Help diagnosing subaru motor blow up

Subaru motor issue. My brother just broke down and is being towed. He bought a 2005 Impreza with high mileage and a new timing belt. Had his mechanic look it over before making a cross county trip. Had car 4 days and got 2 hours into the trip before this happened “Well, we were driving using cruise and it was making a weird noise and the rpm was high. So I took it out of cruise control and just thought the mph wasn’t shifting it. Then the check engine light flashed and it started making a noise. We threw on the flashers and drove it for as long as we could to the next exit. It would go like 20 max and then it totally stopped running. Engine was smoking. Won’t turn over.” Wondering if the new timing belt wasn’t dialed in correctly which caused motor to lose compression and potentially blow head gasket or a host of other issues… not a mechanic. Anyone else run into this?

Good possibility the belt broke again.If this is an interference engine(most engines are) you’ll be in for a large repair bill. Hope not!

Sounds like he ran it out of oil or antifrezse and kept driving until the engine seized. When your engine starts making a weird noise, the first thing to do is pull over ,shut it off and check the oil. A flashing check engine light means a bad misfire, shut it down now or risk damaging the engine.

That would be my guess as well.

I agree that a loss of engine oil (or–possibly–coolant) was the likely cause of this engine’s demise. Continuing to drive with a flashing CEL is a pretty sure formula for major repair costs.

The good news is that you’ll end up with a new engine or good used engine with low miles instead of a worn engine. Rent a car and continue your trip and pick the car up on the way back with a new engine. Been there.

If by “wasn’t dialed in correctly”, you mean “wasn’t installed correctly”, that’s a possibility I suppose. But timing belt problems are usually binary. Either a new timing belt install works correctly, or it doesn’t. If there was a timing belt problem during the install, the symptoms wouldn’t usually be for the engine to run well for hundreds of miles then fail. I concur with the others, more likely this is something besides the timing belt. Oil or coolant problems my guess.

My guess is run out of oil and threw a rod. The car was high mileage anyway.

Combined with smoke from under the hood and the following comment from your original post I’d say there’s a rod or two protruding from the block.

CEL on, making noise, and the above is not what should be done.

That sounds promising, who pays for this? A warranty on a 13 year old car is unlikely. People that drive $4000 cars generally can’t afford a $5000 repair.

I’m curious, how much did it cost to have him towed? And to where? a hospital?

1 Like

OP never said how many miles are on car. 200k? was timing belt changed as a maintenance task or to repair a broken timing belt? usually when the car will not maintain speed at prior rpm on the highway than that is 1st warning sign something is wrong. motor is down on power?

It sounds to me like the car went into “limp mode”, which would be pretty consistent with a flashing CEL.

1 Like

Oil and/or coolant, too.