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1998 Forester S vibration

 
Jason Nugent
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      08-27-2004
Greetings,

Three weeks ago, I purchased a 1998 Forester S with 116K km's on it.
I test drove it several times, had a trusted mechanic look at it, and
he also test drove it. Feeling good about the purchase, I went ahead
and bought it.

A few days after I purchased it, it began making a vibration noise
(it's an automatic) that *only* occurs at 40-45 km/h. It doesn't
matter if I'm braking, accelerating, or coasting in neutral. The
noise does not occur when the car is wet (driving in the rain, for
example), so it sounds like something, some place, is rubbing and at
that speed there is a a harmonic vibration some place. It's extremely
loud when it does occur, but so far, no one has been able to find
where it is. We've tightened all the various heat shields, we've had
the exhaust system completely off the car, we have examined the
bearings in the hubs and the axles, I've put new tires on, aligned the
suspension, balanced the wheels, etc, but nothing has solved this
problem. Obviously, my test drives occurred on days when it was
raining. It rains a fair bit around here.

It seems to originate from the rear passenger area, but it's very
difficult to pinpoint because you can't reproduce it on a hoist,
obviously, and once the car is vibrating, the entire cabin resonates.

Other than this issue, the Forester is great. No rough idling, the
transmission is smooth, and at highway speeds and at speeds lower than
40 km/h, life is very good. But, city driving usually happens at
speeds less than 50 km/h around here, so you constantly hear this
noise. It can be reproduced extremely easily while driving.

Has anyone ever encountered anything like this? I'd appreciate all
ideas. Both my mechanic and the local subaru dealer have been unable
to find the source of the problem.

Regards,

Jason
 
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Jason Nugent
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      08-27-2004
Speak of the devil. About ten minutes after my post, I went down to
see my mechanic, and he just tossed me the key and said "It's fixed."

Turns out that one of the rails of the roof rack had worn through the
rubber coating and was directly clamped to the roof, and at the right
speed, the wind would cause the rail to vibrate and the vibration was
transferred directly to the roof, and also into the cabin.

This explains why it only happens when it's dry, since the rain would
provide lubrication in this case.

My mechanic is awesome. The best part was the price - he had the car
for a few days and worked on it on and off and the resulting bill was
only for $60 CDN. Needless to say, he'll be getting coffee and donuts
for the next little while.

Jason

Jason Nugent <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> Greetings,


> Three weeks ago, I purchased a 1998 Forester S with 116K km's on it.
> I test drove it several times, had a trusted mechanic look at it, and
> he also test drove it. Feeling good about the purchase, I went ahead
> and bought it.


> A few days after I purchased it, it began making a vibration noise
> (it's an automatic) that *only* occurs at 40-45 km/h. It doesn't
> matter if I'm braking, accelerating, or coasting in neutral. The
> noise does not occur when the car is wet (driving in the rain, for
> example), so it sounds like something, some place, is rubbing and at
> that speed there is a a harmonic vibration some place. It's extremely
> loud when it does occur, but so far, no one has been able to find
> where it is. We've tightened all the various heat shields, we've had
> the exhaust system completely off the car, we have examined the
> bearings in the hubs and the axles, I've put new tires on, aligned the
> suspension, balanced the wheels, etc, but nothing has solved this
> problem. Obviously, my test drives occurred on days when it was
> raining. It rains a fair bit around here.


> It seems to originate from the rear passenger area, but it's very
> difficult to pinpoint because you can't reproduce it on a hoist,
> obviously, and once the car is vibrating, the entire cabin resonates.


> Other than this issue, the Forester is great. No rough idling, the
> transmission is smooth, and at highway speeds and at speeds lower than
> 40 km/h, life is very good. But, city driving usually happens at
> speeds less than 50 km/h around here, so you constantly hear this
> noise. It can be reproduced extremely easily while driving.


> Has anyone ever encountered anything like this? I'd appreciate all
> ideas. Both my mechanic and the local subaru dealer have been unable
> to find the source of the problem.


> Regards,


> Jason

 
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Frank Logullo
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      08-28-2004

"Jason Nugent" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:wePXc.103363$(E-Mail Removed)...
> Speak of the devil. About ten minutes after my post, I went down to
> see my mechanic, and he just tossed me the key and said "It's fixed."
>
> Turns out that one of the rails of the roof rack had worn through the
> rubber coating and was directly clamped to the roof, and at the right
> speed, the wind would cause the rail to vibrate and the vibration was
> transferred directly to the roof, and also into the cabin.
>
> This explains why it only happens when it's dry, since the rain would
> provide lubrication in this case.
>

I wondered about roof racks. My '98 Forester had parallel rails under the
cross braces but my '03 has none.
I do not know the model years where they were removed. They add support but
mode of attachment could have led to potential leaks.
Frank


 
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Chris Phillipo
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Posts: n/a
 
      08-31-2004
In article <wePXc.103363$(E-Mail Removed)>,
http://www.thesubaruforums.com/(E-Mail Removed) says...
> Subject: Re: 1998 Forester S vibration
> From: Jason Nugent <(E-Mail Removed)>
> Newsgroups: alt.autos.subaru
>
> Speak of the devil. About ten minutes after my post, I went down to
> see my mechanic, and he just tossed me the key and said "It's fixed."
>
> Turns out that one of the rails of the roof rack had worn through the
> rubber coating and was directly clamped to the roof, and at the right
> speed, the wind would cause the rail to vibrate and the vibration was
> transferred directly to the roof, and also into the cabin.
>
> This explains why it only happens when it's dry, since the rain would
> provide lubrication in this case.
>
> My mechanic is awesome. The best part was the price - he had the car
> for a few days and worked on it on and off and the resulting bill was
> only for $60 CDN. Needless to say, he'll be getting coffee and donuts
> for the next little while.
>
> Jason
>


I suddenly have a picture in my head of a Forester going down the road
at 45km/hr with a guy wearing a stethoscope on the roof
--
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