Can I help my mom get Subaru to help replace her engine?

My mom has a 2006 Subaru Outback Turbo, and her engine crapped out and now needs to be replaced. It’s been quoted to her at $7k from the shop at the dealership, the only place that will take the job in her area of Freeport, Maine. She’s taken great care of it, has all the documentation of oil changes, etc. It’s got 84k miles, and apparently the part the broke, the cam shaft, was only on warranty till 60k miles. The check engine light went on a few weeks ago, but she got it checked and the diagnostic said it was fine.

It seems ridiculous to me that an engine should crap out like it did in a young car that was cared for well. What are the chances of Subaru taking some responsibility for this car’s failure and footing some of the bill? As a non-car owner, I don’t know how to advise her on this… thoughts? Thank you for any input!

The engine is out of warranty by 24k miles. You have an uphill battle here. The first thing to try it to talk to the local dealer to see if they can offer some goodwill by lowering the cost. If you can’t get anywhere with the dealer, look in the owners manual for the zone office and plead your case to them. Always be polite, they may want to help you to keep their good name and reputation. They may also have a known issue with these and want to quietly take care of it. They may also say no, but it is worth trying.

Google “used Japanese engines” and “Used Subaru Engines” and see what you can come up with…Here is one site I came up with…

Fill in the blanks…You need to get a price quote from a local Subaru shop (not the dealer) or even a side-job mechanic who is willing to tackle it to remove and replace the engine…I would have the mechanic you choose be in on the engine buying process…If you go this route, I would replace the clutch at this time also, since everything is opened up…Same for the timing belt on the replacement engine, since that will be an unknown…

To avoid problems, the replacement engine should be the EXACT same model motor as what is in your mom’s car…

What needs to be known to us is exactly what broke. The odds of a cam breaking are as close to zero as it gets. The odds of a cam belt snapping are far higher and this can lead to cylinder head damage.
Any chance this is what happened?

If a camshaft really broke (as in snapped in two) there are really only 2 reasons for this. One is a metallurgical failure due to a fault in the steel. Two is the possibility of a camshaft seizure due to lack of oil, with the lack being due to not checking the oil level and allowing it to run out or engine sludging due to not changing the oil often enough.

There is no CEL for a broken or even failing camshaft.

Find out the exact details about what broke and post back with those details.

I would have her call SOA and complain if she has nice stack of receipts or servicing at dealership. They may foot part of bill. Subaru customers are very loyal folks and Subaru knows and thrives off this. They like to retain them in their target markets.

If you were closer to the Seacoast of NH I could highly recommend a shop.

Too Bad It Doesn’t Have The GM 5 Year / 100,000 Mile Drive Train Warranty. If This Happened Through No Fault Of The Owner, It’d Be Covered.

Some car manufacturers give these outstanding warranties, GM Being one of them.

This information could be helpful to the mom and child who will probably be replacing this vehicle at some point, possibly much sooner than originally planned.
Others read these posts too, as when the offended party made comment.
1/2/10 - Edited by CSA to be more polite.


Call Engine World in Turnersville NJ best place Iv’e ever used, very fair & honest, ask for Paul tell him Tom recommended him.

New Jersey is quite a ways away from Maine.

My questions to kfocus are what did the CEL tell you was wrong? Who said the car was fine? dealership? atuozone? independent mechanic?
You might have a very tiny, very slim chance of the shop who diagnosed the CEL as fine as being liable for the engine. But without knowing who diagnosed it and what was wrong, your chances don’t look very good.

I don’t see SOA getting involved in this and certainly not providing a Good Will warranty unless there were some very special extenuating circumstances behind this problem.
My dealings with SOA as a tech and shop foreman is one reason why I trust them about as far as I can throw this PC and the desk that it’s sitting on.

Documentation of oil changes means what? How often and by whom?
At this point the diagnosis of a broken cam shaft is second hand info that is related to us by someone who does not own the car and it’s quite possible this diagnosis has been incorrectly passed on.
So I ask again OP. Clear up the muddy water here.

