OEM motor failed at 87,000 miles. I developed what I thought was only an UP pipe leak after running over a barrier at a track day, but drove home from the track anyway. 2 days later I look underneath the car to assess the UP leak and see that I have dented the oil pan. Had the car inspected by the mechanic and cracked oil pickup is found and fixed Fall 2010. Shortly thereafter I notice a slight noisy valve.
May 2011 motor was run lean at another track day with the "t" popping loose underneath the TMIC. Noisy valve became much worse after the track day as did oil in the TMIC. Diagnosis turbo seal failure and upgrade to BNR16G did not fix the oil consumption or oil in the TMIC problem. Motor was pulled by local Subaru performance shop to have the valves done and short block inspection revealed damage to cylinders.
First motor build: I purchased a built short block from Metric Motors (www.metricmotorsextreme.com
), a local machine shop with 21 years experience using subaru motors for many applications. Heads were reconditioned and STi exhaust valves were installed to replace failed exhaust valves. Cams polished.
Short block build included torque plate machine work, wiseco forged pistons, ACL bearings throughout, STi rods, STi 12mm oil pump and parts assembly list included ARP studs, Cometic gasket kit, Gates racing timing belt kit w/ H20 pump. ** They also recommended and sold me new 850cc side feed injectors from "Five O Motorsports". ** Really bad idea and will cause eventual 2nd motor failure**.
Local subie shop did the long block assembly and installation. While the car was down an '05 replacement 5EAT was sourced and install attempted. Bullet proof Center Diff bushings were also installed. With motor in place and a different 5EAT installed, the car had chronic "gear ratio codes" and was underpowered. All attempts were made to make the '05 sensors talk to the '06 TCU to no avail. An '06 5EAT with 41K was installed and I was back on the road.
There were 2 issues with the Build: chronic "rich" fuel condition and overheating. After 6 months of very hard starts and umpteen boost leak tests it was determined by another shop that the injectors were "weeping/leaking" and causing flooding on cold starts. They were warrantied by Five O when I paid the shipping. Hard starts were gone after that point, "rich" was still a recurring problem.
I had chronic overheating issues if tuning was turned up to the same power levels as this build have performed in other Subies. Strong indicator that an issue with the motor assembly ( I overlooked) was the cause was that the OEM radiator burst 3 days after break-in was complete. 17K miles of attempts at cooling system upgrades did not help. 160* thermostats, watter wetter, adding an auxilary tranny cooler and eventually adding a MT Mishimotor radiator and stand alone tranny cooling via external cooler with therostat.
Head gaskets failed after 17K. Machine shop from original machine work took the car and found a big long block assembly problem.
Subie shop assembler failed to use alignment dowels when the first long block assembly was done, head gaskets weren't seated properly and I had combustion in my cooling system the entire time. Always had cooling issues with that build. Gaskets failed last Thanksgiving time after 18 months and 15,500miles and the motor almost completely overheated (barely kept it out of the red).
Inspection of the short block for signs of detonation or damage and found none. They polished the cams, cam caps, re-cut the valves, surfaced the heads and re-installed with Subaru OEM gaskets and I was out the door after $2,200. I had had compression in my cooling system for 15+K, gone thru 3 radiators, 3 thermostats and hi-tech antifreeze to no avail.
The motor was a very different beast after the gasket problem was remedied and a re-tune was needed. It put down an extra 80ft/lbs of torque after the gasket issue was fixed.
Hard starts returned 6 weeks later. Almost impossible AM first start of the day for 7 days, early morning temps of 10degrees (rare) on e70. Last day she didn't want to start at lunchtime. Finally started and while letting it idle and warm up for several minutes I'm checking email and CHECK Engine lights. I pull the codes and Cyl#1 misfire. I clear the code, and turn the key. Very rough motor vibration so I shut it down. Really strong smell of fuel and the gas gauge drops 1/8 of a tank.
My diagnosis was that I'd failed a coil pack with all of the cranking in the very unseasonable AM starts. I waited 2 days for a chance to swap a lunch-time coil pack. Turn the key, it cranks twice and then SLAM! (about knocks my teeth out the dash hits so hard voltage drops to nothing and key is now dead).
I call the machine shop and tell them I'm calling a flat bed to send it over. He laughs, tells me the strong smell of fuel in combo with the refusal to crank is a hydro lock and it'll be fine.
