'08 WRX throws missfire code, $2900 later Subaru wants ANOTHER $4500...
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This is a discussion on '08 WRX throws missfire code, 00 later Subaru wants ANOTHER 00... within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; *UPDATED BELOW with pictures of the offending heads* I hope it's not poor form here to post a major repair ...

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    Question '08 WRX throws missfire code, $2900 later Subaru wants ANOTHER $4500...

    *UPDATED BELOW with pictures of the offending heads*

    I hope it's not poor form here to post a major repair issue as a first post. If so, just yell at me and I'll be on my way.

    Anyway, here's a summary of what I'm dealing with. I have a 2008 WRX with ~ 85,000 miles on it and no major issues to this point. In early November, the check engine light came on, along with the traction control light, and a blinking cruise control light (I'm told this means the car went into "limp mode"). I took it in to the dealer nearby for an oil change that was due anyway, and to investigate the CEL. They said the code was a missfire in cylinder 1, but tried a few things and claimed it was a non-issue. A week later, I left town for three weeks. After I got back, the CEL came back on within about a week. During the few days that I drove it with the CEL on, I noticed it idling rough a couple times. I took it back to the same dealership, and this time they confirmed that it is on occasional missfire in cylinder 1, and tried several quick fixes like swapping around coil packs, but the issue remained. At that point (this past Monday, the 17th) they said they needed to do a tear down and test the heads to find the issue. I was in a bit of a logistical bind at that point, and made the (probably incorrect) decision to let them do so, for the quoted price of $2900.

    They have now taken all that **** apart, and say that both heads need to be replaced, along with all the valves and a whole mess of other things, for $4500 on top of the $2900 I already owe them just for the tear-down.

    The main issue is apparently that the valve seats are burned out, but they didn't detail what's wrong with the heads. They also claim the clutch is in "very bad" shape, but I find that hard to believe, as I've never had it slip or feel unusual. It's certainly possible, but I've driven cars with a worn clutch, and this has never felt anywhere close to that. Regardless, the clutch isn't the major cost in all this as you can see below. I did have this same dealer do the most recent major service (was a late 60k) back in October 2011, and none of these issues came up then.

    Posted below is the tech write up and invoice they sent me for the work they'd like to do. I made an attempt to anonymize it since I'm not sure it's appropriate to call out the dealer here just yet. I realize it's tough to judge what's needed without seeing the car, but this is a ****load of cash they want.

    An additional complication is that the independent mechanics that I trust are located ~100 miles away from where the car currently sits, engine half-dissembled. I don't know of any reputable places near by that would be within towing distance. And they are going to want another $512 for gaskets and oil to put the car back together if I decide to drive it to another shop far away. So if the further shop is a significantly better deal, it may be worth getting it towed to save on that fee and save on labor at the second shop.

    So I guess the main question I have is this, is it reasonable that a missfire in cylinder 1 could require replacing:
    BOTH L & R heads
    ALL intake and exhaust valves
    Flywheel
    etc.





    Oh yeah, and apparently there's another rats nest somewhere down there. I had a problem with rats in the engine compartment about 2 years ago (there were rat pellets all over and they chewed through some wiring), but have since moved so it's obnoxious that they've somehow come back.

    That was a really depressing first post, sorry.
    Last edited by bawfuls; 12-24-2012 at 02:05 PM. Reason: updated reassembly fee

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    wow...its tough to say...so many things out there can cause misfires. Its very possible that the car could have bad heads, though I've never seen it honestly. Are you the original owner?

    It looks like they are replacing a bunch of hoses and clips and stuff and wrapping that up into the cost. I don't know if anybody would consider that nickle and diming, but it seems like the little crap would be somehow included.

    But you're also getting a new timing belt and all that (which is a $900+ service as well), and the clutch service like you said which can be a $1200 job itself since the transmission has to be dropped. So may as well do both of those while the engine is out. However, they should be charging you for the HOURS those jobs would include since they already have to be done anyway due to the teardown/rebuild. What are the total hours/overall job they are quoting you at?
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    I am indeed the original owner. I will certainly admit that I haven't been vigilant on oil changes, but the longest the car has ever gone without an oil change is about 7000 miles. And I have gotten nearly all of them done at this same dealer, cause they only charge $40.

