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New WRX STI Engine Failure Lawsuit Says Subaru Knew About Defect Since 2008

A new lawsuit against Subaru claims the automaker knew about a WRX and WRX STI engine defect since 2008, causing the turbocharged engine to fail. See what it means for owners.

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Subaru of America and Subaru Corporation is hit with another Subaru WRX and WRX engine failure lawsuit. This week, the new class-action lawsuit filed in New Jersey claims Subaru knew about an engine defect since 2008 in the EJ25 2.5-liter and FA20 2.0-liter turbocharged engines used in 2009-2018 WRX and STI. This is another lawsuit against Subaru for the performance car’s engine failure.

A new report from Top Class Actions says four plaintiffs, Ricardo Aquino, George Crumpecker, Jonathan Piperato, and Stephen Tresco Alain, claim their WRX and WRX STI engines failed before they reached 80,000 miles. They are represented by attorneys Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C. and Thomas P. Sobran, P.C.

2009-2018 Subaru WRX and WRX STI engine failure lawsuit
photo credit: Subaru of America

The class action says Subaru of America and Subaru Corporation concealed a defect in the engines’ piston ring lands, which allegedly causes the engines to fail far earlier than they are supposed to.

The lawsuit against the Japanese automaker claims the turbocharged engine’s failure is caused by faulty piston ring lands, resulting in a sudden power loss and stalling, which poses a “serious safety issue while the vehicle is being operated.”

2009-2018 Subaru WRX and WRX STI engine failure lawsuit
photo credit: Subaru of America

Another issue in the EJ25 2.5-liter and FA20 2.0-liter turbocharged engines stems from “an inadequate PCV system” that leads to pre-ignition or detonation, two “well-known causes of internal engine component damage,” according to the lawsuit.

The class-action lawsuit says Subaru “knew or should have known no later than early 2008” about the engine defects due to their supposedly “substantial field inspections, testing and quality review of vehicles.” The report from Top Class Actions says Subaru would have also known about the defect from warranty claims, communications on vehicle forums, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s database of consumer complaints.

All four plaintiffs had their Subaru WRX or WRX STI engine replaced due to the piston ring land defect. The report says the class-action against Subaru represents statewide subclasses for Illinois, Colorado, California, and New York current and former owners and lessees of 2009-2018 WRX and STI performance vehicles.

The lawsuit covers all 2009-2018 WRX and STI owners who purchased or leased their vehicles in the four states and “sustained monetary loss and diminution of class vehicles’ value resulting from the defect.”

The four plaintiffs seek “damages, interest, prejudgment interest, attorneys’ fees, restitution for all related engine repairs incurred by the class, and restitution of incidental expenses (such as rental vehicles and other substitute transportation)” incurred by Subaru WRX and WRX STI owners.

What should WRX and WRX STI owners do?

If you have experienced engine failure with your 2009-2018 Subaru WRX or WRX STI and have received an estimate or have paid for the repair or engine rebuild, you may be entitled to compensation in the event this case resolves. If you believe you are a potential class member and have an engine defect, you can contact attorneys Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C. or Thomas P. Sobran, P.C.

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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Photo credit: Subaru USA

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GMeister (not verified)    March 5, 2022 - 9:38AM

Thats why we are such good garage mechanics now. Despite ringland failure we love these cars any way and replace the pistons with aftermarket forged internals.
Almost all turbocharged engines need an air oil separator because no PCV can keep up with all that air of forced induction.
Kinda like buying a horse. That’s not the only thing you need to do.
Oh, and don’t forget about your head gasket failure at about 60-90k
Loooove these cars though ❤️

Franklyn Johnson (not verified)    February 28, 2023 - 7:57PM

In reply to by Phil (not verified)

I had no modifications done to this car the engine is not giving me any problems but I know I'm at the point where I'm seeing a lot of people get to the 100,000 mile mark and the engine starts to fail.

