I need some serious advice
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This is a discussion on I need some serious advice within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Hello everyone. Ive been a member of this board for quite some time even though I dont post much. Recently ...

  1. #1
    Registered User Aerophyre's Avatar
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    I need some serious advice

    Hello everyone. Ive been a member of this board for quite some time even though I dont post much. Recently a situation concerning my car has arisen and I need some serious questions answered.

    I own a 2002 Subaru WRX sedan. I am the original owner. The car was purchased in late 2002 as a salvage rebuild. It had 800 miles on it at the time. Other than some transmission problems, I have never had a major problem with the car. I do drive it hard, but I take good care of it. The belts and fluids are changed on time and only with the highest quality replacements. I use nothing less than 91 octane in it every fill. It has never been modded, other than a boost gauge, an intercooler sprayer, and the 3/16th mod, all done by me. It currently has approximately 55,000 miles on it. For awhile now (at least months if not years), I have noticed that the level of oil in the car slowly but steadily decreases between fills. 5 quarts go in, 4 come out. When I check my dipstick 2000 miles after an oil change, it says its very low, but my idiot light never comes on and there is always at least 4 quarts in the crankcase when I do the next oil change. I know the car actually takes 4.7 quarts, but it never really concerned me. I thought possibly there was an issue with the turbo burning some oil, as there is oil residue around it. I was going to take the car in soon to get it looked at, but something new has come up to change the situation for me.
    A friend of mine was following me today, and when we got to our destination, she said when I gunned it, she could clearly see BLUE SMOKE come out of the exhaust. Needless to say this horrified me, because I know blue smoke is basically a death sentence for an engine. So I had her turn the car on and rev it hard in neutral for me to see. Sure enough, right around 6 grand or so, a slight wisp of smoke came out of my muffler. Now, this was at a very high RPM, but still it did smoke. This would probably explain why Ive been noticing my oil level slowly decrease between fills.

    Now Im not an expert mechanic, but I do know what blue smoke means. I have a few questions about what I can/should do:

    1) Does it have to be the engine burning oil, or could this be something else? (IE, the turbo)

    2) If it is the engine burning oil, what are my options? Is it even worth it to repair the engine or should I start looking for a swap?

    3) How did this happen? I do drive hard but I take care of my car and have no engine mods on it.

    Any other comments/questions/suggestions are welcome. Im just pretty upset right now about this. I love my car...... I dont wanna lose it. Thank you.

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  3. #2
    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aerophyre
    1) Does it have to be the engine burning oil, or could this be something else? (IE, the turbo)
    It could be the motor abnormally burning oil, or the turbo. Or, it could be nothing at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aerophyre
    2) If it is the engine burning oil, what are my options? Is it even worth it to repair the engine or should I start looking for a swap?
    A swap is advantageous in that you minimize the down time for the car as the motor is already prepared and "simply" needs to be placed into the car once the old motor is removed. Either way you'll need time, money, tools, and health insurance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aerophyre
    3) How did this happen? I do drive hard but I take care of my car and have no engine mods on it.
    You don't know what "this" is yet, if anything. Start with simple solutions first and go from there in increasing cost and complexity. So, you might consider going down the list incrementally:

    When did you replace the PCV valve or check it last?

    What type of oil is used in the car? Your consumption is not outside the range of "normal" depending on the type of oil and conditions of use.

    What other symptoms does the car exhibit? Noises, power, anything?

    What do the plugs look like?

    What are the compression numbers for each cyl?

    What are the results of a leak down test?

    So far from what you've said I'd be worried enough to investigate but not enough to order a motor yet.
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    The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. Ernest Hemingway
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    Registered User 20wrx02's Avatar
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    pcv valve-- ?

    have u beating on it lately ?

    mines does the samething -- all the oil ends up in the intercooler pipes of mines..

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    Registered User Darrell's Avatar
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    All cars burn a little bit of oil and at higher loads and higher revs, you're likely to see a puff of smoke due to normal oil blow-by into the cylinders. Sure you "take care" of your car and use premium replacement parts and fluids, but driving a car hard as WRXs often are is not truly "taking care" of the car. Putting the pedal to the floor puts a lot of stress on all parts of a vehicle's drivetrain, especially the engine. The harder and more often you drive hard, the sooner and more likely you are to see the repercussions. Although they are good, premium oil, new drive belts, etc are not the fountain of youth for a car.

    My 05 has nearly 30,000 miles on it. I saw a puff of smoke out of my rearview mirror the other night when I stood on the skinny pedal. I saw the same from an STi that dropped down a gear for a lane change. Does this mean that our engines are going to blow up? No. Is it perfectly normal? I think so.

