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Old 06-03-2002, 10:31 AM   #1
wistful
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Default Cam installation gone BAD!! Blown motor.. now what?

I went to a supposedly well-known tuner to have my cams installed. After leaving my car there 3 days, I picked it up and was ready for my 4+ hour drive home. After taking a nap so that I don't get sleepy on the drive.. I started. I didn't exactly baby the car, since according the tuner there was no need.. but I didn't exactly run it super-hard either. I just... *shrug*.. drove it normally.

The car felt peppy, and I was pretty happy with everything. Nothing felt unusual. There was no funny noises, or whine or anything.

In any case... about an hour and a half and 90 miles into the trip, I was reaching a rest stop.. so I slowed down and turn on the heater full blast to remove some of the engine heat. Well, there's this acrid burning smelling. A few seconds later, I hear a loud POP from the engine compartment. Its comparable to the sound of a champagne bottle popping. The car shudders and the engine struggles to stay alive. It drops from a steady 3k.. to a waver 1.5K... hesitates a few more seconds.. then EVERYTHING dies. This is... 3AM in the middle of nowhere. And about 250miles away from home.

I have the car towed to a garage, and greyhounded it home since there was nothing I can do in Buffalo and I had to get back to work and school.

The carnage? pix 4-16.

wats left of my car..

The timing belt is STILL IN ONE PIECE. and all the teeth are there and they don't looked chewed up at all. The backside of the timing belt was scorched on the inside 3/4, but again untouched on the outside 1/4. There are a few deep gashes in it (pix 15,16) When we took off the timing belt cover, it was still sorta sitting where it was suppose to be... little tension though. The two idler pulleys that sandwich the main crankshaft pulley are absolutely TOAST as you can see in the pictures. The driver side pulley's grooves are perfect, but the outer ring was absolutely fried. It just broke into two pieces. There were bearings scattered everywhere. We did a valve leakdown test on the front passenger side chamber, and the results are not good. I have bent valves, at the very least in one chamber.

Both Subaru and the tuner have denied responsibilty and rejected any sort of Warranty claim. The tuner asks me.. "how can I have messed that up? What would I have done? How is it my fault?" He claims that the bearings siezed and that its a manufacturer's defect, therefore he shouldn't have to fix it. He also said that since we cannot say it is definitevely his fault, he will not warranty it.

Subaru will definitely not warranty it. They don't know about the cams, but even before that they will not touch it. Why? This is funny. I guess they pulled some sort of Freeze-frame code from the ECU and said that I had too much load on the car. According to the figures.. i was.. at 6300RPM.. yet car speed was 0. My coolant temperature was 9 degrees, manifold pressure was -730mmHG (near vacuum), and the load on my car was 87%. Therefore, they will not warranty it.. especially with my intake, headers, exhaust, etc.

There are many questions.. WHAT THE F!#@$ happened?!? could the belt have been overtightened? Buts its an automatic tensioner so how could THAT have happened? I've gone through the CAm installation instructions and am not sure exactly where he could've messed up to have this catastrophe? I mean, its possible.. but this is a reputable tuner and its not that hard to bolt back on idler pulleys...is it? The other odd thing is the lack of some signs. I guess its suppose to whine like a cat giving birth or make some sorta noise.. but it didn't! THe only noise I heard was the pop. Granted, my car has an exhaust and its loud.. but its not THAT loud. I definitely would've been able to hear something.

*sigh*. so now help me guys. What should I do? What else could be wrong with my car? Given my situation, recommend various courses of action. I really miss my baby.

Don
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Last edited by wistful; 06-03-2002 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 06-03-2002, 10:39 AM   #2
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Lemme just extend my apologies. This is the reason why I'll make sure I can do an upgrade before its done. that way I have nobody to blame but myself.

Still, I'm sorry. that's really not cool. Time to give cobb a call and get that upgraded block and heads

-IggDawg
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Old 06-03-2002, 11:56 AM   #3
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I'm sorry to see what happened to your car.

To feel comfortable with a diagnosis I want to feel and touch the parts in question, so just by looking at your pictures it's hard to really tell.

It looks like the only thing that happend was that the tensioner bearing siezed. The only thing you need to do is to clean up the mess, put either a new bearing in your tensioner (cheapest) or put an all new tensioner in there (easiest). Get anew belt and slap it all together. This can happen to anyone, usually it is easy to feel the bearings before putting everything together, to make sure this doesn't happen. Considering that you only drove 90 miles before it happened, I would be surprised if the mechanic wouldn't have felt that the bearing was bad, if he would have tried. There are two kinds of mechanics, one that merely changes parts (no experience) and one that makes it work.

Unfortunately it seems like you have met one of the less experienced ones.

