Dealership oopsie - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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Dealership oopsie

So this is a bit of a long one, but basically last August I bought my 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5 with around 179,000 miles.
The only specific service we knew had been done were valve cover gaskets, but I knew I might have issues in the future so we got the car for a great price.

Come about a month ago, I hadn't had any problems since I bought the car other than a small oil leak and I had seemed to fix during my first oil change.
But, at this time my engine had completely drank all of its coolant, no external leak, it was just all gone. So we got more OEM coolant, refilled did a proper coolant flush on the system. We also decided that we should go ahead and get the car diagnosed for a head gasket problem, as we didn't know if they had been replaced before.

I'm extremely busy with school and work, so I decide it worth to fork over the $125 for a diagnosis at the dealer. When the diagnosis is done I get a call informing me that my head gaskets are QUOTE: "In good shape, but we did noticed you have a bad oil pan". I answered back "OK, so if the gaskets are fine where is the coolant going" and they said they DIDN'T KNOW <-This is important remember it.

So i'm feeling pretty confident at this point, there are a lot of things that need to get done on the car like ball joints in the front and brakes in the back and a whole mess of general maintenance things that hadn't been done in a very long time. So now that I'm not paying for new head gaskets I decide to have the dealership handle those maintenance items.

So two days pass and I get a call saying my car is ready, cool, two hours later I go to pick it up and I am greeted with this.


This post is getting pretty long so ill try and wrap up the end. Basically my service adviser missed the note at the top of my chart saying that I needed a $4,100 head gasket repair with machining and just skipped over to the other general maintenance items. Then somehow it was put on my invoice that I was quoted for this repair and also declined, which was a straight up fabrication.

In the end, the adviser saw where he made the mistake, and is attempting to bring that $4,100 price down to $2,500. Which for this repair is a steal for the condition the car is in. But I am worried that it won't come to light like it should.

Anyway sorry for the long read, its gonna be a few weeks before I get the car back but iv'e got a 2019 Forester Sport on loan so i'm not complaining.

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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 08:09 PM
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Can you post pictures of the underneath of your vehicle?
Dealers are generally a terrible place to take 10 year old vehicles, seriously they're like UFO's to dealers.

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Originally Posted by SPHHAX View Post
In the end, the adviser saw where he made the mistake, and is attempting to bring that $4,100 price down to $2,500. Which for this repair is a steal for the condition the car is in. But I am worried that it won't come to light like it should.
No, that's not a steal. $2,500 is the going rate for headgaskets on that vehicle. $4,100 is not even in the vicinity, so they'll easily come down to the normal $2,500 ballpark. They can also make this up later - quote you $2,500 now and then make claims later that you need new heads or something to make up for however they want this to go. So you'll easily get your $2,500 quote but that wouldn't make me feel great.

If your HG's are leaking oil, that year is usually messy, then they probably didn't properly diagnose the oil pan because it would be covered in oil lost from the headgaskets. How did they know the oil pan is leaking when the headgasket is puking all over it?

I'd drive it, keep topping the coolant/oil off, post some pictures, and get a second opinion somewhere other than a dealer. The place you get a second opinion might let you snag a few photos if you tell them you're looking for options, unsure of the dealer working on this older car, and want to show some subaru "acquaintnenaces" and get their opinion.


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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 09:29 PM
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If you cant do the work yourself. I would look for a trusted smaller mechanic/import shop and go there. The "Stealership" is just that...... good luck my friend.....

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 10:50 PM
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What I can't understand is why you would buy a 11 year old car with 179K miles in the first place and complain about it need service. What did you expect to get?
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Mapdude55 View Post
What I can't understand is why you would buy a 11 year old car with 179K miles in the first place and complain about it need service. What did you expect to get?
Just my opinion but there is a difference between service and an engine rebuild....... perhaps he has been fortunate like I have and driven Subarus for many years (approx 15 years and 380,000 miles in a Subaru) with no major issues. The biggest replacement I have has was a clutch in all those miles.

