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Boy did I have a scare today! Still a little concerned... #5329944 01/22/20 11:32 PM
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SubieRubyRoo Offline OP
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So I dropped off my 07 Impreza last night at my local indie to swap a terrible, terrible set of Megan Racing springs that were on the car when I bought it for a set of King springs from Primitive Racing to lift it. Car went from about 1.7" drop to 1.5" lift, so quite a change in attitude. I go this afternoon to pick it up, and the owner goes, "Man, your transmission has some issues." I said yeah it drops into higher gears pretty quick, paid, and went out to leave. (BTW I love the lift, will post pics soon!) I put the car in gear, and WTH? It's like the trans is a stick and the clutch is halfway engaged. I moved the car about 10 feet and still not moving, so I turn around and pull back up to the door to check if maybe they somehow drained half the trans fluid out or something. When I shift the car into park on a slight incline, THE CAR STARTS ROLLING BACKWARDS IN PARK!

So now my slight concern about fluid quickly turns to panic as I take pride in maintaining my cars in like-new condition. I throw the parking brake on, and run in and grab the owner, and ask exactly what they did? I drove the car 85 miles during the day just before I dropped it off and it was fine. He didn't say so, but I am sure he's like, "Yeah right, trans had to be jacked since all we did was change springs." So we check the fluid, and it was on the "Full Cold" mark, so no obvious there, and his first guess is maybe the shifter cable was loose. I remind him that any time he's ever touched my cars has not been from lack of preventive maintenance or even failure, but worn parts- he replaces shocks, struts, halfshafts... and that I KNOW my vehicle. It's not a cable. So he says "Let's pull it on the lift" and I nurse it up on. Lift the car up a little, nothing leaking. Chest high, everything still looking fine. Get it overhead, walk under. Trans pan dry, no red fluid leaks, nothing obviously broken. Then we grab the flashlight and start digging in- rear suspension and halfshafts good, driver halfshaft good, passenger halfshaft... HOLY CRAP. Passenger halfshaft pulled out of front differential far enough I can see splines! So I quickly put it all together... taking front suspension apart, when control arm dropped it pulled the shaft out, and since it's buried and not "normal" it was missed upon reassembling the struts. Then it comes out... owner has had flu and he normally does my work, but still not full strength... so the "helper" did most of the heavy lifting for my job today.

Owner tries to pop halfshaft back in but no joy, and my heart is heavy. Owner asks if he can keep it without causing me issues, that he will make it right; he wants to pull halfshaft and make sure splines aren't damaged on either part. I'm obviously frustrated but trust him, and once it's fixed I will ask if he will cover for a short time in case something pops up say a month from now, and also that I don't want any "helpers" working on my car. If I need stuff done, it can wait until the owner has time to personally do it.

Anyways, one "positive" (gotta find something at this point) is that this confirms to me that Subaru's system actually is a "true" AWD- Subaru's center clutch on these are "full 50/50" power distribution when accelerating from a stop, and this "experiment" removed one halfshaft from what should have been a 4-way 25% power split and essentially transferred 0% to any of the wheels. Obviously the front diff is open and lets front wheel speed vary for turns, but the center diff should still provide rear motive force independent of the front. More to come tomorrow... hopefully good news and pics!


De omnibus dubitandum.
Re: Boy did I have a scare today! Still a little concerned... [Re: SubieRubyRoo] #5329946 01/22/20 11:39 PM
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Macsignals Offline
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Good on the owner to take it back, own up to it and take care of it.


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Re: Boy did I have a scare today! Still a little concerned... [Re: Macsignals] #5329956 01/23/20 12:30 AM
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AC1DD Offline
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Originally Posted by Macsignals
Good on the owner to take it back, own up to it and take care of it.



It is. Many shops, even the supposedly "better" ones will try and immediately deny responsibility for mistakes like this. A good shop. Now of course luckily this owner
is car savvy, and knows things, the typical owner wouldn't fare as well. if you ask me.

Re: Boy did I have a scare today! Still a little concerned... [Re: SubieRubyRoo] #5329970 01/23/20 01:05 AM
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daves87rs Offline
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Glad he stepped up....


2020 Chevrolet Trax LS
2019 Chevrolet Equinox LS
2006 Chevrolet Cobalt LS
2004 Chevrolet Cavalier

Too much GM.. ;-)

Re: Boy did I have a scare today! Still a little concerned... [Re: SubieRubyRoo] #5329981 01/23/20 01:36 AM
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The Critic Offline
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Glad to hear that he is taking care of it. This has happened to me before and is why I always leave a jack stand under the control arm when replacing struts.

This is actually a fairly easy fix. The shop just needs to remove the cv axle and reboot the inner joint.


2011 Toyota Prius 1.8L - 206K - Valvoline Premium Blue Restore 10W-30
2007 Honda Accord 2.4L - 144K - Valvoline Premium Blue Restore 10W-30
Re: Boy did I have a scare today! Still a little concerned... [Re: SubieRubyRoo] #5330004 01/23/20 04:41 AM
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eljefino Offline
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I have a pretty good feeling you'll be fine.

Re: Boy did I have a scare today! Still a little concerned... [Re: SubieRubyRoo] #5330033 01/23/20 07:31 AM
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diyjake Offline
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What I don't understand is the shop owner knew something wasn't right but didn't bother looking into before you got there?

