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Old 03-24-2009, 12:01 AM   #1
the pigSTi
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2004 Forester XT
White w/ VF-48

Default Define. . .conundrum

I bought a 2004 Forester XT knowing that its cylinder one wasn't firing. The dealership that the seller took it to claimed that it wouldn't hold compression in cyliner one.

Upon arrival of the vehicle (shipped it from NY to OR) we checked the codes and got a P0301 cylinder one misfire as well as a PFFFF and PFFFE. After that we performed our own compression test and confirmed that #1 had ZERO compression, not to mention raw fuel smell from the exhaust and a very damp spark plug.

After all that we decided it was time to pull the motor and see what was what. All cylinder heads, with the exception of #1, show signs of healthy combustion and no detonation. #1 looks blacked and wet (almost oily) on both intake and exhaust valves. It clearly looks as though that cylinder hasn't seen combustion in quite a while.

We removed the #1 piston expecting to find broken ring lands. . .low and behold everything looks kosher. We cannot find anything mechanically wrong with the piston, the head gasket and the cylinder wall itself looks to be in great condition.

I'd greatly appreciate any imput or ideas that you guys might have.

CN's:

Cylinder 1 misfire with no compression: piston, rings, valves, head gasket and cylinder wall look fine. WTF?
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Old 03-24-2009, 12:06 PM   #2
torinalth
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random shot in the dark, but could the plug or the coil be bad, thus not firing at all in cylinder 1... that would give you unburned fuel... but not no compression... could the plug or injector not be seated right and thus have an opening? could be the cylinder not getting ignition, so the cylinder got fuel wash and now there is no oil in which to make the seal with the rings? I know it will lower compression, but I dont know if it will make it Zero... clean the cylinder, put the head back on.. drop in a few drops of oil into the spark plug hole, then retest compression.... see if it seals up.

again, these are just some minor shots in the dark...

T
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Old 03-24-2009, 12:55 PM   #3
MartinSTi05
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^that^
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Old 03-24-2009, 01:41 PM   #4
n2oiroc
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have the head checked. maybe a valve is stuck open.
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Old 03-24-2009, 02:35 PM   #5
kellygnsd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n2oiroc View Post
have the head checked. maybe a valve is stuck open.
Check valve lash for the valves associated with that cylinder. I'm guessing one ore more is not seating fully.
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Old 03-25-2009, 12:43 AM   #6
the pigSTi
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Thanks for the input guys. I have the questionable head in at our shop and am sending it to a machine shop to be checked out here in the next couple days. We were just so sure that it was going to be a bad ring. . .nothing's easy in life. If the heads turn out OK we'll put it all back together, with some forged pistons to make it worth our time, and see what happens and go from there (checking things that it shouldn't have been).

However this turns out its been a great learning experience. I drove an STi for 4 years without doing anything more that your average bolt-on stuff. Pulling and opening the motor teaches you a ton.
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Old 03-25-2009, 12:53 AM   #7
kellygnsd
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Send the cams out with the heads so the can check lash too.
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Old 03-25-2009, 09:32 AM   #8
timeXlost
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stupid question, but did you swap plugs, coils and injectors on this before jumping right in and pulling the motor? i think that would have been the first thing i would have done. just swap them with a different cylinder..if the problem jumps, youve found your bad part.
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Old 03-25-2009, 10:25 AM   #9
Jhovany
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Not to be an a$$hat but did you bother to search for the "PFFFE" and the "PFFFF" codes on here? For the longest time I had a "pending code" (which was this PFFFE code) and NO ONE could figure it out!!! I took my car in to the Subaru Dealership where I bought the car new and the techs told me there was absolutely nothing wrong with my car It wasnt until I took it to GoodSpeed in Tempe, AZ where they diagnosed it! First they switched out coilpacks, NOTHING! Then they switched out spark plugs, NOTHING! Then finally they switched injectors and the code followed the injector! Turns out that this happens quite often especially with Power Enterprise injectors! Do a search on here and find my thread, you will learn a lot! Any modifications done to said vehicle?
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Old 03-25-2009, 11:45 AM   #10
Uncle Scotty
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if it isnt a bad valve....it may be a cracked block
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Old 03-26-2009, 02:11 AM   #11
the pigSTi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timeXlost View Post
stupid question, but did you swap plugs, coils and injectors on this before jumping right in and pulling the motor? i think that would have been the first thing i would have done. just swap them with a different cylinder..if the problem jumps, youve found your bad part.
The seller. . .who by the way, is a totally stand up guy got all that stuff checked before hand. There's no way he would have let this thing go for the price he did if he hadn't (actually yes, some people probably would have.) The raw fuel smell ruled out the injectors. Regardless my buddy ( a certified tech) and I had planned on opening the motor, which has 123K on it, just to check things out before adding bolt-ons and shooting for >Stg 2 STi power.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jhovany View Post
Not to be an a$$hat but did you bother to search for the "PFFFE" and the "PFFFF" codes on here? For the longest time I had a "pending code" (which was this PFFFE code) and NO ONE could figure it out!!! I took my car in to the Subaru Dealership where I bought the car new and the techs told me there was absolutely nothing wrong with my car It wasnt until I took it to GoodSpeed in Tempe, AZ where they diagnosed it! First they switched out coilpacks, NOTHING! Then they switched out spark plugs, NOTHING! Then finally they switched injectors and the code followed the injector! Turns out that this happens quite often especially with Power Enterprise injectors! Do a search on here and find my thread, you will learn a lot! Any modifications done to said vehicle?
Your thread on PFFFE and PFFFF was very informative. As soon as I checked the codes I searched and found it. The injectors were stock FXT injectors and there was nothing wrong with them at all.

We had not taken a good look at the valves since we took them into our shop yesterday and believe it or not, the MAC Tool guy was the first to point out that one of the exhaust valves looked ever so slightly lower than the others. Maybe it just took a fresh set of eyes and some better lighting. Either way we took the head into a engine shop and had them pressure test it. The exhaust valves in question would not go above 10(psi ?) and lost pressure as soon as the pump was shut off.

It looks as though it was a situation where one of the valves "tuliped". They recommended replacing those exhaust valves. . .having a bit of machining done to make sure they seal good and resurfacing the heads. After that we're hoping we can just reassemble and call it a day.
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Old 02-09-2012, 11:36 AM   #12
motown
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hey pigSTI any updates/pics of this car? This was my cousins car and just wondering how it was doing.
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Old 05-13-2014, 05:03 PM   #13
the pigSTi
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Lol, just saw this now as I'm getting ready to get rid of the car. It's served me well up to 203,000 miles!
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