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2009 2.5i, H4, Auto.
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842 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
This thread is as much me venting as asking for help.

So my OB has been running a bit loud for the last while. I thought I had an exhaust leak and was letting it go until I had time to look at it. The noise got louder as the engine reved.

Well, Saturday, I took it for a drive up US 40 though the backwoods of Maryland. It drove fine for about 30 minutes. After a while it starting to loose power on hills, bad. It would rev to over 5,000 RPM to keep speed, and was getting louder as I drove. Then it started shifting very roughly. The whole car would jerk back and forth when it changed gears. It miss fired for a bit, but that smoothed out. After a few miles, I lost all power. Fortunately, I was coming up on a small town. I came to a red stoplight and the engine died. I tried restarting it and nothing. Threw the hazards. After one light cycle I was able to restart the engine and get though the intersection into the parking lot of a trucking school that was closed on Saturdays. Again, when the car comes to a stop, the engine dies.

I call up Subaru's road side hotline. They arrange a tow back to the dealership. They say that my roadside coverage has expired, so I have to pay for the tow, but the engine is still under power-train warranty.

So right now, the car is sitting in the back of the local Subaru dealership and I am waiting on a call their service guy to look at it. Here's hoping they will honor the warrranty and get it fixed. I am not feeling like paying the dealer to rebuild the engine at the moment.

Question, at what point is it worthwhile to contact SOA and get them involved?
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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17,814 Posts
I don't think I recall all the backstory with your car but, if for some reason you feel the dealership is not honoring the warranty, or you otherwise feel abused (as opposed to unlucky) ,then contacting a regional rep would be a good idea.
 

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2009 2.5i, H4, Auto.
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Discussion Starter #3
I had an issue with it miss-firing early this year. New plugs and wires seamed to take care of that. Only other thing was the suspected exhaust leak, but I don't see how a bad exhaust pipe would cause an engine failure.
 

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2009 Tribeca Now - 2004 Outback EJ259 - Sold
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1,072 Posts
How often do you check your engine oil level?
 

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2009 Tribeca Now - 2004 Outback EJ259 - Sold
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1,072 Posts
Another possibility:
Your cat's have melted & clogged up the exhaust.
Falls in line with running the vehicle with a misfire & also could explain the loud exhaust.
Since the exhaust system would become pressurized & the hot gasses are forcing their way out of any possible opening.
If this is the case, don't run the engine hard, it can't breathe & will be destroyed.
 

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2006 H6 3.0R LL Bean wagon and 2000 H4 OBW
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454 Posts
If your engine is running 5000 rpms just to keep speed it sounds more like a transmission/drivetrain issue than an engine issue to me. Sounds like your engine is reving but power not getting to the ground.

Have you been checking the transmission fluid and level?
 

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2012 limited, white, no moonroof or nav
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1,698 Posts
I am wondering why you continued to drive, without checking, when something was obviously wrong?

And I will echo the post above about if you have kept track of the oil level. Did you check it, after the engine died? That could tell you a lot.
 

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Reminds me of a cousin who was famous for getting new cars and within a year the car had stopped running! I think we stopped counting cars at #5.

Seemed she drove like she was in the Indy 500 and never EVER checked fluids heck she didn't even know how to release the hood. It's pretty **** easy for a half way decent mechanic to take one look at a car and know if its seen far far too many miles with not so much as a glance under the hood.
 

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2009 2.5i, H4, Auto.
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Discussion Starter #9
How often do you check your engine oil level?

Had an oil change about 2,000 miles ago.


Have you been checking the transmission fluid and level?

It's been a while. At least 10,000 miles or so.


I am wondering why you continued to drive, without checking, when something was obviously wrong?

And I will echo the post above about if you have kept track of the oil level. Did you check it, after the engine died? That could tell you a lot.

I was out in the middle of nowhere and had trouble getting a signal on my phone. I wasn't far from civilization, so I figured I would push to get so somewhere where I could get some help, and a few reliable bars.


Okay, first update. The dealer was able to get it into their shop, (took some work). Their first guess was either a thrown rod, or a failed camshaft bearing. Their guess was a bearing that was miss-aligned at the factory could cause this.

