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Old 10-16-2013, 07:09 PM   #1
samandw
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Default 2013 Impreza 2.0i Manual Steering Malfunction

Hello Friends,

I recently ordered a 2013 Impreza 2.0i from the factory with every option I wanted, including the manual transmission. I'm experiencing a serious safety defect with the power steering and would like to determine if it's unique to my car. Here's what happens:

1. Get in car.
2. Depress Clutch, release parking brake.
3. Start car.

If the car even moves a HAIR, when the engine comes to life, and the power steering powers on, it LOCKS THE STEERING WHEEL IN PLACE. You have to actually overpower the power steering to turn the wheel. If the car rolls prior to starting, it does it every time. It illuminates the power steering malfunction light while this is occurring, it continues for several seconds, and then everything returns to normal. Being a relatively fit male in my early 30's, I can overpower it, but I suspect some individuals would find themselves completely unable to turn the steering wheel. Note, this is not a mechanical lock in the steering column, nor is it "dry steering". The power steering is actively on, opposing any change in direction of the wheel, instead of assisting it.

About 6/10 times, the following operation will also create the malfunction:

1. Get in car.
2. Depress clutch.
3. Depress brake firmly.
4. Release parking brake.
5. Start car.

Would someone with a manual trans in a similar model Impreza be willing to find a gentle slope in a clear area and repeat the first set of operations for me?

So far, Subaru is refusing to address my concerns, but I'm getting my lawyer and the AG involved soon . . .
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Old 10-16-2013, 07:27 PM   #2
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So you are saying that you took it in to a dealer and they told you they refuse to look at it? Interesting.
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Old 10-16-2013, 07:38 PM   #3
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No, the dealer looked at it, pulled the codes, and basically told me Subaru said "that's what it's supposed to do". In my conversation with the dealer tech, he (off-record) agreed it was an engineering error. The dealer seems to be doing the best they can, but Subaru won't support any kind of action to actually FIX it.
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Old 10-16-2013, 07:47 PM   #4
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Ok, your wording was very poor.

Before any dealership service advisor/technician tells you "that is what it's supposed to do" they need to explain in detail to you, how they came to that conclusion and wh it is such. If the technician told you off the record(not that there is one as he is not the media) there is an engineering error, then he needs to tell you why. It is his job to diagnose the vehicle, verify if it is a normal or operating as designed concern, or fix it if it is not normal. If he can't then he gets techline involved and they elevate it up the chain.

I would never tell a customer that vague of an answer nor should it be acceptable to get that kind of answer.
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Old 10-16-2013, 10:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackfang View Post
Ok, your wording was very poor. Before any dealership service advisor/technician tells you "that is what it's supposed to do" they need to explain in detail to you, how they came to that conclusion and wh it is such. If the technician told you off the record(not that there is one as he is not the media) there is an engineering error, then he needs to tell you why. It is his job to diagnose the vehicle, verify if it is a normal or operating as designed concern, or fix it if it is not normal. If he can't then he gets techline involved and they elevate it up the chain. I would never tell a customer that vague of an answer nor should it be acceptable to get that kind of answer.

Not to mention id question a mechanic claiming "engineering" errors.
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Old 10-17-2013, 01:10 AM   #6
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That's exactly what happened. They got the techline involved and the techline blew them off. I determined it was an engineering error, and the mechanic agreed . . . and I have a degree in engineering and a decade of grease under my fingernails. The dealer tried to do exactly what you said, but the techline told the dealer this is "normal".

*Note: I said "Subaru", not "Subaru Dealer". I've been contacting Subaru myself, in addition to talking with the dealer.
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Old 10-17-2013, 02:05 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by samandw View Post
I determined it was an engineering error, and the mechanic agreed . . . and I have a degree in engineering and a decade of grease under my fingernails.
No offense, but did you design that transmission? Did the tech who inspected that car? hell, is that tech an engineer? Did either of you pull the transmission apart to even diagnose what the "engineering" defect is? The answer to all of the above is no.

So you know two things for sure.

It is NOT an engineering defect, as it would be present in every car using that same configuration.

Since it is NOT an engineering defect (it could be a manufacturing defect or assembly defect...), it is NOT in working order. In this case, "working as intended" is not an acceptable answer if you are experiencing an issue with the vehicle. From your description, it should be easy to replicate. That, or we aren't getting all of the details.

