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2008 Outback 2.5i Limited, 2010 Outback 2.5i CVT
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Discussion Starter #1
Here's a good on, my friends!

Last night, whilst coming home from a Boy Scout Camp near Keokuk, IA, my 2008 Outback died on me coming into a gas station for a snack/bathroom break. After I got it started, it made a horrible noise, like a rod knocking. Checked the oil, and ours has never been easy to read, but looked low, added some oil.

After a few minutes, it started right up, idled, yet still made noise. It ran without dieing, but couldn't get much power out of the car. Got up on the highway, and the power continued to diminish, and got pulled over and into a parking lot where she still sits, 1.25 hours away from me. The funny thing, is the "oil light" would sort of flash in time with the engine at the notorious Subaru low idle. Thoughts?

2008, 2.5 motor, non turbo, no mods, 126,000 miles on it. The timing belt was done where the last owner bought it from at around 100,000.
 

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Lawn ornament XT
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Any word on coolant temperature or level? The sequence of events is a very strong fit for an overheated engine.

Low oil pressure (flickering light at idle) plus possible rod noise usually means the overheat was too much and the engine is beyond salvage, but there isn't enough information to condemn it yet. A little work with a mechanic's stethoscope would go a long way to working out the source of the noise. If it is a rod knock, put down the tools. It's time to shop for an engine or a replacement car.

If the noise isn't rod knock, move on to an oil pressure test. This will determine whether the warning you are seeing is real or just a faulty sensor. Either way, verify the status of the cooling system.

Nearly any mechanic can narrow down the noise location; doesn't have to be a subie specialist though they may be faster/more confident. Maybe have it towed locally to a garage near it rather than all the way back to you?
 

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2008 Outback 2.5i Limited, 2010 Outback 2.5i CVT
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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply! Unfortunately, it's at a place that is more in the middle of nowhere than I am!

I can trailer it home, as my Dad has a trailer he hauls antique tractors on, and it can't be put on a dolly.

I hadn't thought of the coolant, although it has always stayed in the same range on the gauge, but no problems last night.

The dangerous You-tube videos have everything from rods to sludge to tensioners. Some things I can do, but others I have to punt. I dread the dealer call, but it looks like an engine swap might be better suited if it's that bad.
 

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Lawn ornament XT
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Thanks for the reply! Unfortunately, it's at a place that is more in the middle of nowhere than I am!

I can trailer it home, as my Dad has a trailer he hauls antique tractors on, and it can't be put on a dolly.

I hadn't thought of the coolant, although it has always stayed in the same range on the gauge, but no problems last night.

The dangerous You-tube videos have everything from rods to sludge to tensioners. Some things I can do, but others I have to punt. I dread the dealer call, but it looks like an engine swap might be better suited if it's that bad.
You can use a dolly under the front wheels if you crawl under the back and disconnect the propshaft from the rear differential. I think it's just 4 bolts plus tying up the shaft to keep it out of the way. It's extra work but it does allow you to safely use what is often an easier transport system.
 

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gypsy danger: 07 outback 2.5i touring. often broken?
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I have a video of a failed tensioner noise. I could send it to you for diagnosis if you like, but it seems to be to large to post.

Sent from my SM-G903W using Tapatalk
 

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a timing belt change is not a "timing belt kit change"

and some aftermarket kits just don't make it.

read of a few cars cropping up with major problems at 130,000 miles or so with seized things that should have been changed in a quality kit.
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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the oil light symptom seems odd for slipped timing,,,,?

though it's quite possible an idler has lost a bearing if they weren't changed at the TB 'service'.
 

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you will want a flat bed taking that somewhere. ...such might be paid by insurance.
(subarus need a flatbed or a trailer, not 2 wheels up/ 2wheels down.).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks all for the help!

We went up and picked it up this afternoon. Loaded in on Pop's tractor hauling trailer. In spitting snow and 30 degrees. Just like the old days! It drove up the ramps just fine.

I have meetings tomorrow, but will pull it into the garage and poke around on it.

Of course it started up, the "knock" was quiet at idle, and with minor revving it got louder and more pronounced. Not blowing oil, the exhaust "seems fine" with no smoke, or foul smells coming out. Antifreeze level is full, so no over heating. It idled quite nicely in the cold waiting to line up the ramps for the trailer! Oil level is fine now, not sure if it was too low yesterday or not, but no water or sludge (like VW orange gunk in winter) in the oil check.

Pop seems to think it's a "hitting noise or metallic noise." Spending a life as a shade tree mechanic, he also recommended buying a Ford! (that's what hauled it home!!)