They asked me for my service records and I was able to given them, they seamed satisfied with what I gave them. They said that they thought it would fall under warranty. They will have to pull the engine and they will know more once they get there. They have a factory warranty rep. coming in Wednesday to go over my car and a couple others. Don't know for sure, but they are thinking they will likely have to replace the engine.

Bad news is that it will take a minimum of a week to a week and a half to fix this.

On the plus side they had no problem with getting me a loaner. They didn't have a dealer one available, but they setup a rental car instead, completely covered by the dealer.
 

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2006 H6 3.0R LL Bean wagon and 2000 H4 OBW
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It sounds like things are moving in a good direction for you. Hopefully they will figure it out and it will indeed be something that you are covered under warranty.
 

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2009 2.5i, H4, Auto.
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Discussion Starter #11
Well, looks like the dealer is starting to jerk us around.

I talked to my insurance agent about them covering the towing. He called the dealer and was told that they had the engine out and apart were trying to figure out what all was wrong.

My wife talked to them and they said that the can't even start looking at it until we figure out a bunch of paperwork. So they are lying to someone. They are also wanting info on oil changes. They originally said they needed 1-2 records. I have them 7, it still isn't enough.

So, looks like my first thing will be to get in contact with SOA. What is the contact number for them? All Google is giving me is the Subaru sales website.
 

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2009 2.5i, H4, Auto.
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Discussion Starter #12
Okay, found the number and talked with a Rep. They are looking at least starting to look into it. Said they will talk to the dealer tomorrow.
 

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Car: 2008 Tribeca, 2010 LGT, Sold: 2005 XT Limited
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7 is the right number (every 7.5k). That should satisfy them that you did the maintenance.

Good luck!
 

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Okay, found the number and talked with a Rep. They are looking at least starting to look into it. Said they will talk to the dealer tomorrow.
Could easily be a bad bearing that let go. If they were OK with the service history then the whole thing about oil is a moot point given as I mentioned before a lack of oil changes is pretty easy to identify on these engines.

Keep in touch with the subaru rep they are the one's that keep the dealers honest.


Not really related but something to always know.

When your out in a remote area and your car is not sounding right or a light comes on. It's always best to investigate if your looking at more than 3-5 miles to the nearest possible town or gas station. Something as simple as dumping your water Avion Water bottle into radiator will get you just that much farther without destroying the car.

I also keep a quart of oil in all three of our cars and have shown the wife how to check and add it if needed. Though she never goes anywhere remote so I doubt she remembers how to do any of that. LOL

I have actually pulled over more than once in a remote location and found that a bad oil filter was leaking and have added oil. Two different vehicles had I continued on engine damage would have been 100% for sure. VS simply having a oil mess and having had to use my extra quart in the trunk to get me some place where the oil filter could be replaced or monkeyed with to get the leak to stop. It's Ok to pull off and do a quick check to see if just a simple effort like adding water or oil will prevent expensive damage. Things break or leak some times and doing a quick peek to check could save you thousands in repair bills later.
 

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2009 Outback Ltd.
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2 Posts
Startiger, I'm just curious as to what actually happened to your car? Did the dealer fix it under warranty?
 

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2009 2.5i, H4, Auto.
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Discussion Starter #16
Sorry, it's been a while since I have had a chance to post an update.

Dealer inspected the engine and claimed a crank shaft bearing disintegrated. fragments of that bearing got into the engine oil and got spread throughout the engine, scoring everything and killing the engine. Their opinion was it was not salvageable. They would charge $8,000 to put in a new engine. Subaru, trying to be nice, offered to contribute $1,000 if we were to buy a new engine. Or they could put in a used engine for $6,500, but no credit from Subaru.

Regarding warranty, Subaru told us that they have seen this type of failure before, but due to the nature of the failure, any evidence of a factory defect is destroyed when the bearing went. So, because you cannot prove that it is a factory defect, they are refusing to honor the warranty. They also claim that the engine must have been run without any oil for this to happen, which is complete BS.

I got the car towed to a shop in town that specializes in Subaru's and WV's. Originally, the said that they could install a used engine with comparable mileage for $3,000. The head mechanic took a look at the engine (disassembled in the back of the car) and said that it threw a bearing, but the engine was in good shape (no evidence of it being low on oil) and that he could rebuild it for $1,800 to perfect running order.

