I was driving my 2005 Forester L.L. Bean when I hears a loud alarm (like they play on the radio before emergency

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Customer: I was driving my 2005 Forester L.L. Bean when I hears a loud alarm (like they play on the radio before emergency announcements or tests). I turned off the radio and the sound continued several more times, and then the car seemed to stutter (as if perhaps the engine was misfiring or the transmission having some sort of problem). I was only half-a-mile from home, so I came home and took another car.
The combination of an "alarm" noise after the radio was turned off and the stuttering of the car suggests this is some sort of Subaru warning system. Unless you tell me otherwise, I'll talk to my mechanic tomorrow and either have it towed in or take it in for him to check out. I had a 1999 Forester that I drove for 120,000 miles without even hearing about this issue, and my son has a 2015 Forester and has never heard of the problem.
I'd welcome any guidance you can provide.
Answered by Virtual Wrench in 24 mins 7 years ago
Virtual Wrench
Auto Mechanic

11,414 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Automotive Mechanic, Small Engine Repairs, Auto Body Repairs, Diesel Engine Repairs


Did the car ever stall out on the way home?

Did the noise continue?

I bought the Forester used with 120,000 miles last week in a town about 100 miles away from home. Before buying it I had it checked out by a Subaru dealer who found no problems, and I drove it for about 45 minutes on an Interstate and in town--including flooring it on the highway up to 85 mph. Ran great the entire test drive.After I bought it I drove it home, and about 40 minutes on the Interstate highway the Check Engine light came on and the cruise control cut out. (The "Cruise" word on the dashboard started blinking, but the Forester seemed to continue working fine.) I called the dealer who sold it to me and told him what happened, and he urged me to go to an Advanced Auto store where they could download the engine codes. He suggested it might be nothing more than a need to open and re-fasted the gas cap. (I did not find that explanation in the least credible, but went to Advanced Auto and the code led the store employee to recommend opening and re-closing the gas cap. He cleared the code, we removed the gas cap and replaced it, and the lights went out. I finished my trip home without incident, cruise control working fine. (I later read on the Web that starting in 2005, Subaru programmed the cruise control to stop working when the Check Engine light comes on to motivate drivers to have it checked out.)Yesterday, I made a 100-mile round-trip and the CE light came on on the way home. I stopped at an Advanced Auto, he checked the code and it was apparently the same thing, but he said he was not allowed to clear the code. So the CE light stayed on, but the vehicle seemed to run fine. Today I was driving to the gym, and perhaps 1l4 mile from home I heard this warning alarm (which at first I thought was the car radio telling me they were testing the national emergency alert system), but I turned off the radio and it continued. Then the car stuttered (almost as if I were hitting the brake and gas alternatively), which alarmed me and led me to turn around and come home. I drove my Prius to the gym and have not started the Forester since them.The Forester seemed to run just fine during the 1/4-mile trip home.Bob

Thanks for the details Bob,

We could clear the codes by simply removing the battery cables for a minute and reconnect and that would rest the computer.

I'm not sure where you are from but Calif will not allow parts stores to clear codes but other states do.

I would try resetting the computer and see if it clears the code and runs ok. A lot of times this is all that is needed.

If that doesnt correct it, Subaru does have a service bulletin that pertains to this issue but they have to use a factory level scan tool to use to diagnose.

Try the reset my friend, its worth a try.

Any other advice i can give you, just let me know.


The reset will not only clear the codes and reset the light, it will reset all the paramiters setforth in the computer .

My goal is that you are 100% happy with my answer(s). I strive for a positive rating. It's the only way i get credit. If you have further questions PLEASE just reply and i will work with you as long as possible.