    Just keep an eye on the situation, address the maintenance items that others here have mentioned, and don't worry about it until the oil burning becomes more frequent and more significant. That's my opinion on the subject.
    Mine: '05 PSM WRX 5MT Sport Wagon, Cobb AP
    Wife's: '05 SRR 2.5RS 5MT Sport Wagon

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  6. #5
    Registered User Aerophyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SD_GR
    It could be the motor abnormally burning oil, or the turbo. Or, it could be nothing at all.



    A swap is advantageous in that you minimize the down time for the car as the motor is already prepared and "simply" needs to be placed into the car once the old motor is removed. Either way you'll need time, money, tools, and health insurance.



    You don't know what "this" is yet, if anything. Start with simple solutions first and go from there in increasing cost and complexity. So, you might consider going down the list incrementally:

    When did you replace the PCV valve or check it last?
    Never checked it. I didnt know that could cause smoking.

    Quote Originally Posted by SD_GR
    What type of oil is used in the car? Your consumption is not outside the range of "normal" depending on the type of oil and conditions of use.
    I use mobil 1 synthetic 5w-30. Not exactly royal purple but I consider it good stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by SD_GR
    What other symptoms does the car exhibit? Noises, power, anything?
    Power is just fine. Its actually faster than my friends WRX wagon with about the same mileage. Everything else engine wise seems fine. I do have a check engine light right now but I had that checked out and the dealership said it was fine to drive on till I got it fixed.

    Quote Originally Posted by SD_GR
    What do the plugs look like?
    I changed out the plugs for some iridium ones 20 or 30k back. I havent looked at them since then but I assume theyre alright.

    Quote Originally Posted by SD_GR
    What are the compression numbers for each cyl?
    No idea, havent looked yet. Im still in the early stages of this.

    Quote Originally Posted by SD_GR
    What are the results of a leak down test?
    See previous answer.

    I appreciate everyone's help on this. I guess by some of your answers this isnt totally abnormal, but I did compare this to a friend of mines wagon with over 60k miles on it and there was no smoke at all out of her tailpipe, so it made me worried. Ive always been told blue smoke means a burned out engine, so thats why I freaked. Ill probably take it in once I have some more of the credit card paid off and see what they tell me. Thank you all.

  7. #6
    Registered User Darrell's Avatar
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    If the cloud of blue smoke follows you wherever you go, be worried. If it's just a puff of smoke when you jam on the accelerator, I wouldn't worry about it.
    Mine: '05 PSM WRX 5MT Sport Wagon, Cobb AP
    Wife's: '05 SRR 2.5RS 5MT Sport Wagon

    The Knack. It's a rare condition characterized by an extreme intuition about all things mechanical and electrical ... and utter social ineptitude.

  8. #7
    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Never checked it. I didnt know that could cause smoking.l.
    A faulty PCV system can increase your oil consumption. Common and simple to fix.


    I use mobil 1 synthetic 5w-30. Not exactly royal purple but I consider it good stuff.l.
    I've never seen any data to prove Royal Purple is better than Mobil 1 in our applications, and I have had outstanding results with Mobil 1 (all wear metals below 10 parts per million after 5,000 miles, very low % insolubles -- virtually no wear, in other words). However, I've seen increased consumption with M1 10W-30 in my car; the implication is the 5W-30 may behave similarly. This may explain your lower oil level toward the end of your drain interval. If you do not see heavy winters with temperatures below freezing overnight, consider switching to M1 10W-30, maybe spiked with a bottle of M1 15W-50. You do not need full 15W-50 and if you are anywhere north of me and have any winter to speak of it may be counter-productive.

    What I've done is switched to M1 5W-40. This is labeled "Truck/SUV" and is actually re-packaged Mobil Delvac1 -- probably the most robust oil formulation Mobil makes for the US, and certainly a world-class formula that can hold its own against anything from any manufacturer regardless of whether their oil is purple, red, green, or sold via cult followers etc. A search will show you my oil analysis data with this stuff on this board -- great stuff. My oil use, after 3X 5,000 mile oil drains, dropped from 1/2 bottle to none measureable, and it will withstand the same winter conditions that M1 5W-30 will.


    Power is just fine. Its actually faster than my friends WRX wagon with about the same mileage. Everything else engine wise seems fine. I do have a check engine light right now but I had that checked out and the dealership said it was fine to drive on till I got it fixed.
    What was the CEL code or what was the fault? This will tell us about what may have happened to the car previously.


    I changed out the plugs for some iridium ones 20 or 30k back. I havent looked at them since then but I assume theyre alright.
    If in the future you suspect motor damage and see increased smoking, start there and post the description.

    Good luck and post back if anything comes up.
    WRX Info Links, Courtesy TheJ
    The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. Ernest Hemingway
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
    DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are the author's alone and are inherently worthless.

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