2012 forester with 148K miles has serious rod knock. Engine is toast

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by LuciferMutt, Oct 13, 2019.

  1. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

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    This is actually my mom's car, but I just found about this yesterday. My brother took her Forester out the other day and said it sounded terrible -- deep knocking at start up and throttle overrun in gear (stickshift). So he then notices that the oil pressure warning light is out too -- doesn't light up when the car is switched to "on" and never lights up. So god knows if the oil pressure has been dangerously low or for how long. Anyway, after a visit to a mechanic, we now know the engine has serious rod knock and they want $8500 to put a new engine + clutch/pressure plate! In a car with less than 200K miles. Fucking Subarus. First they have all those problems with head gaskets, then I do some searching to find rod knock is another common failure. That's absolute bullshit IMO and shouldn't be happening to a modern car at that mileage.

    Apparently they called the dealership who told them if they can drive it to the dealership, they'll give them $5000 trade in for a new one. My mom is considering this, but I told her she'd be crazy to buy another Subaru after that! Thoughts?
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  2. MJS

    MJS Long timer

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    So you're saying a modern car should be able to go 200k without oil in the engine? Did anyone check the oil level before it went to the shop?

    Sorry for your (mom's) problem but I don't think you can blame Subaru for what sounds like a maintenance issue.
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  3. Tim McKittrick

    Tim McKittrick Long timer

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    I have a friend who owns a car shop that sees a lot of Subarus- the bottom end in the 2.5 seems particularly weak, and it seems like they have a broken one in the shop every time I visit. I’ve seen more than a few that have sawn themselves in half with flailing broken connecting rods.

    I have always like Subarus but they are no longer the paragons of reliability that they once were. While they no longer dissolve into a pile of iron oxide their engines aren't the unkillable 1.8 pushrod units I grew up on.

    To be fair, body rot took those 80’s cars off the road long before the drivetrain had the opportunity to wear out. The really early Subarus from the 70’s were even worse- my Dad bought a new ‘75 wagon and it was unusable by ‘79. The strut towers would rust away and collapse inward, the struts coming to rest on the spare tire.
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  4. Stasher1

    Stasher1 Been here awhile

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    Agreed.

    Without knowing exactly how well this car was maintained over those 150K miles, it's impossible to determine whose fault it was. For all we, or you, know, she could have gone 30K without even checking the oil level, nevermind having it changed. The vast majority of women I know, maintain their vehicles poorly.
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  5. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

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    Nope, they (supposedly) had the oil changed on a regular schedule. There was plenty of oil in the sump, according to my brother. But apparently the oil LIGHT has been out for some time, so it's possible low oil pressure that could be warning about impending doom for some time would have been unknown. This was not case of "never maintained and I can't believe it failed." I suppose there may be more to the story I don't know :rolleyes, like "oh we ran it out of oil only once/accidently put antifreeze in the oil," or something. Ugh.
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  6. 1greenmachine

    1greenmachine Long timer

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    Guy at work put the 3rd engine in his son's subaru due to spun rod bearings, it's the sti and very abused so not really the cars fault.

    I would see what the true value of the car is, not worth spending $8500 IMO because that's a rip off. I'd talk to a couple machine shops to see what rebuilding would cost and go from there.
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  7. Lawman_745

    Lawman_745 Adventurer

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    Wife's 07 Forester spun a rod bearing at 78k miles. Regular oil changes and maintenance. Newer motor was installed with 22k miles out a wrecked car. Head gasket started leaking externally at 115k. My sister had 2 older Outbacks with the 2.5, one spun a rod, one blew a headgasket.

    2.5= junk
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  8. villagelightsmith

    villagelightsmith Adventurer

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    $8500 is far too much for an engine. She would still have an 8 year old (guessing) car that will be closing in on 200,000 miles. Then 250,000, then 300,000. Somebody is determined to rip her off. "If you'll give me a thousand dollars, I'll take it!"
    It's hard for her to believe that fellow smiling at her would actually rip her off, but she had better believe it. The industry has no conscience, and neither does the dealer.

