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Old 03-13-2009, 09:04 AM   #1
thoughto
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Hello All, I just moved back to the UK, and have looked at a few JDM STIs. I was wondering what you thought were the main problem areas to check. The one I like best up to now is a version 4 in white:
http://www.pistonheads.com/sales/923799.htm
It has done about 110,000 km. It is unmodified, and the engine seemed very strong indeed. The brakes didn't seem all that powerful, but it does have the 4 pots. I was intending to get braided lines and better pads.
Hope you can give me a few hints. The engine is apparently well able to pull 8000 revs, I don't know if it has a limiter, the owner confessed to hitting 8500, but he seems to have generally looked after the car well. The turbo is a VF24. Car possibly has a special mechanical rear diff.
Anyway, would be good to hear some advice. I like the look of the version 4, but there are several version 3s a bit cheaper.
Thanks a lot, Tom
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Old 03-13-2009, 11:27 AM   #2
Jaxx
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get a picture of the vin plate
then put the model code into google
the red line for the RA 3/4 is very high 8250 it has different heads than the standard wrx
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Old 03-13-2009, 05:00 PM   #3
elislider
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related question: what are the block differences between v3 and v3 R/RA ?
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Old 03-15-2009, 07:45 PM   #4
Rei_Akira
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i believe the RA's have a closed block, standard has open.
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Old 03-16-2009, 01:35 AM   #5
elislider
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nope i have 1 of both and theyre both fully open. so far i cant tell any difference between my v3 sti and v3 sti ra blocks. they have same cams (at least they look the same), same HG, same open block... anyways this is probably for a different thread

to the OP: a v4 sti is very nice, although not much different (mechanically) from a v3 at all. they both have the ej20k engine.
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Old 03-16-2009, 03:11 AM   #6
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One of my gripes with the standard EJ20K is big end bearings, especially when compared to the EJ20G. They are more likely to run them earlier than you'd expect. Here in NZ the joke is if you run a BEB, you become part of a not so very exclusive club.
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Old 03-17-2009, 06:05 PM   #7
thoughto
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Thanks for the replies. I bought the car, it seems pretty good so far. The engine is dramatically higher revving than my previous 2002 WRX, but I don't like the brakes much. I think I will get braided lines and maybe Axxis Ultimates for the 4-pots. The coolant system was badly corroded (car is 11-12 years old) but I think I've fixed that. Car looks great and engine is fantastic. Basically happy. How hard is it to change big end bearings?!
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Old 03-17-2009, 06:11 PM   #8
i_c_the_light
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thoughto View Post
Thanks for the replies. I bought the car, it seems pretty good so far. The engine is dramatically higher revving than my previous 2002 WRX, but I don't like the brakes much. I think I will get braided lines and maybe Axxis Ultimates for the 4-pots. The coolant system was badly corroded (car is 11-12 years old) but I think I've fixed that. Car looks great and engine is fantastic. Basically happy. How hard is it to change big end bearings?!
It's not for the faint hearted.
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Old 03-17-2009, 08:02 PM   #9
Matt Monson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by i_c_the_light View Post
One of my gripes with the standard EJ20K is big end bearings, especially when compared to the EJ20G. They are more likely to run them earlier than you'd expect. Here in NZ the joke is if you run a BEB, you become part of a not so very exclusive club.
That reputation has very little to do with the engine. They use identical cranks and rods in them. The difference in them is the tune, horsepower and higher redlines. It makes sense. You run the same engine harder and it will fail sooner.
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Old 03-17-2009, 08:36 PM   #10
i_c_the_light
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Monson View Post
That reputation has very little to do with the engine. They use identical cranks and rods in them. The difference in them is the tune, horsepower and higher redlines. It makes sense. You run the same engine harder and it will fail sooner.
I disagree. From what is experienced here the 20K and the 20R are more likely to pop a bearing sooner. Even our techs are agreeing. Honest to god, there is a high rate of bearing failure specific to V3-4. V1-2/5+ have far fewer failures here.
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Old 03-17-2009, 09:12 PM   #11
Matt Monson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by i_c_the_light View Post
I disagree. From what is experienced here the 20K and the 20R are more likely to pop a bearing sooner. Even our techs are agreeing. Honest to god, there is a high rate of bearing failure specific to V3-4. V1-2/5+ have far fewer failures here.
Did you even read my post? I didn't deny the failure rate. I explained the failure rate. People always blame the engine. It's not the engine. It's that Subaru pushed the engine harder, so it doesn't last as long. Ej20G's don't have better rotating assemblies. They have the exact same rotating assemblies.

As for V5, that's phase II. That is a different design, though it's still basically the same crank and rods. They just improved it by moving the location of the thrust bearing on the mains.
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Old 03-18-2009, 07:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Monson View Post
Did you even read my post? I didn't deny the failure rate. I explained the failure rate. People always blame the engine. It's not the engine. It's that Subaru pushed the engine harder, so it doesn't last as long. Ej20G's don't have better rotating assemblies. They have the exact same rotating assemblies.

