Did Recent Recall Cause Subaru BRZ & Scion FR-S Engines To Die?

A number of Scion FR-S (know rebranded as the Toyota 86) and Subaru BRZ owners are claiming that their vehicles have encountered serious engine issues after being repaired as part of a recent recall.

The Drive reports that approximately 35,000 2013 Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S models were recalled in November 2018 due to engine valve springs which “may fracture, causing an engine malfunction or a possible engine stall,” as per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) notice.

Despite knowing about the issue for more than six years and actually starting to use new valve springs in its vehicles from May 2013, Toyota and Subaru only began notifying affected owners late last year. The recall commenced towards the end of December 2018 and stipulated that all valve springs needed to be replaced, meaning the engine has to be taken out and opened up.

This is where the issues appear to have started. Roughly two dozen FR-S and BRZ owners have taken to the FT86 Club forum to say that their engines suffered catastrophic failures after having their valve springs replaced. Of these failures, most relate to Scion FR-S models.

The author of an article at The Drive also experienced similar issues when the engine in his Scion FR-S started to knock and died shortly afterwards. A dealer inspection revealed a “scored crankcase and cylinder walls” as well as damaged connecting rod bearings.

A number of members from the FT86 Club forum have described similar issues, with many also experiencing issues with the rod bearings. Some have suffered complete engine failures just a couple of weeks after their vehicles were repaired as part of the recall.

We’ve reached out to both Toyota and Subaru regarding the issues but have yet to receive any responses. In the meantime, members of the forum suspect that there could be a couple of factors at play which may explain the issues.

One theory is that Toyota dealerships may be improperly applying RTV sealant to the engine bays during reassembly. A repair notice issued by Subaru makes an important note of applying the sealant correctly and asserts that “any contamination left behind can cause the Check Engine light to illuminate and / or other issues to develop resulting in a comeback.”

Some forum users also suspect that more FR-S models are experiencing engine failures due to the inexperience of Toyota employees working on Subaru’s boxer engines.

We will update this article when we hear back from Toyota and Subaru, so stay tuned.

more photos...
  • Loquacious Borborygmus

    Some forum users also suspect that more FR-S models are experiencing engine failures due to the inexperience of Toyota employees working on Subaru’s boxer engines.
    What about the Subaru employees working on boxer engines?


  • eb110americana

    From the sound of the mechanical failures with knocking, connecting rod bearings, and scoring inside the cylinders and crankcase, it sounds like some foreign matter is getting into the oil galleries. I would think smaller bits of RTV sealant should get pushed through and strained out at the filter, although just the right size chunk could cause oil starvation, I guess. However, if bits of broken valve springs, or tiny valve locks, C-clips, gasket material, or other metal were left behind in the heads, that would definitely chew the crap out of bearings and score up the places they got into.

    Oh well. LS swap.

  • Mill0048

    That sucks… My sympathies. It’s such a fun car, it’s a shame this is spoiling your experience. Mine’s 2 years old and I can’t think of a car that’s been more fun to drive and own. I can’t stand how dealerships always try to weasel out of warranty repair work. Hopefully you can get your car and wallet whole again. Good luck!

Cammer Brakes To Avoid Red-Light Runner, Promptly Gets Rear-Ended

Even so, the one who’ll foot the bill for the repair will probably be the driver of the car behind the cammer.

Even Valentino Balboni Was Impressed By The Lamborghini Miura Jota SVR

The Jota SVR started out life as a regular 1968 Miura S and its owners went to great lengths to get his wish fulfilled .

Wald Wants To Turn Your Mercedes C-Class Into An AMG C63 Lookalike

The bundle of upgrades is suitable to the W205 generation of the C-Class, from 2014 to 2018.

New Toyota Supra Races Porsche Cayman GTS, Audi TT RS And Alpine A110

Toyota has high aspirations about the all-new Supra – so how does it fare against some of its rivals?.

So You Think You Can Afford America’s Cheapest Mercedes E63 AMG?

A piece of advice: you shouldn’t do donuts in your W211 E63 if you don’t want your power steering to fail.

Two New Electric Crossovers Could Doom The Lincoln Continental In America

US production of the Continental will reportedly end in 2021.

The Average Dodge Challenger Buyer Is 51 Years Old, Still Younger Than Mustang And Camaro Customers

The Dodge Challenger has also comfortably outsold the Chevrolet Camaro in the first half of 2019.

Talk About Getting Dumped: Florida Man Pours Dirt On Cadillac CTS Driven By Girlfriend

The girlfriend didn’t own the Cadillac, so its owner was likely in for a big surprise.

Return Of The Sport Truck? Ram Considering Lowering Kit For 1500 Pickup

Previewed by the Low Down concept, the kit could reduce the ride height by approximately 2 inches.

Failed Aston Martin Vanquish Tooling Buyer Identified As Detroit Electric

Detroit Electric agreed to pay $24 million for the tooling of the Vanquish, but failed to come up with the money.