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Subaru Impreza Engine Problems



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Does he have the Blo-tenzas? Some of the OEM tire choices were awful. Same for my 98 Forester.

    Could be piston slap, too.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,741
    I'm not sure which he has as far as tires.

    Believe me, this is NOT piston slap! If I were to start the car you would be able to hear it knocking a block away. This is loud DEEP knocking that came without warning.

    He was driving it about 65-70 MPH when a bunch of wrning lights came on all at once. Then the loud knocking started. He was barely able to get it off the freeway.

    So far, no call from Subaru.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,741
    Ok, The Subaru Dealer called and the engine is toast.

    They confirmed what I already knew. The knocking is from the lower end of the engine and the engine will be replaced under warranty.

    They were quite good about everything and even provided a loaner car for our son to drive. The engine has been ordered and it should be running early next week.

    A fluke?

    It's been using oil but he never let it run low.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think so, very unusual. 9 times out of 10 an engine issue is the gaskets.

    The other 1 time it's the front or rear mail seal! LOL
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,507
    Yeah, probably a fluke. With that few miles, it is very possible that something was not assembled/torqued correctly at the factory.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,741
    It's never leaked oil unlike a Loyale we once owned!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,741
    That's what I'm thinking although you would think it would have blown up before now.

    As I said, it never sounded quite "right" to me but I wrote that off as being part of the boxer design.

    I suppose this why cars come with warranties!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    paisan used to joke about his 80s Subies, "add oil, check the gas".

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,507
    That's exactly right! Honestly, it all depends on the nature of the issue. Oil in the engine dramatically reduces friction (of course), so even a small problem that is ultimately fatal can go a long time before it comes to that due to the extremely low levels of friction. This is especially so if the car is "gently" driven.

    My wife keeps saying, "please be gentle with it - it's a new car." I reply, "Why? I'm not abusing it, so if something's going to break, I want it to happen now - not when it is out of warranty!" :P
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,741
    edited October 2011
    Honestly, this Subaru Dealer could not have been any better!

    They were fast, friendly and quick to provide a loaner they didn't have to provide.

    I taked to the Service Manager and as I expected, it lost a rod bearing which did a lot of damage.

    I asked him how common this was on Subarus and, although he did his best to reassure us it was an odd occurance, he did say that "we do replace a few engines". He alluded to the boxer design and said that "for the most part" the head gasket problems were pretty much solved.

    It's going to take a long time for our son to have his confidence restored. Getting off a dark rainy freeway full of traffic wasn't a fun thing to do.

    Again, top marks to the Subaru Dealer in Bellevue WA!
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,505
    edited October 2011
    Actually, loaners are "standard of care" in my neck of the woods. The only limitation is call in early. In case of a longer repair, a rental car is provided, tab picked up by Subaru.

    A a former (still former?) Honda salesman you may not be aware, but Subaru is a half-notch higher than Honda when it comes to post-sale customer treatment: 3/36 B-B, 5/60 P, 3/36 roadside, mainenance service loaner (need to reserve due to limited supply), car rental for overnight repairs, even their creaks and rattles, wear and tear is 3/36K (including break pads - only problem you would have to wear them to 1 mm, which is kind of hard). And it's all included in the original price - at least with my local Subaru dealer.

    2012 BMW 328i wagon, manual and sports package. No. sold in the US: 1. Probably.

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,692
    edited January 2012
    Now you have me worried!

    In the last six months I just discovered my '09 OBS is going through a lot of oil - 2 quarts in the last OCI, which is 5K miles, and it was low again when I took it for the oil change. So at the last service (the 30K mile service) they did whatever it is they need to do, and now I am supposed to bring it to them the next time it needs oil, which will be in 1000 miles or less going by my experience with it so far.

    Unlike those posting above, I have never had a Subaru that consumed lots of oil, even my '84 never needed extra oil between oil changes, although it did use a little.

    And unlike the Bellevue dealer, my dealer pretty much sucks, so this could go badly. I will say this though, if the engine fails and needs to be replaced, particularly if it strands me somewhere, I won't be keeping the car.

    The only question then would be whether to buy a '12, whose looks and much improved interior and fuel efficiency have my interest piqued, or to walk away from the Subaru brand forever. I like the quirkiness of Subarus, but having a dependable and long-lasting car is more important to me than having a quirky car with a boxer engine.

    Wish me luck! :-/

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The FB series engines have separate fluid lines for the block and heads, so the head gasket problems should be a thing of the past. There are far fewer holes/seals in the gaskets now.

    FB engines go in the new Impreza and 2011+ Forester.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,692
    Too bad my 2009 isn't an FB then. :-(

    My '09 is what, an EJ? But I'm really hoping that just as people said at the time when I bought the thing, the head gasket problem was already behind them well before that year.....

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    EJ25, yes.

    The gasket material itself was much improved, but when they got a chance for a clean sheet design, they kept that in mind.

    I have an 09 since mid 2008, just oil changes so far. Wife loves it, won't even discuss trading up for a new one.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,741
    Well, if your Subaru is using a quart every 2500 miles, that's not such a bad thing and it's probably well within what Subaru considers to be acceptable.

