2009 WRX: Another Subaru Failure?

Wow, it seems things are getting quite scary with the new 2009 WRX. Numerous failures throughout the country have already been reported, and to us it seems like only a matter of time before Subaru hopefully issues a recall of some sort. At least, that would be the honorable thing to do.

As a very active Subaru enthusiast, I’d like to make a statement in which I believe can now be considered a fact amongst the Subaru community: Ever since 2007, Subaru has been having well-known and widespread issues with their vehicles.

Let’s start at the beginning: The 2007 STi. The 2nd year of the hawk-eye STi looked great cosmetically, touching up on a few 06 changes, but under the hood it certainly had issues. When the first reports of failures made their way to the forums, people blamed a number of things including: insufficient fuel pumps, stuck/broken injectors, incorrect gaping/clearances, weak pistons, and finally, an improper factory tune. (causing a lean condition)

Taking all of these with a grain of salt, a final cause was never “officially” released. (and to this day, it’s still very unfortunate it had to go down this way) Subaru opted to handle the issue on a case-by-case basis. My opinion? The car came with weaker pistons, and a crappy factory ECU tune. This tune supposedly met certain EPA standards, something Subaru clearly wanted to adhere to. In doing so though, they created a tune that ran very lean, up until boost kicked in. Although it was too lean, and therefore adding tons more air from a turbocharger only makes things hotter, and worse. The common remedy to fix this issue? A new shortblock. Sure, it’s “free”, but an engine failure such as this should never happen on a brand new car.

But let’s move on. Next up? The 2008 STi. 

The 2008 STi made it to an even higher level of embarrassment. And by that, I mean a stop sale. The 2008’s started failing left and right, and finally this time around Subaru caught on. First up, they issued a new ECU flash. Basically they sent out a letter stating there was a flaw in the ECU programming, and that you should go to your dealer ASAP to get the newly issued tune flashed to your ECU. During this time, they also handled actual failures on a case-by-cases basis, with no official recall.

After some time, they finally issued a stop sale of all 2008 STi’s. Long story short, there were some rod-knock issues present, along with the previously standing lean-condition ECU tune. The stop sale basically halted the sale of any 2008 STi from any dealership. During this time, dealerships with inventory were instructed to inspect the oil on every 2008 STi that was up for sale. Cars that passed were released for sale, and the ones that stayed behind, well, who knows where they are now.

Next up is the 2009 WRX. Same thing, different day. This time, it appears to the be the rod-knock issue followed from the 2008 STi, and is now affecting the 2009 WRX. We’ve heard numerous suspicions about the cause behind this, and we still aren’t sure which we should set our minds on.

Any ideas? Leave us a comment! We’d love to hear from more Subaru enthusiasts!

Also, there’s a large thread going on over at NASIOC. For any 2009 WRX owners: I highly suggest reading this thread, and checking back here for any continuing updates on this issue. The thread can be found here: http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1648372. It’s very saddening though. Within the thread, there is a current count of 14, 2009 WRX owners, who’ve experienced motor failures. Sure, NASIOC may have thousands and thousands of members, but how many of them actually own a 2009 WRX? Realistically, probably not very many. Therefore, this current figure of 14 is quite surprising, as we consider it to be a high number.

Overall, it seems Subaru needs to get their game back together. Sure, US Forester sales may be up 64%, but that doesn’t mean squat if the car is going to fail. In the long run, it’s only going to hurt your business. As a whole, it’s also very surprising because many consumers purchase a Subaru for one thing: reliability. For now, it’s only a matter of time to see what Subaru does to get that back.

[ Article written by STi Blog ]

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

58 Responses to “2009 WRX: Another Subaru Failure?”

  1. H. Pham says:

    Interesting… are there issues with the N/A engines? How about other vehicles in Subaru’s line-up?

    Driving my ’02 OBS through the snow, I’m excited about how it ‘just works’ and long for the day beyond grad school and everything to pick up a WRX… and the newer ones are lookin’ sweet… until this (and other sources as well!).

    Too bad they only made a limited number of… uh… Limited editions, and the Saabaru was short-lived. I’d like to see a turbo-charged, wagon (or hatch) with leather and a moonroof. Enthusiasts might disagree. 😉

  2. Tronix102 says:

    I was about to buy a 09 wrx this week but after reading all this I am waiting until something is done. I dont care if I got a new engine, it will never be the same as from the factory.

  3. Acejam says:

    @H. Pham, I haven’t heard of any N/A engine issues, except for the infamous Subaru headgasket problems.

