Possible wastegate issue? I'm lost.
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This is a discussion on Possible wastegate issue? I'm lost. within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; First off, I have been all over the forum, and I have looked at all the misfire/turbo problem threads that ...

  1. #1
    Registered User Havespoon's Avatar
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    Possible wastegate issue? I'm lost.

    First off, I have been all over the forum, and I have looked at all the misfire/turbo problem threads that seem to be relevant. None of them appear to match my issue. I'm looking for some help

    I have the 4000 rpm knocking and power loss issue that I have seen frequently in the misfire threads, but I believe my case is different because 1. It's not throwing codes, misfire or otherwise, and 2. It's completely stock. It idles smooth and runs fine until you put a load on it and bring up the RPM.

    Here's what it is and what I have done:
    2003 wrx sedan, completely stock. I bought it new in December 2002. I personally put every one of its 212,000 miles on it, and no one has ever worked on it but me.

    Cleaned the MAF
    Replaced the fuel filter
    Measured the fuel pressure. I didn't write it down, but I think it hovered right around 35 psi
    Ran a couple bottles of Chemtool through it
    Replaced the spark plugs. The old ones showed signs of being really old, but that's about it. No fouling
    Attempted a compression check, but gave up after an hour of trying to thread the adapter in
    Looked for intake leaks. Found none. I even ran an unlit propane torch over it and listened for an idle change, to no avail

    This may or may not be useful information:
    I have monitored the spark advance with my Scangauge 2, and it doesn't retard significantly or suddenly when it starts its little tantrum at 4000 rpm

    The boost indicated on the Scangauge has always been all over the place and reads very slow so I don't trust it very much, but before I did an ECU reset (disconnect battery, run brake lights) it showed way high boost (22 psi) and after the reset it shows very low. It sounded and felt the same before and after the reset so I don't think it really changed.

    It overheated a couple times recently due to a cracked radiator (now replaced)

    I unplugged the boost solenoid just to see what it would do. While it had much less power, I think I was still hearing a little turbine whine. It did not, however, stop and hesitate when it hit 4000 rpm.

    The only thing I can come up with is a bad wastegate actuator or something related. I'm pretty lost.
    While I am pretty mechanically adept(I operate and work on farm equipment), I am lost in the world of turbochargers. I would greatly appreciate any assistance.
    Absorbant and yellow and porous is he!

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  3. #2
    Pro Manscaper Mikie13's Avatar
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    Are you getting any oil consumption or anything like that?

    Do you know if the turbo is seeing any shaft play at all?

    I'd also think about replacing the boost control solenoid with a known working unit (they aren't that expensive, especially second hand) and see if that helps your issues.
    The Hawk-Eye Alliance #90|The Blobeye Syndicate #0|The Stink-Eye Mob #0|N.E.R.D. Founding Member & #3
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  4. #3
    Registered User Havespoon's Avatar
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    Nope, not losing any more oil than I always have, less than a quart every 5000 miles. How would I check turbo shaft play? Are you referring to the turbine itself, with the exhaust impeller and intake compressor at either end?

    I'll see if I can find a replacement solenoid somewhere. Are those known to go out?

    Thanks
    Absorbant and yellow and porous is he!

  5. #4
    Pro Manscaper Mikie13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Havespoon View Post
    Nope, not losing any more oil than I always have, less than a quart every 5000 miles. How would I check turbo shaft play? Are you referring to the turbine itself, with the exhaust impeller and intake compressor at either end?

    I'll see if I can find a replacement solenoid somewhere. Are those known to go out?

    Thanks
    I mean it's a long shot, but yeah pull the downpipe or the inlet and see if you can reach the turbine. If it spins freely, then that's fine.

    I have heard of the BCSs going here and there, and when you have the age and mileage of your car, then of course it's possible. But the fact that you are not experiencing the hesitation/issue when you unplugged it, means that it could be a culprit. Sounds like you could hit wastegate pressure (7-9psi) if you were to go WOT with it unplugged. However I'm not certain on what a scangauge2 is and if it is even viable for measuring anything about our cars. Someone else would have to chime in on that.

    See if you can get a hold of a laptop and a tactrix cable (anyone local to you? post up in your regional forum to see if someone could help you out...) and do some logging on your car. That should be able to tell you something.
    The Hawk-Eye Alliance #90|The Blobeye Syndicate #0|The Stink-Eye Mob #0|N.E.R.D. Founding Member & #3
    2012 Lightning Red WRX Sedan Stock...for now Soon to be OpenSource tuned by: Mattypants @ WTF Tuning
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    Subaru Newb MainFrame's Avatar
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    Bad coilpack.

