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    Thread: Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ Owners Say Engines are Catastrophically Failing After a Recall Fix

    1. Global Moderator EPilot's Avatar
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      03-13-2019 02:37 PM #1
      Anyone see this yesterday?

      Failure After J02 Recall: Registry Thread


      Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ Owners Say Engines are Catastrophically Failing After a Recall Fix

      Jalopnik has received a bunch of tips about Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ engines failing after being taken in for a valve spring recall. Yes, you read that right: The cars aren’t breaking and being recalled as a result, they’re allegedly being fixed under recall and then, as a result, breaking. Here’s what’s going on according to The Drive, whose author actually experienced the issue.


      Chris Tsui from The Drive has a nice explanation of what’s going on in the world of 2013 Subaru BRZs and 2013 Scion FR-Ss. Roughly 35,000 of those vehicles (~9,500 BRZs and ~25,300 FR-Ss)—along with some 2012 to 2014 Subaru Imprezas and 2013 Subaru XV Crosstreks—were recalled in November because they contain engine valve springs that, as documents on NHTSA’s website put, “may fracture causing an engine malfunction or a possible engine stall” as a result of an “improper design of the valve train.”


      To compensate for the high stresses in this valvetrain, the springs were changed in May of 2013 to increase the “lower limit of the tolerance of the valve spring wire diameter,” one of the documents reads.


      For the cars built without these new springs, Toyota and Subaru agreed to notify owners and have dealers replace all the valve springs for free; the recall began the day after Christmas, 2018, and—per the remedy instructions posted to NHTSA—the repairs were slated to take 12 hours per vehicle—clearly tearing the engine open and replacing valve springs is a hell of a job.


      Chris Tsui, author of the article on The Drive, took his 2013 FR-S, which he’d purchased in late 2016, to a dealer in February of this year after researching what the fix involved. He was concerned about the risks that might accompany such a repair, writing in the story:


      In that time, I researched the procedure and was concerned enough about its complexity that I double checked with the dealership that the technician had done it before. “The technician that will be working on your vehicle has done the recall before and is factory trained by Toyota so I hope this does help ease your mind,” came the soothing response.
      But then, after dropping his car off and getting it back two days later, he drove around for two weeks, and disaster struck:


      ...picked [my car] up on February 8, and thought nothing of it for two weeks until it started to bog down during a spot of spirited driving one chilly morning. An ominous knocking rose up, and a few hundred yards later the poor thing died and refused to start. Exactly as the forums described—though most of those threads haven’t even been started yet. Like other owners, I was in the dark.
      Tsui told me over email that a root cause has yet to be determined, though the dealer claimed to have found a “scored crankcase and cylinder walls.” The photos of his connecting rod bearings look especially bad:


      Tsui’s case doesn’t appear to be particularly rare, as he notes in his story that, per the thread “Failure After J02 Recall: Registry Thread” on the FT86 Club forum, 17 owners have reported engine issues—and even total engine failures in some cases—after having had the recall fix done. Fifteen of those cases, he states, involved Scions, while two involved Subarus. Since then, the thread’s claims have jumped to 24, with three being BRZs and the remainder FR-Ss.


      Hop onto NHTSA’s 2013 Scion FR-S complaints database, and you’ll read stories like this one by an FR-S driver from Vermont:


      412.8 miles after having J02 valve spring recall work performed, while driving, the vehicle began making a ticking noise. Within 2 minutes of driving, this escalated to loud metallic knocking. I pulled over immediately and had my vehicle towed to the dealership that performed the recall work. That was on February 18th, at 9 am in 2019. My vehicle has 53,610 miles. It is now march 8th, 2019. The dealership still has taken no action after determining that rod bearing #4 was spun.
      And this one by someone from California:


      Received safety recall notice from Toyota, to bring my car to any Toyota dealership service center...