Roy, G, Gillotti (not verified)    March 6, 2022 - 3:40PM

In reply to by Tim Baleman (not verified)

Headgaskets are an issue on the Older Non-turbo version of the engine and only really on a series of the 2.5L version of the engine, never was a problem on the WRX/STi.

Guy.ANDERSON (not verified)    March 5, 2022 - 10:38AM

Subaru isn't good on engine warranty. My 2012 n/a engine has burned 2+ quarts of oil every 5k miles since I took delivery and they wouldn't fix it. I just keep feeding it oil between oil changes.

Lyric Chrislock (not verified)    March 11, 2022 - 1:15AM

In reply to by Guy.ANDERSON (not verified)

All of my family's Subaru's have done the same thing since they were bought brand new...was told its due to the oil being slick and how the pistons are horizontal.

BryanB (not verified)    March 5, 2022 - 8:57PM

My stock 2014 WRX had the factory warranty extended rod and main bearing failure at 70k. Subaru dealer servicing is a nightmare, I'll never buy another Subaru for the rest of my life. Took 3 months to get done, they did an absolutely hack job, and still charged me nearly 2k for "new heads" not covered under the "lower end" extended warranty. Screw that, lesson learned, no more Subarus for me, ever, and I recommend everyone else buy something else as well. Basically 95% of Subaru dealers are awful, just not worth the hassle.

Lou (not verified)    March 6, 2022 - 1:02AM

I worked at a Subaru dealership pre 2015 and the ej should have been discontinued in 1998 when they made the ez30 ...the engine is superior in many many ways ..then the fa engine came out it was a total flop EVERY ENGINE came back without oil by the first oil change and every other service and we replaced a LOT of engines as they were seizing from running out of oil ..sum owners watch there car and cum in when the oil dropped off the dipstick ..most (and rightly so) never check there oil and then seize .(u don't pay 60k for a car to check the oil level every day).around 12 months after first release they improved but still ran below dipstick ..sooooooo here's where it gets interesting ..I have a 2000 outback h6 and it's done 350'000kms and uses no oil I thrash the hell out of it it's mainly my tow vehicle .I've towed 3.2 tonne before no issue and is great on fuel (better than a 4) cos more power means less throttle so less fuel used .....I love Subarus but there 4s r scrap metal ...only 1 in 4 ej crankshafts are useable time we rebuilt a old ej for a customer ..3 BRAND NEW CRANKSHAFTS LATER we got a good one new unopened we take to engine rebuilders to check before assembly so this is FACTUAL information

Carl (not verified)    March 6, 2022 - 10:32PM

In reply to by Lou (not verified)

I have the 2004 Subaru Legacy 3.0R in 6MT and its been a dream car. No idea why they did not move the H6 engine into the STi and turbocharge it. Also had a 2000 outback/lancaster H6 but the radiator cap failed, it fell to bits and it blew a head gasket on 1 bank, still drove it for a year just topping up the water. Immediately replaced the radiator cap on my 3.0R. I hope the new FA24 is good I want to trade in my old 3.0R on a new STi.

Eric (not verified)    March 6, 2022 - 2:59AM

My wrx 2015 the engine makes noise when it is in the first gear and I accelerate up to three thousand revolutions after the second second gear it disappears and the other problem when I accelerate in the second gear it starts to pull

IamTheTable (not verified)    March 6, 2022 - 6:55AM

Most of these issues can be mittigated or avoided with letting the engines warm up and cool down properly. I would assume like many car owners they did not take car of them properly.

Sal Cas (not verified)    March 7, 2022 - 3:56PM

Why do auto makers want to over engineer engines, transmission? Keep it simple, don't you think! Dependability, long life, and performance should be in the forefront, before experimenting with small turbos, and engines?

