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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife's 2006 B9 Tribeca just suffered an engine failure. She was driving on the highway at normal speed with no trouble and she suddenly heard a grinding noise and lost power (unable to go more than ~40 MPH) and of course got a check engine. When the engine was then started, it spewed a lot of white smoke. I drove up to where it was parked the next morning with the key to let it be towed; the tow guy started it and it sounded reasonably OK but was spewing the smoke (looked like oil smoke). Two mechanics (a Firestone shop and a dealer) said that the engine failed and looks like it needs to be replaced. The Firestone shop said there was a lot of gunk in the engine; the dealer said that there's no compression on cylinder 1.

That sounds like a catastrophic engine failure, all right, although diagnosing it would require stripping it down and both mechanics think the end result would be the same (modulo a fairly large amount of money). Replacing the engine with a used engine with 75K miles on it would cost $5600, and the car needs some superficial (but likely expensive -- a door needs repair/replacement) other work.

I haven't found any other reference to a Tribeca engine failing. It's doubly annoying because we just put $2500 into the car for miscellaneous accumulated service (tranny fluid, brakes, struts, that kind of thing). The oil was last changed in June; she has probably put about 5000~6000 miles on it since, which doesn't seem excessive for her mostly highway mileage. The Firestone place said the oil was "low", but given that failure, it's not clear to me that it means much of anything.

We bought this used 3 years ago, with 16K on it, but it was fully loaded and then some and my wife likes the car. The dealer would offer $2K in trade for it.

Any opinions on this, whether it's worth repairing it or we should look for a newer one?
 

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sounds like you might be better off getting a newer vehicle. what was the mileage on this one?

$5600 installed for a replacement engine with 75k on it seems like a lot. are they offering any kind of warranty on it? if you didn't buy an extended warranty, the rest of the car is probably out of warranty already even if they cover the engine for a year or 12k (kind of standard practice).

this is really a money decision though. consider how much you have sunk into the vehicle on other things...if you still owe anything on it...what the maintenance/repair costs might be over the next few years...do you want to put another $6k into it. also how long were you planning on keeping it had the engine not failed?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It has something like 90,000 miles on it. We bought it used about 3 years ago; it had 16K on it at the time, so my wife has put about 75,000 miles on it in 3 years. She won't be putting that kind of mileage on now, having left her retail district manager job (she got sick of the amount of driving). They're offering a 6 month warranty on the engine. The car does appear to be out of warranty, although she's going to reconfirm that with the dealer she bought it from (it was actually a Subaru dealer).

We own it outright. My wife likes the car and would keep it for quite a while longer -- it's not very old in years.

Future maintenance and repair costs are always iffy. As I noted, the brakes, struts, and serpentine belt are all new.
 

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the main thing that would give me pause is the almost $6k for an engine with 75k on it and a short time frame of warranty coverage. i would double check their estimate includes all labor AND little things like like motor mounts, subframe bushings, fluids...basically all the miscellaneous bits and pieces that won't be reusable once they rip the old engine out. otherwise your $6k estimate can quickly turn into $8k. also factor in the cost of a rental if you'll need one while waiting.

wouldn't hurt to try and talk them up to at least a 12 month warranty. it would be reassuring to be covered through one round of all four seasons in case something jumps out next summer that didn't show up during this winter.

i've been down the engine replacement road before on a different car. although most of my replacement costs and rental costs were covered by an aftermarket warranty, there was a cap on the total they would cover...which i didn't find out until all the work was completed and ended costing me about $1k. partially due to a low estimate and some other unforeseen things. even though the work was done well, the car never really seemed the same as it was before.

owning the car outright makes a difference (no car payments!) as that's money you could put towards future maintenance/repairs and other things. on the flip side, $6k plus out of warranty costs over the next two years could be equal to two years of payments on a newer car that's still under warranty to boot. if you were planning to get a newer car in the next two years anyway then that makes this decision even tougher...

hopefully i've made your decision much tougher. :D lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My wife loves the car and would like to keep it for a good many more years.

What is the tranny picture on these cars? Does the tranny tend to last, or does it tend to develop problems after a while?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I asked my regular mechanic, who did look around and very much to his surprise it wasn't unreasonable. He found a used engine with similar mileage for $3600, which doesn't include labor, and recommended that if we do repair it we go with the dealer. I agree that it sounded high to me also.
 

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To be honest, it sounds like your #1 cycl dropped a valve. I've had this happen on a different car and I lucked out and only needed headwork, while the cylinder was fine. It might be worth your while to pay to have them find out EXACTLY what the problem is. If its "just" a valve, then it wouldn't cost nearly as much.
 
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