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2004 Forester XT
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62 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello to all,

I am a frequent reader, minimal poster of the website since I got my Forester in December of 2009 and hope to be more active in the forums once my current situations is sorted out. Some members may know a little bit of my situation as I mentioned it before, but now I am just going lay it all out there and ask for recommendations. I will try to keep it as short as possible, but it is a long story.

Phase One: Late January-Early February, driving down the road and engine starts to make a lot of noise. It is about 5 degrees out and I was almost in town, so I let her go a bit more before shifting into neutral and the engine quit. I got a tow to the shop that night. The next couple days I was made aware that major engine damage, most likely due to bad bearings caused the problem. Okay...not good news, especially since I just recently bought the vehicle and was loving driving it, turbos are a lot of fun. I called the place I bought it from and the most they could do was give me the warranty that I requested with the car that covered it through the first 3000 miles. Not so good, because the warranty covers only up to 1500 dollars.

Phase Two: Ordering a rebuilt engine. So my auto mechanic decided a rebuilt engine would be a good way to go. I took his recommendation and told him to get it done. Well the engine comes in and what do you know...a SOHC 2.5 NA. He even said he gave the VIN. That engine goes back to the place and after looking around, we couldn't find a DOHC, so on we went to re-machining my old one.

Phase Three: New block arrives, heads go off to Florida to be re-machined. Well, after two weeks I get a call from my mechanic saying one head could be done and the other couldn't. We find another head and that one goes to Florida to be re-machined. 3 weeks ago, we finally have all the parts in, mechanic calls, one cylinder head is perfect. The mechanic said the other cylinder head's cams didn't align quite right and would lead to unnecessary wear of the engine. Off to Florida that head goes again.

Phase Four: Currently. Right now we are waiting for the head to get back from Florida, probably in the next week or so. I trust the mechanic to do a good job, he rebuilt his own Subaru motor and is still driving it with well over 250,000 on the original body. Since the Subie took it's dump I have been borrowing vehicles and since moved from South Dakota back home to Minnesota, bought a house and my wife and I are starting new jobs in the next couple weeks. It has been a long road to say the least. The question now comes to me, what do I tell my mechanic? Of course I will let him finish it, he already has the warranty stuff processed so we just need to submit the final receipt once the work is complete. I trust him to do a good job and I know most the problems are not his fault necessarily. I just cannot help but wonder, after having my car for over 3 months now, if I should ask him for free labor, discounts, or just pay the bill in full. Like I said, insurance covers 1500, but with a total approaching 6000 it will still be hefty. Please let me know what you think is fair, I have been more than patient with the shop and they know I just want everything to work right, so I don't know how I should approach they're lack of planning on my vehicle.

Anyone else had situations this bad ? I feel like suing for punitive damages, I have taken so much bad rap for having a Subaru it is ridiculous and everytime someone asks me about my car I have to tell them, still in the shop....It is getting to the point where I don't know if I could buy another Subaru after this one. Please give me some advice, or help build my confidence!

Thanks in advance-

Joe
2004 Subaru Forester XT
 

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2001 sf6 now w/choo choo 4EAT
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511 Posts
6000 seems like waayyyyyyyyyy too much money. Write down what your mechanic says he is doing for 6000 and go ask another mechanic what they think. 6K just seems crazy to me. and 3 months....really! is that.
 

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Smooshed FOTY 2011
2005 Lifted 2.5 XT 5-Speed MT Dual-Range
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5,732 Posts
$6000-ish was the quote I received from the local dealer to replace my engine when I had the problems with mine. Instead of going that route, I took another......if you care to read (a lot) with tons of pics and a video, you can read through my nightmare thread on the whole matter and see if any similarities pop up.........

http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f115/4-month-nightmare-60081/
 

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471 Posts
^^that's a little disconcerting to see you recommend him to read through your "4 month nightmare" thread. lol! Sorry, had to say it.. :biggrin:
 

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2015 Forester X 6MT 6-Gear Manual
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1,373 Posts
You had to request a used car warranty?- up here its required on used vehicles and it would cover major powertrain componenets completely. Just make sure he's (your mechanic) is not charging you any extra storage or labour due to the delays involved from parts seaching and machining issues/ decisions HE made. If he works long and hard, he gets paid a reasonable and customary sum - if he makes a mistake, he has to take his own lumps for those. Good luck moving forward - seems like you had a busy 3 months!
 

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2004 Forester XT
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62 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies everyone. BlueFox, I have read through your 4 month nightmare and it seems our issues are similar. I know the guy is reputable, everyone in town knows and recommends him for foreign vehicle work and I have worked with him before. 6000 does sound a bit steep, but I do have him doing some other work while he is in there. New timing components, water pump, plugs, change ATF fluid, etc. I probably would have brought it to Minneapolis to get it worked on if I knew that it would have taken this long, but once he contacted the warranty company, the work has to be completed at his shop. Anyways, any other advice is highly appreciated, I don't want to get after him now, I have waited too long for him to just throw it together to get me off his back, I will let all the work be completed and then try to come to terms with the amount of time it has taken....I don't know, this is just so darn frustrating!

