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Old 03-17-2005, 02:39 PM   #1
shm777
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Question Help! Knock at cold start

We needed a second car, preferably a wagon, and found this almost-like-new 98 legacy AWD wagon with 37,800 miles on it! Records and Carfax confirmed the mileage to be correct. The previous (original) owners were old folks who didn't drive it much. We're very happy with it but are concerned with a noise when starting the car cold (Arizona, 40-50 degrees at night in winter). There's a steady knocking that sounds like the brrrrrt of a woodpecker. Subarus are a little different than other cars, so this may be normal. It increases with rpm's, and goes away entirely once the engine warms up (3-5 minutes). I don't know a good Subaru mechanic here yet (don'y usually go to dealers), and am willing to take it to one but thought I'd see if anyone out there has any input on this first. Thanks.

Last edited by shm777; 03-18-2005 at 10:19 AM. Reason: Not getting enough replies
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Old 03-17-2005, 03:31 PM   #2
96GreenLX
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Sounds like piston slap to me. My old car did it and I've heard the DOHC EJ25's had the piston slap issue. How much is it for? I wouldn't buy it but that's low miles.
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Old 03-17-2005, 03:52 PM   #3
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I recall reading some threads on this board about timing belts making noise when cold. Despite your car's low miles, it is 8 years old, so replacing the timing belt might not be a bad idea.
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Old 03-17-2005, 03:55 PM   #4
Aphex28
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nope thats not piston slap. It's either your timing belt tensioner or your throwout bearing(if your car is MT). It is most likely your timing belt tensioner and it seems as if you are due for one... so get it changed!
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Old 03-18-2005, 10:19 AM   #5
shm777
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aphex28
nope thats not piston slap. It's either your timing belt tensioner or your throwout bearing(if your car is MT). It is most likely your timing belt tensioner and it seems as if you are due for one... so get it changed!
THANKS - I'll get it checked.
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Old 03-18-2005, 10:35 AM   #6
dsc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aphex28
...It is most likely your timing belt tensioner and it seems as if you are due for one... so get it changed!
That sounds right to me.
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Old 03-18-2005, 12:44 PM   #7
Al_Smokemcrack
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Timing belt tensioner, eh? Mine ticks too, but I always thought it was the skirtless piston thing. Maybe I need a new tensioner. How does one check that? I'm sure shm777 would like to know so he can spot-check it.
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Old 03-18-2005, 04:54 PM   #8
west_minist
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It is the hydraulic lashers.

All subies make that sound.

There maybe too much clearance.

Take it to a subaru dealer and get them look @.
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Old 03-18-2005, 05:24 PM   #9
shm777
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It is the hydraulic lashers.

All subies make that sound.

There maybe too much clearance.

Take it to a subaru dealer and get them look @.

I just talked with a mechanic who's been working on Subarus for 30+ years. Unfortunately he's retired so I can't have him check it. Anyway, he said it sounds like a lifter, as the 2.2 has solid lifters that stick sometimes. Since this car has such low mileage it has obviously sat around a lot. Maybe he's right, in which case I could try some oil additive to loosen things up. I'd still like to find a good local Subaru mechanic. I'll post that separately (east side Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe... AZ).
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Old 03-18-2005, 11:08 PM   #10
Al_Smokemcrack
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Quote:
Originally Posted by west_minist
It is the hydraulic lashers.

All subies make that sound.

There maybe too much clearance.

Take it to a subaru dealer and get them look @.
The '98 EJ22 has solid lifters.

Excerpt from Technician's Reference Booklet, Boxer Series Engine Module, Module, Module 104, MSA5P0131C:

"The 2.2 liter (SOHC) (Phase 1) has been enhanced starting
with 1997 model year...Another source of high engine friction is the valve train. Hydraulic lash adjusters are always in contact with the
camshaft or valve rockers. The hydraulic pressure of the
lash adjuster must be overcome during operation and the
most critical time of engine start. To overcome this situation
and to contribute to the total reduction of friction loss the
SOHC engines will have solid valve adjusters. The
scheduled service of these valve trains is set at 100,000
miles and is not required during the PDI. The SOHC engine
uses an adjustment screw and locknut."
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Old 03-18-2005, 05:39 PM   #11
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He is correct. Try some Run rite Kleen rite.

A mechanic of mine thought me on old cars that a little bit of automatic transmission fluid in the car really clean parts.

You could add a bit and let the car stand and idleor for a bit in light driving.

The aim is to clean those small holes in the system can become clog.

Good luck.

Try motul oil cleaner or any other cleaner to that fact.

http://www.motul.com/redirectuk.asp?N=1.06.08.13

Last edited by west_minist; 03-18-2005 at 05:48 PM.
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Old 03-19-2005, 12:49 AM   #12
Merdock777
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Solid lifters.
They make a little noise until they start to get warm oil. normal operation. comes standard no extra charge.
TO bearing would pulse with pushes to the clutch and you would hear and feel it.
Timing belt tensioner would make more of a whirring or whining/squeaking sound not the clicking i think he's talking about
Piston slap should only be a problem if the car has new cams or has well over 100,000 miles, piston slap almost always will have valve damage by definition, you would probably notice that.
DanO
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Old 03-19-2005, 08:56 AM   #13
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what about the '00/01 SOHC EJ25? Do these have lifters? My cars make a bit of a knocking noise on cold mornings.
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Old 03-19-2005, 06:41 PM   #14
Sober_One
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This is normal!

It is a combination of both the hydraulic lashers and piston slap.

MY00RS does this all the time when it is cold.
A few weeks ago it was -9.4 degrees Fahrenheit (-23C) in Ottawa and I thought my car was going to knock its-self to death, but it warmed up and the noise went away and it drove fine. All hail Subaru

Just be sure to let it warm up before you get heavy on the throttle.
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