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2008 STi - Broken welds + hatch damper (metal on metal squeak)... *RESOLVED[?]*

30555 Views 118 Replies 28 Participants Last post by  Deek
Update 2011.09.16: At this point I'm quite comfortable with saying that this issue was definitely related to the passenger side hatch damper. The issue persisted after spot welds were reinforced, and ceased after the dampers were replaced.

I am now also keeping this updated in my blog as well @ 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STi Hatch - "theNoise" (Broken welds = Squeak)

Car: 2008 Impreza WRX STi

Problem: Broken welds on roof support near hatch opening causing metal on metal squeaking over bumps or in turns.
Update 2011.08.27; Could this have been misdiagnosed??? <- Click for more information.

Reason denied: Originally Subaru denied claim and voided warranty stating that installation of stiffer springs caused the weld to break.
Update 2011.07.21; SOA called, they're fixing under waranty, *but*... <- Click for more information.

Summary: I installed springs on my car (320lb rates, front & rear) on 2010.09.18. I have proof of invoice and tracking information via FedEx that shows I didn't have these springs in my possession until 2011.09.16. According to the dealer's service records, I first reported this problem to them on 2010.09.08. This means that it had already been occurring and I called them to set up an appointment for them to look at it. Those notes don't go into the system until the dealer takes possession of the car, at least for my dealer.

I went to the dealer today and had them print my service records. There is a 'customer complaint' on there dated 2010.09.08 that states the following;

Complaint: Customer states that the hatch back or something will creak in the rear when driving over a rough road please check and advise...

Cause: Tech traced and found there was a rattle coming from the latch on the rear hatch back door.

Correction: Tech greased the latch and test drove to verify proper operation.
On 2010.10.08 I brought it in because the brakes were squealing, at which time the service manager noticed the hatch squeak. I told him how I've already brought it in for that and they claim they fixed it by re-greasing the latch. He said to have it looked at again at the next service.

On 2011.02.03 I brought it in for service and this is what they have noted regarding the squeak.

Complaint: Customer states that the rear hatch is squeaking please check and advise...

Cause: Tech test drove the vehicle and found the rear mat rubbing on the cargo cover and tech also found the latch in need of lubrication.

Correction: Tech completed the lubrication on the rear hatch latch and also moved the rear cargo mat from the cargo shade and test drove to verify no squeaking from the rear at this time.
On 2011.02.07 I brought it in for the squeak again, and here are the notes.

Complaint: Customer states that there is a squeaking noise coming fromt he rear hatch when driving over bumps please check and advise...

Cause: Tech test drove the vehicle and was not able to duplicate the customer's concern at this time.

Correction: No repairs made at this time.
On 2011.05.13 I brought it in for maintenance and the following was noted regarding the squeak.

Complaint: Customer states there is a metal on metal noise coming from the right rear please check and advise.

Cause: Tech found the noise coming from the drivers rear quarter panel area more time is needed to complete diag.

Correction: Customer is advised and will return at a later date.
I brought it back on 2011.05.18 and here are the notes.

Complaint: Customer states there is a squeak coming from the rear top of the vehicle when going over bumps advise...

Cause: Tech found the creek coming from the rear roof supports. Possible weld broken.

Correction: Subaru has been contacted and factory engineer will come out to inspect vehicle at customer convenience. Customer will be contacted when this is possible.
I did go back again near the end of may, so I'll need to go back and get that service record for the details... but in short the rep didn't even come look at the vehicle, he just told the service manager to deny the claim and void the warranty stating that my stiffened springs caused the issue, which is clearly not the case.

I just gathered the documents I think I'll need, and I'm stopping by the dealer tomorrow to talk to the service manager. I'll try to keep this updated.
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Re: 2008 STi - Broken welds on rear roof support (metal on metal squeak)...

Damn man, that is an unfortunate problem to have. Good luck with everything. Should I still buy an STI?
Re: 2008 STi - Broken welds on rear roof support (metal on metal squeak)...

After reading the sticky about warranty, it violates federal law for a warranty to be denied without first proving the modification was the cause of the failure. So any dealer who's tries to deny your warranty after seeing an aftermarket part is violating that law unless they can prove the modification was the problem.

MRT Performance of Australia can guarantee the factory warranty even with the installation of their power up kits. I don't see how it could be much different here in the states.
Re: 2008 STi - Broken welds on rear roof support (metal on metal squeak)...

I called the service manager on lunch, asking for an update. "Not good" he says. Apparently the body shop is a little more than apprehensive about performing the repair for a couple reasons;

1) They didn't want to remove the roof liner.
2) Since they're going to have to 're-spot weld' things, it'll require some paint work. They're concerned about doing the paint work because the last time they did some for me, I brought it back for cleanups (ie. Drip-match daub of paint left on rear passenger door, couple small bits/chunks of paint on hood had to be removed, clearcoat overspray on wing and rear window, etc).

I'm pretty frustrated that my car has been there all week and absolutely nothing has been done. And the service manager is pretty much in the same boat, since they're fronting me a rental and it's costing them money. Well that and they know they have to deal with a less-than-pleased customer.

I'm waiting for a return call from the service manager to see if he can contact another dealer outside of the desert that may have an in-house body shop, or a more competent third party shop that isn't seemingly 'scared of taking the job.'
Man, I would have been so mad having to take my car back to a shop for their mess ups. What kind of bodyshop is this? I don't think they would have touched my car again after doing that stuff to it. But they would pay for the fix for sure. Sounds like the dealer took the lowest bid by a shop in order to save some cash and it bit them in the arse.
Re: 2008 STi - Broken welds on rear roof support (metal on metal squeak)...

I hate it for you. Now they put dents in your car? I would have came unglued.
Re: 2008 STi - Broken welds on rear roof support (metal on metal squeak)...

I can't believe that the dealer would have thousands of dollars of work done without being sure about what was causing the problem. No money out of his pocket, so he probably didn't care. They wouldn't have my business any longer after that ordeal.
Re: 2008 STi - Broken welds on rear roof support (metal on metal squeak)...

I'll probably get flamed for this but here goes... I don't really think the dealer owes you anything. Yes the squeak was mis-diagnosed but the whole car is metal which can cause the noise to sound like it was coming from anywhere. For example, ever tried to diagnose a squeak on an aluminum framed mountain bike? It's pretty much impossible. You were continually pushing the dealer to provide a solution so they were taking their best shot at what they thought the problem was. Most dealerships I know would have just jiggled around some stuff and told you they couldn't find it and to deal with it. Admittedly it sounds like their techs could use some classes on problem solving but it's not like they threw some glue on it and said they fixed it. They genuinely gave it a shot at fixing it.

I understand you're frustrated with having to be without your car for weeks at a time but lets face it... it's a 15k dollar car with 20k worth of drivetrain in it. It's never going to be as quiet and rattle-proof as a pricier car like a BMW, MB, etc.

Cliffnotes: I think the dealership took their best shot at repairing it and you should give them credit for footing that huge bill when they could have just told you to shove it. Get them to fix the hatch supports and call it a day.
The dealer doesn't pay for warranty work, Subaru of America does. Hence, the work needing to be approved by a SOA rep. The dealership is a franchisee of Subaru of America. This dealership deserves no gratitude.
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