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Old 03-02-2014, 02:26 AM   #1
07STifastashell
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Default Cracked Block After 8k Miles, What Would You Do?

The last year has been a challenging, expensive, and annoying one with my Subaru. One day, it suffered from boost creep on a stage 1 tune and spun a rod bearing. Like so many others out there, I chose to build it bigger and better than before. Coming from the NW, the choice of who I would take it to was obvious: none other than Maxwell Power Services.

Long story short, I ended up with a new stock shortblock and full bolt-on mods with a dom 1.5xtr turbo making around 385whp and torque. 2k miles later, piston #2 and #4 cracked, causing scarring to the bore of 2. We honed it to 99.75 and dropped in JE forged pistons, and retuned the car very, very conservatively.

6k miles later, here we are. I started having MASSIVE oil consumption. In the last 1500 miles, I've gone through about 8 quarts of oil. You heard me correctly, 8 QUARTS OF OIL. Like anyone else would be in my situation, I was extremely concerned. However, I also had no idea what the problem could be as I literally had no other symptoms. I emailed Dom at MPS to try to get ideas. He listed off a number of problems that ranged from a PCV system problem to an overwhelmed turbo not draining fast enough. But then, a few months later, I sent another email and received news that I truly dread.

This is a portion of the email I just got back from him:

"There are only a few things that can cause that kind of oil consumption and most of them don't happen to forged piston engines. The last one however is what I'm guessing were looking at. Sounds to me like you may have an issue with a cracked cylinder that the 704 castings are so plagued with. It turns out the newest 704 casting from Subaru is the weakest and most problematic casting ever offered. Sadly, Subaru isn't offering any warranty on the castings. They are really screwing over everyone in the business who has a prematurely cracked/failed block. First step would be to get a flashlight and shine it down under the intake manifold and look for a number. The possibilities are 701, 702, 703 and 704. Your engine was new enough that it's most likely a 703 or a 704. If it's a 704, then we can probably put money on that being the problem."

I just checked the number, and surely enough, I have a 704 . It has been less than a year since I dumped $12k into this beast, and now the block is more than likely cracked. On top of that, Dom said, "We're closed. I'm moving to Ohio this week and MPS is dissolved and filing bankruptcy. So I doubt we're going to be of much help in the labor department." Not only is my block cracked, but the place that built it can no longer be of service to me to get my situation fixed.

So, my question is, what in the hell would you do if you were in my situation?

TL;DR: Block cracked after 8k miles, MPS is closing down, what the hell should I do?
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Old 03-02-2014, 03:16 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 07STifastashell View Post
The last year has been a challenging, expensive, and annoying one with my Subaru. One day, it suffered from boost creep on a stage 1 tune and spun a rod bearing. Like so many others out there, I chose to build it bigger and better than before. Coming from the NW, the choice of who I would take it to was obvious: none other than Maxwell Power Services.

Long story short, I ended up with a new stock shortblock and full bolt-on mods with a dom 1.5xtr turbo making around 385whp and torque. 2k miles later, piston #2 and #4 cracked, causing scarring to the bore of 2. We honed it to 99.75 and dropped in JE forged pistons, and retuned the car very, very conservatively.

6k miles later, here we are. I started having MASSIVE oil consumption. In the last 1500 miles, I've gone through about 8 quarts of oil. You heard me correctly, 8 QUARTS OF OIL. Like anyone else would be in my situation, I was extremely concerned. However, I also had no idea what the problem could be as I literally had no other symptoms. I emailed Dom at MPS to try to get ideas. He listed off a number of problems that ranged from a PCV system problem to an overwhelmed turbo not draining fast enough. But then, a few months later, I sent another email and received news that I truly dread.

This is a portion of the email I just got back from him:

"There are only a few things that can cause that kind of oil consumption and most of them don't happen to forged piston engines. The last one however is what I'm guessing were looking at. Sounds to me like you may have an issue with a cracked cylinder that the 704 castings are so plagued with. It turns out the newest 704 casting from Subaru is the weakest and most problematic casting ever offered. Sadly, Subaru isn't offering any warranty on the castings. They are really screwing over everyone in the business who has a prematurely cracked/failed block. First step would be to get a flashlight and shine it down under the intake manifold and look for a number. The possibilities are 701, 702, 703 and 704. Your engine was new enough that it's most likely a 703 or a 704. If it's a 704, then we can probably put money on that being the problem."

I just checked the number, and surely enough, I have a 704 . It has been less than a year since I dumped $12k into this beast, and now the block is more than likely cracked. On top of that, Dom said, "We're closed. I'm moving to Ohio this week and MPS is dissolved and filing bankruptcy. So I doubt we're going to be of much help in the labor department." Not only is my block cracked, but the place that built it can no longer be of service to me to get my situation fixed.

So, my question is, what in the hell would you do if you were in my situation?

