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Old 08-03-2009, 04:45 AM   #1
silence2-38554
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Default '02 WRX Valve adjustment?

I tried searching & didn't really come up with a solid answer... I'm coming up on 170k miles on my '02 WRX. Owned it since 130k & have no idea if the valves have ever been adjusted. But after searching, I'm now just wondering.... Do they need to be? Does my car have hydraulic, no-maintenance lifters, or do I need to think about adjusting valve lash? If so, is there a writeup anywhere? I've never done a valve adjustment before but am fairly mechanically inclined & would like to learn if there's a good writeup I can follow.... Thanks!
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Old 08-03-2009, 10:01 AM   #2
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If your car is running well might not be needed. You can check the clearance with the motor in the car but in order to adjust them and do it right the motor needs to come out. It can be done in car but its PITA. Depending on your build date, the 02 used two different style shims. Shim over bucket, or just bucket. That will also add to the frustration.

rule of thumb is to check adjustment every 100k.

Get the factory service manual and read up on how to do it.
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Old 08-03-2009, 10:13 AM   #3
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I don't think there is any requirement. There is a procedure in one of the seven 2002 service manuals that details the procedure. Mine were "checked" as part of large package of "beyond routine" maintenance at about 100,000 miles.

I would say the most important thing for you is to make sure the timing belt and related parts and seals were done on time or on miles as shown in the maintenance record for your car.

The procedure is nothing like what I used to on the in-line 6 cylinder in my 280 zx. That is probably the kind of valve adjustment you are familiar with.
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Old 08-03-2009, 02:20 PM   #4
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I already did the timing belt & pulleys last year. My car was actually built in '01 but released as an '02 model, so it was a pretty early version. Any idea if that would be shim over bucket or bucket?
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Old 08-03-2009, 07:55 PM   #5
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They should be checked/inspected for proper clearance at 105,000 miles. It would be a shim iirc.

Last edited by blackfang; 08-03-2009 at 08:01 PM.
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Old 08-03-2009, 08:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silence2-38554 View Post
I already did the timing belt & pulleys last year. My car was actually built in '01 but released as an '02 model, so it was a pretty early version. Any idea if that would be shim over bucket or bucket?
I can only speak about my car.

My 02 was built in 2001, and I bought it in 2001, and the service diagram for the 2002 Model year shows shims on top of (over) buckets.
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Old 08-04-2009, 12:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silence2-38554 View Post
I already did the timing belt & pulleys last year. My car was actually built in '01 but released as an '02 model, so it was a pretty early version. Any idea if that would be shim over bucket or bucket?
It is definitely shim over bucket.

Cheaper to adjust, but less desirable for high RPM use.
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Old 08-05-2009, 05:54 AM   #8
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By "cheaper to adjust", i'm guessing you mean easier? Would this be any more mechanically complicated than a timing belt change (most involved procedure i've performed on my car myself)? I'm just trying to decide if I should put $$ toward feeler gauges & valve cover gaskets for this job or just let the dealership go at it & pay them. Any ideas what the dealer would charge for an adjustment on my specific design?
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Old 08-11-2009, 08:32 PM   #9
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Was this ever done? Has anyone ever had a valve adjustment done on a wrx? How critical is a valve adjustment? I am approaching 170k on my bugeye and was wondering about this service.
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Old 08-12-2009, 01:47 AM   #10
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still waiting to hear from someone else on here concerning my last questions...
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Old 08-12-2009, 03:44 PM   #11
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For some help, Shims go from 20-28 a piece retail. Dealer cost is 14 and change. To check the valves it is probably 3-4 hours by a pro. Then if they are out of clearance pulling the cams out and all that in the car.... probably an easily 10 billed hours.
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:24 PM   #12
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Since its shim-over-bucket you do not have to remove the cams to replace the shims. We have a special tool specifically for the 02 WRX to remove the shims with the cams still in place.
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:35 PM   #13
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I'm guessing the "shim over bucket" is setup just like my Taurus SHO. If that's the case, here is something similar to what you'll see.

My car:

Overview:



Cams removed, shim sits on top of the bucket.






Not my car:

Cams in place with the valve spring compressor.



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Old 08-15-2009, 12:20 AM   #14
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The 2002 WRX uses shim-over-bucket. These valve clearances can be checked and adjusted with with the engine in the car. Its best to use the Subaru/SPX special tool if you need to replace shims. Another way to get shims out is to use a tool called a valve depressor thats like a small wedge that you jam between the heel of the cam and the shim. This presses the lifter down. Next you use place another tool called a lifter holder between the rim of the lifter and the 'shaft' portion of the cam to keep the lifter held down when you remove the wedge tool. I have a pair of tools made by Honda for doing this and they work for virtually any engine.

The 2003 WRX uses solid lifters and no shims. On this engine, you need to remove the cams to get the lifters out. You set the valve clearance by purchasing lifters of the correct thickness.
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Old 08-15-2009, 12:50 AM   #15
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It's a tappet depressed and holder. There are no lifters.
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Old 10-10-2009, 01:54 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terlau View Post
The 2002 WRX uses shim-over-bucket. These valve clearances can be checked and adjusted with with the engine in the car. Its best to use the Subaru/SPX special tool if you need to replace shims. Another way to get shims out is to use a tool called a valve depressor thats like a small wedge that you jam between the heel of the cam and the shim. This presses the lifter down. Next you use place another tool called a lifter holder between the rim of the lifter and the 'shaft' portion of the cam to keep the lifter held down when you remove the wedge tool. I have a pair of tools made by Honda for doing this and they work for virtually any engine.

