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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My beloved 2005 ob limited 2.5 now has 123000 miles. There's been a slight braying noise when the rpms go up for months now. When we took it to our mechanic for the 120000 major service, he was concerned about the noise and suggested we take it to a subaru specialist for a diagnosis. They said we have rod knock and need a new short block engine. A very $$$ expensive repair. We then took it to the dealer where we bought it, about 40 minutes away, for a confirmation of the diagnosis and to find out their cost for the repair (they give us 10% off parts and service for life). Their mechanic confirmed the rod knock AND said that there were also transmission problems, apparently some other slight sound we had not detected yet (?), and that it'll need a new transmission soon too. With this many miles on it, the repairs will cost much more than the value of the car, so I feel like I need to get rid of it.

First question: how do these things happen? I've taken very good care of this car, all regular maintenance, oil changes, minor and major services. I just don't understand what happened.

Second question: suggestions on selling this car? Save for the issues diagnosed, it's in very good condition. Leather seats, super nice high end car. Dealer trade in seems to be the best option, however I haven't pursued this yet to see what they'd offer.

And third question: I had thought that subarus were reliable and lasted a long time, I had expected to get many more years and miles out of it. Plus this was my first brand new car. I now need a replacement. Do I try again? Get another outback? New? Used with low miles? Obviously I'm not going to ask here about going to some other car type given that this is an ob forum. But I'm needing to sort this out immediately...

thanks for your input!
 

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Unfortunately, things happen that we wish wouldn't, often not having anything to do with what we did, or didn't do. Mechanical failures in cars do happen even when we do everything by the book -- there's just no guarantee.

I do want to raise one thing, though, about the diagnosis, that perhaps others with more direct experience can respond to as well. I've heard of rod knock, and listened to on-line videos (there's lots). To me, the sound is more like a loud "clattering" or "rapping", like metal banging on metal, rather than "braying" (as used to describe the sound a donkey makes). This isn't a criticism of your description, but rather a question in my mind as to whether that symptom could be indicative of rod knock.

For example, accessory belts, idlers and tensioners can cause a braying-type of noise -- sort of a "screech" -- especially when engine rpm is rapidly increasing.

I would think that the mechanics could distinguish between belt or idler squeal and rod knock, but I remain puzzled based on the description.

What actual testing/troubleshooting did the specialist and then the dealer do to come to their conclusions? Or did they just listen to the engine and say "that's it"?

When you took the car to the dealer for a second opinion after having it at the specialist, did you mention the previous diagnosis or just ask them to find out what the noise was from?

Your car was due for replacement of the timing belt at around 105,000 miles. Was this done? And if so, were the idlers and tensioners for the timing belt, and perhaps the accessory drive belts, changed at the same time?

Finally, the addition of the transmission is puzzling. Did the mechanic demonstrate the previously "undetected" sound to you? I presume it's an automatic (probably the 4-speed 4EAT). I have to wonder what sound could lead to a conclusion that the transmission has to be replaced.

Yes, I'm being skeptical, at least until I have a good idea of what diagnostics were done to come to these conclusions, given the care the car apparently was given.

p.s. Can you "locate in time" when the braying noise began? For example, if the timing belt was replaced, did the noise appear shortly thereafter? What other servicing was done shortly before the noise started?
 

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+1
Get a third opinion, and never tell a shop what previous shop told you( if its that obvious let them diagnose it themselves). Telling a shop what previous mechanics have said can color their opinion and make it easier for a dishonest ones to rip you off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thanks for the two cents. I think we did accidentally tell the dealer what the specialist had said. Stupid, I know. The original diagnosis was from a subaru garage specialist who came very highly recommended by our mechanic who we trust 100%. the dealership where we took the care used to be awesome. I don't know how they are now. The service manager joked/suggested to my husband that we DONATE the car?!

I have all the service records, so i'll look back to see if we did the timing belt at 105K. I believe we did do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Update: went to another dealer, to discuss a new outback, and potential trade in. Did not tell them anything about my car. They drove, and confirmed rod knock. boo.

went ahead and got a 2012 outback. the old one is going to auction. oh well.
 

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Thanks for the update.

Would have liked to hear that braying noise and/or have someone here confirm it vis-a-vis "rod knock". I was wondering if perhaps a "spun" rod bearing might be the cause.

In any event, congrats on the new OB, and I hope you will let us know how it works out.
 

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I was gonna say... repairing is much cheaper than buying a new car. But congrats on the purchase!
 
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