Subaru owners - tin can sound, maybe heat shield?

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fsrph
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Subaru owners - tin can sound, maybe heat shield?

Post by fsrph » Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:55 am

Based on previous car threads it appears there's many Subaru owners on this forum. I have a 2010 Forester (26k miles) and it has been a great car.

Recently I noticed a "tin can" sound coming from the front of the car near a specific rpm. It is most noticeable on cold starts and mostly fades away as the engine warns up. Does not affect how car drives. I'm thinking it's a loose heat shield. Poked around under the car with a broomstick and couldn't find anything loose. Heard Subaru dealers charging $800 and up to replace all the heat shields.

Questions :

Subaru owners, did you have this problem too?

How can I fix this or at least isolate where the noise is coming from? Or should I just take the vehicle to an independent garage?

Francis
Last edited by fsrph on Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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lthenderson
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Re: Subaru owners - tin can sound, maybe heat shield?

Post by lthenderson » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:21 am

Based upon my experience, it is most likely something in your exhaust system. As they age, rust out and break down, rusting pipes start rattling until engine heat caused things to expand enough to fix it back in place. Is your exhaust a bit louder than it used to be? Sometimes this is so gradual it is hard to discern.

The best way to identify things like this is to get underneath your car when it is cold and have someone start it up and get it to the right RPM where you can hear the sound.

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Re: Subaru owners - tin can sound, maybe heat shield?

Post by queso » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:38 am

I don't have any direct experience with Subarus, but with the older Pilots and Ridgelines rusting out cat heat shields is almost a given once they get to be a certain age. You can buy new heat shields and replace them (or pay someone to do it $$) or in the case of most of them just use SS hose clamps to snug them up and hold them in place. On the Hondas the mounting points are what was rusting out so looping a hose clamp or 3 around the heat shields effectively solves the problem for a couple bucks and 10 minutes of your time. I wouldn't mention it since it is a Subaru thread, but the Honda symptoms sound almost identical. On the Pilot the magic RPM is around 2k no matter what gear you are in.

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Re: Subaru owners - tin can sound, maybe heat shield?

Post by arf30 » Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:32 am

Probably the heat shielding around the exhaust that runs down the length of the car.. I had this same issue on my old Subaru. Inexpensive fix at a local shop.

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Subaru owners - tin can sound, maybe heat shield?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:40 am

lthenderson wrote:The best way to identify things like this is to get underneath your car when it is cold and have someone start it up and get it to the right RPM where you can hear the sound.


A stethoscope can help here, among other things it keeps your head away from potentially hot or moving parts. If you don't want to buy one from a auto store you can improvise with a piece of pipe, hose or even a screwdriver.

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Re: Subaru owners - tin can sound, maybe heat shield?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:00 am

If an exhaust shield is even remotely suspect, I simply remove it. I recently bought an 04 Outback with 45k miles and had the infamous 0240 code show up. This comes on when the ecu thinks the cat is below 95% efficiency which can be caused by aging if the O2 sensors. The common fix is to add a modified spark plug defouler in the downstream spot. This is difficult because of the shield that's in the way. Removed the shield and its a piece of cake.

Oh, did I mention that most Subarus sound like a tin can rattling? (I've had lots of Subarus)
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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Subaru owners - tin can sound, maybe heat shield?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:08 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:If an exhaust shield is even remotely suspect, I simply remove it.


In some states (PA for example) a missing heat shield is supposed to be a vehicle safety inspection failure.

You might also want to consider why car manufacturers put it on the car if it's not needed.

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powermega
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Re: Subaru owners - tin can sound, maybe heat shield?

Post by powermega » Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:27 am

I had a similar issue with my previous Subaru ('97 Outback). This issue was the heat shield that for the catalytic converter broke loose. You would hear the rattle at certain resonate frequencies, usually when the car is decelerating or slowly accelerating. I don't remember the fix being very expensive, but the problem did reoccur down the road.
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Re: Subaru owners - tin can sound, maybe heat shield?