    Get an engine out of a decent low mileage hit-from-behind wrecked Suby; something with good oil pressure and good compression. Or one of the Jap import engines. $5000 "trade-in"? On a car that needs a "new" engine? That's a red flag too! Ask how much they would give cash, if anything. "Trade-in" is almost always a lie and a theft, and you're stuck with another purchase from that dealer. I've worked for a number of dealers, and I've yet to find one that is fully willing to stand up and resist the many temptations to so easily rip off their customers. If the dealer doesn't rip them, the shop will. If the shop doesn't rip them, the sales department (or the salesmen) will. And if there's any customer loyalty it often turns into a perpetual ripoff machine.
    Remember; there are a lot of parts in a car. They are just replacing the engine, and she is stuck with the rest. Engines usually hold up pretty well. It's the ancillary parts, wires, connections, cables, hinges, tires, brakes, window runners and regulators, seals, front end, drive, transmission, axles, half-shafts, fasteners, bearings, rattles, whistles, squeeks & chassis stuff that will eat the next 10 Grand. And the labor to bring it through the shop again, for each of those little things!

    All the best ... I wish I could help. But my years for doing such things are over. Good luck!
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  9. BtoV

    BtoV FNG

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    Get a Ford 6.0 diesel and you'll spend your days fondly looking back on the Subaru's dependability.
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  10. anotherguy

    anotherguy Long timer

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  11. Skidmarkart

    Skidmarkart Dirty Middle Age Man Supporter

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    Yeah this seems suspect for me too. Is this a 100% new engine from Subaru? The whole thing? Seems like you could get a bottom-end rebuild/replacement for much less than that! Or perhaps a low-mileage total replacement. That said, a Subaru with over 100K and in need of a new motor is definitely a good trade-in at $5k (if that's their genuine offer!). Get them to write the $5k trade in off before you select anything else, so you can avoid having them raise the fees on your selection.
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  12. rd400racer

    rd400racer Long timer

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    My son had a Subaru that ended up having all the typical Subaru problems (head gasket, etc). Never again. He switched to Toyota 4Runners so now he gets to deal with frame rust:D

    On a serious note, my daughters E36 BMW needed a new engine. We found a decent replacement for $750 and found a guy to install it for that same price.

    $8500:photog
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  13. Bikedude987

    Bikedude987 Been here awhile

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    "On a serious note, my daughters E36 BMW needed a new engine. We found a decent replacement for $750 and found a guy to install it for that same price.

    $8500:photog"

    THIS. Lots of "mobile mechanics" or independent shops out there that could swap a used or reman engine in for a LOT less than $8.5K. Should be closer to 2-4K depending on what route you take and how hungry for work people are.
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  14. 1greenmachine

    1greenmachine Long timer

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    $8500 is one of those we dont want to do it but if we are then let's make it worth our time.
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  15. 1greenmachine

    1greenmachine Long timer

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    Neighbor has put more than $8500 into his engine and it's the same one that came in the truck.
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  16. Skidmarkart

    Skidmarkart Dirty Middle Age Man Supporter

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    Reads thread.

    Looks at Wife's new Impreza sitting in driveway.

    Screen Shot 2019-10-14 at 3.47.10 PM.png
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  17. 1greenmachine

    1greenmachine Long timer

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    Hell my wife 17 outback is in the garage and I'm nervous as it's now out of warranty.

    Subaru is great in the value department with all yuh ou get for what you pay but the 2.5 sure is a noisy dog of a engine.
    #17
  18. anotherguy

    anotherguy Long timer

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    My '17 WRX has 71K miles on it. Replaced a wheel bearing under warranty. Other than that I had to clean the MAF sensor recently. Getting better fuel mileage than the EPA rating. No complaints.
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  19. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

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    In my experience they do pretty well if you keep oil in them - ideally even changing it from time to time ;)
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  20. anotherguy

    anotherguy Long timer

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    I heard that somewhere too.
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