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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I own a 2011 SBT9 that has just a shade over 93K miles (I bought used with 11k miles). The warranty has just expired. I brought the vehicle in to have the passenger air bag recall completed but when I picked up the vehicle the Subaru mechanics advised that I should have the main engine seals replaced at a cost of $2995. Ironically I had the vehicle in 4500 miles ago (same dealer) for a significant amount of front suspension work and there was no mention of this issue (course the vehicle was under warranty at that time). So now they have indicated that the severity of the problem is a 3 out of 5. Numerous times they asked didn't we smell anything or see anything and of course my answer is no. I am tending to smell an service upsale but its possible of course that this is a concern. Comments, suggestions, has anyone experienced this issue?

Thanks and regards everyone
 

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I own a 2011 SBT9 that has just a shade over 93K miles (I bought used with 11k miles). The warranty has just expired. I brought the vehicle in to have the passenger air bag recall completed but when I picked up the vehicle the Subaru mechanics advised that I should have the main engine seals replaced at a cost of $2995. Ironically I had the vehicle in 4500 miles ago (same dealer) for a significant amount of front suspension work and there was no mention of this issue (course the vehicle was under warranty at that time). So now they have indicated that the severity of the problem is a 3 out of 5. Numerous times they asked didn't we smell anything or see anything and of course my answer is no. I am tending to smell an service upsale but its possible of course that this is a concern. Comments, suggestions, has anyone experienced this issue?

Thanks and regards everyone
Decline it.
2011 is too old for most dealers to reasonably maintain. They frequently are upselling services with limited/marginal information like this. It's a clear indication you need to walk away.

Get pictures of the leak and post them on here - we can easily walk you through this.

More than likely it's:
A. valve covers - routine and needed once in the long life of any subaru. $300. I do spark plugs at the same time because it saves a lot of labor but at a shop you might not save much depending how they charge.

B. oil cooler gasket - $100.

C. timing cover - they very slowly seep oil over a long period of time. clean it off and see how bad it is in a year. they're benign.
 

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Main seal seems weird.

Agree with ido... Most likely valve covers or oil cooler gasket.

also look at your axle boots. They are probably ripped as well.

Tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
2011 Tribeca main engine seals

Thank you both for your responses to my post. I gratefully appreciate. So armed with the content of your responses, I went back to the dealer (phone) who had said they were very concerned that the amount of the repair should be covered by the expired warranty. So behind the scenes they said Subaru would cover the work (minus the $100 deductible) that is standard on the warranty.

So here is the new wrinkle, they said that they will do the engine seals plus the timing, valve cover seals under the warranty but it would take about a week to complete and they would give me a loaner car for the week at no charge. Sounds great right? Well they said that once the engine is opened up there could be other items that might need repair and that I should expect that the max out of pocket repairs should be less than $1000! I don't know how they arrived at that figure or what items they might find, but it sounds like they are or want to do this job inhouse and instead of charging me $2900 they reduced the charge to $1000...regardless I am going to get a second opinion. I like someone's suggestion to get the engine steamcleaned and watch it for awhile to see what really is happening.

Any thoughts, comments or suggestions are appreciated.

Thanks again!
 

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SOA covers the warranty, the shop gets paid either way, no skin on their back on who covers the bill. Now maybe they are using the opportunity to pad the bill on both sides.

2nd opinion is a good idea. And a call to SOA might help settle your mind. They are nice folks.

Tom
 

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Well they said that once the engine is opened up there could be other items that might need repair and that I should expect that the max out of pocket repairs should be less than $1000!
Have the oil leaks repaired under warranty and you don't want anything else repaired. If there's anything the shop doesn't like tell them to document it and you'll take it into consideration moving forward after the job is done.

If you're not hiding something (check engine lights, loud engine noises, terrible performance), there's absolutely no way that engine needs anything at all. A 2nd opinion by someone who knows Subaru's well can easily determine this. Everything they will have access too are:

A. life time components that don't need serviced
B. will exhibit symptoms right now that can be diagnosed before anything is one. A leak, a noise, a performance issue, check engine light...etc.

Two probable reasons dealers do this (it's very common) - it all comes down to money:

A. price you into a new Subaru.

B. if it's a dealer that sells Subaru's this old (some do, some don't) they'll give you pennies for a trade in, have it repaired on SOA's dime an flip it for a few thousand profit.

B. billing practices. while paid by SOA - it could loose the money.
they charge per job - not hour. If the job is done under the book time - the mechanics/shop make fistfulls of cash. And the shop knows very well which jobs they can do in under the billed time. They love timing belts - $600 labor for 1 hour, who wouldn't love that? They can't do that with this job .So your job - while it is paid by SOA and not the dealer - isn't very desirable and gets in the way of other jobs.
 

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Yep, years When the oil pressure light came on the dealer told me the oil pump was bad and motor would die soon. I told them to only replace the oil pressure sender and we would go from there. That’s all it was and I put almost 100k on it before trading in.
 

