) vehicles that may make some noise at startup, however if the non PZEV Subarus were SULEV (they may not have been) they should make the same noise. You're right though it shouldn't be some excessive noise. Ask the dealer to show you another PZEV model and see if you hear the same noise and if it's as loud.
[OP]
Newbie
May 29, 2009
45 posts
Calgary
Blue7thGen wrote:
Jun 17th, 2011 12:08 pm
We test drove the Forester last weekend and the sales told us that because the newer Foresters got timing chains instead of belts they are a little more nosiy. Could it be due to the timing chain?

The noise seem to be from the exhaust system. Quoting my dealer "fuel evaporation burning in the exhaust".
[OP]
Newbie
May 29, 2009
45 posts
Calgary
ES_Revenge wrote:
Jun 17th, 2011 1:20 pm
PZEV is merely SULEV (which a lot of vehicles are these days) with no evap emissions. The funny part is PZEV, because of the name (Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle), has been used by manufacturers in marketing to suggest that a PZEV vehicle engine is something special. Subaru for example mentions "close to zero tailpipe emissions" in the same sentence as tooting PZEV. However PZEV itself has nothing to do with tailpipe emissions at all. The SULEV subset of PZEV does, but not the PZEV qualification. And again there are actually lots of SULEV engines out there some of which have been on the market for a half decade or more! There's really no need for Subaru to slap silly "PZEV" badges on cars but they do anyway. Meanwhile you don't see any SULEV badges anywhere do you?

This whole "Zero Emissions" bit is easily taken out of context by consumers (because they forget the first word Partial), and it seems Subaru is one of the manufacturers cashing in on this nonsense. Not really a surprise given their buzzwords and hyped marketing about "symmetrical AWD" which also doesn't really mean anything.

It is certainly true that fuel evaporating into the atmosphere is a major pollutant, but eliminating this has little to do with tailpipe emissions. Pretty much PZEV adds on additional measures to SULEV which prevent evap emissions, like an air filter that works both ways, to prevent fuel vapour from escaping out the intake path.

There is an air pump on SULEV (and therefore also PZEV) vehicles that may make some noise at startup, however if the non PZEV Subarus were SULEV (they may not have been) they should make the same noise. You're right though it shouldn't be some excessive noise. Ask the dealer to show you another PZEV model and see if you hear the same noise and if it's as loud.

I will test a few other cars at the dealership. But I like to know if there are other people out there who have this problem, what course of action they have taken and what responses they have received.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Jul 16, 2003
9952 posts
363 upvotes
Toronto
my pzev does the same thing usually on the first start in the morning and the start after sitting in the parking lot all day.. i noticed the rpm's are higher during this "process" if you touch the gas pedal it goes away right away.. i've been told it's normal but it does sound hideous

http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin ... -up-96343/

All naturally-aspirated 2009 Subaru Foresters are PZEV certified (PZEV standing for Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle, the highest CARB rating a gasoline powered vehicle can meet). To bring the emissions control equipment to the right operating temperature, when the car is first started for the day (or after sitting for a while at cooler temperatures) the engine will actually hold half of the valves shut for about 30 seconds, resulting in an unusual noise for that period of time and seemingly irregular vibrations. This is a NORMAL characteristic of Subaru PZEV vehicles. The "knock" sound you are hearing is probably just the transmission shifting into drive after having been in park for an extended period of time.
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