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Discussion Starter #1
So I have had my 04 WRX STi for about 7 months now and I love it. But lately I have been having some issues with it.
Most recently the check engine light came on, along with a blinking "Cruise" light and the car would die at idle. this has since went away on my trip to auto zone to read the code. Ive been thinking my MAF sensor is going out but honestly have no idea?
there's also a smell of burning rubber and or plastic coming from the engine through the vents but no matter how hard I've looked through the engine compartment, i can not find the source.
also various squeaks and clunks from the suspension and brakes.
I bought this car with none of these issues, I didn't want a fixer upper and have no idea how to fix them, any advice?
 

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Lando Calrissian
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oh boy, sounds like you have been having fun. :sadwave:

For the CEL and blinking cruise, check the easiest things first. Make sure the gas cap is tight and in good condition. Next, clean the MAF. If those don't fix the CEL you will need to find out what the codes are.

The burning smell, it is plastic, rubber, or coolant? Coolant can smell like rubber then it drips onto something hot. If you think it could be coolant, check all your hoses. Maybe wash the engine bay to make sure it is not some spill that is not really a problem.

For squeaks from the brakes, check the pad thickness and rotor condition. You may need new pads or to surface or replace the rotors. If the pads and rotors are in good shape, try rebedding the pads. If the pads are good, and the rotors are still not too thin, but are spotted, try this:

Rotors rarely need machined. Most problems w/ rotors can be directly attributed to uneven pad deposition (DVT disc variation thickness)- not "warped" rotors. Several ways to try and remove the uneven depsotion- rebed your pads- sometime this will do the trick and it's easy :) Sand (I use the 3M scotchbrite discs on a drill or side grinder) the rotors- this is very effective. Use a hgih friction pad for a day or two (race pad) this agressive pad will pull of the uneven deposits. Last result- skim/turn the rotos- only if you are above the minimum thickness and then only the bare minimum of materail taken off.
For suspension creaks/clunks/squeaks....Does it have after market shocks/struts or coilovers? Does it have after market sways and endlinks. If it has sways, make sure the endlinks are vertical (as straight as possible) and in good condition. It could be the endlinks clunking. If it has after market shocks/struts or coilovers, they *might* be rebuildable. In either case, cleaning any mud/dirt off them and repacking them with grease will take care of that (as long as they are not completely shot).

The biggest piece of advice I can give, don't get discouraged or upset about this..... you bought an 8 year old car..... it needs some TLC and to be put on a regular maintenance schedule....after which, should provide you with years of trouble free driving.
 

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What mods does the car have? Mileage?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Can I still read the codes if the CEL went out? I honestly don't know if it is rubber, plastic or coolant. when I get a chance I will clean the engine bay and see if the smell goes away.
There's no aftermarket parts on the can except the SPT intake and 114k miles.
I'm definitely not discouraged, I want to learn how to work on my car, but I have nothing to start from other than a background in mechanics and parts and tools cost a bunch.:face:
 

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You can probably still read the code, yes. If you do, post the actual code number (something like POxxx) where x is a number etc.

Look long and hard for a leak and post back if you find one, and someone will likely be able to advise you how to fix it.
 

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Pro Manscaper
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04 and 05 STIs are notorious for the stock rear struts going out pretty early. Mine started around 85k miles (105k now and they still happen). Struts are notorious for clunking like crazy when they go out over even some of the smoothest roads...might be time to replace them.

As for the other issues...how were you driving when the flashing check engine light occurred? Cruising? Or going into a WOT pull? Positive you have no other mods on the car? Look by the Turbo and see if the stock DP is there or not.
 

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Im having the same problem with my 03 wrx wagon. check engine light came on when I changed out the intake. fixed that. original codes were spark plugs. so i reset the computer and now a week later it came back on and I have these codes: "aa1: rich a/f ratio. aa2: ignition system malfunction. aa3 faulty catalytic converter." I did do a turbo back exhaust and put the original sensor back in. everything was fine for the last week and now Im getting these codes. Should I have it tuned or is it a quick eaasy fix? Ive only had the car 3 weeks and dont want to blow it up anytime soon. any advice would be appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well Demon, you were right two for two. Cleaned the MAF and the engine bay and both problems are gone. Got a noticeable power increase as well... MAF must have been dirty since I got the car so I didn't even know it wasn't running correctly. Thanks a lot man.
The last issue is the clunking and a slight squeak from the rear of the car. Can you walk me through checking the suspension?
 

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Lando Calrissian
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Well, for the clunk/squeak issue, you have 2 options.....The quick way (more temporary, but should fix the issue for several thousand miles between repeats) and the long, complete and thorough way (will correct issue and outlast life of the shocks)

The simple way
Buy a can of white lithium grease, jack up the car till the wheel is off the ground, remove the wheel, pull up the dust boot and spray with grease liberally for couple seconds. Return the dust boot to original position and reinstall wheel. Should take all of 5 minutes per side to complete.

The long way
This involves removing the shock from the car, disassembling it, removing the stock grease and repacking it with fresh high quality grease. There is a full written walk through here. And the attached pdf file from Prodrive gives pictures and steps for disassembling the shock.
 

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Im having the same problem with my 03 wrx wagon. check engine light came on when I changed out the intake. fixed that. original codes were spark plugs. so i reset the computer and now a week later it came back on and I have these codes: "aa1: rich a/f ratio. aa2: ignition system malfunction. aa3 faulty catalytic converter." I did do a turbo back exhaust and put the original sensor back in. everything was fine for the last week and now Im getting these codes. Should I have it tuned or is it a quick eaasy fix? Ive only had the car 3 weeks and dont want to blow it up anytime soon. any advice would be appreciated.
Please start your own thread and don't jack somebody else's. It's good manners and you'll also get better help. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'm not sure how grease could cause a knocking sound? Can you elaborate please? Also, do you know of or have any links to what the rear suspension should look like? You said to check the end links too but I dont know what the should look like. Thanks for you help man.
 
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