    For completeness sake, I should add that the car is stock and I've never taken it to a track or anything like that. It does get a lot of long road trips into cold weather however.

    They quoted me $4552 for everything, on top of the $2900 I already owe them. They are presumably including a lot of labor in there somehow I guess?

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    Moderator Donkey's Avatar
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    You are getting robbed............
    IF YOU HAVE A MISFIRE CODE ,PLEASE READ THIS!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donkey View Post
    You are getting robbed............
    IF YOU HAVE A MISFIRE CODE ,PLEASE READ THIS!!!
    Yeah, I did read that thread, but unfortunately I only found it after I'd authorized the dealer to open everything up.

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    UPDATE

    I went down to the dealer and talked to them today. I took pictures of the major issues. Here are the two heads which they tell me are burnt out and should be replaced. The tech there said he could replace the burnt valves and keep the heads, but that if he did that he could not guarantee the engine for another year as he's expected to do.





    The explanation I was given is that this could be a result of poor lubrication causing overheating. However, I have had the oil changed by that dealer regularly, and their mechanic agreed that the engine overall looked like lubrication was not the issue. So he said maybe the problem is from putting low octane fuel in the car, but in told him that's not possible either as I do give it premium. He said maybe using cheaper premium with ethanol, from places like ARCO, could be a problem.

    Can anyone verify that those heads look burnt up and like they need replacement? Why would ARCO premium cause such a major issue in an engine with 85,000 miles on it? Subaru certainly never told me that fuel would destroy the engine.

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    UPDATE

    This looks to be resolved now, but I thought I ought to update this thread for general info purposes.

    I called Subaru of America on Wednesday and told them my situation. I told them I was obviously disappointed that a car this young is in need of an engine rebuild. They took my info and said I'd hear back the next day. Thursday, the dealer contacted me and said Subaru was giving me warranty pricing on the parts AND sharing half the cost. That brought the total cost to $2350, including all the labor they've already done. That number doesn't include the clutch, which was not discounted, but i'm going to let them do that now anyway since the labor on it is free.

    Somewhere lost in all of this is a satisfactory explanation as to what caused the problem in the first place. Subaru's actions, in picking up a significant part of the bill for an engine rebuild on a car 25k past warranty certainly implies that they think this kind of thing shouldn't be happening.

    I figure this is an interesting case to add to the miss fire code pile, and would be interested to hear of other similar cases.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bawfuls View Post
    I figure this is an interesting case to add to the miss fire code pile, and would be interested to hear of other similar cases.
    Glad to hear they are at least helping you out with the cost of the repairs. To some degree this is already documented as far as probable cause for misfires. Leakdown test generally would confirm a valve sealing issue. The rats nest doesn't help either. The engine's ECU relies on various sensors for crucial data. Having the ECU wiring compromised could easily cause a catastrophic event.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bawfuls View Post
    The explanation I was given is that this could be a result of poor lubrication causing overheating.
    Potentially, but even sustained high speed cornering -- a cause of poor lubrication at times -- would not have done this reliably. It'd be hit or miss.

    So he said maybe the problem is from putting low octane fuel in the car, but in told him that's not possible either as I do give it premium. He said maybe using cheaper premium with ethanol, from places like ARCO, could be a problem.
    There are so many qualifiers in that statement that it is meaningless. If the mechanic had any sense of responsibility, the statement would have been designed to be meaningless. A meaningful statement, say one written on Subaru paper as a diagnosis etc., that named a legal, approved fuel vendor as a cause of a motor failure, would be a PR and lawyer field day.

    I use Arco fuel and have not had a problem. In the developed world, I believe fuel is fuel.

    Subaru certainly never told me that fuel would destroy the engine.
    The fuel is sold legally and thus its contents controlled. I see little merit in the statement that Arco or any other fuel in the US caused an engine failure.
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