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Dealership denied rusted brake line repair/recall. Smoking gun?


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Let me start this off light, because this is the best mood I've been in in the last 48 hours or so. I hate the show South Park, but I'm going to steal a line from Chef: Gather 'round, children.

 

This thread is for anyone who has had the same failure as I have, particularly involving any of the hard lines between the rubber flex hose (trailing arm joint) and body grommet going into the passenger's side of the vehicle. This is generally the area covered by the recall we all know about where Subaru considers wax, wax/oil, or some kind of grease (lithium?) as an appropriate fix for corrosion on the brake lines.

 

Just for context, I will give everyone my back story events leading up to the brake line rupture and dealership interactions.

 

  • 4/25 - Seized driver front brake caliper on my way home from work. Ordered new caliper.
  • 4/26 - Installed new caliper, ensuring copper washers were properly installed on banjo bolt. Attempted to bleed brake system with my fiance. She was pumping the pedal and we were making progress. The pedal was getting stiffer like it should be, and then she yelled to me "I wasn't ready!" and then said the pedal got mushy. I looked and saw the bleed screw was still closed. I checked under the car and found a large puddle of fluid in front of the passenger rear tire.
  • 4/27 - Contacted dealership, explained issue. Service woman seemed genuinely concerned and cautioned me to not drive it and have it towed. Said that if it was the recall, I would be reimbursed for the tow, etc. I had the car towed to the dealership but it was too close to closing time when it was delivered. Would have to wait for Monday, 4/30 to be inspected.
  • 4/30 - Call from the dealership. Line did not burst at a location covered by the recall (not at or near junction block). Laundry list of other items totaling $3900+tax including "Improper seal of front brake caliper - missing washer" for $78, brake line replacement in the rear, $1767, smashed oil pan replacement/reseal for $447 (I take blame, lowered car), seeping power steering pump, $984, and lastly, $270 for the oil cooler seal. I asked for pictures. Their pictures showed the pump could be fixed with the $4 o-ring, which I knew months ago but was lazy about. Their picture also showed the brake caliper had both copper washers properly placed. Cue rage. I called and complained to SoA. I called the dealer out on the pump and copper washer and they did nothing but stutter and say they had to get back to me. They were very adamant about the brake line not being the recall and invited me to see it on a lift if I'd like.
  • 5/1 - Went to the dealership and saw the location of the brake line rupture. It is probably 6-8 inches away from the front most junction of the first flex hose, where the pivot/hinge of the trailing arm is. It is right where the clip is to secure the brake line to the body near the gas tank. I laid down my arms and told the dealer I could not afford any of these repairs and would do them at home. I told them I would organize a tow truck and offered to pay the inspection fee of $69.95 and get the car out of there in 24 hours. The service guy told me to not sweat it and we'll chat tomorrow morning.

 

I got home from the dealership and saw a couple messages from my friends who were talking me off a ledge so to speak, with parting the car out. Please see the attachments for where my brake line ruptured, which the dealership claimed was not covered under the recall, a page of a pdf released by the NHTSA, the pdf itself, and a static link to the pdf.

 

My line failed at location #3, the body clip in the rear.

 

Everyone, I caution you to keep a copy of all of this and to fight tooth and nail with your dealership if they deny your warranty work.

 

Link to National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall campaign WQK-47

 

I'll be printing out a copy of this recall notice and bringing it to the dealership tomorrow morning. I'm going to mention that they need to know every letter of the recall before they can deny someone, tell them that this is an unethical business practice, and tell them that not only do I want the car fixed and fixed right, but I need some kind of compensation for it. I should not have to prove that the fault is theirs to this extent.

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RCDNN-14V311-4560P.pdf

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At this point, I don't know who the right person is, so I'm going to start with the service adviser and see where it goes from there.

 

I made sure he knew today that me being particular is just my nature (I'm an engineer) and not a lack of faith or trust, until I found that recall notice, at least.

 

I'm going to go in there calm because now I think it's on them.

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305,600miles 5/2012 ej257 short block, 8/2011 installed VF52 turbo, @20.8psi, 280whp, 300ftlbs. (SOLD).  CHECK your oil, these cars use it.

 

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These vehicles may have been manufactured with brake lines that could, over time, corrode in the area of the four-way joint connector or in the areas where there are no resin covers installed if exposed to salt, such as salt used to treat roads in the winter time. Excessive corrosion could eventually cause perforation of a brake line(s) resulting in a brake fluid leak.

 

from subaru

https://subaru.oemdtc.com/62/wqk-47-brake-line-corrosion-2005-2014-subaru/23

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They told me the lines inside the car had already been replaced but they weren't since I've owned the car and the recall first surfaced after I bought it. "We completed the recall so there's nothing we can offer" is basically what they told me today.

 

I'm the least confrontational person out there so I hate having chats like these with people who are doing something I need but this needs done in my opinion.

