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Tr00b 01-26-2013 02:14 PM

What would you do?

Ok, piston slap goes away when the car is warm right? The car is at normal operating temperature. I was jumping a car earlier today and it was doing this and the person I helped made the comment "Sounds like you have bigger problems than I do."

So the car is hot and its making this noise. Its intermittent. When I am driving sometimes I can hear it hammering away and other times, its totally quiet. I can open the hood sometimes and it sounds like a new motor. Other times, it sounds awful like this.

So would you just keep driving it? At what point is it just going to come apart?

mnstrmech 01-26-2013 02:39 PM

hard to say from the video, but it could be lifter noise. I have lifter noise with my 93, it happens mostly on a cold engine, and happens every so often, not all the time. I just ignore it. As a matter of fact, it hasent happened in a few weeks...... anyways.
What weight oil u running? mileage on engine? can u hear if its from one side or the other of the engine? center of engine?
if it is lifters, Id pull valve covers and inspect which one(s) it is, but im an ASE certified tech, this is second nature to me. If its a rod knocking.... thats a whole other story....

Tr00b 01-26-2013 03:01 PM

I am running Rotella 10w-30. My car burns a quart every 1000 miles. I have about 1500 miles on this oil change.

150k on the engine. 180 compression in all cyls except #4 cyl (the one under the knock sensor) which has 170. Knock seems to originate from the middle of the block on that cyl, confirmed both my mechanics stethoscope and by ear. This just doesn't seem like piston slap to me.

The heads are new-ish or rebuilt, I believe the PO had an idler go bad on the timing belt and had to replace them. I don't think the problem is the lifters.

It did this (see vid above) on the maiden voyage right after I did the timing belt...

This is the closest thing I could find on youtube that was like it.

johnegg 01-26-2013 08:18 PM

here's the thing about subaru engines, 90+.

the cost to split the case and do a proper rebuild from the crank up is more than the cost of swapping in a good used replacement engine.

so driving it until the engine ''dies'' is not a problem. although it could be inconvenient when / if it dies.

drive it until it dies and then swap in another engine. depending on the cause, it may take a long time.

i bought a 97 outback with ''bad wrist pin'' for cheap because i had an ej22 engine waiting to go in and i wanted to take advantage of the ''spare engine''. i drove the ''bad engine'' 40k miles and then sold the car. in my case it was piston slap.

on the other hand , you might want to check the valve clearances. i'm pretty sure you can adjust them in the drive way without special tools.

Tr00b 01-27-2013 12:14 AM


I'll check the valve tolerances, but... How do you truly tell lifter noise from piston slap from rod knock?


I have heard and seen that the Subaru engines are costly to rebuild, thats out of the question. However, a used engine is not cheap either. By the looks of the 99ish 2.2 is a very hot item. Closest one is in PA and is over $1000. Usually I have hundreds of local hits for every other vehicle I've had, but not this oddball POS...

Yes, you can on the 1999 2.2s they have a nut/adjuster thing not HLAs. What makes you think this could be valvetrain noise?

Did your car sound like this when it was piston slapping? Doesn't piston slap go away when the vehicle is warm? What is the proper way to diagnose what this noise is for real? Its driving me nuts...

Tr00b 01-28-2013 07:21 PM

Called around on a motor today. Nobody has anything at least for a 1999. Where do you guys come up with motors for these things?

It ran very quietly today, as if everything was fine. I just don't get it.

wish 01-28-2013 08:15 PM

my 2.5 came from

DOHCEJ22E1 01-28-2013 09:24 PM

You can get whatever year EJ22 block that you want to put in, if it has to come down to that. Just use the 222 crank gear & you're all set to go. Of course head gaskets, rear main, & oil separator seals will have to be done. The power between the 22E & the 222 is very little.

Kiyo1990 01-28-2013 09:33 PM

Troob, there are a few Legacy on craigslist that have motors that are still in good condition you may want to check

Dufek125 01-28-2013 10:05 PM

troob ive got some local contacts on motors ill seewhat I can find for ya, when I was looking for my 2.5 all I was finding was 22s, there out there if you know where to look.

johnegg 01-29-2013 05:55 AM

the piston slap in my 97OBW never fully went away, but it did get quieter.

the ''new style '' tensioner, 98+, can make a knocking noise when they get weak and old.

get a $5 mechanic's stethoscope and isolate the noise.

read this link about noise:

Tr00b 01-29-2013 05:21 PM

Wish, I just found swap ideas on there, no 2.2's. If I was richer I'd pick up the full 1998 STI front clip and motor, heh...

DOHC, thanks for the tip on the block swap idea. Doubt that will be happening but never know.

Kiyo, I didn't see anything around Chi town that looked ripe for the plucking. Runners/drivers that are nicer/worth more than my car.

Dufek, thats great. Let me know. I haven't joined the Subaru group on FB because my car keeps falling apart, I'd be embarrassed to show up.

Johnegg, I was wondering more about what it sounded like versus what I'm dealing with. I swapped to the old style tensioner, and I do have a stethoscope, but I can't get the car to knock again. Originally when I tested it, the noise was about 2-3 times quieter and happened pretty much all the time. Now its intermittent and LOUD. We kind of went through this dog and pony show on my timing belt thread, but it seems worse now...

This morning in traffic I thought the poor thing was going to come apart... and I got some stares from pedestrians... but by the time I got to work it went away again.

Took the car to a shop today, they could not get it to knock and said they had no idea. Showed them the vid on my phone and they agreed that sounds bad.

On the other end of the spectrum:

How much can a person make when parting out a car? I have around $3500 sitting in this pile...

Diagtech 01-30-2013 04:14 PM

A serious manifold gasket leak can sound like rod knock...

Tr00b 01-30-2013 05:20 PM

Exhaust or intake? Exhaust is fine one of the first places i checked... but rusted out after the cat.

DOHCEJ22E1 01-30-2013 06:42 PM

I was in your exact predicament in 2011.
I changed the block, since full 25Ds weren't very available & I wanted a tough engine.
I am satisfied.
It doesn't take much to change the engine block.
You can get one for about $200-$300 & then have another $400-500 for gaskets & seals & such with a little left.

^ Old 25D w/rod knock @ 164k.

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