Just my experience

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I personally would rebuild the engine for that cost. ($2500-4100) Of course I can do all the work except the machining myself.

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 10:29 AM Thread Starter
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What I can't understand is why you would buy a 11 year old car with 179K miles in the first place and complain about it need service. What did you expect to get?
I mentioned at the top of my post that I did expect to have to do these, and since i'm just out of high school looking for something that I can work on and use for at least a few years, I don't mind forking over cash or maintaining the car myself. I fully expected to have to do these repairs.

In no way was I complaining about having to do a whole mess of repairs, I was mentioning the dealer mistake.

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Originally Posted by idosubaru View Post
Can you post pictures of the underneath of your vehicle?
Dealers are generally a terrible place to take 10 year old vehicles, seriously they're like UFO's to dealers.


No, that's not a steal. $2,500 is the going rate for headgaskets on that vehicle. $4,100 is not even in the vicinity, so they'll easily come down to the normal $2,500 ballpark. They can also make this up later - quote you $2,500 now and then make claims later that you need new heads or something to make up for however they want this to go. So you'll easily get your $2,500 quote but that wouldn't make me feel great.

If your HG's are leaking oil, that year is usually messy, then they probably didn't properly diagnose the oil pan because it would be covered in oil lost from the headgaskets. How did they know the oil pan is leaking when the headgasket is puking all over it?

I'd drive it, keep topping the coolant/oil off, post some pictures, and get a second opinion somewhere other than a dealer. The place you get a second opinion might let you snag a few photos if you tell them you're looking for options, unsure of the dealer working on this older car, and want to show some subaru "acquaintnenaces" and get their opinion.
All local mechs quoted me over $2,500, I don't know if its just because its where I live or what. I inspected the oil pan myself and yes the gasket was destroyed, so I think it's fair to say that it's something that was also broken. Also, everywhere else iv'e read up I see these repair amounts easily hit $3,800 - $4,400 dollars, even from small shops, when I was doing research I saw that you could do $2,500 if you didn't need machining.

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Originally Posted by scoopburt View Post
If you cant do the work yourself. I would look for a trusted smaller mechanic/import shop and go there. The "Stealership" is just that...... good luck my friend.....

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I'd like to think I could, but like I said before I was quoted for roughly the same price at a lot of places, and at least at the dealership i'm locked in to roughly $2,500. Thank you tho. I could do this myself but I don't have the time and I got really lucky to even get a loaner this time because I am under 21.

In no way do I want to make it seem that this post is complaining about the repairs, Iv'e inspected the car and yes I could have pulled the engine to do this, but I have school/work and have to have transportation.

I do have one question? Everywhere I had looked this price ($4,100) isn't crazy for this engine, even from smaller shops. Keep in mind this involves machining. So is my $2,500 really that bad of a deal?
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 10:47 AM
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try the Subaru Coolant Conditioner

no, I don't expect a miracle, bur folks have cured or greatly ameliorated external coolant leaks with it. ONE bottle only. Installed per directions ONLY.

and yeah, ask in a new thread for a subaru-friendly independent shop near you.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SPHHAX View Post
I do have one question? Everywhere I had looked this price ($4,100) isn't crazy for this engine, even from smaller shops. Keep in mind this involves machining. So is my $2,500 really that bad of a deal?
Yes - $4,000 is crazy and $2,500 is average, at best, for a headgasket repair. But - it's good the dealer wants to resurface the heads, that's a plus.

One of the best independent Subaru shops in the country, who isn't cheap, but is really good does the heads, resurface, timing gear, AND NEW PISTON RINGS for less than $3,000:
Superior Soobie And Import | Portland, Oregon | Subaru repair and upgrade specialists

it won't use a drop of oil between oil changes when they're done with it, that dealer job probably will.

The dealer is quoting you $1,000 more for a lesser job. Or you'll be paying $2,500...almost what it would cost you in portland for a better shop to do it. Drive to portland?

You are not "getting a deal". it might be okay and a good choice, but it's not a deal i would be feigning over.


