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

13

Comments

  • ftdad1ftdad1 Posts: 29
    saying that I am entitled to have the repairs on my car covered. I am saying that it makes good bissness sense and is in my opinion the "right" thing to do. I would not and will not sue anyone over this. The out come will only affect my faith in Subaru as a CO. that stands behind it products. I have recommended their products to many co-workers and friends that has led to at least 3 purchases that I know of. I would not be able to recommend them any longer if they choose not to help me, nor would I buy another product from them. But that admittedly doesn't mean much to a company the size of Subaru. I really expect them to chalk me up as a loss, but I am greatful that they are even looking into my case and Patti really seem to go above and beyond the call of duty.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    The warranty is up, implied warranty doesn't count in this case because the dealer didn't get first crack at the investigation, and there is no breach of warranty.

    My earlier comments stem from the notion that a gasket was used on one side, but not on the other. If the dealer's tech did a poor job back at 30K, then that's a whole new can of worms to open up....
  • Perhaps we ought to talk off line. If you have the case (#522499) then you will know my phone numbers to reach me.

    I hope you can understand my dilemna. I went to the dealership, and after explaining the situation to the Service Manager (AND the sales manager), I was told that they did NOT want to look at the car.

    It had already been towed to my mechanic, who at that time had NOT yet taken the engine out of the car. I was arranging for it to be towed to the Dealer (A1 Towing--you can check), when I got the phone call from the service manager explicitly instructing me not to tow the car. He told me that he had "spoken to SUBARU" and that they were "refusing to provide any assistance because your car is out of warranty". He did not want to listen to any arguements about how it only really had 40Kmiles since his people had replaced a huge chunk of the engine. He was very FIRM. I even asked him if I could use the car as a "trade in" for a new Model so that I could remain a happy customer and say in the Subaru "family". He said that was impossible. I appealed to SUBARU, calling the 800 number a few times, but was told only that Sephy would look into it and get back to me.

    So what could I do? I need the car to get around, so I asked my mechanic to pull the engine and look at it. What would you have done at that point Patti? I think my actions have all been quite reasonable. The Dealer and Subaru have not acted in a customer-oriented manner. They give the impression that they do not care since they sell all of the cars that they make anyway.

    So now, the car is at my mechanic. The bent valves, and the improperly installed seals from the 30K short block replacement are still available for anyone from Subaru to inspect or photograph. He will be ordering parts (from Subaru of course) for a "valve job" which includes new timing belt, water pump, etc.

    If you really want to help then let me know what I can do at this point.

    Larry
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    the guy's using Subaru as the bad guy, and that's not the case.
  • to fight the dealer. In my eyes I bought my car from SUBARU and not the dealer who simply supplied it. I bought into SUBARU advertising (never saw dealer ads), SUBARU claims, SUBARU specifications, and SUBARU reputation. I can not believe that SUBARU does not have the clout to chastise or reward a single dealership. It would be easy enough for them to have made a compromise, split the difference, sold me a new one and ate some of the cost on the trade in, whatever. I suggested them all
  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    and I'll see if we can find a way to help you. I do promise to try to do something. I just don't know what we can do yet. I do understand your frustration and I'll try to get to the bottom of why the dealer responded the way they did. I can see why you needed the car back and took the quickest form of action. We'll try.

    Patti
  • ftdad1ftdad1 Posts: 29
    at the very least give the Better Business Burrow a call and get a case going against the Dealership. It most likely will not, turn out in your favor but there are quite a few people such as myself that check the BBB before buying/shopping at a dealership.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    repair at 30K, which could have lead to the current problems. The dealership worked on your car, not Subaru.
  • i do appreciate the fact that at least subaru is monitoring this board and that you did respond. I will look forward to Barry's call. I hope we can solve the problem together.

    Larry
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Keep in mind that the Better Business Bureau, while they can be helpful, is totally supported by business. It gets no public money and has no legal or prosecution powers whatsoever. So it can't have a "case" against the dealer (who is probably a dues-paying member).

    It is basically a mediator hired by "good" businesses to work on problems created by "bad" businesses. It's not a consumer organization in the strictest sense but a self-policing type of business server. Nonetheless it can sometimes be a good mediator and get a settlement going.
  • ftdad1ftdad1 Posts: 29
    St. Louis, MO, all you have to do is go to the BBB web site and put in the CO. phone# it will tell you the number of complaints made against them in the last 3 years...the number that were "resolved" and the number that were left "disputed". When you look at the stats of the CO. they speak for themselves.

