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2013 Subaru Outback, 2.6L, 4 cylinder
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Discussion Starter #1
Dealer says $5,000 to replace engine short block. It is 4 cylinder, 2.6L with 80K miles on it. Not sure whether it is worth to spend it or not.

Dealer did not give me a reason for failure. Just say it could be some internal failure and it is not under warranty. No warning signs at all. While driving on interstate highway, suddenly heavy smoke came and engine not responding. I very rarely hit 4k rpm...normally drive between 2k to 3k rpm.

What are the common causes for engine crack? What questions should I ask them? Could it be a manufacturing defect, which can be covered (but deals says they do not, but how come an engine fail so badly risking injuries)?

Appreciate your insights.

Thanks!

2013 Subaru Outback
2.4L, 4 cylinder
80K miles
 

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Outback 2011 3.6R Premium
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1,041 Posts
This is very uncommon and as a first response, if you are in the USA, I would contact SOA (Subaru of America) and ask them for financial assistance in repairing the engine.

SOA have previously helped owners by covering some of the cost, sometimes several thousand dollars.

Subaru is a company with high integrity and they believe in their quality product so it is worth contacting them and asking for their assistance.

Typically Subaru engines that are well maintained last 250,000 miles or longer.

Seagrass
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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12,847 Posts
The only times I've seen a cracked block is when it came along with a thrown piston rod. It's usually accompanied by a hole in the block.

It sucks your engine blew. It's not a defect.

Did it run low of oil during that 80k miles? Was the correct type and grade used? How much did the engine use between oil changes?
 

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2010 Outback 3.6R 2014 Legacy 2.5i 2003 Legacy L special edition (retired to backup)
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667 Posts
a defective casting would do that... I have you have good service records and a decent relationship with your dealer, SOA will more than likely step in and offer some assistance.
 

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2013 Subaru Outback, 2.6L, 4 cylinder
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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies.

About the oil, around 5k miles after oil change, low oil warning used to display. I took the dealer they said it is normal and just fill up the oil. I did that 4 times in the life of the vehicle. I used correct type and grade (based on the user manual). During the current period (from the previous oil change), I did not get low engine oil warning at all. Is this normal? Does Subaru Outback consume more oil that other vehicles?

I owned four other cars before, I went upto 7k miles without any low oil warning. On Toyota Camry, mechanic in NY told that it is ok to go upto 8k miles without oil change.

I will contact SOA and see what they will say.
 

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2020 Outback Premium
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Did you rely on the low-oil warning or do you normally check the level with the dipstick?
 

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2013 Subaru Outback, 2.6L, 4 cylinder
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Discussion Starter #7
I relied on low-oil warning 2 times out of 4. I asked the dealer about it and he said it is ok to put after low-oil warning.
 

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2013 Subaru Outback, 2.6L, 4 cylinder
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Discussion Starter #9
Oh ok. I do not know about it. When are they supposed to do? Within last six months I changed oil at the dealership when check engine light issue (i do not remember exactly what the issue was ... may be solenoid) was fixed that was under warranty.
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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Any time that an owner brings up high usage they are supposed to check it. They change the oil, verify its full, and have you return 1200 miles later to measure usage. If the oil is low prior to the 1200 it's a gimme. But, if the oil is 1/3 qt low in the 1200 miles it's a new engine block gratis from Subaru.

It seems to me that they knew about the high level of oil consumption and ignored it. Running low to where the light comes on multiple times is most likely the culprit. And the times you added without the light on, depending on how much you had to add at those times, the level sensor could have been stuck above the trigger level.

It is not a defect in the block. It is not a bad cast. The only times I've seen or heard of a cracked block is a severe detonation event or a rod broke.

Do you have any photos of the crack in the engine? That would be interesting to see and I could tell you what the most likely cause of the crack is.

And don't let the service department run you around. Have them show you the crack.
 

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2013 Subaru Outback, 2.6L, 4 cylinder
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Discussion Starter #11
Wow! THANKS a lot Cardoc! Really appreciate your comments! That explains a lot! My wife told me that all 4 times I added only after light showed up! Anyways, I carefully double/trible check how much I add. Again this is because of what dealer recommended me.

