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Subaru Outback: Catastrophic Engine Failure at 70K Miles---Need Advice!

24

Comments

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I don't see any fault here on Subaru's part. The case, although most unfortunate, is one of the warranty being long over. That's it, game over. They said they'd stand behind it for this many miles, and they did.

    If Subaru engines were blowing up left and right, well, then for goodwill the company might do something. Mazda did this very thing, replacing engines out of warranty. But they were not legally compelled to do so, it was a good will gesture based on saving their corporate butt. Ditto the infamous Lexus sludge issue.

    I agree with zeus on this one, if you went to court you'd lose.

    Of course, no harm is throwing yourself on Subaru's mercy.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    sending in an engineer to tear down a motor on a 5/6 year old car.

    They have all the info they need already.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I'd be curious to examine the motor but sometimes the destruction is so violent it's rather hard to tell what caused what.
  • ftdad1ftdad1 Posts: 29
    The written warranty on products is not the "end of story". There are many products, if not all, that we buy and expect they are going to last WELL beyond that. Lets say you went out and bought a brand new TV for several thousand dollars. A really nice one from a company known for there quality. It comes with the standard 12 month warranty and 16 months later it needs a repair equal to the value. you go back to the dealer who told you how this tv was twice as good as any other and he says "That is unfortunate but it is not the manufactures fault, out of warranty end of story" I really do not think you would be so matter of fact about your own loss. Can you imagine washing machines, refrigerators, telephones, and even houses only lasting as long as the warranty !!! Can you really imagine a subdivision that is ten years old(witch would be a good warranty on a new home) and some of the houses are no longer able to be lived in. I guess this would be a acceptable because it is out of warranty?

    I guess a big part of this is about empathy some people think they will act or feel a certain way in a given situation, but you never know until you are facing it head on. I was a Police Officer for several years and when I pulled people over for a traffic violation I was very likely to give people warnings. I did this because I could put myself in their place, they were thinking Oh crap I did not see that light change, I did not see a stop sign, I will have to go to court, pay a fine, my insurance rates are going to go up, what my spouse say....ect. Alot of Officers I worked with could care less, if they pulled you over you were going to get a ticket PERIOD! Who would you rather be pulled over buy me or them? What I am trying to say is their is more to things than black and white(no pun intended). The Officers I worked with saw it as they committed the violation "end of story". Sound familiar?

    The extended warranty is a mute point here. What we are talking about is how long you expect/are told, that some thing will last.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    and the legal aspect of the warranty are rwo entirely different items -- especially in court.

    Bob
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    By no means, did I indicate that the legal attitude of the warranty holder is right, just or fair. But that's the way the law is applied - as the contract reads.

    Of course an engine, with regular maintenance should last quite a while. With a written warranty, which is a contract, there are limitations, like it or not.
  • ftdad1ftdad1 Posts: 29
    then when the 1/1000 happens why not do what is right or just not what is legal or letter of the law.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    I have a 2003 PT Cruiser GT. In 7 months, it's had 8 service visits, for engine management system problems, for a total of 48 down days. It was towed 3 times because it stalled on the freeway, at 60 mph, in traffic.

    DaimlerChrysler offered me $1,000 - AFTER I filed suit against them.

    Please don't think that I don't understand what you're saying - it just doesn't work that way.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    'morally right' has little to do with the harsh realities of how contracts are written or enforced.

    Bob
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
  • ftdad1ftdad1 Posts: 29
    to speak for Larry, but he said he was/would not go to court and nether would I. I think both of us know that going to court for a $7,000 car is foolish. But once again.....do you want others to deal with you with empathy or buy the letter of the law???
  • ftdad1ftdad1 Posts: 29
    people, like the guys I worked with, can not find it in themselves to be empathic. Good luck on your next traffic stop!..LOL
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    back (which is what the law states in my case) or offer a large cash settlement so I could trade out of it without getting killed, but neither is happening without waiting until February for the arbitration, being deposed once or twice in the meantime, then winning at arb, having DCC appeal the decision, then waiting 6 more months to go to trial.
  • ftdad1ftdad1 Posts: 29
    I feel for you, I hope you get every thing you deserve. I know people who are on there third tranny on a p/t cruser! I would never say, hey its a car stuff breaks you should have bought a motor club plan to cover the cost of towing that cripple.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    because you feel picked on by the big car company, you're not alone.