Re: Boy did I have a scare today! Still a little concerned... [Re: SubieRubyRoo] #5330109 01/23/20 09:28 AM
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JeffKeryk Offline
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Stuff happens, but sheesh, how does this get missed?
They musta done one heck of a test drive.

Last edited by JeffKeryk; 01/23/20 09:30 AM.

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Re: Boy did I have a scare today! Still a little concerned... [Re: diyjake] #5330153 01/23/20 10:35 AM
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SubieRubyRoo Offline OP
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Originally Posted by diyjake
What I don't understand is the shop owner knew something wasn't right but didn't bother looking into before you got there?


No, he was not aware of the half shaft issue. Since he hadn’t driven the car prior and did after in trying to prevent a comeback from the specific work they did, he made an assumption the issue was preexisting. Normally, you won’t unseat the axles when the suspension droops for a strut change. I don’t blame him for thinking there may have been a known issue, and when I told him there were no issues prior, he dug in right away and identified the half shaft coming undone, and by that time he knew it was only possible while it had been in his shop.


De omnibus dubitandum.
Re: Boy did I have a scare today! Still a little concerned... [Re: JeffKeryk] #5330161 01/23/20 10:44 AM
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SubieRubyRoo Offline OP
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Originally Posted by JeffKeryk
Stuff happens, but sheesh, how does this get missed?
They musta done one heck of a test drive.


No fluid escaped the trans or front diff, and the outer boot that is easily seen “looked” identical. The only way we found it (I was under the lift inspecting with the owner) was to shine a flashlight up between the trans, front diff, and cat. If you were looking at the axle from the wheel end, there is a metal guard to protect the seal which would preclude easy identification as well.

I understand things happen, mistakes get made. To me the most important part of taking my vehicle to a mechanic for stuff I can’t easily accomplish myself is them standing behind their work. Over the past 5 years, everything from this shop has been flawless. And since the labor rate is only $55/hr and he is fine with using parts I bring in, he’s earned the benefit of the doubt initially.


De omnibus dubitandum.
Re: Boy did I have a scare today! Still a little concerned... [Re: SubieRubyRoo] #5330167 01/23/20 10:51 AM
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KrisZ Offline
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Mistakes happen to everyone. It's how these mistakes are dealt with afterwards that differentiate a professional from a hack.

This mechanic sounds like a stand up guy. A rare find these days.


2015 Grand Caravan 3.6L - 35k miles.
2006 Mazda 3 2.0L - 186k miles
Re: Boy did I have a scare today! Still a little concerned... [Re: SubieRubyRoo] #5330204 01/23/20 11:35 AM
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gathermewool Offline
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There's no pin on that side of the half-shaft? The only half-shafts I've replaced were the fronts for my '97 LGT a while back. I don't recall 100% whether there was a pin, but I thought there was.


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Re: Boy did I have a scare today! Still a little concerned... [Re: SubieRubyRoo] #5330285 01/23/20 01:16 PM
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spavel6 Offline
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Unfortunately had you been less savvy you would have driven it until explosion.

I recently had to "prove" inadequate work done at a Bosch-Authorized repair facility. Had I not been savvy, they would have charged my father an additional $3k to fix a suspension mistake they made 6 months prior..

It's one of the many reasons it pays to have at least a cursory understanding of vehicle mechanics.


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Re: Boy did I have a scare today! Still a little concerned... [Re: gathermewool] #5330306 01/23/20 02:19 PM
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SubieRubyRoo Offline OP
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Originally Posted by gathermewool
There's no pin on that side of the half-shaft? The only half-shafts I've replaced were the fronts for my '97 LGT a while back. I don't recall 100% whether there was a pin, but I thought there was.


Nope, not on these where the front diff is female and the halfshaft is double male. There are some versions (which I don't care to try to recall) that had male stubs on the front axles, and the halfshafts were female on inside and male on hub end. These do have one of the expanding spring circlips to help retain it in the diff, but after 5-10 years of the hub being welded to the axle, it will easily exceed removal strength of the circlip.


De omnibus dubitandum.
Re: Boy did I have a scare today! Still a little concerned... [Re: spavel6] #5330314 01/23/20 02:27 PM
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SubieRubyRoo Offline OP
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Originally Posted by spavel6
It's one of the many reasons it pays to have at least a cursory understanding of vehicle mechanics.


Agree 100%. Like I said, I have the ability about 98% of the time to do of all the work I need to, depending on if it can be done from the ground with jackstands etc. Then there is the 12% of the time ( LOL ) that I just don't feel like messing with it; since this shop will gladly install my purchased parts and not change the basic labor rate since they aren't getting the parts sales as well, I have zero issue taking anything I don't feel like messing with down to him.

Like next week, he's going to replace my rear hub & wheel bearing with my self-purchased OEM assembly and swap the rear sway bar for my Whiteline adjustable on my 05 Outback for 1.5 hours of (actual) time. It would probably take me at least 3 since I don't have a 1000 ft-lb impact, so $80 for labor is a no-brainer in my book. So what would run me ~$250 in labor at the dealer plus another $450 in parts will end up costing about $385 total ($105 for hub & bearing from SixStarBernie on eBay, $200 for sway bar from Amazon Warehouse, $80 for labor).


De omnibus dubitandum.
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