My timing belt tensioner broke, chewed up the belt. When new parts were installed, a piston was bent. I was told it would be cheaper to replace my engine (170.000 miles) with a used one (88,000 miles). I understand the engine will cost $650, but the total job will be $3100. That seems like a lot. I like my car and I have little interest in shopping for a new one, but I can't afford to be ripped off, either.
labor cost to replace engine on 1999 Subaru Forester
by MizMartha in Los Alamos, NM on October 11, 2010
ANSWER by ZeeTech , October 11, 2010
First, this engine is FREEWHEEING, which means the piston won't hit the valves in the case of timing belt failure, all you need is new timing components and you are back on the road. To install a timing belt they are not even close to the piston, so how could they damage it?? If they damaged it somehow (which I can't see how) it's their fault. Something is very fishy here. I think they are trying to milk you. Here is the other thing: That engine seems to be cheap for $650. Are you sure it isn't the labor and the rest is for the engine? It takes about 10 hours to replace this engine - including transfer all necessary parts, so even if the shop has a high labor rate like $100/hour, it still only $1000. If they will replace gaskets and seals (which is advisable) and fluids an other $350 -parts and labor, so it shouldn't be more than $2000 or the low 2000. Get another estimate from somewhere else. If you have a chance, find a Subaru specialty shop and tell them the story, see what will they tell you. Zee