I found below articles about what you said:

==> says: Owners can contact their Subaru dealer and go in for an oil consumption test. If the dealer determines the oil consumption is found to exceed normal levels, dealers will replace the shortblock assembly.

==> says: Although fewer than 1 percent of Subaru owners raised this concern, the company has extended the powertrain warranty from 5 years, 60,000 miles to 8 years, 100,000 miles, whichever comes first.

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I will reach out to them again and mention technical service bulletin, and see how it goes.
 

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2010 Outback 3.6R 2014 Legacy 2.5i 2003 Legacy L special edition (retired to backup)
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OP, you got pix of that? by crack do you mean giant hole in your engine, like this?
479295


If so that is not a crack
 

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R.I.P. 2009 OB 2.5i 5MT
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Wow! Very sorry to hear about this. Yes, I would definitely write a letter to SOA. I know a guy who had his auto tranny go south 6K miles out of warranty to the tune of $3,600. He wrote to SOA explaining to them that this was his 3rd Subaru and he was very disappointed and could never buy another Subaru product again. 3 months later, he received a check for $3,600 from SOA!

On a side note, correct me if I'm wrong, but by the time that low oil level light comes on, you're pretty much down to oil pressure so low, you have already done some damage. My 09 Outback with 101K miles had never had any oil consumption issues, though I'm old-school and change my oil religiously every 3-4K miles. I also warm the car at least 1 minute when temps are above freezing, at least 3 minutes when colder, then drive sedately until the engine warms up completely.
 

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Outback 2011 3.6R Premium
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On a side note, correct me if I'm wrong, but by the time that low oil level light comes on, you're pretty much down to oil pressure so low, you have already done some damage.
Yes you are wrong and this is a common mistake.

There is a “low level” oil warning light which usually comes on when the oil is at the low level on the dipstick. At this point the oil pressure has not been compromised and will not be compromised.

There is also typically an “low oil pressure” light which comes on when the oil pressure is low. This light is rarely illuminated and when it is damage may be being done to your engine.

Seagrass
 

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Yes you are wrong and this is a common mistake.

There is a “low level” oil warning light which usually comes on when the oil is at the low level on the dipstick. At this point the oil pressure has not been compromised and will not be compromised.

There is also typically an “low oil pressure” light which comes on when the oil pressure is low. This light is rarely illuminated and when it is damage may be being done to your engine.

Seagrass
Interesting. I never knew there were two separate lights. I stand corrected! :)
 

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Interesting. I never knew there were two separate lights. I stand corrected! :)
Not an uncommon mistake. Low oil is a yellow light....no need to panic, just add some oil. Low oil pressure is a red light....now you can panic.
 

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2013 Subaru Outback, 2.6L, 4 cylinder
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Discussion Starter #19
The Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) issued by SOA (https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/tsbs/2015/SB-10080542-0699.pdf) says the oil consumption issue on below Outback models.

2013-14MY Legacy and Outback Models with 2.5L FB Engine


Above Subaru's page says we can drive upto 6k miles. I used to get warning light between 5 to 6k. As dealer said I filled up with oil and drove. He said it is ok. I never searched online until now about oil consumption issues with some Subaru Models. I took to the dealer about the oil consumption after the above TSB came out [I did not know about it though].

Currently SOA is offering ~50% (I definitely appreciate SOA for this gesture, but I think is not enough), but their below bulletin talks replacement short engine block too. Reaching back to them to cover full cost. I was simply mislead (told to simply put oil each time light shows up!!).

Wish me good luck!
 

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If SOA are offering you 50% you are doing well and due to your circumstances (no consumption test was ever done as the dealer did not do a consumption test when you queried them about the oil usage) this may be all they offer. From memory other members in a similar situation to you also got around 50%.

The irony is that if the engine had not failed AND you could get a dealer to do a consumption test then SOA may have covered the whole cost.

Seagrass
 
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