Since you didn’t rate it, I guess you ignored Caddyman’s advice. Unless Subaru suffers a great outpouring of altruism, you are out of luck on that front. Subaru will not help you because they don’t have to help you. Helping you implies that there is a problem with the car. Behind you are maybe a thousand Subaru owners with the same problem. Helping your mom with her car is an admission that the car is defective.
There is no way that is going to happen.
Read Caddyman’s answer again.

This is not a constructive post and does nothing but insult the original poster. We need to try being constructive in these situations. Usually Caddyman does this type of thing and i’m happy to see here that he managed to restrain himself.

A dealership is probably the most expensive place to get it fixed

In all likelihood, there is more to this story…A broken cam in a stock passenger car engine is so rare an event it’s almost impossible…A far more likely event is that the timing belt broke, destroying the engine…How did the dealer determine the cam was broken? Have they partially torn down the engine? Ask them to show it to you…Is the car at the dealership now? Was lack of oil in the engine a factor in this event?

Before you start replacing the engine, you need to be SURE yours can’t be repaired…

I agree 100%. Are you sure the term “Cam belt” wasn’t used or may have been used by the mechanic to describe the problem to the service writer who then further confused that into camshaft?

The camshafts are a lousy 8" long and it’s impossible for me to believe that one of them broke in half or even snapped a lobe off.

So mechanic talks to service writer who talks to mom who talks to the Op who talks to us…

There’s no doubt a fair amount of changed story in that tale. Either way, the car is 24k miles out and if every car maker covered every problem for every car owner that wanted a Mulligan there wouldn’t be any car makers to provide any warranty at all.

Hopefully the OP will find out the details and provide them, although on this forum that’s something I don’t hold my breath over.

I Agree That A Part Of My Comment May Have Offended, But Too Many Folks Are Lead To Believe That Certain Makes / Models Are Not Vulnerable To Breaking And Don’t Pay Enough Attention To Meager Warranties Provided.

If all the makes and models are as reliable as promoted and consumers begin to believe they are, why is it that all these car manufacturers don’t include at least 100,000 mile / 5 year warranty ?

To me, the way Subaru, Toyota, and Honda, for example, are boasted up, you’d think it would cost the manufacturer practically nothing to throw in a decent warranty of at least 100,000 miles / 5 years (the GM standard and) or perhaps a 150,000 / 7 year warranty to show their perceived superior reliability is reality based.

Doesn’t Hyundai furnish a 100,000 mile / 7 year warranty ? I call that “putting one’s money where their mouth is.”

Anyhow, my comments are meant to inform and help people who read this information, not insult. It adds balance to some of the other information presented.

We see over and over again, on this site, all kinds of people in total disbelief when their Asian cars suffer catastrophic break downs shortly after their short warranties expire. Some bought these cars thinking that this just doesn’t happen.

I’ll bet that Subaru will extend warranty coverage (at no cost) to these good folks when they present all of their service documentation. After it’s taken care of then they’d be in a position to replace it with another vehicle, perhaps one with a longer warranty included. That’s my point, to inform not all warranties are equal and not all cars are immune to breaking.


The truth is this particular engine (2.5xt and Legacy GT) using a 2.5L turbo was only sold in this exact configuration from 2005-2009. Subaru maybe sold maybe 15,000 tops. The failure point is not what she posted. A common failure point due to a poor design in 2005 and part of 2006 is the turbo due to a small mesh screen in front of turbo in oil inlet that plugs with sludge/debris and starves the turbo of oil and causes it to fail. This especially happens with lax oil changes even once.

The turbo failure if ignored in noise or check engine light actually introduces metal debris as it falls apart that gets into the lower block of motor. At that point the entire lower end needs replacing beyond the turbo.

By your own statements you are 24k out of warranty. And out of warranty is just that. But should you pursue Subaru best of luck but don’t hold your breath.

Hyundai actually has a 10y/100k warranty