      Dealership performs work. Vehicle dies while commuting to work about 1,000 miles after recall work performed. Vehicle towed back to Toyota of Santa Cruz. Juan and Mike relate to me that they will troubleshoot and, if they deem that the problem is from the recall work, they will fix the car for free.


      Several days later, they said the engine has a spun bearing on the #4 rod.


      What exactly is going on isn’t clear, though other images of failed engines do show scored bearings, like Tsui’s, indicating an oil starvation issue. One prevailing theory on what might be causing the problems involves two factors. First, some think that Toyota dealers don’t have the experience working on these Boxer motors, which is why FR-Ss appear to be failing at a higher rate than BRZs—more than the roughly 2.7-to-one ratio that one might expect based on the how many more FR-Ss were recalled compared to BRZs. This is a tough one to prove, since it’s hard to know how many of each vehicle have been repaired.


      The second theory that some forum members have brought up is that perhaps this inexperience could have caused Toyota dealers to improperly apply RTV sealant to the engines during reassembly. The notice above in Subaru’s repair instructions is quite clear about the risks associated with liquid RTV. Loose pieces of cured sealant, the caption reads, could clog oil passages, “restricting oil flow and potentially causing damage.” Further down in that document, which you can read here, Subaru mentions sealant again:


      VERY IMPORTANT: It is critical to make sure all the original sealer is removed and the affected sealing surfaces completely clean and dry before applying any new sealer. After cleaning, a thorough inspection of the inside surfaces of the cylinder head area around the valve springs, inside the front timing cover and inside all the cam caps for any small pieces / bits of removed sealant or any other contamination is essential to providing a quality repair. Any contamination left behind can cause the Check Engine light to illuminate and / or other issues to develop resulting in a comeback
      So perhaps this is just a matter of technicians using too much sealant, and it clogging oil passages? That seems like a fairly simple issue.


      We’ve reached out to Toyota and Subaru asking what’s going on, here. We’ll update when we hear back; in the meantime, check out Tsui’s story on The Drive.

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    3. Member Uber Wagon's Avatar
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      03-13-2019 02:40 PM #2
      Quote Originally Posted by EPilot View Post
      Yes, you read that right: The cars aren’t breaking and being recalled as a result, they’re allegedly being fixed under recall and then, as a result, breaking. Here’s what’s going on according to The Drive, whose author actually experienced the issue.
      Just give me a minute...

      Beer: The cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems.

    4. Global Moderator EPilot's Avatar
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      03-13-2019 02:43 PM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by Uber Wagon View Post
      Just give me a minute...

      Yea crazy stuff.

      One person posted this.



      Another recent post is this…

      Vehicle Mileage: ~70000
      Vehicle Make: scion
      Mileage After Recall Performed: ~72000
      Symptom(s): car caught on fire during drive
      Failure: yup definitely a failure
      State: California
      Is Dealership Offering Repair: insurance in process of paying out. Didn’t even bother with talking to dealer, just filed a report with nhtsa.

      -Took the car in for the engine valve spring recall at Toyota of Berkeley on Jan 29.
      -Got car back, did regular commuting to work for 2 weeks, everything seemed fine.
      -took car for drive up highway 1 on feb 17.
      -maybe 3 hours in... drove around a turn and saw that it was down hill with two sharp hair pin turns
      -tapped brake to slow down.. immediately felt rear tires give out (only going 25 maybe 30 mph btw). Saw the traction control light blink a few times (again slow speed, dry road.. no reason for traction control to engage)
      -let off brake, thought, that’s interesting, coasted a little, hit brake again, same thing, traction control light blink, felt the rear end just act a little weird.. traction wise.
      -thinking I may have brake issues, decided to downshift from 3rd to 2nd
      -after 2nd was engaged, heard a pop, saw the hood jump up as if something inside hit it.
      -still going down hill, made it around first hair pin turn, trying to see where I could park the car (highway 1.. along the coast) safely...
      -coming up on hairpin 2, felt my feet and legs get burning hot.. looked down, saw flames through the window coming from driverside tire well.
      -brought car to stop by hitting brakes and immediately ditched. Just filled up gas 20 miles back.
      -fire spread and engulfed the entire car. Total loss

      Please be safe 86ers. And be sure to report your problem to the nhtsa!


