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2016 Outback 2.5
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Discussion Starter #1
I heard and smelled an exhaust leak on my 2016 Outback 2.5i. with just over 36,000 miles on it. I found a cracked pipe in the exhaust system near the manifold on the section of the pipe that look like a bellows. I also noticed a small fluid leak on the back of the engine. I thought I was smelling radiator fluid for several weeks but could not find the source. I plan to have it repaired but I think this crack is either a design flaw or related to some sort fluid leak. I took photos (attached). Has anyone else had this problem?
 

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That type flex pipe can be prone to failure.

Surprised Subaru did not use this type........

 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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All of the Subaru flex joints are this type. Typical even for the turbos. They typicallly don't crack unless there is excessive movement. I wonder if a hanger came loose. Or if there is loose or worn motor mounts. Or transmission mount.
 

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2009 Outback H-4
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33 Posts
There is a lot of rust on that pipe. You need to get the fluid leak fixed or the same thing will happen on a replacement piece.
 

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2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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There is a lot of rust on that pipe. You need to get the fluid leak fixed or the same thing will happen on a replacement piece.
That's not rust, that pipe gets to 800 degrees F or more. That's called patina. You should see how bad stainless steel headers look.

I don't think the coolant leak, or whatever has anything at all to do with the crack in the flex joint. How would any coolant (or fluid) get to the joint? It's encased by a heat shield. There is no evidence of any residue (that I can see) in the top, or inside of the shield.

There is no warranty on this car? If it's a faulty, failed flex joint ... for no other reason than a bad part ... then why isn't it just getting fixed?
 

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Was the second picture to indicate the fluid/oil leak? If so cannot see it. However, the exhaust system is covered under the emissions warranty and assuming you did not improperly jack the car up at some point etc., this is an easy fix under warranty.
 

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2016 Outback 2.5
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Discussion Starter #7
Exhaust pipe cracked 2016 Outback 2.5i... More Questions

Thanks for the replies. I found a recall notice for the 2015 models due to a rear main seal leak on the transmission which can result in a fire if the fluid drips onto the exhaust system. The fluid leak (very small) was found on the back of the oil pan near the drain. The drain plug was tight so it could have been transmission fluid but I didn't think about it at the time, just wiping it clean. I will monitor it. One thing I do not know how to do it to check the transmission fluid level..I can't find a dipstick for this so I assume it is a "sealed" system.

I am keeping my eyes open for any recalls on this issue for 2016 models. It should be covered under the emission control,warranty in California if I am reading it correctly. (shows exhaust system is covered up to 3 years or 50,000 miles).
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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Any codes thrown? If there's any issues causing it to run lean, there can be quite a bit of heat buildup in the exhaust system, contributing to metal fatigue and cracking.
 

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2016 Outback 2.5
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Discussion Starter #9
Any codes thrown? If there's any issues causing it to run lean, there can be quite a bit of heat buildup in the exhaust system, contributing to metal fatigue and cracking.
Thanks.....no codes showing in this. I did check the NHTSB recall (# 15V502000) but it was for 2015-16 Outbacks manufactured in July of 2015. Mine shows a manufactured date of August 2015 (sold as a 2016 model). The recall involves transmission oil leaking onto the exhaust pipe from a deformed seal cap on the propeller shaft. That is why I mentioned fluid found just to the rear of the cracked pipe on the bottom of the oil pan next to the drain plug. I wish I had tried to determine what kind of fluid it was before wiping it clean. I had also been smelling what I thought was a coolant leak for a couple months but found no leak in the cooling system so maybe it was TX fluid but I have no way of knowing until it leaks again. Its been about 35 years since I was a mechanic...I recall hearing back then that TX fluid smells like burnt popcorn if overheated. Maybe it smells different nowadays.
 

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2016 2.5i Limited
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Bumping the thread as I have a 2016 model. Just got back from dealer who said I needed a new catalytic converter due to flex pipe crack. I have 64k miles; they are checking on the warranty. Makes me sad, though. Can I expect another crack 60k miles down the road?
 

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I just had my 2015 Outback in for service and reported engine loud at start up. Dealer found noise coming from crack in flex pipe and not covered under warranty since its part of manifold!?!?! What BS. $1100 to repair. Plus I have an extended warranty!!
 

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Did you have any luck with a warranty on your exhaust crack? My 2016 Outback has 84,000. Just took it in for state required emissions inspection and was told it has a leak (crack) in the flex section of the catalytic converter. My repair guy says it shouldn’t happen until at least 250,000. Plan to contact Subaru, but was hoping for some insight from others first. Frustration!
 

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Since Outbacks and Legacys are much the same vehicle, I will add to the conversation.

