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Subaru Hit With 4th WRX/STI Lawsuit Claiming Dealers Installed “Secret Software”

Subaru is being hit with a 4th WRX/STI engine lawsuit. This time claiming they installed “secret software” and now engines are stalling or surging. It also includes the Forester 2.0XT.


It’s been a tough two years for Subaru of America as they can’t shake being hit with class action lawsuits concerning the 2.5-liter turbo engine in the WRX/STI performance cars. Subaru has just been hit with a fourth lawsuit, this time claiming engine stalling or surging on 2014-2016 Subaru WRX STI and 2015-2016 WRX 2.0-liter turbo and 2014-2016 Forester 2.0XT models.

According to a report from, The latest lawsuit filed by Cheryl Sauer in New Jersey, says her 2014 Subaru Forester 2.0XT was recalled for an “emissions” issue, but claims Subaru fixed problems with the ignition timing and the recall was allegedly just a cover-up to “secretly update the operating systems" of the performance engines.

The new lawsuit claims Subaru repaired 2014-2016 Forester 2.0XT (2.0-liter turbo), WRX and WRX STI 2.5-liter turbocharged engines by “de-tuning” the engines in an attempt to fix the damage that had already been done.

According to Sauer, after the recall repairs were completed, her Forester 2.0XT began to surge and stall, so she took the small SUV back to the dealership. The plaintiff says the automaker initially refused to correct the engine problems but finally offered to replace the engine after the plaintiff kept complaining. The plaintiff claims Subaru told her the replacement engine wouldn't be available for months and that they would not replace or buy back her Forester.

The lawsuit goes on to claim owners often complain their vehicles suddenly accelerate or stall after the allegedly “secret software patch” was installed after the recall, then having to listen to Subaru dealer technicians who say they can't find anything wrong with the vehicles. According to the class-action lawsuit, the engine tuning problems in the 2014-2016 Subaru WRX, WRX STI and Forester 2.0XT cause drivers serious safety issues and also lead to decreased vehicle values, something Subaru should pay for.

Subaru just settled three class-action lawsuits claiming an engine defect in 2012-2017 WRX and WRX STI models equipped with the EJ25 2.5-liter turbocharged Boxer engine. The lawsuit was settled in August following months of discovery.

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Photo credit: Subaru USA


Mike (not verified)    October 16, 2018 - 4:29PM

Where do you go to get involved with the lawsuit? Had the same recall completed on my 12 hatch in December and by July my engine was toast at 83k miles.

thesethingsblo… (not verified)    October 17, 2018 - 11:06PM

In reply to by Mike (not verified)

83k miles on a 2012 is actually a long life.

have seen these things need complete rebuilds at 33k kilometers. and its common for them to fail.

if your in the u.s look into the class action for your year. this one is for the newer direct injected 2.0l.

in your case you may be entitled to getting your shortblock replaced at the dealer or them covering cost of repair. im in Canada and that lawsuit doesnt transfer over so everyone here gets screwed even though its the same issue.

jsant013 (not verified)    October 16, 2018 - 7:46PM

I have a 2015 wrx. How do I know if I'm affected by what this post says? And what should i do?

I haven't experienced surge or stalling problems. But I do experience idling problems that make it seem my car is going to stall. Had a CEL, took it to dealer and they couldn't find a thing wrong. Told me not to worry a out it.

brian (not verified)    February 8, 2019 - 3:30PM

In reply to by jsant013 (not verified)

get a pro-tune done to tailor to your specific car. if you're on a wrx w/ stock firmware, you're doing it wrong. all engines are different. if you're over your warranty period, get a cobb ap or ekutec tune asap.

Carlos (not verified)    October 16, 2018 - 10:13PM

What happens if you buy a Subaru in Puerto Rico and does not appear on ANY Subaru Records?
And there is NO record of Subaru of PR!!

I wonder how many people is affected by this and do not have any clue

Johnny (not verified)    October 16, 2018 - 10:15PM

2015 forester xt here. Had recall work done years ago. Nothing wrong ag that time. Rough idling, engine light on multiple times and taken to multiple dealers. Nothing wrong ever found.

