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Subaru Forester Engine problems



  • I currently own a 2010 subaru forester and going on engine #2, before this it was a 2008 wrx and again went through 2 engines. I am at a road block as subaru canada and the local subaru dealership are of no help. Basically they are trying to find us at fault, the vehicle has all maintenace records and well taken care of. Subaru has us signing waivers and told us be prepared to pay. I cannot understand this as the engine currently only has 10,000 km on it. It is a warranty thing.The vehicle has 38000 km total and on 3rd engine. If anyone else has this problem please let me know. This is horrible customer service. They say they stand behind their product,but leave customers stranded. I have owned a subaru for 2 years and my vehicle has been in the shop for 11 months of this 2 years and is still ongoing. I am 4 weeks with this one and they are refusing to do anything until we pay for removal and diagnostic!!!! Again its warranty!
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    edited December 2011
    You say "… 2010 subaru forester and going on engine #2… The vehicle has 38000 km total and on 3rd engine… the engine currently only has 10,000 km on it…"

    Are you saying that engine #2 is in the car now, with only 6,000 miles since it was installed, and that now the car needs a 3rd engine at 24,000 miles? Three engines needed in 24,000 miles? The dealership is proceeding carefully with such a case.

    Did you buy this car new from the dealership, and did the dealership provide (that is, furnish and install) engine #2?
    Or did you buy this car from a used car dealer after engine #1 failed, engine #2 was not provided by a dealership, and now the dealership and Subaru Canada are being asked to provide engine #3?

    I can understand why they would not agree to pay for engine #3 without doing a diagnostic removal and tear-down to investigate the cause engine #2's failure.
    And it is logical that they would want you to pay for the investigation, in case it indicated that Subaru was not the cause of the failure.

    The dealership and Subaru Canada would want to investigate the circumstances of engine #2. Was it a new Subaru engine, installed by a dealer? Was is properly maintained and driven? What was the internal mechanism of failure?

    If they provided engine #2 and find you were not the cause of its failure, they will reimburse you for its investigation, and provide engine #3.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Something must be going on, could it be bad gas? Or the wrong oil?

    One failure is uncommon, 2 rare, but 4? Unheard of...
  • Easy driving is always a positive thing. Since 1977 I have had about 10 Subarus and driven them well over 1 million miles. I never red line engines. One reason I like manual transmissions is that I can keep the RPM down. Subaru engines are very strong and if you don't drive them at high engine speeds the go a long time. My last 1.8L 1994 went 300,000 miles. It was running just fine but road salt had rusted it out so I had to retire it. I really think in a place with no salty winer roads I would have run that engine 500,000 for sure. I have always found it strange when so many people report engine problems, head gaskets failures etc. I have just never had any trouble.

    I use Mobile 1 10W30 synthetic and only change it at 15,000 files with a filter change every 5000.
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    edited December 2011
    "... One failure is uncommon, 2 rare, but 4? Unheard of..."

    He said... "I currently own a 2010 subaru forester and going on engine #2... The vehicle has 38000 km total and on 3rd engine... before this it was a 2008 wrx and again went through 2 engines."

    It is not clear, but I think there is a Forester which is requiring a 3rd engine, and there was a WRX that required a 2nd engine. Five engines between two cars.
  • Wish we knew more of the details of 5 engine failures on 2 cars. There is a company in Florida which builds complete Subaru engine packages for aircraft. They started with the 2.5 and are now build with the 3.0L 6 cylinder. They have had great success with the Subaru engines. I believe they have sold several thousand by now.

    My only Subaru engine failure was on a 1979 Wagon way back in 1985. I think it was a 1.6L engine. I got the car used with over 100,000 mile on it. I only had it for 6 months when it broke a connecting rod. Talk about loud bangs and vibration. The car did just manage to keep running until I got it off the freeway. Sound like a sledge hammer inside the motor. With a rod flying around the crank a sledge hammer might have been less trouble. It never ran again.

    Most of the miles I have run Subarus have been with the older pushrod motors and they were solid. I am currently running a 2007 2.5 Impreza. While I don't like the car the 2.5L engine is running fine. Our 2011 2.5L Forester with the new motor also runs fine but, it should since it's new. I never had any of the years with he head gasket troubles.