    The Phase-II EJ25 2.5 liter’s were blowing the headgaskets. Subaru became aware of the problem, and started putting in a special additive into the coolant of vehicles in order to “fix” the issue.

    Although my old 2000 Legacy had the the additive, and I blew the head gasket at around 101,000 miles.

    Keep in mind though, I also autocrossed the car heavily.

  4. Acejam says:


    I completely agree with you. As a current 07 STi owner, I had my motor rebuilt at 33,000 miles. (Piston #4 cracked)

    Thankfully it was covered by Subaru of America, but it is something that I shouldn’t even have to deal with in the first place.

    Unfortunately, Subaru boxer engines are never the same once they’ve been opened up.

    Good luck with your car hunt! (I must say I’m starting to check out the new ’08/’09 M3 Sedans…yummy) 🙂

  5. jimbo says:

    Unfortunately my 02 WRX was totaled recently, not my fault. I looked at the 09 WRX reluctantly because all of the updates to the original 02 bugeyes were steps backwards in my humble opinion. But I quickly got excited with the new 09. That is, until I read about the engine failures. I too will take a wait and see attitude. My 02 was mechanically sound with over 100,000 miles. Subs are supposed to be reliable, lasting decades not months.

  6. Richard says:

    The 2009 wrx was first on my list. now i might get the mazdaspeed 3 or the 2009 cobalt ss

  7. Mark says:

    My wife’s 09 WRX just had an apparent engine failure last night with less than 3000 miles, less than 2 months old. The dealership is diagnosing the engine but mentioned the engine rod-knock issue. that’s what her vehicle did…strange knocking and engine done.

  8. Acejam says:

    The MS3’s are great. They’re very quick for what they are. I’d say it would be 100% equal in overall features to the WRX, except for one thing, FWD.

    Considering I only have 1 car currently, it must be capable of getting me around well during all seasons.

    STi FTW!

  9. Acejam says:


    Ouch! Was the car “driven”? 🙂 (as a WRX should be)

    Keep us posted on the outcome and what you hear back from the dealer. Such a shame, and with only 3,000 miles 🙁

  10. Mark says:

    @Acejam, The car is a sedan purchased 11/18/08. My wife drove it to work (20 miles round trip) daily and we took a couple of trips in-state Ohio. We had the dealer install the SPT exhaust. This car was driven “appropriately” after the 1000 mile break in. Will keep you updated.

  11. Scott says:

    My 2009 WRX is getting a new long block at the dealer currently. 5600 miles. The rod knock got worse very quickly. Had it towed in. I hope this fixes all my concerns.

  12. Acejam says:


    Let’s hope it’s rod issue, and that a new block can fix it.

    What I’m fearing most is that the 2009 WRX might simply have a lean tune. I haven’t looked into any datalogs from the 09’s yet, but I can say one thing: If it’s the tune causing these issues, then fixing blocks will do nothing. The problem will simply come back again one day. (and the only thing to fix it will be an aftermarket ECU tune)

    Keep us updated!

  13. Pete says:

    I have a 2008 WRX – not an STi, but being that the motors are the same and that the stop sale in 08 was for all turbocharged 2.5L, I am feeling a little concern now. I had some problems with my 08 a few months after I bought it and was stonewalled by SOA and the dealership when I asked about a fix or warranty issue (it was stalling and rpms dropped to about 450 when braking, had nasty hesitation). It took them 2 months to get back to me, to say the dealership would let me drive a different 08 when they got one in. The problem is that the dealership already had the 09’s in and no 08’s were remaining. I tried to explain that to the SOA rep and the dealership, after they played dumb to that I hung up disgusted. My solution has worked so far, which was to buy an access port, fix the factory tune and start modding, but now I hear that there are so many junk motors and I’m getting a bit nervous. It was one thing to fix stuff under warranty, another to have a stop sale and extra inspections before sale, but a complete a-hole move to keep on selling them knowing from 3 years of evidence that there’s something wrong with that motor and have no revisions on the new engines!!!

  14. Mark says:

    My 2005 OB XT blew the turbo at 65K and through good negotiating, I was able to persuade Subaru to replace the turbo. Now I own a 2009 OB XT w/ 16K miles. The engine is toast. Died on the highway. The dealer tells me that the engine needs replacement. Apparently Subaru tried to make engine bearings out of an environmentally friendly material that just isn’t quite hard enough. My dealer has already replaced 2 other engines for the same cause. Note that my car was one the first ’09 model year cars on the street. So current production should not be an issue.

