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Old 07-04-2019, 12:48 AM   #1
Dylan12wrx
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Default not firing on two rear cylinders, broken reluctor wheel tooth

I'm making this post so hopefully it will help someone later and just to share my experience with my first Subaru (2012 wrx 5 door)

I bought my car in October of 2018 and the rob bearing went out in March or 2019 with only 80k original miles. I pulled the motor and had a good friend of mine (he's a professional engine builder no worries) help me rebuild it. The rebuild consisted of high quality bearings, a good set of pistons, and all new gaskets. I finally get it back in and start it up and it runs great. I drove it to the nearest gas station and back (approx. 10 miles) and it couldn't have ran better... until I got in it to drive it again. after maybe a mile and a half (with it driving perfectly normal) the car made an horrible backfire and then stalled. with no luck on it firing again, I pulled it home and began my search process. What I found was that the car was getting no fuel on the rear two cylinders (3 and 4). ignition timing advance was all over the place and the car would only run on open loop. when it ran it backfired terribly and obviously missed (no fuel on two cylinders). After a month of checking, all i could come up with was that the ECU went haywire. everyone told me that those cars never have ECU problems but i decided to replace it anyway because it has a tune in it ran way to much boost. after taking it to the Dealership to have the ECU programmed, it made no difference. at that point I let the dealership Grayson Subaru in Knoxville Tennessee) look at it and fix it. Come to find out a tooth had broken off the crank sprocket! They wanted $700 to fix it so instead i hauled it home and changed it myself ($45 for the sprocket and maybe an hour and a half worth of work). FINALLY the car runs again.. sorta. Now the car is throwing a few codes and it randomly decides to stall when the motor tries to idle. I first thought it was just that the ECU needed to relearn but now I've driven the car over 100 miles and it still does it randomly. the codes it throws is a P050A which is cold start idle air (seems like it would make sense but i cannot find any information as to what possibly could be bad) and a P0018 which is a crank-cam sensor correlation and so far have yet to figure out what is causing that either. Running down the road the car drives and sounds perfect and only throws the codes every 20 or 30 miles. (any advice on these two codes would be great) I'l update the post once I figure out the issue.
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Old 07-04-2019, 10:55 PM   #2
2001OBLimited5Spd
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might have not gotten the timing perfect. The top sprocket single line matches to the timing cover mark, the bottom sproket double mark match up to the double marks on the top marks. the crank sprocket line should line up with the notch next to the crank sensor. make sure the slack is on the top before you pull the pin.
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Old 07-05-2019, 09:12 AM   #3
Dylan12wrx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2001OBLimited5Spd View Post
might have not gotten the timing perfect. The top sprocket single line matches to the timing cover mark, the bottom sproket double mark match up to the double marks on the top marks. the crank sprocket line should line up with the notch next to the crank sensor. make sure the slack is on the top before you pull the pin.
Oh no I had the timing right, that was the first thing I checked because I didn't fully trust myself. It actually had a broken tooth, it was obvious when I looked at it. You could see the spot where it broke off. If I could post a picture of it I'd show you. But once I changed that crank sprocket it fixed it and ran again.
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Old 07-05-2019, 08:35 PM   #4
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Here’s my incrementally updated avcs diagnosis guide: logging is the key.

Avcs checks.

Log avcs vvt left and right angles with Btssm or Romraider at 1700-2000rpm in neutral and in gear on the freeway, look for vvt angle oscillation, lag or inactivity.

My theory is that slight differences in the left and right avcs oil feed pressures, combined with the self calibrating nature of the avcs system cause one side, usually the LHS, to become overdriven and eventually fail.

The beginnings of this failure is seen as left to right angle lag.

The intermediate stage is one side wildly oscillating whilst the other side operates correctly.

The terminal stage is one side becomes inactive at which point the avcs system deactivates completely.

All stages can be encountered without triggering a cel.

My solution is to start with two new avcs solenoids and then to periodically swap them side to side (eg at 50k mi) or when significant angle lag becomes noticeable in logging.

If either issue is revealed, swap avcs oil control solenoid side to side to see if the issue follows the affected solenoid.
If so, replace both ocv solenoids.

