Possible engine failure - I need options
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This is a discussion on Possible engine failure - I need options within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; I have a 2004 WRX wagon (more or less stock) with 108k miles (which I love and is otherwise fairly ...

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    Possible engine failure - I need options

    I have a 2004 WRX wagon (more or less stock) with 108k miles (which I love and is otherwise fairly good shape given it's age). When I was driving last week, I hit 5k RPM and suddenly the engine started making a clanking/knocking noise. I promptly brought it to a mechanic. To my untrained ear, it sounds like a bearing is being knocked around the engine. This noise only occurs starting at 2k RPM. If I keep it below that, the car seems fine (which means I can go as fast as 40 MPH ;-). The car starts without a problem, did not overheat, and has no check engine light. The mechanic says it a lower engine noise so he thinks its a connecting rod (bearing) that went bad. A friend of mine who used to build cars at GM tells me it's potentially driveable for many more miles which would be helped by using a thick oil like 20W50. So hear are my questions:

    1-Does the noise that I describe (knocking noise starting at 2k RPM) sound more like a Turbo problem (I thought it was an upper engine noise, but I'm no mechanic) or is it more likely the mechanic is correct and it's a worn connecting rod?

    2-I would think it would be easy to confirm if it is the turbo or the engine by temporarily disconnecting the turbo. How easy is it to disconnect the turbo long enough to diagnose whether it's the engine or the turbo & how long should it take a mechanic to confirm this (since the mechanic I showed it to swears this isn't the case)?

    3-If it is a worn connecting rod, what are my options and how much would they cost? I would not be doing any of this work myself. The mechanic was unable to find any used or rebuilt WRX engines ANYWHERE in the US and said my only option was a new engine, which he quoted at $8800 installed. While I love my WRX, it sounds kind of crazy to invest that amount in a 6 yr old car with over 100k miles. I put on about 18k miles a year and would be willing to spend up to $3k-4k on the car if it would give me another 30k miles (such as an engine rebuild), so I can get another 1-2 years out of it, when my needs will probably change (need a larger car, etc). If you think it's a lost cause given these constraints and I should just get a new car, say so.

    The WRX is currently located in Long Island, NY, if that makes a difference (or if anyone has a good referral). Thanks.
    Last edited by RichE; 12-05-2010 at 08:01 AM.

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    Master Baiter EJ257's Avatar
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    What do your compression/leakdown tests look like?
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    Registered User teflon_jones's Avatar
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    It doesn't sound like the turbo. Those things spin at very high RPM, so you usually get a very fast cadence noise.

    I'd lean towards a bearing too since it starts at higher RPM. It could be rod knock based on that noise, but that would throw a CEL for sure.
    Scott
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    Registered User EvoEatr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichE View Post
    I have a 2004 WRX wagon (more or less stock) with 108k miles (which I love and is otherwise fairly good shape given it's age). When I was driving last week, I hit 5k RPM and suddenly the engine started making a clanking/knocking noise. I promptly brought it to a mechanic. To my untrained ear, it sounds like a bearing is being knocked around the engine. This noise only occurs starting at 2k RPM. If I keep it below that, the car seems fine (which means I can go as fast as 40 MPH ;-). The car starts without a problem, did not overheat, and has no check engine light. The mechanic says it a lower engine noise so he thinks its a connecting rod (bearing) that went bad. A friend of mine who used to build cars at GM tells me it's potentially driveable for many more miles which would be helped by using a thick oil like 20W50. So hear are my questions:

    1-Does the noise that I describe (knocking noise starting at 2k RPM) sound more like a Turbo problem (I thought it was an upper engine noise, but I'm no mechanic) or is it more likely the mechanic is correct and it's a worn connecting rod?

    2-I would think it would be easy to confirm if it is the turbo or the engine by temporarily disconnecting the turbo. How easy is it to disconnect the turbo long enough to diagnose whether it's the engine or the turbo & how long should it take a mechanic to confirm this (since the mechanic I showed it to swears this isn't the case)?

    3-If it is a worn connecting rod, what are my options and how much would they cost? I would not be doing any of this work myself. The mechanic was unable to find any used or rebuilt WRX engines ANYWHERE in the US and said my only option was a new engine, which he quoted at $8800 installed. While I love my WRX, it sounds kind of crazy to invest that amount in a 6 yr old car with over 100k miles. I put on about 18k miles a year and would be willing to spend up to $3k-4k on the car if it would give me another 30k miles (such as an engine rebuild), so I can get another 1-2 years out of it, when my needs will probably change (need a larger car, etc). If you think it's a lost cause given these constraints and I should just get a new car, say so.

    The WRX is currently located in Long Island, NY, if that makes a difference (or if anyone has a good referral). Thanks.

    Alot of times with noises and trying to get a good idea online videos help as long as the sound is there...From what your saying it does sound like an engine problem, You can try a thicker oil however I dont look at that as a fix to your problem it will/can mask problems, ( I have seen rods knocks silenced by 4 quarts of Lucas engine oil additive ) ... I would recommend, as mentioned, a compression test and a leak down test those results can tell you alot...

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    Moderator Donkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichE View Post
    The mechanic was unable to find any used or rebuilt WRX engines ANYWHERE in the US and said my only option was a new engine, which he quoted at $8800 installed. .
    Apparently your mechanic has never used a computer or has heard of the interweb..........

    www.car-part.com

    http://www.fredbeansparts.com/index...._store=default
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    Registered User 06scoobyrex's Avatar
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    From the sound its making and the symptoms you described its probably. A spun rod bearing ... its that's the case then your looking at an engine rebuild... if its gonna cost you $8800 to fix I'd just get rid of it and buy a new one... the new legacy GT's are bigger and really nice too...
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    http://www.clubwrx.net/forums/showth...57#post2688257

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    So let's assume it's a spun rod bearing, as it's the most likely scenario.
    1-Is there anyway to confirm this without opening up the engine? I assume a compression test and a drip test wouldn't really tell me this.
    2-What should an engine rebuild cost me (general range), given a reasonably good mechanic? I assume there would be some connecting rod and crankshaft damage.

  9. #8
    Registered User teflon_jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donkey View Post
    Apparently your mechanic has never used a computer or has heard of the interweb..........

    www.car-part.com

    http://www.fredbeansparts.com/index...._store=default
    Quote Originally Posted by RichE View Post
    So let's assume it's a spun rod bearing, as it's the most likely scenario.
    1-Is there anyway to confirm this without opening up the engine? I assume a compression test and a drip test wouldn't really tell me this.
    2-What should an engine rebuild cost me (general range), given a reasonably good mechanic? I assume there would be some connecting rod and crankshaft damage.
    No, there's no way to confirm it without pulling apart the engine.

    Rather than rebuild, I'd just buy an already rebuilt one such as from the sites Donkey mentioned and send them back your core.
    Scott
    Past Subies - '11 STI Limited stage 1+ and '04 STi stage 2+
    '13 Wrangler Rubicon - custom front bumper w/12k lb winch & off-road lights, skid plates, diff guards, etc.
    '04 Porsche 911 Turbo GT2 clone 600 HP/TQ
    '77 F-150 heavily modded for off-roading

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