As for V5, that's phase II. That is a different design, though it's still basically the same crank and rods. They just improved it by moving the location of the thrust bearing on the mains.
Well I dunno. A lot of the failures have been caused by oil starvation, and many of them have been during normal driving conditions, while some have been at the track. Such as last weekend here, there was the ClubSUB national meet. 2 let go at the track, and one decided to wait till on the way home. However there are a lot more bearing failures happening with normal day to day motoring. TBH, there are more factors than just the tune or the outputs.

Going with output and tune, then there should be a lot of V2 STi/STi-RA EJ20G blocks with spun bearings. Thing is, there isn't. They don't have such a high rate of failure. So there has to be another reason.
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Old 03-18-2009, 09:58 PM   #13
Matt Monson
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Well,
Consider this... The Ej20K's run a higher redline than even the v2 STi's. They also run 100mmHG more of boost than than the Ej20G's. Lastly, the Ej20K's run significantly more aggressive timing maps than the Ej20G's run.

There's also something else to think about, which is the ECU itself and it's adaptability. It has been shown multiple times that the Ej20G ECU's are better for compensating for lower octane gas by pulling timing and reacting. The Ej20K's are not as reactive to changes in conditions, and especially if you are running a grey market car with gas that's a couple of points lower in octane than it was tuned for, it's not going to live as long a life. An engine that's running consistently hot from high EGT's is going to look a whole lot like an oil starvation failure when it later comes apart.

Just some things to think about since it's a fact that the crank, rods, oil pump, and when you look at v2 STis' even the block itself are the same(v2 STi's are open deck, v2 STi-RA's are not. ). I really doubt that the different pistons or the different heads are the point of failure. Hell, the Ej20K even runs half a point of lower compression than the EJ20G's do. If the bottom end is essentially the same in the two engines, and they suffer a higher rate of bottom end failures, in my mind all arrows point to the tune...
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Old 03-18-2009, 10:37 PM   #14
i_c_the_light
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Monson View Post
Well,
Consider this... The Ej20K's run a higher redline than even the v2 STi's. They also run 100mmHG more of boost than than the Ej20G's. Lastly, the Ej20K's run significantly more aggressive timing maps than the Ej20G's run.

There's also something else to think about, which is the ECU itself and it's adaptability. It has been shown multiple times that the Ej20G ECU's are better for compensating for lower octane gas by pulling timing and reacting. The Ej20K's are not as reactive to changes in conditions, and especially if you are running a grey market car with gas that's a couple of points lower in octane than it was tuned for, it's not going to live as long a life. An engine that's running consistently hot from high EGT's is going to look a whole lot like an oil starvation failure when it later comes apart.

Just some things to think about since it's a fact that the crank, rods, oil pump, and when you look at v2 STis' even the block itself are the same(v2 STi's are open deck, v2 STi-RA's are not. ). I really doubt that the different pistons or the different heads are the point of failure. Hell, the Ej20K even runs half a point of lower compression than the EJ20G's do. If the bottom end is essentially the same in the two engines, and they suffer a higher rate of bottom end failures, in my mind all arrows point to the tune...
Okay, you got me there. Then that would mean that the stock tunes for the V3/4 suck balls then.
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Old 03-18-2009, 10:53 PM   #15
Matt Monson
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I don't know if I would say that the tune sucks balls. But I would say that even in standard 280ps WRX Sedan form they are pretty high strung sports sedans. I've seen dyno sheets on some of the 280ps rated EJ20K's that suggest they might have actually been as high as 320ps at the crank. Thats a full 40ps higher than what Subaru said they were. While even the EJ20G's are known to run a little higher than rating, what they were doing with the v3/v4 STi's was really pushing the outer limits of what would be a streetable tune.
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Old 03-18-2009, 10:53 PM   #16
tuellma
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excellent post
just picked up a 97 Ver IV with 16,000 kilometers on it

Will be looking for more info soon .
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Old 03-18-2009, 10:56 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by i_c_the_light View Post
Okay, you got me there. Then that would mean that the stock tunes for the V3/4 suck balls then.
On stateside octane, yes.
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:12 PM   #18
tuellma
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Monson View Post
I've seen dyno sheets on some of the 280ps rated EJ20K's that suggest they might have actually been as high as 320ps at the crank. Thats a full 40ps higher than what Subaru said they were.

