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Old 06-11-2009, 04:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Crap, Bent Valve

So yeah,

My cylinder 2 & 4 misfire fiasco has frustrated me to the point where I just rented a U-haul trailer, and towed it 70 miles to the dealer. Dropped it off yesterday, and told them everything. I knew I was in for bad news when I showed the mechanics that "clunking" noise and they all cringed. So I knew it was bad.

So later today, they called me and said that they did a compression check, and that they all checked out fine, but they stuck in a camera in cylinder 4 and noticed that one of the valves wasn't closed all the way that should be. Long story short, they have come to the conclusion that the valve is bent.

$2200 to do the valve job.

F**k me sideways, that's an astronomical amount for a valve job. (but most of it's labor). So I was seeing if there were any other options, and replacing the whole engine might be a good idea (since I still owe $12,000 on it.)

I have the XT, so replacing it with a re-built long-block is a "kick-to-the-nards" $5500 bucks. Ouch.

I could re-build it myself with a kit, but I've never re-built an engine before, and don't want to end up spending $2000 and still not have it work because I didn't do something right.

The other option would be to replace it with another used motor, but I haven't a clue as to where to get a reliable one at.
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Old 06-11-2009, 05:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If its just the valve why would you need new long block?
Buy rebuild head or used head and you should be done.

How the valve get bent is more of the problem. This usually caused by broken/jumped timing belt. You need to figure out why it happen.
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Old 06-11-2009, 06:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Just a question, they said they did a compression test and all cylinders looked good, but how did cylinder four have compression if the valve is open.
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Old 06-11-2009, 06:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Just a question, they said they did a compression test and all cylinders looked good, but how did cylinder four have compression if the valve is open.
give the man a cigar. sounds stupid to me too.
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Old 06-11-2009, 06:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If its just the valve why would you need new long block?
Buy rebuild head or used head and you should be done.

How the valve get bent is more of the problem. This usually caused by broken/jumped timing belt. You need to figure out why it happen.
I don't know (yet) if the one valve is the "only" problem so far. They only checked the one cylinder so far and want me to authorize further hours of labor to continue working on it.

As for the long block, I figure that if I'm going to spend upwards of $2500 to only get a valve job out of it.....I might as well just find a good used EJ255 motor to swap in for roughly the same price. I don't mind swapping engines, that I have the means to do.

I still have a lot of questions about why the valve bent/broke as well. They checked the timing and timing belt first and they said everything there is fine. They also explained to me that for some reason, the piston "hit" the valve closed (which is why it passed the compression check). Somehow when they stuck in the camera, they found that particular valve in Cylinder 4 to be stuck open or not closing all the way. I still have to talk with them more "in depth" as the person on the phone explaining everything to me was just a customer service person relaying the info to me. Have to talk with the actual tech tomorrow. Therefore I'm not authorizing anything until I talk more with him.
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Old 06-12-2009, 03:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The only bent valve I've seen so far happened on my wife's 03 2.5L NA OBW.

It wasn't from the timing belt but from when the dealer screwed up replacing the head after changing the driver's side pistons. Somehow the oil passages on the head got blocked and the lack of lubricity made one of the valve guides attach itself to the valve.

The showed me the head after it was removed and what a mess. Gave me a new (or factory rebuilt) head under warranty with no questiosn asked.

Agree with your choice to have a long chat with the person actually doing the work as the compression test results sound whacked. Also agree with a previous poster that just getting a rebuilt head might be the way to go.

Good luck and let us know the results.
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Old 06-12-2009, 07:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Alright talked with the tech today, and he really knows his Subaru's......

Said that there is definitely a bent valve, possibly two in cylinder 4 and possible piston damage as a result. As I understood it, the knocking noise at startup was the piston smacking the valve closed, which is why it passed the compression check the first time, but when they ran it during the knocking noise, it failed until the knock went away (and slammed the valve shut again). Something to that degree.

Anyway, I'm looking at $2500 to have the heads machined, valves replaced, etc. etc. But if there is anything further wrong with the engine (piston damage, cam damage, etc). That number will only grow.

So, I've narrowed it down to this.......

I've found a "complete" EJ255 from another Forester XT. I found a website (GRUPPE-S) and they find and sell FXT motors (along with a lot of other STi ones). They called me this morning and found an FXT motor with 40,000 miles. They guarantee the motor for 2 years with unlimited miles.

And this engine is truly complete. Plugs, coils, injectors, heads, intake, belts, sensors, pumps, alternator, etc. are all on the engine, It's just a complete drop in. (and since my power steering pump was going anyway, it saves me a bit of money as well). Not to mention I was nearing my timing belt change.......and I wouldn't have to do that anymore either.

The complete motor SHIPPED to my door step would be $3200. I have an engine hoist, and engine stand, and I've dropped motors before (and have heard the Subaru's are exceptionally easy to swap). So I'm not worried about that.

