I was driving along the highway around 60mph - 70mph with no problems. As I started to slow down to take an exit ramp, the wind noise died down and I started to hear a rumbling from the engine. I shut off the stereo and rolled down the windows and the noise was definitely there and getting loud. No engine power loss just yet. I merged onto a smaller 50mph road off the exit ramp and headed about another half mile while looking for dashboard lights (none yet) and a place to park. The noise got REALLY loud and was a very distinct knocking, now coupled with what can only be described as an awful shrieking death cry coming from the engine compartment. The engine was now losing power and the car was shuddering. I found a parking lot to pull into and as I approached the entrance I ended up at a red light. As the car settled to idle the dashboard lit up like a christmas tree and the engine immediately shut off. The first couple attempts to start the car did not work. I let it sit for about 30 seconds and then tried again. Barely got it started and limped into a parking lot that happened to be right there. I'd read the stories... I knew what this was. AND ON MY BIRTHDAY no less. **sigh**
So I called Subie road side assistance. They were good. Tow truck arrived within 15 minutes and we brought my SpecB to a Subie dealer about 1 mile away. As I described the noises to the service writer, her face got more and more concerned. She asked me to wait a moment and she returned with her boss and one of the technicians. I re-explained what happened and then they of course started in with the battery of questions:
- "How long have you owned the car?" (9 months, and about 12k miles)
- "Do you change the oil regularly?" (Always... right on schedule... and even did all the factory/dealer recommended maintenance)
- "Do you abuse the engine or red line it frequently?" (definitely not. WOT, sure. Red line? practically never)
I explained to them that I had bought this 2009 SpecB in 2009 as a used car with 8,000 miles on it after it had been a "Subaru Executive Demo" out in California. I went on to say that I had only bought a "demo" because it was supposedly treated well by a Subaru executive employee (I know, I know. I got a good deal on it though). After they heard about it having been a demo the service manager and technician excused themselves. They called my service writer out of the room for about 5 minutes and when she came back she was SUPER friendly. Apparently they'd been at another terminal reviewing my maintenance record and they could see that I'd been diligent.
The told me they'd need a day to look at it and let me know what was wrong. This was on a Saturday morning and I did not hear back from them until Monday morning and they told me what I'd pretty much figured, the engine was toast. They said SOA was having them take the engine apart to find out what went wrong. I asked for pics of any damaged parts and they said they'd see what they could do. Again, the staff at the dealer was incredibly responsive and sympathetic. I called back on Wednesday morning and they told me that SOA had approved a whole slew of new parts, completely under warranty, and that they were rush delivering over-night... the major parts being:
- short block
- oil pump
And of course a huge pile of gaskets, seals, etc.
They said they were going to flush the oil cooler and I have no idea what they're going to do about metal in the oil pan.
They have yet to give me a definitive answer as to what caused this. The service writer said "I think they said it was the oil pump" but I suspect she was just coming up with a reasonable part from the list rather than having been told the actual cause, but who knows.
I've of course heard about the infamous oil uptake pipe problem so I specifically asked them to inspect that part and replace if needed. We'll see where that goes.
Just thought I'd share the story with you all. I also just want to say, the Subie dealer has been exceptional in their handling of this so far and SOA has been extremely cooperative, not that I see how they could act any other way given the circumstances. Anyone else on here have any thoughts on what I should have them double check or replace?
So now it seems I get to break in a new engine and turbo and will of course treat the engine accordingly for a reasonable break-in period. Anyone have any recommendations on oil? I typically go with the standard 5w30 but after having an engine literally eat itself, I find myself wondering.