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Old 10-09-2004, 02:29 AM   #1
gtwagon941
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Default Noob-like question on valves/heads...please educate

Ok, so after a CEL last week my mechanic informs me today that he finally has figured out the reason for a misfire on #3--It is just starting to burn a valve in #1, which is essentially causing that side to run really lean, as I understand it.

So here is the question:

I know that the valve needs to be replaced and I am under the impression that the heads do to, but I don't really know enough to be sure. I'm trying to learn, but without an engine and a teacher in front of me, it is a bit difficult. What exactly does this entail??? How much do you think it should cost?? (I heard $300 for the valve itself) and finally, at this stage are there any internal "mods" that I could do without breaking the bank. I mean, since the labor issue is going to happen no matter what, and I have to buy new "stuff" is there new and BETTER stuff I should get for more power??

Thanks so much to all of the engine gurus that are going to help me see the light. (kinda funny that I feel the most clueless about my car the day after I attain 'Specialist' status)

Jared
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Old 10-09-2004, 12:40 PM   #2
fastenova
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Are you doing the work yourself? Intake valves are $7 a pop for the 2.5L from Auburn Subaru (www.1stsubaruparts.com). Since you're tearing the heads off, I'd make sure to take it to a machine shop and have them check everything out. I'd suggest getting a valve grind done, and also readjusting your valves, if applicable. Replace any worn springs/valves/guides, and put all new valve stem seals in.

As far as performance, there are several options. You can purchase new heads from Cobb Tuning (http://cobbtuning.com/legacy/). Their entry level head set has better airflow and performance oriented cams. I have not had any experience myself with Cobb, but I hear very good things about them.

You can also purchase individual components from Cobb. There are other tuners out there. You can also do things like port/polish your heads if you're going to be doing a lot of work in the future. You may also look into doing a head swap from another legacy. I've heard of people putting the top end of another engine (WRX?) onto the Legacy because of better durability/performance.

I recently lost two head gaskets, and I did all the labor myself minus machine work. It was about $285 for shop work (pressure test, resurface, valve grind, valve adjustment) and roughly $400 - $450 for parts, including new water pump, engine gasket set, battery, plugs, synthetic fluids, etc. plus a few tools I didn't have.

If you were going to have a shop do it, and only do one side... I'd guess around $800+ for the work, without a valve grind.

If you're willing to do it yourself, you could do it in a week or two including machine shop time. Not too bad of a project.

Good luck!
-A
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Old 10-09-2004, 01:52 PM   #3
Patrick Olsen
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You shouldn't need to replace the head for a burned up exhaust valve. I burned one up on #2 and although I ended up replacing the heads (did the Cobb option while everything was going to be apart) the "bad" one that came off was perfectly fine - it just needed a new valve.

Pat Olsen
'97 Legacy 2.5GT sedan
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Old 10-09-2004, 02:39 PM   #4
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gtwagon941- If you're in need to replacing one valve; you might as well get some head work done as well as a upgraded set of cams. You're going to have to pay for labour anyways of removing the heads, re-doing the cam timing, remachining the valve seat if required, removing the stock cam.

You may want to consider looking at Tech Works Engineering's cams, or even heads for that matter. iON Performance also offers heads, cams etc.
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Old 10-10-2004, 03:28 PM   #5
gtwagon941
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Well, thanks for the advice everyone. I understand that while the engine is "dismantled" it makes sense to take advantage, but I simply don't have an extra 2 grand to put into this engine. Unfortunatley, I don't have the knowledge to do this myself, and even though I probably could work my way through it I simply can't afford that much down time, as I really have no back up vehicle.

That said, what do you think the fees are for a port/polish?? Is is worth while to do this with no other "upgrades"?? I'm really a rookie with this situation, so please advise as much as possible.

Jared
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Old 10-11-2004, 01:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtwagon941
Well, thanks for the advice everyone. I understand that while the engine is "dismantled" it makes sense to take advantage, but I simply don't have an extra 2 grand to put into this engine. Unfortunatley, I don't have the knowledge to do this myself, and even though I probably could work my way through it I simply can't afford that much down time, as I really have no back up vehicle.