If the issue doesn’t follow, check the ocv oil supply banjo bolts for blocked screens. The filters can be very deep in the banjo bolt hole and or broken up. Use a sharp toothpick to fish them out.

Very rarely, an avcs cam gear may be jammed with debris, or via incorrect installation, usually in this instance it will be locked at a particular angle as revealed by logging.

Go for the easiest tests (logging) first, if all results are negative, eg you have avcs inactivity which does NOT follow the OCV side to side swap, pull the crank and cam sensors to check for contamination by metal particles on the sensor face or check for oil supply issues at the banjo bolt filters.

For dual avcs prefl 2.0t, check if the exhaust avcs solenoids are leaking, the loom can suck oil all the way back to the ecu plug, causing multiple issues.

Log per cylinder misfires.
If misfiring, check spark plug condition and swap around coil pack on the affected cylinder to check if the fault is cylinder or coil pack related, or coil pack loom plug related (usually broken plug clip).

Get an LV (learning view) whilst you’re at it.
LV will reveal inlet leaks, IAM (low IAM = failsafe mode).

Last edited by bigBADbenny; 07-05-2019 at 08:52 PM.
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Old 07-07-2019, 12:53 PM   #5
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I think checking the sensors for contamination or failure is probably the best place to start.

The P0018 correlates to the initial theory of 'No fuel" since this sensor can directly influences what fuel pressure is sent to the injectors.

Last edited by shadowsports; 07-07-2019 at 01:17 PM.
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Old 07-07-2019, 05:16 PM   #6
bigBADbenny
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Not a random post: with some basic tests including logging, the avcs system can be diagnosed before pulling the actual cam and crank sensors.
Or to put it another way, do the easy checks first.
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Old 07-17-2019, 09:56 AM   #7
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So I've finally got the time to do a little bit of logging, and I've gathered that the left side does lag some, not everytime, but about half the time. It also will take spells that the entire system will shut down and the will not articulate at all. If I clear the engine code they work much better, but the left side still lags some. Once the light come back on (p0018 is the code it throws) the issue becomes much worse.
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Old 07-17-2019, 04:58 PM   #8
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Next step would be to either swap the ocv’s side to side to see if the issue follows suit, or just replace both ocv’s with new items, they’re around $100 each online iirc, part number on eg partsouq via VIN or opposed forces by model drill down.

I think that since the issue is confined to one side, and presents after driving, its likely to be a faulty ocv.
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Old 08-02-2019, 01:08 PM   #9
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I switched the OCV valves and it didn't change anything
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Old 08-02-2019, 06:58 PM   #10
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In that case please post a link to your logs, and if possible, try to provoke avcs out of sync by very slowly varying the revs in neutral between say 1000-2000rpm.
If the system can’t keep up, the sync will go out and the engine will stumble and shake.
Also a log of freeway cruise in 5th or 6th gear.

You say you swapped avcs ocv’s side to side? Do you have the corresponding logs?

The point is isolating the issue to the ocv’s, sensors or cam gears, regardless
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Old 08-02-2019, 07:11 PM   #11
Dylan12wrx
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Should I log it before or after the CEL comes on? It acts totally different pretty and post CEL. Most of the time with the CEL on it never gets much above 4 on either side. Other times it will work semi normal, but most of the time with the CEL on the AVCS is basically dead
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Old 08-02-2019, 08:40 PM   #12
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If you can get to it, you might want to check your driver side banjo bolt filter. It could be clogged up with debris from the rod bearing issue. Then your OCV doesn't get enough oil pressure and can't adjust the LH cam properly and you get your P0018.

I think Benny mentioned it above, so it wasn't my idea But it can be tough to access, since it sits snugly behind the rear timing belt cover up on top.

My filters were simply removed, and the bolts put back in without them. Or you can replace the filters. Or you can try to clean them, but note that the gunk will be inside them where you can't see, not on the outside.
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Old 08-02-2019, 09:19 PM   #13
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Indeed, hammerdown on lgt has a guide for that one ^.
File off the nub on the bolt, making just enough room to remove it by very gently prying the plastic timing cover.

I hope my diagnosis suggestions are easiest first, thus let the logs show you what’s up.

