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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2012 WRX and somehow a seal was blown and the oil ran out. Long story. The car is knocking so I'm guessing both the motor and turbo are bad. The dealer is quoting me $6000-$7000 to replace with a used engine. I can't afford this and it seems like a lot, even if that's the installed price.

I know lots of people have motors but no cars, or want to do swaps, and so on, so I've considered selling it as well. If I sell it, does anyone have any advice on what might be a good, reasonable price? It has 68k miles, maintenance paperwork and is otherwise in decent shape, for a rust belt car.

I have another car so even if it took longer to say, get a motor shipped that was a better price, that's something I could do. I just need to get it done before the cold months.

So in this situation, would you guys fix it, or sell it? Or I guess fix it and sell it, but I love the car and if I do fix it I'll probably be interested in keeping it.

I'm located in Southeast Michigan.

This was a huge shock and I am lost here, I just paid it off and was hoping to get another 5 years out of it, so I would appreciate advice, suggestions or whatever.

Thanks!
 

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I’m a fix it guy.

That price isn’t terrible for a new shortblock however I wouldn’t put a used engine in at that price. A brand new from Subaru ej255 shortblock runs about 2k or less. Add a turbo that you suspect is smoked for 1000 or less and you are at 3k in major parts. Labor and odds and ends like machine work then make up the other 3-4k.
 

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maybe also contact IAG in MD. They build a lot of subie shortblocks and motors and might be able to help you out for that price. Might get something a bit better than stock doesnt hurt to investigate
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
maybe also contact IAG in MD. They build a lot of subie shortblocks and motors and might be able to help you out for that price. Might get something a bit better than stock doesnt hurt to investigate
Actually I called a local mechanic with a good reputation and they talked about a build that I believe used these. It sounded fantastic and like it would, in combination with an improved oil supply, completely solve the issue. But it'd cost $9k. It's a lot of money, more than half the value of the car before this happened probably. It sounds like an amazing way to go, and I wish I could, but I don't think I can make a solution that expensive happen. I just don't have the money right now, as much as I want to. :(

I’m a fix it guy.

That price isn’t terrible for a new shortblock however I wouldn’t put a used engine in at that price. A brand new from Subaru ej255 shortblock runs about 2k or less. Add a turbo that you suspect is smoked for 1000 or less and you are at 3k in major parts. Labor and odds and ends like machine work then make up the other 3-4k.
That makes sense. And after talking to the mechanic mentioned above, I think you're definitely right. It sounds like this problem is so common that there's way too high a chance that this would just happen again, and could happen at any time, with any number of miles, even shortly after install. I'd be *really* screwed then. So if I do fix it, probably doing the short block is the way to go about it, as you said.

I'll think about it. It'd be really nice if I could make it work. But even scraping the money together is going to be really hard, and I'm not sure I'll be better off than if I sold it for what I can get for it and bought another car.

Thank you for your input.
 

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I would personally replace with an OEM motor. Unless you are modifying for big power, an OEM motor is likely to last the longest over the span of the most miles.

That said, if my OEM STi motor went south, I'd probably try to find a comparable EJ207 as I prefer the powerband and it would add a little more excitement to my drive. Finding a reputable EJ207 is the tough part...
 

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Selling a non-running vehicle from 2012 is asinine; a non-running vehicle is worth scrap value, regardless of age.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Selling a non-running vehicle from 2012 is asinine; a non-running vehicle is worth scrap value, regardless of age.
Sure it's probably not worth much, but I doubt it's worth just scrap, what is that, $500? I'd imagine there is someone out there with a motor and no car who would be interested in picking up a cheap WRX to drop said engine into it. But maybe I'm wrong. The fact is, I simply don't have even the $6000-$7000 for a used engine to be dropped in, and even if I do that, is it really worth it? I'll be really worried that it will just happen again, I won't have a good time driving the car as a result, and if it did blow again, I'd be even more screwed financially.

As it is, I could get a Fiesta ST with a ~$300 payment and make that work even if I get basically nothing for the car.

Even if I get a new motor, the fact that it isn't original is almost certainly going to further erode the value of the car.