  15. Eddy says:

    Hey, all the engine failure problem that I have seen or heard of so far are in the States. Has any similar problem been reported in Canada. I am from Canada and have a 09 WRX wagon (224hp, not the 265 model). I contacted Subaru Canada to enquire if they are aware of any engine problem with their cars sold in Canada but they told me there is no recall on any 2009 vehicles because of engine failure or rod bearing problem.

  16. rallirex says:

    I purchaced my 09 rex in Feb. Of 09. I hade engine failure @4600 miles.dealer said S0A told them to drop the oil pan and look for shavings. Dealer def found shavings.SOA said that they knew exactly what the problem was and sent the dealer a whole new LONG BLOCK. After getting my subi back I became stage 2 and been 7000 miles with no problems.Not sure if SOA fixed the problem or reflashing it with a good tune myself helped.

  17. Mark says:

    UPDATE: The sedan has 7,500+ miles on the replaced long block. One problem since replaced…the crankseal did not seal, so the engine threw oil all over the timing belts and into the exhaust heat shields. After the leak at the crankseal was identified and allegedly corrected, the engine was degreased, engine compartment cleaned, and a free future oil change donated. So far so good.

  18. Jonathan says:

    Are the 09 WRX STIs shipped im Canada have this issue as well? If so, how do you determine it? Thanks.

  19. Acejam says:

    Wow, a new long block!

    I hope things turn out well for you!

  20. Acejam says:

    I’m not sure if the Canadian models have this issue or not. In the US, the issues were primarily due to the bad factory tune. The tune is considered “bad” per-se, because Subaru must program the ECU maps in a special fashion for the USDM model cars.

    This is done by Subaru so they can achieve a specific emissions rating for the STi and WRX. Therefore, as a marketing clause, they can claim that all of their cars meet a certain emissions standard. However for most people, assuming damage hasn’t already been done; a simple aftermarket reflash or tune fixes the problem. (and the car will also generate more power, by running a higher level of boost)

  21. Matt says:

    Bought my 09 wrx in Feb also, I spun a rod bearing at 1863 and 3 weeks of ownership, replaced with a new longblock, exhaust, and turbo due to damage from engine fragments. They also fixed the tune. The dealership said the issue was with it running lean as the turbo really started to boost, to meet emission standards. As far as the car feeling really any different it doesn’t, and i am at 9800 miles and i drive the hell out of it everywhere i go and i haven’t had anymore issues at all.

  22. Acejam says:

    Just to clarify – they fixed the tune by issuing a new SOA reflash, correct? (versus an aftermarket tune, etc)

    Sorry to hear about your loss. At least they didn’t short change you, and fully replaced the long block, as they should!

  23. ken says:


    I am a 2008 subaru wrx GHE 2.5L owner in Singapore(South East Asia).
    Bought my car in January 2009, been on 16k mileage (August 2009) and had same problem , engine knocking so whole engine need re build!

    Sad part is , Subaru distributor won’t honour as i change to Fujitsubo Legalis r cat-back exhuast, the exhuast is a certified and acceptable under the Traffic authorities in Singapore!

    Thus, i have to bear engine rebuild cost on my own!!!

    Wonder if u guys have any advise on justifying the engine failure is generic??

    Anyone tried contact to FHI directly??


  24. stephen says:

    Hi Ken

    Noticed your post and would be keen to chat with you, I’m also in Singapore and having a bad experience with the Subaru dealer here, brought a used 12mth old 2008 STI with 18k millage and its spent more time in the workshop than at my home, turbo has been making a strange noise over 1 bar, mechanics thought it was boost leak and advised change from HKS BOV back to standard BOV, did this still not resolved, changed intercooler pipes and rechecked everything still making odd turbo noise, then lost ECU memory and required ETC learning, now car started smoking badly with blue smoke on start up, finding the dealer to be hopeless, they today advised the car may be burring oil and making noise because I cleaned it, picking it up tomorrow they have had their chance and I’m looking for someone else that can service and diagnose the car, I’m starting to hear allot of negative feedback on the dealers service and warranty support from recent Subaru buyers. Rgds, Stephen, Hp 91280977

  25. Ken says:

    Hi Step,

    Blame it on FHI having Motorimage as the dealer in Singapore.
    They are best at being unreasonable and ripping customers.

    It definitely dampens the spirit of owning a Subaru in Singapore!

    Feel free to contact me @ guo_qq@hotmail.


