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Old 06-28-2017, 09:54 AM   #1
dna2010
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Default 2003 WRX Troubleshooting advice

Good morning everyone,
So over the weekend I picked up my first WRX, its a 2003 WRB wagon. Although its my first WRX it will be my 10th Subaru. I have quite a bit of experience with NA Subaru's, building engines and troubleshooting. So I have somewhat of an idea of where I need to go with this WRX but its definitely set up differently then the NA models. I am just looking for some advice or a point in the right direction.

Onto the car, it has 190k on what I can tell is the original engine and is bone stock, never modified other than some type of high flow panel air filter (not a K&N). The description of the car when I got it was that it needs an engine, so I questioned the owner on what made him think the engine was bad. He told me it was idling rough, had lost a significant amount of power and that he started getting a flashing CEL, went to have it checked and the code read cylinders 1,2 and 3 misfire. In turn the shop he took it to recommended an engine replacement at 2500 and he decided to sell it before dumping any more money into it. When I picked it up, it did fire up and was able to pull itself onto the trailer, but like he said it was idling rough and whole engine was shaking due to the misfire.

When I got it home I decided to start with the plugs first, to which I found it had 4 different types of plugs in it all gapped differently within .010 of each other. So I thought awesome I've found the problem... Replaced the plugs with NGK iridium's and Hooked up the code reader cleared the codes and did a ecu reset. Started the car and within about 10 seconds got a flashing CEL (cyl 1,2,3 misfire). I though it was odd that the misfire was only on 1,2,3 so I decided to swap around the #4 coil pack to see if it changed the code but it remained the same. Next I moved onto the MAF Sensor, bought some cleaner and tried that. It seemed to idle a little better but still nowhere close to what it should be. I moved onto the turbo inlet boot and found that the boot that goes around the inlet of the turbo was ripped on one side and the rearmost breather was cracked around the base. That put me at somewhat of a standstill, so I went ahead and checked the timing also the condition of the timing belt and water pump. They actually look newer and I could still make out the part#, and the timing marks on the belt so that made me feel a little better.

I've ordered a silicone turbo inlet, and now I am waiting on it to arrive before I can move ahead. A few things I noticed on the car, I believe there is an exhaust leak in the manifold right before the up pipe and the previous owner cut the muffler completely off because he thought it sounded cool So I plan on welding it back on as soon as I can. This evening I plan on bringing our video scope home from work and checking out the pistons and doing a compression test and ill post the results of that as soon as I get it done.

Just wanted to see if there were any additional ideas or things to look for while I am troubleshooting. Like I said I am new to the WRX platform so any advice would be greatly appreciated. I am trying my own logical troubleshooting steps but wasn't sure if there may be something I am missing or forgetting about. I threw in a little flow chart to let you know what's been done up to this point. Thanks again guys!

Troubleshooting flow:
-Checked and replaced plugs verified gap was set at 0.28
-Moved coil pack to trigger different cylinder misfire (didn't work)
-Cleaned MAF
-Inspected turbo inlet (found damage)
-Checked timing and condition of components.
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Old 06-28-2017, 11:54 AM   #2
monkeyposeur
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You might want to do a compression and leakdown test. You may have a burnt valve.
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Old 06-28-2017, 12:59 PM   #3
dna2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyposeur View Post
You might want to do a compression and leakdown test. You may have a burnt valve.
Okay, I'm going to try to this evening as long as I am able to sign the compression tester out at work.
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Old 06-28-2017, 10:39 PM   #4
dna2010
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Video scope showed me that 1,2,4 pistons are covered in heavy carbon. Strangely #3 was super clean? Wasn't able to do a compression test, hopefully tommorow night. The good news is that I've already got another ej205 in my garage that had 120k when pulled. I went ahead and video scoped it this evening and all 4 pistons we're super clean. So if worst comes to worse I can put it in.
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Old 06-30-2017, 12:10 PM   #5
dna2010
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Replaced the injectors with the 120k ones I had last night, no change in engine. Still waiting in the compression tester, hopefully Monday I can use it. Not looking good at this point.
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Old 07-03-2017, 08:47 AM   #6
dna2010
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Doing compression test this evening. Will post results.
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Old 07-03-2017, 02:23 PM   #7
hybrid gti 2
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Wiggle the coil pack harness on both sides and see if the idle changes.
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Old 07-03-2017, 08:25 PM   #8
dna2010
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Pretty sure the engine is shot...

Looking at the engine
3 ( )4
2 ( )1
#4 and #3 had a good solid 150psi
#2 and #1 had 0psi after testing each 3 separate times.
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Old 07-05-2017, 08:50 AM   #9
dna2010
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Not going to perform a leakdown test since those 2 pistons had zero compression there is obviously a serious issue. Instead I am going to be throwing in the other EJ205 I have after all my gaskets and extra parts come in. Once the engine is out I can remove the heads and see what exactly was going on. Thanks again for the help and ill keep you guys updated on the progress.
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Old 07-05-2017, 06:41 PM   #10
BugeyeConnor
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Went through the same thing after picking mine up and it turned out to be burnt valves, getting a new motor was a pain and pricey but now at least you know how it's been treated since you're going to be the one putting miles on it. Kinda like giving the car another life haha
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Old 07-09-2017, 10:10 AM   #11
dna2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BugeyeConnor View Post
Went through the same thing after picking mine up and it turned out to be burnt valves, getting a new motor was a pain and pricey but now at least you know how it's been treated since you're going to be the one putting miles on it. Kinda like giving the car another life haha
This is very true, luckily I had a ej205 already so that worked out good but I was hoping to use it for my 1995 impreza..oh well I guess I'll have a spare to build later on if I decide to. I know what you mean by bringing the cars back to life. Most of my Subaru's have been "revived" haha. My last subaru was a 03 Legacy and had 3 engine replacements when I bought it. So I built a hybrid ej22e/ej251 threw a td04 on it and drove the heck out of it, sold it still running great at 213k I really loved that car but I've always wanted a factory turbo subaru so that's how I ended up with this WRX.
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