Machine shop calls, says the motor will be fine, that they had to manually turn the motor to open the valves and let the fuel drain out of the cylinder. They manually drained 2 gallons of fuel out of the exhaust tips before the motor would turn freely. They turned the key to start the motor and it hydro locks again. Again, hand turn the motor to clear the lock. Pull the fuel pump fuse to crank the motor, add the fuse the car starts fine. Leave the fuse in, key on and it hydro locks.
Diagnosis: Injector #1 locked full open, filling cylinder before it cranks, fires and ignites. FIVE O Motorsports warranties the injectors for the 2nd time. (18 months old, first warranty 1/20/12). I ask if the motor is ok after how hard it hit when it locked, they say yes. They state that if I notice a vibration at 2-3K rpms then the rods have bent and motor is damaged.
Machine shop installs new injectors, changes the oil and filter, runs for 20 minutes and drains/fills oil and changes filter again.
Calls me after hours on Friday evening 1/18/13 and says the car runs and drives great and I can come and grab it anytime and parks car outside the shop.
I arrive at 10:45PM 1/18/13 to take the car. I start it and it fires quickly after being parked outside in 8degree temps for over 4 hours (much improved). I let it idle for 10 minutes to warm up while I text the mechanic that the odo says 58.4 and that the entire tank is empty. It had been dropped off with 57 miles on the odo and almost full tank of fuel. They had been through 1.4 miles of testing to confirm the stuck injector and had pumped 10+ gallons of fuel out through the exhaust during diagnosis of stuck injector rather than fuel pressure or fuel pump. I text the mechanic that I'm going to drive carefully around the business park and will not take delivery of the car if I'm not happy and he agrees. Very cautious drive around the block and all sounds/feels great. So I hit boost in 2nd gear and the car loses power and loses voltage and stops. I find a loose negative terminal on the battery cables. I walk back and grab my other vehicle, tighten the loose battery cable and try and jump start the car. Very hard to turn over and will not start. I text the mechanic that it is dead, feel hydro locked again, won't crank and he needs to fix it.
Call next AM and says the car fired right up, drove fine back to the shop and he'll meet me later that afternoon to pick it up. Says the tune must be off and I should call my tuner. Must be a cold ambient temp problem not mechanical.
7PM 1/19/13 I meet mechanic at the shop. It is 55 degrees in the shop (10 degrees outside) car fires right up. Closed shop doors and I notice more "condensation" than normal from the exhaust. He says I will have funny smells for undetermined length of time due to fuel soaked exhaust. Shop become very smoky and I ask if the rings have gone bad. Never consumed oil before head gaskets (that he fixed), never consumed oil since head gaskets and compression were fixed (that he did). He revs the car to 4Krpm and the shop fills with smoke (I have video it was so bad). He asks if I want to take delivery of the car (???). Says it will clear after all of the fuel clears from the motor and exhaust. I tell him the car will break. He says it is fine. I ask him how it performed on his test drive and he says he never drove the car. Started it, let it idle for 20 minutes to fully warm up, drained the oil and parked it outside for me to take delivery after hours. I am pissed, tell him it is broken/will break if driven and he says to take it for a test drive. Tells me to stay under 5psi boost and he'll follow in his vehicle in case it breaks so I don't have to walk back. Long loop around the business park and it feels down on power. He jumps in car and says to add boost. 2nd gear 23psi and it loses power, wants to die, very harsh valve train noise and doesn't quite make it back to the shop. He pushes it into the shop. Starts the car and severe rattle ensues. I tell him to fix the motor, bothered he didn't test drive it before telling me it was ok to take delivery, that it ran and DROVE great, that his diagnosis that failed injector warranty was all that was needed was wrong and to call me when the motor was replaced.
I get a text the next AM that I need to remove the car from the premises that they don't have enough parking. That my tune was off, motor was abused for 17K miles and I have no recourse.
Visit with the shop owner on 1/22/13 about the injectors he recommended and sold with original motor build, injector warranty and failed diagnosis on his shop foremans account. All issues were discussed and he says that despite injector failure and hydro lock, that all modified motors on modded cars carry no warranty and I am SOL.
I currently have a claim against him and FIVE O Motorsports (all of this info related to my complaint is already in their hands).