     You are given a "case #" !! We had a contractor that did not finish the work he started on our house. Even though the BBB could not get him to finish the job or refund our money it proved to be benifical when the State Attorney General sued the contractor on the behalf of all the people he ripped off. The state used the BBB to track down all the customers and we all received a settlement after they literally sued the guy out of business.

    So regardless of what you think the BBB motives and loyalties lie it is well worth the phone call to; 1) help warn people who check out the CO. history, 2) a good way to document that a CO. had not fulfilled its end of good business practice. Like our situation, if enough smaller complaints come in and the State Attorney can see and document a problum, they can sue on your behalf. The amount of money in our case was not enough to make it worthwhile to go to court but put them all together and you got something.
  • that I register a complaint at the BBB against the Local Dealer, or SUBARU itself?
  • 1. I visited my Mechanic and observed the engine in pieces. It is surprisingly clean and nice inside---I took pictures if anyone wants to see. No signs of any problems at all, EXCEPT that all 4 exhaust valves are bent so do not seal.

    2. Also saw that one side had been sealed with gaskets and the other side with sealant. It raises questions about just what my local dealer did when he "replaced the short block" (did he really do this? was it performed improperly? did the service manager really contact SUBARU as he stated? Is he worried what SUBARU might find if they did inspect the work that his people did?)

    3. I am encouraged to report that I did get a phone call from someone at SUBARU customer service who has asked me to send him the repair records and who will look into the matter for me.

    I am hoping that this will be eventually resolved and that I will be able to post a "happy ending" on this site.

    Larry
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    Subaru hasn't done anything wrong - your beef is with the dealer.

    Subaru is sticking out a hand for possible help when they have NO requirement to do so, so why on Earth would you consider filing a BBB complaint against Subaru?

    I guess that's a stereotypical consumer response - I see it all the time. "I want something for free, and oh by the way, I'll sue you whether you help me or not".

    Parson my candor, but in my position, I see a strong lack of honor, on the consumer's part, in many cases.
  • kidevo1kidevo1 Posts: 31
    I realize this has already been mentioned...but...thats what EXTENDED Warranties are for.

    You took a chance without one, knew the risks and unfortunately got put into this position.

    Oh well...chalk it down as another hard lesson learned in life.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    If you don't believe in extended warranties or hate the F&I guy, or whatever, you have to deal with whatever that machine of yours throws at you.
  • 1. I visited my Mechanic and observed the engine in pieces. It is surprisingly clean and nice inside---I took pictures if anyone wants to see. No signs of any problems at all, EXCEPT that all 4 exhaust valves are bent so do not seal.

    2. Also saw that one side had been sealed with gaskets and the other side with sealant. It raises questions about just what my local dealer did when he "replaced the short block" (did he really do this? was it performed improperly? did the service manager really contact SUBARU as he stated? Is he worried what SUBARU might find if they did inspect the work that his people did?)

    3. I am encouraged to report that I did get a phone call from someone at SUBARU customer service who has asked me to send him the repair records and who will look into the matter for me.

    I am hoping that this will be eventually resolved and that I will be able to post a "happy ending" on this site.

    Larry
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,077
    ftdad1, I live in the same area, and I also narrowly avoided dealing with a company with numerous unresolved complaints by using the BBB website. I found out that they had some serious complaints, all unresolved, against them.

    I hope that if the BBB IS used in this case, that if the resolution is satisfactory, a call will be made to report the problem as resolved.

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  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I generally recommend extended warranties, in fact I think I'll start referring people that are shopping for one to this board. ;-)

    I'm glad to see Subaru is trying to help, but honestly, I have a Subaru Gold warranty, and if they treated me exactly the same as they treat a customer without one, well...

    ...I want my money back. It's unfair to customer like me. Don't you think?

    If the repairs were done improperly, that's a totally different story. In that case the dealership is liable, not Subaru.

    Any consideration Subaru gives is gravy, IMO.

    -juice
  • ftdad1ftdad1 Posts: 29
    I am saying call the BBB on the dealer for not repairing the vehicle as stated. If they did not rebuild the short block as they told you, that is more than poor workmanship, it is out right fraud! The fact that it was a warranty repair means that they committed fraud against Subaru as well.
  • ftdad1ftdad1 Posts: 29
    Yea....that BBB site is nice to have, I was checking some dealers out on it awhile back and the range was crazy. Some dealers had 2-3 complaints others had 60-70!! And before someone pipes up with "it is relative to # of cars sold" alot of the "smaller" dealers had the higher # of complaints.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    but "negligence" would, and you're right, the manufacturer takes responsibility, in many cases, for dealership-level blunders.
  • idahodougidahodoug Posts: 537
    ftdad,

    **Please** don't take this as anything other than detached, scientific curiosity. How long ago was the last oil change or level check, and the same for the coolant? When an engine self destructs, it's nearly always due to a lack of coolant or lubrication, and when the oil pan is removed, a qualified observer can clearly see the results of either by the residue left behind.

