feels like the engine is trying to jump sideways please help
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This is a discussion on feels like the engine is trying to jump sideways please help within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Hey everyone. I recently bought my 03 wrx with 78xxx on it. It is completely stock and has never been ...

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    feels like the engine is trying to jump sideways please help

    Hey everyone. I recently bought my 03 wrx with 78xxx on it. It is completely stock and has never been tuned. When I bought it the CEL was on however it was running great. The previous owner was told from a Subaru specialist that the 4th piston had a sleight misfire but to drive on it. Recently (in the past 3 weeks) the car has had increasing problems with starting and maintaining idle. I am lucky if it starts within 7 tries. It will also cut out when I pull up to a stop light. I am able to keep driving if i keep the rpm above 2k or am out of first gear. When it idles it is extremely rough and feels like the engine is trying to jump sideways. I took it into a mechanic that I was recommended to. After a full day at the shop he believed that the ecu was damaged so we put a new one in. This did not work. The CEL is still on and the same problems are there. According to him all the wiring and timing mechanisms are ok. They also checked the misfire I had been told about and found that the 4th piston is running at around 112 psi instead of the 120 minimum but said that this shouldnt cause the problem. He said he had heard that if the cam is broken it may cause some of the same issues but its a shot in the dark. I had heard that the CEL basically turns the engine into "safe mode" and that if it was left like that it could lead to problems down the road. Could this be connected to that? The previous owner doesn't remember how long ago it turned on but it was before the 60k tuneup. Could this be a faulty CEL? and could it having this on cause the engine to run extremely rough and feel like the timing is off? (I am wondering this because I went on a trip to Oregon a couple weeks ago and the CEL went off for a couple hundred miles in which the car ran amazing and like it should) Prior to the trip I took it into the shop to be checked and they had believed it was the cam position sensor. This turned out not to work however when I left the shop the CEL was off for a while then turned back on shortly after I left.
    If anyone can give me any insight into what could cause this that would be awesome.
    Thanks
    Zack

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    Registered User Sarra's Avatar
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    Uh... wat?

    Replace the spark plugs, buy an IACV gasket from Subaru ($4 or $5), remove the IACV, use some throttle cleaner and clean the hell out of it, and replace the gasket.

    Remove the intercooler, and clean your throttle body, including the back side of the throttle plate. Use an old toothbrush.

    And finally, what exactly are all of your check engine codes? ALL of them.

    Do the MAINTENANCE things I just suggested, it should help, but I'm willing to bet you have killed a coil pack or three. Those are expensive, $100 a pop. Pull all of the codes from the computer, write them down, post them here, THEN clear them. Drive it for a few days. If the check engine light comes back on, pull the codes again, and post them again, and we can help you figure out how many and which coil packs to replace.

    As for your car being hard to start, if new plugs doesn't help that, you may need a new battery. I'd suggest having the battery and charging system tested first though.

    Sounds to me like you went to a mechanic who got dollar signs in his eyes when you walked in (or was just plain dumb).

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    Toboggan T0rque's Avatar
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    Post your check engine codes. Sounds like you need some new plugs and a coil pack or two.


    Lead Wrench @ WTF Tuning, LLC

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    Good news, everyone! xxxxxxxAnub1s's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LPPTundWRX View Post
    Post your check engine codes. Sounds like you need some new plugs and a coil pack or two.
    Not to mention a new mechanic, my god what idiot immediately decides it's an ecu problem with just a misfire code? Don't take it there ever again. If the cam were broken you'd have bent valves and damaged a piston or two.
    Cody
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    Good news, everyone!

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    Moderator Donkey's Avatar
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    thank you for your replies
    ill do that
    I would post the codes but i do not have an accesport or anything to pull them off yet
    got the car back from the mechanic and he says he placed the cam back on time. said "it was two notches off time." he also says there "may be internal damage due to it running off time"
    It starts much better (within 2 tries) however now when I'm in 1st and 2nd gear the turbo doesn't want to kick in then in 3rd it wont kick in and wont let the rpms go above 4000... also when im in 4th gear it feels a lot like it did when the car idled before he "set it back on time"
    ??? any ideas? could he have fixed one thing but messed up another??
    thanks for your help
    zack

  8. #7
    Toboggan T0rque's Avatar
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    put the cam back on time? Does he realize there are 4?


    Lead Wrench @ WTF Tuning, LLC

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    i dunno he never mentioned that. im going to go in tomorrow and get a rundown from him of exactly what he did

  10. #9
    Toboggan T0rque's Avatar
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    Im sorry to tell you this man but simply take the car to a subaru dealership and have them diagnose it. I know there hourly waiges are higher, but in the end they are going to diagnose the problem faster and easier working on these problems every day versus some dude who works on chevy's fords and whatever else might roll down his dirt path.


    Lead Wrench @ WTF Tuning, LLC

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    it looks like i found the problem
    i disconnected the mass air flow censor and everything is back on track now. turbo is kickin in, idleing great, shifting much better, engine isnt jumping anymore
    thanks for your tips everyone

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