    Even a quart every 1000 miles is probably within specs I would think.

    Any car can blow an engine and I wouldn't write off Subaru because of some oddball occurance.

    Still, our son's Impreza has fallen short of what he expected.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,692
    I'm sure it's well within what every automaker considers acceptable, but it's not what I consider acceptable. ;-)

    Never had a Toyota do that, never had any of my other Subarus do that. But I have driven about 1500 miles and so far it only seems to be down less than half a quart, so that's something.

    Thing is, if it's a quart every 3000 miles now, what will it be when the car passes 100K miles and is well out of warranty? I always keep cars longer than that....

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,741
    All cars use **some** oil.

    I think you are worrying for nothing. It's very possible for one thing that they didn't get it totally full when the oil was changed.

    A quart every 3000 miles is nothing, really and there is no reason to think the consumption will increase with miles.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,507
    While I agree that it is not "catastrophic" consumption at this point, I am right there with you in thinking that it is worthy of concern. My '10 Forester consumes about a half-quart over 15,000 miles. While that is far better than I ever expected, if it were going through a quart every 3,000 miles, then I would be concerned.

    I just checked it this morning, with about 8,000 miles since the last oil change, and it was sitting just a tiny bit under full.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,741
    Man, how often you you change your oil??

    I would NEVER let any of my cars go that far!

    As I said, internal combustion engines HAVE to use some oil. A quart every 3000 miles would be of zero concern to me. That would be totally within normal ranges.

    Also, people tend to check their oil before it has a chance to drain back into the pan, they check it on uneven surfaces and, again, the people changing the oil don't always get it up to the full line.

    A lot more worse things to worry about, I would think...
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,507
    edited February 2012
    I change mine annually on July 4 weekend, so it generally runs 13,000 - 15,000 miles. I get good use out of the oil that way, and it is still well within operational specs. I could probably run another 5-10K miles, but that's a great weekend to do it, easy to remember, and it ensures I won't need to be lying on a snow pack to do the work. ;)
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,741
    Wow...I would NEVER let my oil go that far.

    I've seen a lot of sludged up engines given such treatment.

    Seriously, oil changes aren't expensive compared to engines!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,507
    I appreciate your concern. I do oil analyses to verify the integrity along with using high-quality oil.

    All is well.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,741
    I respect that. You go ahead with your analyses.

    I'll keep using my high quality oil and stick with my 5000 mile intervals.

    I just feel better that way but that's me.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,692
    All cars use **some** oil.

    My Echo I just gave to a friend, with 164,000 miles, doesn't use ANY oil between oil changes. Neither did any of the Toyotas I had before it. Dipstick still at the full mark as they were going in for the oil change.

    The last two Subarus I hung onto, one to 120K miles or so and the other up to the 150K-mile mark, used no oil during my 5000-mile OCI, and I know because I always check just before it goes in for the oil change to see how much it is using.

    Now every older Honda I have had has indeed gone through enough oil to need extra quarts between oil changes, and I like old Hondas but I just don't need the hassle.

    I consider it a bad sign for a car with only 31K miles to be using oil, if that is indeed what mine is doing. Maybe a sign of piston rings not seating properly. And like I said, not typical AT ALL of past experiences I have had with Soob. And I do check the oil level when I get home from the oil change too, because I don't really trust service departments in general and my local Subaru dealer in particular. This one has been at the top of the dipstick right after the oil change, so that is not the reason for the low oil.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,741
    I'm not going to keep arguing but it's impossible for a car to not use a bit of oil. Unburned gas will help keep the level up on your dipstick.

    Our son's 2009 Impreza started using a lot of oil. About a quart every 500 miles. Subaru was having him bring it in for an "oil consumption test" when the engine blew at 30,000.

    "I just don't need the hassle"

    OK, if adding a quart of oil every 3000 miles or so is a "hassle" then I do understand.

    For me, that wouldn't be a big deal.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,692
    Our son's 2009 Impreza started using a lot of oil. About a quart every 500 miles. Subaru was having him bring it in for an "oil consumption test" when the engine blew at 30,000.

    And you're telling me I have nothing to worry about with my '09 Impreza??!! ;-)

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,741
    Hopefully not.

    Our son't Impreza spun a bearing or two which really should have been a seperate issue than using oil.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    They got a bad batch of bearings at one point, there was even a recall IIRC, but it was for turbos engines. Maybe he somehow got some of those.

    Reliability on the turbos affected was average for the first years, but improved per CR, so seems like the fix did work for the most part.
  • I ma interested in Imprezas old models before 2012 (4 door or 5 door) and I will probably go with a CPO.
    I went here:

    Never bought a CPO before and so confused by warranty issues, so here are my questions:

    If the car has some original warranty left, is that going to be transferred to me?

    Where should I look for terms conditions of 6year/100,000 mile Powertrain plan? How do I know what's covered/not covered ?

    If I am not satisfied with 6year/100,000 mile Powertrain plan, I should buy Added Security Extended Service Contracts (either Classic or Gold Plus). Correct ?

    Thanks Subaru owners !
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