2013 Subaru Crosstrek, Impreza, BRZ, Scion FR-S, massive Subaru engine recall
Denis Flierl's picture

Some Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ Engines Are Dying After Recall Fix

Reports say some Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ sport coupe’s engines are dying after a recent recall fix. See why it’s worse after the engine fix.
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Subaru and Toyota issued a massive engine recall late last year for the BRZ and FR-S sport coupes, but recent reports say the fix is causing engine failures. The recall was issued for 2013 Subaru BRZ and 2013 Scion FR-S vehicles. The engine valve springs in these vehicles may fracture causing an engine malfunction or a possible engine stall. But the fix being done at some dealers is worse than the original issue.

Recent reports from FR-S and BRZ forums say some owners have experienced engine failure after the recall fix was done at the dealer. The repairs aren’t cheap as the engine work takes more than 12 hours to complete. Some have suggested that Toyota mechanics aren’t qualified to work on the Subaru 2.0-liter Boxer engine in the FR-S and may be botching the job due to incomplete guidance, inexperience, or both.

Are technicians applying too much sealant?

A common theory has developed at FT86Club that technicians are applying too much sealant when putting the engines back together, causing the liquid gasket to seep into the oil. The procedure needs to be done in a very specific manner that's unique to the construction of the Subaru flat-four engine, a powerplant not found in any other Toyota vehicle outside the Scion FR-S and now the Toyota 86.

A thread on the FT86Club owner's forum has 17 owners reporting everything from sudden power loss, knocking, and complete engine failure in the last month after getting the 2.0-liter Boxer valve spring recall completed. Notably, 15 are Scion FR-S, while only 2 are Subaru BRZ coupes.

Subaru even issued revisions to its instruction package with bold, highlighted sections calling for technicians to “take their time” when performing intricate repair procedures. The most recent bulletin was issued on February 13th, saying “It is critical to make sure all the original sealer is removed and the affected sealing surfaces completely clean before applying any new sealer. A thorough inspection of the front timing cover and inside the cam caps for any small pieces / bits of removed sealer or any other contamination is essential to provide a quality repair. Any contamination can cause (engine failure.)”

In the auto industry, there is a difference in pay for jobs under warranty (recall work) and out of warranty. Jobs covered by manufacturer warranty pay significantly fewer hours than the same jobs on vehicles that are out of warranty. This is because recall work is done for free and reimbursed after the fact by the automaker. Some technicians may be hurrying to get the work done and not properly applying the sealant.

It might be good to wait

According to reports from various owners and dealers around the U.S., it could take almost two years to get the repairs done by Subaru dealers. One report from the Burlington Free Press in Vermont says, dealers are waiting for parts and repairs have not yet begun, but that could be good for owners who wait. It will give techs, especially Toyota, time to get this one figured out.

Bill Hunter, the service director at Burlington Subaru in Vermont says, "We’re still waiting on training which won’t be available to us until February 12th and, due to a limited supply of special tools needed to perform this recall, we only have the ability to perform one of these recalls per day.”

In addition to the 2013 Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ, the NHTSA recall also includes 2012-2014 Subaru Impreza, 2012-2013 Impreza wagon, and 2013 XV Crosstrek models that use the same FB20 2.0-liter naturally aspirated Subaru Boxer engine. Subaru owners may contact Subaru customer service at 1-844-373-6614, Toyota owners may contact the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-888-270-9371. Subaru's number for this recall is WTY-84.

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Comments

My Subaru BRZ is currently in for recall repair, for the SECOND time. Not 40 miles after the first repair, I got stranded on the side of the road with a trashed torque converter. I am terrified that they have destroyed a car that I have driven for 5 years without even a hiccup. I suspect I may have a long fight ahead of me with Subaru...
We JUST went through this with 2013 BRZ: new noise from engine days after warranty work. Took it back to dealer whom adamantly swears it is not from anything they have done and basically washed their hands of it. Now, a week after that, the noise is much louder & it has developed a secondary noise. Suppose it is only a matter of time before this engine dies as well, and then what is our recourse? These failures seem to be exponentially gaining with each online search. Do we need a class action here?
Had the recall done a couple weeks ago, got it back and have driven it maybe 20 miles when I go to turn it on this morning and it's making an awful clicking noise. Had it towed to the dealership and I waiting to hear back...
2013 Scion FR-S owner in San Juan Capistrano, CA. When going in to replace my clutch, I had them perform the recall as well. My car was gone for over a month as they said during test driving the valve cover cracked and had to be replaced. Once I got my car back, the knocking of my engine started within 24 hours. It went from a slight knocking to huge vibrations in the engine and stalling out within about 10 miles. Besides needing a clutch, my car was driving fine prior to taking it in, but now my engine is inoperable. Update- car gone for another 2 weeks this time and just got notified from dealership that they are NOT taking responsibility for this issue and that the repair will cost 8-10k for new engine block. PLEASE, if anyone else is experiencing this contact corporate Toyota/Subaru so they cannot ignore this anymore and take responsibility!
Well, got my recall done and on the 3rd cold start I had an incredibly loud pop out of the exhaust. Loud enough that a person 25' from me dropped their food and hit the deck face first after leaving the fast food joint. Well, thought it could be a one time thing, I mean the engine had just been pulled and replaced. Then about 50 starts later it happened again. It's not throwing any codes that I can tell, but called the dealer and they said they would have a loaner ready for me first thing in the morning if that was convenient for me, and if not they could bring it to me on a flatbed and take mine back to the dealership on the same flatbed. I think they are taking this issue seriously now. More details to follow.
Got this repair done back in February and received the car back a couple days later (2013 FR-S). Immediately noticed a light ticking noise that wasn't there before. Took it back in case it was an issue, Toyota of Poway took it back in to assess the noise. Turns out it was an oil starvation issue that had scuffed some of the main bearings. The car has been at the shop since then (it's almost June), with 4 attempts to give it back to me. Each time, the knocking is worse when they fire it up to show me it's "fixed". They've even replaced the short block as part of their fixes. Not sure if they check their work over there. Toyota Corporate has been 100% unhelpful and are saying it isn't their problem and Toyota of Poway technicians have been extremely short with their attitude towards the problem. Fortunately, I haven't had to pay and have been using a loaner car since February. It'd be cheaper at this point to trade the two cars... The best option would have been to wait on this recall for Toyota to figure out the issue.
I have the same problem for my 2013 Scion FRS, I heard a knocking sound from my engine after they done the recall to the car. I spoke to the service people at the Toyota dealership nearest to my area and they told me that this situation is related to the recall problem, told me to take the car to the place where I got the recall done. They told me that it’s not covered but I only drove my car under 5,000 KM after the recall. They mentioned how I have to Change the engine but the engine has no problems before the recall. Can someone help me and tell me what I should do. Thank you
My brz is dead after recall and suby says it's not there fault was to much sealent theres have an inch sticking out in to the block in some places looks like a bday cake
I had my recall work done earlier this year around March. It had 67k miles so I had everything due between 60k & 80k miles done too, ran about another $1200. My car died in Texas when it threw a rod two weeks ago and 6k mi later. The dealer there told me sealant was put in the wrong place on cam caps and #4 bearing was definitely starved of oil. Toyota Corp comes back and says "everything was done right" and are basically washing their hands of me. I still owe $3k and the car was worth $10k before this happened. I expected to have paid off a perfectly reliable car in 7 mo time but now I will either be in the hole on this car or under a new note for another 5+yrs.