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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Couple weeks ago I was driving a roadtrip that's approx. 900 miles back to my parents house.

When I was about 150 miles away from the destination some light tapping noise came up so I pulled in a stop area and checked the ball joints and tie rods and other suspension parts to see if something snapped. At that time the sound was not very loud so I figured it's probably the engine mount metal hitting (since the engine mount has been slowly going since a year ago) so I kept on driving.

After like another 20-30 miles the noise got a lot louder (I was able to hear it with my windows up and music on) so I stopped the car and found out the tapping noise is relative to the RPM. After some googling I convinced myself it could be the rod knocking so I called a tow truck and towed it to destination.

There's no check engine light popped up, I am pretty sure that the codes has not been disabled and the light bulb is working lol. Does the rod knock just came out like this, instant dealth? Or could it be, even though I highly doubt, anything else that is causing the noise?

The car has 185k on it, I have never rebuild an engine should I try rebuilding this engine or pay a shop to get a replacement crate/junkyard engine?

The noise sound very similar to this WRX in this video (skip to 1m24s):


:confused:

Luckily I have my daily 4EAT 02 WRX to drive but now I am kind of scared, hopefully that car wont crap out on me like this too.
 

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Yeah, they can just give up the ghost. When they go it's usually sudden. You can possibly rebuild, but with the cost of a brand new short block around 2k I would personally opt for that route.

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Mine started as a light tapping, then after about 5 miles it got pretty loud.. I parked the car and had it towed. Luckily I shut mine off in time that the bearing was still intact and no metal went out into the rest of the engine.


Mine was much more of a banging noise than the video.. like two large heavy pieces of metal slamming together. The one in the video honestly sounds more like a bad exhaust leak to me.



If it were me I would opt to install a (new) factory built shortblock from Subaru rather than rebuild.. but to be completely honest, at 185k miles I would strongly consider cutting my losses and part the car out. It's not really a good financial decision to spend that sort of money on a car with so many miles
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Mine started as a light tapping, then after about 5 miles it got pretty loud.. I parked the car and had it towed. Luckily I shut mine off in time that the bearing was still intact and no metal went out into the rest of the engine.

Mine was much more of a banging noise than the video.. like two large heavy pieces of metal slamming together. The one in the video honestly sounds more like a bad exhaust leak to me.

If it were me I would opt to install a (new) factory built shortblock from Subaru rather than rebuild.. but to be completely honest, at 185k miles I would strongly consider cutting my losses and part the car out. It's not really a good financial decision to spend that sort of money on a car with so many miles
Your engine started tapping out of nowhere just like mine, or is it after a pull with another WRX? Did your CEL pop up? I'm sorry to hear that ...

Bad exhaust leak lol when I first got this car the guy that owned the car installed some kind of ghetto homemade downpipe that's leaking crazy, running cobb stage 2 on a stock build.

I know it is a bad financial decision to do this, but then if I spend 5-10k to get another WRX there would be lots of stuff that probably need to be replaced i.e. suspension, tires, timing anyway. On this car I would know that these stuff has been replaced at least ... Or am I wrong?
 

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Your engine started tapping out of nowhere just like mine, or is it after a pull with another WRX? Did your CEL pop up? I'm sorry to hear that ...

I know it is a bad financial decision to do this, but then if I spend 5-10k to get another WRX there would be lots of stuff that probably need to be replaced i.e. suspension, tires, timing anyway. On this car I would know that these stuff has been replaced at least ... Or am I wrong?

Mine was at about the 600 mile mark while breaking in a new built engine. I hadn't gone over 4000rpm or 5psi on it yet.. what happened was that the assembler reused the OEM rod bolts (even though I had paid for ARPs), and they stretched.

