Question about 1998 Subaru Forester

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Engine make Knocking noise when cold

I have a 2.0 petrol Subaru forester that makes a knocking / tapping sound when the engine starts. Once it has warmed up it stops making the noise..... Does anyone know if it's the start of a problem?

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  • christoph33 Feb 06, 2009

    Thanks for the input. It has 115,000 km

  • carlo24 Mar 03, 2009

    i also have this problem, brought it to a mechanic they adjusted the valve clearance and changed the engine oil but still there is that knocking sound but not that loud anymore

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I have the same problem on my 2.0L 2001 Legacy auto. It began about 1000 miles ago. It has now done 84k. From my online searches this is most probably 'piston slap', and is not serious. To save weight Subaru shaved down the skirts on the pistons. With normal engine wear the pistons will at some point rattle against the cylinders until the engine is heated up and the pistons expand. The rattling should go away after a few minutes. If it persists say 10-15 minutes, it may be another problem.

Posted on Nov 26, 2009

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I could be one of 3 things, #1 lifter might loose prime when it sets for a while like overnight, #2 could be rocker a little loose witch is part of lifter that runs on a pushrod, and #3 could be a ristpin witch holds piston to connecting rod a little worn. None of thies are a real big thing unless they get louder or longer in duration. I don't know what kind of miles are on it but what you describe is usely associated with high millage. Just keep your ears open.

Posted on Feb 06, 2009

  • 1 more comment 
  • Dorie Erickson
    Dorie Erickson Dec 01, 2013

    my 95 ford taurus knocks when started and keeps it up until car get warmed while driving. Is this teh catlytic converter?.

  • Dorie Erickson
    Dorie Erickson Dec 01, 2013

    noise is in front of the engine not in the engine. Code 421 is not in the manual. a Comment

  • Gary Alford
    Gary Alford Feb 26, 2014

    Had a few 3.0 taurus's and they never made a noise! even with high miles, a real bullet proof motor!

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1 Answer

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On a very cold start (eg winter) older Subs often make knocking noise from the LHS of the engine. This is actually quite normal and is a "feature" of the oil paths in the engine. It goes away once the engine is warm.

Might also be the cam belt hydraulic sensor working loose. The tensioner pivot bolt can be done too light or fitted clumsily, and it strips the thread. If it gets too loose, the belt can jump teeth and bend valves.

Apr 21, 2014 | 1998 Subaru Forester

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Hard to say over the internet but I will try to explain. If the noise is a distict KNOCK KNOCK and it sounds like it is coming from the bottom of the engine, then it most likely is a rod or main bearing. If it is a TAP TAP noise that sounds like it's coming from the top of the engine, then most likely a valve lifer is failing/failed.
the fact that it goes away when the car is warm, makes me lean towards a bad lifter. Normaly if a bearing is bad and knocking, the noise doesn't go away.

The KNOCK noise will be somewhat hollow sounding and the TAP TAP sound will be more solid. If the KNOCK KNOCK is solid, then a rod or main bearing has most likely failed to the point that a new/reman engine will be needed.

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The lower end of your motor that has the knocking noise will sound like a deep penatrating thud. That will be the rear bearing for the crack shaft. You can find a cheaper place to have it repaired. $3,500 sounds more right to repair at most places

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I have a 2003 Subaru Forester (123,000Km) and


If it is a piston or other bad noise it will not go away. If this is what is happening then a good auto mechanic will have to listen to and isolate the noise before they can tell how much it will cost to fix it. Its usually not the piston.If after the car runs for a little while the noise gos away its usually dirt in the engine.Before you think about a very expensive repair try this.Change the oil and filter. Use only good quality oil and a Fram TG or a Purolator Pure One oil filter.My car likes the Castrol Sin Tec Synthetic oil. Yes synthetic cost more but it is better oil.
Let the car warm a little before you drive it every time you start it cold.
Dont let someone drive your car when you are not in the car. I know someone who has a son that was raceing his car when his son told him he was going to the library.
Do your next oil and filter change only after 2000-3000 miles.Then after that no more than 4000 miles between changes.Be nice to your car.
All this I am telling you is only if your noise gos away after tap tap as you said right after you start your car.
I hope this info helps you.

Sep 26, 2009 | 2003 Subaru Forester

1 Answer

Knocking noise at idle and accelearation


did you buy it privately or a dealer w/ a warrantee? If you have a warantee, use it.If not start by changing the oil& see if that gives you any results.use the proper oil for Subaru,not a Quick Lube.

Feb 16, 2009 | 1999 Subaru Forester

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