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Old 12-30-2008, 05:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Turbo Problems - 05 Outback 2.5xt

Anyone else having problems with the turbo in their '05 Outback 2.5Xt?

I purchased my Outback in late-November 2004 (it has around 60k miles on it) and have already had TWO turbos break apart. This time, the mechanic thinks metal pieces got into the motor and caused damage. They are talking about having to replace the motor, or at least significant parts of it.

First turbo lasted about 2-1/2 years. Second one lasted about 18-months. And, no, I don't drive like a madman. In fact, my wife, is the primary driver of the car and I can assure you that she hasn't been pushing the turbos to their limits.

Am I the only one having this issue?

Thanks!
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Old 01-09-2009, 10:59 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Nearly the same problem

My Outback just had the exact same problem. I had a turbo replacement at around 60K miles and now at 88K miles something has happened to give me a blown piston. I am wondering if this is some sort of manufacturing defect in the way the turbo connects to the engine. Still trying to figure out exactly what is causing it.
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Old 01-09-2009, 11:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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that is interesting, wonder if they are replacing the turbos with new old stock items that were manufactured during the initial model run.

also wonder if they've changed the turbo design for the newer models ?

from what i've seen of turbo failures, generally it's either a material issue during a manufacturing run, or, a design issue . more often than not, when i've seen aftermarket turbos take a dive, it's due to inadequate oiling or oil contamination destroying the turbo bearings. if the bearing gets damaged or extremely worn, the intake side of the turbine can contact the housing wall and well... that's all she wrote. with inadequate oiling, the bearing can get superheated and transfer that heat to the blades causing excessive metal fatigue.

i don't see material ingestion being a problem so i'm guessing it's one of the above.

hope this is all happening under warranty

kind of expensive alternative but, turbonetics turbos seem to hold up really well, even in the horrible environment of the sand dunes.

let us know if they cop to anything.
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Old 01-10-2009, 04:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for posting, Skydiving and ETC.

Skydiving: Weird that we have had almost exactly the same problem. Apparently, when my second turbo blew, metal ended up in the motor and the local Subaru dealership's service department is in the process of replacing the short-block (I'm not really knowledgeable about car parts, but as I understand it, this is basically the bottom half of the motor.) They said my "heads" and "pistons" looked fine. Needless to say, this is a big-ticket repair.

ETC and Skydiving: I'm starting to be suspicious that this might be a manufacturing issue. When my first turbo blew, I wasn't able to produce enough service records to satisfy Subaru's warranty folks (this is a long story, but basically I lived in a couple of different cities in the first couple of years I had the car and had used a number of different shops for my oil-changes, etc., and had a hard time retrieving all the records). Thus, I paid out-of-pocket for replacing the first turbo. Replacement was done by a Subaru dealership's service department and was apparently a new part (but, ETC, I'm wondering if you are right that it had been manufactured at the same time as the original). Anyways, since the first replacement, I had all the necessary oil-changes and services (though not by a dealership service department) so I don't expect that I would have experienced any inadequate oiling or oil contamination. Still, the second turbo lasted only 18-months or so, which is just a bit longer than the 12-month warranty that came with the new part.

If I hear of a few more folks having the same problem, I'm definitely going to believe it is a design or manufacturing issue and will try to log a complaint with Subaru.

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Old 01-10-2009, 05:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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See my post about a perhaps related TSB in this thread:

Is Synthetic oil required in 2005 XT Limited?
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Old 01-10-2009, 09:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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that's a strange situation with a blown turbo, the top end is ok but the bottom end is metal contaminated ?

generally when a turbo "blows" it the intake turbine side which is as far as i know exclusively aluminum finned [the exhaust side should be cast iron], the fins shred and send aluminum shards in to the intake. the only way i can think of that the bottom end would be damaged is seal failure and shards getting in the oil supply, that should be filtered out before it gets circulated though.

if you are footing the bill for the new turbo, i would spend the extra money and get a good aftermarket unit since the ones they are supplying seem to be crap.
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Old 01-12-2009, 03:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Honestly, I have no idea (and lack the technical car-sophistication) to know how/why my bottom-end got ruined (or how metal got in there) but the top-end was still fine.

Is there any way that, in the process of removing the blown turbo and/or installing the replacement turbo, the mechanic could have allowed the metal pieces to get into the motor (i.e., in a way that didn't get blocked by any screens and filters)?

Thanks,
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Old 01-17-2009, 07:15 AM   #8 (permalink)
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not really, here's a link to a basic write up with pictures on how a turbo works and the routing. read it and you'll get a better idea of what i'm talking about.

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/turbo.htm

there's really only two ways the oil can be contaminated with metal debris. one is through the oil line to the turbo bearing, this line uses the engines oil supply and pressure to lube the bearing. generally a worn bearing won't make enough debris to damage the bottom end of a motor as most of it should be filtered out by the oil filter. the other would be the pcv system but, that generally vents crankcase pressure to the intake and the valve shouldn't let much get back in the crankcase.

if the turbine blade goes, most of the debris should get stuck in the intercooler. once it blows you only have engine vacuum sucking the stuff up in the intake manifold.

strange that the bottom end is damaged. i've seen high compression turbos go in sand rails and have never seen or heard of a bottom end going because of it. i've seen guys have to replace intercoolers and pull the intake to clean it out.
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Old 02-23-2009, 12:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I have the same car as you and it is a 2005. My turbo went on Feb 7 with less than 60,000 miles on it - Subaru did not cover it for us. A new turbo was installed by a mechanic my husband and I use. That turbo went in 1 day - 30 miles on the car. Surbaru then made the shop we used bring the car into them to be sure they had done everything right. In conclusion, the shop did everything right, essentially blamed the first turbo going on me for oil changes (had them done, but not by Subaru), and had no explanantion that a brand new turbo would go in one day. When the brand new turbo went and our mechanic was checking options, he was told the turbos are on national backorder - that doesn't sound promising.
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Old 03-02-2009, 02:49 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I have a 2005 XT with 36,000 miles. Brought it to the Subaru dealership today due to tinny noise from engine and oil leakage. They determined it was a clogged oil screen (metal filter) that leads to the turbo for lubricating. I In the mechanics presence, I asked of there is a way to test the screen to see if oil was going thru it and he said they had no way. Due the screen being "clogged", I was told the drive train warranty was void since it was my fault. They said that routine oil changes would have prevented the screen from cloggging. I told them that I do my own oil and filter changes on a routine basis. I see on theis sitethat turbo seizure or breakage seem to ocur all to often.. Any suggestions on how to contest their failure to live up to the warranty?
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