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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
We love our Ascent and already have 6800 miles on it. We have used it to tow a trailer from the San Francisco Bay Area to Seattle (and back). We then immediately drove to San Diego and back to Seattle! I also have used a motorcycle hitch carrier on it (only a small 250cc dirtbike). Our daughter took her drivers license test in it. And our dog seems to love it too!

HOWEVER... we had only one major issue AND thanks to this Ascent forum I was able to tell the technician where to look. As I was driving down the freeway, I started to hear slight air leaking noises when I pushed the throttle. My first instinct was that it was the interior ventilation system, but that didn't make sense... All of a sudden, the check engine light came on (automatically stopping all of the Eyesight driven sensors). Thankfully the car was still running and we were able to find a dealership within a few miles. It was 8:30am and they immediately took a look (very impressive response time).

I started googling around and read on these forums about the intercooler/manifold bolts being loose or missing. This seemed like a possible solution, so I stuck my head into the service area and spoke with the technician. He also called a main service center who also recommended he check the bolts (clearly, this is affecting other owners too).

Well, the bolts on the top of the intercooler were all tight, so a visual inspection did not help fix the check engine code. He then removed the intercooler (only 6-7 bolts and a quick connect on the intake pipe). When he flipped the intercooler over, we heard a bolt fall out! Upon further review, there are three bolts that attach the intake manifold to the intercooler. Only ONE was currently fastened! I pointed out that one of the missing bolts was now under the car, but he was unable to find the third bolt. In the end, he simply replaced the missing bolt and made sure that all three bolts were tight. After re-installing the intercooler and clearing all codes, I went with the technician on a test-drive. Everything was working perfectly!

This is my first Subaru. I was attracted to the brand based on its history for reliability. However, I was sincerely nervous to buy a "first model year" vehicle, but I took the leap. The loose/missing bolt fiasco has put a ***** in my perception, but I am willing to look beyond because I like the car and the customer service was very good (even though I was the one who really diagnosed the problem!)

I am attaching a few pictures. I recommend every owner to have those bolts checked. The truth is that anyone could probably do it in their own garage within 15 minutes, but I think it would be better for Subaru to have a record of the vehicle that were poorly assembled.

And I am curious how many others have had this issue?

Regards,
Steven
3855
Auto part Engine Vehicle Radiator Car
 

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The bolts on the intercooler are not the only bolts that may be loose. I have been working on different parts of the car and I can tell for a fact that many of the bolts are not as tight as they should be. Have a wobble at higher speeds? Check the strut mounting bolts. Maybe a clunking sound when you make a turn? Check the sway bar links and sway bar bushing. Having upgraded some of the suspension I've noticed that there seems to be an issue with uniformity of torque on the bolts and/or nuts. The other problem I have noticed is that many of their parts do not have any friction mounting on most of their components, relying on metal to metal (or paint to paint). I'm fairly new to Subaru (this is my first) so I don't know what to make of this really, but just researching parts for the Ascent has shown a pattern of weak mounts with overly soft bushings. The pitch stop on the Ascent is really made of a relatively thin piece of plastic. This part is supposed to prevent twisting from the torque of the engine. The compliance bushing on the rear of the front lower control arm is incredibly soft. I think I've had chewing gum that was harder than this rubber. I'd lay odds that the transmission, motor and steering mounts are similar. Most people won't notice for a while, but once these start deteriorating you will. In any case, just check ALL of the bolts you possibly can or take it to the dealer so that they can,
 

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Other threads have talked about missing or loose bolts on the turbo. I guess the Layfayett, Indiana builders need to focus on doing their job right. Of course the engine and transmission come from Japan, so maybe it's those guys that need to do their job right.
 

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Missing bolts on a new car....where is the quality control??? I'm glad I didn't rush with Ascent order just yet. Will wait and see how things shakes out.
 

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This plant has suffered with QC issues in the past and hope they got it sorted out on this model as their seems to be a lot of 1st time Subaru buyers.
 
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Has anybody checked for loose or missing bolts themself? Just curious how difficult this is in the garage - I assume its easy but Im nit familiar with subaru turbos. I also dont know what the torque is for the intercooler bolts.
 

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The mileage you have on the vehicle suggests to me that this was one of the early build dates. True? I wish there was a way to read a list of items that Subaru learned abut and have since fixed in build so the new customers can have more confidence.
 

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We love our Ascent and already have 6800 miles on it. We have used it to tow a trailer from the San Francisco Bay Area to Seattle (and back). We then immediately drove to San Diego and back to Seattle! I also have used a motorcycle hitch carrier on it (only a small 250cc dirtbike). Our daughter took her drivers license test in it. And our dog seems to love it too!

HOWEVER... we had only one major issue AND thanks to this Ascent forum I was able to tell the technician where to look. As I was driving down the freeway, I started to hear slight air leaking noises when I pushed the throttle. My first instinct was that it was the interior ventilation system, but that didn't make sense... All of a sudden, the check engine light came on (automatically stopping all of the Eyesight driven sensors). Thankfully the car was still running and we were able to find a dealership within a few miles. It was 8:30am and they immediately took a look (very impressive response time).

