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Old 08-28-2007, 03:08 PM   #1
LeoNYC
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Default Newly Built Motor running rough; white exhaust smoke

Hi guys.

Guess I'll start from the beginning. I had a V5 STI Type R full drivetrain swapped into my '99 2.5RS back in February. The engine blew a week after the swap. I'm guessing this was due to the motor being abused in JDM land, along with the aggressive type R tune of the ECU.

Concerned with the aggressive ECU tune, I called ecutek to see if anyone in my area could tune this thing. They referred me to shopA (I don't want to bash anyone so I won't include the real name). I decided to take my car there so that the build and tune could all happen in the same place.

A few days after she blew, I was towing the car to shopA (30 miles from my place). I decided to go with an EJ257 with drop in wiseco pistons.

Turned out that shopA actually couldn't tune my ECU. They had to ship it to Lachute in Canada to have it reflashed. I was a little concerned with this, especially cause I was using JDM 2.0 heads with an EJ257. They re-assured me it would be ok, and I figured hey, they're the experts.

5 months later, and my car was finally done this past Friday, the 24th. They took me for a test drive, and it felt good. I wasn't really looking out for any smoke or anything. The guy did mention that if I smelled a funny odor, it was the inner lining of my invidia downpipe burning off. 8 grand lighter in the pockets, I drive off.

On the way home, I noticed that the car was expelling some white smoke. I figured it must be related to the downpipe issue. I called the shop to voice my concern on Saturday, but they were closed. Also tried my contact on his cell, left a message, but no return call.

Sunday roles around and its still smoking quite a bit. I started thinking, the tune must be off since it was just a reflash. I figured the car must be running a little rich. The water temp and EGT's were both ok so I figured it was ok to keep driving. I had put about 75 miles on the car.

I go to pull the car out of the garage sunday night (I had driven it earlier in the day), and it just wasn't running right. It was stumbling up the RPM's pretty bad. I thought, maybe its running rich and it fouled up the spark plugs? I took it for a quick ride around the block to see if that would clear up the problem. It didn't.

I call up shopA on monday and they tell me the car was running fine when it left the shop. All the data logs were good. They ask me to tow it back to them. When I asked if they would cover the tow charge (25 miles), they said "depends whats wrong with it."

I'm just unsure of how to proceed right now. I just shelled out 8k for an engine rebuild and 2 days and 75 miles later, its in my garage, running like **** and expelling white smoke everywhere.

I don't know that I want to tow it back to them at this point. I guess I have to since they built it. I have this feeling that they're going to try to charge me even more money, and that they're going to keep my car for another 2 months. I'm just losing faith in these people right now.

Is there something I can do to troubleshoot this myself? Anyone have any idea what could be going wrong?
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Old 08-28-2007, 03:14 PM   #2
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Wow , best of luck to you
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Old 08-28-2007, 03:38 PM   #3
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Hmm.. Well, white smoke is generally a sign of burning coolant.. Usually, when running rich you get black smoke.. Was the block machined before the Wiseco's went in?
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Old 08-28-2007, 03:43 PM   #4
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No, it was a brand new EJ257 w/ drop in wiseco pistons.
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Old 08-28-2007, 03:49 PM   #5
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blown head gasket, imo
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Old 08-28-2007, 03:58 PM   #6
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A brand new block will expel white smoke until the piston rings fully seat. If they aren't machined rings around the pistons and the rings are brand new (which i would guess they are), then oil will blowby the rings and will create white smoke. Break in on a new engine is quite vital and should be done so almost immediately. Very low boost should be used and engine braking is a must to help sit the rings.

Fuel is usually black smoke...if you smell fuel at a stop with the car running then it's definitely running rich. A better way to tell this is if you have an Air/Fuel gauge that will tell you if the car is running at stoichiometric (correct fuel to air ratio=around 14:1 based on how heavily modded you are). If you had a tune done, the car should be running around 14:1 throughout the whole power band.

I recommend changing your oil for several reasons. One of which is to smell if there is any fuel contaminating the oil. If there is fuel in the oil, it will slow engine break in and will make the oil very thin. You can also tell if the compression ring is being seated or not after every oil change on how the oil smells, looks, and feels. Don't forget to check your oil level too.