That said, what do you think the fees are for a port/polish?? Is is worth while to do this with no other "upgrades"?? I'm really a rookie with this situation, so please advise as much as possible.

Jared

Anyone out there???

Jared
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Old 10-11-2004, 11:05 PM   #7
Patrick Olsen
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Your best bet would be to talk to a local machine shop about that. The cost to P&P a set of heads is going to vary from place to place. There are very few places that have any sort of experience specifically dealing with Subaru heads, so I'm not even sure I would bother with a local machine shop. Either pay the big bucks for a "proven" shop to do it (Cobb, TWE), or just don't mess with it until you have the money to afford better.

Pat
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Old 10-23-2004, 09:11 AM   #8
Charlie-III
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Get a 3 or 5 angle valve job when it is apart.

Get cams if you can afford it.

Skip the P&P until you have other mods done. It is a bunch of money and won't help much until you have an intake, headers and cat back.

Oh, BTW, COBB has a core charge for most of their parts as well as a long lead time. So call and check first. I have been down that road before.
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Old 10-23-2004, 04:54 PM   #9
gtwagon941
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What does a 3 or 5 angle do??

Man, I'm going to be happy when I get a "loaner" vehicle arranged so that I can get this thing fixed. It isn't driving very nice and it is using a LOT of fuel.

Jared
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Old 10-23-2004, 05:09 PM   #10
Patrick Olsen
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FWIW, when I started to burn up a valve on #2, I just unplugged the fuel injector and spark plug on that cylinder. I didn't do that initially - the car was throwing a CEL for months before the problem really became obvious. I was getting a periodic CEL, and each time I had the dealer read it it was #2 misfire. They could only speculate what was causing it, but one of their guesses was that I was burning up a valve. Finally, after a few months of this, one day I guess it finally burned through big time. The exhaust note from the headers became really horrible, and the car was noticeably down on power. At that point I figured that cylinder was dead, so rather than dumping fuel into it that wasn't going to burn properly, I just "killed" #2 by unplugging everything. I drove around on 3 cylinders for a few weeks before I could finally get the car in to get it fixed.

Pat
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Old 10-23-2004, 05:09 PM   #11
Patrick Olsen
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Oh, a 3 or 5 angle valve job just optimizes the air flow around the valve and into the cylinder. It's more a fine tuning thing, and by itself probably won't do too much for you. Doing it now, while the heads are off, will just allow you to spread the cost out a bit over time until you can afford to take the next step.

Pat
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Old 10-23-2004, 05:58 PM   #12
Charlie-III
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To add to Pat's description of the 3 or 5 angle valve job, the ideal (for airflow) going from the intake port into the combustion chamber is a nice radius. Problem is that this is bad for the valve face to seal against. So.......they do multiple angles to "simulate" the radius, just with lots of little flat areas.
3 angle job is bigger flats, 5 angle is smaller flats and more gradual.
20 angle would be better, but you probably will have a hard time finding even a 5 angle.

[sidenote, the valve wants a flat surface to seal against for 2 reasons.
1-Better seal so you don't lose compression
2-Better heat transfer from the valve to the head during combustion, this is a good thing]

Does this help?

Oh, and if you are getting valves done, spend a bit more for the 3 or 5 angle part.

Last edited by Charlie-III; 10-24-2004 at 08:13 AM.
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Old 10-24-2004, 01:38 AM   #13
gtwagon941
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I guess it helps, but I don't have as comlete of knowledge of the internal workings of a combustion engine as I would like...but I'm learning

How much money are we talking about for this extra work, roughly??

I'm interested in modding the car, and I have a bit with Borla headers, K&N panel and Magnecore wires as really the only significant additions. I plan on a catback of some sort and maybe a pulley, but I realize that at this point in my life (23 year old saving for the future I'm not going to put a LOT of cash into this thing to try and eek every last pony out of it.

How big of benefit is this work?? HP wise.

Jared
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Old 10-24-2004, 08:16 AM   #14
Charlie-III
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtwagon941
I guess it helps, but I don't have as comlete of knowledge of the internal workings of a combustion engine as I would like...but I'm learning

How much money are we talking about for this extra work, roughly??

How big of benefit is this work?? HP wise.

