First off, I love your channel. Your honest and witty take on car repair is something I haven’t come across since Car Talk.

I’m currently having an issue with my low mileage (61K) and totally stock 2015 Subaru WRX. It’s a well cared for daily commuter, and as a young engineer, I thought it was the perfect balance between fun and affordability, especially since winters in Minnesota can be brutal.

Anyway, last week I got error code P0017. The camshaft sensor was deemed “bad” by the dealership (I went there after my trusted independent mechanic couldn’t figure it out), and they replaced it. Now they are telling me that the bad sensor, which was deemed “bad” when they switched it with the unit in the opposing location, has caused the ECU to also “fail”. Is this possible, or am I being led into the an expensive situation that these guys simply cannot handle? If a “bad” sensor is flipped to the other side, and the ECU can follow it and deem it “bad”, then why can’t the ECU clear the faulty part from its system after it was replaced with a new one?

At this point, it seems like they aren’t sure exactly where the issue is, and their approach is to just start replacing parts until it goes away. In addition to this being a very expensive approach, is this just the norm these days at dealerships?

Thanks for your help, and hopefully I can get back into my car soon!

Comments (4)
No. 1-4
beero62
beero62

Hello!

I have an update, and the news isn't great. The Camshaft Sensors and ECU were deemed "bad" and replaced with 50% coverage from Subaru America. About 20 minutes after leaving the dealership, a rapid but consistent ticking noise would intermittently come and go from the engine. The noise initially made me look around as if I was driving through a construction zone that had a distant jackhammer. The noise is very hard to recreate, but it would generally appear with about 10-20 percent throttle while in 3rd of 4th gear. It would last maybe 5-10 seconds. It didn't matter if the engine was hot or cold, nor the speed, but it would go away as soon as I let go of the throttle. However, the warning lights and error codes haven't come back. For the last 61K miles this car has been driven quite responsibly, so it seems totally atypical for such a young car to require an engine to be torn apart. Any thoughts?

As a next step, the dealership, along with my powertrain warranty provider and Subaru America have agreed on a plan to break down the entire engine and look for the source of the noise. It's going to require 15-18 hours of work (2300 dollars). If the electronic issues are the blame for the noise, Subaru covers it, and if it's mechanical, my Powertrain Warranty provider will cover it. However, if it's neither, I'm on the hook for 2300 dollars!

Any suggestions on what to do next? I'm sort of stumped. I'm not even sure how to educate myself from being ripped off, but they seem honest thus far.

Thanks again, Ben

beero62
beero62

Thanks for your help! Subaru America is now supporting this repair as an act of "good will" but I agree, a proper diagnosis is needed. My family has 5 Subarus between all of us, and I made sure that Subaru knows it!

Scotty Kilmer
Scotty Kilmer

Editor

listen to ricardo

Ricardo OG
Ricardo OG

there can be 3 things, either the sensor is bad, bad wiring or a short in the ECU. It can be possible that the computer may be bad and cannot communicate properly. It will need a very good verification of that. Do not let them fire the parts cannon, the worst thing is to be guessing without proper diagnosis.