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Old 03-31-2004, 06:18 PM   #1
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 46004
Join Date: Oct 2003
Chapter/Region: MAIC
Location: Middletown, DE
05 Saabaru
Stage 2

Angry Problems With My Forester

My wife has a 03 Forester with almost 40k miles. It is suppose to be a very reliable car (more so than my “****ty VW”) but this is proving not to be the case. I has been into the stealer for a oil leak (took 4 trips in to get the ****ing thing fixed. The car would smoke and this was with only like 50 miles on it. There has also been a few other little problems) Here is my story.

I stared it up on Saturday and it started to stumble like it was going to stall. I figured it might stop after I drove for a few seconds but it didn’t. It got worse. After about 100 feet the check engine light came on and stated flashing! I turn around to go back home (only like 500 feet away) and it goes back off right before I make it and the car is running OK.

The next day I decide I better change the spark plugs (they recommend you do it at 30,000). It was a pain in the ass but after removing the windshield washer reservoir and air silencer (I guess that is what it is) I was able to get the plugs in. I stated the car up and drove about 5 miles with no problems. I thought my problem was fixed but figured I would get the codes run at the stealership so I made an appointment for Tuesday. I drove it about 10 miles on Monday with no problems. Tuesday I drove 25 miles to work with no problems. I drove another 15 miles to the dealer with no problems.

They check the car and come out 30 min later and say that, “you have two bad spark plug wires and a bad coil.” They said the coil would be $190 and the wires $50. Add in an hour of labor and the total was about $325. I ask if they could cover it under the warranty (just expires 3,500 miles ago) and they said no. I say that I will fix it myself and leave.

Well about 5 miles down the road the car starts miss firing and acting up. It gets worse and worse to the point where I think I am going to get stuck! I call up my mechanic and tell him I am brining it over (didn’t think I was going to make it the 20 miles home). I limp the car in there and they said they would see what the problem is.

Today they call me up and said that a spark plug wire was bad and they could see sparks jumping out of it. They changed the wires and said I was good to go. I guess the coil was OK…. not sure what made the stealer think it was bad but I guess time will tell if it is really fixed. I am wondering if the stealer tried to rape me……

Does anyone know what the emission warranty is in Delaware. I know we have tighter standards than most of the country. We have “North East Emissions”. The standard warranty is 3 year/36,000 and so is the federal emission warranty so I was just over those. I thought we had a mandatory emission warranty that went even longer… but I am not sure. The reason why I am wondering is the ignition coil is covered under the emission warranty.

Well, that is my story. I wanted to vent. What do you think (other than the fact that it is a very long and boring). How often should the spark plug wires be replaced? I do not see them listed in the maintenance log. Is 30,000 miles about right?
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Old 03-31-2004, 07:05 PM   #2
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 24829
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Fremont, CA
2000 Forester S 4EAT


The wire last 60K miles for me.
I upgraded to the Mag wire but the Mag wire require the longer spark plug backend tip to hold the pkug correctly. I paid $70 online for that. Otherwise, I do remember someone mention somewhere online has a okay price on the OEM wire set which I now would prefer to go with.
The problem is you did not changed the original plus too long, it will cause overload onto the wire. The oem plugs only last 15-20K miles for my standard or the gapping is too wide. Also, I am not certain if you pull the wire too hard when you change you plug the first time. You may have break it also. Only yourself know. At the meantime, leave the car at home. It is very bad for the engine/core_pack the way you are pushing it now.
Warrranty wise, I don't see you stand any chance.
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Old 04-01-2004, 12:02 AM   #3
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 20325
Join Date: Jun 2002
Chapter/Region: NESIC
08 Yamaha WR250R
07 Suzuki DL650


The wires are pretty fragile. If you're going to change the plugs, the wires should get changed too. OEM wiresets are about $45-$50 depending on how greedy your local dealer's parts counter is.

I got 80,000 miles on my original plugs, my GF got about 45,000, so it seems plu life can vary quite a bit.
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Old 04-01-2004, 12:10 AM   #4
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 48814
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Massachusetts
2006 Legacy GT SpecB
Platinum Silver


Spark plugs are a relatively cheap part (just a pain to change yourself sometimes), so I would recommend changing them whenever the manual says. It seems to vary greatly by car. I had platinum-tipped plugs in my last non-Subaru car and they lasted 60k miles before I sold the car w/ no problems.

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Old 04-01-2004, 03:18 AM   #5
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 36707
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Kent, WA
03 SG5


www.allsubaru.com list the spark plug wires for MY03 Forester for $29.00 plus shipping.

Another thing you want to check which is often overlooked is the Postive Crankcase Valve. I have reach 29,000 miles and changed them out twice already because they clogged. Having the PCV clog can contaminate the engine (especially the throttle body) causing all sorts of problems in the long run.
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Old 04-01-2004, 07:24 AM   #6
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 46004
Join Date: Oct 2003
Chapter/Region: MAIC
Location: Middletown, DE
05 Saabaru
Stage 2


Thanks for the advice guys, keep it coming.
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