    If you could post some information about the failures it would be very informative.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Five blown engines? What's going in the fuel tank, bleach?
  • You have suspected bad gas, wrong oil, and bleach ;-)
    I suspect things like usage, maintenance and quality of rebuilds.
  • I am on my 2nd blown head gasket and now the engine has blown I don't know what to do either.
  • I have a 2011 manual Turbo built in July that I've had for just over a week. It runs quite roughly, especially between about 2,000 RPM and 3,000 RPM. It's been back to Subaru a couple of times and they can't find the cause. They suspect the fuel the dealership originally put in the car.

    I topped up the tank with 48 litres of 98 octane ( the best we get in Australia) and it's much worse now. I've agreed with Subaru to empty this tank and one more (both filled with Subaru's fuel additive) before bringing it back to them. If the cause is fuel then it should have cleared out by then.

    I have my doubts.......
  • phxmotorphxmotor Posts: 9
    sorry this is 2 years too late...but...your problem is that you need your valves adjusted.
    These are not hydraulic lifters...they are like the Honda Vtech valves... they MUST be adjusted once every 100k miles.
    If you dont the exh valves will get too tight...and at 1st it will rn fine but not idle right.
    Then it will get worse and worse.
    ut; your not starting problem is easy...all you have is a bad connection to the battery. There are 4 places to check. Pos...neg...positive at the starter...and negative at where the cable conncts to the block and at the body. Since the positive at the battery includesa nut & bolt connector at the positive battery must take it apart and clean it.
    Thats it! Clean all 4 points on the battery cables...aand get the valves adjusted. And please please buy a cheap code reader. The nut cases who think they can live without one are truely nuts.
    Oh...about batteries...2x a year you must add distilled the same time clean the terminals...and the other end of each cable too.
    This is basic stuff to keep your car running w/o having to get a mechanic or a shop into your life.
    Basic stuff. Do it!
  • mkunzemkunze Posts: 26
    Please advise me. Bought a new 2011 Forrester 1 year ago. Had oil synthetic oil changed at 7000 miles - dealer recommended 5000 but car was not always available. Had minor fender bender (not my fault) at 15,000 miles, grill replaced. Drove for a few days while claim was under review. Started making a weird sound. Brought to dealer for fender bender work - dealer says sound was because engine had no oil in it. Saw NO oil spots ever underneath car. No oil light ever either - car only has 15,000 on it.

    Dealer repaired fender bender damage and did an oil change and oil fill. Have gone 1700 miles on it, and it is down 1/2 quart of oil already. Car now has about 17,000 miles on it. Dealer says oil consumption is normal? This seem ridiculous - have never had a car go through oil at such low mileage. Please advise and help me.
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    edited May 2012
    So the first oil change was at 7,000 miles. Did you ever check the oil, and if so, how much oil did the engine use during those 7K miles?

    And the second oil change was at 15,000 miles, when dealer found "no oil in it". Up to that point, did you ever check the oil, and if so, how much oil did the engine use during those 8K miles?

    My Forester Owners manual says:
    "... you should check the oil
    level at least at every second fuel fill-up
    time, and change the oil more frequently.
    If the oil consumption rate seems
    abnormally high after the break-in
    period, for example more than 1 quart
    per 1,200 miles... we recommend that you
    contact your SUBARU dealer."

    So your 1/2 quart in 1,700 miles is not abnormal. It is not ideal consumption, but that is because your oil checking and changing habits are not ideal. The engine may have been run so long on low levels of dirty oil that the rings and cylinders don't seal perfectly any more.

    We bought a used car with 20K miles that had a similar oil change history to yours. Until we sold it at 75K, it burned a 1 quart every 3,000 miles, and the remaining oil was black. My Forester was bought new, given oil changes every 3,750 miles, burns no oil, and the oil stays clean looking.

    The oil must be checked now and then because oil consumption is as high as 1 quart per 1,2000 miles is considered normal. If not checked often, the oil will be used up long before a 7- or 8,000-mile change.
  • mkunzemkunze Posts: 26
    edited May 2012
    Thanks for responding.