  26. Ryan says:

    To clear a few things up, the problem has been isolated for awhile now and its not the tune. I agree with you the factory tune is terrible with its closed loop for emmsions, flash to any stage 1 tune from perrin or cobb and the car feels so much smoother, its totally a different car. ANyway back to my point. the rod knock / engine failure is happening because subaru changed the bearings from lead to silver. silver is less forgiving than lead and requires a much cleaner machining process, subaru didnt chnage that unitl mid september build dates, so if you have a July August or early Spetember build date you will probably have a failure. Do an oil analysis and check for silver.

  27. Dan says:

    Just picked up a 2010 WRX yesterday and found out about the 09 rod knock today. Has there been any reports of the 2010’s failing?

  28. Jessie says:

    I bought 08 sti new in feb of 08. 5200 miles later catastrophic engine failure. #1 rod bearing failed. SOA replaced motor. 10k later on 2nd motor car’s in at the dealer because……you guessed it very bad internal engine noise. Not Good!!

  29. John says:

    Yeah 2009 Sti and they have to rip apart my dash to “look” at some things and mybe weld some spots. Not happy one F’en bit!

  30. Acejam says:

    I have yet to hear anything, but in all honesty it wouldn’t surprise me. My suggestion is to get a tune ASAP along with any mods you may add, or else leave the car completely bone stock. (and let the warranty deal with it)

  31. Acejam says:

    Was the car bone stock? Any mods? That’s very unfortunate…

    At least they covered the cost of the repair. Did they try to argue with you at all, accusing you of blame?

  32. Acejam says:

    The one common trend that I’ve noticed when comparing Subaru to other car manufacturers is that they are very defensive when it comes to warranty related issues.

    If you own a Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda, or even a BMW or Audi, you never hear any grief from a dealership over a warranty repair. The honor the claim without question, and without questioning the customer’s integrity/liability.

    However when it comes to Subaru, they appear to automatically assume the customer is at fault. I understand simple checks for intentional abuse must be performed, but I’ve heard of SOA ENGINE warranty claims getting denied due to unheard of reasons, such as increased tire wear, clutch wear, using non-OEM motor oil, and simple aftermarket catback exhausts. (not downpipes)

  33. Jessie says:

    None on the 1st motor. I did on the second. Perring S2 Map and headers, UP, DP, Exhaust, and intake.

    SOA is covering the second motor as well. although we did have some discussions about the mods in the end SOA felt that given the history with the motor they would cover me.

    They said they know that there is an issue with the Rod Bearings. Change in the Manufacturing process to remove the lead resulted in the bearings being harder than crank and thus could result in premature failure. SOA feels they have resolved this issue by titainium coating the crank to insure it’s harder than the bearings.

    Thus the new motor should not have this issue. this is what is being replaced in my car currently.

    I was advised NOT FORCED, that it would be best to return the car to stock at least until the warranty was up. I think this is good advise should i encounter another issue as this would only help to elimante mods as possiblity.

    All in all while this overall experience has not been very fun, I think SOA has stood beside me as a customer and has acted with honor and integrity. Which is the way it’s supposed to be. In this day and age I think that’s a rare quality. Problems happen in the end it’s how things are made right that are important.

    Thanks SOA.

  34. Jessie says:

    I think that some of this depends on the individual persons involved on both sides.

    I think sometimes it can be the dealer and their service department and not necessarily SOA that can be the defensive parties.

    Being a cool, educated, and honest while I know is hard to do at times like these…..Will definetly work in your favor in the end.

    My personal experince having gone through 2 motors now on #3, while it has been brutally painful, is that SOA honored their warrenty even when they may have had room to dispute things. See my post above for details.

  35. Kent says:

    2009 STI 23,000 miles motors suck. Completely melted all 4 pistons gone

  36. […] 2009 WRX engine failure VIN/build date owner list – NASIOC 2009 Impreza WRX motor issues – NASIOC 2009 WRX: Another Subaru Failure? | STi Blog – A Subaru Blog! MotiveMag Forums: 2009 WRX: Engine failure problems! Subaru issues "stop sale" on all […]

  37. Mike says:

    “”””Mark Reply:
    August 4th, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    UPDATE: The sedan has 7,500+ miles on the replaced long block. One problem since replaced…the crankseal did not seal, so the engine threw oil all over the timing belts and into the exhaust heat shields. After the leak at the crankseal was identified and allegedly corrected, the engine was degreased, engine compartment cleaned, and a free future oil change donated. So far so good.””””

    Wow i had the same problem with my 09 wrx sedan under 3000 miles , they replaced the engine after it blew a rod , then the new engine crackseal didn’t seal and threw oil everywhere!!