As blackfang said, you need to nail down exactly what the issue is - because it doesn't sound like anyone does. The dealer should be the one responsible for that. Maybe try a different dealer? Carter? Chaplains? Eastside?
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Old 10-17-2013, 08:22 AM   #8
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If that dealer can't get you the answer on why, try another one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by samandw View Post
I have a degree in engineering and a decade of grease under my fingernails.
Please do not take this the wrong way, but everyone now a days is an engineer. One of our Alignment check operators is an engineer because he went to ECPI He is as worthless as tits on a bull.

In this business most of the people who have told me "I am an engineer" usually are the ones who end up usually being wrong and make me wonder how they became one. They argue on designs, why other fluids(brake,transmission,power steering)don't need to be changed and that they can't break down, etc.
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Old 10-17-2013, 08:29 AM   #9
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My least favorite expression from a customer: "I'm an engineer."
My most favorite response: "What railroad do you work for?"

What, specifically, were the codes the dealer pulled?
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Old 10-17-2013, 06:02 PM   #10
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Unfortunately I missed a comma in the title, and apparently cannot edit it, leading to some of the confusion. The title should have read "2013 Impreza 2.0i Manual, Steering Malfunction". The malfunction has nothing to do with the transmission, per-se, so actually reading the post (rather than just scanning the title) might be helpful before you comment.

The dealer contacted the techline, who responded that the vehicle was "operating as designed". They blamed the malfunction code on how I was operating the vehicle. That leads to one of only 2 possible conclusions.

1. The techline at Subaru is lying.
2. There is an engineering error, and this will effect all similar Subaru vehicles, since every single automobile ever built with power steering since it was invented in 1878, will NOT exhibit this malfunction when operated in this manner. You just need to know how to drive a car to determine that. Don't even need to be a mechanic, let alone an engineer.
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Old 10-17-2013, 06:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sc00by4life View Post
It is NOT an engineering defect, as it would be present in every car using that same configuration.
How do you know that? Did you even read the second to last line in my original post?
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Old 10-17-2013, 06:04 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamBot View Post
My least favorite expression from a customer: "I'm an engineer."
My most favorite response: "What railroad do you work for?"

What, specifically, were the codes the dealer pulled?
<chuckles> That's a good one. I'm not sure, they did not give me the specific code number. I should have asked for that. Good point.
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Old 10-17-2013, 06:24 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by samandw View Post
How do you know that?
If it was an engineering defect (as in, it was a mistake in the DESIGN of the vehicle), there would certainly be more people reporting the same issue.....but there isn't.

Again, it was DESIGNED perfectly fine. There are OTHER areas that could cause the defect (such as in manufacturing (i.e. a defective mold, some sort of accident, etc), or in assembly (parts forced together, not torqued to spec, etc), but 99.9999% chance its NOT in the engineering aspect. Subaru wouldn't dump tens of millions into a product that was designed poorly from the get go.

Quote:
Did you even read the second to last line in my original post?
I'd help you out, but the impreza I just bought my wife is a CVT.

you are the only one reporting this issue at this moment.
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Old 10-17-2013, 06:38 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by sc00by4life View Post
I'd help you out, but the impreza I just bought my wife is a CVT.
Exactly. As are the vast majority of 2012+ Imprezas out there. Most people probably wouldn't drive this way, further reducing the odds of complaints. However, maybe you're right, and the techline is flat-out lying. Neither option is very flattering of Subaru, nor does it fix the problem . . . which brings us full circle to my original question: Anyone out there with a 2012+ 2.0i Manual willing to help me out and test this?
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Old 10-18-2013, 01:00 PM   #15
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Just a thought, but don't release the e-brake until after it's started and you are ready to put it in gear and go. The ****? It shouldn't do what it's do but neither should you as far as driving habits.
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Old 10-18-2013, 08:37 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Hivoltj View Post
Just a thought, but don't release the e-brake until after it's started and you are ready to put it in gear and go. The ****? It shouldn't do what it's do but neither should you as far as driving habits.
Sure, but this is still a "serious safety defect" resulting from "reasonable use", and Subaru is legally obligated to fix it. I'd be a tad happier if Subaru could tell me they'd tested other cars to see if they also exhibit the problem, instead of just telling me to "go away" in so many words.
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Old 10-22-2013, 07:07 AM   #17
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I think I semi understand what you're saying your complaint is but my question is why are you letting the car move before you start it? This is a good guide to follow.

Open door
Sit down
Put on seatbelt
Key in ignition
Foot on brake pedal
Foot on clutch pedal
Put in neutral
Turn key
Take off ebrake
Drive

I might have missed it but how long does the electronic steering act "dead" for after you start it?

