02 WRX Problems !
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This is a discussion on 02 WRX Problems ! within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Hello Everyone, I just bought my first 2003 Subaru WRX Sedan, and within the first hour I am already experiencing ...

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    02 WRX Problems !

    Hello Everyone, I just bought my first 2003 Subaru WRX Sedan, and within the first hour I am already experiencing bad car problems due to a shady dealership... After 5 Minutes leaving the dealership I get a check engine light. So I get it checked out at an Oreilly's, and it comes to Code "172" for the "MAF", I then buy some "CRC MAF Cleaner", and clean it up. Then took the car for a test drive, and still have the check engine light ( I'm guessing for the same one).. I came up to a red light then my RPM's gauge starts dropping and fluctuating under 1k then STALLS. I started it back up, and then white smoke starts coming up from the engine bay, I drove the car home and it was running pretty rough... I popped the hood, and then it was smoking from where my turbo-back exhaust connects to the turbo. My car is still stalling, and blowing white smoke. Please help ! I'm not sure what to do guys, this is my second car. I have no experience working with subarus but I would be more than happy to learn.

    Thank you ! Anything Helps !
    Last edited by WRXrj; 08-27-2014 at 12:04 PM. Reason: diff. year

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    Registered User Obeisance's Avatar
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    Alright. To begin: welcome to owning a Subaru.

    Do you know if the car had been modified? If not, could you please post some images of the engine bay, including pictures of the exhaust and the turbo area.
    David - '05 WRX

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    OMG WTF MainFrame's Avatar
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    Drive the car back to the dealership IMMEDIATELY and get your money back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MainFrame View Post
    Drive the car back to the dealership IMMEDIATELY and get your money back.
    I tried and said the sale is final, and they can't do anything about it, ran fine before blah blah blah

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    pics are up, thank you

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    OMG WTF MainFrame's Avatar
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    Hmm.. I just looked and WA doesn't seem to have a Lemon Law which applies to used vehicles, so you might be screwed in that respect.


    White smoke is and indicator of burning coolant. Does the car/smoke have a sweet odor to it, like antifreeze?

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that could be wrong with the car.. many of them could cost more than the car is worth to fix (you could be looking at a $6k-$9k repair bill). I suppose the first place to start would be with a detailed visual inspection of the car to see if there is anything that seems out of place/broken. Anything that's not OEM could be a source of failure (especially without proper tuning). I would also check the map on the car against stock to see if it has indeed been tuned, and pull learning view to see if anything wonky has been going on with the engine/ECU. If you're not already very familiar with exactly how the car should look and operate in stock form, your best bet might be to take it to someone who is. It will be extremely difficult to trouble shoot the problems over the internet without being able to look at the car, and even more so if you don't know what parts came on the car from the factory and what someone may have tampered with before you bought it.


    Long story short, I think your best plan of action would be to take the car to a local (reputable) performance shop in your area that specializes in Subarus, and throw money at them until they get it all fixed.. that is, if you ultimately decide you want to keep the car.

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    Registered User Obeisance's Avatar
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    Alright, I believe that the 02-03 wrx's could get by without a re-tune of the engine management when the turbo-back exhaust was changed. However, I do not believe that they could get by if the intake was changed.

    Are you absolutly certain that there are no unattached intake hoses/boost or vac leaks?
    Buying a modified car without much experience is accompanied with a steep learning curve and may be expensive.

    Here is my speculation: It is very possible that the previous owner had some kind of tuning device (an accessport) which they kept upon trading in the car- they may have reverted the car's ECU tune to stock and left the intake modification on. This causes the measurement that the MAF makes to no longer correlate with the actual amount of air coming in to the car- a wrong amount of fuel is added, and problems ensue.

    Again, this is all speculation. If it is true, you may be in trouble. My recommendations are as follows (I am no expert, take this with a grain of sand).
    1) don't drive the car until the issue is resolved
    2) see if you can get hold of a stock bypass valve and stock intake tract
    3) find some kind of engine monitoring solution (tactrix or VAG com cable and romraider), log some sensor parameters with the engine running to see if you're way out of spec (some people on the forum will be able to help interpret log data).

    based upon the log data, and information obtained by communicating with the ECU, you can check if the car has been tuned or not, and if it is really unhealthy. If it has not been tuned, return the intake to stock. You should switch the blowoff back to stock valve anyway.

