Storm of the Brain -- WARNING! LONG post.
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This is a discussion on Storm of the Brain -- WARNING! LONG post. within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Ok... so this is essentially intended to be a notepad of sorts, to form a plan of attack for this ...

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    Registered User SUBhuman's Avatar
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    Storm of the Brain -- WARNING! LONG post.

    Ok... so this is essentially intended to be a notepad of sorts, to form a plan of attack for this weekend. I will happily consider any and all ideas, so if you have any thoughts, feel free to contribute. I like to think that I have some decent automotive knowledge, but as far as turbocharged and Subaru-specific stuff goes, my technical know-how is much more limited (read: nil).

    Anyway, I have a few pressing issues with my new 02 that may or may not all be related. First, and most noticeably, is the terribly erratic idle that occasionally results in a cutoff. This is my primary concern, as I worry about oil pressure dipping and ending up with internal problems. Secondly, I have on two occasions experienced misfire codes (first time all four cylinders, second time two, I want to say #1 and #2). This seems to be accompanied by a slight pop in the exhaust while shifting. Finally, I noticed today on my lunch break that the battery is only holding about 12.0 volts. I don't suspect it's bad, particularly because the alternator is only putting out 13.3-13.4 while under no load.

    So, since I discovered the idle issue first, I began to troubleshoot it first. The misfire DTCs became apparent shortly after, which helped to widen my scope a bit while poking around under the hood.

    The car has an aftermarket intake and the filter is absolutely filthy. This is a no-brainer, but I have no 2.5" cones at my store, and the filter I ordered hasn't arrived yet. Sadly, I wasn't lucky enough to get the stock cleaner with the car.

    *I took the MAF out and cleaned it, even though it was spotless.
    *I got ahold of an IACV gasket and cleaned it the best I could, to no avail... although the ECU reset did seem to smooth EVERYTHING out for an hour or so.
    --Of course, this doesn't rule a bad IACV out as a culprit... very little short of a known good valve and a fistful of extra gaskets would do that.
    *For the heck of it, I pulled a plug at lunch (hooked already it seems... notice the trend here?), and it looked brand new; replaced anyway, will do the others in the next few days.
    *Fuel filter is new.

    While having a quick look today at lunch, I noticed something that had eluded me before; a nice little pool of oil under the intercooler, right around what I assume is the PCV valve. Uh-oh.

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but I'm pretty sure that the PCV runs on vacuum... the same vacuum that runs everything else attached to the intake manifold, turbo included. Unfortunately, the boost gauge in this car does NOT work; this is definitely a problem, and I intend to rectify it if at all possible when I take the intercooler off this weekend.

    So, a bunch of oil blowing out of the PCV tells me that either A) a hose in there is busted (please?) or B) the car has jumped timing. From what I've read so far, timing could very well explain the DTCs... however, does this 2.0 not have two timing belts? Wouldn't both cams have to jump in order to throw DTCs from both sides of the motor? I've learned in my time in auto parts that nothing is impossible (two blown brake lights at the same time, for instance), but if this is the case, it seems unlikely.

    To make things more "fun," the ECU may or may not have a tune on it -- there's an ECU jumper switch under the steering wheel, and my sleuthing skills tell me that this car was traded in.

    Finally, either the previous owner or the lot I purchased the car from left a battery tender cable hooked to the battery. I don't believe that the battery itself is bad, so this is enough evidence to make me want to drop some wires under the hood. It's also enough evidence to make me want to crap my pants. Wiring and I don't get along well at all.

    So currently, my weekend plan of attack is as follows:

    *Replace/improve every ground I can find, in hopes of... I don't know... increasing outbound alternator voltage? Steadying idle?
    *Remove intercooler, get a closer look at pre-turbo duct, slap a new hose (and probably clamp) on PCV valve.
    *Fix boost gauge, to see if I can get a better idea of whether I've got a vacuum leak.
    *Finish replacing plugs for good measure -- I wanted to do a compression test at the same time, but it seems to me that it may not do much good if the engine has jumped timing.
    *Pray.

    I know this seems like a tall order for a short weekend, but I more or less knew what I was getting myself into by buying this car. If all goes well, at least it won't be a terribly expensive weekend. If anyone has any insight that might help me out here, please don't hesitate to share. I'll love you long time. I apologize for the novel, but I figure that in most cases too much information is better than too little.

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    Registered User SUBhuman's Avatar
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    Ok, I did some homework... one timing belt, not two. That should teach me to take a guy that has never owned a Subaru for his word...

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    Registered User SUBhuman's Avatar
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    *Update* Got ahold of compression tester and timing light for tomorrow. I've got a bad feeling about this... hope I'm just scaring myself needlessly.