Post by blaugranamd » Tue Aug 30, 2016 4:03 pm

My 2009 Legacy did the same thing. Something clunky metal that just needed clamped tighter, might have been heat shield. Out of warranty, dealership fixed it for free. Apparently it only took a few seconds to fix.
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Re: Subaru owners - tin can sound, maybe heat shield?

Post by whomever » Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:19 pm

Another not-Subaru answer: I had that symptom from a couple of different cars when a baffle inside the muffler got loose (the welds on one side broke/rusted away, I suspect, and the baffle was free to vibrate).

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bottlecap
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Re: Subaru owners - tin can sound, maybe heat shield?

Post by bottlecap » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:31 pm

I don't own a Subaru, but why wouldn't you take it to an Indy garage?

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Re: Subaru owners - tin can sound, maybe heat shield?

Post by spartanap » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:56 pm

I don't have a Subaru, but I had the same issue on a Hyundai Elantra. Ended up being an exhaust bracket. Covered by warranty.

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Re: Subaru owners - tin can sound, maybe heat shield?

Post by JoinToday » Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:00 pm

lthenderson wrote:The best way to identify things like this is to get underneath your car when it is cold and have someone start it up and get it to the right RPM where you can hear the sound.


Help me out here: Why do I shudder when I think about one guy under the car listening for some sound, while the other guy is in the car with the motor running. What could go wrong here?

Two tips here (not related to the OP's situation, but of similar vein): (1) When I am trying to retrieve something from the garbage disposer, no one else is within 10 feet of the switch. Maybe I am just cautious (2) Don't hold the nail while your buddy swings the hammer. This is something you learn from the 3 Stooges or common sense.
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lthenderson
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Re: Subaru owners - tin can sound, maybe heat shield?

Post by lthenderson » Wed Aug 31, 2016 9:29 am

JoinToday wrote:
lthenderson wrote:The best way to identify things like this is to get underneath your car when it is cold and have someone start it up and get it to the right RPM where you can hear the sound.


Help me out here: Why do I shudder when I think about one guy under the car listening for some sound, while the other guy is in the car with the motor running. What could go wrong here?

Two tips here (not related to the OP's situation, but of similar vein): (1) When I am trying to retrieve something from the garbage disposer, no one else is within 10 feet of the switch. Maybe I am just cautious (2) Don't hold the nail while your buddy swings the hammer. This is something you learn from the 3 Stooges or common sense.


I prefer to have someone like a parent or a spouse that has a vested interested in my living to be the one starting the car.

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Kosmo
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Re: Subaru owners - tin can sound, maybe heat shield?

Post by Kosmo » Wed Aug 31, 2016 10:58 am

You have a 2010 Forester with only 26k miles on it?

whomever
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Re: Subaru owners - tin can sound, maybe heat shield?

Post by whomever » Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:39 pm

"I prefer to have someone like a parent or a spouse that has a vested interested in my living to be the one starting the car."

I prefer to have the car on jack stands so the driving wheels are in the air :-)

I hear about people being crushed under cars from time to time. My grandfather had a close call, for that matter - a bunch of broken ribs. After putting the car carefully on jackstands, I also try and have some failsafes - some pieces of 6x6 setting on top of the tires (which are setting flat on the floor), etc, so that even if the jackstands somehow fail the car would only fall a couple of inches. I know I'm being paranoid, and I'm OK with that :-)

Working on running cars, whether under them or even just poking around under the hood, is a good time to be paranoid. You don't want to intersect with any moving parts. And if you touch something hot or get jolted by a spark plug, it's easy to reflexively put some soft pink part of your body somewhere you didn't intend.

(another time for caution is having a helper start the car while you're in front poking around under the hood; it kind of sux if they make the car move. Chocks are your friend).

