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Old 03-03-2009, 06:45 PM   #1
cmiovino
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Default Piston Slap?

I just bought a '98 OBS to replace my '95 LX. Both have EJ22s, but the LX was phase I and the OBS is phase II. The OBS has 88K miles and the owner took good care of it.

It's currently about 10 degrees out. When I start the car, there is a loud ticking sound. It's faster with the revs when driving before it's full warmed up. Once it is full warmed up, the ticking is way less pronounced, but it's still slightly there.

My phase I engine did not do this. I did look up that '98-00 EJ22 are prone to this annoying noise and it's no big deal. Even some EJ25 have it. Do you think this is just the general piston slap?

Yes, I searched and read a lot about piston slap

Thanks.
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Old 03-03-2009, 11:59 PM   #2
wirolla
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i'd say its just piston slap....
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Old 03-04-2009, 12:12 AM   #3
toolbox1234
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My car does it too, it is f@ckin annoying, I feel your pain. It is piston slap and there really isnt anything you can do about it. The stock pistons were "engineered" with shorter piston skirts for some dumb reason and tend to be loud especially when cold. Mine does it all the time under 35-40 degrees. It gets MUCH better when the engine is warmed up but is still noticeable. I have noticed that once outside temp goes up to about 40 or higher it almost completely goes away. Just take it easy on the car until it is warmed up. Piston slap doesnt cause any damage unless it is REALLY bad. You might also be hearing the injectors ticking. Again, nothing you can do, it is just the way they are. Dont worry, and just turn up the radio
i am going to experiment with different oil at my next oil change and see what happens, i'll post my findings.
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Old 03-04-2009, 01:11 AM   #4
trueno16v
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Timing belt tensioner? The sound would be coming from underneath the timing belt cover below alternator area. Just a thought.
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Old 03-04-2009, 02:22 PM   #5
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If you want to narrow it down, get a mechanics stethascope and just start touching things. thats how I narrowed down mine.
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Old 03-04-2009, 02:35 PM   #6
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Normal on the 2.5L sohc engines when cold. Nobody's completely certain what it is, but there are a few guesses. I'm not so sure about the 2.2L engines though.
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Old 03-04-2009, 02:49 PM   #7
Buck Rogers
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[quote=Back Road Runner;25819015]Normal on the 2.5L sohc engines when cold.

Mine has it too, two pistons & all four sets of rings changed at 24000 miles. At about 38000 miles it came back. Currently the truck has 66000 miles on it and it is loud as hell on cold mornings. I put a block heater in and use it during the winter, this helps some. But I would in no way consider this NORMAL, IMO this is a design flaw and will most likely affect the resale price of any Subie that has it.

PS: This is a pet peve of mine, as if you can't tell

Buck
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Old 03-04-2009, 03:01 PM   #8
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Thanks for the input guys. I actually got to drive it a good bit today. It goes away for the most part after reaching operating temp. You can still hear it slightly under light throttle even when warm (if you listen VERY close). Keep in mind, it's still like 20-30 degrees out. When above 2K RPMs, it's totally gone.

Hopefully when it gets warmer, it will go away completely. Until then, it's another Subaru rattle/noise we have to live with.
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Old 03-04-2009, 10:18 PM   #9
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You are not alone. i cant wait til it warms up. I'm so sick of hearing it.
I used to work on Lexus's and was so used to them being ultra quiet. I always fear the worst when i hear a metalic noise like that.
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Old 03-17-2009, 09:10 AM   #10
Captain Morgan
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[quote=Buck Rogers;25819241]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Back Road Runner View Post
Normal on the 2.5L sohc engines when cold.

Mine has it too, two pistons & all four sets of rings changed at 24000 miles. At about 38000 miles it came back. Currently the truck has 66000 miles on it and it is loud as hell on cold mornings. I put a block heater in and use it during the winter, this helps some. But I would in no way consider this NORMAL, IMO this is a design flaw and will most likely affect the resale price of any Subie that has it.

PS: This is a pet peve of mine, as if you can't tell

Buck
MY 97 L does this same tapping sound until warmed up. I just attribute it to a Subaru and don't worry about it. It adds character to the car and doesn't hurt anything so why bother. Have you ever heard an old Porsche 911, a VW Bug, or a Mazda RX-7 running? It sounds like some contraption that was concocted in some guys garage, but these are all bad@ss cars that are sure performers. Remember, "It's what makes a Subaru, a Subaru"
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Old 03-17-2009, 12:05 PM   #11
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Mine does it also. Dealers were of no help so I just pretend it is a diesel. Mine has gotten worse every year so I am not so sure it is piston-slap. But it mostly goes away when warm. Just take it easy until it is warm.

Anyone have piston slap and able to log the ECM? I have always wanted to know if the ECM "sees" it as knock and pulls timing.

Peace,

Greg
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:10 PM   #12
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I am surprised that no one has mentioned lifters yet. There is a big difference is sound between the piston slap and lifter noise. Every Subaru that I have heard running has a little bit of noise to it.

The only thing that I can think of is switch to a lighter grade oil in the winter, and a higher grade in summer. I run 2 qts. 5w-20 and 2 qts. 5w-30 in winter, and 4 qts 10-30-40 in summer. If you have already done this then it sounds like normal Suby noise. Unless you can post up a sound clip I cant really help you beyond that.


~Josh~
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:24 PM   #13
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Ugh mine was horrible when it was cold now that I remember it... when it was warmed up completely it would go away a whole lot.

But when I put the thin as a coffee can Borla-replica headers on I could hear it again...those really did not help with the ticking.
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Old 03-17-2009, 10:37 PM   #14
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Mine is in the shop as we speak getting 2 pistons replaced on the left bank. I should have it back tomorrow, hopefully I wont have any more problems, but i am not holdng my breath.
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Old 03-20-2009, 12:43 PM   #15
DC16A2
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The slap noises scared the crap out of me when I first bought my Subaru. It definitely gets better once it reaches operating temp.

Looking forward to summer mornings... warming up and taking it easy on cold days means about 5 minutes less sleep every weekday =(
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Old 03-20-2009, 01:09 PM   #16
Zefy
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mine has been ticking away since i got it (20k km ago) and it ticks like mad. I always assumed it was slap and didn't worry about it. it is most prominent at 3000-3500rpm under neutral load. gets slightly better when warm...

my car builds oil pressure slowly when starting too... and it burns oil at a staggering rate... 1 liter every 500km-ish. except when i drive it hard. When i was at a TSD rally running checkpoint i was WOT for a bunch of it at 4k up to redline probably 95% of the time. like that it burned about 1 liter every 100km.

over that weekend i went through about 7 liters of oil over about 1500km.

my car hates me...
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Old 04-12-2009, 09:23 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Back Road Runner View Post
Normal on the 2.5L sohc engines when cold. Nobody's completely certain what it is, but there are a few guesses. I'm not so sure about the 2.2L engines though.
I know what it is but I don't know for sure WHY it is. Tensioner noise does not go away at warm. Piston noise diminishes when engine warms up.
What I would like to know is why it is so much worse on the left side. The left side pistons wear on the upper skirt a lot more than the right side ones so it must be something more than just oiling issues.
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