    I've been involved in over 3,000 lemon law and breach of warranty cases in a little over 2 years - I shake my head at what the manufacturer's do to get out of complying with the law.

    If they complied, though, I wouldn't have a great paying job, and the 15 attorneys and 25 staff members would have to find other work.
  • So I had MY mechanic pull the engine and take it apart for Diagnosis. What he found is interesting and somewhat beyond my level of understanding. He found that all of the valves were bent! How does this happen?---no idea.
     
    He also observed a peculiarity: one side of the engine had gaskets and the other side had silicone seal. He found this strange as if, when they "replaced the short block" at 30K miles, they did not do a full job--only one cylinder??
     
     
    His advice is to do a "valve job" which is considerable labor and parts (needs new timing belt, water pump, etc)
     
    So thats the status.
  • ftdad1ftdad1 Posts: 29
    I guess you got a P/T Loser and I got a Subaru Outofluck?!?!?! HEHEHEHEHE
  • ftdad1ftdad1 Posts: 29
    sounds a little better than having a hole in the block. You have a 2.5L right?
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    sounds like teh dealership didn't do a very good job on your engine at 30K. I would cordially invite the service manager to look at the teardown before you take photos and file suit against the dealer in small claims court.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    I guess some people, like the guys I worked with, can not find it in themselves to be empathic. Good luck on your next traffic stop!..LOL

    Look, we feel empathy, and I'd be upset too, if it happened to me; but that's not the point. You're simply letting your emotions cloud your thinking. Wishing things were different won't solve your problem.

    Bob
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I'm still rather perplexed why anyone would think a company actually owes you anything when you are out of warranty on time AND on miles. This is the contract between consumer and manufacturer, and while maybe not 100% ironclad in every conceivable case, if you think it's easy to bust a written warranty---well, I would respectfully disagree.

    Sure, if a dealer wants to "give" you something, great (and sometimes GOOD BUSINESS!). But legally, you have a very tough nut to crack here.

    It's a cruel world, and few are crueler than the automobile business.

    AS to the case at hand, sounds like you busted the timing belt, doesn't it?

    Not exactly GREAT news, but better news than before.
  • yes a 4 cylinder.

    zues: were you joking about the photos? i do not think i will be back to the dealer---ever. what do you think they might have done wrong? really, i dont know this stuff very well.

    finally, as to why someone might cover you beyond a warranty: let us say that you had a house built, and there of course is NO warranty. let us say that after 3 years you find that the contracter built the foundation with concrete that was flawed, or the wrong density, or contained large pockets of air, and that the house was at risk. Now, there is NO warranty, but wouldnt you feel you could go after the contractor or the sub because there is an "implied warranty" or assurance that good materials were used?
  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    Sorry folks - but from my perspective - we want to try to help when we can. However, we are not obligated according to the terms of the warranty. Mr. Shiftright is correct. The warranty is not implied - it's specific. The terms are clear. When we get involved, we need to find reasons to try to help when someone has not opted to purchase and extended service agreement. Is it fair to the folks that did purchase one for us to give the same benefit of coverage?

    When there is a failure - if a dealer is not involved, there's not a lot we can do. Once a dealer is involved, we'll try to find the reason for the failure and see if there is something we can do to help. It may not be 100% (back to the extended service agreement issue), but we will try to do something - unless it is WAY out of warranty and the failure is something that could have been prevented by proper maintenance.

    I will say that it is less compelling to do something when someone is nasty or approaches the subject as an entitlement. We're trying. Work with us please?

    Patti
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    but let's for the sake of argument, you're right...

    Again, if it's out of warranty, or there was never any warranty, you're out of luck. Is it fair? Not if you're the one who is stuck with the bill, but what are your choices? The best you can hope for is that you have a sympathetic contractor.

