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Transmission Casing Crack - 2013 Crosstrek

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I'm looking for some expert advice here.

 

My 2013 Crosstrek has 68,000 kms on it. I recently noticed some fluid leaking on my driveway, so I brought it into the shop and the mechanic said there was a crack in the transmission casing. So I brought it back to where I recently got the transmission fluid flushed and the mechanic literally broke a chunk of the casing off by hand. The piece broke off near one of the plugs (I'm no expert, so excuse the poor explanation). This plug would have been taken out and put back during the transmission fluid flush.

 

Now I have a big problem. It's still under warranty so I brought it into Subaru and they immediately said they cannot honour the warranty because this is clearly a human failure; they claim the mechanic overtightened the bolt and cracked the casing. However, the mechanic (and 2 other mechanics, including a transmission expert) say they've never seen anyting like this and this couldn't have been caused by overtightening because the threads are all completely intact. If anything, they claim, the threads would've stripped before the case would've cracked. The mechanic also claims he doesn't even have power tools in his shop, so this would've been done with a wrench.

 

So now I'm stuck between two parties who are not taking responsibility, and I'm faced with an $8,500 bill.

 

Does anybody have any opinion as to whether this could've been caused by the mechanic who did the transmission fluid flush, or whether this could be a manufacturer's defect?

 

Thank you!

 


post-59842-0-20528500-1441458199_thumb.jpg

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That is a pretty thin casting.

I could see an overtorqued plug cracking it.

How much torque did he use?What is the spec?

 

Intact threads have nothing to do with it.

If they HAD striped,chunk would not have broken off.

 

I suppose you could interpet the thin casting as a manufacturers defect,.but,I`d bet all similar trannys are the same.

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I agree with Naru, The casing seems to have a thin casting and if the Bolt was overtorqued, then it could crack said Casting; trained personnel must know this; and since that incident was Not YOUR fault, if you have the receipt of the Fluid Change done, the people at the place where you went for the Fluid change, needs to meet your Lawyer, ...if you know what I mean...

 

Kind Regards.

Edited by Loyale 2.7 Turbo

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im an experienced Subaru tech, been in the business 15 years. i hate to admit this, but i personally have done exactly that damage, with hand tools.

it is a result of an over torque. the mechanic should step up, as i did, to remedy it.

 

Subaru should also build thicker castings in known weak areas, but that's besides the point

 

also- something to consider, a competent aluminum welder can weld on a new bung, in that area, for a few bucks and save you the 8500 estimate

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This:

 

im an experienced Subaru tech, been in the business 15 years. i hate to admit this, but i personally have done exactly that damage, with hand tools.

it is a result of an over torque. the mechanic should step up, as i did, to remedy it.

 

Subaru should also build thicker castings in known weak areas, but that's besides the point

 

also- something to consider, a competent aluminum welder can weld on a new bung, in that area, for a few bucks and save you the 8500 estimate

 

We don't know enough of the full maintenance history to verify with absolute certainty that no one else has ever touched that plug.

Maybe it was compromised earlier, and finished off by the current mechanic even though it wasn't his fault?

Or it was his fault. Who knows?

 

Dan is absolutely correct - that bung is benign and simply needs to not leak, it's not a major dynamic, moving, pressure backed, or load bearing part.

Save that broken off piece?  Do you have it?  That makes the repair simple - simply weld it back into place.

I've repaired stuff like this and taken stuff to machine shops before for them to repair.  I can't see how much space you have but I'd probably even just do this one myself at home.

Seal the crack and tack weld it into place.


Call/ask around for a machine shop that will look at doing it on the vehicle.

Worst case you pay a mechanic to remove the trans and take it to a machine shop - still way cheaper than $8,500.

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... I hate to admit this, but i personally have done exactly that damage, with hand tools ...

 

I appreciate your Sincerity.

 

Also I have damaged similar things with hand tools...

 

 

... something to consider, a competent aluminum welder can weld on a new bung, in that area, for a few bucks and save you the 8500 ...

 

 

... Dan is absolutely correct - that bung is benign and simply needs to not leak ... That makes the repair simple - simply weld it back into place...

 

I agree with them, it Really worth to drain all the Fluid out, and Weld that broken piece of aluminium together back again; I believe the transmission will work great and you'll save a lot of money.

 

Kind Regards.

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Thanks so much everybody for your input! It's very useful for me being a non expert to understand the reality of the situation.

 

Additional input is still very much appreciated!

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Part of the problem with aluminum is that it's very brittle. Its easy to crack, especially when its thin, like in that area of a drain or fill plug. People who are use to working on older American vehicles tend to either forget or don't pay attention when tightening bolts in aluminum because they're used to working with cast Iron.

At some point every mechanic will crack an aluminum part, because it is so easy to do.

 

Unfortunately in your case, the part that cracked isn't easily replaceable (such as a water pump or mounting bracket for the alternator/steering pump). Because of the expense, you'll probably have to take legal action to get it replaced.