I've ordered a consumer-grade code reader and copied the Subaru codes and put them in the glove box. I have an appointment to take the vehicle in to a local auto repair shop (the highest rated year after year here in Charlottesville, Virginia) this week to do a 120,000-mile service, install a trailer hitch, check to make certain the dealer was telling the truth when he told me the timing belt had been replaced, I want them to check and perhaps replace brakes, install synthetic break fluid, flush radiator (I've ordered a can of Subaru cooling system additive), and some other things.Do you know about the alarm noise I heard? The repair facility is only about a mile from home--is it likely safe to drive it there or should I have them tow it? Any idea what might have set it off or caused the stutter? Otherwise it seemed to be running great.
After (I thought() checking the car out carefully, I bought it "as is" save for an after-market 6 months warranty on engine and drive train. I'm happy to spend $2,000 or so to keep in running well (other than the usual tires, battery, oil, wiper blades, etc., the only expenses I had with my 1999 Forester in more than a decade was replacing one or two oxygen sensors and the alternator--it was incredibly reliable). But I'm worried there may be some major problem that will cost me thousands of dollars to fix or can't be fixed.Do you know the gist of the Subaru bulletin?Thanks!Bob


I dont think its actually an alarm system so to speak of. without hearing it its hard for me to say but i would tend to tnink it is a noise coming from an engine pulley which may relate to the stutter.

I dont have the tSB bulletins in front of me but one was for a noise similar coming from the cruise control system and the other was to do with the camshaft

My goal is that you are 100% happy with my answer(s). I strive for a positive rating. It's the only way i get credit. If you have further questions PLEASE just reply and i will work with you as long as possible.

You are the expert, and I certainly did not think there was such an alarm system in the vehicle. I've heard squealing belts before and this did not sound at all like that. It really did sound like the radio emergency alert signal -- very regular loud (almost klaxon) noise followed by silence followed by noise and after a few repetitions, silence for several seconds and it would start again. I really though it was the emergency notification alert on the radio until I turned it off. Almost immediately, the vehicle started to stutter (as if it was starting to stop and then lurched forward for 2-3 seconds), which in my mind confirmed that it was related to the alarm noise and that I had a serious problem.The fact that it had run great on the highway for perhaps 220 miles since Wednesday--and ran fine as I drove home after the incident--seems inconsistent with a major crankshaft problem. But you are the expert.I replaced the gas cap at Advanced Auto and ordered an OEM gas cap for a 2005 Forester, but it won't be in for a few days.Any other thoughts?
The vehicle does have a security alarm, but it blows the horn rather than sounding a klaxon-type alarm.
Are you still there? Any thoughts?
I understand you want me to be satisfied, but you haven't told me anything I didn't already know. I was aware I could erase the codes, but I don't want to do that. I want the mechanic to be able to read them to help diagnose the problem(s).It may be it is unreasonable to expect anyone to try to diagnose a car problem from a distance, but the "alarm" noise I heard was nothing like past noises I have heard from pulley's (usually a slipping belt). This sounded almost exactly like the "klaxon" sound on the radio when they issue an emergency alert or test the system. Each time the noise seemed to be for the same time period, at the same frequency, and with the same period of silence between each noise--but in sets of 3-4 alarms. The noise did not change when I pressed the accelerator or hit the brakes.From my experience, pulley belt noises tend to happen when the engine is first started in the cold. I have not heard any unusual noises in the few days I've owned the vehicle except for what I'm calling the klaxon sound and noises associated with the stuttering--if there were noises (I was focused on the shaking of the vehicle). If I pulley was bent or otherwise damaged, or there was a physical problem with the crankshaft, one would think these problems would have been present from the beginning and not stopped as I drove home.I'm not angry, but I don't feel like I received anything of value for my money.

Hi, sorry for the delay.

I would have to be able to hear it to be able to reach a conclusion so i will opt out and see if one of the other guys has run across this strange noise before. If someone can help. you will be notified.

Best wishes!

I called the Subaru dealership mechanic who did the pre-purchase checkup and he assured me the Subaru has no such "alarm" to warn of mechanical problems. I'm guessing that alert was from the radio, although it appeared to continue sounding several seconds after I turned the radio off.I have an appointment later this week with a highly-regarded mechanic, and I won't drive it until then. I'm guessing the "stutter" will show up on the engine codes.Bob
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Virtual Wrench
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