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Subaru fire alarm

Fire drill: More than 1200 WRXs are included in the voluntary recall.

Subaru's quality reputation takes another hit with turbo Impreza and Liberty recall

Subaru logo13 Nov 2008

IN ANOTHER embarrassing problem for a company that has thrived on a reputation for good quality, Subaru Australia has initiated a voluntary safety recall for turbocharged Forester, Liberty and Impreza models – except the WRX STi – to check an engine oil line that could split and cause a fire.

The current recall concerns an oil feed pipe to the turbocharger, which according to Subaru may have become “misaligned” during production. This problem has affected the Japanese marque’s turbocharged cars worldwide.

In Australia, the federal government’s recall website (www.recalls.gov.au) said: “The vehicles may have been produced with the turbocharger oil supply pipe deformed due to misalignment during the assembly process. If the pipe is deformed, vibration experienced during normal driving could result in a crack developing in the pipe over time, causing an engine oil leak.”

However, in the US the safety recall notice for the turbo oil line problem described the potential outcome of the leak in much stronger terms: “If leaking oil contacts components operating at high temperatures, an engine compartment fire could result.”

Subaru Australia spokesman David Rowley told GoAuto this week that of the 3115 cars affected by the oil line recall, 1889 are 2007-2008 Liberty GT variants, 1216 are 2008 Impreza WRX (not STI) and 11 are the 2009 Forester XT.

Only a small number of Forester XTs are affected because only an early batch of MY09 production was involved.

Mr Rowley said Subaru Australia was in the process of writing to all potentially affected customers but acknowledged that around 60 had so far been discovered to have a faulty oil supply line.

“To date, around 60 vehicles in Australia have been identified as needing oil supply pipe replacement,” he said.

The WRX STi is the only model of the turbocharged Subarus not affected by the safety recall. According to Mr Rowley, it has a unique turbocharger and oil supply line that cannot be misaligned.

In an unrelated field service campaign in April, Subaru halted production and sales of all turbocharged 2.5-litre engine models due to a potential failure of engine conrod bearings.

Subaru Australia said the problem had been identified as abnormal wear on conrod big end bearings potentially affecting up to 1233 vehicles in Australia built between January and April this year.

Of these, 171 had been sold to customers before sales were stopped, none of whom, according to Subaru, had experienced engine problems. The latter would manifest as an engine knocking noise.

The affected cars were not the subject of a recall, according to Subaru, as there were no safety issues. Instead, it was labelled a “quality assurance action” which was “aimed at avoiding possible damage to the engines of potentially affected vehicles”.

Earlier this year, Subaru lodged a recall notice for the 2001-2003 Impreza hatchback due to faulty tailgate struts potentially cracking welds and failing.

Meanwhile, Citroen has this month had to recall 139 examples of the C4 Picasso for a faulty handbrake. Last month Suzuki recalled 752 2005-2007 Grand Vitara turbo-diesel models after it was found that an intercooler outlet pipe could swell and block the throttle body, causing a rich mixture and an overloaded particulate filter – which according to the recall notice could lead to a fire.

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