PLEASE, I am desparate for help!

My 1995 AWD Subaru Legacy is now beginning its THIRD week at a lousy repair shop. Unfortunately, it overheated when I was too far from my usual, wonderful repair shop to risk driving there. It turns out that I had a cracked radiator and a broken water pump. It took them two weeks to get all the parts including a timing belt “tightener”. Now, they say when they got everything back together, it wouldn’t start. There were NO starting problems before even after the overheating. Supposedly, it has something to do with the “cam” (sorry, I know very little about cars) and it needed to be replaced. That was as of yesterday and I haven’t heard anything. I would love to have an idea or suggestion when I have to call once again. I want my car out of that place as soon as possible. I love her and miss her terribly.

I hate to ask this, but is yours the first Subaru this shop has ever worked on? If sure sounds like it.

There should be no problem obtaining parts for this car, and replacing the parts you mentioned is not rocket science. I replaced the timing belt on my '96 Legacy at home in my garage in a few hours.

Correctly aligning the camshafts when the timing belt is installed is necessary for the engine to run, but it is not difficult, assuming you have the 2.2 liter engine, which only has one camshaft per cylinder bank.

Can you find out what the “problem” with the camshaft(s) is?

Unfortunately, I would be more likely to get information from a giraffe. These people have never called me once. Yesterday, when I made the 30 minute drive down there, I even had the owner stand there and tell me that he would personally call me last night to give me and update. I’m still waiting.

Don’t blame the shop just yet.

There’s a lot of missing info here.
Just how far did you drive this car while it was overheating?

“Broken” water pump? What else was taken out by the broken pump? Timing belt?
Which engine do you have in this car?

With a broken water pump and busted radiator it’s possible that with a new radiator and water pump, once refilled with coolant, that coolant could be pouring into the cylinders past blown head gaskets. I’ve seen this a number of times, and yes it can cause an engine not to start.

The car has a temp gauge and once it heads upwards this means you stop then and there and go no further, much less drive it to a shop.

I’m not defending the shop over the length of time here, but if this engine has major problems causing it not to start, and the no-start is not caused by an improperly installed timing belt, then those problems were caused by you.

Three weeks? Regardless of what is wrong with the car, The owner deserves quality updates periodically from the shop and it sounds like it isn’t happening. IMHO this is a good indication they don’t know what they are doing.

Call the Better Bisiness burrow in that area and see if there are any complaints. Are they a AAA approved facility? If so you have someone in your corner to help.

If you read my post, I’m not condoning their having the car for 3 weeks and the OP still does not know what’s going on with it.

The shop SHOULD have a general idea in one day.

I for one would still like to know the details behind the problem. The details would help in trying to determine if the engine has a problem that was caused by the OP and the entire exercise is a waste of time and money.

Has the mileage on this car been revealed? One of the more important details…

I can’t answer your question, but 30 minutes is nothing to tow the thing out of there into a shop you trust at home. You may have to pay them to get the car but put it on Visa so you can contest it, and spend $100 to tow it out of there. At least three times I have been towed that far just to get it to a place I could deal with it and never been sorry.


A couple of years ago I had a car towed 500 miles from the middle of no-place to my own mechanic. Dealing with a shop you don’t know/trust is no fun.