Jared
Specifying the 3 or 5 angle should not add more than $20(?) to the job.
Port matching/polishing can add $100+.
Full port job can add several hundred.

With your current state of mods, you won't get a lot of HP increase for any of the above. BUT, when you start adding headers, catback, intake and even cams it all adds up.
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Old 10-24-2004, 01:09 PM   #15
gtwagon941
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ok, one more question:

Am I asking for a 3 angle valve job OR a 5 angle valve job OR a 3 or 5 angle job.

And now the inevtible: if it is one of the first two, which one?

Jared

PS: I have some headers now. Best $100 I think I've spent...
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Old 10-24-2004, 01:15 PM   #16
Charlie-III
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A 3 angle valve job is a nice start, a 5 angle valve job is better, but not all shops can/will do them.

Ask for prices for each. Better would be to ask for a "valve job price", then ask for the 3 or 5 angle valve job and compare prices.

If they ask "What do you mean?", run away, real fast.
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Old 10-24-2004, 03:47 PM   #17
gtwagon941
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I'm not at all worried about them not knowing what I mean. This is a mechanic that spends his free time putting together jdm rhd sti front clips and making a USDM L into a beast. Next up is the USDM 2.5 into that L. Anyways, I will ask about this and post back.

Charlie, thank you.

Jared
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Old 10-24-2004, 10:16 PM   #18
Charlie-III
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gtwagon, no problem..

Also look here: http://www.wrxforum.com/cgi-bin/ulti...174;p=1#000000
for more on the topic.

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Old 10-25-2004, 04:51 PM   #19
gtwagon941
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Great links!

I talked with my mechanic today and the car will "go under the knife" starting next Monday. It will have a 3 angle valve job. He doesn't have the machinery to do the 5 angle and in his opinion it is not really necessary except for race level vehicles. Either way, 3 it is. I'm excited about getting my car back and having a motor that will be "like new," but maybe even better than new.

Jared
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Old 10-25-2004, 06:28 PM   #20
Charlie-III
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Have fun, and glad you liked the links.

BTW, I am on both forums. But, I guess you figured it out.
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Old 11-11-2004, 05:31 PM   #21
gtwagon941
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Well,

After 1 full week in the shop (mechanic got behind a bit) my car is out. Here is the laundry list of what I had done:

3 angle valve job (and nec. seals)
Replace headgaskets
Resurface heads
reshim valves
seals
timing belt
water pump
thermostat
flushed antifreeze
thow out bearing
clutch disk

That's all.

Turns out two of the valves weren't seating right and were starting to burn (unfortunately I didn't ask to keep the parts after he showed em to me). Also, ALL of them were tight. Apparantly this is a common problem. Also, they showed me the HGs and one of them was partially blow and the other was working on it. So, the timing of all of this work couldn't have been better.

My car idles SOOOOOO much nicer now and doesn't have the stupid stutter it had when it went in (misfires)

So, I figure I've got a motor that is set to go a good 75k more (at 120K now) and it is time to make it nicer. I was hesitant to put money into for mods because of fear of the HG issue, but I feel better about it now.

Jared
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Old 11-11-2004, 08:14 PM   #22
Charlie-III
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Thanks for the update.
Any better performance feel?
Happy you own a Legacy GT wagon now??
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Old 11-11-2004, 11:06 PM   #23
gtwagon941
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It is kind of hard for me to say if I noticed a performance difference since the car was running sooo poorly when it went in. I think it may be a bit better. I haven't really gotten into it much yet, even though I know it is ok to, I'm just not hammering quite yet. I'm working on completing my exhaust with a catback of some sort. I'm leaning towards a custom job with a Magnaflow muff. Anyways, thanks to everyone for the suggestions/ideas on this, especially CharlieIII.

Jared
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Old 11-12-2004, 01:14 AM   #24
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how much did this run you?
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Old 11-12-2004, 01:54 AM   #25
gtwagon941
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right around $1300.

seemed pretty normal to me, plus I know that the quality is top notch. "the book" says that the valves/head gaskets should take far fewer hours then my mechanic takes, because he wants to make sure everything is perfect (although I don't think that he charges for more time)

Jared
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