  38. I think the problem may be due to the aluminum block, it cannot handle the boost it is being given by the turbo. Subaru looks like they did a boost increase to bump up the power but did not make the internals or the block strong enough to handle the added pressure increase. There are a number of videos on U Tube showing these blown motors. It is too bad because it looks like a great car.

  39. Kent says:

    2009 STI failed 22,000. $24,000 to replace Subaru’s JUNK engine with a real one. Complete faiure 3 pistons in the oil pan. Why did Subaru change pistons in 2008???


  40. Joe says:

    I bought a 2009 WRX in March of ’09. 10,000 on the nose and the crank shaft bearings, or some other bearing, blew apart and left shavings all in the oil. New long block and a week in a loaner base model Impreza (man was I glad to get the WRX back!). 5,000 miles later and it’s running strong. Although I hear all sorts of odd sounds from the wheels. Braking in reverse actually scares me, but the Subaru techs said it was the ABS kicking in when you push hard on them. My reply was “15% of pedal depression is hard? I thought this was a rally inspired sports car?” The reply was “well, you should have bought an STi…” I almost backhanded that guy! Now running turbo back with Cobb AP stg. 2 tune (Perrin custom, but pro tune soon).

    The engine failure was a well known issue and basically a no questions asked fix, but I really do not like going to the stealership for anything other than the oil changes on my package. Even that is sketchy since they switched oil brands 3 times since I first bought my car there, and now I’m inclined to bring my own oil for them to use since I don’t even know what to expect the next time I show up there… Some places are better than others, but I made sure to contact SOA and inform them of all the happenings with my car so it’s been documented in multiple levels of the company for future reference should anything else go wrong. I really should have got an STi though, haha.

  41. STI Trev says:

    On March 27 2010 my bone stock 2009 STI started having some terminal engine noise on a higher rev downshift. I got it towed to the dealer and after some initial grumblings from them, it appears the Subaru Canada might give me warranty. Fingers crossed. I’m hoping for a long block and new turbo.

    My car had 87000 kms on it and it was driven as it should be – making sure to keep the smile on my face. I owned it from new and always had Mobil 1 in it. Since it is out of the full warranty, I am hoping it will be covered under the 100000 km powertrain warranty. The dealer indicated that I might be without my car for 6-8 weeks. Ouch!

    Has anyone asked the dealer to preform any customer pay mods while their engine was out of the car? ie forged pistons, new clutch, or lightened flywheel?

  42. matt318 says:

    My 08 STI just started acting up on the way into work today. I put it in neutral on the highway hoping to limp it into the dealer. Car stalled. Started again and made it to the dealership. Had to puch it into the service bay. They said a piston bearing connecting to the cam shaft broke. He then asked me if I got all my oil changes and had documentation. He said the oil was really low but my oil light never turned on!?! My last oil change was 6000 miles ago and I always had the dealer put synthetic in. I am afraid they are going to blame me for not changing the oil soon enough.

    If they do cover it under warenty, what should I make sure gets replaced? The whole engine? Long block (what ever that is???). Turbo? Exhaust? Help please soon. Talking with them tomorrow. Thanks.

  43. OBXT says:

    Hi y’all! Has anyone heard of this lean condition the regular WRX or OB XT Turbo’s? I too have a lean condition, just like the STI’s, except I’m almost 60hp less stock and have the OB XT Turbo. Just wondering. SOA sucks by the way. They have driven this thing, rode with me, re-flashed my ecm 3 times, replaced A/f Sensors, countless attempts (over 12 now and counting) and it has had this problem since the day we left the lot. They will not even call me back anymore because they say it’s just a characteristic of the car, but when I hook my Genysis on it, it shows a ST fuel trim being very lean. They are refusing to answer my letters and phone call about asking them to buy back my car, so I want to see if I can piggyback an ECU flash to make it run better.

    You guys know of a good flash tune I could use to straighten out the tuning and maybe get all of my 242hp back? Thanks for the info.

  44. Soundshop says:

    Wow, can’t believe this. I have owned subarus since I was in high school. We bought a 2009 WRX ( for my wife… yes laugh away) and two weeks ago, knocking sound, I knew it was a spun bearing. I still cant believe this happened. Dealership was awesome, they pulled the motor and replaced everything broken-worn in any way. Oh yeah, it happened at 16,400 miles. It happened as I was shifting through the gears at 5,500rpms. which is still a 1,000 rpms below Red-line. I fear it will happen again, unless I trade it in and buy a different make of car or go to Cobb tuning and purchase Access Port, which I shouldnt have to do to make a stock car run right. Sad isnt it. I am and will continue to pursue this matter with both the dealership we purchased the car from and write/call SOA about their short-comings. thanks you guys, this is great reading all your posts.

