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Old 01-17-2014, 03:18 PM   #1
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Default A little help from subaru owners

I know there are a lot of Subaru Owners on this site, so I would appreciate any help.

A buddy of mine has a 2006 Subaru forester that has a check engine light for cylinder #1 misfire. He took it to the dealer and they replaced the ignition system for $400

The misfire came back the next day and now the dealer is telling him they need to replace the cylinder head for a huge wad of cash. They claimed they determined this by removing the "shoulder" manifold (Which I assume is the exhaust manifold) and described a seeing a valve guide is working its way out of the cylinder head causing the misfire.

Car allegedly runs fine, no symptoms other than CEL.

I am a bit new to working on cars, but this seems like a bit of a stretch for a failure mode. Clearly the dealer did not check for spark before replacing the coils, so we are having a hard time trusting the dealer. The car is currently being towed to another shop for a second opinion.

I am not familiar with the quirks of the Subaru boxer engine, is there a common cause to cylinder misfires? Does their explanation sound reasonable? It seems like a rather fast escalation from replace ignition to replace head.

Thanks
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Old 01-17-2014, 03:53 PM   #2
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are they going to refund for the igintion system they dupped him into buying?

if it were me, i'd try to see if I could swap the spark plug and wire/cop from #1 with another. if that kept showing a #1 misfire, I'd then swap the #1 injector, if it's still showing a #1 misfire, then I'd consider something in the valvetrain.

I had a single cylinder misfire on my prelude that I finally solved by clearancing the valves...
I had a single cylinder misfire on my altima that I solved by replacing 1 bad wire that had a split in the boot that connected to the plug and was arching on the clyinder head...
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Old 01-17-2014, 05:12 PM   #3
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Both my and my brother's '05 LGT's had cracked exhaust valves that would cause a misfire CEL at idle. A compression check would indicate this.
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Old 01-17-2014, 05:20 PM   #4
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Leakdown test is the best way to proceed from here, IMHO.

is it a sohc n/a motor or a dohc turbo? n/a motor is likely a headgasket, turbo motors more likely valves/piston cracked and whatnot from the terrible stock tunes.
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Old 01-17-2014, 06:30 PM   #5
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Back to what Brain said, is he getting his $400 back for the BS repair job they did?

I'd be throwing a fit

like, for realz, throwing poop sort of fit
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Old 01-20-2014, 09:35 AM   #6
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He is not planning on getting his money back. They sold it to him as a "tune up" which in an electronic ignition car I assume to mean replace coil and plugs (not sure what you "tune" in a modern car like that)

Despite my offer to help him diagnose the issue, he had it towed to another shop for a second opinion. Apparently working on your own cars is a game for the young.

I do appreciate all the advice and suggestions though
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Old 01-20-2014, 11:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Efini~FC3S View Post
Back to what Brain said, is he getting his $400 back for the BS repair job they did?

I'd be throwing a fit

like, for realz, throwing poop sort of fit
And the flat-rate guy who threw plugs (and probably just 1 coil) at a car with a misfire code is a hack too? Or should he spend more time doing a compression/leak-down test on the engine (assuming the dealership/mechanic even has those tools), and get paid literally nothing for doing so? Plugs/coil are a good first step, in a world becoming increasingly anti-diagnostic.

A tune up, on most modern cars, is a nice way of saying plugs. If it has wires, you also do those, if it has coils, you simply inspect.




Second opinion sounds reasonable... hopefully whoever is giving said second opinion is qualified to inspect heads or has a bore-scope. Honestly, if it does have a valve-train issue, pulling the engine for work on both heads and machining at an indy shop will likely be equivalent to an OEM head from the dealer.
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Old 01-21-2014, 12:15 AM   #8
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I can almost guarantee you that spark plugs/coil packs would be the last place I'd diagnose on a subaru.

So they are idiots and I'd definitely want money back.

But sounds like he likes throwing away money so good luck to him.
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Old 01-21-2014, 11:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
and get paid literally nothing for doing so? Plugs/coil are a good first step, in a world becoming increasingly anti-diagnostic.
Well, they did charge him $95 dollars for privilege of being informed he needed a new head for $3,000. I doubt they would get paid nothing for testing the coils.

Quote:
But sounds like he likes throwing away money so good luck to him.
In his defense, he is in the middle of remodeling his home and has to bum a ride to and from work from someone, so dropping at a mechanic seems more reasonable under those circumstances.
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Old 01-21-2014, 12:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2ndGearRubber View Post
And the flat-rate guy who threw plugs (and probably just 1 coil) at a car with a misfire code is a hack too? Or should he spend more time doing a compression/leak-down test on the engine (assuming the dealership/mechanic even has those tools), and get paid literally nothing for doing so? Plugs/coil are a good first step, in a world becoming increasingly anti-diagnostic.
Dude, he said they took it to the "dealer". By that I assume a Subaru dealer.

If the effing Subaru dealer can't diagnose a Subaru mis-fire, and their solution is to just throw parts at it, there is a serious problem with the dealerships service department.

NOW, if a shade tree mechanic (ie myself) had just thrown parts at it hoping to fix it, then that's a different story.


If I take my car to a dealership with a problem, and they say "This is the problem, it will be $xxx to fix the problem." AND IF I paid them $xxx and it DIDN'T fix the problem I would be pissed. Dealership service departments should be held to a higher standard than that, which is why they get to charge $100/hr labor and get to up-charge on already high OEM parts.


A quick google search would have shown that the problem was likely a headgasket or a problem in the head, NOT an ignition system issue.


I would be

then I'd
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Old 01-21-2014, 12:38 PM   #11
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The Mazda dealership did this for my wife when her front wheel bearing went out at 50,000 miles (wtf?).

They suspected the wheel bearing, but couldn't be 100% sure until they did $100 in labor to properly diagnosis, and then the wheel bearing would be free because of her warranty. They suggested getting the $400 30,000 mile which would include checking for damaged wheel bearings, just in case the noise was something else.

It's all a scam!! Just kidding.
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Old 01-21-2014, 12:39 PM   #12
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Around here they just try to up-sell as hard as they can.

boost leak? you need a valve job
mis-fire? you need a new block
rough idle? you need a new car

Its sickening
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Old 01-21-2014, 02:36 PM   #13
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I ran into a curb today in mine...new motor?
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Old 01-21-2014, 02:55 PM   #14
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new house
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Old 01-21-2014, 02:56 PM   #15
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Quote:
They suspected the wheel bearing, but couldn't be 100% sure until they did $100 in labor to properly diagnosis, and then the wheel bearing would be free because of her warranty. They suggested getting the $400 30,000 mile which would include checking for damaged wheel bearings, just in case the noise was something else.
I would say this practice is an acceptable way to do it. This Subaru dealer did it the opposite though, charged him 400 dollars up front, and then charged him $100 to diagnose the issue.


Quote:
I ran into a curb today in mine...new motor?
replace your ignition coils first
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