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Yep, years When the oil pressure light came on the dealer told me the oil pump was bad and motor would die soon. I told them to only replace the oil pressure sender and we would go from there. That’s all it was and I put almost 100k on it before trading in.
Dealer response: "Gnomes probably replaced the engine while you were sleeping"

Another somewhat complicating factor is just the whole system, rather than outright deceit - service advisors are often mechanically clueless, service departments are run like marketing teams, they don't understand and relay information well, and there's a wide variety of tech's in the shop, they need some CYA to keep mechanically inept owners happy, who can also be demanding and litigious. One tech talking to another, passing it to a non-mechanically inclined service person who writes it down, and then someone else ends up calling you who has never torqued anything but a catfood lid. I really dislike these scenario's of absurd quotes so I jump quickly to greedy nasty people who I can't believe sleep well at night....but, the reality is systems are just inefficient too so I try to temper that victim response too.

As with any system - it works, but it's terribly inefficient in many ways. You're already paying the price of a large inefficient system on your 1040, you don't need to do it here. You've got options.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you all once again

I will seek out a second opinion and tell my current dealer that the direction I want to go is to only repair / replace what is under warranty. It will be most interesting what their response will be. I will also solicit a second opinion (another local subaru dealer) and lastly solicit a response from SOA directly. I will update when I have more information. Thanks to all who has responded. IF comforting to know that others have had this experience (unfortunately negative) which I will willingly share with the forum and anyone in my social circle. Thank you again!
 

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So now they have indicated that the severity of the problem is a 3 out of 5.

This is also a red flag and frankly, odd "service manager" lingo for this type of defect. Very much in line with consumables type of severity. Not exactly a pair of brake pads...

Ask them, specifically what 2 out of 5 means and how that looks, specially from a 4 out of 5. Maybe each 'point' in this "scale" is 100k mi or 5 years, whichever comes first..
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Good morning everyone. Well I decided to do nothing but watch the progression of the leaks. Still no leaks to the driveway at 113k but I was in to see a local mechanic who advised of head gasket leaks. Said that its somewhat typical for this engine at around 75K miles. Said he would replace the water pump / timing belt, tensioners and he quoted me 2400-2600 and a couple of days work. the serpentine belt and pulleys are pretty badly rusted and occasionally squeal. Any additional comments would be appreciated

Thanks everyone
 

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Good morning everyone. Well I decided to do nothing but watch the progression of the leaks. Still no leaks to the driveway at 113k but I was in to see a local mechanic who advised of head gasket leaks. Said that its somewhat typical for this engine at around 75K miles. Said he would replace the water pump / timing belt, tensioners and he quoted me 2400-2600 and a couple of days work. the serpentine belt and pulleys are pretty badly rusted and occasionally squeal. Any additional comments would be appreciated

Thanks everyone
1. Get a second opinion or post pictures here. Other leaks so frequently end up in the same area you want to make sure it’s not VCGs or rear main.

2. If it is HG - I wouldn’t rush to do them until you know how much oil you’re loosing. If it’s just 1/4 quart every couple thousand miles it’s not worth doing to me for a variety of reasons. I’d rather spray/clean the engine once a year and avoid opening it up.

They routinely drive tens of thousands of miles without progressing much. And there’s no substantial risk of stranding issues with those external H6 oil leaks. Not worth open heart surgery until there are notable issues for the owner like burning off exhaust or dripping in garage - all benign, but annoying.

3. Use Subaru OEM parts only - pump and gaskets.

4. Resurface the heads no matter what. Do not bother “checking them” - that’s archaic, pointless 1980s big block graphite gasket verbiage on this engine. You want proper surface roughness - something few shops are set up to test. Checking for “flatness” ignores surface roughness which has specifications.

Every one I’ve ever resurfaced has high and low spots - H6s being worse than H4s.

That being said some dealers get away without resurfacing and do have very good success rates so it’s not a deal breaker if they’re good, it’s warrantied and you use OEM gaskets. it’s just silly not too for such a large job on heads that always have high and low spots and insufficient RA.

4. That’s a very good price for that job. So if that place/price is not repeatable in the future and they’re good - maybe you strike early.

Good luck.
 

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It's a good price, IF the car had a timing belt. It doesn't. It has a chain.

Head gasket leaks on our H6 is fairly rare. And it's a big job when it does happen due to the timing chain and having to remove the cover. I would stay away from that mechanic, as he doesn't know the H6 engine, but seems to be basing this off the H4. Sounds like he didn't even open the hood.

Get the idler pulley and tensioner pulley bearings on the serpentine belt changed ASAP. They are a common failure on our cars and will leave you on the side of the road. The cost should be minimal. Plenty of threads on how to DIY or take it in, but don't wait.

Tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you for your reply Tom, the mechanic may have said chain, I was under the impression most cars had belts today. Yes I am going to have the tensioner/belt and pulleys changed ASAP... I dont have a garage and live in a winter climate so I will have a shop change the above items (not that mechanic).

Thanks again and Happy New Year
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you for your input. I will change the serpentine/pulleys and tension ASAP but will wait a bit longer on the OPEN HEART surgery.

Happy New Year
 
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