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Old 05-02-2013, 12:05 PM   #1
spongerrich
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Join Date: Jun 2009
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Cobb Stage 2 OTS

Default Fix, upgrade, or replace motor?

Have a major issue with my 05 WRX wagon (OTS Cobb stage 2). The front passenger spark plug was blown out of the head while driving. Threads are stripped in the head. Car runs good otherwise - approx 115K miles.

Original thread with video here: http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=2499671

Getting towed to reputable Subie shop tomorrow. More than likely the answer will be the motor has to be pulled to get fixed... Any idea on what the service manual says for labor hours to pull the engine and what to expect cost wise?

I know if it was a spun bearing I would be looking at a whole new engine... this is just rethreading the spark plug hole (maybe do the other 3 at the same time to be safe). I'm looking to get the best value for the $$ I'm about to spend because of this situation. Should I:

1 - Pull the engine, just fix the one spark plug thread in the head, slap it back in and hope for the best? (Cheapest route)

2 - While the motor is out, maybe do the clutch (not replaced in 60K) and any other ideas of upgrades that would save me $$ on labor? Not talking about replacing pistons etc, just things that would be easier to do with the motor out. And probably have the heads off to machine the threads. (Probably only a couple hundred more $)

3 - Put a whole new motor in? If the price of #1 with the machining costs of the heads and the labor costs of pulling and reinstalling is within about $1000 of a new motor, then this would maybe be the best route?

Has anyone had to retap the spark plug threads in the head? What can I expect?

Thanks.
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:16 PM   #2
2.5ReallySexy
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You will have to see what cost is from a shop and go from there. If they cant fix it then you will need a new head. Motor though doesnt have to be pulled to get head off.
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:18 PM   #3
its byron
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Pull the motor. do absolutely every single thing you can while its out. get the sparkplug area re-threaded and fixed, do timing belt, water pump, etc. might as well get it all checked while its out right? Save yourself even more trouble (if you have the time and the means) and take the engine out yourself to save on the cost and take it to the shop that way? just my .02. good luck either way
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:23 PM   #4
spongerrich
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Cobb Stage 2 OTS

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Timing belt and water pump was done at 105K so thats ok. Unfortunately no way to pull engine myself and take it over there.

Heads can be pulled off with motor in there?
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:57 PM   #5
Jack
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spongerrich View Post
Heads can be pulled off with motor in there?
No






....
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Old 05-02-2013, 02:39 PM   #6
turbogc8
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Motor has to be pulled to remove heads. If the motor felt strong before I would just have the threads fixed. If it happens again, then replace heads. Ford had a huge problem in their triton engine with spark plug thread pulling out. They used heilcoil kits to repair and seemed to have pretty good luck out of that.
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Old 05-02-2013, 02:42 PM   #7
cmiovino
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The only way a plug can blow out is if the threads are damaged/non existent, this usually happens from over tightening the plugs and is very easy to do on aluminium heads.

What most likely happened was when the spark plugs were changed last, they were over tightened.

... Not helping you in your current situation, but just describing what most likely caused this. Did you have them changed when you did the timing belt? I know I did mine then.
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Old 05-02-2013, 03:34 PM   #8
cmk82600
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack ffr1846 View Post

No

....
Actually they can. I have done it on 2 different cars. A 98 Outback 2.5 dohc. And a 03 WRX. It is probably easier to pull the motor, but is not necessary.
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Old 05-02-2013, 05:29 PM   #9
spongerrich
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Cobb Stage 2 OTS

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I did the plugs myself a little while ago. I do remember that the same plug was loose when I changed it then. So probably the threads were already damaged then. It just was a matter of time.