I have a 2015 Legacy and in January 2018 was diagnosed with a cracked flex pipe after about 110000kms and less than 2.5 years. Was quoted by the dealership a repair bill of parts and labor of about $1600. Also checked at an independent garage who arrived at the same conclusion and that (as opposed to some other vehicles) that he could not simply just replace the flex pipe and that the front exhaust, which includes the cat converter, would need to be replaced. Part cost alone is $1040.

Have put off the repair for months but will have to bite the bullet in the coming weeks as noise is now very noticeable.

Outside of warranty, hadn't considered contacting Subaru but may now given these other comments having the same issue.
 

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2015 OB, Limited, ES, HK; Won't Rally Blue
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Since Outbacks and Legacys are much the same vehicle, I will add to the conversation.

I have a 2015 Legacy and in January 2018 was diagnosed with a cracked flex pipe after about 110000kms and less than 2.5 years. Was quoted by the dealership a repair bill of parts and labor of about $1600. Also checked at an independent garage who arrived at the same conclusion and that (as opposed to some other vehicles) that he could not simply just replace the flex pipe and that the front exhaust, which includes the cat converter, would need to be replaced. Part cost alone is $1040.

Have put off the repair for months but will have to bite the bullet in the coming weeks as noise is now very noticeable.

Outside of warranty, hadn't considered contacting Subaru but may now given these other comments having the same issue.
I'd guess that a competent muffler shop could repair that with either another flex section or just a pipe (the other side lacks this accordion piece) for half the part cost alone... or just weld up the flex part.
 

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Outback Limited 2020 Red (former 2015)
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Mine is cracked; discovered at 128K due to cabin fumes at stops. The dealers may tell you it’s exhaust system but if you are a PZEV or California car it’s the secondary catalytic and is covered by emissions to 80K. Found another thread where someone said they see enough of this that it warrants defect complaint. Write Subaru, I am.
 

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I noticed my exhaust "loud" when it had about 20k miles. I'm constantly around race cars, so it didn't bother me much. I took it to the dealer for maintenance, turned out to be a cracked header pipe. Luckily under warranty.
Now my car has 110k and I'm noticing the loud exhaust again. Plus it turns off when starting cold without A/C turned on, to give it the extra juice.
I'm afraid to find out how much its gonna be out of pocket.
 

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Interesting timing of this thread. My ‘13 is in the shop today getting a new cat. The intermediate exhaust pipe snapped at the flange where it attaches to the muffler. I repaired that last week. After the fix there was still some noise and the guy working on the repair for me traced it to a crack on or near the catalytic converter. Subaru is replacing the cat under the emissions warranty. I “think” it’s 100k miles. I have a PZEV so it might be 150k miles. Either way, I don’t have 100k yet anyway.

Attached is the snapped pipe at the flange next to the muffler. No idea how it happened, the shop said that usually happens from an impact but there’s no evidence of that and I don’t think I hit anything. There's really no good way to tell if the crack in the cat area is related to the break at the opposite end, either one could have started a month ago or years ago.
 

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2016 Outback 2.5
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Discussion Starter #18
I heard and smelled an exhaust leak on my 2016 Outback 2.5i. with just over 36,000 miles on it. I found a cracked pipe in the exhaust system near the manifold on the section of the pipe that look like a bellows. I also noticed a small fluid leak on the back of the engine. I thought I was smelling radiator fluid for several weeks but could not find the source. I plan to have it repaired but I think this crack is either a design flaw or related to some sort fluid leak. I took photos (attached). Has anyone else had this problem?

UPDATE: This must be a common problem . I just received a service notice of a recall today (7/27/19) for my 2016 Outback : "Open Service Program WUB87-1 - 15-19 Leg/Out Front Exhaust Pipe Replacement" (I had the cracked manifold replaced by the dealership at no cost in January of 2018 under warranty).
 

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Same issue here with my 2015 Outback. Noise started at around 40K miles and dealer told me that there was no issue. Noise and smell in cabin became progressively worse and my mchanic did a temp fix at around 60K miles. This worked for a while but while noise is not too bad, I still smell fumes in car at standstill after a long drive. Turns out that Subaru Canada will not sell to a private shop - it's a "dealer only" part. I'm not interested in going to a dealer to install what appears to be a bad design that will likely crack again. - I'm now at 75K miles and out of warranty (Canada). Will try a muffler repair shop to see if they will replace the bellows with a woven mesh coupling.
 

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Just received a notification from Subaru - "front exhaust assembly may have been installed under a stressful condition" Subaru will contact me when they get the replacement parts in and contact me again to schedule a time to get the repair done...

I've read elsewhere that folks doing the repair had to resort to brute force to get the replacement into place - clearly a quality control failure on the part of SOA. It seems that SOA can't keep up with demand and have opted to sacrifice quality in favor of production.
 
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