 

Ill second Dans idea, have a welding shop look at the area around the plug and see if they can weld it back or weld a new bung into place.

 

Part of the problem with aluminum is once a crack starts, it doesn't stop. Just like in glass, It will continue to expand all the way through a part until it gets to an edge. How fast it travels across that part depends on a lot of factors, such as heat cycling, vibration, etc., so there's a chance that welding may not work. It is possible to prevent the spread of a crack by drilling through it, but its important to have someone with experience in aluminum repair perform this type of repair to give it the best chance to work.

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Photos of this situaton would be wonderful, and would probably inspire more and better possible solutions.

 

How much is your time worth?  And how long would it take to go through small claims court?

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what is your hope?
a shop takes the blame?
a shop to fix it?

a shop to replace it?

 

talk to machine shops or people that work with machining processes (not automotive mechanics).  that is entirely repairable, but a tpyical shop isn't going to want to touch it because it's outside the scope of nominal mechanical repairs done at a shop.  there's no techincal resource like ALLDATA or FSM for that repair and they're not typically trained that way. 

 

if you don't know machine shops - look them up in the phone book and call and ask.  or ask local shops who does their head jobs, milling, resurfacing.  call those places. 

 

a machine shop well versed in cutting, lathing, welding, wouldn't be shocked at that repair and easily find multiple solutions.  if that was my car i nearly guarantee i could repair that and be done for the life of the vehicle in multiple ways in my poorly equipped (compared to a professional machien shop) garage.  most wont' work on a car but call around and see what happens. 

 

a shop similarly damaged my friends engine and the dealer said the whole engine had to be replaced because the threads couldn't be repaired. from 1,000 miles away i knew the stupid thign could be repaired. i kept calling machine shops describing the situation until one said they'd have a look at it.  they repaired it in the parking lot for him for a couple hundred bucks instead of the $6,000 or whatever engine replacement they wanted to do.  car ran like 10 more years another 100k or something. 

 

with a little resolve it can be done.  if you rely on the opinion of one or three local shops you're not likely to get anywhere. 

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In my experience ATF will almost always find a way through a welded aluminum repair that was done in the vehicle. It seems to be difficult to clean the metal enough so that the weld can work and seal up tight. Having been stuck in the middle of this situation before as a tech (between a shop owner, customer, and transmission shop) I personally won't install a leaking repaired a case again. The last time I tried this (it was a Ford) I did the R & R 3 times at 10+ hours per before it finally stayed dry. Each time it would last a few months and come back. You might have better luck with liquid steel or something like that. I repaired a GM transfer case with a crack in it and it stayed dry for years LOL. As always YMMV.

 

This really sucks and it could bite anyone, thanks for the heads up. I hope you find an affordable resolution soon and good luck.

Edited by Crazyeights

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... with a little resolve it can be done.  if you rely on the opinion of one or three local shops you're not likely to get anywhere. 

 

That entire post of grossgary is full of Great Advice. I Agree with him, Completely.

 


 

In my experience ATF will almost always find a way through a welded aluminum repair that was done in the vehicle...

 

Yes and No.

 

Yes, any liquid will find a way thru any welding that is poorly done; however, if the Aluminium Welding is done properly, it should Never leak a single drop; however, due to the inherent imperfections of the Weldings, the Welders, and the equipment used; you can smear a layer of JB weld on the outside of the case welded, and let it cure for more than enough time, only to be Sure that the thing will not Leak.

 

Kind Regards.

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it would be tough to get a proper weld in the vehicle probably - space, electrical, plastic, plumbing, dirty, proper angle and pulling of the bead - but even if you pull the transmission to get perfect access at it - that should be far better off than entire replacement.  it's not that expensive/hard to pull a transmission. 

 

ideally the trans is pulled and sent to a machine shop.  i've done that before on repairs like this - pulled an engine and had them do it on the engine.  they can: 

 

1. repair it as is

2. machine a screw type insert to replace the existing bolt.  i've had this done before. they'll remove the bolt, fashion a plug with outer and inner threads to match against what existing material and space allows.

 

one tricky part that happens is the metal doens't always just shear off in brittle ways. someties the material tears/yields/stretches some before breaking and this causes it to not line up perfectly.  like one half or one part does line up fine but the other side is "high" so to speak from localized spots yielding "becoming longer" so to speak.  a little filing down and some attention to detail will bring the peice back together.  i've done that before on transmissions.

 

but it probably can be repaired in place, i'd give it a try.  it wouldn't be expensive and what's it going to do - leak?   then repair it again. 

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I had this same issue, and was able to resolve the issue using a taper 18 mm x 1.5 pipe plug. I bought the plug from Bel-metric it cost $4. Below are before and after pictures. I had to carefully break away the the first half of the threads to get a flat surface. Hopefully this may save the next guy from replacing the transmission.

EB14B7C9-F685-4D8D-BF96-9C931BB8FCDC.jpeg

44AD605F-A7F0-44F5-86A6-D49345A5CA4D.jpeg

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