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Old 01-23-2013, 03:09 AM   #1
LightningLemke
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Default 03 WRX misfire after cold start.

Hi all,

I am currently having some misfire issues on my 2003 WRX sedan. It started misfiring after a day of skiing where my car had sat for outside for about 6 hours with temps around 10*F ( nothing it hasnít done before). I had started driving for around 5 minutes when my check engine light started flashing and I pulled over. I wasnít able to figure anything out on the side of the road so I drove the remaining 15 min home. As I was driving home I noticed that the check engine light would stop flashing intermittently for no apparent reason. It didnít seem to have anything to do with rpm or throttle position, not that I went WOT at any point but still.

Update:
Compression test results performed while engine was warm (after roughly 10 min of running)

Cyl# 1: 150, 150
Cyl# 2: 27, 27
Cyl# 3: 150, 150
Cyl# 4: 150, 150

After I got home I pulled the code with my accesport (I have been stage 2 for about 1500 miles but the engine has about 135,000 miles on it). Misfire on Cyl 2. Current mods are catless TBE and flash to stage 2.

I changed plugs and oil and started it up but sure enough, 5 minutes after cold start, it started misfiring again. Next I swapped coil packs with Cyl #4 and tried started it again with no change in location or time for misfire to occur. The fuel filter was next to be changed and now after 5 minutes at idle both Cyl #2 and #4 are misfiring. When it starts up it appears to idle fine but as the rpm drops it gets progressively more uneven and shakes the whole car until it almost dies.

Right now Iím pretty well stumped as to what it could be with the symptoms I have and could use some help. I almost think it would be something temp sensitive as it occurs after warming up for a short time but I have no idea what it could be.

Here are some pictures I took that could possibly help figure something out.

This is one of the spark plugs that I pulled after I got home. All four looked like this one. Whitish/brownish chalky looking.



After unsuccesfully trying to fix my issue I pulled the plugs again to examine them. This is the plug from Cyl #2.



And Cyl #4. Before it started misfiring and throwing a code.



Cyl #1,3 both came out without any gunk or residue on them.

The following pictures are may not necessarily help but I feel they could be of use.

This is the turbo inlet, Grime coating the compressor housing



This is just below the compressor housing, on the engine block. As you can see, there is a lot of grime/gunk build up all over the passenger side of the engine.



If you would like to see larger pictures or pictures of other parts of the engine bay please let me know. If you have any suggestions please let me know. I need to get my car back up and running properly as soon as possible.

Thank you,

-Luke
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Last edited by LightningLemke; 01-23-2013 at 08:10 PM.
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:06 AM   #2
P.Huynh
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Hello Luke,

I'm having some misfiring issues myself and currently trying to fix it.

So currently your vehicle only misfires at cold starts? When it warms up let say 10-15 minutes your vehicle have no misfiring issues?

Since you recently changed your plugs, did you check or gapped your plugs? I believe gap spec for this car is .028 - .032?

Before you go ahead and start throwing more money into it. I would suggest you to check that everything is grounded correctly (no corrosion/ loose connection) Then I would attempt to clean out your MAF sensor and see if the connection is good.

And as far as your plugs, you can refer to this: http://www.gnttype.org/techarea/engine/plugs.html

By the look of your plugs, I would attempt to swap the injectors also to see what you get.

Good luck.

Last edited by P.Huynh; 01-23-2013 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:18 PM   #3
LightningLemke
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It continues to misfire after the 5min but I haven't run it too long after it starts to misfire, other than when I had to drive it home. I am under the impression that running the car while it is misfiring is not good for the engine and would be better to shut it down. Is this not the case? Would I not cause any damage by running a car while it is misfiring?

The plugs should be about .030. They are NGK irdium plugs purchased from oriely auto parts.

Thank you for the advice. I will try to check the grounding points later today.

-Luke
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:13 PM   #4
P.Huynh
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It depends on what kind of misfire it is. But yes it is best to shut it down if it is misfiring.

I just thought that it only misfired when it is cold and stops when it warms up. Well now I know that's not the case.

One more thing.. did you clear the dtcs before you swap the coils? Since you stated that it only misfired on cyl#2 and when you swapped it with coil cyl#4 you had misfire codes for those 2 cylinders. Just make sure you clear it so it's not showing you some stored codes.
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Old 01-23-2013, 04:03 PM   #5
04wrxhart
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Let the engine get to the point where it starts missing then do a compression test
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:10 PM   #6
boosted25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 04wrxhart View Post
Let the engine get to the point where it starts missing then do a compression test
Or just do the test. Would show a pressure variance between cylinders either way.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:03 PM   #7
LightningLemke
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 04wrxhart View Post
Let the engine get to the point where it starts missing then do a compression test
Alright, I managed to get the compression test done. Here are the results. I tested each cylinder twice. Engine had been running for roughly 10 min before the test so it had warmed up substantially.

Cyl# 1: 150, 150
Cyl# 2: 27, 27
Cyl# 3: 150, 150
Cyl# 4: 150, 150

Where to from here? What could the causes be of that low of compression in 1 cylinder but misfiring in 2? Head gasket? Piston rings/ring lands? Valves staying open?

I have a Ver.8 long block sitting in another bugeye chassis but I don't really have a clue as to it's condition.

This kinda sucks though lol.

Thank you for the suggestion.

-Luke

Last edited by LightningLemke; 01-23-2013 at 09:11 PM. Reason: added info
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:51 PM   #8
Ryan02gts
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Hey Luke,
Sounds like a type A misfire (flashing CEL), meaning it is happening frequently enough to cause your cats to burn up pretty fast, good thing your catless haha.
The low compression could easily cause a misfire but since you said you swaped the 2 & 4 coil packs and now both are misfiring makes me think that it could be a faulty coil along with bad rings, stuck valves, etc..
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:39 PM   #9
LightningLemke
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan02gts View Post
Hey Luke,
Sounds like a type A misfire (flashing CEL), meaning it is happening frequently enough to cause your cats to burn up pretty fast, good thing your catless haha.
The low compression could easily cause a misfire but since you said you swaped the 2 & 4 coil packs and now both are misfiring makes me think that it could be a faulty coil along with bad rings, stuck valves, etc..
Ahh I guess I never thought of that for being a reason. Cylinder 2 is pretty much dead and also had a bum coil on it that is now on cylinder 4. Any way you slice it I'm going to need to do some serious work.

This wouldn't be as big of a deal if I already had the money for my ej207 build

Thanks for your input

-Luke
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:56 AM   #10
Ryan02gts
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Well if you have access to a leak down tester, it might help you to pinpoint a leak in the cylinder better than a compression test would.
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:01 PM   #11
LightningLemke
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan02gts View Post
Well if you have access to a leak down tester, it might help you to pinpoint a leak in the cylinder better than a compression test would.
Yea that is true. Unfortunately I don't have one at my disposal.

Thank you,

-Luke
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:45 PM   #12
Ryan02gts
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Ah man, well hopefully you can get her fixed up soon.. Good luck!
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Old 11-02-2019, 01:07 AM   #13
06wrecks
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Did this ever get fixed? Happening to my 06 wrx right now cant figure it out
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Old 11-08-2019, 04:29 PM   #14
saaiello21
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I am betting it is a burnt Valve had the same issue on mu 02 WRX.
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