  7. #6
    Registered User Havespoon's Avatar
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    My thinking was that if it was a bad coil pack it would show it through all RPM's including at idle. Does something change in the ignition when it hits a certain RPM?

    @Mikie13 The Scangauge shows (near) real time data available through the OBD port. The cable has the OBD plug on one end and the cat 5 (RJ45) plug on the other. Would I be able to use this cable in lieu of the Tactrix cable with my laptop? Click image for larger version. 

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    Absorbant and yellow and porous is he!

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    Subaru Newb MainFrame's Avatar
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    If the coilpack is completely non-functional, then you are right. But more often than not the fail slowly.. basically the spark gets weak and when boost and load increases the car starts stumbling. My car fan fine for two years under 14psi, but as soon as I would try to accelerate past that (around 4000rpm) it would cutout and stumble. After much trouble shooting we replaced all four coilpacks and the problem was gone. Since then I have encountered three other people with the exact same problem.

  9. #8
    Registered User Havespoon's Avatar
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    Makes sense... and the symptoms are the same. I think I'm going to try to find a boost solenoid at a junkyard tomorrow, and if that doesn't work, I'll order some coil packs. Would the ECU throw a code when a coil goes bad?
    Absorbant and yellow and porous is he!

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    Subaru Newb MainFrame's Avatar
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    Mine never threw a code..


    Coilpacks didn't used to be an issue many people would think of right off because failure was uncommon, but now that they're 11+ years old we're seeing it more and more.

    It would also be a good idea to check and clean all your grounds at this point.

  11. #10
    Registered User Havespoon's Avatar
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    It's hard to believe I've been with this car so long. We're both getting old.
    I went around and cleaned all the all the grounds I could find back when all this started. Forgot to mention that in the original post. Any problems with the Beck/Arnley coils? On one hand I like that they're half as much as the Densos or whatever the OE brand is, but on the other hand I.............. Don't like that they're half as much.

    I really appreciate yours and Mikie13's advice on here. I hate when I don't have full knowledge of everything that's happening to my machines. Good thing I like to learn.
    Absorbant and yellow and porous is he!

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    Subaru Newb MainFrame's Avatar
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    I would only use OE coils.. although I have no experience with cheaper ones, and don't know of anyone who has.

  13. #12
    Pro Manscaper Mikie13's Avatar
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    Welcome! Good luck with further troubleshooting!
    The Hawk-Eye Alliance #90|The Blobeye Syndicate #0|The Stink-Eye Mob #0|N.E.R.D. Founding Member & #3
    2012 Lightning Red WRX Sedan Stock...for now Soon to be OpenSource tuned by: Mattypants @ WTF Tuning
    "If I have 10 ice cubes and you have 11 giraffes, how many pancakes can fit on the roof? Purple, because aliens donít wear hats" -Ying

  14. #13
    Registered User Havespoon's Avatar
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    Just to update, I was just off playing silly Army games for two weeks, during which time my new coils were sitting on my doorstep. Upon my return I installed them, and the car is definitely happier, but it still does its knocky-rattly- stumbling power thing at around 4k rpm. Sounds like a jelly bean rattling around in an empty can of mountain-fresh Rainier.

    I'm not sure what to do now, maybe injectors or ignitor module? Maybe the cam belt slipped a tooth? I'm about to go out and see if I can find a used MAF and boost solenoid at the junkyard.
    Absorbant and yellow and porous is he!

  15. #14
    Moderator Donkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Havespoon View Post
    The boost indicated on the Scangauge has always been all over the place and reads very slow so I don't trust it very much, but before I did an ECU reset (disconnect battery, run brake lights) it showed way high boost (22 psi) and after the reset it shows very low
    Either the map sensor is screwed up or you are hitting the boost cut.
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  16. #15
    Registered User Havespoon's Avatar
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    It hasn't showed the way high boost numbers for quite a while, and even when it did I was skeptical about the numbers because it didn't sound or feel different. Would the stumbling boost cut be caused by a sticky boost solenoid? I'm not sure where the MAP sensor is, I've never had to deal with it.
    Absorbant and yellow and porous is he!

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