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Old 10-06-2004, 05:21 PM   #1
300blueballs
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Thumbs down Deep puddles + STi = HEADGASKET LEAK!! Need some suggestions for stronger motor ;)

I was driving down to the East Coast shootout meet in PA. The night before I had to drive though Hurricane Ivan (I'm not sure of the name. I know it starts with an "i"). Anyway Central PA has the worse drainage system I've ever seen. Streets turned to lakes, 1st floors of houses were 1/2 submerged in water, the visibility in the rain was like 10 feet. It was awful...

So I ended up having to drive though a 2 foot puddle and ingested some water. Car started to hiccup and stutter pretty bad. I went easy on it and parked at the hotel. Next way the car was fine but at the track the engine temp started shooting up after the first couple of runs. Still managed to get 2nd place at the end of the day whic was cool... but only to later find out that I have a headgasket leak (not cool). It was diagnosed at the dealership via an Air Tester that checks for exhaust fumes in your coolant.


BTW, the car drives fine. The only noticable sign is the heat will shut off for a minute or less randomly. Happens about 25% of the time at idle. No white smoke out the tailpipe. My coolant is slowly disappearing and the coolant resevoir fills up (due to the exhaust gases in the cooling system). My oil level is also slowly going down. (Car is not being driven right now. Sits in the driveway until I get the parts)

Now I have some questions about what I should order. What are the effects of ingesting H20? Hopefully it is just the gaskets that need replacing. Does anyone know from PERSONAL experience it anything else in the engine may have been damaged?? Pistons, rings, etc...??

I have friends at the dealership who will do all the work on it. They basically gave me a list of what I should buy:

-Gaskets for the:
intake, cam, valvecover, head

-Better headstuds

Question 1: Am I missing anything here on my list of parts. Anything else I need to worry about?

Question 2: Does anyone recommend a company that makes BEEFIER gaskets and headstuds for us?? (I will be upgrading the turbo soon)

Question 3: I may just go and buy forged pistons/rings since the motor will be pulled. Who makes the best quality pistons for this car?

Question 4: I may also prep the car for the addition of a ported FP Green. Any other recommendations to beef up my internals to hold that kind of power?


Links or names of companies who I can buy this stuff from would be great.
If anyone has any tips I'd really appreciate it!!!!!!!
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Old 10-06-2004, 05:44 PM   #2
8Complex

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Hydrolocking is when it is hard/impossible for the engine to compress the water that it has ingested. It causes bent/broken rods, possibly bent valves. It contaminates the oil, and (though I haven't heard of it happening) could possibly damage bearings if run too hard/long with too high of a concentration of water in the oil. I doubt this is the case as it sounds like it didn't die on you, just bogged.

ARP makes studs, but I don't know about beefier gaskets.

Talk to Axis Power Racing for a set of CP pistons. I'm yet to hear a bad thing about CP's, and Ron@Axis is a really good guy. He can hook you up with other motor parts, as well.
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Old 10-06-2004, 06:51 PM   #3
evilution
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Just for curiocity's sake check and see if your radiator fan fuses are blown.

I ran through like 10" of water one day when we had a flash flood and my car overheated 2 days later when i was stuck in traffic because my fuses were blown.
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Old 10-06-2004, 07:32 PM   #4
WRX Jim
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ive never heard of a headgasket leaking due to water
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Old 10-06-2004, 10:36 PM   #5
KGreb
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We get a lot of deep water and floods in the Houston area. I've seen a lot of swamped motors, but never one that had a headgasket failure. Its more common to kill the electricals. Check your block though -- hot motor + cold water can result in a cracked or warped block if you're very unlucky
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Old 10-07-2004, 01:05 AM   #6
300blueballs
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My radiator fans are definately working. When the car starts to overheat, if I keep the revs past 2500, the coolant starts to circulate and I get heat out of the vents. Nothing that I can see is wrong with the electrical system. The only reason I am blaming the water as a source of the problem is because the next day at the track I started having those problems. I was actually driving the car around for 3 weeks after it happened. Only symptoms are that I am still getting are air in the cooling system and losing some oil.

I don't know why I have a headgasket leak. I have not physically checked it yet, but like I said, I am getting exhaust fumes in my coolant which means headgasket leak most of the time, right? I mean the car is running well so the chances of my block being cracked are not likely.....i hope...

But then I did run it at the track hard. Maybe just running the car hard caused a leak, but it's a very unlikely coincidence that it would happen the day after the car swallowed a bunch of water which has nothing to do with the leak, IMO. Ive also auto-x'ed and tracked my car multiple times before this and never had a problem.

Last edited by 300blueballs; 10-07-2004 at 01:11 AM.
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Old 10-07-2004, 07:27 AM   #7
nixter
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Exclamation Extreme Temp Drop

I think that when the heads are submerged in water with the engine fully warmed up, the extreme temp differential could possibly cause the heads to warp, especially if one half is suddenly cooled.
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Old 10-07-2004, 12:43 PM   #8
Silver_Fox
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i dont think so....look at rallye cars in and out of water all the time. if motors were that fragile youd see cracked heads and blocks every time you hit any puddle that tossed water up on the motor.

what i think its more likely is that the motor ingested some water and popped the HG instead of hydrolocking or sending a rod through the block, which can happen depending on the amount of water etc etc.
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Old 10-07-2004, 01:08 PM   #9
_Ai_
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Though I have never personally lost a gasket due to hydrolocking on any of my vehicles, many head gasket failures are due to inordinately high cylinder pressure (spikes from detonation... incompressable fluids...), so I could see that happening.

One important note, anytime you even suspect you've lost a head gasket, DO NOT DRIVE THE CAR. I would at minimum have an oil analysis done & see how much bearing material is in the oil currently - many spin bearings. The other issue is heat, there's not many things you can do to an aluminum head thats worse than overheating it. Many heads will soften after being pushed into the 300degF range. That's part of the reason you see so many people continue to have head gasket failures after the initial failure. It's possible to band-aid localized soft spots where the extent of the overheating may have been marginal, but to reheat-treat a cylinder head typically requires every machined surface to be re-machined. If the head is softened to that point, we'll typically toss it unless it has more than ~$8k into it.

That's my experience anyhow, YMMV & I'm a 'better safe than sorry' pessimist.
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Old 10-07-2004, 04:08 PM   #10
maestro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver_Fox
i dont think so....look at rallye cars in and out of water all the time. if motors were that fragile youd see cracked heads and blocks every time you hit any puddle that tossed water up on the motor.

what i think its more likely is that the motor ingested some water and popped the HG instead of hydrolocking or sending a rod through the block, which can happen depending on the amount of water etc etc.
Agreed. I've blown a headgasket before, and there was no discernable loss of power or any other noticeable performance side-effects, just a little oil slick in the coolant overflow tank.
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Old 10-08-2004, 02:34 AM   #11
frankramo777
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basic rule of hydraulics is that liquid is incompressable
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Old 10-08-2004, 07:26 PM   #12
wrxsubaru
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro
Agreed. I've blown a headgasket before, and there was no discernable loss of power or any other noticeable performance side-effects, just a little oil slick in the coolant overflow tank.
Just had one blow on a 1gen legacy, and it really hasent lost power. The way i found out was when it started to run warmer becasue it pushed water out of the radiator and out throught the resivor.

Some fluids are compresible just not that much. Water compreses around one milimeter at the bottom of the ocean, depending on depth.
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