Maybe you're right, and I'm asking because I don't know what to do. But basically in order to make that happen I'm going to have to put the cost almost entirely on credit, which of course makes it even more expensive, and at a certain point I have to ask if the risk and hassle is worth it. I'll keep thinking about it, those are just my concerns about it, even if the alternative is getting hardly anything for the car.

I would personally replace with an OEM motor. Unless you are modifying for big power, an OEM motor is likely to last the longest over the span of the most miles.

That said, if my OEM STi motor went south, I'd probably try to find a comparable EJ207 as I prefer the powerband and it would add a little more excitement to my drive. Finding a reputable EJ207 is the tough part...
I get that no one's going to know the car better than Subaru, what you're saying makes sense. The mechanic was talking about using the subaru short block but also doing some changes to improve oil supply while they are in there, and going by the 3 class action lawsuits against subaru that are going on, that could have something to do with the failure to begin with. He had options on top of that and if I recall correctly one of them was to use the IAG stage 1 short block. I think he was just giving me a range of options depending on what I wanted to do with it.
 

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A stock shortblock is nearly always more reliable than a modified one in a stock situation.

Your issue is not from poor oil supply, it was from no oil.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
A stock shortblock is nearly always more reliable than a modified one in a stock situation.
As someone who doesn't know much about engine mods, can you help me understand why the Subaru short block would be more reliable?

Your issue is not from poor oil supply, it was from no oil.
What do you mean? And how do you know? I didn't find puddles of oil where I parked the car, it was inspected the previous week, I didn't smell burning oil, (I spilled oil on the valve cover of my Miata like an idiot once, it stunk for WEEKS even after I cleaned it up) and somehow all of the oil disappeared in that short time. I could be mistaken, but it could have happened because of a ringland failure and blowby, or it could have started knocking because of a bearing failure, no? At least, that seems a common issue with these cars.

I'm probably not as knowledgeable as any of you, but I at least know to do basic maintenance and what to avoid doing that is especially bad for turbocharged cars. Like putting the engine under high load at low RPM, driving it hard when the car is cold, turning it off and letting it sit right after driving it hard, and so on. So I guess I don't know what you are saying. If it is my fault, then I will own that and accept responsibility. But I just don't think that it is, at least not with what I know right now.
 

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Sorry I missed the other part. Built engines sacrifice longevity for absolute power holding. Pistons are looser bearing fits can be different and harder pistons with looser fits can also cause more wall damage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You said in your other thread “the oil leaked out of it suddenly”. To me that’s a no oil situation.
Well, yes, when I brought it in to the shop it had no oil, so what I mean is that somewhere between the previous inspection and the following week all the oil disappeared. Maybe it was all at once, maybe it was over time. It ended up with no oil, sure. But I think it was probably in trouble before that point. I found no evidence of oil on the ground where I park.

Do you think there was any point where I could have just cured the problem by stopping and doing an oil change? It was at 6,600 miles on synthetic.

The tear-down will probably reveal what happened, but to me, a no-oil problem means that doing a proper oil change would have avoided, not just slightly delayed, the issue.

Sorry I missed the other part. Built engines sacrifice longevity for absolute power holding. Pistons are looser bearing fits can be different and harder pistons with looser fits can also cause more wall damage.
Thank you for explaining that to me. That makes sense. I will be sure to research it a lot more before deciding to go with a non-Subaru short block if I am able to have that done. The thought of more power is nice but it's something I've never felt the car lacked and I'll be more concerned about something breaking, if I'm able to have it repaired at all.
 