Justin (not verified)    October 16, 2018 - 10:56PM

How about the crappy throwout bearings that have been garbage since 06? I've had mine replaced twice outside of warrenty already. No engine problems with my pro-tune stage1+sf though so I'm luck there with my 14 wrx hatch

Joon (not verified)    October 17, 2018 - 12:33PM

In reply to by Justin (not verified)

Ugh,dont even get me started with throw out bearing. Im in 16 wrx and at only 20k miles, my car makes whistling sound whenever its in gear. Its annoying as hell. Gonna take it to dealer soon to get it replaced under warranty.

SubaruPerforma… (not verified)    October 17, 2018 - 7:47PM

In reply to by Joon (not verified)

Hey man,,

if you get your clutch / release bearing exchanged demand to see the transmission when it is out of the car...

We had one come in with 60k kms, snout of transmission that the bearing rides on completely destroyed. with a rough finish that should be smooth for the bearing to live a normal happy life. We were able to fix it with a stainless steel sleeve that is much stronger than the chinesium *Cough* aluminum that Subaru has chosen to use on the new models.

basically if you don't correct the snout with a sleeve and oversized bearing, your release bearings will continue to fail early until the snout is unusable and you need a new transmission which is what Subaru would tell you. If you have warranty demand to see it when its out of the car to confirm if it is okay or not.

Taylor Christensen (not verified)    October 17, 2018 - 7:49PM

In reply to by Joon (not verified)

the snout of your transmission is likely damaged.

The release bearing is plastic where it rides on the snout, but Subarus new 6MT uses such poor quality aluminum that the plastic bearing eats through the snout causing it to have a rough life and fail early. if the snout is not addressed your new bearing will fail again at 20k or less.

Tristan Merrill (not verified)    October 16, 2018 - 11:09PM

Come on, are people really believing this. Subaru has been making ej series enginges and the ej257 in the sti for more than 30 years. Ive worked on many of them and personally have seen older sti's go 300k without a rebuild. These are very reliablr engines. People are just looking for something to make money on

Randall (not verified)    October 17, 2018 - 8:23AM

In reply to by Tristan Merrill (not verified)

Just because you've worked on these engines for years doesn't mean that there aren't any problems. Subaru was made aware of them and even settled a lawsuit in the past. I don't think those who have been affected are making this up.

You and your experiences do not negate those who have been affected by it.

Mark La Force (not verified)    October 17, 2018 - 9:38PM

In reply to by Tristan Merrill (not verified)

I'm with you. These engines are installed in home built aircraft. The people that find all these things to worry about with Subaru, find the same things and worse to worry about with their own bodies...and die.

David (not verified)    October 17, 2018 - 12:03AM

15 Forester XT, I had the recall work done 2 years back but the car is always at the shop following an oil change. Following every oil change the car goes crazy like really rough idling, gas burning super rich, stalling out. I wonder if this has anything to do with the lawsuit

Jeff (not verified)    October 17, 2018 - 8:35AM

Buy Cobb AP or get a pro tune. Also Everytime you reset the ECU the A/F ratio will be a little messed for the first 10-20 miles until the electronic throttle body "re-learns" causing low idle rpm and sometimes stalling. I generally sit in my driveway and play with the throttle in neutral after a reset.

Kevin Dowler (not verified)    October 17, 2018 - 11:03AM

In my experience most of the engine problems are from lack of maintenance. This is an engine you should check the oil level frequently and change it before 6000 if you drive hard at all. If you go to a track day change the damn oil before and after.

IworkOnThese (not verified)    October 17, 2018 - 8:14PM

I work at a tuning shop. the main brand we work on is Subaru

We can verify the 08-17 EJ25 in STI and WRX(till 15) Engines are SHIT
the older 02-07 motors tend to be much more reliable, and its likely due to changes to try and make less emissions

we haven't noticed this particular issue on 15+ FA20 turbo motors. but lots of our customers will use a Cobb flash tune or in-house pro tune.

