2015 Legacy - Water / Snow Entering Top of Engine bay & burning smell

15legacy15legacy Posts: 6
edited March 2015 in Subaru
Hi fellow 2015 Legacy owners. Has anyone else discovered this design / safety / mechanical defect yet?

I live in the Northeast USA; owned my 2015 Legacy for about 3 months, and have been smelling the engine burning since I purchased.

At first, the dealer said the smell was caused by the rustproofing sprayed on the exhaust, however during a snow storm I discovered snow & water entering the top of my engine bay, drenching / flooding over electrical & mechanical components AND causing the toxic burning smell from the burn off of deicing chemicals / salts used on road surfaces entering the engine bay due to a lack of weather stripping.

My dealer inspected my car last week and confirmed the lack of installed weather stripping and water entering the engine bay as an issue. They confirmed all 2015 Legacys are designed this way. They submitted a EQMR (electronic quality monitoring report) to Subaru of America; no response yet. (The dealer sends the EQMR to Subaru when they encounter an issue that they cannot fix)

I am sharing this video to alert all 2015 Legacy owners to this issue. This is a serious safety & mechanical defect. Check your engines; conduct your own water/snow tests and share results.

Contact Subaru of America, your dealer and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Be safe!


  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,422
    edited March 2015
    Engine compartments aren't sealed and have never been sealed in any regular automobile. There has to be a path for airflow through the AC condenser and the radiator for cooling the engine which is where the majority of the mist and of course salt from the roads is passing through. On top of that your test using the pressure washer doesn't reflect what is really going on while you are driving. Large portions of road spray would come from the wheels and in spite of all of the shielding that is there, some spray will make it through and circulate in a mist form and leave deposits behind.
  • 15legacy15legacy Posts: 6
    Do you own a 2015 Subaru Legacy?

    Subaru designed the 2015 Legacy to allow air intake through the front grill which has a new active grill shutter system, which as part of the air intake system, remains closed until the engine is warm during winter and similarly opens during summer to cool off the engine. Snow / Water is not entering the engine through the grill and/or shutters.

    The very point of this test is to show the vehicle standing still. Imagine driving at any speed during a snow / rain storm how much more snow/water drenches the engine and mechanical components. This is where Subaru has failed to minimize and protect the gaps above the headlights and the sides & rear of the hood like they did on previous Legacy models. This is a brand-new design clearly not tested. And again, the dealer confirms this is an issue.

    Also, I never stated nor implied the engine bay should be hermetically sealed; that is just, well, silly.


    If owners scan through the manual there are numerous other warnings and cautions about getting the engine wet.
    Yet Subaru neglected to install weather stripping to prevent the top of the engine bay form getting wet. #Failure.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,422
    edited March 2015
    Rule#1 You can't fix what isn't broken.
    Rule #2 If you try to fix something that isn't broken you WILL FAIL.
    Rule #3 Once you have tried and failed to fix something that isn't broken you will have unfortunately confirmed to the customer not only that the car is in fact broken when it isn't, but on top of that you are not capable of fixing it because_____________________ (fill in the blank as required)

    Pages 10-2 and 10-3 mean don't drive through a flooded area, they are not referring to splash or misting experienced while driving, or washing your car. When you aimed the washer nozzle from the side you created water velocity and direction that the car will not be subjected to under any normal circumstances. On top of that, some of the air that has passed thorough the radiator and condenser exits the engine compartment by the very gap that you forced water in through, it really is designed that way.

    While the odor you described in the beginning of your original post could be indicating an issue, the lack of seals at the sides of the hood isn't it. Yes cars get to be a mess under-hood from road de-icing or anti-slip efforts from the highway department and the stuff gets everywhere. That part is in fact a normal part of driving in the rust belt. If someone at the dealer has assisted you in your belief that car is in fact defective they are going to get to learn rule #3 the hard way.
  • 15legacy15legacy Posts: 6
    edited March 2015
    1. It is apparently you do not own a 2015 Subaru Legacy nor are you a qualified Subaru mechanic.
    2. My Subaru dealer's head mechanic of 25 years, confirmed this is an issue and thereby submitted the EQMR directly to Subaru. They not only water tested themselves but know the design of past Legacy's and this 2015 is missing weather stripping; again a new design clearly not quality tested.
    3. Snow / water should never enter the engine above the gaps in the headlights and the sides of the hood along the body of the car nor the rear.
    4. The radiator sits behind the grill and as I've repeated several times, the gill nor the radiator are the issue. Snow / Water is not entering the engine bay from the grill.
    5. Your interpretation of pages 10-2 and 10-3 is quite skewed since the "mechanics" referenced are 'atop the engine' not down below near the road. Again, you're clearly unfamiliar with a 2015 Subaru Legacy.
    6. The front of the car is subjected to far greater wind shear or water velocity as you called it during driving conditions than sitting in a car wash bay; that's an obvious fact. Driving at highway speeds of 65-80MPH in any climate condition surpasses a still water test.

  • 15legacy15legacy Posts: 6
    Updated with correct link

  • @15legacy Please keep us up to date with this very alarming matter. I was just about to pull the trigger on a 2016 3.6R, but until I learn how Subaru plans to deal with this problem, everything is on hold 

    P.S. I've taken the liberty linking to your video on twitter to draw attention to this issue; I hope Subaru pays attention.
  • 15legacy15legacy Posts: 6
    edited March 2015
    Thank you for your response and for sharing the video. Subaru of America has not yet responded to my dealers EQMR inquiry submitted on 3/11/15 nor has my Subaru case manager responded to me; very disappointing. I do hope Subaru acknowledges their safety and mechanical design flaw by issuing a TSB and/or recall to install weather stripping in the engine bay.

    Speaking of TSBs, I am sharing additional defects & fixes Subaru has already identified and communicated for the 2015 Legacy. Sadly, there are too many 2015 Legacy TSBs to list here but you can review them all directly on Subaru's own Tech Site http://techinfo.subaru.com/search/index.html

    Sharing the top 3 TSB issues:

    1) TSBs (12-176-14 & 12-177-14) Defective door/window moldings on all doors: Subaru installed defective weather strip moldings which at speeds above 40mph cause the moldings to 'flatten' resulting in tremendous wind rushing noise/whistling. Triangle windows on front doors also had to be replaced.
    2) TSB 07-89-15 - Engine will not crank and display / infotainment system issues: Defective relays not working in cold temps; dealer had to replace relays.
    3) TSB 09-60-15 - Fuel door frozen shut in cold weather – design defect: Inner pin was made too long; dealer had to shorten pin.
  • I finally opened the hood on my 2015 Legacy today after 1,000 miles, snow, ice, rain, etc.. There was minimal water spotting on the engine, no corrosion, the battery is up high..but had spotting on it. My Hondas were much worse for spotting; but the battery was dry.
    I remember the older American cars were bad for engine dirt. After a blowing, cold snow storm, my '69 Chevy quit running because so much fine snow blew over the V-8. The snow melted and shorted the distributor wires.
    Todays cars are better; but, I'll "look after" this on my Legacy. And I'll mention the "wet battery" to my dealer. Thanks for the info.
  • 15legacy15legacy Posts: 6
    Thanks for sharing. Have you noticed the burnt smell too? My area was slammed with snow from Dec to March...driving in constant snow and more mileage racked up here so more impact. No rain yet...
    And yes, I too recall the older American cars...rust buckets! Always fun with those carbs.
    I owned a Honda for five years prior to this one. It had weather stripping under the hood and on the engine bay; always dry. My Subaru dealer also told me that new cars delivered to them during snow storms came off the carrier full of snow in the engine...not right.
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