Join Date: Mar 2010
Car: 2006 Outback
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Thanks for replying. Sorry that it took a while to get back to you.
I am the original owner. I bought the car new back in August of ’06. I purchased the Outback at what I will now refer to as “Dealer # 1”. I will refer to the second dealer, located closer to where I work, as “Dealer # 2”. Here is a little more detailed history:
*96,472 miles- check engine light is on. Codes were P0026 and P0028 as diagnosed by a local garage where I have my oil changed. Took it to dealer # 2. They said that they did not recognize these codes! They did a compression test that showed all 4 cylinders to be good. They saw both headgaskets leaking internally and externally and suggested replacement. Estimate was $1750 including new timing and drive belts. They also said that the left rear wheel bearing was noisy. I mention this because I have recently learned that Subaru of America issued a TSB (03-58-08) where they agreed to extend warranty to 100,000 miles for certain 2006 Outbacks for real wheel bearing failure. Mine was not one of them! I had the rear bearing replaced by my local garage at 97,606 miles.
*96,504 miles- Check engine light back on. Car is using 3-4 quarts of oil between oil changes. (I have a local garage change my oil every 3000-4000 miles.) I took vehicle to Dealer # 1 who said that I have a head gasket leak. Estimate from Dealer # 1 of $1,460.
*97,024 miles- Dealer # 1 replaces head gaskets. Subaru of America agrees to pay for half due to previous head gasket issues with Outbacks and Foresters.
*108,040 miles-check engine light is on again. Dealer # 2, who had previously claimed that they did not recognize error codes P0026 and P0028, now says that I have these two error codes! Dealer # 2 attributes error to Variable Oil Pressure Switch caused by low or dirty oil. Vehicle is also shuddering on acceleration. Dealer # 2 says that the vehicle will shudder when the variable oil pressure switch is not working. Error codes cleared by dealer # 1.
*110,376 miles- I took the vehicle to Dealer #1 because I am using a high amount of oil (2 quarts in 1,500 miles). They tell me that they want to do a consumption test to confirm usage. We begin test.
*111,448 miles- consumption test verifies high oil usage. Dealer # 1 replaces PCV valve free of charge because they are not sure where the oil is going.
*112,320 miles- Dealer # 1 performs a compression test and it comes back good. They say that I need new valve seals, piston rings, and a possible short block. Estimate of $2,400 for seals and rings plus extra if shortblock is needed. Dealer # 1, a week later, says that he will work with me and lowers estimate for rings and seals to $1,940.
*120,497 miles- Dealer # 2 performs reprogramming of ECM per SOA recall WVU-31. Car begins to shudder upon acceleration after this re-programming.
*121,914 miles- check engine light is on again. Dealer # 2 says error code P-0420. Says that my cat converter has failed and needs to be replaced. Estimate of $1,075. Dealer # 2 says that vehicle is still learning how I drive after ECM re-programming. Says to bring it back in another 1000-1500 miles if it continues to shudder. Dealer # 2 also says at this time that burning oil will not damage a cat converter.
After all of this, I did some searching on this forum and found out about Subaru of America recall WVU-23 for 2006-2009 Outbacks equipped with the CA PZEV emission system. This recall was to remedy programming issues for the ECM that could prematurely destroy the cat converter. My Outback does not have a PZEV “sticker” but the emissions decal under the hood says the car conforms to “…California Regulations applicable to 2006 model year new LEV2 LEV passenger cars and light-duty trucks.” I also learned about the TSB for the rear wheel bearings on this forum at this time.
My wife then contacted Subaru of America and told them of our issues and disappointment with the recurring oil consumption and lack of notifications for the recalls and TSBs. Subaru of America agreed to look into our case. They took the names of both dealers. After a few days, they came back and said that our Outback was not impacted by either the TSB (rear wheel bearings) or the recall (WVU-23) for the faulty ECM programming. Subaru of America then said that they already helped us out once with the head gaskets and that our car is experiencing normal wear and tear for a vehicle with our mileage. They recommended that we go to dealer # 2 and have them try to diagnose the oil consumption issue and try to determine whether or not we need new seals and rings. They flat out said that dealer # 1 was incompetent. We told them that this was our second Outback and that we had ORIGINALLY planned on continuing to purchase Outbacks. (We traded our first in at 225,000 miles and it was still running well.) Unfortunately, with the poor quality that we have seen with this Outback and the lack of recognition from Subaru of America that they have systemic issues, we would not be purchasing a third and could not recommend to anyone else to purchase one. They obviously have recurring problems and are unable or unwilling to resolve their design issues.
To answer some of your other questions…
*At no time did we ever see the car overheating.
*I am not sure what tests dealer # 1 did to determine that we needed new seals and rings. I was the one that suggested to them about performing a visible plume test at 112,340 miles while they had the car in their garage. No blue smoke was seen at startup or during revving of engine during this plume test.
*The headgasket repair did eliminate the initial high oil usage issue.
On a closing note, my car continues to have the check engine light on + cruise light flashing, I am burning oil, and my car continues to shudder. I have an appointment with dealer # 2 this week to have the shuddering looked at per the ECM re-programming done under WVU-31.