Gritty yet gooey stuff ..what is it?
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This is a discussion on Gritty yet gooey stuff ..what is it? within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; I am having a problem and was wondering if someone could shed some light on it. I have a build-up ...

  1. #1
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    Gritty yet gooey stuff ..what is it?

    I am having a problem and was wondering if someone could shed some light on it.
    I have a build-up of gritty residue about 1/8" thick in areas in part of my engine bay. The majority of it is in the 1/4 of the engine bay on the driver's side near the oil dipstick. It covers the front of the engine (that black metal case right behind the radiator on the engine itself), the area near the front right fuel injector, the side of the battery compartment....that should describe the location well enough.
    Possible causes- recent mods -
    I recently did the perrin fuel rails, upgraded STi injectors, in-bay fuel gage install, and perrin catch can all in that zone. (also did Walbro and VF30 which aren't in proximity of course)
    How did I notice the problem? The car was running fine...I just simply opened the hood to check the new fuel gage and it read 10psi instead of the unsual 41 or so. "shizz"..I thought. I fiddled with the gage and pretty much came to the conclusion that I should get it out of there and put the stock fuel hose back in without the gage because that could have been the cause of all the gunk everywhere...and since the car was running fine obviously I had enough fuel pressure...it must be the gage that is broken right?
    Can fuel that is slowly leaking cause this kind of buildup of gunk in an engine bay? Seems like it would just evaporate if there was a small leak.
    Does an oil leak cause this kind of buildup? It doesn't feel or smell like oil....it is like black sand..and comes off powdery on my finger.
    Could it be any other fluid? Could I have been driving behind a truck who was spewing gross stuff out and it just went into my radiator and all over the engine up front?
    Could a perrin oil catch can that isn't installed properly do this?
    God this is getting long....sorry ..just want to diagnose this. Just want to get some sort of reassurance that it isn't the sign of something horrible (like I am running on 3 cylinders because I disintegrated one) or I didn't get the manifold back on correctly after the fuel rail install and ther eis spew coming from that seal.
    Help?
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  3. #2
    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aikenr_2013
    and since the car was running fine obviously I had enough fuel pressure...
    Not necessarilly, but let's assume you have adequate gauges to tell you the car is running decently.

    it must be the gage that is broken right?
    Certainly possible.

    Can fuel that is slowly leaking cause this kind of buildup of gunk in an engine bay? Seems like it would just evaporate if there was a small leak.
    It actually can cause a mess, depending on what environment you're driving in and how much fuel is actually leaking vs. the rate at which it evaporates.

    Does an oil leak cause this kind of buildup? It doesn't feel or smell like oil....it is like black sand..and comes off powdery on my finger.
    An oil leak would specifically cause that kind of buildup actually. The powdery feel is every single spec of dirt and dust caught by the oil. There is a history of leaky front cover parts (cam gear seals etc.) so that might be an issue.

    Could it be any other fluid?
    Yes. It could be a spray of coolant from the rad or a hose somewhere; this should leave a white residue and always does except when it doesn't... It could even be lube and/or escaped refrigerant from the A/C compressor, if you still have one.

    Could I have been driving behind a truck who was spewing gross stuff out and it just went into my radiator and all over the engine up front?
    Yes but that's probably the least likely scenario.

    Could a perrin oil catch can that isn't installed properly do this?
    Yes depending on the mounting location and hose routing decisions made.


    Just want to get some sort of reassurance that it isn't the sign of something horrible (like I am running on 3 cylinders because I disintegrated one)
    You'd tend to notice that.

    or I didn't get the manifold back on correctly after the fuel rail install and ther eis spew coming from that seal.
    Help?
    Sorry to say that from the description, that's the most likely event, followed by an oil leak from a catch can or the front cover. My other guesses come way after those three options I'd say.

    First, figure out for sure that the car has adequate fluids - oil, coolant - and that it is getting enough fuel (check that pressure gauge again and check EGTs etc. - though note that you're most likely getting *average* EGTs, not a good insight into the temp of each cyl). In the process you may simply discover a faulty oil line or something simple like that; regardles, your main worry will be answered. If you still have A/C, does it work?

    If all else fails, check the fuel lines and check for oil leaks again. Then repeat.

    Sorry to hear of this, it's tough diagnosing stuff alone and under stress for a motor's health. Hope this helped a bit; good luck and post back - others are better at this stuff than me and they'll no doubt read it.
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  4. #3
    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Another thought - the oil dipstick is pressed on tight, right? And it stays tight? The little O-ring thingy on it hasn't dried up yet and it still stays put? The fill cap is on tight also?
    WRX Info Links, Courtesy TheJ
    The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. Ernest Hemingway
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
    DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are the author's alone and are inherently worthless.

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    thanks

    No...a lot of that will help me figure out the problem.
    To respond to a few of your comments:

    I checked all fluid levels and they are all full.
    As far as I know the oil dipstick and 'pour' cap are tight but I'll check again.
    Haven't checked the AC in a long time.
    The residue is black for sure..not white so I don't think its coolant.
    The A/F gage gives me mainly normal Air/Fuel ratios (maybe a bit on the lean side as I cruise under low load)
    I don't smell any gas leaking.

    Why would the manifold not being seated properly cause gunk to spew? Doesn't it just funnel clean air through it? I may be missing the idea there..fill me in? In any case the gunk is near that area but the majority of it is on that black casing in the front of the engine AND near the fuel injector on the top of the engine. I'll try to get a pic soon.
    2002 wag
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    BorlaHushCatback,Blitzinductionbox,filter
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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    I should be more clear: I suspect the injector or rail rather than the manifold, you are correct.

    If there's no white or green hue then it's unlikely to be coolant, agreed.

    That leaves fuel and oil...
    WRX Info Links, Courtesy TheJ
    The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. Ernest Hemingway
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
    DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are the author's alone and are inherently worthless.

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    and they scare me

    Fuel and oil scare me.....if it is the casing around the cams I can't fix that myself huh?
    I guess i never talked about the timeframe of the mods.
    Although I did do the fuel rail, injector mod somewhat recently the sludge didn't appear until after the catch can/fuel pressure gage install.....so now I'm thinking it has to be one of them. And since I undid the fuel pressure gage install last night, if the problem goes away..it was the fuel...and if it doesn't then its the can or that cam cover you talked about may be the source. Just looking at the "pattern" of splatter I think the source must have been near the coolant bottle (which is where my fuel press gage was located and the catch can).
    thanks for the advice....sometimes its good to "think" aloud with someone to sort things out in your mind.
    2002 wag
    Cool Stuff:
    VF30 COBBStreetTuner custom map
    Sti Pink Injectors, Perrin Fuel rails, Coolingmist Water/Alcohol Injection kit with Air charge temp gage
    STiscoop,airsplitter
    Godspeed uppipe,B&B twin-dump downpipe-highflowcat
    BorlaHushCatback,Blitzinductionbox,filter
    WhitelineALK,rear+front swaybrs,links+strutbraces
    17”rimsPirelliPZeroNero
    2 10"subs500Wdualbandpass
    Many, many more things too numerous to list

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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    You're welcome!

    Hmm... Maybe take a set of good photos to have an exact pic of what it looked like, wipe the area clean, and see what happens. Since you say it is install/removal related as far as timing goes, that's promising -- it could be something quite simple and that'd be great.
    WRX Info Links, Courtesy TheJ
    The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. Ernest Hemingway
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
    DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are the author's alone and are inherently worthless.

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