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Subaru owners - tin can sound, maybe heat shield?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Wed Aug 31, 2016 1:34 pm

whomever wrote:After putting the car carefully on jackstands, I also try and have some failsafes - some pieces of 6x6 setting on top of the tires (which are setting flat on the floor), etc, so that even if the jackstands somehow fail the car would only fall a couple of inches. I know I'm being paranoid, and I'm OK with that :-)

I may not be viewing this right but I have an image of a car sitting normally on the floor with two 6x6 sticking through the sheet metal above the tires. :shock:

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Re: Subaru owners - tin can sound, maybe heat shield?

Post by whomever » Wed Aug 31, 2016 2:35 pm

"I may not be viewing this right but I have an image of a car sitting normally on the floor with two 6x6 sticking through the sheet metal above the tires"

:-)

So, the car is on jackstands (like the shorter ones here):

https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools ... ack-stands

Those set under some weight bearing part of the car - frame, axle, etc. The wheels are off. Since the wheels are off and have to go somewhere, I tend to lay them flat and slide them under the car somewhere such that, if the jackstands somehow fail, the car will drop onto the (removed) wheels. Since the wheels are maybe 10 inches thick, that means I'd only be squished to 10 inches, which is better than 0 inches :-). But I tend to keep some timbers around - like 4x6 or 6x6 pieces, a couple of feet long. By laying some of those across the wheels, the car couldn't fall and be closer than say 16 inches off the floor - high enough that injury is unlikely.

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Re: Subaru owners - tin can sound, maybe heat shield?

Post by JoinToday » Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:18 pm

whomever wrote:......
Those set under some weight bearing part of the car - frame, axle, etc. The wheels are off. Since the wheels are off and have to go somewhere, I tend to lay them flat and slide them under the car somewhere such that, if the jackstands somehow fail, the car will drop onto the (removed) wheels. Since the wheels are maybe 10 inches thick, that means I'd only be squished to 10 inches, which is better than 0 inches :-). But I tend to keep some timbers around - like 4x6 or 6x6 pieces, a couple of feet long. By laying some of those across the wheels, the car couldn't fall and be closer than say 16 inches off the floor - high enough that injury is unlikely.


I like this idea. I have seen the idea of putting the tires laying flat under the car "just in case". The added wood gives a little more margin of safety.

A co-worker was crushed (died) by his car. I have a greater appreciation for safety and risk. I shudder when I think of the bone-headed things I did growing up. I like redundancy in safety now.
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Re: Subaru owners - tin can sound, maybe heat shield?

Post by campy2010 » Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:22 pm

My ancient Legacy had this sound as does my neighbor's new Forrester. It must be a feature of Subarus - maybe so your family knows when you're home.

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Re: Subaru owners - tin can sound, maybe heat shield?

Post by JoinToday » Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:23 pm

lthenderson wrote:.... I prefer to have someone like a parent or a spouse that has a vested interested in my living to be the one starting the car.


If you have a big life insurance policy, maybe your spouse is not the best choice :shock: . A friend of mine says your spouse might only be grieving until the life insurance check comes. :sharebeer
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Re: Subaru owners - tin can sound, maybe heat shield?

Post by saltycaper » Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:30 pm

While OP's issue sounds more like a heat shield, some engines (limited to 2.5's I think) also sound like tin cans at times due to a pinging issue that Subaru seems unable to address completely. There was a software update a while back that helped somewhat. This usually gets worse as engine gets hotter, not better, and seems more prominent at low RPMs. At first I thought it was just my car, maybe I got a bad batch of gas or something, but while walking along the road, I heard other Subarus rattling down the road too.
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Re: Subaru owners - tin can sound, maybe heat shield?

Post by whomever » Wed Aug 31, 2016 4:51 pm

" I shudder when I think of the bone-headed things I did growing up."

One of a number of ... interesting ... photos found by doing a google image search for 'why men die younger than women'.

Image

(in addition to the improvised jacks, I think he's welding on the gas tank)

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