-Patrick
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Old 08-28-2007, 04:03 PM   #7
LeoNYC
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It's not just the smoke. What really concerns me is the way its revving. It's just not revving right. Almost like the plugs are fouled. It just stumbles its way up. Even has some backfiring.
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Old 08-28-2007, 04:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeoNYC View Post
It's not just the smoke. What really concerns me is the way its revving. It's just not revving right. Almost like the plugs are fouled. It just stumbles its way up. Even has some backfiring.
If you think the plugs are fouled, pull them and check them. If they're OK, that's one less thing it could be

Next steps, would be a compression and a leakdown check.
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Old 08-28-2007, 04:54 PM   #9
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As someone mentioned already - Sounds like coolant in the combustion chamber to me.

I put a solid gallon of coolant through my engine before with an improperly seated IAC gasket at the throttlebody.

Tow it back to them and make them fix it.
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Old 08-28-2007, 06:13 PM   #10
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my car makes white smoke if there is oil in the exhaust. i have a oil pump to pump my oil from the turbo back to the block because my turbo is in my fog light spot. and if i run it without the pump on it burns the oil after the turbo and white smoke will come out my exhaust. so it might be a oil seal on the turbo or around that area.
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Old 08-29-2007, 11:12 AM   #11
LeoNYC
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I changed the oil last night. Measured what I took out, it was only about 2 3/4 quarts in there. It doesn't seem to be contaminated with coolant though.

Coolant also looks pure. Nice and green. Checked the resevoir tank by the intake mani. It was about half full so I'm assuming thats about normal.

I guess it's not burning coolant afterall. Looks like oil..
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Old 08-31-2007, 04:02 AM   #12
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Just got the same setup in my car (ej257 w/ weisco's & JDM V7 STI heads) with the same white smoke. I was told its the new rings seating. I only have about 20 miles on it though. good luck.
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Old 08-31-2007, 03:54 PM   #13
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OK, well I ended up getting it towed back to them. They ended up covering the tow charge after we "chatted" for a bit.

It turns out its a blown cometic head gasket. This in turn leaked coolant into cylinder # 2 which has now damaged the ring. It hasn't sealed properly.

They want to give me a "stage 3" block. All forged, aftermarket internals, polished crankshaft, balanced to 10,000 RPM's.

The catch is, supposedly this block has 200 miles on it. It came out of one of their rally cars. They switched to a 2.0 block for competition rule reasons. I dont know how I feel about putting in a block which came out of a rally car..
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Old 08-31-2007, 05:39 PM   #14
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how much are they charging you for the rally 2.5??
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Old 08-31-2007, 07:06 PM   #15
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a used race motor? sounds skechy
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Old 08-31-2007, 08:55 PM   #16
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i would have them agree to cover any damages or anything that may go wrong with the stage 3 motor to a certain mileage then see how they react, if their willing to do that i would say your probably in the clear
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Old 09-01-2007, 10:42 AM   #17
WrXtaCy2003
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agreed sounds sketchy, i would suggest not doing it.
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Old 09-02-2007, 01:33 AM   #18
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I've personally had nothing but problems with teh cometic gaskets. I won't use anything other than the factory headgaskets anymore for this exact same reason.
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Old 09-02-2007, 04:22 PM   #19
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was that a brand new head gasket to begin with ??
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Old 09-02-2007, 10:27 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeoNYC View Post
OK, well I ended up getting it towed back to them. They ended up covering the tow charge after we "chatted" for a bit.

It turns out its a blown cometic head gasket. This in turn leaked coolant into cylinder # 2 which has now damaged the ring. It hasn't sealed properly.

They want to give me a "stage 3" block. All forged, aftermarket internals, polished crankshaft, balanced to 10,000 RPM's.