    First, I was told and that synthetic oil does not have to be changed as often as regular type oil. I was told at the dealership to change it at around 5000mi, and then after every 8000 mi. Synthetic oil changes are almost 3 times more expensive and supposed to last longer. My getting to it at 7000 mi isn't THAT far beyond the specification. However, I did not notice if it was low nor was it noted on the receipt when it was changed at 7000 mi.

    The next oil change around 15000mi is not beyond what I was told about the changes recommended for synthetic oil. I cannot understand why it would have used up 6 quarts of oil in 8000 miles (distance travelled between the 2 oil changes)

    I have NEVER had to add oil to any other car between oil changes (get one every 5000 mi religiously) and none of them ever burned oil before 100,000 mi. (with the exception of a 1971 Pinto).

    Could it possibly be related to synthetic oil? The car came with synthetic... can I switch to regular without hurting the engine?

    Do Subaru's burn more oil than standard American cars (this is my first Subaru) ?
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    I would stay with Subaru's recommendations about using synthetic oil. The engine was designed to use that type of oil. Besides, if you switch to conventional oil, you could void your warranty.

    We've owned 5 Subarus, including 2 turbocharged WRXs; also have a Forester with over 140K. None of them had an oil consumption problem.

  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    edited May 2012
    Changing to conventional oil will not void the warranty. The Owners Manual only says:
    "Synthetic oil of the grade and viscosity
    noted in chapter 12 is the required
    engine oil for optimum engine performance.
    Conventional oil may be used if
    synthetic oil is unavailable."

    But aside from cost, there is no advantage to changing to conventional oil. And conventional may not cost much less than synthetic because it reduces gas mileage and must be changed more often. In addition, long term use of conventional oil in the FB engine that is designed for synthetic oil may eventually cause excessive wear to certain areas where the FB engine differs from the older engine.
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    edited May 2012
    "... The next oil change around 15000mi is not beyond what I was told about the changes recommended for synthetic oil. I cannot understand why it would have used up 6 quarts of oil in 8000 miles (distance travelled between the 2 oil changes) ..."

    Subaru's recommended interval is 7,500 miles in normal driving, or 3,750 miles in severe duty which includes stop and go driving.

    I don't think your engine used 6 quarts between the first oil change at 7,000 miles and the second oil change at 15,000 miles. You quoted the dealer as saying your engine was making the strange sound because it "had no oil in it." That was a manner of speaking. The engine only holds 5 quarts, and must have about 1 quart left to run on, so it actually used 4 quarts, or 1/2 quart per 2,000 miles. That is not so bad.

    The fact that your engine has run another 1,700 miles since then, and has consumed only another 1/2 quart in those miles, means that not much has changed since it almost ran out of oil.

    The oil should be checked often enough to estimate how fast the level is dropping on the dipstick, and topped up before it drops below the dipstick. Once the level has dropped below the dipstick, there is no telling how much is left.

    Some people have not checked the oil until it is below the dipstick, and then read the lack of a level on the clean stick to mean that there is still plenty of clean oil.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    The oil should be checked often enough to estimate how fast the level is dropping on the dipstick, and topped up before it drops below the dipstick.

    I agree. The problem here is not necessarily how long you went between oil changes, rather that the oil level was not being monitored to ensure healthy levels.

    I doubt your car was even four quarts low. Otherwise, you would have noticed more than simply a strange noise. Noises tend to start around two quarts low, and get progressively worse from there....
  • mkunzemkunze Posts: 26
    The only good thing right now is that the car will be around for the summer, and a dealer has agreed that we will monitor it for oil consumption together. I just hope this is a big nothing - oil disappearing scares me.

    I appreciate all the responses - keep any advise or recommendations coming.
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    edited May 2012
    "... Noises tend to start around two quarts low, and get progressively worse from there...."

    That sounds like the engines begins to signal the oil level by making various progressive noises.

    I think noises would be the result of damaging effects of lack of lubrication, would would occur after the fact, and there would be no recovery from the fact, even if oil was then topped up.

    And no noise would occur until the oil pump lost suction and deprived the engine of enough lubrication to cause damage, which would occur at one point in time, rather than anytime between 2 quarts and 1 quart remaining in the engine, which could be a long period of time.

    I think the oil pickup is likely located low enough in the sump to continue to pick up oil well into the last quart.
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