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bluebonnet81

Whose Fault? Engine seized after carb/intake mfld/spk plugs replace

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Does anyone know a shop in San Diego that is reputable with old Subies, or should I go to a Subaru dealer? It seems like a good idea to have it towed elsewhere for diagnosis.

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Perhaps your mechanic did not put any oil back in, after removing the old oil.  Simple mistakes like that in the work place, are often the end result of self medication.  Does your mechanic have glassy eyes by chance?

I don't think he is the type, but that mistake is still a possibility.

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did he pull the plugs to make sure it's not hydrolocked?  probably not but at least that's something really easy to do.

 

i agree with what they said, it simply needs diagnosed and repaired, if not by him then take it somewhere else.  i'd try to find a decent independent shop by recommendations, etc.  subaru dealers are extremely pricey and if you end up needing a motor, which so far sounds like the case, Subaru will be expensive and you'll have fewer options (they won't install aftermarket parts or used engines).

 

i doubt there's any way to "prove" what caused it.  it would require tearing the engine down...hundreds of dollars.  are you willing to pay 100's of dollars to find out "it wasn't the mechacnis fault" or "it's still uncertain"?  probably not and neither is he.

 

unfortunately he is not responsible to do 100's of dollars of work for free. if that were the case folks would be scrambling to get their vehicles there to get some free work done or an engine removed and disassembled for free.  i would expect him to if the situation was obviously his fault or a result of the work done, but in this case it could go either way, there's no telling.

 

you may still be better off getting hosed by this current guy than the dealer.  there's some good dealers out there and then there's a lot more that will make this situation even worse.

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I don't think anybody has asked, what does the mechanic have to say? what does he think happened, and what does he want to do from here? A lot of people are saying screw this guy take him to court, but if the mechanic is honest and wants to make it right, you can go that route too. What is his attitude?

Edited by the sucker king

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I don't think anybody has asked, what does the mechanic have to say? what does he think happened, and what does he want to do from here? A lot of people are saying screw this guy take him to court, but if the mechanic is honest and wants to make it right, you can go that route too. What is his attitude?

I agree with this. If the mechanic steps up and takes responsibility then see what he will do. If he tries to make excuses there is always the legal solution.

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The mechanic said that he has no idea what happened and there were no warning signs, and the only way to tell is to tear the engine down. He said that there was oil in it, and there was no coolant in the cylinders. 

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The thing is even if you took him to court and won the entire book value of the car, I suspect you'd be out several hundred bucks in the end. Someone step in and correct me if I am wrong here, but the replacement value for a 30 yr old Subaru GL is probably $1500 in the best condition. If it was a rare antiquity it might be worth the battle.

 

How much do you have into this car as it stands? You probably have spent more than the book value of the car as it is and you have nothing to drive. Is this your only means of transport? If you have the space to work on it yourself, you would probably be better of attempting to do so.  You probably can't break it any worse. 

 

If you are well off money-wise and the car has sentimental value you could haul it to another place but what is to say something else won't go wrong and they will want to charge you?  At mechanic rates things can get spendy real fast.

 

The thing is the car is, ahem let me put this delicately - is an antique. Nothing wrong with that, just that with cars this old things can and do go wrong.  Is it a pristine show car or more of a Maynard (aka CARS)?

 

I would hate to see you haul it from one place to another pouring  thousands of dollars you cannot afford only to scrap it in the end. 

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I don't think anybody has asked, what does the mechanic have to say? what does he think happened, and what does he want to do from here? A lot of people are saying screw this guy take him to court, but if the mechanic is honest and wants to make it right, you can go that route too. What is his attitude?

 

i didn't assumed if the mechanic offered to inspect/repair - this thread wouldn't exist.  most of the responses are fairly similar and trying to get at the route cause.

 

it will certainly require one of us to go to Hogwartz to figure this out via a computer keyboard without being able to see, drive, hear, or look at the car.

 

there are two compelling points to me:

1. car initially taken in with an "idle problem" - was that a pre-catastrophic sign?  it's not uncommon for a car to go in for a noise or minor drivabiliy issue only to find out it's something ominous.  i could tell of instances where that has happened and it sucks, it's rare, but it happens. but i'll save the stories.

