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Old 02-09-2015, 10:20 AM   #1
14BlueWrex14
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Default 14' WRX - 4th turbo replacement

Hello NASIOC,

Anyone else experiencing frequent turbo failures on their WRXs? I own a bone stock 2014 Subaru WRX with 16,000 miles on it that I believe is about to have it's third turbo replaced at Bill Kolb Subaru in Rockland County, NY. Here's a brief summary of what's happened and what I sent over to SOA and Bill Kolb.

10/2014 - Factory turbo charger failed @ 10,801 miles - replaced by Bill Kolb (impeller snapped, I was assured there was no metal shards in my engine as a result -- I can't guarantee that but I'll take their word). I was driving in Nyack when I heard a loud bang and suddenly a plume of oil smoke shot out of my exhaust, car was towed to Bill Kolb.

11/15/2014 - 11,050 miles (replaced turbo again)

12/2014 - 12,252 miles - weird rattling sounds begins 2k miles after factory turbo was replaced, sounds like a heat shield to me, bring it back to Bill Kolb and I'm told I was right and that they'd be ordering the shield for replacement. Turns out we were both wrong, shortly after leaving the dealer, engine began stalling on me randomly while at a light, RPMs were unstable and I feared for safety. I bring the car back to Bill Kolb, Greg was the service advisor throughout the whole process and has been super helpful. He assured me they'd check it out and get back to me. I get a call later that day saying that the turbo they replaced had blown on me! He was shocked, I was shocked but I viewed it as a freak incident that wouldn't happen again. My confidence in the Subaru brand was restored, car was running great... until now.

01/2015 - Bring the car in for the 15,000 service @ Bill Kolb -- 15,494 was actual mileage. Car was running great after I left.

2/1/2015 - ONE day after the 15k service, I hear a strange "squeals", rattles under acceleration and smell something burning. I disregarded the problem and assumed that it had something to do with the heavy snowfall/water being on some of the drive belts.

2/5/2015 - Car begins stalling again - at traffic lights and at startup it would randomly shut off as I'm backing out of my driveway. I stop driving the car, I'm using a spare Nissan Rouge my family has in the driveway while I write this email to explain what's been happening to Bill Kolb & SOA Corporate.

2/8/2015 - I went to move the car out of my steep driveway in anticipation of the ice coming tonight. I crank the car up, it starts up without a problem but just shoots a plume of blue oil smoke out smogging my neighborhood out. The telltale nearly identical signals to a failed turbo.

Summary:

- Car likely needs another turbo - this will be the fourth turbo replaced by Bill Kolb

- The car is my daily driver, unmolested and used to commute to NYC. Rarely take it above 3.5k RPMs and never anywhere near redline -- it's spirited enough in the lowend.

- Vehicle is bone stock, factory everything, no modifications, no tints, no audio work, serviced @ authorized dealer

- I'm worried that metal shards are damaging my engine. My request for a compression test to be 100% sure my ringlands aren't shot has been disregarded

What is happening next:

- Bill Kolb in general as been great, the manager and Greg (service advisor) have been really on top of communicating with me.

- Greg arranged to have a field engineer come by the dealer and look @ why the cars turbo keeps failing

- SOA arranged a tow, sent me a $500 goodwill gift card after the 2nd incident and extended by warranty to 100k/7 years.

Have anyone come across issues like this? It's a new car and we're all a bit puzzled as to why they keep failing.. I'm worried about the longevity of the engine now as a result of constant mechanical repairs.
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Old 02-09-2015, 10:43 AM   #2
Js14wrx
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It sounds like they aren't priming the turbo, or clearly doing something wrong


