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Old 06-05-2019, 01:25 PM   #1
kpm_777
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Default 2002 WRX Blown HG or Warped Head / Block

Sorry for the rather bland title. I suppose some background is necessary to fully appreciate the scale of this mess up. I apologize upfront for the "blog post".

The Background -

The car is a 2002 WRX, it has 129500 ish miles and has lived a very hard life. I am the 4th owner of this car, the car has hail damage and a dent from a slow speed accident, the damage is bad enough that I believe that the car should have been totaled under the previous owner. I bought the car from him since I am not particularly concerned with the aesthetics of the car, I care more about performance. The car came to me on a stage 2 tune, it had been that way from 80,000 mile to when I bought the car with 119,000 miles.

The Fall -

I eventually got board with the stage 2 tune and went to a stage 2+ ECBS and was running the proper tune for that, and the car ran well. Now is where the trouble starts, I got a smoking deal on a VF48 turbo a STi TMIC and a set of 2017 STi injectors. The car ran decent at low boost, however it misfired / broke up above 10psi. I ended up pinning the problem down to being a bad set of heads, the machine shop found a crack in the original heads, so I bought a new set from an engine that had a blown head gasket.

The Failure -

I installed these heads with only a cursory check for warp, these heads were never machined, yes I know I'm a dumb*ss. I put these heads on the car, with new head gaskets, bled the cooling system, and the car ran great, until yesterday. The car started overheat, even reaching as high as 240 F until I got it cooled down. I called a friend and had him bring me a spill free funnel and some coolant and bled the system on the side of the road. The car ran great, like it had since the rebuild (500 Mi ago). It stayed cool all the way home, however I didn't hit boost on the way home. Today I re-bled the coolant system to be sure and then I brought the car into boost, 17 or 18 psi, and the car pushed a lot of the coolant out of the engine, into the overflow, and onto the ground. There were also visible bubbles coming from the overflow tank, classic sign of combustion gas entering the cooling system. Needless to say I am not very happy right now.

The Dilemma -

The car has a warped head or a bad head gasket. Right now I am in a place where I can work on this car, however at the end of the year I will be moving to South Dakota where I will not have a garage or tools. The way I see this I have 3 choices -

1. Sell the car as it with blown HG / Bad head, full disclosure to buyer. ($???)
2. Fix the car the expensive route. New / Full Re-manufactured EJ205 long block (-$6000 + what the car sells for)
3. Roll the dice and hope I can get away with just skimming the heads, the sell the car running (-$1000 + what the car sells for)

Basically what should I choose, have I overlooked anything?
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Old 06-05-2019, 03:55 PM   #2
bront antwoord
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I doubt youíre ever going to get money back out.

I say sell at a loss, or fix it (machine heads and new gaskets) and drive it till you can afford something with no bodywork and less miles.
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Old 06-05-2019, 04:09 PM   #3
kpm_777
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bront antwoord View Post
I doubt youíre ever going to get money back out.

I say sell at a loss, or fix it (machine heads and new gaskets) and drive it till you can afford something with no bodywork and less miles.
Thanks for the reply, the car has sentimental value to me, so I don't wanna just dump it, broken. However I do see that it is not worth anything and will not be reliable in the future. So I think I have ruled out option 2, but I am still undecided.
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Old 06-06-2019, 11:42 AM   #4
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As far as I have been told it is really hard to actually warp the deck of the block. In actuallity you can probably get away with just decking the heads and new gaskets. Having said that I am the kind of person who would feel better decking the block as well. If you are capable of swapping heads what is stopping you from tearing the short apart and having the block halves decked?
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Old 06-06-2019, 12:06 PM   #5
Turpid Porpoise
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bp05obxt View Post
As far as I have been told it is really hard to actually warp the deck of the block. In actuallity you can probably get away with just decking the heads and new gaskets. Having said that I am the kind of person who would feel better decking the block as well. If you are capable of swapping heads what is stopping you from tearing the short apart and having the block halves decked?
^ This. Other alternative is to swap in a used ej205 shortblock that has been compression and leak down tested to save yourself some labor.

You replaced a turbo flowing 26.7 lb/min with a turbo flowing 34 lb/min. Did you ever get retuned after adding the VF48 and injectors?
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Old 06-06-2019, 06:06 PM   #6
kpm_777
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turpid Porpoise View Post
^ This. Other alternative is to swap in a used ej205 shortblock that has been compression and leak down tested to save yourself some labor.