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Im not a big fan of debt, but it might make sense to have the shortblock done on credit, then as soon as its finished, sell the car running. I dont think one month of interest will look as bad as the difference between selling this as a runner vs a shell. As far as the issue, if it went from full to dry in a week or 2 I would think its a major leak. Maybe even the drainplug loose in the oil pan. If you were burning oil that fast you would know about it as would everyone behind you. As far as losing value for having the shortblock replaced, if a Subaru dealer does the job I dont think you will lose anything, might even be considered a value adder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Im not a big fan of debt, but it might make sense to have the shortblock done on credit, then as soon as its finished, sell the car running. I dont think one month of interest will look as bad as the difference between selling this as a runner vs a shell. As far as the issue, if it went from full to dry in a week or 2 I would think its a major leak. Maybe even the drainplug loose in the oil pan. If you were burning oil that fast you would know about it as would everyone behind you. As far as losing value for having the shortblock replaced, if a Subaru dealer does the job I dont think you will lose anything, might even be considered a value adder.
That idea makes a lot of sense. There's nothing wrong with doing the repair and then selling it afterward for the reason that I can't afford the repair. If I do sell the car, I want to do it in good conscience rather than dumping an unexpected problem on someone. The dealer wants to just put a used engine in but they haven't actually looked at the damage. Maybe the turbo is still good, who knows. I babied it to the dealer as soon as I noticed the knocking. I'll ask about the short block.

I've seen a lot of people posting ads with very recently rebuilt motors and have always wondered about that, but maybe they're doing exactly the same thing.

It isn't the drain plug or oil pan. They were pretty clear about the leak being from the back of the engine.

I'm authorizing the tear-down tomorrow so I guess we'll see!
 

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In my opinion and for my money I would always opt for a new engine if possible.

If two cars of the same vintage were sitting on a lot, one with a used engine replacement and one with a new shortblock I would pay the premium to have the new shortblock.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You said in your other thread “the oil leaked out of it suddenly”. To me that’s a no oil situation.
I spoke with the service director at the dealer and he told me that he believes the oil pump failed, and that's why it only leaked out when driving and I didn't notice smoke, a smell, or puddles of oil. So it sounds like you were right.

In my opinion and for my money I would always opt for a new engine if possible.

If two cars of the same vintage were sitting on a lot, one with a used engine replacement and one with a new shortblock I would pay the premium to have the new shortblock.
That makes sense, if feasible I will opt for that. If Subaru helps me out, I'll even be able to keep the car hopefully.
 

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If u look up JDM of California (in Ontario CA) they can get u a new one from Japan. Good deals at this place and I think they will ship it to you if your now in the state. last time I looked it was about 2500 to 3000 with the turbo.
 

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If u look up JDM of California (in Ontario CA) they can get u a new one from Japan. Good deals at this place and I think they will ship it to you if your now in the state. last time I looked it was about 2500 to 3000 with the turbo.
This is an option but for what the op is looking for, one I would avoid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I'm in Michigan.

$2500-$3000 sounds like about half what the dealer is going to quote me for the motor alone, but at the same time, it's going to be a different motor, right? Not an EJ255?

I could have someone else do the swap, but I'm guessing it's more extensive than just putting in another EJ255?

I heard back from Subaru, and they told me they will not help me. At all. I asked why. They said "due to the age of the vehicle and the expense".

I explained that I had maintained the vehicle, (and demonstrated proof) taken care of it, kept it stock, and didn't ignore any warning signs. There were no check engine lights, no pools of oil, no visible smoke or oil burning smell, and so on. There was no way I could have known. The vehicle was inspected a week and a half prior and passed.

I explained that I expected better from Subaru considering how they tout their reliability so proudly, and I trusted that. That I'd understand if it were say a $1,000 repair that I needed because something failed. That would suck, but I wouldn't ask for help from Subaru over that. But catastrophic engine failure just over 8,000 miles after the warranty expires is not reasonable and who would just accept that?

I also explained that the dealer would like the car gone or being repaired by end of day Monday, which is understandable because they've held onto it for like two weeks without seeing a dime from it so far.

I don't intend to give up on this, I have all the documentation that shows that this shouldn't have happened, couldn't have been predicted, (the car passed inspection) and that this isn't a car that was beat on and neglected. Subaru should do the right thing and help out here.

Based on the feedback here, I think you're all right that it'd be smarter to fix the car, even if on credit, and sell it. At least that way I'd get something for it over the $7k+ repair. Something I could put towards another car.

Please let me know if there's anything else I should be looking at or any other advice. This really sucks and right now I feel pretty badly burned by Subaru. A check engine light is the BARE minimum I would have expected, and it didn't even throw one when it was knocking as I pulled into the dealer. I pulled the codes with the odometer button / light switch thing before I drove it to the dealer and it had no engine codes. All indications were that everything was fine, until it started knocking.
 
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