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Old 02-09-2015, 10:45 AM   #3
wicknetzel
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I have heard of very few turbo failures that don't also contaminate the engine. I would have guessed after your second turbo failed so quickly, your engine was contaminated. I'm really surprised they kept throwing turbos at it without going through your engine. At this point, you probably have lots of metal in your engine from 3 turbos worth of destruction and you should probably insist that they investigate. Personally, I'd send my own oil sample to Blackstone to get it analyzed. If I were a betting man, you need a new shortblock.
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Old 02-09-2015, 10:59 AM   #4
14BlueWrex14
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Yes, I already ordered a oil sample kit from Blackstone and plan on sending a sample out for analysis. Hopefully with some field techs and engineers behind it now something will get done. Bill Kolb reassured me after the first turbo that there was no metal in the engine at all and if there was they'd have to log it for any potential engine repair/replacements.
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:06 AM   #5
kenliu84
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I absolutely agree your shortbock is done. It's clear that the turbo is not the issue here as you are going about your 4th turbo. Yes, it sucks to pull out the motor and inspect the internals, but that is a must at a minimum. They keep identifying the turbo as the failure because that's what happened. So they are not getting any money from this labor - would they spend 2 hours to replace the turbo or spend 6+ hours pulling the motor and checking everything else internally? They replaced 3 turbos and the labor time is not even equivalent to the time needed to inspect it. My point is that they were hoping it is the turbo so they can spend their actual labor hours on other folks who they can bill.

I hope your issue gets resolved soon.
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:10 AM   #6
14BlueWrex14
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Sorry for the n00b question, what exactly happens in a shortblock that's causing the turbos to fail? Do you mean the metals are scoring the internals or what?

Thank you!
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:13 AM   #7
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I should add, what I did notice after running the engine got up to running temp, if I manually shut it off and restarted it, it would result in a "weak start" or a complete stall if the engine was still somewhat warm. Not sure if that had anything to do with oil leakage internally coating the plugs etc. No CEL has been noted since owning the car throughout all these failures.
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:19 AM   #8
joshc
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Not much to go on but when my 09 wrx spun a bearing this time last year ky service advisor told me of a 14 wrx he had there that had gone through 3 turbos before they found the cause. Which was a bearing material making its way into the turbo slowly but surely. I had to fight soa to get them to replace my turbo and not just the short block 3 months and alot of words later they did. Hope it helps.

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Old 02-09-2015, 11:27 AM   #9
14BlueWrex14
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@joshc - do you have that dealers name? I'd like to relay the info along to the SOA engineers in case they aren't aware of it. Any other info would be helpful.

Thanks,
Dinis
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:28 AM   #10
wicknetzel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 14BlueWrex14 View Post
Sorry for the n00b question, what exactly happens in a shortblock that's causing the turbos to fail? Do you mean the metals are scoring the internals or what?

Thank you!
Metal in your bearings (cranks, etc) = bad news bears.
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:29 AM   #11
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There is likely an underlying problem causing these failures.

In my experience, Subaru is notorious for fixing the symptoms but not the cause.
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:33 AM   #12
joshc
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Gillman subaru south in houston, texas. I would tell them to check the filters in the turbo oil feed lines for material. It took me calling soa enough for a supervisor to take over my claim and really get the ball rolling.

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Old 02-09-2015, 11:35 AM   #13
14BlueWrex14
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Well, I'd take a heavily discounted WRX STI or a new engine along with a complimentary maintenance plan.

^ going to bet on the engine being fried

Anyone have experience with lemon laws in NYS? I submitted an inquiry to the NYS AG to be safe and to get the ball rolling just in case... if they come back with some non-technical based reason as to why they just replaced the turbo again.

Such a frustrating experience.
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:36 AM   #14
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@JoshC - thanks for your help. I'll reach out. I'm glad they finally have a field service tech heading out to inspect it tomorrow. I emailed the entire leadership at SOA yesterday as well. Will keep you in the loop!
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:39 AM   #15
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The dealer had to give me a loaner and i had it for 3 months. About 2 months of fighting with them and then a month to finally fix the car. Soa even threw in a discounted clutch since mine was almost done for my trouble.

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Old 02-09-2015, 11:44 AM   #16
wicknetzel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 14BlueWrex14 View Post
Well, I'd take a heavily discounted WRX STI or a new engine along with a complimentary maintenance plan.

^ going to bet on the engine being fried

Anyone have experience with lemon laws in NYS? I submitted an inquiry to the NYS AG to be safe and to get the ball rolling just in case... if they come back with some non-technical based reason as to why they just replaced the turbo again.