  45. Danny pyle says:

    99650 km, 2- motors, 1- turbo,1- down pipe,1-clutch,1-rear Subaru emblem. 2 bad 4 subaru but they just lost another customer finaly solved my car issus with a new car ( 2010 dodge challenger srt8 b5 blue,SEX ON WHEELS). I bought my 2008 sti (black pearl with gold P$$$y magnetts) in feb of 2008 did not even haggle over the price or the fact that they would not let me test drive it.(snow on the ground) Loved the car always dealer serviced even started using royal purple oil on the third oil change dealer even put it in. Hardly ever went over 4500rpm ( snow on the ground and stock summer tires) for the first 10000km. Then at 16000km with a fresh oil change that morrning I was on the hiway doin 114km/h with the cruze on in I mode, and the motor started knocking and lost like all power but no check engine light. All said and done they put in a hole new block and had my car for like 3 weeks.At first they where like it’s not on warrenty cuz it looked like some one put power steering fluid in the oil ( royal purple oil is purple if you diddnt know) dumb a$$es. They did do the job on warrenty and the cause was said to be rear main crank bearing failure. After that every thing was all good for a wile, the dealer again did all the services but I used noble 1 this Tim around.( subaru emblem on the hatch was like scratched or faided under the rubber clear?). Then at about 99858km like JUST under the 100000km warrenty on my way home from work. In I mode again with the Cruz on the motor started knocking the same as the last time(DAMMMM CAR was close 2 what I said). This time it was rod and crank failure and again they put a new motor in on warrenty. But after they put the motor in they found the turbo had a crack in the housing that they replaced. But I did have 2 pay for a new clutch the old one was cracking from the middle out but the padds were good $800 and they had my car 4 two months. Right away when I got my car back with just under 100000km the check engine light came on for the first time. So back 2 the dealer it whent where they reset the ecu and told me they would need a hole day just for the diagnostic so I made another apointment for it. So after they did there joy ride they told me that the it needed a new Catt/ down pipe and I mite have two pay for it even know it was dammaged dew from the oil that the block was shipped with. F that, but little did they know the hole day that they had my car I was traidin it off. No way I can see my self with a $45000+ car with no warrenty and workin on the 3rd motor. BUT after all the trobble I still love that CAR lots of good thing I realy liked about it ie, great car 4 long road trips very easy on the back, you can fitt allott of stuff in that hatch like a 50″flat sceen easy or the seats fold down flat and two 6′ people can sleep in the back good( ya sleep 😉 ), when the snow hits the grownd there’s no other car or truck that’s faster or feels safer even in major snow storms never hit the ditch or got stuck. But even know I love subaru cars I will never own a new subaru anything. Unless I winn the lotto or Find a nice 22B sti here in Canada that I could aford but that’s not likley. SUBARU YOU SUCK!

  46. Eric says:

    Thanks for the blog. I will not buy any Subaru….

  47. Martin says:

    I am writing on behalf of my son Richard as I contributed greatly to the purchase of his car.
    He bought a Subaru STI (standard car, no modification or pro drive kit) in February/March 2010. It had covered about 10 or 11000 miles.
    This was from the main Subaru dealer in Leeds, KT Green. The car is an 08 and was owned by the MD of Subaru UK.
    On purchase we were advised to check the oil weekly which seemed odd and it was found to be using around 6/7 liters of oil between purchase and the end of June when the engine failed.
    The entire engine needed replacing including turbo and complete oil system at a price of around £8000 plus labour, which Subaru paid for. It was found all four pistons had cracked down the side which the mechanic stated is a design flaw with the engine harmonics.
    The new engine was correctly run in and no oil was used. The car had its full service on August 4th. In mid September the second engine failed and two pistons had cracked down the side between the rings. Subaru again paid for repairs.
    It was found that the car had a manufacturers re write of the engine mapping before purchase as problems were appearing on this model. This is also noted on Forums and a harmonic issue has been admitted i believe.
    KT Green have been inundated with engine rebuilds for this model. When asked if the second engine would fail we were advised that it almost certainly will if the car is driven as it is intended and never to exceed 6000 RPM or engine damage would occur. The red line is 7000 RPM. The cost of repairs was again totalling around £10000.
    We have contacted Subaru to see if they would extend the manufacturers warranty or take the car back for the price paid. They refused on both counts and do not admit to a fault with this model.
    The warranty expires in May next year and should the engine fail again it would be totally unaffordable to repair. KT Green also refuse to take the car back. If the engine does have design flaws an after market warranty would not be possible.
    The old model STI had forged pistons, not alloy and were bullet proof.
    We fully believe the car is unfit for purpose and has been off the road nearly two months since purchase. It is virtually unsellable as who would buy a car having three engines in 17000 miles.
    What rights do we have to ask that the car be taken back for the initial price or any other recourse as it is clearly very unwise to keep the car any longer.