The catch is, supposedly this block has 200 miles on it. It came out of one of their rally cars. They switched to a 2.0 block for competition rule reasons. I dont know how I feel about putting in a block which came out of a rally car..
It looks like the shop is more than willing to rectify the problem plus give a speedy solution of giving you i guess you can call an upgrade, if the Supposedly stage 3 engine does have only 200 miles from the built, as far as i remember recommended break in period on stock engines were at 1000 miles so comparing 200 miles it aint that bad, i suggest on getting some proof of whats actually in that fully forged engine and i guess the shop should have some records or data logs of their engine since they sound like its the sort of thing a race shop will keep in record.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shanks9sti View Post
i would have them agree to cover any damages or anything that may go wrong with the stage 3 motor to a certain mileage then see how they react, if their willing to do that i would say your probably in the clear
I agree with shanks9sti idea, if you do decide on the stage 3 block make sure you get in writing that they will warranty this engine for a certain period of time and miles which of course should be something reasonable for both parties

Again this are just suggestions.......gl on your motor
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Old 09-04-2007, 12:13 PM   #21
LeoNYC
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I got the details on the block. It's an Axis stage 3.

From the Axis website:

- 2.5 L STi Semi-Closed Deck Shortblock
- Standard Sleeve Liners
- Modified Axis Racing Forged Crankshaft
- Polished & Balanced to 10,000 RPMS
- Pauter 4340 Chrome-Moly Forged Rods
- Axis Racing/CP Forged Pistons With Swain Tech Coatings
- 8500 Rev Limit Recommended

It has less than 200 miles on it. It was originally in one of their rally cars, but they had to pull it out because of some rule change that took place in the event in which the car was going to participate. They switched from open rules to group N rules, so they were forced to use the 2.0 liter. It was never raced.

He's willing to back it up with a 2,500 mile warranty. What do you guys think?
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Old 09-04-2007, 01:18 PM   #22
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If Ron @ Axis really built it (maybe you can confirm it with him), then sure I'd do it WITH the warranty and get it in WRITING. Then proceed to utilize that 2500 mile warranty to make sure the block will last.
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Old 09-04-2007, 02:36 PM   #23
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As I just told him in a PM, given that this is one of Ron's motors, the only thing that still concerns me is how it was treated in those 200 miles - since it was a rally car, anyone want to place a bet as to whether or not it saw no boost or over 5K rpms?

You have to get them to be honest with you - if they beat on it a little (or a lot) you should call Ron at Axis and ask him for his take. Regardless, if you opt to go for it, insist on a leakdown and compression test and take an oil sample to look for any bearing or piston/cylinder damage. If those look great and Ron is happy, get the warranty in writing, have them re-tune it after you complete the break-in, and hit the road. Ron's Stage 3 motor is a great block, provided it hasn't been abused.
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Old 09-04-2007, 04:46 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flycaster View Post
As I just told him in a PM, given that this is one of Ron's motors, the only thing that still concerns me is how it was treated in those 200 miles - since it was a rally car, anyone want to place a bet as to whether or not it saw no boost or over 5K rpms?

You have to get them to be honest with you - if they beat on it a little (or a lot) you should call Ron at Axis and ask him for his take. Regardless, if you opt to go for it, insist on a leakdown and compression test and take an oil sample to look for any bearing or piston/cylinder damage. If those look great and Ron is happy, get the warranty in writing, have them re-tune it after you complete the break-in, and hit the road. Ron's Stage 3 motor is a great block, provided it hasn't been abused.
x2
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Old 09-04-2007, 04:48 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flycaster View Post
As I just told him in a PM, given that this is one of Ron's motors, the only thing that still concerns me is how it was treated in those 200 miles - since it was a rally car, anyone want to place a bet as to whether or not it saw no boost or over 5K rpms?
With the restrictor used in a rally car, I doubt it saw much over 5k if at all. Probably LOTS of boost...

We've seen a rash of Cometic gasket failures lately. (We do a lot of engines, not just Subaru) It always boils down to a poor head surface. They are almost foolproof if you have a near mirror finish and NO nicks/scratches.

Note that Subaru uses a similar head gasket, and they specify to not use a scraper or sanding disk of any time, just wipe off the residue with solvent and a rag and *that's it*. Even sanding the decks can be enough to cause failure.
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