Jump to content

HELP forester diagnostics


Recommended Posts

hi guys i have recently bought a 97 forester but i cant get any of my diagnostic software to work on it , i have tried elm327, freessm, proscan,to name but a few but none will comunicate with my ecu. i have read that freessm only works with 99on models so was wondering would a straight swap with a 99 ecu work on my car as is or is there any software out there that works with this model. thanks in advance any help will be apreciated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello welcome, you are correct in thinking that nothing works apart from the green and black diagnostic connectors under the dash for providing basic info, being a 97 car is yours a jdm import?

If so an ecu swap won't work as the jdm cars have different turbo injectors and cams so it won't run very well. Also i've been told the UK cars have an immobiliser in the ecu so you'd need a matched set of keys otherwise it would start up then cut out.

A proper garage version of ssm will work but it costs about 6 grand

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A lot of the professional readers will work on the pre OBD2 setup of Subaru.

Likes of the early snapon readers, Launch readers, they can be found used quite cheap these days.

Another optioin could be TOAD software & cable, this would be less than £80 for software to run on notebook & a quality cable. Have heard the TOAD system supports pre OBD2 compliant subaru but never used it myself but anyone interested could get that confirmed via TOAD as it is probably cheapest decent kit if does.

Obviously you can still connect the diagnostic plugs & read codes via flashing CEL ...



Another option for those who want a bit of a project is looking at the Evoscan software & digging up some info on tweaking a cable to link it to the Subaru ssm1 or ssm2 connector layout

ssm1 is a 9 pin plug and normally on likeys of 1990-1996 subarus

ssm2 uses the standard looking 16pin OBD2 socket but is not OBD2 & only a few select pins are used. Is possible to make a cable usb  or parallel port for either at less than £10

You can also buy them but price for decent ones is probably £30+

Only downside is evoscan does not suport all ECU ROM version of subaru as there were so many but it does the majority & worth a play for the curious home mechanic.

Couple of links below to get people started.







Edit :

more useful info>

make a ssm specific cable



USB to FTDI FT232RL cable for ssm1 (less than £5)


ssm1 female connector harness/plug (less than £5)


freeSSM software




Select Monitor




*worth noting a Vag-Com KKL 409.1 spec usb obd cable will generally work for late subarus with obd2 style connector but not full obd2 compliant & allow good communication via the freeSSM software.

** secret with the VAG cable is supports ISO9141 protocol & that matches protocol on pre OBD2 with the 16 pin OBD2 looking plugs.

I will do a test with a cheap (less than £5 at time I got one) VAG cable & if works will do a post on it including links then you guys who just missed OBD2 will have some half decent diagnostics at price of a takeaway.

will be after christmas before get the copy cable but for sure will update on it as soon as can.

Link below is one I tested off eBay as a cheap solution for late model ssm2 use & OBD2 use. worked fine and received quick.

eBay uk option

With pre 1999 model subarus (UK, EU, JDM) on ssm1 best you can do is make the ssm1 cable & use it with evoscan which will allow data monitoring/logging or Select Monitor

1999 to 2002 will work with ssm2 (looks like obd2 plug but not but works with ISO9141 supporting OBD2 cable) freeSSM works great on this ( https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7Ub2apq5-pfNHVKZE13clFxc1E/view )

2002 onwards works with freeSSM via OBD2/ssm2 (freeSSM support usb cable only)) or any OBD2 software (via OBD2 cable or bluetooth-OBD2 elm327 dongle) such as Torque app for android or OBD autoDoc for notebook pc which support usb-obd2 cable or BT & WiFi dongles.

Cheap OBD2 Bluetooth dongle > http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ELM327-V2-1-OBD2-CAN-BUS-Bluetooth-or-WIFI-Car-Auto-Diagnostic-Interface-Scanner-/172237551848

Cheap UK OBD2 Bluetooth dongle > http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Mini-OBD2-II-ELM327-V2-1-Bluetooth-Car-Scanner-Android-Torque-Auto-Scan-Tool-UK-/262171733609

Link to comment
Share on other sites

thanks mr b very useful, will look into this and keep you posted. on another note scanned the car this morning by connecting the black pins and all was good then drove the car this evening and it seemed to intermitently be firing on three plugs, will check in the morning.(hope its just a plug). 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Indeed, leads are very likely at fault.

Couple of lead options below if needed.

Prospark being cheap option but they not bad, used them on 2 of my own Foresters & run of the mill Subarus for customers & they have proved durable & almost faultless.


Better quality option from UK manufacturer, about £50 inc P&P


  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

combination of heat & vibration, Normally fail near clip for plug but saying that the OEM ones do last for over 10 years as a rule. have had original on old legacy of mine that done 14 years & 160+K mls on original leads.

Most of the problem is sloppy independents with component plan servicing who throw your nice OEM ones away for worst crap at the motorfactors then regular faults start building up ...

Get at least 2 subarus a month with intermittent  misfire sometimes with flashing CEL or a spot of very intermittent hesitation & most times it a bad lead.

Done one last month & it had been to Main Dealer for same fault, they had replaced O2 sensor & with diagnostics & labour the bill was £300, problem seemed solved but within 3 days the same fault happened again, owner struggled with dealer mainly as fault didn't happen when went back for them to test drive.

Ended up at my garage as owner lost faith in dealer along with too much cash & wasted time, we sorted it for £45 all in .

Don't always work out as easy at that but nice when does ...

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...