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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Storm of the Brain -- WARNING! LONG post.

    How will you use the timing light? I've done my timing belt and don't recall any etching anywhere; the ECU controls timing. Just curious.
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    Registered User SUBhuman's Avatar
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    In that case, I guess I won't. I've never seen exactly what's under the timing cover... honestly I'm kinda shooting in the dark here, based on general automotive knowledge rather than anything vehicle-specific.

    It ran reasonably well (not perfectly) for a couple of days after I bought it, and now it's running like total crap. I'm honestly kinda mad at myself for buying it the way I did in the first place, but I was under added stress by my situation -- I had been out of a car for two months.

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    Registered User Ingo's Avatar
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    Well, taking compression readings won'y hurt anything. You'll know at least some more about the engine condition. Then go from there. Timing light you might as well not even unpack. The spark plugs have thr ignition coil right on top of them and there is no way to hook up the light. At least the newer cars are like that. I'm not familiar with the '02....
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    Registered User SUBhuman's Avatar
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    You're right, I don't know why I didn't even think about that... panic, most likely.

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    Registered User oguitar's Avatar
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    You need to find out if the car has a tune on it. Find a tuner in your local area and have him check the tune.

    Pull the PCV valve and inspect it. It should rattle when you shake it up and down. Find a stock air intake. Intakes need to be tuned. Other then that you are going in the right direction. Look for bad/missing grounds. That might be it right there.
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    Moderator Donkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SUBhuman View Post
    The car has an aftermarket intake and the filter is absolutely filthy. This is a no-brainer, but I have no 2.5" cones at my store, and the filter I ordered hasn't arrived yet. Sadly, I wasn't lucky enough to get the stock cleaner with the car.

    *I took the MAF out and cleaned it, even though it was spotless.

    So, a bunch of oil blowing out of the PCV tells me that either A) a hose in there is busted (please?) or B) the car has jumped timing.
    Did you actually clean the MAF or the IAT sensor? If you cleaned the amber bulb you cleaned the IAT sensor. And I'm not sure how oil blowing oout of the PCV = jumped timing. Pull the timing cover off and check the timing. My advise would be to get a copy of the factory service manual. There is also a sticky at the top of the page that will help diagnose misfire events.
    IF YOU HAVE A MISFIRE CODE ,PLEASE READ THIS!!!
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    Registered User SUBhuman's Avatar
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    Update - hose below pcv is cracked wide open. Also saw that the aftermarket bpv/bov has had what I assume is the recirc line (big hose) disconnected and capped off. Will fix that while I'm in here. Also the two metal lines that run from ne side of the intake manifold to the other (vacuum?) Were extremely loose.

    In response, I took the MAF off last weekend, put it in a plastic baggie, sprayed it down carefully with MAF cleaner, let dry.

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    Registered User SUBhuman's Avatar
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    It gets deeper and deeper...

    The gentleman that owned this car before me blocked off the line coming off the wastegate solenoid with a rivet... so I'm assuming he was running an EWG setup. As it stands now, I have no restrictor pill, and the wastegate actuator is jumped directly to the turbo, without the tee and third line coming from the solenoid.

    My local dealership sucks, and doesn't even stock the pill, so that will have to wait until Thursday. For the time being at least, I intend to get a tee and put everything back more or less the way it was intended to go. Also I am *pretty sure* I figured out why the boost gauge isn't functioning. Having that in working order should be a big help.

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    Pro Manscaper Mikie13's Avatar
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    You should replace the entire BOV period. Put a stock BPV on it. Its doing nothing for you but making some noise and they have known to cause idle issues.

    Sounds like the previous owner did mess around with the stock boost control system. Sounds like you wouldn't be able to run more than wastegate boost pressure if they are directly connected.
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    Registered User SUBhuman's Avatar
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    I was wrong, it's got the stock BPV on it now... the large hose had just been cut short and plugged off. I put a piece of radiator hose in until I can get the stock piece, re-worked the vacuum lines (without pill, will have to suffice until Thursday), and put everything back together. Seems to be running much better now, but will be more certain tomorrow, once the computer is done doing its thing.

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    Registered User SUBhuman's Avatar
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    I did bump into a bit of a mystery though. While the TMIC was off, I noticed some sort of solenoid or something right next to the PCV assembly. I wish I'd thought to take a picture before putting everything back together.

    There were two wires coming from the firewall; one went to a blade terminal on the solenoid, and the other was crimped to a very thin wire that runs along the transmission toward the back of the car. The wheels were on the ground, so I couldn't figure out where it went. It looked like it had been snagged, maybe when the clutch was installed, so I reconnected it and went about my business. Anyone know what it might be for, or at least what this solenoid is?

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    Can you get a picture of it?
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