 

2.  it is very odd that an engine would seize while in the hands of someone else for 3 miles. sure does put the light of possibility on them...but in light of #1 there's much ambiguity too.

 

and being far away and limited by words there's likely bits of the story we don't know, so too much assumption isn't really all the helpful.

Edited by grossgary

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The investigator from the Bureau of Automotive Repair is going to check the oil etc. right now. It has a little front fender damage, but other than that it in pretty good shape. Here is a photo of the car getting new tires about a month ago...

post-31479-0-58846800-1374266827_thumb.png

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The thing is even if you took him to court and won the entire book value of the car, I suspect you'd be out several hundred bucks in the end. Someone step in and correct me if I am wrong here, but the replacement value for a 30 yr old Subaru GL is probably $1500 in the best condition. If it was a rare antiquity it might be worth the battle.

 

How much do you have into this car as it stands? You probably have spent more than the book value of the car as it is and you have nothing to drive. Is this your only means of transport? If you have the space to work on it yourself, you would probably be better of attempting to do so.  You probably can't break it any worse. 

 

If you are well off money-wise and the car has sentimental value you could haul it to another place but what is to say something else won't go wrong and they will want to charge you?  At mechanic rates things can get spendy real fast.

 

The thing is the car is, ahem let me put this delicately - is an antique. Nothing wrong with that, just that with cars this old things can and do go wrong.  Is it a pristine show car or more of a Maynard (aka CARS)?

 

I would hate to see you haul it from one place to another pouring  thousands of dollars you cannot afford only to scrap it in the end. 

Yes, you can call it an antique, and there is some sentimental value. You are probably right about the value. I might pay someone to do the teardown inspection, and then rebuild it myself, or sell it as is.

 

I am driving my truck right now, so the situation isn't dire. I just want to find out what happened so that there is a fair resolution. I just posted a photo of the car.

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interesting.  you can probably also get an oil analysis done yourself, it's very well known and common these days - UOA - "Used Oil Analysis" there are companies that take your samples, look for metal, contaminants, etc, and they'd probably have the depth of experience to give some good feedback on the results.

 

these guys are the most popular that i've heard of, though i have no personal experience.

 

http://www.blackstone-labs.com/

 

antique...if the car was practical, reliable, and usable then that's very valuable to some of us.  i might have a car only worth $1,000 but if I can get another reliable 100,000 miles out of it because of the time, effort, and parts i've put into it then i'll expect more than the average joe.  case in point - my 96 legacy that's already been in 3 deer collissions, one at 75mph on the interstate that i rebuilt was wrecked over 1,000 miles from home by some folks that were borrowing it.  a guy who's dad owns a shop (that i know) said it was totalled and worthless. and it is...190,000 miles and already rebuilt once....but it was worth it to me to pay $400 to tow it back so i could rebuild it...a second time...because i know that car and it's able to go another 100,000 miles.

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Yes, you can call it an antique, and there is some sentimental value. You are probably right about the value. I might pay someone to do the teardown inspection, and then rebuild it myself, or sell it as is.

 

I am driving my truck right now, so the situation isn't dire. I just want to find out what happened so that there is a fair resolution. I just posted a photo of the car.

 

Car looks clean. If you have a place to work on it then you ought to try to fix it yourself. Lots of great help and advice here. :)   

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interesting.  you can probably also get an oil analysis done yourself, it's very well known and common these days - UOA - "Used Oil Analysis" there are companies that take your samples, look for metal, contaminants, etc, and they'd probably have the depth of experience to give some good feedback on the results.

 

these guys are the most popular that i've heard of, though i have no personal experience.

 

http://www.blackstone-labs.com/

 

antique...if the car was practical, reliable, and usable then that's very valuable to some of us.  i might have a car only worth $1,000 but if I can get another reliable 100,000 miles out of it because of the time, effort, and parts i've put into it then i'll expect more than the average joe.  case in point - my 96 legacy that's already been in 3 deer collissions, one at 75mph on the interstate that i rebuilt was wrecked over 1,000 miles from home by some folks that were borrowing it.  a guy who's dad owns a shop (that i know) said it was totalled and worthless. and it is...190,000 miles and already rebuilt once....but it was worth it to me to pay $400 to tow it back so i could rebuild it...a second time...because i know that car and it's able to go another 100,000 miles.