    Bob
  • Have you actually read through my initial posts? I have been as nice and as cooperative as possible. True, i did not continue to use the dealer service at 30K because they were not helpful. They changed the "short block" due to my complaints of piston noise---and the noise remained. I suppose at that time (since the engine was still under warranty) I should have demanded a total enginereplacement with a new 5 year warranty.

    Please let us not play "blame the victim". I went to a highly reputable mechanic and documented the service record. I followed all SUBARU recommendations. Now, it seems that the Dealer here in Port Jefferson did not install the short block properly. What would lead to these bent valves, and the use of sealant rather than gaskets on the installation? I believe that they did not want to take my engine apart because they were worried tha what they would find would implicate them! Clearly my original engine was a "lemon" and the Dealer did not address it in an honest and straight forward manner.

    And this was not "WAY out of warranty". 70k miles and 5 years is pretty marginal. Especially since a good chunk of the engine had only 40K!.

    And is SUBARU "working with" me? I called the SUBARU3 number and got a case number assigned. "Sephy" was supposed to call me back but she never did. I was told by the service manager at the Dealer that he "spoke to SUBARU" and that they refused assistance. But did he really? I asked Sephy to check but once again, no return phone call.
  • sgrd0qsgrd0q Posts: 398
    The product's merchantability or its fitness for a particular purpose is ALWAYS implied. Even if there is a clause in the contract that specifically excludes this, the clause is not enforceable in most circumstances. The problem is you need to go to court and may very well end up spending a lot of money and time and lose at the end.

    Your best bet is to find a dealer who is willing to take a look at your car and involve Subaru. Subaru may be able to help to a degree. But the way things stand right now you can't really blame Subaru - they haven't had a chance to even look at your car.
  • sgrd0qsgrd0q Posts: 398
    Dealer that he "spoke to SUBARU" and that they refused assistance.

    But your car was not even with the dealer! Don't listen to the manager - find another dealer, if necessary, check your car in, involve the regional rep, and then see if Subaru can help.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I think that it is far too facile to merely say "sue them" or "stand up for your rights!".

    What rights? Sue whom? For what exactly?

    The issues of "implied warranty" are complex and fraught with peril. For one thing, implied warranties are conducted under state and not Federal law (this is my understanding), so each state may have different requirements.

    Secondly, the home owner analogy may not be at all suitable here as the implied warranty for homes relates to "habitability" and to "workmanlike standards" that are within the industry norm for houses.

    That latter standard seems an unrealistic standard contradicted every day by engine catastrophes from all types of automakers.

    Engines fall apart all the time at the 77K mark for various (and often completely unknowable) reasons. There are things like oil starvation from undetected oil leak, metal fatigue (that piston has gone up and down a lotta times in 77K miles), owner negligence, owner abuse, repair shop negligence, road hazard (sucking water from a deep puddle into the intake), undetected head gasket failure (coolant destroys the bearings).I'm sure there are ten more good reasons, too.

    The reason I suggested an engine tear down is that it might reveal something that CAN be used as leverage not with Subaru but with the dealer who performed the previous warranty repairs on the engine. But even there---what repair shop could possibly warranty repairs for such a long period of time? The most I ever heard of was one year on an engine rebuild.

    Anyway, good luck with this whatever you choose to do.
  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    Due to other circumstances, she will be out of the office for about a month. Your case has been assigned to another Rep. for follow-up. You should hear from him tomorrow.

    That being said, if it isn't at the dealer, we cannot help. It's your choice, but you can feel confident if it does go into this dealer or any other that you choose. We will be involved to make sure it is handled appropriately. We will check to see if it is related to the previous repair or if it is something else.

    Once again - it is your choice. The Rep. that contacts you will request the service history on the vehicle. That may help us help you, but it is your call.

    I'm sorry for our poor response and I promise to make sure everything is reviewed as a priority at this point.

    Patti
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Thanks Patti for the intervention. I hope the owner will keep us posted on what decisions they made and how things turn out.
This discussion has been closed.