    Yours sincerely


    letters@honestjohn.co.uk to me
    show details 13:28 (1 hour ago)
    Many thanks.

    I knew about the problem, but you have fleshed it out with some detail
    which I have included in the car by car breakdown entry.

    The best thing you can do is use forums to get together with other UK
    owners to collectively mount a class action against the IM Group which is
    the UK importer of Subarus.

    Obviously your cars would all have to have been imported by the IM Group
    and not be grey imports.

    Fir a grey import your only recourse would be an individual (and
    expensive) county court action against the dealer who sold it to you.

    – S

  48. stylist says:

    after reading all this my dreams of buying subaru are gone… 🙁

  49. john smith says:

    This article is complete bull shit i have been a subaru lover for a long time and never heard any of these issues. Also even if these issues are true its becasue people dont know how to drive a subaru… its just to much car for some people. Yes, it does requrie alot of maintnance becasue it is a performance vehicle. I have a 2010 wrx and wouldnt trade it for any other car for the price.

  50. Acejam says:

    @john smith

    Respectfully, you don’t really know what you’re talking about. There are hundreds of reported issues within various Subaru communities (read: online forums) from various members. All of these complaints regard some type of engine failure, and the majority of them are from the 2007 STI and up models. This includes 2007-2010 STI, and the 2008-2010 WRX.

    People know how to drive a Subaru. It’s a pretty simple car, especially from a handling perspective. Very easy to modulate at the limit as well. The fact that you state it’s “too much car for some people” shows that you’re young, and inexperienced. (from a serious driving perspective) In addition, I’m pretty confident in making this statement about you since you posted your comment from a computer located @ Middlesex County College. This shows that you’re most likely an outspoken college student who thinks he knows best.

    Given your outlook, and the fact that you “know it all”, I’m willing to make a safe bet that your 2010 WRX’s motor WILL go within the next 1 or 2 years. When it does, you will have a cracked piston ringland. Given your attitude, your dealership will probably deny any warranty claims too, and blame the issue on you as “abuse”. (as many dealerships have uncorrectly done so far, taking advantage of consumers)

    Believe what you want to; ignorance is bliss.

    PS: I suggest checking out a few Subaru forums first before making a statement like this again. Suggested reading: http://www.iwsti.com and http://www.nasioc.com

  51. ELInfiniteMaths says:

    I felt it was my responsibility to post my experiences as an owner of a 2009 WRX. First time owner and posting.

    I’m a 40 years old VW lover, I have driven and/or owned so many of them since I was 16 ( I still have 1984 Rabbit GTI and it’s in pretty good condition–under 85,000 miles) and will always be but I had to try something new.

    Don’t care that the WRX isn’t aesthetically pleasing to my eyes (car is plain on the inside as well, music is wack) or others but the car is no-joke, even stock. For the price, you get a beast: not an adult beast, but not a baby beast either.
    I purchased mine with 1729 miles from a dealer in NY on Halloween 2009. The dealer sucks but the price was at just over 25.600 for the SAT/GPS version and 6-year warranty included in the deal, so I purchased it. It was being used in Illinois by a “Subaru-suit” and the dealer in NY got their hands on it in July 2009. Carfax showed that it had 3 oil changes between July and October 31st.

    I used my car for everything from Oct 31st 2009 to December 2010, so I put on about 33,000 miles since I bought it. I am now using it sparingly. I did all maintenance as suggested in the manual except the brake fluid flush and one oil change–the dealer did this because there was just too much snow this winter.

    I don’t care about voiding my warranty so I bought a Cobb stage 1 map around April 2010 and I just put on an AMR Performance turbo back exhaust (stealth black), intake, and Stage 2 map (Feb 2011). Holy smokes, Batman! Car is no joke. When I was running it stock (curious to see what awaits in the future) I have kept up with some serious V8s on the NY highways and freeways, blew away posers, and saved my gas on those in the “PULEEZE” category.
    The AMR stuff was close to $2200, but if you can swing it, it’s worth the money. So for under $3000 dollars you can have a real nice upgrade and still be under the price of a 2009 STI (I wanted a 2009 STI but did not want any more hatchbacks). I’m happy with my choice before and after the upgrades. I definitely think my car will be an adult beast whenever I have to change the turbo and intercooler.

