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Old 11-04-2021, 06:21 PM   #1
SythLordRex
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Default Bought a 2020 STI Concerned it was a flood car

VIN: JF1VA2V65L9805476

I just recently bought a 2020 STI that had only 6700 miles on it. After doing a VIN search it came from Florida, went to Auction and ended up in Texas. After purchasing the car, I started to notice little things that concerned me.

I started looking under the car and noticed the exhaust had a lot of surface rust, part of the suspension has rust, wheel hubs have rust, looked in the engine bay and some nuts here and there have rust, you can see rust on top of the transmission. I am sure surface rust is a thing in Florida but it just seems like a lot of rust for such low miles.

I then started looking under the seats of the car, while there is no odor, I noticed the seat rails appear to have little specs of sand or salt on them, in the back of the rails, I see some surface rust. I opened up the doors and looked into the fender well, there seems to be debris in there.

The only thing I haven't done at this point is pull up the carpet. For all I know the car could be fine and everything I am seeing is normal. Of course my WRX didn't have any of this going on.

The Carfax was clean but that doesn't mean anything if it wasn't reported.

I would love to find the previous owner but that is a shot in the dark.

I welcome any thoughts.
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Last edited by SythLordRex; 11-08-2021 at 11:55 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 11-04-2021, 06:56 PM   #2
Mulder
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That is certainly not normal for a 2020.
Did this come from a dealer or private party? If a dealer and a recent sale you may have some recourse, otherwise not so much.
Presumably you did not have a pre-purchase inspection done or these things would have turned up then and you would not have bought it. But it would still be a good idea to have one done now as a post-purchase inspection. Get a recommendation in your regional forum for a good local Subaru shop, and take it there for a thorough evaluation. You will then have a better idea of what is going on with the car and can proceed accordingly.
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Old 11-04-2021, 07:13 PM   #3
500_19B
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That level of corrosion sounds definitely unusual. The other thing that sounds unusual is that a car like that went to auction. In this very hot used car market, I would think a low-mileage STI would be an easy, high margin sale at any dealer. That is just my own thought though... I may be missing something.
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Old 11-04-2021, 07:47 PM   #4
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My son has a 2020 STi picked up new the beginning of January 21. He commutes 100 miles every day, rain, snow, salt of New England. At about 20k miles now. His car has none of the bad signs you talk about. I think I'd be looking to dump it, whether back to the dealer or just sell it to Car Max and next time, have the car looked at by a Subaru specialist mechanic with a pre-purchase inspection. A major problem with flood cars is that defects don't show up for years, sometimes, and sometimes you then get problem after problem after problem.
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Old 11-04-2021, 09:26 PM   #5
SythLordRex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mulder View Post
That is certainly not normal for a 2020.
Did this come from a dealer or private party? If a dealer and a recent sale you may have some recourse, otherwise not so much.
Presumably you did not have a pre-purchase inspection done or these things would have turned up then and you would not have bought it. But it would still be a good idea to have one done now as a post-purchase inspection. Get a recommendation in your regional forum for a good local Subaru shop, and take it there for a thorough evaluation. You will then have a better idea of what is going on with the car and can proceed accordingly.
It was from a local Subaru Dealer
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Old 11-04-2021, 09:34 PM   #6
SythLordRex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mulder View Post
That is certainly not normal for a 2020.
Did this come from a dealer or private party? If a dealer and a recent sale you may have some recourse, otherwise not so much.
Presumably you did not have a pre-purchase inspection done or these things would have turned up then and you would not have bought it. But it would still be a good idea to have one done now as a post-purchase inspection. Get a recommendation in your regional forum for a good local Subaru shop, and take it there for a thorough evaluation. You will then have a better idea of what is going on with the car and can proceed accordingly.
Itís was bought from a local Subaru Dealer as a Certified Preowned.
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Old 11-04-2021, 09:35 PM   #7
SythLordRex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 500_19B View Post
That level of corrosion sounds definitely unusual. The other thing that sounds unusual is that a car like that went to auction. In this very hot used car market, I would think a low-mileage STI would be an easy, high margin sale at any dealer. That is just my own thought though... I may be missing something.
Kind of what I thought. My 2019 didnít have any of these signs. Just seemed weird overall.
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Old 11-04-2021, 10:02 PM   #8
SythLordRex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mulder View Post
That is certainly not normal for a 2020.
Did this come from a dealer or private party? If a dealer and a recent sale you may have some recourse, otherwise not so much.
Presumably you did not have a pre-purchase inspection done or these things would have turned up then and you would not have bought it. But it would still be a good idea to have one done now as a post-purchase inspection. Get a recommendation in your regional forum for a good local Subaru shop, and take it there for a thorough evaluation. You will then have a better idea of what is going on with the car and can proceed accordingly.
Since it just bought it this past Monday, I am going to take it my mechanic and have him check it out. Hopefully itís not a flood car but my gut says that with the level of corrosion on the undercarriage, it looks like it sat in water up to the door sill for awhile. It water did get inside the car, someone replaced all of the carpet and cleaned up pretty good. The little specs of sand and rust on the seat tracks is very concerning.
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Old 11-04-2021, 10:06 PM   #9
timpala11
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Do you have pictures? My 19 WRX was a flood car (completely submerged in **** water for around 24 hours) but I didn't see any rusting every time I went to grab something out of or off of it.
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Old 11-04-2021, 10:07 PM   #10
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Good move.
Get a thorough report from the shop, in writing, documenting everything they find. The best outcome would be to show that to the dealer and get them to take the car back and return your money.
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Old 11-04-2021, 10:09 PM   #11
SythLordRex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timpala11 View Post
Do you have pictures? My 19 WRX was a flood car (completely submerged in **** water for around 24 hours) but I didn't see any rusting every time I went to grab something out of or off of it.
I can take some. The easy ones would be the wheel hubs, not the discs and the top of the transmission that you can visibly see rust on from the engine bay
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Old 11-04-2021, 10:15 PM   #12
timpala11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SythLordRex View Post
I can take some. The easy ones would be the wheel hubs, not the discs and the top of the transmission that you can visibly see rust on from the engine bay
If you haven't signed up for the image hosting site before it started crashing a few months ago; PM me and I can try to get them hosted for you so other people can see.
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Old 11-04-2021, 10:17 PM   #13
SythLordRex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timpala11 View Post
If you haven't signed up for the image hosting site before it started crashing a few months ago; PM me and I can try to get them hosted for you so other people can see.
I didnít sign up for it. I will PM you. Thanks.
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Old 11-04-2021, 11:21 PM   #14
SythLordRex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SythLordRex View Post
I didnít sign up for it. I will PM you. Thanks.
Link to pics below.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/FcaThPRcECTWLTMc7

