Need help boost leak?
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This is a discussion on Need help boost leak? within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; 2004 stock wrx wagon, 120K miles, no mods outside a drop in K&N filter. This is the wife's car, so ...

  1. #1
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    Need help boost leak?

    2004 stock wrx wagon, 120K miles, no mods outside a drop in K&N filter.

    This is the wife's car, so I don't drive it all the time (I commute on a motorcycle) but the car just doesn't feel as quick. After reading through some of the posts, I'm thinking a boost leak?

    The car drives fine, no stalling, no shuttering, it just doesn't accelerate like it did at above 3K rpm it lost the sling shot feel it once had.

    I'm going to check for any clear signs of leaks but need help where to look? Any common failure areas? I'm assuming the leaks could come from the pipes from the airbox to the turbo and from the turbo to the intercooler? I'm assuming these pipes are made from rubber. Where else should I be looking?

    Any feedback would be great.

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  3. #2
    Registered User EvoEatr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wilsonwrx View Post
    2004 stock wrx wagon, 120K miles, no mods outside a drop in K&N filter.

    This is the wife's car, so I don't drive it all the time (I commute on a motorcycle) but the car just doesn't feel as quick. After reading through some of the posts, I'm thinking a boost leak?

    The car drives fine, no stalling, no shuttering, it just doesn't accelerate like it did at above 3K rpm it lost the sling shot feel it once had.

    I'm going to check for any clear signs of leaks but need help where to look? Any common failure areas? I'm assuming the leaks could come from the pipes from the airbox to the turbo and from the turbo to the intercooler? I'm assuming these pipes are made from rubber. Where else should I be looking?

    Any feedback would be great.
    Does the car idle ok? Check around all the vacuum lines also such as the ones over to the waste gate solenoid and the ones coming off the compressor housing of the turbo. Do you have a boost gauge or any other means of monitoring boost? With 120k on the clock i wouldn't be surprised if something tore/broke..is the CEL illuminated? Do you keep up on service of the vehicle? such as plugs. fuel filter, etc etc....

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    I am used to boost leaks from DSM's, the thing i would use to do is first off start easy, dont go crazy thinking its the worst thing to replace.

    what I would do is make your own boost leak tester, a rounded 90 degree PVC pipe corner will be perfect for this, on one end attach a hose fitting that will fit around your turbocharger just like how the intake attaches to it. and the other end cap it off with anything you can and drill a hole in the middle of it and put a tire stem (that little nipple you use to fill up your tires) and you want to make sure that you have a good hold on both ends because you'll be stuffing the car with pressure so PVC glue or even that and a hell of a lot of duck-tape will do fine.

    after you have that set up make sure the car is off and attach it to your turbo after you removed the intake completely and take a compressor, even the loud little .5 hp compressors will do, if you're using a wheel around electric air compressor get the fitting but only keep it on it for just a moment because if you get too much pressure your fitting might blow off like a rocket, just make sure its on tight and after you fill it with about 10 psi just listen for any hissing and find it.

    hope it works~

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    Car runs file, no idle issues, it does the occasional chirp when the AC compressor turns on. I've routinely changed the oil, change spark plugs, and clean air filter. I've also changed the belts. Other than a failure of the rear strut (oil all leaked out clanking noise) it's had no issues and never been serviced by a dealer.

    I do notice the inner CV boots on both front drive lines are spitting out grease, not from a cut but it looks like its coming from the end, maybe it slipped off the thicker section of the cv rod and therefore leaking?

    I will try the PVC air pressure test and hopefully this will uncover something.

    One thing I found interesting is the throttle mechanism and the big spring that controls it, is all coated in oil soot, what seems to appear like a oil leak which has been occuring for some time. Could this be a sign? I've read oil in the inner cooler can be somewhat normal, but I've never pulled it off to see just how bad it is.

    Could I have a bad turbo? How does one determine this? I don't have a boost gauge on my car, total stock.

  6. #5
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    If you're driving the car and the turbocharger sounds like its a high pitch scream and not the fine whistle that they have then your turbocharger is blown so if you don't hear the scream then your turbocharger should be fine


    even if you took off your intake and took the tip of the turbine that is showing and if you can wiggle it around in any which direction with little force then your turbocharger is either blown or on the edge of being blown depending on how much it moves

    ps. a new turbine should not move at all
    Last edited by coolstorybro; 04-30-2010 at 04:02 PM.

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by wilsonwrx View Post
    Car runs file, no idle issues, it does the occasional chirp when the AC compressor turns on. I've routinely changed the oil, change spark plugs, and clean air filter. I've also changed the belts. Other than a failure of the rear strut (oil all leaked out clanking noise) it's had no issues and never been serviced by a dealer.

    I do notice the inner CV boots on both front drive lines are spitting out grease, not from a cut but it looks like its coming from the end, maybe it slipped off the thicker section of the cv rod and therefore leaking?

    I will try the PVC air pressure test and hopefully this will uncover something.

    One thing I found interesting is the throttle mechanism and the big spring that controls it, is all coated in oil soot, what seems to appear like a oil leak which has been occuring for some time. Could this be a sign? I've read oil in the inner cooler can be somewhat normal, but I've never pulled it off to see just how bad it is.

    Could I have a bad turbo? How does one determine this? I don't have a boost gauge on my car, total stock.
    I had a 2004 wrx till a rod broke, but I always had some type of problem where somedays it would run very well, and other days it just would not boost. Sounds like you have a lot of oil leaks. Not good for the turbo. Try cleaning the MAF sensor. There are so many little things that have to be checked with a turbo. Although it does sound like you have some type of pressure leak.

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