You replaced a turbo flowing 26.7 lb/min with a turbo flowing 34 lb/min. Did you ever get retuned after adding the VF48 and injectors?
Yes, the car was on the way to the dyno, and then blew up. I actually pulled the motor today and will be taking it apart in the coming week.


Any recommendations on checking the block for warp?

I believe it should be the same as checking the heads, straight edge and feeler gauges.
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Old 06-06-2019, 06:11 PM   #7
Turpid Porpoise
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You are correct, use a straight edge to check but it’s unlikely the block itself warped.
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Old 06-06-2019, 06:19 PM   #8
kpm_777
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turpid Porpoise View Post
You are correct, use a straight edge to check but itís unlikely the block itself warped.
Ok, I will do that once its apart.
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Old 06-06-2019, 09:50 PM   #9
subaru_gc8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kpm_777 View Post
Sorry for the rather bland title. I suppose some background is necessary to fully appreciate the scale of this mess up. I apologize upfront for the "blog post".

The Background -

The car is a 2002 WRX, it has 129500 ish miles and has lived a very hard life. I am the 4th owner of this car, the car has hail damage and a dent from a slow speed accident, the damage is bad enough that I believe that the car should have been totaled under the previous owner. I bought the car from him since I am not particularly concerned with the aesthetics of the car, I care more about performance. The car came to me on a stage 2 tune, it had been that way from 80,000 mile to when I bought the car with 119,000 miles.

The Fall -

I eventually got board with the stage 2 tune and went to a stage 2+ ECBS and was running the proper tune for that, and the car ran well. Now is where the trouble starts, I got a smoking deal on a VF48 turbo a STi TMIC and a set of 2017 STi injectors. The car ran decent at low boost, however it misfired / broke up above 10psi. I ended up pinning the problem down to being a bad set of heads, the machine shop found a crack in the original heads, so I bought a new set from an engine that had a blown head gasket.

The Failure -

I installed these heads with only a cursory check for warp, these heads were never machined, yes I know I'm a dumb*ss. I put these heads on the car, with new head gaskets, bled the cooling system, and the car ran great, until yesterday. The car started overheat, even reaching as high as 240 F until I got it cooled down. I called a friend and had him bring me a spill free funnel and some coolant and bled the system on the side of the road. The car ran great, like it had since the rebuild (500 Mi ago). It stayed cool all the way home, however I didn't hit boost on the way home. Today I re-bled the coolant system to be sure and then I brought the car into boost, 17 or 18 psi, and the car pushed a lot of the coolant out of the engine, into the overflow, and onto the ground. There were also visible bubbles coming from the overflow tank, classic sign of combustion gas entering the cooling system. Needless to say I am not very happy right now.

The Dilemma -

The car has a warped head or a bad head gasket. Right now I am in a place where I can work on this car, however at the end of the year I will be moving to South Dakota where I will not have a garage or tools. The way I see this I have 3 choices -

1. Sell the car as it with blown HG / Bad head, full disclosure to buyer. ($???)
2. Fix the car the expensive route. New / Full Re-manufactured EJ205 long block (-$6000 + what the car sells for)
3. Roll the dice and hope I can get away with just skimming the heads, the sell the car running (-$1000 + what the car sells for)

Basically what should I choose, have I overlooked anything?
you can get a jdm ej205 and use that
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Old 06-08-2019, 01:12 PM   #10
kpm_777
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Ok guys, I pulled the motor a few days ago and yesterday I tore it down. the head bolt in the bottom left corner of cyl 3 came out easier than the rest. Also in cyl 3 I found green stains on the exhaust valves and it looked like they were burning cold, I would say we have found the culprit.

When I measured the warp, both heads were over the 2 thou spec, a 2 thou feeler gauge went in so easy I would guess its about 4 thou of warp. The block however was below 1 thou in warp, so that is good news.