/David
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Old 06-03-2002, 12:00 PM   #4
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Welll.... if it was just the belt and pulleys i'd be as happy as peas in a pod. unfortunately, we have a least ONE set of bent valves. I have not gotten a chance to do a leakdown test on the other 3 cylinders. This is assuming, of course, the valves didn't do something nasty to the pistons. I'm also curious as to the condition of the heads themselves and perhaps the valve guides. Is there anything else that can be broken? *sigh* watta mess.

Don
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Old 06-03-2002, 12:02 PM   #5
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Sorry, didn't know they added that much lift.
Yeah, a lot can be broken.
If you are lucky, you are only looking at piston and valves. I would suspect though that heads ar probably shot too.
It all depends on what rpm/load you were at when this happened.
It's one of those things that prepare for the worst and hope for the best when you take it apart.


/David
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Old 06-03-2002, 12:38 PM   #6
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I don't mean to be an ass, but what is the actual damage? A couple of fried bearings in the idler and/or tension pulleys, a fried timing belt.

A couple of bent valves... ok, thats getting somewhere, but what's inside the motor? Piston damage? How bad was the leakdown test? Is the pressure coming out the heads or out the crank?

Realistically this could be a simple pulley and belt replacement, and a replacing of several valves (like $6 each). On the expensive side, it could've damaged a piston, mangled the combustion chamber, and you'll need a new head case and valves for that cylinder, as well as a new piston on that cylinder. Most likely it's only one, but you can't tell until you open it up.
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Old 06-03-2002, 01:43 PM   #7
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I have seen this happen numerous times, usually caused by incorrectly compressing the Cam-Belt Tensioner. If the shop who did the work will not back it up (most reputable shops give a minimum warranty of 30 days), take it to a dealer and have them document everything and ask them to look closely at the Tensioner for "vise marks". The Service Manual specifies the Tensioner be compressed "vertically only", not horizontally in a vise.

As 8complex pointed out, the actual monetary damage may not be great so it would behoove the Tuner to back-up his work as opposed to paying a third-party to do repairs and dealing with a court action.
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Old 06-03-2002, 01:56 PM   #8
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Just a thought....
You said they took off the idler pullies? What torque spec did they use to tighten them down? Just a guess as to what could make them sieze. When we did my cams we didnt remove them, but you never know.
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Old 06-03-2002, 02:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by 8Complex


Realistically this could be a simple pulley and belt replacement, and a replacing of several valves (like $6 each). On the expensive side, it could've damaged a piston, mangled the combustion chamber, and you'll need a new head case and valves for that cylinder, as well as a new piston on that cylinder. Most likely it's only one, but you can't tell until you open it up.
you are forgetting,valve seals, re-machinging, new vlave guides on all bent valves and etc...it adds up quick.

I was also thinking that they may have not adjusted the clearance between the belt guide(over the crank gear)...but wow they really did mess up something.

and FWIW that does add up quick, i guarantee that's at least 10 hours labor to do and another $500-$600 in parts.

jeremy
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Old 06-03-2002, 07:26 PM   #10
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IIRC, there is a load bearing idler and a non load bearing idler...dont you have to remove both of these when doing cams/timing belt?. I cant tell from the pics if they are in the wrong spots, they are the two on the passenger side of the engine....

im gonna look at the pics again...

edit I cant tell...i think they are in the correct spots...ive only done one sohc...and cant remember...I think you only have to remove the bottom one on the sohc...hmm..

just another suggestion.. though..

Jay
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Old 06-03-2002, 08:04 PM   #11
wistful
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http://www.northursalia.com/m...in/tbelt/1.jpg

(I hope he doesn't mind linking his website)

Which pulleys are you talking about?

On another note.. I have heard a rumor that you need to replace the timing belt everytime you untension it. Is this true?

Another rumor is that you have to replace the belt tensioner pulley when you untension it? Is there any truth in this rumor either? thanks a lot guys.

Don
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Old 06-03-2002, 09:15 PM   #12
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i done colored them red..hehe its crude...my photoshop is not installed at the moment but you get the idea.

in the section of the service manual that shows you how to change the timing belt there is a detailed picture of what each pully looks like, in this pic they just show where they are.



IIRC one of those pullyes supports more of a load than the other... one is 'beefier' then the other...I dont remember what one goes where...but like I said if you can get the other pic of the timing belt install...you can clearly see what one goes where...

if i still worked for subaru I might be able to help you better...but I dont so this is all I can offer, hope it helps

Jay
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Old 06-03-2002, 10:31 PM   #13
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so it wasn't the cams fault? Cause I just ordered my cams and I don't to see "cams" and Blown motor" in the same sentence
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Old 06-03-2002, 10:44 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by imprezive
so it wasn't the cams fault? Cause I just ordered my cams and I don't to see "cams" and Blown motor" in the same sentence
Deffinately not the cams fault. Bad install (most likely) or possibly a pre-existing condition that was timed bad. Im betting bad install.
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Old 06-04-2002, 12:08 AM   #15
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Wistful, I think you have a 2.5 engine is this correct??? If so, this engine is e FREEWHEELING engine. which meens you cannot bend valves. I have seen this happen before, what happens is that when the timing belt breaks at higher rpm, the lifters overpressureise and keep the valves slightly open, you just need to replace the broken parts, and the waterpump and get it running, once its running, drive it and it will clear up.

