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View Full Version : How self-repairable are Foresters?


PaulK
3rd August 2008, 09:27 PM
Hmm.. just a thought. I am sure some of you here would know this.

Just how repairable / maintainable are these vehicles by the owner?


I guess you need to know how capable I am to start with and the model vehicle. Let me see now:

Forester MY06A. Bog standard. No turbo (i bought that way on purpose BTW)

Me: I have rebuilt various motors (Hillman Imp, various Holdens/GMs, 1968 Jaguar S-Type, Morris). I also took a week off work and recon'd a Borg-Warner-35 auto box, completely stripped down and rebuilt. Various gearboxes (hate gearboxes). I do have some formal training in mechanical and electrical/electronics but not a mechanic. (actually electronic eng by background..)

So, how do these vehicles go for user maintenance and repairs? Are there issues that HAVE to have a dealer with associated multi-zillion dollar equipment? I assume they have a few on-board computers (being EFI with an ECU etc.) so these cannot be repaired.

Are there "must have" unique tools? Or can I get what [tools] I need at Super-Cheap Auto parts?

Is there software and cable available for the notebook to determine ECU posts and logs? (I have this for my Piaggio 500 bike) Again, I am assuming it is standard OBDII. Yes? no??! Subaru special?

Maybe only some things can be done by the "backyard mechanic" like oil changes, CV replacements etc.

I'd love to hear of what can be done or who has done what!

Or do I just keep taking it to the dealer for evermore? (Actually, Eblens here is very reasonable and seem OK - I haven't heard of any complaints around the local traps.)

So many questions.. sorry!

But thanks...

apsilon
4th August 2008, 12:15 AM
IMO most mechanical work can be done by someone with the right skills and knowledge which it sounds like you have. It's the ECU and other electrikery gadgets you probably can't fix and IMO they're also the most likely to have issues. Can't comment on the ECU as I haven't look into it at all.

As for special tools I don't know but I haven't seen a car made in the last 10, maybe 15 years that doesn't have special tools listed in the workshop manual. Often they're just tools that make the job easier but occasionally there are things where they're a must have.

ian059
4th August 2008, 05:56 AM
Things don't go wrong with Fozzies, unless you break them!

dicknose
4th August 2008, 07:40 AM
You can get OBDII connectors and software to read it. I think openecu is what you are after.
That can tell you interesting stuff from water temp to wastegate duty cycle (if you got one!) and I think it can also report (and clear!) the error codes - also called CEL (check engine light)

software is free, the cables are cheap.
Easy to use as long as you arent attempting to remap/tune the car yourself!

ggvfr
4th August 2008, 06:52 PM
You can get OBDII connectors and software to read it. I think openecu is what you are after.
That can tell you interesting stuff from water temp to wastegate duty cycle (if you got one!) and I think it can also report (and clear!) the error codes - also called CEL (check engine light)

software is free, the cables are cheap.
Easy to use as long as you arent attempting to remap/tune the car yourself!


Scanguage II can read codes and do some resets, not sure what else.. it's OBDII.

Also noticed a lot of cables/readers etc coming out of china that are dirt cheap on eBay - try "Subaru 1/18", search title and description, worldwide as a search parameter... The list OBDII stuff...

Don't know why they appear when using that parameter - I'm looking for Subaru models and keep seeing these other bits listing too.. maybe it's just the generic "Subaru" in the search

Cheers
Garry

PaulK
5th August 2008, 06:03 AM
Thanks peeps. You have given rise to great elucidation of this mere newbie.

So most "standard" type repairs and maintenance can be done by someone who knows how to spel 710...

El_Freddo
16th August 2008, 04:58 PM
It all comes down to how confident you are at pulling things apart and putting them back together again.

ECU -> learn the codes if you can, they are most useful at self diagnosing problems. Rarely is there a problem where the ECU had needed to be swapped out for a new one in my experience.

Have fun with it.

Cheers

Bennie

Rally
17th August 2008, 05:34 AM
Watch those 710 caps, they can be a real brain teaser! Cars are dead easy to work on- but all you will need to do on them is servicing anyway. North south engine is a bonus. I found that a cup type oil filter remover works well, a hook & pick set for removing the undertray, a 3/8 ball joint for your socket set and just normal tools.