Last edited by SythLordRex; 11-04-2021 at 11:23 PM. Reason: Add description
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Old 11-04-2021, 11:28 PM   #15
SythLordRex
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The pics were taken at night so they might be hard to see. I had to use a flashlight to show the areas.

Let me know what yíall think.
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Old 11-04-2021, 11:34 PM   #16
SythLordRex
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The pics were taken at night so they might be hard to see. I had to use a flashlight to show the areas.

Let me know what yíall think.
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Old 11-04-2021, 11:42 PM   #17
timpala11
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Hoping to help out with SythLordRex's concerns, below is a link to their high quality google image album.

Here is a direct link to an album of the photos SythLordRex took.

And here are some blurry screenshots I took of the photos they sent. I was having some kind of issue with uploading the images (big surprise).










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Old 11-04-2021, 11:47 PM   #18
SythLordRex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timpala11 View Post
If you haven't signed up for the image hosting site before it started crashing a few months ago; PM me and I can try to get them hosted for you so other people can see.
Thanks for posting those.
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Old 11-05-2021, 01:56 AM   #19
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I bought a car in Jacksonville Florida once (tsx) and it had an obscene amount of sand in the carpets.

I would say that exhausts tend to rust pretty fast but I really dont think you should be seeing rust on top of the transmission.. or rusted seat rails or seat rail bolts. I would for sure be pulling some carpet back, just pop the door sill trim off and peek under the carpet there on both sides.
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Old 11-05-2021, 02:17 PM   #20
SythLordRex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blindeye_03 View Post
I bought a car in Jacksonville Florida once (tsx) and it had an obscene amount of sand in the carpets.

