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Old 04-25-2012, 05:08 PM   #1
Bshing
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Default Subaru head gasket repair went way wrong

I have a 2000 Subaru that started smoking white and took it in for repair. It had a cylinder 4 misfire code and the mechanic said it was a classic sign of a head gasket problem. The guy is known as a Subaru Guru locally and said he could do the repair including the machining of the head gasket for $1,400.00. I picked up my car 2 weeks later and had problems almost immediately with a knocking noise so I brought it back in. All 4 mechanics came outside to listen and had a look of horror on their face. The owner said he feared the worst, that a rod went through the engine. He said sometiems when your repair the top part the bottom can't handle it and that happens. I left the car with him and he said he would look into it. That was two weeks ago and today he called and said they had the oil analyized and it showed bearing parts in the oil. He said radiator fluid probably went where it should not have and caused a bearing to sieze up. Now he is saying it will cost $2,000.00 more to repair and he doesn't think it is worth it because there could be more damage to the engine. He said he could "help" me on the labor and look for another engine to put in the car. As it sits I have been without a vehicle for 5 weeks and am looking at significantly more money to throw at a used engine that even the mechanic says is a gamble unless he buys it from someone he knows. Any thoughts appreciated, what do I do? I am already out $1,400.00 I didn't have in the first place to spend on this vehicle. Does this sound legit, can it happen, or am I being fed a line?
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Old 04-25-2012, 05:42 PM   #2
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Really sorry OP. That really sounds like a raw deal.

How long did it overheat the first time the head gasket blew? Did you stop right when the gauge got hot or did it drive a while while hot?

Where do you live?
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Old 04-25-2012, 05:50 PM   #3
Bshing
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I live in Columbus, OH. The car never oveheated. I asked if it was okay to drive it and the mechanic said as long as there was coolant (shortly after the engine light came on and the white smoke, I was not driving it that way so I called him about looking at it). He said the fact that the engine temp light didn't come on did not matter because it could have an air pocket over the sensor and the sensor needed fluid going over it to read an overtemp situation. If it had an air pocket it would read normal. I saw the tem guage go up on the way to bringing it in and immediately pulled over and had AAA tow it. Never saw the radiator overheat, steam, nothing. Mechanic never told me this could possibly happen, it I would have know that I may not have spent the money. He said it is extremely rare. So it never overheated before I brought it in. He checked the oil for coolant before he worked on it and did not see any on the dipstick. knock .Within 30 miles of leaving the shop a loud knocking sound cane from the engine, which could be heard at low revolution but not high rpm. I immediately called the mechanic and he told be to drive the car back to the shop..

Last edited by Bshing; 04-25-2012 at 06:20 PM. Reason: Incorrect info
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Old 04-25-2012, 05:56 PM   #4
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Find a new mechanic.
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Old 04-25-2012, 05:59 PM   #5
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Your mechanic is making excuses. Being that they had the heads off they would have needed to properly bleed/fill the cooling system before handing the car back to you.

I have a sneaking suspicion they fucked up and want you to pay for their mistake.
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Old 04-25-2012, 06:04 PM   #6
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Did they drain the oil during this service? I had a head gasket go and not catch it in time... basically filled the whole bottom end with oil and coolant soup.... Mechanic said that he would not replace the head gasket as the bottom end was probably trashed too and that if I found a motor, he's swap it in...

Sounds like your mechanic failed to check the obvious.
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Old 04-25-2012, 06:11 PM   #7
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They should have never repaired that motor in that condition. You got screwed it sounds like. At best you could file a small claims suit against them if you could have a mechanic look it over and prove negligence on their part. I'm not even sure if that's possible.
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Old 04-26-2012, 04:17 AM   #8
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The fluid would only have "gone where it shouldn't" if the mechanic effed up the gasket install.

The "(repairing the top) and the bottom can't handle it" is utter bullshit, too, IMHO.
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Old 04-26-2012, 06:10 AM   #9
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that mechanic has to eat some of it, if not all of it.

