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Old 04-28-2005, 08:57 PM   #1
sanson4
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Default Run around from SOA. Need Help.

Hi Guys

I am new to the forum, looks like a lot of sharp folks are members here so I thought I would pose a few questions about a prob my Impreza is having.

I have a 2002 Impreza Wagon. For the last 25,000 miles my Subby has been experiencing a recurring problem that cannot be properly diagnosed and fixed.
The check engine light comes on in 3rd or 4th gear when going downhill. The car then simply shuts down. It's like I turned off the car when driving - very scary , the steering wheel locks up and it's very dangerous.

I have taken it to 2 different dealers - for a total of 7 times. I have been given all kinds of explanations, and the catalytic converter, air assist valve, and idle control valve have all been replaced at various times as these were the explanations given at one time or another. I wrote a letter to SOA and they simply said to "go to another dealer". (which I did and they were just as incompetant)

I have an extended warranty up to 80k miles and these probs started at 55k miles. Now I am a shade over 80k miles and SOA is claiming I am out of warrantly and whatever they come up with as the prob I will have to pay for.(the dealer #2 has had the car a week now and hasnt come up with anything!)

Does anyone have any idea of what can be causing the Impreza to shut down like this? Secondly, what can I do with SOA for them to cover the cost of fixing this prob that has been ongoing for over a year and 25k miles?
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Old 04-28-2005, 09:02 PM   #2
benrock05201
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Get your documents together and call Subaru @ 1-800-SUBARU3. Sorry that that's the only help I can be but if it was me that's were I would start.

Ben
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Old 04-28-2005, 09:08 PM   #3
sanson4
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Thanks Ben

I have called them,its a total joke. They keep insisting I am out of warranty and says the dealer needs "more time to properly diagnose the problem". The woman just keeps repeating herself.

I forgot to say that I wrote SOA a registered receipt letter begging them to come up with a resolution at 77k miles (3k before warranty was up) and they sent me some form letter back saying "try another dealer". Which I did, the new dealer said it was a faulty idle assist valve and replaced it. Of course, 3 days later the car shut down on me again and I was lucky to be able to steer into a field off the road.

I can't believe how bad the CS is at SOA. Someone could really get hurt in this situation and all SOA wants to do is save a few bucks.
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Old 04-28-2005, 09:28 PM   #4
dadswrx
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Sounds kind of dangerous. You may want to file a complaint with NHTSA...

http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq

Mike
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Old 04-28-2005, 09:30 PM   #5
Brad Pittiful
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did they change out the computer...good luck dude
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Old 04-28-2005, 10:14 PM   #6
Uncle Scotty
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What CEL code(s) does it throw, EXACTLY...ie 'Pxxxx' ??????
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Old 04-28-2005, 10:20 PM   #7
orndog
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Copy all documentation of what has happened and email to the BBB and NHTSA - and copy SOA.
I can almost guarantee it will get resolved if you've kept records.
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Old 04-29-2005, 12:03 AM   #8
RodimusPrime
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Get back in touch with them, explain that this has been going on for long before the warranty expired, and that you have all records of all correspondence.

If they still give you the run-around, politely inform them that your lawyer will be contacting them shortly.
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Old 04-29-2005, 12:25 AM   #9
edaniele1212
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It sounds like you tried everything that you should have. Call a "good" lawer and take it from there...Push for them to fix everything needed for your car and/or try to get them to replace the car (lemon). It might take a year or more for the legal action to go through, but it will be worth it. If you have really tried everything than this is the best advice that I can give you. You have a very dangerous problem on your hands...not only can this harm/kill yourself and your passengers but it puts other people on the road in danger. Hope this helps. Good luck.

PS If they dont budge I would sue the **** out of them, SOA or not.
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Old 04-29-2005, 02:14 AM   #10
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i wish i knew what to tell you
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Old 04-29-2005, 07:29 AM   #11
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WOW, I was poking fun at a friend who is having the same trouble with Chrysler. Problem occurs while under warranty, and they don't fix it.


SOA, YOU SUCK!!!!!!
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Old 04-29-2005, 07:43 AM   #12
RumblingREX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orndog
Copy all documentation of what has happened and email to the BBB and NHTSA - and copy SOA.
This is the best route to go to get results. Your problems started under warranty. You are not claiming anything new.
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Old 04-29-2005, 08:51 AM   #13
DingusMcGee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orndog
Copy all documentation of what has happened and email to the BBB and NHTSA - and copy SOA.
I can almost guarantee it will get resolved if you've kept records.