Such a frustrating experience.
I'm not saying they were right to put a new turbo in and send you on your way, but they save a bunch of labor if it works out right compared to even pulling valve covers and the oil pan to look for metal like they should. It's a warranty repair, so they are going to risk the inexpensive part that they get reimbursed on versus the labor that doesn't pay as well.

Honestly, seems like SOA has been pretty good to you along the way, so I'd suggest before going crazy and yelling at people, you contact SOA to ask their opinion and state what you are hoping.

I don't know that you have a lemon, so much as they just haven't fixed the problem appropriately.
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:48 AM   #17
14BlueWrex14
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Hey @wicknetzel,

For sure. I'm all about being cordial to sort the issue out. Each time they replaced the turbo, they said they drained the oil pan + replaced the seal.

Bill Kolb and SOA has been awesome so far and because of that I'd still likely buy another Scoobie. I just hope this is the final time that I have to go in for a new turbo. Appreciate your feedback for sure.

On another note, maybe it's just my luck with cars! Acura of Westchester crashed my TSX once, had it repainted and attempted to hide it. Got a new TL-S out of that one at a discounted rate! Just my luck with cars I guess!

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Old 02-09-2015, 12:02 PM   #18
wicknetzel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 14BlueWrex14 View Post

Each time they replaced the turbo, they said they drained the oil pan + replaced the seal.
For what it's worth, I would clarify with them if they drained the oil pan (might be calling the "seal" the crush washer) or removed the oil pan to inspect. There's going to be a big difference.

Also, the turbo feeds oil from the heads, so metal in them is also a concern... at likely in your case based on what you've said. Valve covers should be pulled to check there as well.

But really, it's extremely unlikely that you don't need a new shortblock at this point.
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Old 02-09-2015, 12:52 PM   #19
14BlueWrex14
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@wicknetzel - just checked the My Owners page and the receipts, looks like they removed the pan, replaced the gasket in the pan and engine oil - wasn't a simple drain and refill. Are there magnets inside the oil pans of WRXs?

Thanks for your help!
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Old 02-09-2015, 01:01 PM   #20
gsrcrxsi
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there are no magnets in the oil pan.

but this all sounds almost like your turbo oil screens are clogged and it's starving the turbo of oil. thats the only thing i can think that would kill turbos so fast. other than extremely bad luck.
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Old 02-09-2015, 01:59 PM   #21
14BlueWrex14
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Funny thing about this entire thing is that in the My Owners Subaru page of maintenance history it lists:

Other
CUSTOMER REQUESTS WELD EXHAUST HEAT SHIELDS.. WELDED EXHAUST HEAT SHIELDS..
CUSTOMER STATES A NOISE EXISTS FROM ENGINE..
MISC ENGINE CONCERN..
PROVIDE LOANER TO CUSTOMER..

^^ I never requested they "weld" anything. Maybe I'm overthinking it but it worries me that it's there.
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Old 02-09-2015, 02:49 PM   #22
gsrcrxsi
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well you asked them to fix it and didnt say how, lol.

but them welding the heatsheild wont cause any of the problems you're having.
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Old 02-09-2015, 03:20 PM   #23
subezero
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsrcrxsi View Post
there are no magnets in the oil pan.

but this all sounds almost like your turbo oil screens are clogged and it's starving the turbo of oil. thats the only thing i can think that would kill turbos so fast. other than extremely bad luck.
Bingo. Are they checking the banjo bolt filters? There is a TSB that requries inspection and most likely replacement after a turbo failure.
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Old 02-09-2015, 03:23 PM   #24
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Bingo. Are they checking the banjo bolt filters? There is a TSB that requries inspection and most likely replacement after a turbo failure.

Seconded. My brother had the same issue on his 05 sti, went through 3 turbos before we checked the little banjo filter, and found it around 70% plugged. Worked fine for daily driving, but caused turbo failure during track, autox, and mountain climbing.
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Old 02-09-2015, 03:25 PM   #25
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I had to rub my eyes and re read the part when you said that Bill Kolb jr subaru has been great.... honestly i would take the car to some other dealer especially since they can't seem to actually fix any of your problems.
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