TL;DR: Block cracked after 8k miles, MPS is closing down, what the hell should I do?
Sell it n buy a new car.
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Old 03-02-2014, 03:35 AM   #3
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I'd be beyond frustrated if I were in your shoes, I feel for you man. Honestly, I'd probably be thinking screw this crap car and crap motor and get out of Subarus completely. The bad thing is you've already got $12K invested, and to replace the block would cost thousands more. If you dumped the car as is, you'd lose a lot of money too. I'd say you're in a pickle.

With under 400 whp, for the new block to crack is really inexcusable...they really don't seem to build them like they used to. I remember quite a few reputable guys quoting 400 whp as doable on the stock motor with the older EJ257s.

One option I'd consider: find a good used motor or block with an older casting #, have it bored out to 99.75, transfer all your internals over and hopefully that's the end of the problems.

Another option: find a used motor, throw it in, go back to stock (if you have all your old parts) and sell the car. You can also sell all of your goodies to recoup some of the losses.

It's really a shame about Dom and MPS. He's done so many great things for the Subaru community with his knowledge and products, not to mention his passion. It goes to show how tough it is to make it in this fickle, specialized Subaru aftermarket.

Last edited by esteve; 03-02-2014 at 03:52 AM.
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Old 03-02-2014, 07:56 AM   #4
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Seems like quite a leap all the way to a cracked cylinder. Even if it did crack would that manifest itself with huge amount of oil consumption or would you have cooling system issues?

Do a leakdown test. See if you get pressure in the cooling system.

Kinda suspicious that the place that built the thing are basically saying "Yeah, something weird and crazy is wrong with your car and, oh, BTW, we're going bankrupt so you're on your own. Bye."

Solution? Well, get it properly diagnosed first, even if that means buying yourself a leakdown tester. Then you can consider your options which may include buying an new SB and turning the wick down a bit...
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Old 03-02-2014, 10:25 AM   #5
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With that kind of consumption you would expect to see tons of smoke out the exhaust. Are you? If not, have you checked for leaks?

Def do a leakdown to confirm. I've heard this 704 casting "stuff" on teh interwebz before and don't know how much stock I place in it.

FHI has cast millions of blocks, pretty sure they've got that down and QC would catch poor castings from bad alloys or temps or whatever, I am sure they use spectro metal analyzers. They are ISO after all The odds of a whole casting series being sht are pretty low. a few here and there that slip through I can fathom, but that would be with any series.


Worst case it is something with the block, go buy a OEM shortblock, toss in some Manley graded pistons and call it a day, should cost about $2500 if you do the work. Then either drive it or sell it and buy a mustang

Last edited by nomoreshanks; 03-02-2014 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 03-02-2014, 10:51 AM   #6
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Wow. My understanding was MPS was a pretty reputable company. Sounds like your situation would say differently.
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Old 03-02-2014, 11:24 AM   #7
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Wow. My understanding was MPS was a pretty reputable company. Sounds like your situation would say differently.
How does this make them unreputable?
MPS announced they were closing back in December, months before the OP's latest email exchange,
If the OP had attempted to fix the engine when it broke months ago,
MPS may have helped, now that they are closed what can they do?

We also still don't even know what is wrong with the engine, we are just reading dom's latest idea to the OP, months after his initial inquiry.
So Dom is still trying to help him figure it out,
its a tough situation and poor timing,
not anything dishonest as you have implied
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Old 03-02-2014, 11:25 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by So-Ofxt View Post
How does this make them unreputable? MPS announced they were closing back in December, months before the OP's latest email exchange, If the OP had attempted to fix the engine when it broke months ago, MPS may have helped, now that they are closed what can they do? We also still don't even know what is wrong with the engine, we are just reading dom's latest idea to the OP, months after his initial inquiry. So Dom is still trying to help him figure it out, its a tough situation and poor timing, not anything dishonest as you have implied
You are 100% correct. I spoke w Dom and he told me why he's going to ohio
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Old 03-02-2014, 12:29 PM   #9
07STifastashell
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You are 100% correct. I spoke w Dom and he told me why he's going to ohio
I agree. He has an actual reason for moving that doesn't have anything to do with MPS. I didn't add that extra info about MPS closing to try to say that they're being dishonest in any way, I added it to say that this is *****ty timing and that it sucks.

Also, I see what people are saying about the casting series and the likelihood of that happening, but Dom is super experienced and said that in the last two years, that 4 engines he's built with the 704 casting series have gotten prematurely cracked blocks for what seemed like no reason at all.

A couple thousand miles ago, I was having a misfire in one cylinder because my Ignition coil went out in cylinder 2. Anyways, AWD Auto did a compression test in just that cylinder at the time to diagnose and they said compression was somewhat low for that cylinder, but I know it doesn't really mean a whole lot without numbers for the other ones, too. They might have down a leak down test too, not 100% sure.

Lastly, no leaks. That's for sure. I can smell when it's burning oil, and yes, there is a decent amount of smoke out of the exhaust when it does so. Makes my whole trunk/rear bumper coated with black specks.
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Old 03-02-2014, 01:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by So-Ofxt View Post
How does this make them unreputable?
MPS announced they were closing back in December, months before the OP's latest email exchange,
If the OP had attempted to fix the engine when it broke months ago,
MPS may have helped, now that they are closed what can they do?