    5. Member BonusParts's Avatar
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      03-13-2019 02:57 PM #4
      "NOTE: I went to a SUBARU dealership for the recall.



      Vehicle Mileage: 75k
      Vehicle Make: Subaru BRZ
      Mileage After Recall Performed: 75.5k
      Symptom(s): Engine Knock, loss of power, car dies when throttle is not depressed
      Failure: Bent Rod
      State: Currently in Subaru dealership
      Is Dealership Offering Repair: After taking pictures, Subaru dealership mechanics were able to determine the paint on valve springs choked the engine and are replacing the short block.

      "


      INTERESTING
      -Matt

    6. Member Zillon's Avatar
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      03-13-2019 03:02 PM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by BonusParts View Post
      "NOTE: I went to a SUBARU dealership for the recall.



      Vehicle Mileage: 75k
      Vehicle Make: Subaru BRZ
      Mileage After Recall Performed: 75.5k
      Symptom(s): Engine Knock, loss of power, car dies when throttle is not depressed
      Failure: Bent Rod
      State: Currently in Subaru dealership
      Is Dealership Offering Repair: After taking pictures, Subaru dealership mechanics were able to determine the paint on valve springs choked the engine and are replacing the short block.

      "


      INTERESTING
      Gonna be a lot of rolling shells out there prime for engine swaps after this fiasco.

      facepalm.gif

    7. Moderator rs4-380's Avatar
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      03-13-2019 03:02 PM #6
      Wow, Subaru engine failures?

      Whoever heard of such a thing
      Dave

    8. Member t_white's Avatar
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      03-13-2019 03:04 PM #7
      So you are telling me that there will be less "stance cars" on the road?






      ..Joking aside, that's an interesting turn of events.
      LOL @ listing mods in your sig

    9. 03-13-2019 03:04 PM #8
      Ls1 fit?

    10. Member johnny_p's Avatar
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      03-13-2019 03:08 PM #9
      Yay first model year
      I like bikes.
      Gone: 2010 VW GTI

    11. Global Moderator EPilot's Avatar
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      03-13-2019 03:14 PM #10
      Sounds like an issue with sealant being picked up in the oil pump and killing the bearings.
      Toyota is issuing this warning after the recall started.



    12. Member BonusParts's Avatar
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      03-13-2019 03:21 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by Zillon View Post
      Gonna be a lot of rolling shells out there prime for engine swaps after this fiasco.

      facepalm.gif
      Bring it on, I'd LOVE to put a 12v VR6 + Turbo in something like that.
      -Matt

    13. Senior Member dunhamjr's Avatar
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      03-13-2019 03:23 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by Rakshas View Post
      Ls1 fit?
      seems like it does.
      https://ls1tech.com/articles/ls-swapped-brz/

      theres even a swap kit.
      https://shop.weaponsgradeperformance...rz-ls-swap-kit

    14. Member Crispyfritter's Avatar
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      03-13-2019 04:05 PM #13
      This just in. 2JZ's overnighted from Japan have skyrocketed in price due to high demand.

      And this just a week before race wars.

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      | 2017 Elantra | 2018 JLU Sport | 2003 Mercedes S55 AMG | 2001 BMW 740 iL (x2) | 1991 Toronado | 1974 SuperBeetle | 1962 Ford Unibody | The poster formerly known as 200HP4dr

    15. Senior Member AZGolf's Avatar
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      03-13-2019 04:29 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by EPilot View Post
      Sounds like an issue with sealant being picked up in the oil pump and killing the bearings.
      Toyota is issuing this warning after the recall started.
      (pictures)
      Honestly, if they wanted it done right, they should have done an exchange program where the customer would get a loaner for a week or two and the dealer just removes the old engine, sends it to a regional engine builder to rebuild with the new valve springs and then ships back to the dealer for install. That or just send brand new engines to the customers and hold back all the old motors as refurbished ones to sell on the second hand market or something. Having recall work blow the engine is about as bad as it gets. You take a potentially unreliable engine and then turn it into a grenade. That's not an improvement.