Needless to say, the independent shop is currently working on the car. They should be done late this week to early next.

Right now, I am very angry with Subaru for ripping me off like this. The car is worth enough that I plan to sell it once it is working. I should easily be able to get enough for it to pay it off, cover the repair cost and still make some money.
 

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2009 2.5i Special Edition 4EAT and AWP
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Hmm...

If it were me, I'd be awfully tempted to take them (Subaru) to small claims court. With only 52,400 and a failed bearing, I'd think they'd have to prove that is was not a factory defect to get out from under the warranty, especially if you have records of all of your oil changes, etc.

The worst that could happen is you spend the minimal filing fee for small claims court and loose, but more likely, Subaru will either fail to take you seriously and not bother to show up and you get an automatic judgment from what I understand, or they will not want to set a precedent and just pay for your engine.

Then again, I'm not a lawyer, although it would probably only take a few hours worth of Googling to find out if you have a case or not. I don't remember the details, but I have read of people successfully taking cases against both Honda and Apple in small claims court, both within the last couple of years.
 

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2006 Outback 2.5i Limited 5MT, 1984 Porsche 944
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I would certainly take them to court. They would have known right off the bat if it was an oiling issue as they would have measured the amount of oil when they inspected the engine. If it was low, then there would be no "must have been run without any oil". It would be "You car was low on oil. Not our fault." That isn't the case here.

If it was a Crankshaft bearing that failed (AKA as a Main Bearing/Journal Bearing), then it was most certainly a factory defect. When you run out of oil, Rod Bearings are the first to go. They travel at a higher angular velocity than Main Bearings.

You've provided proof of oil changes for the oil change interval provided by Subaru. You obviously had enough oil in the engine when the damage occurred, or else you would have received a phone call very quickly telling you that you didn't.
 

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Outback 2009 2.5i Ltd 4EAT NAV
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"Not a factory defect" does not appear to be a valid grounds to deny warranty coverage. The following are the list of exclusions:

- Maintenance and Adjustment Services; Normal Deterioration
- Damage or Malfunction Due to Improper Repair or Unauthorized Parts
- Damage or Malfunction Due to Abuse, Neglect, Accident or Fire
- Damage Caused By a Non-Covered, Unauthorized Part
- Damage Caused Due to Use of Vehicle in Competitive Events
- Damage or Malfunctions Due to Lack of Maintenance or Failure to Follow Instructions
- Damage Caused by the Environment
- Cars Ineligible for Warranty Coverage
- Applied Chemicals
- Damage Caused By a Non-Covered Part
- Commercial Use

https://www.subaru.com/my-subaru/warranties-2009.html
 

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2009 2.5i, H4, Auto.
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Discussion Starter #20
So the latest... Saturday, I got a postcard from my local dealership stating that I would be getting a survey in the mail from Subaru asking about the experience from my recent visit. If anything from the experience did not rate a 9 or 10, they wanted to opportunity to fix it before I sent in the survey. Hum, I rate them a negative 3?

That same day, I also got a call from the mechanic saying that he finished the car and that now everything was working. He had to replace the crankshaft, and one of the piston connecting rods, but the rest was useable. Also had trouble with one of the spark plug wired that got messed up when the dealership tore the engine apart. He also had to replace the battery because this took so long and the factory battery wasn't charging. All in all, $2200. He also gave me a statement that we can get notarized stating that he found no evidence that low oil or other lack of maintenance caused the bearing failure. The mechanic gave me the parts he took out, in case I need them for evidence.

So with that, either I was feeling generous or particularly masochistic, I took the car to the dealer to give them a chance to redeem themselves for all their **** by buying the car off me. They wouldn't even give me an offer on it. Gave me the whole spiel about how it is not their mechanics fault, but Subaru's. I told him fine and that we would talk to our lawyer about their response and left.

Monday morning, I took it to a local used car dealership. Good sized place, usually have around 30 cars on their lot. The office manager said that they would try to get the manager to look at it before he left to go on a buying run to the auto auction. The manager took one look at the car and flat out told me that they had too many cars on their lot and were not in the market for more cars at the moment... You can't make up this stuff.

Took it to another larger used car dealership and they were more than willing to deal. So the Outback is sold.
 
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