I think it's a bad decision to buy any used turbo Subaru unless it has really low miles.. like under 30,000. But that's just me (been there, done that, and wasn't happy with the results).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Mine was at about the 600 mile mark while breaking in a new built engine. I hadn't gone over 4000rpm or 5psi on it yet.. what happened was that the assembler reused the OEM rod bolts (even though I had paid for ARPs), and they stretched.

I think it's a bad decision to buy any used turbo Subaru unless it has really low miles.. like under 30,000. But that's just me (been there, done that, and wasn't happy with the results).
Yeah that would do it, hopefully they took it back and did it again. It's somewhat sad to see most mechanics/shops would short and take advantage on people. Personally I started working on cars because I couldn't trust the dealers in my area.

I'll keep that in mind, I found couple sites that sells used crate engines online i.e. jdmracingmotors.com. Maybe I'll give them a try.

Thanks.
 

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The first thing to do is to pull the filter, drain it, and cut it open with metal snips. If there is no metallic material in there, the your problem is almost certainly not a rod bearing. If there is metal, check it with a magnet. Nonmagnetic material is almost certainly from a bearing and will confirm your suspicion. Magnetic material is unlikely, but can come from lifters, cam noses, an oil pump failing, etc. but again would not indicate a rod.

I have never seen any subtlety when there is metal loose in the engine. It will be obvious on the filter paper and often with a failed bearing the oil will have a metallic sheen.

Good Luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The first thing to do is to pull the filter, drain it, and cut it open with metal snips. If there is no metallic material in there, the your problem is almost certainly not a rod bearing. If there is metal, check it with a magnet. Nonmagnetic material is almost certainly from a bearing and will confirm your suspicion. Magnetic material is unlikely, but can come from lifters, cam noses, an oil pump failing, etc. but again would not indicate a rod.

I have never seen any subtlety when there is metal loose in the engine. It will be obvious on the filter paper and often with a failed bearing the oil will have a metallic sheen.

Good Luck.
Since I have gotten that car there are metal shavings in the used oil every time I change oil. I guess it wasn't normal after all.

Thanks for the tip, I will try to do that and see what I find.
 

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Since I have gotten that car there are metal shavings in the used oil every time I change oil. I guess it wasn't normal after all. ...
Shavings ??!?!? Nope. Definitely not normal. A cause for panic, actually.

Check with a magnet to see if it is bearing material or not. If magnetic, talk to an expert on this particular engine model and see where ferrous metal "shavings" might be coming from. Cam noses and lifters aren't going to produce a banging noise and those are the normal sources for ferrous contamination.
 

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Cut your losses or replace the short block at the sum of 5k depending on odds and ends that need done. Used engines and junkyard engines are an option, but one I would avoid.

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Since I have gotten that car there are metal shavings in the used oil every time I change oil.

Yeah.. I would expect most parts of the engine to need replacing if that's the case. Metal in the oil for any significant amount of time will trash the heads, turbo, etc.. basically anything that has oil going to it should probably be replaced.
 

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Cut your losses or replace the short block at the sum of 5k depending on odds and ends that need done. Used engines and junkyard engines are an option, but one I would avoid. ...
Before charging off in all directions, the problem needs to be diagnosed. Assuming a rod bearing and pulling the engine, at 145K I would at least freshen the heads if not completely rebuild them, which may mean that buying a complete rebuilt engine is cheaper and safer (because the whole thing should have some kind of warranty).

Yeah.. I would expect most parts of the engine to need replacing if that's the case. Metal in the oil for any significant amount of time will trash the heads, turbo, etc.. basically anything that has oil going to it should probably be replaced.
Depends on the metal. Soft bearing material will not do much damage unless it gets to the point of clogging oil galleys. Ferrous metal, OTOH, is a problem.

Re the OP rebuilding the engine himself, sure. There's a first time for everything. Just allow a lot of time, read a lot, and find a friendly automotive machine shop. If the engine is toast, like a spun bearing ruining the crankcase, you could rebuild a junkyard engine. About the only thing that has any art to it is the cylinder taper (if any) and wall honing, and the machine shop can help you with that. I'd stay away from trying to port and polish the head; that is an art and good results only come from experience and dyno data.
 