    16. 03-13-2019 04:47 PM #15
      after reading all of these horror stories... I'm so glad my FR-S is a 2014

    17. Member
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      03-13-2019 04:58 PM #16
      Sucks but the dealerships/company will likely be replacing engines for free. I wouldn't be too mad about getting a new engine after 6 or 7 years of use. Some of the GT3 lost engines soon after release, not a lot of gain for the trouble there, engine didn't have miles or wear and tear, you just have downtime. On a 2013 you might have a lot of miles or wear and tear, getting a free new engine then from the manufacturer isn't too bad an exchange for the hassle.

    18. I’m not a loser. I’m a winnah!! patrikman's Avatar
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      03-13-2019 05:10 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by Rakshas View Post
      Ls1 fit?
      Like it was made for it.
      this signature kills fascists.

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    19. 03-13-2019 05:21 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by rs4-380 View Post
      Wow, Subaru engine failures?

      Whoever heard of such a thing
      My 1974 Subaru DL's engine never failed me. In this case though I wonder if Mr Akio Toyoda is going to think twice about going into another joint venture with Subaru again?

    20. 03-13-2019 05:37 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by Rakshas View Post
      Ls1 fit?
      It will if you're patient enough with it.





    21. Member Meroving1an's Avatar
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      03-13-2019 06:03 PM #20
      I can't wait until Toyota techs have to perform fixes on B58s in the new Surpra. What can go wrong?

    22. Geriatric Member BRealistic's Avatar
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      03-13-2019 07:25 PM #21
      Is Dealership Offering Repair: After taking pictures, Subaru dealership mechanics were able to determine the paint on valve springs choked the engine and are replacing the short block.

      What?

    23. Member Jimmy Russells's Avatar
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      03-13-2019 07:33 PM #22
      Well I guess that guy way back then was absolutely right about these things. You really could dead.

    24. 03-13-2019 07:51 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by Meroving1an View Post
      I can't wait until Toyota techs have to perform fixes on B58s in the new Surpra. What can go wrong?
      Seems like the same folks who in 1983 were proud to bring you the Family Camry are taking their chances on that one. Akido Toyoda is obviously trying to break away from the Family Camry image here.

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      03-13-2019 08:08 PM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by Meroving1an View Post
      I can't wait until Toyota techs have to perform fixes on B58s in the new Surpra. What can go wrong?
      My sister's husband was or maybe still is a Toyota master tech with 25 years experience when he left last year. From what he told me Toyota puts the best techs on lower paid warranty work, and many are getting burnt out on it. So alot of experienced guys are leaving for diesel jobs like him, or independent shops.

      The book hours model that a good tech can really make in the money with. Is really cut back on warranty work to where there is no extra time. They instead have been giving the good jobs to new employees which makes the old timers mad. Maybe a local issue with the dealers he was willing to drive to for work.

      So probably not good if the better techs leave since they are stuck on lower paying warranty leaving less experienced techs. On the most experience needed jobs.
      Last edited by Spatzle; 03-13-2019 at 08:10 PM.
      Wearing a disguise, and pretending to be someone else?

      That goes against all my instincts as a actor...

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      03-13-2019 08:35 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by antilock View Post
      My 1974 Subaru DL's engine never failed me. In this case though I wonder if Mr Akio Toyoda is going to think twice about going into another joint venture with Subaru again?
      Quote Originally Posted by antilock View Post
      Seems like the same folks who in 1983 were proud to bring you the Family Camry are taking their chances on that one. Akido Toyoda is obviously trying to break away from the Family Camry image here.
      Newsflash: you’ve ran out of straws to grasp.
      this signature kills fascists.

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