But first we have to make sure we're talking about the right thing here:

What all does the quote include? Machining is $150, that's not enough to account for a $4,000 bill.

What you want on that vehicle is:
Resurfaced heads, quality gaskets (Subaru or Fel Pro).
New complete timing kit - belt, tensioner, pulleys.
New valve cover gaskets, spark plugs, PCV valve.
Reseal the oil pump and replace the cam seals.

If you're getting all of that for $2,500 that's a good deal. But if you're not getting all of that, it becomes worse of a deal quickly.

Also - where are you "looking up" prices? Post links and your sources.

This is a few years old, but are numbers of what peopel on this forum have actually paid for that same engine:
https://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...placement.html

$1,500
$1,950
$2,060
$2,300
$1,936
$2,400
$1,850
$1,800

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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 10:56 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idosubaru View Post
Yes - $4,000 is crazy and $2,500 is average, at best, for a headgasket repair.

One of the best independent Subaru shops in the country, who isn't cheap, but is really good does the heads, resurface, timing gear, AND NEW PISTON RINGS for less than $3,000:
Superior Soobie And Import | Portland, Oregon | Subaru repair and upgrade specialists

it won't use a drop of oil between oil changes when they're done with it, that dealer job probably will.

The dealer is quoting you $1,000 more than one of the best Subaru independents in the country for a much lesser job.

You are not "getting a deal". it might be okay and a good choice, but it's not a deal i would be feigning over.


But first we have to make sure we're talking about the right thing here:

What all does the quote include? Machining is $150, that's not enough to account for a $4,000 bill.

What you want on that vehicle is:
Resurfaced heads, quality gaskets (Subaru or Fel Pro).
New complete timing kit - belt, tensioner, pulleys.
New valve cover gaskets, spark plugs, PCV valve.
And if you were close to Portland you'd get those new rings and no oil loss!

Also - where are you "looking up" prices? Post links and your sources.

This is a few years old, but are numbers of what peopel on this forum have actually paid for that same engine:
https://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...placement.html

$1,500
$1,950
$2,060
$2,300
$1,936
$2,400
$1,850
$1,800
My research had come from this forum, recently, I had other people in my family do research so I am not sure where it all came from. I called 6 shops in Tulsa and all of them quoted me for at least $2,400. I am also doing a timing belt with this and I am not paying for it, forgot to mention. Valve cover gasket was just done as I mentioned in my first post.

So I wouldn't have done them with the dealer if I had to pay their full price, but locally I don't know where I could do better than $2,500. I called import shops and the like 2 Subaru specialty places and I even ended up calling just general maintenance shops, all of their quotes without knowing the condition of the car were around that.

Also, not sure if it matters but the dealer has to send the heads to the machine shop, there isn't one in house. So I don't know if that hikes up that $150.

I guess i'm just shocked to see that nobody around here wants to do this for cheaper, could it be because Subaru (imports in general) weren't big around here until a couple years ago?
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SPHHAX View Post
I inspected the oil pan myself and yes the gasket was destroyed, so I think it's fair to say that it's something that was also broken.
If you saw a literal gasket (cork or rubber), that is not factory and someone has been in there before. Factory used an RTV (sealing compound) to seal the oil pan.

Unless it's a major metropolitan area where EVERYTHING is expensive (see: San Francisco, CA), the repair parts are under $300 (and that's dealer retail). A specialist shop should probably charge near 13 hrs of labor (and at dealership cost, that's $120/hr). So for ~$1,800, on the upper end, you should have a complete head gasket job. Bare-in-mind, that doesn't include a new timing belt+components, which is suggested, unless it's JUST been replaced. Add another $300 in parts and NO extra labor since it's removed/replaced during the course of the job.

So, $2500 is too high for just R/R and no preventative maint (like TB+components). $4100 is a complete, reman'd engine INSTALLED.

At this point, I'd ask the service writer to comp you back your diag fee since they clearly ignored your first request and start asking/searching around for an indy shop that can outline the job on your Outback.

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