The 2003 WRX uses solid lifters and no shims. On this engine, you need to remove the cams to get the lifters out. You set the valve clearance by purchasing lifters of the correct thickness.

So basically I'm F&*&ked now that my WRX Wagon at 106k just developed a valve tick. Fantastic I suppose next your going to tell me it's not possible to take the cams out while the motor is in the car?
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Old 11-01-2009, 10:19 AM   #17
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Sour Candy:

You can take out the cams with the engine in the car. I just did this yesterday because I also developed a ticking in the passenger side cylinder bank. Turns out I have a broken valve spring in the #1 cylinder aft intake valve on my 02 WRX.
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Old 12-11-2009, 11:29 PM   #18
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ive been looking for days. and i havent found an answer. are all the valve lifters the sane thikness? do they have a specific port they go in? i just got screwed by a machine shop who said they could rebuild subaru engines. they took my motor complete and i got it all in disasembled. the block was complete but the heads were not. so i lapped my valves, compresed springs and assembled everything exept for the cams. i then did a leak down test. just to be sure and i had about 4 to 5 percent loss. wich ive been told it was great. then i put the lifters aka buckets aka hats with shims aka etc... and the put the cams on. i put them all in the right place because they are all labled. did the timing belt. everything checked out fine. the crack cranked but would not start. did a compresion test and i had zeroes all across. i double checked everything including cams timing marks and everything else. it all checke out fine. everything was labled by the a holes at the machineshop expet for the lifters aka what ever you want to call them. soooooo my question again. are they all difrent thikness. because that would explain my comp. loss. ive been searching for days and i have not found a single thing about specs or any meassurements on the lifters. so if any one has seen, heard or knows were i could find something i would really apreciate it.
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Old 01-08-2010, 03:24 AM   #19
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I am really interested in this topic myself. When I removed the cams to get at the head studs, I had 4 valve lifters fall out of my head....I know, FAIL . So I too wonder if the shim on top of the lifter (bucket) has a precise measurement.
I plan on bringing my head to my local Subaru deal to see what they have to say.

Brandon
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Old 01-08-2010, 07:08 AM   #20
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The shim that sits on top of the bucket is selective and when you measure to adjust the valve lash that is what you will change. The buckets for the 02 engines are not selective
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Old 01-08-2010, 07:56 PM   #21
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A timely topic that seems to have several answers. I've also posted before on this topic, but didn't get a satisfactory answer.

Those who have the special tool don't have to pull the engine. That would be my first choice, and makes me wonder why those that pull the engine don't just buy the tool. Pulling the engine would be my last choice, given how many mechanics will flat-rate the job anyway. Makes me wonder if I get what I pay for in either case!!

Last edited by Columbo; 01-08-2010 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 01-14-2010, 05:17 PM   #22
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It seems threads like this get started, then "nothing." That's what I found when searching here.

Of those who have actually done the valve adjustment, did you find any consistency in the clearances? Were they all loose? All tight? All within spec? Differences between L and R or front and rear cylinders? Intakes tight? Exhaust loose?

The concern I have is that even if all valves are within spec, even at the tightest setting, the mechanic will just put it all back together....because they all checked within spec!! The same would apply if they got loose. Within spec? Button it back up!

Even if I asked for all valves to be re-set to the widest setting (assuming they get tight. narrowest if they get loose) so I would not ever have to pay for this again, I have no proof it was done. THIS unfortunately is the nature of the business.

Last edited by Columbo; 01-28-2010 at 09:37 PM.
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Old 01-28-2010, 09:42 PM   #23
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Bump.

Does anyone have some first hand knowledge on this?

(It was suggested to me that if the engine is out, I should install a better torque converter. While I suppose that would make sense to some degree, I'm hoping not to have to have my engine pulled!)
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Old 03-03-2010, 10:41 PM   #24
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Default Still a question unanswered

Another month has gone by without any additional comments on this!!

Flat-rate time for check and adjust the valves is less than 7 hours. SOA says you don't have to pull the engine.

If it is easier to pull the engine to do the valve adjustment, then is should cost less than doing it in the car, right? Less than 7 hours?
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Old 04-03-2010, 08:56 AM   #25
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My '02 also tapped since I got it at 36 K miles.
Back then I tried to get the adjustment done under warranty, but although I was in good terms with the dealer mechanic, I always got brushed off, untill around 50 K miles, when due to out of warranty, I started to get calls, "let's do this"

The tapping did not get worse in time, but I don't believe it should just be left alone. I called at the dealership and I think they quoted me around $500. I think they would do it without removing the engine.

By the way, my 02 has shims and all of this is about shimmed boxers

In the old days, I did spend some time working in a repair shop, in Europe.
I did valve adjustments on boxers.
Here are some reasons for which I think it's tricky:

In the shop we would adjust, then crank and start up briefly. The adjustment always proved to be wrong. Then re-adjust and was right every time.

I think that there were some factors

The oil drains off the cams differently in a boxer, with the camshafts and the buckets vertical, it drips off of them and the oil film is part of the lash.
So it's not only cold adjustment vs warm adjustment, it's adjustment before the oil has dripped off.

When the lash has not been adjusted for a long time, with those boxers, we found that the tappets ground themselves a clearance with the lobes.
It could be that with the EJ engines, the lobes grind themselves some clearance into the shims. Or grind eachother (lobe-shim).

Therefore, when you try to feel your way around, with engine in the car, to measure the clearance, you don't realize that the contact surface is not flat, there's a depression there now..

I also think that solid lifters (with shims) are a better performance solution.
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