Remember..that was the "gentlemans agreement" that all cars HAD to be rated at no higher than 280PS....
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:35 PM   #19
i_c_the_light
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Monson View Post
I don't know if I would say that the tune sucks balls. But I would say that even in standard 280ps WRX Sedan form they are pretty high strung sports sedans. I've seen dyno sheets on some of the 280ps rated EJ20K's that suggest they might have actually been as high as 320ps at the crank. Thats a full 40ps higher than what Subaru said they were. While even the EJ20G's are known to run a little higher than rating, what they were doing with the v3/v4 STi's was really pushing the outer limits of what would be a streetable tune.
It's not suprising really. There isn't any actual data on what the EJ20G engines outputted, from the series 1 RS to the V2 RA. All I have come across is numbers, and they are all different, or they've gotten the same figures from each other. Allegedly my EG20G is a 200ps version. But TBH, who the **** actually knows!

Quote:
Originally Posted by reddevil View Post
On stateside octane, yes.
The highest available here in New Zealand at the pump is 98RON. There is also a 98RON with a 10% ethanol mix. We have been told that the ethanol mix is not wise to use with the JDM models because the ethanol concentration could eat at the seals and the rubber lines in the fuel system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tuellma View Post
Remember..that was the "gentlemans agreement" that all cars HAD to be rated at no higher than 280PS....
But out of all the car makers, who actually followed through with it? I'd say none of them. Can't say that all the Skyline variants had a max of 280. Even the R32 GT-R was higher than that.
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:38 PM   #20
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/\ more or less...the gentleman's agreement was complete BS. Just a paperwork drill.
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Old 03-20-2009, 08:35 AM   #21
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Thanks for all the information. My plan for the engine is to fit a bellmouth 3 inch high flow catted downpipe, a Walbro fuel pump, and get it tuned with probably an Apexi FC (I believe that or the Link are the only possibilities for this age of car). I don't really need any more power, would just like reliability and to run on 97 octane without octane booster with no problems.
Having said that, I am worried about the coolant system, and whether it is symptomatic of a bigger problem. The car looked really great externally, and seemed well-cared for, yet it had a very corroded turbo coolant reservoir and all the coolant pipes I could inspect looked corroded. [I discovered this as a coolant hose sprung a pinhole leak and I investigated the whole system and took apart the coolant reservoir.] I did a 2 part flush supposed to clean out corrosion and protect everything (I hope this wasn't a mistake). Now I have had another coolant hose get a hole in it. I am hoping that this is just due to the corrosion before the flush weakening the rubber, and that I can just put in Samco hoses and all will be well. But a mechanic suggested that the system might be running at higher pressure due to the head gasket having a problem? The oil still looks OK. PLease let me know your thoughts. I am planning to drain the coolant again and see how much corrosion comes out, and flush with water a couple of times until it drains clean, then refill; and probably do that again in a few days and check it all seems good.
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Old 03-20-2009, 08:53 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by i_c_the_light View Post
The highest available here in New Zealand at the pump is 98RON. There is also a 98RON with a 10% ethanol mix. We have been told that the ethanol mix is not wise to use with the JDM models because the ethanol concentration could eat at the seals and the rubber lines in the fuel system.

take a look at the e85 faq over in the EM forum
the seals really aren't the proublem .. its that ethanol contains less energy than gas so you need more of it ... so by adding 10% it changes stoimetric
something like .90*14.7+.10*9.6=14.19
the newer cars(gda) that have the wide bands and adjust there long term fuel trim in open loop do just fine the older ecus that have a fixed open loop don't
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Old 03-20-2009, 09:20 AM   #23
i_c_the_light
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaxx View Post
take a look at the e85 faq over in the EM forum
the seals really aren't the proublem .. its that ethanol contains less energy than gas so you need more of it ... so by adding 10% it changes stoimetric
something like .90*14.7+.10*9.6=14.19
the newer cars(gda) that have the wide bands and adjust there long term fuel trim in open loop do just fine the older ecus that have a fixed open loop don't
It doesn't apply to just the older models. And the fuel system reason is from SNZ themselves.

It's on the SNZ website somewhere, warns of potential engine fires or some ****.
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Old 03-20-2009, 11:45 AM   #24
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Don't expect much more life out of your rad. The side tanks will fail soon. The rod bearings in my V3 failed at 110k km. The headgasket failed at about 100k km (would have been better to have the bearings fail first, but the HG likely contributed to the bearing failure). The pistons were scuffed up too.
Your turbo inlet will be done soon too, if not already replaced.
Oh yeah, the VF turbos don't have especially long lives either and are not rebuildable. I doubt many live past 150k km.
YMMV.

What rad cap do you have on it? The pink STi one is few psi higher and would contribute to blowing hoses, rads, etc.
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Old 03-20-2009, 11:53 AM   #25
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Thanks linsavy, sounds like you've had a grim time of it. As long as I can learn how to fix these things and have the equipment / space to do so, before they all break, I think I'll be OK. What I just found was that the metal pipe over the top of the radiator which takes the coolant to the overflow reservoir was full of corrosion and even had a hole in the middle. So I think my rad. hoses were blowing due to the system just building up a lot of pressure with no overflow. I have a new pipe coming tomorrow morning, with luck that will be the main key to the coolant problem.
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