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Old 04-22-2004, 09:57 AM   #1
Bmax
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Default Engine Pinging

I was wondering if any other Forester owners have ever experienced engine knock and ping? I have a 2004 Forester X (the non-turbo one) with just 12,000 miles on it. Of course, I have serviced it and treated it well, and I love the car. However, it has had a pinging problem since about 4000 miles. At first, I tried switching to 89 octane "plus" - that seemed to help somewhat, but the pinging noise come back. Recently, I filled up using 93 octane "super", and the pinging went away for a day and is now back again (although much less pronounced). I told the dealer about this problem last time I was in for an oil change, and they said that normally the computer corrects for this (duh) and said they'd never heard of anything like this. As usual their response doesn't help fix what's wrong. I just wanted to know why my brand new car pings like a 1977 thunderbird!

Any ideas or suggestions greatly appreciated.

P.S. Love the forum!
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Old 04-22-2004, 10:46 AM   #2
Bobshere
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Near San Francisco
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2004 Forester 2.5 XT
White

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I wouldn't accept a ping. It is hurting your engine. Put your concerns in writing. I'll bet the dealer isn't going to put "ping is no problem" in writing

Get it fixed!!! Your car's computer should be adjusting itself to get rid of that ping (it automatically dials back engine timing). Unless the gas you're putting in is of such low quality that the ECU can't handle it.

Try a different brand at a different gas station. Try Premium, if that works, go down a grade, etc.

But, in any event, get it fixed!! It's going to get worse as Summer heat comes in.

Bob

PS: To make sure it's ping put it in a high gear (too high) and go up a big hill for a while. If you're pinging you will definitely hear it then.
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Old 04-22-2004, 04:14 PM   #3
SCutchins
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Location: Centreville, VA
Vehicle:
2004 Forester XT
Cayenne Red Pearl

Default Same gas station?

My old roommate's truck had this happen to him, it ended up being that he got bad gas from Racetrack for two tanks in a row. If you switched stations then there might be some residue in the tank, couldn't hurt to run some fuel system cleaner through (I recently tried Redline in my wife's Jetta and it actually did a very good job.)

I am sure I will get flamed for suggesting fuel system cleaner, but believe it or not her Jetta actually idled better.
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Old 04-23-2004, 01:04 AM   #4
Bmax
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Default

Thanks for the replies. Yes I have tried switching gas stations, brands, and different octane grades. Let me just clarify the noise. It's not constant, only every once in a while. Mostly occurs going uphill or re-acclerating from say 20-55 mph. It's most noticeable right after shifts.

I like Bob's idea of putting it into a higher gear - but it's an automatic.

I guess the fuel system cleaner couldn't hurt, but the manual advises against it.

I'd like to get it fixed, but isn't that going to require a valve job/overhaul? I barely trust the dealer enough to do an oil change much less major engine work.

I hate to say it, but I'm starting to lose my faith in the quality of the boxer engine

Any suggestions?
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Old 04-23-2004, 08:40 AM   #5
Corkfish
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Are you sure it's detonation? My XT makes a pinging noise on acceleration, but it's wastegate flutter, not detonation.
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Old 04-23-2004, 11:46 AM   #6
swingkid
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Location: Dublin, Ca
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04 Forester XT
Porsche 914 w. suby six

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My forester pings too. I first noticed it after the first 1000 miles, and I have about 10k now. I know what waste gate flutter sounds like, and that is easily reproduceable. This is definatly ping, I generally hear it at full throttle and sometimes going up hills. Pinging lasts for less than two seconds, and I usually hear about 5 pings in that time. Of course the dealership could never reproduce it. I went with the mechanic on the road test; he never gave it more than half throttle so of course he says everything is normal.

He said some ping is normal on the highway at full throttle. His explination is the car pushes the timing for fuel economy when at highway speeds. Its supposed to knock a little bit. At least thats the bs story I got

Last edited by swingkid; 04-23-2004 at 11:56 AM.
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Old 04-23-2004, 04:07 PM   #7
rjp98outlook
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Your car should definately not be audibly pinging. As the other posters said, the ECU should correct this. The ECU measures ping using a signal from the knock sensor on top of the engine. It should be retarding the timing as necessary to make the ping stop. Since yours still pings (and its a new car) I'd say you have a problem with this control loop. Perhaps it is a simple as replacing the knock sensor ($65 or 95 at dealer, easy install). However you must be fully under waranty with a new car. So why get greasy? Pinging (detonation) is deadly to the engine. By all means get it fixed.
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Old 04-23-2004, 04:40 PM   #8
swingkid
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04 Forester XT
Porsche 914 w. suby six

Default

yea, thats what Im saying... but no matter how many times I take it to the dealer, they say its normal. The ping does only last for about 2 seconds, the ecu does retard the timing (at least the ping goes away). Im guessing the algorithm the ecu uses waits for ping then retards the timing to keep the engine on the hairy edge of maximum advance. It does this constantly. So Im always hearing these 2 second episodes of ping.
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Old 04-23-2004, 05:06 PM   #9
Corkfish
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Another alternative is to get the Cobb Access Tuner when it comes out. I'd be willing to bet that it might rectify any problems while also enhancing performance.
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Old 04-26-2004, 08:43 AM   #10
rjp98outlook
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If you have (or borrow) a scantool, it would be interesting to monitor and log the ignition timing as you experience this momentary pinging. I am not 100% sure, but I think the ignition timing output on the OBD2 port is total timing (meaning any retard due to knock signal is included in the number). Unfortunately, you can not directly measure the knock signal without a Subaru Select Monitor (If someone out there knows of an alternate way to see this, please let me know). I would drive the car until you experience this, then look at the log file of timing and see if there was a moment when the timing was abruptly retarded corresponding to the time when you heard the knock. This would confirm if the reason it only lasted 2 seconds was in fact due to the ECU responding to knock and retarding the timing. I still think it could be a faulty knock sensor, perhaps permitting too much knock before producing enough of a signal to activate the retard until it is audibly pinging. But this is just a guess. Also check that it it torgued down properly to the block so as to conduct knock vibrations effectively to its crystal.

BTW: I got my scan tool from BR (see the BAT auto website) for about 80 bucks. It is a little box that plugs into my laptop's serial port. The software is downloaded free. It works very well and I recommend it.
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