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Old 10-04-2008, 03:45 PM   #1
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 46685
Join Date: Nov 2003
Chapter/Region: BAIC
2002 WRX Sedan

Default How likely is it that this engine is toast?

Okay, I have a line on a super cheap Forester. 98 Forester S to be exact. Here's the copy of the workorder from the shop.

Towed in. Customer reports driving on the highway and started hearing a rattling noise. Then the engine died and customer was able to coast to the shoulder. The tow truck company tried to turn the engine over but a clackity clack and then a bang sounded. Smoke also came out from under hood. Showed signs of oil dripping onto the floor. Oil was changed about a week ago.

(1) Inspection found timing belt damage and not turning cam shafts.
(2) Oil level is good but coolant level is low. There is oil at front of engine.
(3) Need to verify condition of engine before determining repair.
The shop recommended

Replace timing belt and perform cylinder leak down test to verify condition of engine.
One of the techs that worked on it suggested that if I replaced the timing belt, the engine could be fine, but there's a good chance it's doomed as well. A timing belt will only set me back an afternoon and about 60 dollars, but would I be wasting my time by not finding an engine instead?
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Old 10-04-2008, 05:33 PM   #2
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 149442
Join Date: May 2007
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: Boston


You have an interference engine, so chances are good a number of valves smacked into your pistons when the belt broke.
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Old 10-04-2008, 11:55 PM   #3
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 117996
Join Date: Jun 2006
Chapter/Region: BAIC
Location: FarNor Cal
2002 Impreza 2.5RS
Midnight Blue


If the belt is removed, it is easy to check the compression. Just make sure that the cams are both free to rotate and not depressing the valves. Then go about performing a compression test as you would normally do it. As long as the starter turns the motor over, the compression can be checked.

If in fact the valves are bent, which is most likely the case, you will have very little or no compression. If the cam wont rotate at all, then valve train damage has occurred. Removing the valve covers isnt terribly hard on our motors and could reveal some of the damage right away...

Best of luck in your troubleshooting...
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Old 10-05-2008, 12:01 AM   #4
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 120029
Join Date: Jul 2006

I hate to say it but that dripping oil at the front of the engine might have been from a rod blasting its way through the block. If you decide to take a look make sure you check the block thoroughly.
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Old 10-05-2008, 11:02 AM   #5
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 80465
Join Date: Jan 2005
Chapter/Region: RMIC
Location: Bailey, CO
2001 2.5RS
Black Diamond Pearl


um, you can't do a reliable compression test with no timing belt. the engine has to have something to compress. If the intake valves aren't opening, all you're doing is creating a vacuum inside the cylinder and then recompressing it back to ambient. yes, i realize that with ring sealing, you may get some leaking, but unless you start with the crank at BDC, screw in your compression tester, and then crank, your results will be skewed.

Estrada, have you looked at the engine? I agree that dripping oil indicates that something punched thru the block. goodbye engine.
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