Subaru carrier bearing pry bar fix

subaru

#1

The subaru dealership, on friday, installed the 4th (!) driveshaft on my 2001 subaru forester. This is a new one, they say. I posted on 2-23 about the rebuilt drive shaft saga (subaru forester drive shaft or viscous coupler), and received some very helpful feedback. There is a full description of the symptoms on that post. It seemed like the problem was the carrier bearing thunking on the car’s frame - a wobble that refused to go away.



Now, with a new drive shaft I have a persistent smell of burning rubber and a buzzing sound / vibration at highway speeds when I let off the accelerator to maintain speed (e.g. 65 mph).



My boyfriend (mechanically literate) wanted to take a look, so he jacked up the car and was somewhat appalled. He photographed, and described, a gouge in the car’s frame next to where the carrier bearing of the drive shaft runs through and an adjascent gouge / flattening of the carrier bearing housing. It looks like they took a pry bar (or tool handle - some flat piece of metal) and pried the carrier bearing away from one side to increase the distance between the car’s frame and the CB.



I wondered why they would do such a thing, as this looks like it damaged the CB, flattening it on one side. My boyfriend thought that it probably still klunked after they installed the new one, and the service director told the mechanic to do whatever to make the klunking go away to get me off their back.



Based on experience with the dealership (my car), the BF is highly suspicious of them and their competence.



What do you think?


#2

I agree with your boyfriend 100%.


#3

Well, thanks ok4450 for the reply. I don’t know what to do now… wait for it to fail or have a competent mechanic assess the current state of things. Do you have a likely prognosis? thanks - sue


#4

I don’t remember all of the details from the first post but if a franchised Subaru dealership changed (allegedly changed) the driveshaft 4 times I have to question their competence.

JMHO here, but you might consider trying this. Contact the Subaru regional office and explain the situation. Be very polite in your dealings with them but express disappointment with this problem not being cured by the dealer.
SOA (Subaru of America) cannot force the dealer to do anything but they can make an inquiry and apply a little pressure.
There is a chance that SOA could go in and perform what is called a “good will warranty” for you and cover the entire cost while providing a genuine, new Subaru driveshaft.
SOA might take a dim view of a Subaru dealer using an outsourced, rebuilt driveshaft anyway.

Another plus for you is that their regional office for Colorado (which I vaguely remember you mentioning northern CO) is actually in Aurora, CO so that makes it close to home.
(Remember, keep it polite with them).


#5
Dealers are no better (or worse) than independent mechanics for almost anything you might need done on your car.  They will almost always charge more per hour and often more for parts and supplies.  They also tend to look at repairs a little different than the independent. 

A dealer may well recommend work that strictly may not be needed, but could be connected to the problem or maybe replace a part when a little repair would fix it ALMOST as good a new.  

There is no need to bring your car to the dealer for any service other than service that is going to be paid for by a recall or original warrantee.  During the warranty period be sure to document all maintenance work.

I suggest that most people would be better off finding a good independent (Not working for a chain) mechanic.

#6

Since you already paid to have this fixed they will correct the problem free of charge for 1yr/12,000 miles on repair for warranty/labor. Go back as uneasy as you feel and let them finish. Most dealerships have master techs(seasoned hopefully) and newbies. It all depends on who worked on your car that day.

If you get no satisfaction with their new fix go to SOA. Don’t burn up the relationship without giving them a chance to correct their likely problem.


#7

Thank you all for the suggestions and insights on dealership shops. In the recent past this dealership had a good reputation (it used to be listed on this website’s recommended mechanics). It is a hassle dealing with them now - and I am VERY polite and have usually given them the benefit of the doubt. I hate going in there time after time with this thing not being right - and wonder if they misdiagnosed the problem to begin with. I can tell they hate hearing from me (whereas for years, we had a great relationship - but then I gave them lots of $$).Now I am costing them $$. Thanks, again! Sue


#8

I remember your original posting Sue and am sorry to hear you are having so much trouble with this. I hope Subaru can help you out with the problem. This is a very unusual problem for a Soob and it looks like the problem is still there from what you stated. Just acting a little different now.


#9

Thanks for the kind wishes, Cougar. It’s been hugely time consuming and frustrating. I think I’ll compile all the evidence (who did what when), along with the recent photo of the carrier bearing “fix” and provide this to the dealership and to SOA. I’ll be taking the advice to go to a non-dealer/chain mechanic from now on. Thanks, all, for all the thoughtful input! Sue


#10

This is an old post, but just to update the saga - I took my car to an independent subaru mechanic after the 4th drive shaft (which I was told was a “new” one that had been redesigned). The subie mechanic said that the dealership shop had installed the wrong driveshaft, which was causing some of the immediate problems because it didn’t fit correctly. Anyway, that will be repaired this week and then if there are other related problems, we’ll go from there. Geesh.


#11

Sue–Have your mechanic document everything, take photographs, make photocopies of everything, send one set of documents and photos with a cover letter to SOA and bring the other set to the owner of the dealership. There is no reason for you to have to bear the expense of having an independent mechanic correct the screw-ups of the dealership’s service department.


#12

Thank you for the advice, VDCdriver. I’m taking my soobie into the independent shop on Wednesday to have the work done. I did get documentation of the wrong drive shaft having been installed. I had already written a letter documenting the history of the problems with service at the dealership, along with photos of the pry-bar damage to the carrier bearing and sent these to the dealership owner and SOA’s SW regional office. I also filed a complaint with the local BBB. I have not heard back from anyone. At that point I didn’t know that the wrong drive shaft had been installed. So, yes, I think it’s only fair that the dealership cover the costs of having someone do it correctly. I did appreciate all of the input from the folks on this listserve - it helped me figure out what was going on. Should I offer to return the incorrect driveshaft to the dealer?


#13

Unfortunately, most people have a very incorrect idea of what the BBB can do and/or will do.

If the business in question is not a paid-up member of the local BBB (yes, it collects dues from businesses that wish to hang up the BBB placque), then the BBB will do absolutely nothing, other than to keep a record of your complaint. Clearly that does nothing for you, personally.

If the business in question is a paid-up member, then they will be contacted by the local BBB and will be asked to satisfy your complaint. What is the penalty for the business if they do not satisfy you? Nothing, absolutely nothing–other than to keep a record of the failure to satisfy you.

If there are repeated failures to satisfy customers, then the BBB can exercise their only actual power–and that is to refuse to accept the business’s dues for the following year, and not sell the business a new placque to hang on the wall. Harsh, huh?

Since the BBB has no actual regulatory or punitive power, you would be far better off using the agency that really does have some clout, namely your local Consumer Affairs office. In most areas, this is a county-run agency, or it could be state-run, or in the case of large municipalities, it could be run by a city.

You would be far more likely to actually get relief from the Office of Consumer Affairs than from the club known as the BBB.