My leak was cause by incompetence and a warped cylinder head

This is further proof that when doing major motor work, just remove the motor from the car. If I had done this the torquing process would have been far easier.

https://i.imgur.com/9Au0mC5.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/JSZEocs.jpg
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Old 06-08-2019, 04:28 PM   #11
Fierysun
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Did you get it professionally tuned after installing the larger injections, STI TMIC, and VF48 turbo?
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Old 06-08-2019, 05:16 PM   #12
bp05obxt
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You said a head bolt came out easier than the rest. I am unsure if this was meant to be said as a head stud, but if you actually are using head bolts I would highly recommend upgrading to ARP head studs while doing this.
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Old 06-08-2019, 10:54 PM   #13
kpm_777
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fierysun View Post
Did you get it professionally tuned after installing the larger injections, STI TMIC, and VF48 turbo?
It was on an limp tune to get it to a tuner. All monitors were good, dam, fkl, etc.
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Old 06-08-2019, 10:56 PM   #14
kpm_777
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bp05obxt View Post
You said a head bolt came out easier than the rest. I am unsure if this was meant to be said as a head stud, but if you actually are using head bolts I would highly recommend upgrading to ARP head studs while doing this.
The car was running a new set of OEM head bolts, the head studs are already on the shopping list, I will be using the ARP ones.
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Old 06-12-2019, 09:20 PM   #15
kpm_777
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Update time, the heads are decked, $100, my new arp head studs are in, $180, and I am now waiting on the rest of my parts to come in, ~$300.

Sorry for the poor photo, my camera is broken.

https://i.imgur.com/4adizqA.jpg
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Old 06-19-2019, 06:42 PM   #16
kpm_777
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Engine is back in the car and it has been running for 75 miles, we will see what the future holds for this car.
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Old 06-21-2019, 03:54 AM   #17
kpm_777
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200 miles and counting! I have been checking coolant and oil levels and I think I might be able to get it on a dyno soon, I have quotes for $600 and $500 and $150 for inspection ($650) are these fair quotes?
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Old 06-21-2019, 07:51 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kpm_777 View Post
200 miles and counting! I have been checking coolant and oil levels and I think I might be able to get it on a dyno soon, I have quotes for $600 and $500 and $150 for inspection ($650) are these fair quotes?


Fairly normal prices for Dyno tuning in my experience, but I would do some research pertaining to your tuner of choice. There are very few people Iíd trust with my own car after seeing all of the bad through out the years. Just because someone has a Dyno and software doesnít mean they know how to tune.
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Old 06-26-2019, 12:19 AM   #19
kpm_777
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The car got on the dyno today at GST motorsports, tune went well and the car is running fantastic. All I need to do is replace a coilpack.
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Old 06-26-2019, 08:36 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kpm_777 View Post
The car got on the dyno today at GST motorsports, tune went well and the car is running fantastic. All I need to do is replace a coilpack.


Good stuff; definitely a good idea to replace a coil if noticeable issues are found. I would suggest considering age to replace all of them just to be safe but many would consider that to be overkill.
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Old 06-28-2019, 03:59 AM   #21
kpm_777
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bp05obxt View Post
Good stuff; definitely a good idea to replace a coil if noticeable issues are found. I would suggest considering age to replace all of them just to be safe but many would consider that to be overkill.
Coils were done 3k miles ago, and plugs 1k so I'm guessing only one went out, I will also adjust the contacts and hit them with some dielectric grease.
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Old 06-28-2019, 08:41 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by kpm_777 View Post
Coils were done 3k miles ago, and plugs 1k so I'm guessing only one went out, I will also adjust the contacts and hit them with some dielectric grease.


It would seem odd for one to fail that quickly. If you arenít using OEM coils I would highly suggest getting OEM coils. The clips break commonly but you would surely know if one was broken. In any case have you moved the coil around to see if the missfire follows?
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Old 06-28-2019, 05:33 PM   #23
kpm_777
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bp05obxt View Post
It would seem odd for one to fail that quickly. If you arenít using OEM coils I would highly suggest getting OEM coils. The clips break commonly but you would surely know if one was broken. In any case have you moved the coil around to see if the missfire follows?
All OEM Diamond coils, I bought another one and will be switching it around to see if it changes the missfire. It will not throw a code so I will do it the "hard" way, as I change it I inspect the connectors, especially the black rear ones as they seem like they fail more often, I guess a mix of heat soak / heat cycling and different material. Its a fun project, not too in depth.
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Old 06-28-2019, 07:16 PM   #24
kpm_777
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Update, Cyl 3 coil was bad, all contacts were adjusted and dielectric grease was installed. Car pulls fantastic and I only nearly got arrested.
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Old 07-04-2019, 03:26 AM   #25
Cmoneyjones
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Originally Posted by kpm_777 View Post
Update, Cyl 3 coil was bad, all contacts were adjusted and dielectric grease was installed. Car pulls fantastic and I only nearly got arrested.
How did you know it was your coils? What were the symptoms?
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