The Attorney General in your state is another great place to send the information to. I worked at a company that was little more than a multimillion dollar scam artist business (didn't know that when i got hired...) and nothing got upper management into action like a letter from the attorney general, they had even gotten to the point where they all but ignored BBB letters.
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Old 04-29-2005, 10:47 AM   #14
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Also, this is a good story. Frightening, and highly visual. Like a news story... Do you have a consumer advocate at a news station in your town? This is the kind of thing they love!
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Old 04-29-2005, 12:49 PM   #15
Hayes
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You said you went to 2 dealers 7 times so IF you did it is on Subarus computer that the problem was looked at. The fact that it was brought to the shop and inspected (even if it could not be reproduced) proves the problem was looked at. Just get the documentation to gether from the 7 service visits and you have a case. If however, you just complaned or chatted with anyone at the dealership but did not have the car in for a service problem then you goofed and are on your own. keep us informed.
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Old 04-29-2005, 03:47 PM   #16
armand1
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As US says, what were the codes? Also, when the car "shuts down", does the engine turn off? Do all the lights on the dash turn off? If you have the fan on, does it turn off? When you say the steering wheel locks up, is it actually locked or is it just much harder to turn all of a sudden (e.g. power steering out)?
As Hayes said, if the dealers have dealt with this before, you have the documentation that you brought it in with the complaint before the warranty ran out, so that shouldn't be a problem. Since you are having trouble at the 800 number default, I would do the following:
1) As said, get ALL your documents in order in a folder, including your receipts, etc, and any notes you have on conversations, etc. Add a summary page on top that describes the problem in no more than 3 sentences. New paragraph, describe what Subaru has done in no more than 2 sentences. New paragraph, describe exactly what you want Subaru to do in no more than 2 sentences. Also include a summary table with date/mileage/dealership name/complaint for every time you took in the car.
2) Find out the name of and contact the district rep for Subaru in your area. Talk with him and explain in a calm, non-threatening tone that you have dealt with multiple dealers & with the 800 number without success for a warrantyable defect that you fear could affect your safety. Don't get into a long description over the phone, just get his FAX number and fax him a copy of every page in your folder. Also tell him that if he can't help you out within 10 business days, you will have no choice but to escalate it up the Subaru chain of command.
3) Keep adding notes of conversations, receipts, etc to the folder. Every time you deal with a new person, fax or mail them a copy of the ENTIRE folder. Keep track of any out-of-pocket costs such as folders, fax costs, postage costs, etc, and don't forget to ask that those also be reimbursed.
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Old 04-29-2005, 08:04 PM   #17
Hayes
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Very well put and professional Armand1.
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Old 04-29-2005, 09:16 PM   #18
armand1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hayes
... professional ...
That's the word I was looking for! The more professional you act, the harder it is for them to blow you off without looking like jerks.
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Old 05-02-2005, 11:27 PM   #19
sanson4
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Quick update on this:

I have reported the case to the state Attorney General / BBB and NHTSA.
The dealer is still "unsure" what is wrong with the car (going into day 10 of them holding onto the car, semmingly w/out being closer to solving prob)

SOA does not call back when they promise they will, and the dealer also fails to proactively update me, I am constantly chasing them. It's pretty obvious they are both clueless and would like to ignore me as they can't come up any conclusions as to why the car is shutting down. Of course, every time I speak with them they keep insisting "you are out of warranty" and dismiss any of my reasons as to why this should still be covered. It's like nobody wants to get left holding the bag - and they only can point fingers at me.

Anyway, thanks for all the advice guys, I really appreciate it. Some of you asked some questions so here are my answers:

Uncle Scotty (US) asks:
What CEL code(s) does it throw, EXACTLY...ie 'Pxxxx' ?

answer: the dealer claims when they have been able re-create the shutting down problem on road tests, then take the car back to the shop and the "computer in the car registers nothing". They claim this is "highly unusual" and "99 out of 100 times" when the car is failing as seriously in my case the computer at least gives them a clue as to what is going on.

Also, when the car "shuts down", does the engine turn off?
answer: Yes, the engine shuts off.

Do all the lights on the dash turn off?
answer: No, the lights on the dashboard are all lit up.

If you have the fan on, does it turn off?
answer: Not sure about this one.

When you say the steering wheel locks up, is it actually locked or is it just much harder to turn all of a sudden (e.g. power steering out)?
answer: It locks up.

armand1 suggests:
Find out the name of and contact the district rep for Subaru in your area. Talk with him and explain in a calm, non-threatening tone that you have dealt with multiple dealers & with the 800 number without success for a warrantyable defect that you fear could affect your safety. Don't get into a long description over the phone, just get his FAX number and fax him a copy of every page in your folder. Also tell him that if he can't help you out within 10 business days, you will have no choice but to escalate it up the Subaru chain of command.

my follow up question:
How would one go about contacting this rep / tracking down his info?
Should I just ask the dealer for it, or is there some other way?

Thanks again for the help, the board has been a great resource for me so far.
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Old 05-03-2005, 10:36 AM   #20
scooter4483
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i had a similar problem with my civic 3 months ago. my brother was driving, then the car just turned off, the steering wheel was difficult to turn at first, then it locked. The car then would not start. It was our alternator. The spinning thing in it, was melted off. i dont know if you have a similar prob, but thats what we had. good luck.
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Old 05-03-2005, 01:04 PM   #21
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If it was the alternator the car wouldn't start back up. The CEL light coming on is a bit strange. My guess is that it might be some kind of fueling problem but it's really hard to say. Or a wiring issue which is almost impossible to find.

If you took the car in before the warranty was up with the problem, then they can't turn around and say "Sorry your warranty is now expired, you have to pay for it."
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Old 05-03-2005, 02:22 PM   #22
vapore0n
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sounds like an electrical problem. But if it were some cable shorting out, the fuses would be shortened.
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Old 05-03-2005, 02:29 PM   #23
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Sounds exactly like a GM anti-theft fuel cut off system I have seen in Camaros and Grand Ams. It would kill your fuel pump possibly leaning your car out and throwing the CEL, then starve the engine, shut off and lock up your wheel.

Not sure what kind of anti theft system your suby uses, however.
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Old 05-03-2005, 06:26 PM   #24
armand1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanson4
...
Find out the name of and contact the district rep for Subaru in your area. ....
Sometimes they are also called zone reps. This person is the first step up the Subaru chain of command and represents SOA in a large area (often statewide). The district rep will have the authority to pay/deny warranty service, reimburse for rental, etc. I would ask for his/her name/contact info from both the dealer and from the Subaru 800 number. (doesn't hurt to ask in different places!)
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Old 05-03-2005, 07:14 PM   #25
Hayes
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My dauther had a similar problem that turned out to be a "roll-over-switch" malfunction. The switch is suppose to kill the engine in a roll over. Unless reset it would not restart.
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