My Strangest Subaru Engine Failure Story...
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This is a discussion on My Strangest Subaru Engine Failure Story... within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; I wanted to see if anyone has either had this happen to them, heard of it happening to anyone else, ...

  1. #1
    Wrinklechops

    My Strangest Subaru Engine Failure Story...

    I wanted to see if anyone has either had this happen to them, heard of it happening to anyone else, or has any suggestions.

    This is the story of the little engine could, and did...throw a rod 3 times.

    Me being a dumbass, I went a few hundred over my oil change... I was on the highway and my engine blew. Well, started rattling really bad. Dealer said I threw a rod. They asked me before I even gave them the keys "do you have a bigger turbo? turbo-back-exhaust? blow off valve?" luckily, I guess, I said "no, no, and no". So they fixed it.

    Then I went to pick it up, on a Friday night...turned in my rental car... drove off in my fixed up WRX and got about 5-10 miles down the road and my engine blew AGAIN. Threw a rod again, they said. So they fixed it. This was all covered under Subaru's "good-will" repair, whatever that means.

    So I pick up my car about a week later. Drove it home (120miles away) and nothing broken yet. "Yes!" I'm thinking.

    About one week later, I'm taking a friend home and it blows again, right by their house. Engine won't even turn over it's screwed up so bad. Threw a rod, again, they said. (And by now for those of you who are asking if I'm a complete moron and don't change/check my oil or anything: yes, I do and did. And both times it blew the oil level was full and clean/brand new looking oil as they had just repaired it at the dealer...)

    So at this point, I'm thinking they have horrible mechanics, and they're thinking I drove the thing like a bat out of hell. So I demanded a new engine or something, especially since I was under warranty still. They finally decided on a new short/small block, but not without checking the ECU to see if it was tuned, they said. That would of course screw everything up, eh?

    Since I was the 2nd owner of this WRX, I called COBB to ask if say, the person who had this car before me had the AP and then uninstalled it, would the dealer be able to see? COBB said no. I asked the dealer this too though, about what would happen if the person before me had it tuned... and he said that they would be able to determine WHEN it was tuned and if it was tuned before I bought the car, it wouldn't be my fault. Weird? But I drove that thing for a year and put nearly 30,000 miles on it after I bought it, so you'd think if the tune was the problem, it would've gone bad a long time ago.

    So now it's been a few months, and no engine blowups... it's still a really big mystery to me and the Subaru dealer what happened... the service manager said "in my 30 years of working on cars I've never seen this. Neither has my parts manager or my top mechanic. We have the #2 rated mechanic in the country working on your car too, and he doesn't know what happened either"

    ________

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  3. #2
    The Default One SeattleJeremy's Avatar
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    So in all three instances did the rod on the same cylinder fail?
    When they fixed it the first two times did they just replace the rod/piston, and not do any other work on it?

    Sounds like there was actually something mechanically wrong with the engine, the ECU would not have caused this.

  4. #3
    Wrinklechops
    Yes, rod #3 failed all three times apparently. Totally destroyed the insides...metal shavings everywhere they said. I never even took the damn thing past 4000rpms after each time they rebuilt it.

    I don't think this relates to me, but I found this article about whether or not our EJ205's can handle abuse:

    Subaru WRX EJ20 Engine Build - Turbo Magazine


    They said on every engine failure they encountered, it all happened to be on the #3 rod or cylinder, etc...
    Last edited by Wrinklechops; 03-11-2009 at 11:59 PM.

  5. #4
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    Cyl. 4 usually takes the brunt of the heat from what I remember.

    Obviously them "fixing" it didnt fix it. You'd have to know what exactly they replaced on the motor to figure out what happened. Cleaning the block and tossing in new rods didnt mean they fixed whatever core issue the car was having.
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  6. #5
    Registered User DubleUaReX's Avatar
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    My 05 Rex threw a rod as well, about 35k miles into it. The dealership asked me all the same questions, but the car had never been modified at all. They immediately replaced the short block and everything turned out great, never had another problem with it. It sounds like they should have just replaced the short block from the beginning.