We also still don't even know what is wrong with the engine, we are just reading dom's latest idea to the OP, months after his initial inquiry.
So Dom is still trying to help him figure it out,
its a tough situation and poor timing,
not anything dishonest as you have implied
Thanks for clearing it up. I went back and re read it and saw where I was confused.
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Old 03-02-2014, 02:27 PM   #11
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There are two types of cracks typical with Subaru blocks. The first is the most famous. That's the entire fracture that combines the coolant system and the cylinder. That's crack #1 as shown on this photo.
The cracks that I've seen a lot more of, with respect to the 704's, is crack #2. Is a small crack near the top of the cylinder which is just large enough to unseat the compression rings at the top of the cylinder. During a compression test it only shows a small reduction in compression, but when running it bleeds off a lot of combustion forces into the crankcase. How it increases oil consumption I haven't quite figured out. Possibly increasing PCV pressure to the point where oil gets ingested via the intake or past the turbo seals...

Regardless, those are the cracks that I suspect are plaguing the OP.
There are other other options:

1.Piston damage. Forged pistons tend to fare a little better than non forged pistons, but that's not beyond the realm of possibilities.

2.Cylinder damage: Repeated misfires from a bad coil pack can wash down a cylinder, remove the oil lubricating it and cause scoring and poor oil control ring seal. I suppose if he pulls whatever cylinder had the bad coil pack and that plug is covered in oil residue then it's possible that his previous bad coil pack damaged the cylinder.

As I stated, I'm not in a position to provide any labor help. I'm in the middle of a move to Ohio.
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Old 03-02-2014, 02:45 PM   #12
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Interesting, I wonder what's causing these cracks? Different supplier, Subaru going cheap with manufacturing,...?

With the older motors, I've never heard of cracked cylinders at these power levels. Quite a few people were even running 400 whp on the stocks pistons (quite possibly on borrowed time but at least for some time nonetheless).
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Old 03-02-2014, 02:48 PM   #13
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My money is on ring wash. Although it would have to be pretty bad with that kind of burn rate. Only one way to find out op....
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Old 03-02-2014, 04:12 PM   #14
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Still not clear to me how this results in the engine consuming 8 quarts of oil in 1500 miles with, as the OP said, "no other symptoms."

With cracks like those I would expect the engine to be going through coolant and/or pressurizing the cooling jackets to the point hoses would pop.
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Old 03-02-2014, 05:45 PM   #15
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Sell it n buy a new car.

we got us a winn4r here
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Old 03-02-2014, 07:01 PM   #16
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One possible explanation for cracking on the newer blocks could be core shift combined with bore locations being out of blueprint spec. The new EJ20 blocks I've been doing lately have been way off. Some would not even clean at .5mm if they were bored on the blueprint. Core shift has always been an issue, with the oe sleeve thickness varying a ton due to it. These have been my EJ20 observations, not EJ25 but they have the same blueprint.
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Old 03-03-2014, 03:51 PM   #17
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Car is now at AWD Auto. Will have a diagnosis in about 4 hours. One tech noted how he thought it was crazy that the cylinder bores were honed and not sleeved after. Said there's no way this could possibly be a reliable set up with this amount of power. From everything that's happened thus far, I'm inclined to agree with him.
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Old 03-03-2014, 05:07 PM   #18
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AWD Auto is a great shop, best of luck with everything, its a very unpleasant situation to be in. Is there any warranty on the engine that was build?
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Old 03-03-2014, 05:22 PM   #19
07STifastashell
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Originally Posted by WaitTheresMore View Post
AWD Auto is a great shop, best of luck with everything, its a very unpleasant situation to be in. Is there any warranty on the engine that was build?
Hey thanks, much appreciated. Yes, I agree, AWD Auto has done a great job on everything I've been there for.

Absolutely no warranty from Subaru on the short block if that's what you're asking. Of course, any shop would take responsibility for something going wrong with their build if it was their own fault, but this can't be proved as negligent work on the builder's part or anything.
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Old 03-03-2014, 07:02 PM   #20
07STifastashell
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Results are in. Spark plug on #2 was flooded with oil. Compression numbers: 138 120 140 123. Leak down: 0 20% 0 0. Needs new short block. ****.
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Old 03-03-2014, 07:12 PM   #21
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damn dude.... the engine is ****ed.... is the block cracked?
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Old 03-03-2014, 07:16 PM   #22
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And still I wonder how a cracked cylinder leads to a cylinder being "flooded" with oil.

Do you have coolant in the oil (milkshake on the dipstick)?
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Old 03-03-2014, 07:20 PM   #23
07STifastashell
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Not spending the money to take apart the block, but it's most likely a crack in cylinder #2. No coolant in oil, oil looks and feels completely normal.
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Old 03-04-2014, 03:05 AM   #24
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Cylinder #4 seems low on compression but it has 0% leakage? That's interesting.
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Old 03-05-2014, 09:32 PM   #25
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Cylinder #4 seems low on compression but it has 0% leakage? That's interesting.
This is unusual
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