 

Absolutely. I am much more impressed with folks who can keep the "antiques" running and use them everyday than rich folks who throw em away every 5 years.  I have had the same Subaru for the last 20 years from brand new. I still love the way it looks. Yeah it is a sickness... :lol:

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$10 says the engine never seized.  Another $10 says that the mechanic is lying about everything.  Mechanics can spot a non-mechanic from several car lengths away.  And some will not let the potential monetary benefits of that natural resource, go unharvested. 

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The Bureau investigator said that there was a smell of fuel on the dipstick in the fresh oil, and if that was a pre-existing contamination issue that it could break down the lubrication properties of the oil, and could have been a contributing factor.

 

He could not gather any conclusive evidence, so the complaint is recorded, but closed.

 

If anyone is interested in making an offer, I am likely to let the car go. I don't really have a good place to work on the car for an extended period of time, and it will probably just piss my wife off. I will post it in the classifieds section pretty soon, but feel free to inquire.

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After what happened, before throwing in a new engine I would want to make sure the carb was working properly so you don't destroy the new engine.  If you were not in CA I would say get a rebuilt or good used engine, throw on a weber carb and be done with it.  Sadly I don't think you can use a weber carb in CA.

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If there is fuel in the oil, why is it there? Did a piston lose its rings, or is a valve shot? Both of those could keep a car from starting, especially if a valve failed catastrophically while the car was driving.

If you have the car at home, try a simple pressure test on each cylinder (I'm assuming the motor will turn over here). Or a valve/ring piece got caught and jammed, which could keep the motor from turning over easily.

Just brainstorming, not diagnosing. If you are ok rebuilding a motor, you could replace a piston and/or valve yourself (I assume) as long as the cylinder wall isn't gouged too badly.

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The Bureau investigator said that there was a smell of fuel on the dipstick in the fresh oil, and if that was a pre-existing contamination issue that it could break down the lubrication properties of the oil, and could have been a contributing factor.

 

He could not gather any conclusive evidence, so the complaint is recorded, but closed.

 

If anyone is interested in making an offer, I am likely to let the car go. I don't really have a good place to work on the car for an extended period of time, and it will probably just piss my wife off. I will post it in the classifieds section pretty soon, but feel free to inquire.

 

So the investigator pulled the dipstick, smelled fuel, said it COULD have broken down the oil (Which you'd need QUITE a bit of fuel to do that to 4.2 qts of oil) and that was it? It sounds like he doesn't give two rat's asses about you or your classic.

 

Besides, isn't that fresh oil? As in, you, the owner, have ZERO miles driven on that oil? If it was a factor BEFORE the engine "died" (still not knowing the cause of "death") when the mechanic drained it, wouldn't he have said something to you when he called to ask to replace the intake gaskets?

 

But playing devil's advocate, say it was an existing problem and he changed the oil anyway... in FRESH oil, and in less than an hour worth of run time, he dumped enough fuel from (I assume a leaky carb?) the time he changed the oil to the time it seized to turn 4 quarts of oil into effectively water?

 

This reeks of bull and I hate it as an automotive professional to see people fed this crap because only two things will happen. Either you'll get a bad taste in your mouth for older cars or worse Subarus, or you'll find out the inspector didn't give two $*#) about you and neither does your mechanic.

 

Don't let this one go man... if you love her, fight for her!

Edited by 86 Wonder Wedge

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I dont know if it has been done, or if the investigator checked, but before you do anything, you need to pull all the spark plugs and the starter and try to turn the motor over by hand with a wrench.  it would be best to dissconnect the clutch as well, but thats a bit much for you to do from the sound of it.

 

pulling out the starter and spark plugs is something you can do in an hour and it will tell you if the motor is actually seized or not.  if it is then it may not be worth your time and money to fix it, or it may, thats up to you.  personally I think any car you buy will need multiple things you dont know about and end up costing the same or more.  If you want a newer car or something different though, then go for it.

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You don't need to remove the clutch in order to turn the motor over by hand. Just park it so the hand-brake is set and your shifter is out of gear/in neutral...

 

I apologize if I misread that last post.

Edited by man on the moon

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Does anyone know of a replacement motor availability?

car-parts.com

 

i've found Subaru engines for as low as $150 before on there.  i'm still running that motor, put 60,000 miles on it since then and it runs excellent still.

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