Thanks,

Joe
2004 Forester XT
 

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2008 Forester X Premium 5MT
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8,071 Posts
I am not sure where to start. $6,000 though not out of line for some of the shops in the MN/SD area, It is getting on the high end of those. I know from others the local dealers will charge about $6,000 - $9,000 and they sublet all the block/head work out. Via a independent shops we tend to see $4,500 - $6,000.

So I am not going to say the $6,000 price tag is out of line because it is not, these are shop prices you only have to write the check not turn a wrench. To me being in the area it sounds as if it is a price that is coming from a general repair shop that has to sublet most of the block and head work out to other shops. This adds to the cost as they pay for the work to be done and add a percentage on to that amount when they pass it on to you.

Minnesota has plenty of engine machine shops that are way more then qualified at repairing a set of heads. B & A Cylinder Head (763)427-7535 in **** Rapids, MN is the first one that comes to mind, does full on engine work too. There is no need to ship them off to Florida to be worked on. Now that raises a question, were the heads worth repairing? The bare heads list for about $570 each.

What it could have been done for or my chosen path/s:

So $1140 for the heads( left, right) plus about $250-300 for the assembly, set up and valve work, so $1440 for new unmolested heads ready to go.

I would suspect that the heads should only need minimal work. After all the failure was caused by a main, rod bearing, not a lack of oil supply. So I am not seeing where the heads should need any camshaft bearing journal repair. Only thing I would expect to see is a standard valve job and mill, all of $300-$500 for the pair.

For the short block(block, crankshaft, rods, piston) you can pick one up from the dealer for about $1900 assembled.

This leaves you with all the remaining peripherals:
-oil pump, I would go with the 2008+ STI 11mm oil pump for a replacement(higher relief pressure and more volume).
Part #15010AA360 MSRP $139.95 Price @ subarugenuineparts.com $102.44

-water pump, Autozone offers a aftermarket for around $60 which seems to be OK.

-Remaining timing belt items(tensioner, belt, idlers). OEM all they way, expect about $400 for these.

-Gasket set, OEM does great for the XT. Expect about $250

So in the end that leaves you with basic assembly.
If your heads are easily reworked ~$3200 in parts.
If your heads should have been trash ~4200 in parts.

There are a few other items to that should be added to that list like an oil cooler and other misc items <$400.

If it spun a bearing Replace the oil cooler as it will hold some of that debris and release it upon start up back into the freshly rebuilt engine. Also flush the crap out of the oil lines for the turbo.

As for labor at a shop I would also expect to see $500 - $800 for assembly of the new engine and ~$500 - $700 to remove the old one and install the new one.

Total labor:
$1000-$1500

Leaves you with:
-If your heads are easily reworked ~$3200 + <$400($3600) in parts and $1000 - $1500 labor equals $4600 - $5100.

-If your heads should have been trash ~4200 + <$400($4600) in parts and $1000 - $1500 labor equals $5600 - $6100.

So as you can see when it is broken down it is not horribly out of line but does put it on the high end of it. With out knowing why the heads were sent out to be repaired and what parts were/are being used it leaves a lot of room for error in my break down. There are also some ways to lower the parts cost a little by leaving out the STI oil pump in my break down and going with just disassembling yours and cleaning it. I would reuse any of the timing belt items as I believe you said you were at 90K and the belt is due for service at 105K.

The length of time you have been waiting for the mechanic I would say is unacceptable. As long as the dealer can get a short block in a reasonable time. There is no reason the rest of the work should take any more then a week maybe two to completion.

Here are a few shops you could call for second opinions on the quotes.
- David Wray Auto - Dependable Auto Repair – Imports & Domestics Very active in the MNSubaru.com community.
-B & A Cylinder Head (763)427-7535 in **** Rapids, MN. ask for Matt
- RS Motors Inc. - Dyno tuning, diagnostic, performance in Burnsville, MN 55337 55306 minneapolis twin cities ask for Ron
 

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2004 Forester XT
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62 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Wow, that breakdown is awesome, I really appreciate the time you put into that and it gives me a better idea as far as what is going on and how much things typically cost. I do know that the mechanic got a new block from Subaru and I have been in the shop and was able to watch them put the first cylinder head on. The mechanic said the heads had to go to Clearwater Heads in Florida because Watertown, SD does not have a machine shop for heads that or DOHC, something different about them but I don't remember the terminology. He said he had used them before and had really good luck with them, so maybe he was just afraid to try somewhere else like Minneapolis when he doesn't know the shops around here. I did look into new heads, but he seemed to think re-machined would be the best way to go with one of my heads workable. I guess at this point in time, it would probably be best if I just let him finish the work and make sure everything is working to 100 percent and then talk to him about the amount of time it has taken and see if he can cut a better price. Thanks for the great replies and any more advice is appreciated.