  7. #6
    Registered User jefinerng's Avatar
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    I would guess that when the rod went the first time, there was damage done to the crank (or in the #3 Zone like maybe a clogged oil channel?) that the tech either didn't see, or didn't look for, and that's why #3 kept dying until they put a new block in...

  8. #7
    Wrinklechops
    Quote Originally Posted by 302@12psi View Post
    Cyl. 4 usually takes the brunt of the heat from what I remember.

    Obviously them "fixing" it didnt fix it. You'd have to know what exactly they replaced on the motor to figure out what happened. Cleaning the block and tossing in new rods didnt mean they fixed whatever core issue the car was having.
    Exactly...that's why after the 3rd engine failure I demanded a new engine...so they put in a new small/short block and I haven't had any problems yet *fingers crossed*

  9. #8
    Wrinklechops
    You're right, the new block fixed everything...which leads me to believe they have some incompetent mechanics or something.

    The service manager said "oh well ya know I've never seen this in all my 30 years of working on cars blah blah blah"

  10. #9
    Registered User WRCfan's Avatar
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    Didn't know they rated their techs... I love how places come up with these tall tales to give you confidence in their techs abilities and to deflect culpability. Do they have like auto tech tournaments or something? Your tech probably had a bye in the first round, lol. #2 tech in the country...egads. If the #2 is based on productivity, he's the second to LAST guy I'd want working on my car.
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  11. #10
    Wrinklechops
    Quote Originally Posted by WRCfan View Post
    Didn't know they rated their techs... I love how places come up with these tall tales to give you confidence in their techs abilities and to deflect culpability. Do they have like auto tech tournaments or something? Your tech probably had a bye in the first round, lol. #2 tech in the country...egads. If the #2 is based on productivity, he's the second to LAST guy I'd want working on my car.
    LMAO! man that is so funny! I know right? They'll tell you any fairy tales to give you confidence hahaha I thought about saying "yea? well where's the #1 tech? I'd rather have him work on my car" lol auto tech tournaments hahaha man OK i'm sorry I can't stop laughing I am gonna save this

  12. #11
    Registered User jefinerng's Avatar
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    Now THAT would have been funny! I'm also going to guess that you went to Flatirons. They're pretty proud of themselves there...

  13. #12
    Wrinklechops
    Quote Originally Posted by jefinerng View Post
    Now THAT would have been funny! I'm also going to guess that you went to Flatirons. They're pretty proud of themselves there...
    Haha no I went to GO SUBARU WEST in Golden. Know the place? They were at least better than MIKE SHAW SUBARU up in Thornton where I used to go... man I have horror stories at Subaru dealerships lol

  14. #13
    Registered User jefinerng's Avatar
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    I stopped in there once with a quick question on my way back up the canyon and they weren't too helpful. You know, "Well if you bring it in, we can take a look..." Uh-huh.

    If I need to take my car in (and believe me when I say it had better be serious!) I go to SuperRupair in Boulder. Totally worth the drive.

  15. #14
    Wrinklechops
    Quote Originally Posted by jefinerng View Post
    I stopped in there once with a quick question on my way back up the canyon and they weren't too helpful. You know, "Well if you bring it in, we can take a look..." Uh-huh.

    If I need to take my car in (and believe me when I say it had better be serious!) I go to SuperRupair in Boulder. Totally worth the drive.
    Yea man they're just complete corporate by-the-books-type at GSW it seems like. Oh well.

    I've heard about SuperRubair... do they do engine work and stuff too? Warranty work? Engine rebuilds? lol i'll have to call them

  16. #15
    Registered User jefinerng's Avatar
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    They don't do warranty work, unfortunately. But they have an awesome tune shop! And they have OEM parts for less than the dealer, not to mention the used parts they get.
    The high performance parts that they usually have sitting in the case when you walk in the door is enough to make you drool.

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