I started googling around and read on these forums about the intercooler/manifold bolts being loose or missing. This seemed like a possible solution, so I stuck my head into the service area and spoke with the technician. He also called a main service center who also recommended he check the bolts (clearly, this is affecting other owners too).



Well, the bolts on the top of the intercooler were all tight, so a visual inspection did not help fix the check engine code. He then removed the intercooler (only 6-7 bolts and a quick connect on the intake pipe). When he flipped the intercooler over, we heard a bolt fall out! Upon further review, there are three bolts that attach the intake manifold to the intercooler. Only ONE was currently fastened! I pointed out that one of the missing bolts was now under the car, but he was unable to find the third bolt. In the end, he simply replaced the missing bolt and made sure that all three bolts were tight. After re-installing the intercooler and clearing all codes, I went with the technician on a test-drive. Everything was working perfectly!

This is my first Subaru. I was attracted to the brand based on its history for reliability. However, I was sincerely nervous to buy a "first model year" vehicle, but I took the leap. The loose/missing bolt fiasco has put a ***** in my perception, but I am willing to look beyond because I like the car and the customer service was very good (even though I was the one who really diagnosed the problem!)

I am attaching a few pictures. I recommend every owner to have those bolts checked. The truth is that anyone could probably do it in their own garage within 15 minutes, but I think it would be better for Subaru to have a record of the vehicle that were poorly assembled.

And I am curious how many others have had this issue?

Regards,
Steven
Here’s my story in case you missed it:
https://www.ascentforums.com/forum/...-forum/4565-my-bolt-mystery-solved-today.html
 

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here you go ... replacement bolts in case any of them fall out and missing: https://parts.subaru.com/a/Subaru_2...L/_54102_7484855/INTER-COOLER/W11-072-01.html

Part #: 010108300

Has anybody checked for loose or missing bolts themself? Just curious how difficult this is in the garage - I assume its easy but Im nit familiar with subaru turbos. I also dont know what the torque is for the intercooler bolts.
Thanks for that, wonder if you can feel 1-2 of the bolts by hand without removing anything.

Wonder if it’s a just a torque thing or it needs loctite, lock washer, etc
 

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Although it sounds as if we could take care of the loose bolts when we identify it as an issue, I suggest that we let Subaru dealers address this as it provides important information to them, is a warranty item and assures that the fix maintains the warranty and future safety of the vehicle. There are numerous strategies available for design/assembly to assure that bolts do not come loose in the context of varying temperature and vibration environments.
 

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You actually can feel for them. I just went out and checked. The one closest to the passenger side wheel, and then the firewall, are easiest. I also tried to get in there with my phone camera, but it was a little tough - I'm going to go back out and feel for the one near the driver side as I wasn't sure where it was, but thanks to the OP after looking at his images. See some pics I snapped - you could probably even wiggle a socket with some adjustable extensions if you had to tighten them. Also, the one with the paint on the bolt is the one closest to the passenger side wheel, so makes me think they did QC them.
 

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it is a good thing if they did some QC on the bolts as it demonstrates at least that they have identified it as an issue to address. I imagine Subaru is not interested in going through the process of re-work on every one of these bolts so they are probably figuring out how to get it right out of the gate.
 

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Went out and double checked again - now that I know where the bolts are - yes they are an easy check for all 3. I would advise owners to do a quick feel to make sure they are there and tight.
 

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Just checked my the bolts and I’m missing 2 of the 3 not a good way to impress the first time owner of a Subaru
Hahaha. Being a long time owner of turbo Subaus, I don't find this surprising. The bolts for the composite pieces tend to be under torqued other things like exhaust studs are over torqued and often stripped.
 

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Why would this be the case? They have developed specifications. It does not save any money to under or over torque during the manufacturing process, whether using robots or humans. The machinery is implementing the torque to spec. The point is they have no incentive to not do it correctly. I am new to Subaru.
 

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Why would this be the case? They have developed specifications. It does not save any money to under or over torque during the manufacturing process, whether using robots or humans. The machinery is implementing the torque to spec. The point is they have no incentive to not do it correctly. I am new to Subaru.
New engine, new parts, production demands or possibly design flaw or bolt selection

Someone either didn’t torque them down all the way, add locktite or the part and/or torq specifications are wrong.

I’ll check mine tomorrow but it looks like the later ones have a QC mark so I’m hoping a memo went around at the factory.
 

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I noticed the quality control is down. I see the difference between Japanese build and US build. I have no issues with the map build crosstrek
 

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I noticed the quality control is down. I see the difference between Japanese build and US build. I have no issues with the map build crosstrek
I agree!! Subaru is expanding a little beyond their ability to perform. The new model, the new engine, the new transmission, etc. all contribute to more stress on their facilities, employees, and quality control.

It should all be worked out eventually. That Consumer Report #1 recommendation of the Ascent is probably going to take a hit in 2019.
 
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