-Joe
2004 Subaru Forester XT
 

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Premium Member
2008 Forester X Premium 5MT
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8,071 Posts
So are you in MN now or are you still in the process of moving?

As I said the price is high but not out of line. To many times people forget that labor is a large chunk in a repair bill at a shop. It is even easier to forget the labor with many forum members being DIYer who only look at parts cost.

On the subject of parts costs I would check what you are being charged vs. what you could have sourced them for from a place like www.subarupartsforyou.com and SubaruGenuineParts.com || Where Genuine is Better! . The prices from these two places are what I would consider fair market prices and what you should be getting charged. I would also be curious what the cost for the head repair is and what was all done.
 

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2004 Forester XT
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62 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Yup, I am in Minnesota now. Actually, I am probably no more than maybe 5 miles from you. My wife and I are staying with my folks right on the corner of Hanson and 242 until we close at the end of May on a house in Nowthen. I will check out the prices at the sites you gave me and let you know what I find out. Again, I really appreciate everyone's help on here and look forward to getting my car back so I can be a real member of this forum!

-Joe

2004 Subaru Forester XT
 

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2004 Forester XT
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62 Posts
Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Well folks, here we are....

Let me know what your thinking. This is the final bill, I am thinking about how I should approach negotiating with the company....



Mileage
91542
Terms
CASH
Technician
KED
We appreciate your business, Thank you!
Total
Quantity Description Rate Amount
TOW 50.00 50.00T
SUBARU SHORTBLOCK 2,200.00 2,200.00T
TIMING COMPONENT KIT 261.92 261.92T
2 HEAD GASKETS 85.96 171.92T
TIMING BELT 119.02 119.02T
INTAKE MANIFOLD SET 95.68 95.68T
PLENUM GASKETS 38.97 38.97T
VALVE COVER GASKETS 99.42 99.42T
EXHAUST GASKETS 20.60 20.60T
NEW LEFT INTAKE CAMSHAFT 199.95 199.95T
USED CYLINDER HEAD 425.00 425.00T
2 REMAN CYLINDER HEADS 385.00 770.00T
2 FREIGHT ON CYLINDER HEADS 70.00 140.00T
CAM SPROCKET 93.62 93.62T
VALVE TIMING SOLENOID 121.20 121.20T
NEW WATER PUMP 189.08 189.08T
THERMOSTAT 11.34 11.34T
NEW OIL PUMP 179.95 179.95T
4 SPARK PLUG 14.95 59.80T
1 OIL SEAL 8.57 8.57T
2 OIL SEAL -- CAM IN 15.95 31.90T
2 OIL SEAL -- CAM EX 15.96 31.92T
2 O-RING 5.93 11.86T
4 CYLINDER HEAD PLUG 6.27 25.08T
OIL COOLER GASKET 12.04 12.04T
4 GASKET 1.54 6.16T
5 QUARTS OF OIL 3.00 15.00T
OIL FILTER 7.50 7.50T
2 ANTIFREEZE 12.50 25.00T
1 POWER STEERING FLUID 2.95 2.95T
LICENSE LIGHT BULB 1.25 1.25T
PARK LIGHT BULB 1.25 1.25T
6 HOSE CLAMPS 1.25 7.50T
Page 1
Invoice
Date
5/4/2010
Invoice #
5695
Bill To


Mileage
91542
Terms
CASH
Technician
KED
We appreciate your business, Thank you!
Total
Quantity Description Rate Amount
1.5 SYNTHETIC REAR DIFF LUBE 16.93 25.40T
SHOP SUPPLIES 25.00 25.00T
SHOP LABOR TO REPLACE ENGINE WITH SUBARU REMAN SHORTBLOCK &
REMAN CYLINDER HEADS, ASSEMBLE & INSTALL, CHECK OVER.
19 69.32 1,317.08T
04 SUBARU FORESTER
JF1SG69634H739620
AUTHORIZATION#808011
GAS FILL
REAR DIFF FLUID
6.00% 408.18
Page 2
$7,211.11


I know it is way too much, but when they started, they processed the warranty which essentially locks them into finishing the job. I get to apply a whopping 1500 dollars to it so my grand total will be down around 5600 or so. Let me know what you folks would recommend. I am just tired of it all.

Thanks

Joe

2004 Subaru Forester XT
 

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2004 Forester XT
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62 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Anybody? I have been going through some of these items and it seems their markup is rather high. I know they need to make money on parts, but it seems a bit high...
 

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Premium Member
2004 Forester 4EAT
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5,462 Posts
I would start with telling him you will pay no more than dealer retail for oem parts. We all know that the shops get significant discounts on parts.
 

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2004 Forester XT
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62 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Good idea, I was wondering how to go about the discussing the markup on the prices he gave me. I know he has to make money on parts, but I think with the amount of time that I have waited for my car to be done and how patient I have been with him, he should be willing to give me a bit more of a discount, especially on parts. I think I will write down all the parts costs as I found them on Subaru OEM website and find out the reason why he marked them the way he did and see if he can adjust the prices.
 
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