I got them snug by hand as it is hard enough to get wrenches in there
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Old 05-02-2013, 06:02 PM   #10
bugeye829
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack ffr1846 View Post
No






....
Incorrect. It can be done but only one head can be removed at a time because with the engine mounts unbolted you just jack up the side you are working on so you have enough of an angle to remove the head.
But yes, it is faster to remove the engine and then do what you want with the heads.
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Old 05-02-2013, 06:13 PM   #11
point78
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I was just at my tuners shop, having some work done. I asked how long to pull a motor? He said he typically could pull, and strip, in 4 hours. (maybe it was just pull 4hrs, then break down, but either way.)
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:08 AM   #12
Uncle Scotty
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spongerrich View Post
I did the plugs myself a little while ago. I do remember that the same plug was loose when I changed it then. So probably the threads were already damaged then. It just was a matter of time.

I got them snug by hand as it is hard enough to get wrenches in there

did you even try to thread another plug in??
i have seen them vibrate out and was able to put another plug back in and good to go

and i just did my plugs the other day and it isnt EASY to get to #3 and #4 but it is quite possible to do an adequate job of tightening the plugs....i even have a 1/4" drive torque wrench i use to tighten them
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Old 05-03-2013, 01:11 AM   #13
spongerrich
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2005 WRX wagon WRB
Cobb Stage 2 OTS

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Yep. Bought a new plug. Barely get any resistance hand tightening. Feels like it slides past the threads as I put it in.

It goes in tomorrow, I'll see what the game plan is from the mechanic. If he wants to pull engine, what things could I take care of at the same time that would save me money in the long run? Valve inspection / adjustment? New clutch? New seals and gaskets? New turbo inlet????
Timing belt service and water pump has been done already.
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Old 05-03-2013, 02:27 AM   #14
Uncle Scotty
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raise the motor enough to fix the plug and do it and done...it dont have to come all the way out
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:41 PM   #15
spongerrich
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2005 WRX wagon WRB
Cobb Stage 2 OTS

Default

UPDATE:

Just got these pics from my mechanic, he says based on the detail in the red circles, the head maybe cracked, which explains why the spark plug doesn't fit anymore...

Haven't talked to him about my options, what do you guys think?


1549415J by spongerrich1, on Flickr


1548105J by spongerrich1, on Flickr


1547485J by spongerrich1, on Flickr
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:41 PM   #16
greenplates
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Fix the threads, unless you can find nice clean heads to replace.


Do valve cover gaskets. Up pipe. And any other seals/gaskets that may seem dirty
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:42 PM   #17
greenplates
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Oh and clutch !!!
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Old 05-08-2013, 12:52 AM   #18
spongerrich
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2005 WRX wagon WRB
Cobb Stage 2 OTS

Default

Got a quote back from mechanic. Motor is going to be pulled. Haven't talked to him about adding things like clutch, etc yet.

Question is do I need a new head? I heard the 2.0l heads are prone to cracking, even new ones. It seems like mine is cracked, but can it be welded and cleaned up at a machine shop and that would be potentially stronger than a new oem one that would need milling anyway and could still crack? Plus it would save me the cost of buying the new one that is in the quote:

Cylinder Head Gasket Remove & Replace : $1530
Machine Shop (Set The Valves and Transfer all the parts to the new head: $500
Spark Plug Seals, Valve Cover Gasket Set and Cam Plugs: $182
New Head (From dealership): 640.00
So with tax it comes out to $2227.24
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Old 05-08-2013, 03:05 PM   #19
DannyLerch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spongerrich View Post
Got a quote back from mechanic. Motor is going to be pulled. Haven't talked to him about adding things like clutch, etc yet.

Question is do I need a new head? I heard the 2.0l heads are prone to cracking, even new ones. It seems like mine is cracked, but can it be welded and cleaned up at a machine shop and that would be potentially stronger than a new oem one that would need milling anyway and could still crack? Plus it would save me the cost of buying the new one that is in the quote:

Cylinder Head Gasket Remove & Replace : $1530
Machine Shop (Set The Valves and Transfer all the parts to the new head: $500
Spark Plug Seals, Valve Cover Gasket Set and Cam Plugs: $182
New Head (From dealership): 640.00
So with tax it comes out to $2227.24
sounds about right
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