    So, if anyone is skeptical about WRXs, I hope this long post will have you leaning more on the positive side.
    So contrary to being bought on Halloween, there are no horror stories to tell as of the date of this writing. If there ever is, I will remember to inform you all. Peace.

  52. David says:

    My wife and I both have owned 2003 & a 1999 WRX`s. I was about to go and buy a 2008 STi (second hand with 50,000`ks) on the clock.
    Thank god I did some research!

  53. Steve says:

    I bought a 2009 Wrx in April of 2010 with 3300 miles on it. I was given a document to sign informing me the car was previously used as a demonstration car. The car now has 34000 miles and is losing 5 quarts of oil between oil changes with a horrible tapping noise that started a few days ago. Subaru will not honor the power train warranty unless I can prove it was not abused. The past two days I have been going through my paperwork trying to account for every oil change just to get my car fixed. Even after providing the paperwork they may not cover it. They are terrible about warranty repairs. Any advise would be appreciated. I believe the forums are up to 37 engine replacements for rod knock alone. Still no word from Subaru.

  54. Dennis Marinos says:

    the 2009 wrx had a weird tune and i could see this as being a cause of knock and rod/pistions.

    There is too much timing and and it is to lean just when boost comes on at about 2800-3000rpm in the mid to high lead ranges, and i think this would be causing issues over time. I have seen a stock 2009 wrx which had timing pulled by the ecu in this area because of knock. So it must be happening to all of them.

    The stock tunes on the last few WRX’s have been very poor, the 2008 wrx has a aweful stock tune and is not dangerous just very poor performance wise. (too rich, not enough timing and boost)

    The 09 is poor in the area i described above. i think they did it to give the car some more quick fire punch in the mid range, and didn’t test it well enough or something. Maybe only tested it in cold weather for eg.

  55. Earl James says:

    All this engine problems that you guys are talking about I have never ever experience on my09 wrx sedan . The problem that I had on the car is that I needed a new gearbox due to a couple of syncro’s that were about to break and my clutch that was about done as well , but this only happen after 3 years of owning the car and I’m now only 20 years old.

    I am aware that there is a weak component in the motor that doesn’t allow you to boost your car over 1.1bar without changing your headstuds and head gasket

    The car was standard till a few weeks back due to my manufacture motorplan and warranty is over

  56. Brandon Morris says:

    I have owned my 2009 WRX since 30,000 miles and just turned 64,000. I use it as a commuter car to and from school. In a year and a half I have put over 30,000 additional miles on the vehicle. I pulled off the freeway the other day and experienced rod knock. I’ve been talking to subaru of america and they seem to be playing dumb to this problem and refuse to acknowledge it as a known issue with the 2009’s. I am utterly confused as to how so many of these cars can come back with this problem but nothing is being done. I went 4,000 miles past my warranty and they are trying to get me to pay for the whole problem. I feel I have done and provided my maintenance as asked by subaru; however, they say the problem occurred due to insufficient oil. That either means I forged my maintenance records and receipts or added oil to the vehicle after the problem occurred, neither of which has happened. I have offered to sign an affidavit pertaining to the fact that the information I have provided is true and accurate. They, at this point, have offered to pay $1500 of my $4000 bill. Why would they even offer that if, indeed, they feel I didn’t add oil to my vehicle or forged my maintenance records? I think they are trying to be cheap and get out of paying for their mistakes

  57. Jon Jon says:

    I purchased my 2008 WRX STI in July 2008.

    I am now replacing the 3rd engine failure and this January 2013 will be its 4 engine.

    Subaru has let me down tremendously. Rally Subaru in Edmonton sold me a terrible car. The first engine went within a month of driving it. Rally Subaru blamed the manufacture saying that the engine inlet oil was not properly sealed. However, after reading this article above, it stated that all 2008 cars were supposed to have their oil checked prior to selling.

    I truly believe that they screwed up and should have owned up to it.

    4 engines later and the grief and money that this has caused is unacceptable.

  58. Ivan says:

    Hi Subaru fans (or not) after this interesting read.
    I currently own a 2004 wrx the 2.0 turbo and was in the process of financing a 2007 wrx (hatch) My gut feel after reading these posts is to stick with my ’04 as i have had zero issues with it. Although it does seem that most of these failures are happening with the ’08 and more so the ’09 models.
    Any advice, pro or con would be greatly appreciated.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.