Capturing the actual cel event eg before and after would be great.

Digging deeper, iirc, you want to do two key-ons after an ecu reset, something to do with avcs recalibration.

Review what I mentioned above, neutral log to provoke the issue (avcs lag, stumble, system fail) and freeway cruise to show vvt lag or oscillation.

I use megalog viewer which easily handles huge logs, like 15 minutes to an hour

Last edited by bigBADbenny; 08-02-2019 at 09:24 PM.
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Old 08-22-2019, 08:48 AM   #14
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Sorry it's taken me so long to reply guys, I just moved into my apartment and transferred to a different college so I've been super busy lately and have had time to work on the car much. I did notice however that on the drivers side OCV feed like I switched the two banjo bolts so the one with the screen now sits on top of the OCV instead of coming off the block behind the cam cover. Do you think that could be the issue? Should I just remove the screen and try it and see if it makes it any better?
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Old 08-22-2019, 10:24 AM   #15
bigBADbenny
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Generally, no filter is fine.
Blocked or broken up filter is bad.
Upload a log file, including tuning parameters and vvt left and right parameters, to the cloud and share the link for feedback
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Old 08-22-2019, 01:32 PM   #16
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Will do, it might take me a day or so, do you happen to have a link on how to upload the logs?
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Old 09-04-2019, 03:38 PM   #17
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is this the format you are looking for with my logs?

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing
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Old 09-04-2019, 03:57 PM   #18
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I’ll take a look later, if the data can be opened in excel it should be fine.
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Old 09-04-2019, 11:03 PM   #19
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okay cool, I have plenty more if you want them, or i can take a new one if i need to include anything else or whatever, thanks again for all the help.
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Old 09-05-2019, 12:10 AM   #20
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Did you clean the system out well after spinning a bearing? You didn't mention replacing the oil pump or checking screens, etc. Have you tried draining the oil and seeing if you see more debris from the bearing failure?
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Old 09-05-2019, 03:55 AM   #21
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I’m not sure if the current avcs vvt angle lag during transitory conditions is of much consequence as regards drivability or your engines health.
The angles do stabilise after a few seconds.

If it worries you, just keep an eye on vvt angle delta and swap the ocv’s side to side and or replace both and do same. I swap mine when convenient or say every year or so if I see excessive lag developing...

What might qualify as excessive vvt lag?
I’d say it’s when the ecu attempts to keep the angles in sync and starts to over compensate these corrections to either solenoid.

This can be seen in logs as vvt angle lag and spiking.
The penultimate condition being one solenoid steadily oscillating the vvt angle from zero to maximum, a condition that can be seen during freeway cruise and which can be provoked by gently varying the revs in neutral between 1600-2500 rpm on a warmed up car.

At this stage the car will buck and stumble on WOT in second gear...

Ultimately the affected ocv may fail entirely, at which point the avcs system stops working.

Last edited by bigBADbenny; 09-05-2019 at 04:49 AM.
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Old 09-09-2019, 12:07 PM   #22
Dylan12wrx
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Something that I don't think i have mentioned yet is that the AVCS system will work normally half the time, I have my AP gauges set to display the current degree of left and right so I can constantly monitor whether they are working or not. one thing i have noticed is that when the work they will continue to work until the car comes to a complete stop and idles for a minute. when the event happens (whatever it is that happens that causes the ECU to cut the AVCS system off) i can feel it in the idling of the car. I finally got a log that caught the event happening if it would be useful i can post it later.
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Old 09-09-2019, 05:12 PM   #23
bigBADbenny
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Absolutely post it.
Bear in mind avcs is inactive at idle, and may rise to 10-20’ at 2000rpm or so.
Have both ocv solenoids been replaced?

Last edited by bigBADbenny; 09-09-2019 at 08:51 PM.
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Old 09-09-2019, 07:58 PM   #24
Dylan12wrx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrD View Post
Did you clean the system out well after spinning a bearing? You didn't mention replacing the oil pump or checking screens, etc. Have you tried draining the oil and seeing if you see more debris from the bearing failure?
I did replace the oil pump, and both screens have been checked and they were clean
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:27 PM   #25
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