My step mom has a 16 XT so will see what ends up happening to it.

one other recall that should be coming for all 15+ wrx and FXT with the new style 6 speed is that the plastic release bearing housing eats away the aluminum on the transmission snout and fails very early. Basically if they replace the release bearing / clutch at this point it will fail again as the snout surface where the bearing rides becomes damaged.

So if you take your vehicle in for this repair, I would demand to see the transmission snout when it is out of the vehicle to verify the surface is OK to just slap the bearing on. Lots of dealership techs wont even check or report this as there goal in life is to make as many hours and do jobs as quick as possible.

There is a tsb for a new bearing but once the snout is damaged that isn't going to fix it.. if you have to change the transmission out of pocket its going to be a few thousand dollars. there are repair sleeves available but the dealer wouldn't in most cases authorize that type of repair.

-From all that I have seen working on these cars, they are being more poorly made as time goes on, the FA20 seems like an improvement over later EJ's but will have to see if carbon build up causes them to have short lives as well caused by the Direct injection / EGR System along with the blow by of a turbo motor.

David wrx guy (not verified)    October 18, 2018 - 9:23AM

Stay with 08 and below , much rather throw in a reliable jdm replacement engine than deal with stupids at a dealership, classic subies all day , the new ones are like hot wheels , cool for a lil while then bam your wheels are bent and the car is no good anymore, best of luck to Subaru and their customers

RW (not verified)    October 26, 2018 - 7:31PM

Had bought a used 2014 WRX with 40k miles. 5 months and 5k miles later the engine through a rod and needed to be completely replaced. So much $ down the drain!

Brian Warren (not verified)    October 26, 2018 - 11:10PM

My 2016 WRX had a problem where it seemed to just about stall and on night I was driving and it just died I had a feeling it had something to do with the turbo being when it hit 2k rpms I would stall automatically I had it towed to the dealer and they fixed it but they said it was a sensor so that I had to pay out of my own pocket when it was still under warranty who can I talk to about this.

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Denis Bukal (not verified)    December 7, 2019 - 10:42PM

About 10 days ago I had driven my 2016 WRX 2.0 Automatic for approximately 3 hours and 40 minutes at a distance of 390km. After stopping for fuel and filling up with 93 Octane I proceeded to continue driving however immediately after entering the highway at speeds of 100-120 km/h the car began to lose power and stumble but this lasted for about 1 minute. I continued driving and everything seemed normal for the next 70 km and then all of the sudden the engine blew up and caught fire. All upkeep and maintenance has been done according to schedule and the vehicle only has 63,000km. The vehicle is fully stock with no aftermarket accessories. The turbo failed on the vehicle last year and was replaced under factory warranty. Upon inspection of the motor it has a crack in the engine block so the timing chain burst from inside out. I'm wondering if anyone else has had a similar problem?

Dee Giardina (not verified)    December 14, 2020 - 7:54PM

I purchased in full a 2016 wrx 6 spd turbo premium at 6 k the clutch went it never felt right I have been driving a standard for 40 plus years before that a recall for the intake manifold to TURBO? Their has been many recalls on one occasion I had a 2011 battery? Took like 10 days over 100 miles on car and scraped my rims I bought this car July 31 2015 and never has a registration come to my home? The dealer took care of 1st one it seems the regi goes to a grey car? Mine is iced silver metallic in NYS if silver is a metallic it must have an S in vin # and title funny in 2016 my car was offered in Grey and Silver metallic? I have been to subaru many times the owner and mechanics yell at me with disrespect the clutch has gone 3 or 4 times I drove a Harley Davidson for 27 years the last time clutch went my car was held hostage for just about 2 thousand dollars they would not give me car back the car came from Edmunds in California they repair cars with no miles hit during test rides or newly bought and ship them east to NY ,I just got a letter subaru wants to buy my car back? I recently got tickets forgot my wallet and officer agreed with me about vin #s and wrote out lemon law with tickets? Well had the car almost 6 years have maybe 18k on it this is a lemon