Hope this helps.

Colin
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Old 06-04-2002, 12:20 AM   #16
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I was standing there when the dude did a valve leakdown test. And although I'm not trained and as mechanically well-versed as many of the people on this board, I am pretty sure I heard air flowing through my exhaust. The tech (who had a NICE example of a UrQ) said that I have bent valves in at least one cylinder.

Don
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Old 06-04-2002, 12:46 AM   #17
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I assume that the leak down test was done without a new timing belt in place, which means that the valves on one cylinder could have been kept open by the cam that wasn't turning with the engine. That means that it does not have to be bent valves. It seems like you are having bad luck with your mechanics.

/David
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Old 06-04-2002, 12:49 AM   #18
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I am 99% sure that Subaru motors are interference motors. Thus when a timig belt breaks, your valves bend!
adamsrs
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Old 06-04-2002, 12:50 AM   #19
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I am 99% sure that Subaru motors are interference motors. Thus when a timig belt breaks, your valves bend! My friend has a 97 2.5 GT Legacy and we were simply cruising on the freeway and his belt broke and the car dies right away, like RIGHT AWAY, and all the valves were bent! SOrry bout this DON!
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Old 06-04-2002, 01:41 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by adamsrs
I am 99% sure that Subaru motors are interference motors. Thus when a timig belt breaks, your valves bend! My friend has a 97 2.5 GT Legacy and we were simply cruising on the freeway and his belt broke and the car dies right away, like RIGHT AWAY, and all the valves were bent! SOrry bout this DON!
adamsrs
Not at all. My '88 1800 is non-interference and I have proved that many times (one of the bearing was bad, but nobody noticed).

According to my mechanic all Subaru boxer engines are non-interference While he did say 'all', he could be reffering to the three my familiy owns ('88 1800, '91 2.2l and a '95 2l non-turbo). The fourth is a tiny Subaru Vivio...

Maybe different cams make it an interference engine?

D.
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Old 06-04-2002, 02:24 AM   #21
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In 1997, Subaru motors became INTERFERANCE MOTORS. In '97 they raised compression and reduced friction. Also, if the new cams had increased lift this would further cause the valves to interfere with the pistons.
A '99 Subaru engine has solid lifters, not hydraulic. They will not "overpressureise".

Let's leave the rumours, hearsay, and inuendo to the press and the justice system.
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Old 06-04-2002, 02:59 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by SubyTechMaster
In 1997, Subaru motors became INTERFERANCE MOTORS. In '97 they raised compression and reduced friction. Also, if the new cams had increased lift this would further cause the valves to interfere with the pistons.
A '99 Subaru engine has solid lifters, not hydraulic. They will not "overpressureise".

Let's leave the rumours, hearsay, and inuendo to the press and the justice system.
agreed....and with hydraulic lifters they will tend to lose their oil pressure at high RPM and therefore decrease overall valve lift...this is an install gone wrong, i am sorry to see if but it does happen. As far as the interference part...these are 100% abosolutley interference motors, it's the price you pay for high compression and high valve lift.

jeremy

oh yeah, with higher lift cams your interference becomes that much greater.

and yes was the leakdown done with a new timing belt on ??
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Old 06-04-2002, 10:50 AM   #23
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no.. the new timing belt was NOT in place. but IIRC, (It was 8 in the morning after getting no sleep the night before, my memory might be slightly hazy).. that he DID rotate the cam gear to the point where the exhaust valves should have been closed. TDC, I think its called?

Don
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Old 06-04-2002, 02:37 PM   #24
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that shop owes you some money. Ed's first post calls it like it is-- ignorance about how to properly use the viscous timing belt tensioner is NO excuse!

unfortunately I bet you're going to have to go to court to get any satisfaction. that's not cheap either...
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Old 06-04-2002, 02:51 PM   #25
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Default Re: Cam installation gone BAD!! Blown motor.. now what?

Quote:
Originally posted by wistful
I went to a supposedly well-known tuner to have my cams installed.
Quick Q. Well known and "good" maybe... but how much experience does he have on boxer engines? There's a reason Cobb is the only group out there able to call themselves "experts" on our engines. They're pretty damned unique. You can't treat them like an inline-4. If he thinks eh can transfer his honda knowledge to a subaru engine, he's guilty of negligence. he should have admitted to having little experience on our engines right away. This is, of course, assuming that he does have little experience on our engines and is "well known" to the I4 crowd.

-IggDawg
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