According to the info given by the dealer who sold to previous owner (they were nice about it at least when I called them months ago). Timing belt was changed, head gaskets were done, with a bit of red gasket stuff kind of around the gasket areas. not 100% sure on water pump and tensioners. I assume they were, but have no way of verifying. Unless I find the notes I scribbled down back in August '17.
 

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tenioners can mimic knock, but from what I've read, the difference is, rod knock gets more agressive as rpms rise. Tensioner knock seems to come and go at different rpm 'ranges'.

there's at least one youtube video on subaru tensioner knock noise.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
PHP:
tenioners can mimic knock, but from what I've read, the difference is, rod knock gets more agressive as rpms rise. Tensioner knock seems to come and go at different rpm 'ranges'.
That's what I'm afraid of. Took a short video to the dealer nearby, and they said it sounded like a rod knock, as it did increase with RPM.

Only wish I could point to something that led it to this point.

$2500 for a rebuild...Ouch!
 

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PHP:
That's what I'm afraid of. Took a short video to the dealer nearby, and they said it sounded like a rod knock, as it did increase with RPM.

Only wish I could point to something that led it to this point.

$2500 for a rebuild...Ouch!
why.

buy a used engine. like a bench one with new head gaskets.

or a whole local wreck of a 2008-2009 legacy or legacy outback, hog it for parts, and throw the carcass when done.
 

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PHP:
That's what I'm afraid of. Took a short video to the dealer nearby, and they said it sounded like a rod knock, as it did increase with RPM.

Only wish I could point to something that led it to this point.

$2500 for a rebuild...Ouch!
My advice would be to cut the oil filter apart. I have a filter cutter for that purpose, but not everyone has one. You want to do it with something that doesn't leave shavings like tin snips or a chisel.
Rod bearings don't fail without leaving flakes of rod bearings in the pleats of the filter.

Good luck... I hope it's something easy.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Here's a funny twist to the plot. Or maybe just a twist, or just something normal. Out of my own curiosity, I wanted to take a look at the tensioners. And then I stop, because that's where my ability runs out! HA!

I had to go to O'Reilly to get a 22mm socket and an adapter, and I get it home, slip it on, and it spins. I thought, "son of a bleep, I got the wrong size." However, the 22mm bolt holding on the pulley was turning!!! I reached my hand in there, and was able to spin it out by hand. Mind you, I was trying to find cheater tubes, and bars and so forth. Now, the pulley is stuck on there like mad, so I don't think there was any big issue to the loose bolt, but it was still interesting!

As far as putting in a used engine, I've scoured the universe trying to find one. They're everywhere, and the ones with 150K + on them are about $1500 on average and the ones with less are pushing $2000. I've looked at ebay, salvage yards (few and far between in MO), and different google searches. I'm a bit afraid to go that route, if it's only going to save me $500 or so.

The guy who would tear it down actually worked at the dealer, and would tear it apart, machine/bore it, new pistons, rods, etc. etc. He's a 25 year veteran that seems to know his stuff. The body of the car is in pretty good shape, otherwise, I might attempt to sell it to get out from under it.

I'll keep ya posted!!
 

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just posting so these sources weren't overlooked;

car-part.com

LKQ

JDM used engines

Craigslist - maybe someone parting-out a car....?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
just posting so these sources weren't overlooked;

car-part.com

LKQ

JDM used engines

Craigslist - maybe someone parting-out a car....?
I'll look at those others. car-part I checked, hadn't seen the others. Nor thought about craigslist! THANKS!
 
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Reactions: 1 Lucky Texan

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$2500 for a rebuild... you can buy a brand new shortblock for $1800, get the heads rebuilt for like $800, and have basically a brand new engine for under $3K.
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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Here's a funny twist to the plot. Or maybe just a twist, or just something normal. .....the 22mm bolt holding on the pulley was turning!!! I reached my hand in there, and was able to spin it out by hand. ..... Now, the pulley is stuck on there like mad, so I don't think there was any big issue to the loose bolt, but it was still interesting!
Definitely not normal, and it may be the cause of the failure. You believe the pulley didn't move, based on the fact that it now seems to be "stuck on there like mad". It may have moved, and your symptoms you described suggest that it did.

But I would pursue getting another engine through the leads that @1 Lucky Texan suggested; looking into this pulley situation is probably flogging a dead horse.
 

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2010 Subaru Outback Premium 2.5i w/AWP 6MT
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My advice would be to cut the oil filter apart. I have a filter cutter for that purpose, but not everyone has one. You want to do it with something that doesn't leave shavings like tin snips or a chisel.
Rod bearings don't fail without leaving flakes of rod bearings in the pleats of the filter.

Good luck... I hope it's something easy.
You can borrow a big, blade wheel pipe cutter (with a sharp blade) for this purpose.
 
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