You take off the heads, you should check everything. Either he overlooked something or he forgot to do something.

Even Guru's can screw up and at $1400, it isn't exactly a good price for both headgaskets. Many times ive heard about $800-1000 is the good solid number. Thats NA 2.5L subie motors scare me sometimes, just cause i'm not used to it.
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Old 04-26-2012, 06:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WackyDan View Post
Did they drain the oil during this service? I had a head gasket go and not catch it in time... basically filled the whole bottom end with oil and coolant soup.... Mechanic said that he would not replace the head gasket as the bottom end was probably trashed too and that if I found a motor, he's swap it in...

Sounds like your mechanic failed to check the obvious.

X2 If the oil wasn't changed when the headgaskets were replaced, I'd say it's on them. Coolant circulating in an engine will wipe out bearings quickly.
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:34 AM   #11
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Isn't Eric The Car Guy somewhere in his woods? Call him and see if he would willing to look in to this.
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Old 04-26-2012, 10:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InfinitySquared View Post
The fluid would only have "gone where it shouldn't" if the mechanic effed up the gasket install.

The "(repairing the top) and the bottom can't handle it" is utter bullshit, too, IMHO.
The engine was blowing white smoke, fluid had already "gone where it shouldn't" long before the mechanic touched the engine.

Of course that point should have been obvious to the mechanic. Water / antifreeze wrecks the soft metal in the bearings. It doesn't lube correctly so you get metal to metal contact add in corrosion and from there it is all over.

Oil + coolant soup = at the very least new bearings. Assuming the bearings had not spun, the the rods and crank would have been fine to be machined and reused. The cams / rockers might also have been suspect.
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Old 04-26-2012, 04:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bshing View Post
I have a 2000 Subaru that started smoking white and took it in for repair. It had a cylinder 4 misfire code and the mechanic said it was a classic sign of a head gasket problem. The guy is known as a Subaru Guru locally and said he could do the repair including the machining of the head gasket for $1,400.00. I picked up my car 2 weeks later and had problems almost immediately with a knocking noise so I brought it back in. All 4 mechanics came outside to listen and had a look of horror on their face. The owner said he feared the worst, that a rod went through the engine. He said sometiems when your repair the top part the bottom can't handle it and that happens. I left the car with him and he said he would look into it. That was two weeks ago and today he called and said they had the oil analyized and it showed bearing parts in the oil. He said radiator fluid probably went where it should not have and caused a bearing to sieze up. Now he is saying it will cost $2,000.00 more to repair and he doesn't think it is worth it because there could be more damage to the engine. He said he could "help" me on the labor and look for another engine to put in the car. As it sits I have been without a vehicle for 5 weeks and am looking at significantly more money to throw at a used engine that even the mechanic says is a gamble unless he buys it from someone he knows. Any thoughts appreciated, what do I do? I am already out $1,400.00 I didn't have in the first place to spend on this vehicle. Does this sound legit, can it happen, or am I being fed a line?
I have a strong suspicion that the mechanic screwed up.

Did you check the obvious on whether there was even oil in the car after the original rebuild? Getting a spun bearing usually means lack of oil or coolant in oil, especially so if it occurs immediately after a rebuild and within minutes starting the engine.

Any competent mechanic would drain the oil and coolant on before replacing the headgasket. IF there was coolant in the oil system they should have contacted you about the possibility of bottom end damage.

Seems like they did the minimal and blamed your original problem as the cause of the bottom end noise when it wasn't originally there when the headgasket blew.

I would look into small claims.
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:57 PM   #14
Hugo Drax
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You got ripped on the job. 1400 bucks for that repair on an engine that old. You could have had for about 1700-1900 bucks a remanufactured engine dropped in. (checked prices)

Due diligence people, always do a little due diligence before getting into any business transaction.

Last edited by Hugo Drax; 04-26-2012 at 10:01 PM. Reason: checked prices
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