    Hopefully some others will weigh in too.
    David - '05 WRX

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    The Guy On The Couch TownLine500's Avatar
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    It looks pretty Micky Mouse under the hood.
    My opinion and it is just an opinion, I would return the car to completely stock. You would have access to a lot of factory parts from people selling them on forums. First thing track down a factory airbox, you can probably find a used one here. Also look for that stock BPV. Get the engine management software and see what you can find out.
    It's crazy your state has no lemon law.
    STINK EYE MOB #500

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    Hmm. I'm with mainframe on the having a pro pulling logs from your car. But if its a maf code and you have someone with a factory airbox you can try swapping it back in and ecu (battery disconnect and brake pedal for a second) and restart to see if that helps.
    Personally I'd dump the blow off valve tuned or otherwise....even with a proper tune theese engines were meant to run with a recirculating bypass valve. See the big bov thread and prepare to read for a week lol

    New turbo to exhaust downpipe gaskets will help with the smokey problem. And of course if one is bad there will be more. Order up pipe and down pipe gaskets from grimmspeed for your year. Best on the market and then some. Install can be done with wrenches ramps and a afternoon for all three of those gaskets. Less if you have help. As for the white smoke? If is smells nasty sweet your burning coolant. Keep a eye on the overfill tank for the radiator. if your adding...your burning. That could mean a head gasket and that's a engine out job most of the time.

    Like mainframe said...we can remote daig your car to death( or life actually) and suggest all kinds of parts to throw at it but nothing is like having a specialist check it out especially since you have bought a modded car. If not anything else it would be well worth the two hours plus or whatever time for a complete diag from the shop so you know what's going on. Then you can deside what to do or fix from there. Knowledge ist powah lol.

    Edit. Looking at the pics.. I am running mishimoto and godspeed silicon post maf and turbo inlet tubes(because mine were frankly damaged beyond repair) with no tune. Should i tune? Yes. But I don't think that's your problem with the intake and maf issues. The k&n filter and shorty cold air intake its attached to more likely the culprit. You could swap just that with a factory box and leave the blue stuff.it actually will seal up better than the factory plastic hose.
    Last edited by tirerob; 08-28-2014 at 01:45 AM.
    when my friends come up, i hear, "you sold the camarrrroooh.....HOLY BLEEP A WRX!"
    Ya has that effect on me too.
    Rob

    Where did he go?? http://www.clubwrx.net/forums/builds...ll-thread.html

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    Car update: I got a OEM blow off valve. I put that on and now the check engine light went away, along with with my car stalling !
    Sometimes it still smokes, I read online with other people's problems, and hear it could be gaskets or something with the turbo ?
    Thanks or all the help and input everyone, if I had all the .02 given to me I'd be rich !

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    Registered User tirerob's Avatar
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    That's great to hear! Haha now you have to read ' the big BOV thread' just for fun. do you have a boost/vacuum gauge? Now would be the perfect time to make sure you arnt boosting over 14.5 psi if you are unsure whether it has been tuned or not.
    As far as the turbo smoking I can think of three things. Oil, antifreeze, and exhaust. The turbo's bearings have engine oil running thru then for obvious reasons. Engine antifreeze is used to keep the turbo body cool( that's what the little resivor on top of the motor feeds into. The turbo). Both could leak into the body of the turbo causing a smoky mess. I don't think that is real common though. I hear a lot of the oil feed lines are tough to reseal if you have had the turbo out. But that's right in top and you would see a oil leak right on the turbo. Next is exhaust. Only two gaskets here thankfully. One, right under the turbo. In fact, the exhaust pipe that feeds the turbo is the main mounting surface. See bolts on the bottom of the turbo to a small metal plate and a pipe? Bingo. That's the 'up pipe'. No pun.... Might have to use a flashlight and a mirror because of the tight area but look for black sooty tracks. That's a exhaust leak. Same for the other gasket at the back of the turbo body, pointing to the rear of the car and very obviously the exhaust pipe. Known as the 'down pipe' again...no pun lol. Same thing. Look for black sooty leaks that could bee a exhaust leak making itself known. Also..it wouldn't hurt to inspect all the little hoses looking for a pin sized antifreeze leak, something that might not be real obvious. But it might leave a sticky green tell tale on the bottom of a hose. Something might be leaking On the turbo or exhaust causing the smoke.

    I'm glad the factory BOV worked so well. That was a easy first fix. If it makes you feel any better, driving my car off the lot after I signed for it I was into a seven hour road trip to get home. I wound up tightening radiator hoses and fuel lines the hole way home in -30 Montana blizzard. So started my journey hahaha
    when my friends come up, i hear, "you sold the camarrrroooh.....HOLY BLEEP A WRX!"
    Ya has that effect on me too.
    Rob

    Where did he go?? http://www.clubwrx.net/forums/builds...ll-thread.html

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