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Old 06-19-2002, 10:08 AM   #1
Leonardo
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Default Possible bad batch of WRX pistons.

this is my e-mail to Subaru:
________________________________
Hi John,

My name is Leonardo Cal and I'm a friend of Jim from Tokigi Racing. I write to you because here in Puerto Rico, yes, I know we are not a part of SOA but our cars are SOA spec, and we have an agreement with FUSA, there have been 5 cars so far with a condition that merits some looking into.

My car along with some others here in Puerto Rico and some in the states, have broken piston number 4 and in some occasions, number 2. #4 being the weakest. I am a mechanic and know the sings of High EGT's, pinging (detonation), low oil, and metal fatigue. I have over 6 years of experience dealing with turbo cars (Supra, 300ZX, and various others)

The piston, or pistons, break between compression ring # 1 and #2. The broken parts remain between piston rings and will not go into the oil thus hiding the cause of the problem. If this were a result of high EGT's, there would be indications of it on the piston crown, not on the sides! I have showed the pistons to other mechanics and all agree with the "Metal Fatigue" or week piston material theory. Of course, this fatigue will not show itself on a stock engine, but knowing that over 90% of WRX buyers will not keep the car in this condition would make me look into it if I were a SOA employee. I would check production dates as the cause could be a bad batch of pistons. Affected cars were bought around the same month. Year and a month ago to be more exact!

This problem won't cause engine oil to smoke through the muffler. It will show itself by a small vibration at idle and by a "Cylinder Misfire" code, Usually #4 and sometimes #2 and by hot blow-by gasses out of the oil cap and from the dip stick.

This is my fourth Subaru (I've had a MY99 RS, switched it for a MY00 RS sedan, and then for the WRX. My mom drives a MY00 Outback. I have done some work on subies since my 99 and know the car inside and out.

Regards,
Leonardo Cal
WRX Sedan
_________________________________


Now, waiting for the reply!

Leo
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Old 06-19-2002, 10:13 AM   #2
djerickd
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Crap! Anyone else on have this problem? I'm all worried now...
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Old 06-19-2002, 11:01 AM   #3
Leonardo
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And the reply:

________________________________

Hello Mr. Cal:



Thank you for taking the time to contact us and for your comments. I am sorry to hear of the problems with your '02 WRX. I am not sure as to the purpose of your message below, other than to alert us of this potential problem with SOA sold WRX models. If this is your only purpose, then thank you for bringing it to our attention. If there was another purpose to your message, I can only advise that you would need to bring this to the attention of the Subaru distributor for Puerto Rico and then if necessary Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd. Thanks again for your time and comments!



John J. Mergen

Subaru of America, Inc

________________________________
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Old 06-19-2002, 11:05 AM   #4
djerickd
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Hmm, looks like he's trying to pass it off to someone else...
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Old 06-19-2002, 11:18 AM   #5
Leonardo
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Hope someone at SOA reads this!

Leo
"I know you are reading"
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Old 06-19-2002, 11:34 AM   #6
Leonardo
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And...
________________________________

Hi!

The thing is that it will start happening to the stateside cars (It has and one guy is getting the run around and dealer is changing out everything on the ignition and were about to swap flywheels!!, all this without running a compression test)

A service bulletin should go out to do a compression test when a misfire on any cylinder (specially number 4) before swapping out ignition coil, spark plug, emission components and/or flywheel.

I am getting charged $1,530. for 2 ($50. ea. list) pistons, some gaskets, and 3 days labor!!!! That is an insult!!! I'm going to sit down and talk to them about this, specially after 4 cars.

Do you have a contact person in Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd. I can forward this matter to?

Thanks again,
Leonardo Cal

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Old 06-19-2002, 12:10 PM   #7
Leonardo
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And again:
________________________________

Hello Mr. Cal:



Thank you for the further information. No, I do not have a contact at Fuji to advise you of. Although we don't have an e-mail address for Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd., the mailing address is listed below:



Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd.

Subaru Building 7-2

1-Chome Nishi-Shinjuku Shinjuku-Ku

Tokyo, 160 Japan



Best wishes!!



John J. Mergen

Subaru of America, Inc.
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Old 06-19-2002, 12:13 PM   #8
djerickd
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Who is this John guy, some customer relations person? Maybe we need to elevate this to someone who can actually help us.
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Old 06-19-2002, 12:29 PM   #9
Jon [in CT]
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You'll probably be pointed to Subaru's Puerto Rico distributor:

Trebol Subaru of Puerto Rico, Inc.
Kennedy Ave. & Orquidea St.
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00910-1204

I doubt that Subaru has very much interest in forestalling failures which occur only after engine power is increased beyond the factory specs.
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Old 06-19-2002, 01:04 PM   #10
Leonardo
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So that could happen -any- of the guys here as I'm only running TXS stage 2!

I'm giving SOA a heads up of what to expect!

That distributor is where my car is at!

Leo
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Old 06-19-2002, 01:20 PM   #11
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John Mergen is the single most helpful person I have ever been in contact with at SOA. He is probably telling you all he is allowed to and still stay employed . His boss is Denise Schwartz but I don't think you will get much more out of her .


Brian
http://www.northursalia.com
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Old 06-19-2002, 03:11 PM   #12
Jon [in CT]
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Leonardo,
Did your piston look something like this?

This piston was damaged between the rings due to knock.

I think I would have the rings and pistons from your other cylinders inspected for damage too before putting the engine back together.

Note: the picture came from http://www.rtec.ch/engine_problems.html
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Old 06-19-2002, 04:31 PM   #13
Leonardo
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Like that but was told that it was due to high EGT's. The damadge is caused on the "bottom" part of the piston, (the side that would be on the bottom of the opposed cylinder and since it warms up soo much, it dries up the botom of the cylinder.