Jim Casey (not verified)    March 9, 2022 - 10:27AM

The 2020 turbo Outback has an ongoing battery fail problem I am now on my 3rd new battery. It is covered by warranty but very frustrating. What happens when the warrantee runs out Nov. 2023. Problem is if the car is not used for about 7 days the battery is flat with only 2% of charge is remaining. Turns out the on board electronics are continuously draining the battery. Discussions with the service manager indicated this is now very common with the new cars due to the high power computer demands to keep the systems alive. Apparently there is no fix. Apparently according to the service manager BMW also has this problem. It is particularly bad in the cold winter months when the battery has lower efficiency. I solved the problem by purchasing a 2 volt trickle charger from Canadian tire for $70. It is bolted to the battery terminals and I have the 120 v plug extending out through the front grill. I plug it in every time I park it, even over night. Guess I now have an electric car!
A pain, but there is no other solution. My concern is if I park at an airport park and fly for 1-2 weeks unattended I will come home to a dead battery. Only solution there is to buy and carry a portable jump starter in the trunk. The battery may not recover properly but that is another issue. This sucks for a $50-$60,000 vehicle with 20,000 k on it.
When I asked about oil consumption concerns, I was told I should check the oil level after every 2nd gas tank refills. This is now a high maintenance new vehicle. They may make a decent car but they do not address simple things. Need a continuous monitor of the oil level on the dash to indicate fill level. They will not do this because it simply admits there is a oil consumption problem. Will think seriously before I buy one again.

Carl (not verified)    March 9, 2022 - 4:27PM

In reply to by Jim Casey (not verified)

Your 2020 turbo Outback has a fault. Modern electronics uses even less power in standby modes than the older stuff. There is no way that is normal. I used solar charging on an older car because I only drove it a couple of times a year. 50W panel outside and an EPEVER 10A MPPT solar charger, total overkill but it float charges the battery at 13.8V. I would be using my multimeter and unplugging fuses until the fault cleared. Are you sure nobody installed some aftermarket electronics and wired it to the permanent +12V instead of the switched 12V ? I got my Subaru second hand and some idiot wired a signal booster direct to the battery and it caused the battery to go dead flat in 3 days.

Mark Day (not verified)    March 9, 2022 - 4:10PM

Thanks, Denis, for providing this useful information. What's positively enlightening is the reports from Subaru owners.

Lyric Chrislock (not verified)    March 11, 2022 - 1:05AM

I have a 2009 Subaru forester xt which the original engine was drained of oil and blew. The mechanics put a wrx motor in it when the car had 96,000 miles on it and now it has 176,000...the car dies in the middle of the road and fails to start with constant misfires, I have taken to the dealership and they claimed that there was nothing wrong with it...wondering if this could apply to me by any chance.

stephen frye (not verified)    March 11, 2022 - 6:38PM

yes Dennis likes to tell people how to think. how about that news that just dropped on Subaru's media page. no ICE for the STI and it got bounced another year . come on Dennis tell us about that

Trevor (not verified)    March 12, 2022 - 5:51PM

We bought our 2016 sti didn’t even have a year and the engine failed. About 8k later just to have it rebuild Unfortunately still paying for it. Had to get a loan just to fix it. Took us 6 months to get it out of the shop

Carl Watts (not verified)    March 12, 2022 - 11:27PM

Thats it I'm pissed with Subaru, been waiting for years putting up with "Fake" STi renders now its not even going into production. WTF are they doing ? Have they given up now because of the likes of the Audi RS3 and the AMG A45S ? My money is going elsewhere on a new A45S now. Still cannot believe the news or is that for the USA market only ?

Jerry Vasquez (not verified)    April 11, 2022 - 7:38PM

I bought a used 2015 wrx sti from Echo park in San Antonio TX. It had about 40,000 miles. Two weeks ago my son was driving up the driveway and I heard a knocking noise coming from the lower side engine. We took it to a mechanic and he said that model vehicle is notorious for that engine problem. He said last month he did 8 engine replacements. Now I'm wondering what my options are. I think I should call echo Park dealership and tell them they sold me a lemon since it only has 65,800 miles.