I'll try to do this the next time I have a manual new impreza but they are pretty rare to see in the shop.
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Old 10-22-2013, 10:44 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Hivoltj View Post
Just a thought, but don't release the e-brake until after it's started and you are ready to put it in gear and go. The ****? It shouldn't do what it's do but neither should you as far as driving habits.
That was my first thought as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by samandw View Post
Sure, but this is still a "serious safety defect" resulting from "reasonable use", and Subaru is legally obligated to fix it. I'd be a tad happier if Subaru could tell me they'd tested other cars to see if they also exhibit the problem, instead of just telling me to "go away" in so many words.
Leave the brake on when you start it and your problem doesn't exist. Stop being so freaking entitled.
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:32 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samandw View Post
Sure, but this is still a "serious safety defect" resulting from "reasonable use", and Subaru is legally obligated to fix it. I'd be a tad happier if Subaru could tell me they'd tested other cars to see if they also exhibit the problem, instead of just telling me to "go away" in so many words.
Don't know how I missed this one. I like that you seem mad and you claim in so many words to "go away" by Subaru. No Subaru didn't tell you to go away in so many words they told you that this is a normal occur acne with an impreza with electronic power steering. You choose to ignore it for some dumb reason.

The only serious safety defect here is your driving habits. And just so you know this "defect you claim" is completely normal. I was surprised when I got a manual crosstreck today. I tried your style of starting the car. The first time I did it I only let it roll a tiny bit. The second time I let it roll back on the slight incline maybe 2' before I started the vehicle and it did the same thing you describe. For maybe 3 seconds tops.

So in conclusion learn how to start the vehicle before you claim Subaru has a safety disaster on their hands. A car should not be in motion while starting. Even if it wasn't the electronic power steering system it would do the same thing the old fashion way since the car isn't on.
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Old 10-22-2013, 01:49 PM   #20
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Sounds more like all battery power is being used to start the engine and leaves you without power steering for a fee seconds. Aside from kids goofing off i've never heard of somone starting a car that way before.
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Old 10-22-2013, 02:23 PM   #21
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Other than jumpstarting, why would you want to have the vehicle rolling before you start it?
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Old 10-22-2013, 07:27 PM   #22
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<chuckles> That's a good one. I'm not sure, they did not give me the specific code number. I should have asked for that. Good point.
Probably because there was none. It would be on the copy of your receipt. There is a HUGE difference between pulling codes and checking to see if there is any codes stored. You probably didn't understand the difference. Since you had a valid complaint the least the tech can do is try and verify it, talk to tech line, and see if there are stored codes. Congratulations you've wasted everyone's time. What do I know though I'm not an engineer.
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Old 10-22-2013, 08:35 PM   #23
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Probably because there was none. It would be on the copy of your receipt. There is a HUGE difference between pulling codes and checking to see if there is any codes stored. You probably didn't understand the difference. Since you had a valid complaint the least the tech can do is try and verify it, talk to tech line, and see if there are stored codes. Congratulations you've wasted everyone's time. What do I know though I'm not an engineer.
Why so hostile? Sheesh. I could dig up the receipt, but I'm taking it back in next week anyways. Nobody forced you to post, so I didn't waste anyone's time. Thanks for playing though.
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Old 10-22-2013, 08:36 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by devildogsubie View Post
Sounds more like all battery power is being used to start the engine and leaves you without power steering for a fee seconds. Aside from kids goofing off i've never heard of somone starting a car that way before.
This is not the case, as I clearly stated in my original post. The power steering is ON, but opposing steering input, rather than assisting it. I know what dry steering feels like (I own a 1963 Dodge pickup with manual steering), this isn't it.
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Old 10-22-2013, 08:41 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Supraru View Post

I might have missed it but how long does the electronic steering act "dead" for after you start it?

I'll try to do this the next time I have a manual new impreza but they are pretty rare to see in the shop.
Thanks, that'd be great!

It doesn't act "dead". That's what I'm having a challenge getting across to everyone, it seems. It is actively OPPOSING steering inputs, rather than assisting. It's not dry steer - I can easily turn the wheel when the car is parked with the engine off. It can last from less than a second to as long as several seconds. Frequently, I'm forced to bring the car back to a stop and wait it out when I find myself unable to steer. The power steering malfunction light is always illuminated for the duration of the malfunction, however, and it turns off when the steering begins operating properly.
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