So in theory, Cyl # 4 would be the hotest cylinder for EGT probe positioning.

Leo
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Old 06-22-2002, 07:52 AM   #14
Leonardo
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Default Hmmmm

Well, aparently, on two cars with the same problem as mine, they also replaced the TGV sensor on the drivers side.

Leo
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Old 08-14-2002, 04:15 PM   #15
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^Back from the dead^

Any news on this?
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Old 12-14-2002, 05:05 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by djerickd
Crap! Anyone else on have this problem? I'm all worried now...
i took my car to dealer last week with a misfire in cylinder #2 they replaced the injector and the spark plug it did not correct the problem did a compression check and found out that the cylinder was low(60) took it back today so they can tear down the engine to fix the problem they think that it might be a bent valve but it just might be this a broken piston!! 2002 wrx 22000 miles no mods!!
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Old 12-18-2002, 11:20 AM   #17
intercooled
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I have 12K miles a received a CEL indicating misfire in cylinder #4. I cleared the error and drove approx 1000K when the CEL was once agin triggerd. Car seems to run fine once started both times were when car was stated and pulling out of the driveway.
Was I reviewed the codes I was again erased and am monitoring. I am taking the car in for service while over my vacation. and will share the findings.
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Old 12-18-2002, 07:21 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by kwrx
i took my car to dealer last week with a misfire in cylinder #2 they replaced the injector and the spark plug it did not correct the problem did a compression check and found out that the cylinder was low(60) took it back today so they can tear down the engine to fix the problem they think that it might be a bent valve but it just might be this a broken piston!! 2002 wrx 22000 miles no mods!!
update the misfire turns out to be a broken piston ring in cylinder #2 and cylinder #4 the dealer will be replacing all four cylinders with new pistons and new rings under warranty i remind you i was not getting a any misfire in #4 but the rings were broken. i was getting small amounts of oil in my intercooler this was an indication that something was indeed wrong!!!! make sure when you get a misfire have the dealer check the compression!!!
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Old 12-18-2002, 07:50 PM   #19
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I would not say that these are a bad batch of piston the pistons in the wrx are engineered this way to protect the engine if detonation does occured. the pistons are designed to break so as to save the rods,rod bearings,main bearings and the crank shaft. if the piston did not break then the denation will beat the rod and main bearing straight out of the engine the remains will be sucked up the oil pump and you can kiss your whole engine not just the piston, good bye. the thing to solve the problem is to find out how to stop the detonation that is occuring in your engine whether it be by adding a bigger intercooler more fuel or perhaps a properly programmed ecu.you cannot crank up the boost add a bigger turbo exhaust system on a turbo car and not change the feul map timing and everything else that goes alone with increased pressure tune your car and you want have the problem that i have had. forged piston are better at handling heat but they also can be destroyed if your car is not tuned properly. TUNE YOUR CAR!!!
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Old 12-19-2002, 01:28 PM   #20
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kwrx, you're saying "tune your car", but wasn't your car stock? how did the damage occur to a stock car?



Quote:
Originally posted by kwrx
I would not say that these are a bad batch of piston the pistons in the wrx are engineered this way to protect the engine if detonation does occured. the pistons are designed to break so as to save the rods,rod bearings,main bearings and the crank shaft. if the piston did not break then the denation will beat the rod and main bearing straight out of the engine the remains will be sucked up the oil pump and you can kiss your whole engine not just the piston, good bye. the thing to solve the problem is to find out how to stop the detonation that is occuring in your engine whether it be by adding a bigger intercooler more fuel or perhaps a properly programmed ecu.you cannot crank up the boost add a bigger turbo exhaust system on a turbo car and not change the feul map timing and everything else that goes alone with increased pressure tune your car and you want have the problem that i have had. forged piston are better at handling heat but they also can be destroyed if your car is not tuned properly. TUNE YOUR CAR!!!
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Old 12-19-2002, 05:43 PM   #21
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yeah but come to find out my wastgate hose had a hole in it causing the car to make more than stock boost
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Old 01-01-2003, 12:38 PM   #22
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I get hot gasses comming out of my oil cap when the car is running, should I worry?
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Old 01-01-2003, 12:52 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by kwrx
yeah but come to find out my wastgate hose had a hole in it causing the car to make more than stock boost
Where was you boost gauge in all of this? I had the same problem, a tear in my wastegate hose was causing me to spike one day and I immediately brought it by the dealership. I never threw a cel and there was no damage caused, but I wouldn't have caught the problem if I hadn't noticed the spiking on my boost gauge. I'm really glad that I installed a set of gauges first instead of EBCs or unichips or other powerboosting mods, I would have probably killed the engine is short order.
It still boggles my mind that manufacturers don't include boost gauges as standard equipment in all turbo/supercharged cars.
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Old 01-01-2003, 02:54 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by supermarkus


Where was you boost gauge in all of this? I had the same problem, a tear in my wastegate hose was causing me to spike one day and I immediately brought it by the dealership. I never threw a cel and there was no damage caused, but I wouldn't have caught the problem if I hadn't noticed the spiking on my boost gauge. I'm really glad that I installed a set of gauges first instead of EBCs or unichips or other powerboosting mods, I would have probably killed the engine is short order.
It still boggles my mind that manufacturers don't include boost gauges as standard equipment in all turbo/supercharged cars.
i have one autometer i think the darn thing is inaccurate took it off. but thank god the dealer fixed everything. #2 and #4 pistons were broken. they just replaced all of the pistons and rings i still have not recieved my car back yet it has been 3 weeks. they are waiting for one piston to come from japan.
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Old 02-27-2003, 09:44 AM   #25
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kwrx,

when did u buy your WRX??

same for leonardo?
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