Valve Seal and Turbo
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This is a discussion on Valve Seal and Turbo within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; I have a 05 WRX with 67k miles. When my car is still warming up and when at idle for ...

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    Valve Seal and Turbo

    I have a 05 WRX with 67k miles. When my car is still warming up and when at idle for more than about 30 seconds a lot of white smoke comes out of the tailpipe when I take off.

    I asked people I know about this problem, and I looked around different forums for people who have a similar problem. I heard many things but nothing serious. I even asked my tech at the tuner shop what was causing this. He said it should not be anything to worry about. WRONG!

    When my tech at the tuner shop installed new brakes recently he told me he let my car sit at idle for about 5min while he was checking the brakes. When he revved the engine a lot of white smoke came out from the tailpipe. I said "told you so." He then said he should check it out because of the amount of smoke that came out.

    To make a long story short, he looked into it and told me that my valve seals on cylinder 1 and 3 are leaking and I need to replace them, as well as the other seals (might as well) and the head gaskets of course.

    ALSO, when he pulled off my intercooler, he saw a lot of oil in the pipe leading to the intercooler. He told me to get a new turbo or ship it off to be fixed.

    He charges $75/hr, so labor alone is going to be $1500. He says he has to take out the engine to get to the heads and labor for this takes about 15 hours.

    I am just pissed. How could this happen? What could I have been doing to my car to have this happen? I take great care of it. I dont even drive it hard. I bought a Subaru to avoid problems like this. Sorry for *****ing.

    Is this normal for these cars? Why so soon? Can anyone give me some kind of feedback please?

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  3. #2
    Moderator Donkey's Avatar
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    Oil residue in the intake tract and intercooler is somewhat normal due to the fact the PCV system vents into the turbo inlet pipe.This is why people run catch cans and air/oil separators.As far as the valves I'm assuming you mechanic did a compression and leak down test?Coolant is white smoke,oil is kinda bluish.You should clearly be able to tell what is coming out the exhaust by smell.Either it smells like oil burning or it smells sweet like antifreeze.Did you buy the car new?Did you follow the recommended maintenance schedule?I would defiantly get a second opinion before having that work done.........
    Last edited by Donkey; 06-28-2009 at 07:29 AM.
    Resident Adviser @ WTF Tuning, LLC
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    The tech told me that there was too much oil in the inlet pipe. More than normal.

    The tech did both tests you mentioned.

    The smell of the smoke is not sweet. It looks like it has a blue tint to it but mostly white.

    I bought it new and I have followed all of the factory recommended maintenance.

    Thanks for your feedback.

    I am getting a second opinion.

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    There are really five things I want to know:

    Can valve leaks cause white smoke to come out of tailpipe? Im trying to figure out if the tech is full of crap or not.

    If so, is this a common problem for these engines or is it just bad luck.

    Does it really take 16 hours of labor to change the valve seals and head gaskets?

    Is $75/ hour for labor an average rate?

    Is it common for turbos to cause problems so soon?

    Thanks

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    Well I was able to answer these questions by going to the dealership.

    They charge $89/hr for labor. So Im assuming that $75/hr is a fair deal.

    I was informed from the top Subaru guy there that its very rare for these engines to have valve problems. The guy has been there 8 years and hes only seen it once for these engines.

    It does take about 16 hours to change the head gaskets and valve seals.

    He says hes highly doubtful that its a valve leak and that if I change my turbo it should fix the smoke problem.

    He saw that the blades in the turbo seemed to loose when he grabbed them. He was able to move it up and down and in and out a little too much.

    Any more feedaback would be greatly appreciated.

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