    IdahoDoug
  • rubicon52rubicon52 Posts: 191
    This is not quite a simple case of engine failure at 70k miles - beyond the warranty but less than a Subaru owner expects.

    This is a case of major engine would being done by the dealer at 40K and then a catastrophic engine failure 30k miles later.

    Let's change the intervals a little. The customer has the short block replaced at 40K and goes to pick up the car. Twenty feet down the road from the dealership, the engine blows up. Even without evidence, most would agree that the engine failure is most likely related to the short block replacement.

    Of course, an engine failure 30k later is a little different, but it sounds premature. If it were my car, I would be upset too.
  • ftdad1ftdad1 Posts: 29
    The last oil change was at 76,000. It was in for service 2,500 miles before the incident. The dealership performs a 40..50 ..60? point check on all parts of the car, top off all fluids. the form (witch I forwarded to SOA) shows all points as being in "good" condition. The mechanic also drove the car to check for a wheelbering noise. If someone that works on cars day in and out did not see/hear any problems I do not think I could have ether. And lets say the car suddenly started to burn oil at the rate that would burn it all up in 2,500 miles, why no oil light or any other for that matter? Isn't that what it is here for? to warn you before you cause engine damage?

    If all it took was not checking your oil and coolant or even sub-par maintenance to throw a rod then wouldn't you think it would be alot more common/recognizable?
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,077
    ftdad1, if you don't mind, without using names, have you taken your car to the dealership in West County, Mid County, or on Lindbergh? I'm curious, because I had a quite bad experience with one of the three as well, with a different vehicle.

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  • ftdad1ftdad1 Posts: 29
    I bought the car from a dealer that used to be in north county on hwy 367, they later moved to St. Peters. After they moved I stopped going there, way to far for me to drive for service. I live in the city. The phone book I have dosn't list them as selling Subaru any more? The last service was performed at the dealer on Lindberg. Actually the last time when I ran the Subaru STL dealers on the BBB site, was to pick one for service. I think the one in west county on Manchester was the worst? Is that the one you had trouble with?
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,077
    ftdad1, bingo. I just wanted to make sure you'd heard of the widely-experienced service issues with the one in West Co. There are a lot of great independent mechanics in the city area, though, if you do decide to have repairs done at a non-Subaru shop. Hopefully, if your problem was caused by a previous service visit, the dealership will step up.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    It seems, based on evidence posted, that it is still too premature to presume the dealer's or Subaru's fault.

    For one thing---how did the valves get bent? (4 of 8 only)

    I can think offhand of three possibilities:

    1. Broken timing belt
    2. Slipped timing belt
    3. Hydro-locking cylinders

    If #1, then we'd have to "unpack" the issue of the short block, as a timing belt is not part of a short block. So either the dealer used the old timing belt (which is fine if it looked serviceable, although a bit conservative in that it wouldn't cost too much to put on a new one), or he replaced it with a new one. In either case, the warranty on the belt is over---neither used nor new belt would the belt be warrantied at 70K (old belt) or 30K (new belt). So if your position was that a new timing belt cannot fail at 30K, then your beef is with the manufacturer seems to me, unless you can convince someone that the dealer must warranty everything he sells beyond the manufacturer of the product.

    IF #2, that the belt slipped, screwing up the cam/crank timing, and thus bending only a few valves (one would presume all valves bent with a broken belt), then we would suspect the belt or the tensioner. It is my understanding that a new tensioner is not part of a short block, either--so the tensioner if new or used, has the same issues as a new or used timing belt. The only dealer culpability here would be in assembly, seems to me anyway.

    If #3, hydro-locking, this could be a better case for you, in that it implies head gasket failure, which is certainly part of the short block operation.

    As you can see, determining cause or neglect isn't going to be so easy. Did the dealer install the old tensioner incorrectly? If so, would this take 30K miles to malfunction? Was the head gasket defective, causing hydrolock in two cylinders? What is the evidence available for head gasket failure?

    If the belt broke or slipped, was it a new belt or the old one? How do you find this out? If the old belt, what case do you have? If a new belt with 30K, who is responsible for its breakage?

    So I feel your best course of action is to determine what caused the failure because sooner or later someone is going to ask you to show evidence of that. This is what the whole thing boils down to IMO.

    Right now, it doesn't seem that this has been determined, and therefore, placing the blame seems premature at this point.

    Hope this helps to clarify the issue somewhat for all sides concerned.
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