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I remember another member developing a leak at the joint connector a few years after Subaru applied the anti-corrosion stuff to the joint connector. Without re-reading that thread again, I think Subaru refused to cover his brake lines under warranty because the recall had been completed.

http://legacygt.com/forums/showthread.php/rusted-rear-brake-lines-subaru-wont-honor-their-recalli-265588.html

 

So I hope Subaru doesn't say sorry, we inspected things a few years ago when the recall was done, so there's nothing we can do now.

 

*I didn't see your last reply before posting this, and it sounds like Subaru already said that.

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The purpose of a recall is to fix a weak point in a chain.

If the length is pulled tight and then fails at the point the recall was meant to fix, that to me proves the recall "fix" was inadequate.

 

I guess its arguing over something that is in no fine print. If looking to keep customers subaru would fix it.

The dealer gets credit from Subaru for the repair anyhow, so why would they desire to push it away is over my head.

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Supposedly the job only pays 6.8 hours or something but actually takes 9-12. Flat rate sucks sometimes but there are other jobs that are the opposite, like clutches. Charge 7, takes 3.

 

Or a 30K service (charges 4 hrs, takes 1.3 if you're good). Or timing belts. All major suspension components, etc. Besides, I typically had my hourly techs do recalls, unless it was above their skill set. Brake lines are easy, just tedious.

 

If the recall has already been performed and is giving you the same issue, speak to the service manager. Many manufacturers are able to perform recalls a second time if it fails again. I authorized a few hundred of prior recalls while working for Honda. Granted that was Honda, not Subaru, but as long as the failure is covered by the recall letter, you have a solid case.

Don't hold your breath for compensation though... just sayin

John Hancock

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Or a 30K service (charges 4 hrs, takes 1.3 if you're good). Or timing belts. All major suspension components, etc. Besides, I typically had my hourly techs do recalls, unless it was above their skill set. Brake lines are easy, just tedious.

 

If the recall has already been performed and is giving you the same issue, speak to the service manager. Many manufacturers are able to perform recalls a second time if it fails again. I authorized a few hundred of prior recalls while working for Honda. Granted that was Honda, not Subaru, but as long as the failure is covered by the recall letter, you have a solid case.

Don't hold your breath for compensation though... just sayin

 

As far as the compensation, a coworker of mine used to wrench for Mercedes and Cadillac and said I should fight to not only have the brake stuff fixed but also fight to have them fix everything else in good faith over how I was treated/manipulated. They tried to charge me $1800 for work that should be covered by the recall.

 

At the very least, fix the brake issue so the car is driveable and I'll fix the rest in my driveway.

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So last night, I sent an email to the dealership (replied to their email with pictures of repairs needed) with everything I attached in the first post - the NHTSA PDF and picture of my brake line.

 

I called the dealership on my way to lunch today. I asked if they got my email with a pdf and some pictures in it and after some scrolling, he said he found it. He muttered a bit like he was reading to himself, audible sigh, and then said "I'm going to have to forward this to my boss, who will then probably forward this on to Subaru. We'll have to call you when we hear more."

 

The amount of effort I'm exerting to prove this falls on their shoulders is inordinate.

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My recall information has been sent to Subaru... corporate? of America?

 

Either way, I'm glad the service manager has agreed with me and decided to escalate it. I was asked to wait until Friday for a response.

 

Not sure if it's of significance but this was emailed to me instead of a phone call. I prefer email anyway because I hate talking on the phone but I wonder if there's something to be read between the lines with that.

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If I learned anything while dealing with SOA and dealer about warranty repair done wrong it is not to make it personal. Keep it within interaction between customer (you) and provider (dealer and SOA), not between you and service advisor, tech, etc. This way people are a lot more willing to help you.

 

Dealer will likely not do anything unless SOA approves the repair and agrees to pay the bill completely or partially. It is great for you that you are approaching them with documents, pictures and alike.

 

another thing I learned was that SOA does not have absolute power over dealer. In my case after I wasted 5 vacation days bringing the car to dealer on multiple visits to get it fixed and talking to SOA after each time dealer failed to do it right SOA basically withdrew and told me they can't force them to do anything more. Hence the first comment - try to not burn any bridges with the dealer, you may end uo having to deal with them.

 

good luck. I feel that you should have an upper hand here with this clearly being recall issue.

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My recall information has been sent to Subaru... corporate? of America?

 

Either way, I'm glad the service manager has agreed with me and decided to escalate it. I was asked to wait until Friday for a response.

 

Not sure if it's of significance but this was emailed to me instead of a phone call. I prefer email anyway because I hate talking on the phone but I wonder if there's something to be read between the lines with that.

 

Emails constitute a paper trail. Which will be necessary foe the dealership to be able to claim and verify everything. It's a positive sign IMO

John Hancock

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I knew it was not only me whose having this problem, I’m sure some of the owners will have the same problem as well because the rusted part was not replace, it is hidden and only cured with anti-seize. Subaru dealers knows this and if all of them did the right way it will be a chaos on their shops, what they did was satisfied customers with the cheating ability and leave it as is which will end up to a big problem later. SOC didn’t comply with my query, instead satisfies me for what the recall did.
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