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Discussion Starter #1
So I'm currently stuck in scranton PA after my vehicle suddenly breaks down on the highway. Auto shop just called, say Subaru has seized engine. Baffling, because no warning signs. ~$5,000 for new one. Options?
Here's the situation. I have a 2008 Subaru Forester with exactly 200,000 miles on it. It's been a while since the oil was changed, but not incredibly long (I can't say exactly when). There have been no warning signs whatsoever. No overheating, no engine lights. The vehicle has been running fine. The engine cranked over continuously without starting, and now has stopped turning over. Battery appears to be fine as all interior accessions function properly.
The shop says the engine was SEIZED. So, I'm trying to wrap my mind around this. Is there any chance there's been a mistake? How does a car seize with no warning signs? If there was no oil, wouldn't it have been overheating? How could it have turned over at all before suddenly going "clunk" and dying?
 

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MY05 Forester 2.5 XT 5MT
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If the coolant was still cool enough, it wouldn't trigger the temp gauge to show overheating. From factory, you don't get an oil temperature gauge/light on the dash.

When was the last time you checked the oil level?
How long had you been driving on the highway and at what speed (Engine speed if you don't want to say land speed) ?
Was there any knocking/thudding sounds from the engine before it broke down ?

Subaru EJ Series engines use oil on long highway runs. Around town they use much less oil but still some.

Edit: It would be odd if you brokedown on the road, the engine still turned over on the starter motor afterwards. Then was towed to a mechanic where it decided to seize then - First thing mechanic should have checked was oil level before trying to turn it over.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for your response.

A few days earlier I checked the oil and added a quart. I was driving less than two hours, about 75mph, and no sounds before breaking down. One of the first things I did was check the oil to find about a quart remaining. I know this because I had walked to the closest gas station, roughly 45min walk, to fill another 3 quarts exactly to almost get it to level on the dip stick. At that point the engine would turn over and be just shy of starting. I also had pulled and cleaned all 4 spark plugs because there has been some oil leaking, as well as disconnect and clean the battery terminals. I did notice there was no noticeable spark when reattaching the ground.
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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I had a 2008. It was using about a quart every 4000 miles in around town driving. I went on a trip in WV. I checked it 3 hours after driving at 75mph, I added a quart of 40 wt oil. That solved the problem. I have no doubt the same thing happened. I always keep the oil up to the top line. You learned a painful lesson my friend. It took you two times to learn it though.

It had 150K miles when it happened to me. My granddaughter has it with over 200K miles.

Junk it.
 

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MY05 Forester 2.5 XT 5MT
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Thank you for your response.

A few days earlier I checked the oil and added a quart. I was driving less than two hours, about 75mph, and no sounds before breaking down. One of the first things I did was check the oil to find about a quart remaining. I know this because I had walked to the closest gas station, roughly 45min walk, to fill another 3 quarts exactly to almost get it to level on the dip stick. At that point the engine would turn over and be just shy of starting. I also had pulled and cleaned all 4 spark plugs because there has been some oil leaking, as well as disconnect and clean the battery terminals. I did notice there was no noticeable spark when reattaching the ground.
Ouch. I'm not sure of the non-turbo but the turbo engine generally likes 4.5 quarts, where most specs say 4.2 quarts. There is nothing wrong with filling the oil slightly above the full mark - Especially if you have some highway work coming up. I'm in the UK where we have a different and simpler PCV setup

No spark suggests the battery wasn't totally charged up but it still might have had enough to start it. I would expect the shop to put a jump-pack on the battery to make sure it had the chance if possible - I might be assuming though.........If the sparkplugs are covered in oil, that would definitely hinder starting.

Sounds like it could be seizure from low oil - As I said, it would be odd for it to turnover after the event but later on seize when it was cooler. Or you could be dealing with contaminated sparkplugs affecting ignition..... Or both.

Has the shop suggested a course of action or put the ball in your court regarding that?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
They suggested salvage but ball is in my court. Doing my best to get a second mechanic to take a look.. I’m living in it as well and just got a job after 8 months applying. Best wishes could do wonders.
 

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@SurfPerception
Putting $5K into a car with 200K on the clock sounds like a bad idea.
If the car is in good shape otherwise, getting a used engine for 1/2 to 1/3 of that price might be a reasonable option.
Find and tow the car to a reputable shop that specializes in Subaru cars and IF the engine is toast, see what you might be able to do with a much less expensive option.
Like TMX intimated, something sounds rotten in Denmark..
A "seized engine" means that the pistons have welded themselves to the block, typically due to overheating or lack of lubrication.
An engine that does that won't crank right after it quits. Therefore, Ditto on the second opinion.
The shop may be looking to get rich quick, either by selling you an overpriced engine, or "doing you a favor" by taking it off your hands, doing a repair and selling the car.
With any expensive estimate, always get at least a second opinion, and shop around.
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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This guy can do it all. He has dozens of used subaru's all with complete engine overhaul and the rest of the car.
He is super super cheap. I had service done and it was so cheap, I gave each of the service guys a $20 bill

Mike Shaffer Auto Sales
Office 717 426 4202
Service 717 426 4142
Cell 717 203 4202 (owner)
 
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