I would say that exhausts tend to rust pretty fast but I really dont think you should be seeing rust on top of the transmission.. or rusted seat rails or seat rail bolts. I would for sure be pulling some carpet back, just pop the door sill trim off and peek under the carpet there on both sides.
Yeah, I wouldn't think so either. I found rust on the rear diff this morning. At this point I have scheduled a visit with my mechanic and they will do a thorough look at the car and document it all. I have also reached out to SoA and provided them will all pictures thus far.

Maybe its nothing but something just doesn't seem right with the amount of rust everywhere. Not sure what recourse I will have but it is proven that a Subaru Dealer sold me a flood car, there should be legal recourse.

There are other issues that stand out with the dealer selling me a pre-certified vehicle that did not meet Subarus requirements which just adds to the complicated issues. Overall I am really disappointed with how things were handled, especially buying my first STI. I am hoping SoA will do the right thing here.
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Old 11-05-2021, 03:22 PM   #21
timpala11
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Here are some pics with better lighting from OP.






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Old 11-05-2021, 03:24 PM   #22
SythLordRex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timpala11 View Post
Here are some pics with better lighting from OP.






Thank you sir.
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Old 11-05-2021, 03:57 PM   #23
rtv900
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I think I'm probably in the minority here, but none of that looks like major red flag to me. I mean I guess I'd be scratching my head, but still, unprotected steel will develop surface rust within hours just from the moisture in the air.
Plus, keep in mind a 2020 is a minimum of two years old at this point, the mileage is irrelevant. If it was driven in a typical climate obviously in the rain the entire undercarriage gets soaked 100%.

Ever look at your rotors on a rainy day when it's been sitting for a few hours? They get completely covered in surface rust.

As for the sand???? Again, I mean hell, one beach day and that's it, there's sand in the car for eternity.
Personally I don't see any smoking guns.
Maybe some concerns but no smoking guns.
Also, isn't that one pic of your ABS unit with all the brake lines? Isn't that part way up high in the engine compartment? If so this thing would have been in 3 feet of water or more. There's no way anybody kept that under the radar in that much water.

I think the carpet pull back is the real test if you think it was really a flood car.
You'll see all kinds of weird swirl marks of water and grime that could never be there any other way.
You gotta get that done and report back.
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Old 11-05-2021, 04:06 PM   #24
SythLordRex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtv900 View Post
I think I'm probably in the minority here, but none of that looks like major red flag to me. I mean I guess I'd be scratching my head, but still, unprotected steel will develop surface rust within hours just from the moisture in the air.
Plus, keep in mind a 2020 is a minimum of two years old at this point, the mileage is irrelevant. If it was driven in a typical climate obviously in the rain the entire undercarriage gets soaked 100%.

Ever look at your rotors on a rainy day when it's been sitting for a few hours? They get completely covered in surface rust.

As for the sand???? Again, I mean hell, one beach day and that's it, there's sand in the car for eternity.
Personally I don't see any smoking guns.
Maybe some concerns but no smoking guns.
Also, isn't that one pic of your ABS unit with all the brake lines? Isn't that part way up high in the engine compartment? If so this thing would have been in 3 feet of water or more. There's no way anybody kept that under the radar in that much water.

I think the carpet pull back is the real test if you think it was really a flood car.
You'll see all kinds of weird swirl marks of water and grime that could never be there any other way.
You gotta get that done and report back.
Nah, I don't think your in the minority. I do appreciate the feedback and your opinions. I have been going back and forth on what I am seeing. Yes, I agree, brake rotors collect rust easily. Even my 2019 garaged would do that when sitting for days without driving it.

I have thought about a beach day and can't rule that out. I know how sand gets everywhere and have experienced that same thing in our Jeep while at the beach.

As for all of the surface rust for the most part, sure, I have been scratching my head, especially with the stuff in the engine compartment and the rust on top of the tranny.

Yes, one pic is the abs lines and yes that is up high. Maybe it was in door seal high water and its from water being splashed up in the engine bay? That might explain the rust spot on top of the tranny.
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Old 11-05-2021, 07:09 PM   #25
Straight6
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I don't see anything abnormal here. Don't forget ton of cars just sat there because of COVID. Surface rust is to be expected.
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