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Any metal in your oil is a problem. There should be miniscule amounts detectable by lab tests not eyes.

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Before charging off in all directions, the problem needs to be diagnosed. Assuming a rod bearing and pulling the engine, at 145K I would at least freshen the heads if not completely rebuild them, which may mean that buying a complete rebuilt engine is cheaper and safer (because the whole thing should have some kind of warranty).

Depends on the metal. Soft bearing material will not do much damage unless it gets to the point of clogging oil galleys. Ferrous metal, OTOH, is a problem.

Re the OP rebuilding the engine himself, sure. There's a first time for everything. Just allow a lot of time, read a lot, and find a friendly automotive machine shop. If the engine is toast, like a spun bearing ruining the crankcase, you could rebuild a junkyard engine. About the only thing that has any art to it is the cylinder taper (if any) and wall honing, and the machine shop can help you with that. I'd stay away from trying to port and polish the head; that is an art and good results only come from experience and dyno data.
Thanks for the post!

I was thinking about towing the car to a nearby shop and have them pull the toast engine out, get a crate engine somewhere online and put that engine in. Any good shops online that have them? I browsed a couple of motor rebuilt providers online, most of them are from Canada (i.e. jdmracingmotors, osakajdmmotors). Anyone heard of graveyardmotorsport?

What is a fair price for these kind of work for the shop and how much total is reasonable (I know this is very subjective...)?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Any metal in your oil is a problem. There should be miniscule amounts detectable by lab tests not eyes.

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That's not good, my 02 4EAT wrx daily also have tiny metal flakes in used motor oil that I can see visually. I should probably get a oil analysis on that car.

Hopefully I don't have to do two engine rebuilds at the same time. fml
 

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That's not good, my 02 4EAT wrx daily also have tiny metal flakes in used motor oil that I can see visually. I should probably get a oil analysis on that car.

Hopefully I don't have to do two engine rebuilds at the same time. fml
Are you seeing a glint in the light, or actual metal flakes? If you are seeing bits of metal something is wrong. If you have 2 cars at this point I would assume you have opted for a poor oil. Or you are running it too long. Absolutely get a uoa and see what they say, I'm going to guess shorter intervals and possibly a heavier weight

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Are you seeing a glint in the light, or actual metal flakes? If you are seeing bits of metal something is wrong. If you have 2 cars at this point I would assume you have opted for a poor oil. Or you are running it too long. Absolutely get a uoa and see what they say, I'm going to guess shorter intervals and possibly a heavier weight

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I have been using Mobil 1 10W40 full synthetic with oem oil filters for both cars since I got them.

It seems like the auto WRX didn't burn oil at all, I always change oil at 3k to 4k (except one time at 7k, but still no oil burnt), and the metal flakes were small like dots, though noticeable with eyes.

On the 03 5MT WRX, I believed the metal flakes were about the same but burnt about a quart of oil every 1k to 2k miles.
 

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With out a uoa there is no way to guess what that oil is doing if it is shearing, or contaminated in any way out of ordinary. Personally I would have one done on both cars and they will run you about 60 bucks.

Pull the engine out of the car with the spun bearing and tear it down, or have your favorite shop do the tear down and necropsy.

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
With out a uoa there is no way to guess what that oil is doing if it is shearing, or contaminated in any way out of ordinary. Personally I would have one done on both cars and they will find you about 60 bucks.

Pull the engine out of the car with the spun bearing and test it down, or have your favorite shop so the gear down and necropsy.

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Yeah good idea. Will do on the 4EAT.

For the 5MT doing research as to which shop should I choose. I shouldn't take it to a Subaru dealer.

If anyone live around Pittsburgh and knows a good shop I'll be appreciated if a recommendation can be given. Thanks.
 
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