So I'm thinking I'm going to go with the 40,000 mile used engine, (which will now actually give me a warranty whereas I didn't have one before), and a lot of extra bits I can part off to help pay for it since I get to keep my old motor (no core charge).

Then I'll have a newly awesome motor and a project for the summer.

What you all think?

GRUPPE-S

Picture below is a EJ257, not the one I would be getting, but similar in cleanliness. (unless the EJ257 will work with the stock 4EAT and stock turbo bits???)

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Old 06-13-2009, 04:45 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I would do the same thing. Rebuilding engine is not complex but the tolerance stack from rebuild parts or bent rods that are not checked could be disastrous. You made a wise choice.
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Old 06-13-2009, 06:17 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Blue Fox View Post
Alright talked with the tech today, and he really knows his Subaru's......

Said that there is definitely a bent valve, possibly two in cylinder 4 and possible piston damage as a result. As I understood it, the knocking noise at startup was the piston smacking the valve closed, which is why it passed the compression check the first time, but when they ran it during the knocking noise, it failed until the knock went away (and slammed the valve shut again). Something to that degree.

To me this still does not add up, I have been around engines as long as I have been alive. A bent valve will not seal, smacked closed by a piston or not. It simply will not line up to seal properly if it is bent at all, literally a .002" bend at the head of the valve will keep it from sealing and having a some one tell me a valve that is stuck open due to the degree of bend it has in it will seal if it is smacked closed by the piston is laughable to me. The piston hitting the valve would only further bend it not make it seal.

There is no way with the valve stuck open due to being bent it passed a compression test, if it did they botched the compression test. 4 strokes of an engine:

1. Intake stroke, drawing in air/fuel (intake valve open, piston traveling downward)

Intake valve closing at the bottom of the intake stroke. If the intake valve is sticking open it will do it here.

2. Compression strokee, piston start travel upwards compressing air/fuel (both intake and exhaust valve closed)

If the intake valve is stuck open as the piston travels up on the compression stroke it will fail to build compression(failing a compression test) as the air/fuel is escaping out the stuck open intake valve. It is not until the piston reaches the top of the compression stroke it would be able to smack the valve closed, at that point the compression stroke/test is over. Stuck open valve it failed. There is no previous stroke that would allow the piston to smack the intake valve closed prior to the compression stroke(what is being tested).


3. Power stroke compressed air fuel ignites pushing piston down(both intake exhaust valves closed)

Exhaust valve opens at the bottom of this stroke

4. Exhaust stroke Exhaust valve open piston travels upward expelling the burnt air/fuel gasses. If the exhaust valve is sticking open it will do it here. This is the only spot where a piston might hit a valve and close it at all, 100% of a chance of bending the valve to the point of where it wont seal.

The process starts over at step one. These steps may as well be written in stone, they do not change whether at start up, running or turning over by hand.


If it is indeed a bent valve some how they goofed up a simple compression test. There is no way it passed a compression test with a bent valve.
Not to mention a hit from a piston hard enough to create an audible knock would only bend the valve further, not close it more. The valves are not in a parallel line to the piston they are at an angle. Being at an angle to the piston they do not just get pushed squarely back into the valve seat to seal again. When they come in contact with a piston they are bent to one side in a zig zag form.

This pic is of a bent valve from a 2.5L Subaru bent in above mentioned form.


In my mind I would be looking for a second opinion as their evidence/findings do not add up to their said root cause. As I said if the valve is indeed bent it can not have passed a compression test. A compression test is only good for quick information, a leak down test will give you more to go on.
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Old 06-13-2009, 07:35 AM   #10 (permalink)
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If the valve does not move again then there is something wrong too with the valve train. Broken spring, rocker or camshaft.

I agree the diagnostic does not sound logical. I would ask second opinion before spending a lot of money. Did they open the valve cover or they just peek tru the spark plug hole?
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Old 06-13-2009, 07:40 AM   #11 (permalink)
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You might want to look at this as an opportunity to upgrade to a set of performance cylinder heads. Thats the route I would take. Take those lemons and make some lemonade.
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Old 06-13-2009, 07:45 AM   #12 (permalink)
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What kind of mileage do you have on the shortblock? If you are nearing the 100K mark I would steer away from doing the cylinder heads without freshening up the bottom end.
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Old 06-13-2009, 12:39 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by flstffxe View Post
In my mind I would be looking for a second opinion as their evidence/findings do not add up to their said root cause. As I said if the valve is indeed bent it can not have passed a compression test. A compression test is only good for quick information, a leak down test will give you more to go on.
Talked with the tech again briefly today and mentioned some of your comments and concerns, and now I feel like a freaking idiot. I completely mis-understood him about the compression check. He said that cylinder 4 DID NOT pass the compression check. I re-listened to the first voicemail he left me and he was right, he said cylinder 4 "didn't" and I mistaken that for "did"......so my bad completely. I hate voicemail's I can barely hear.
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Old 06-13-2009, 12:44 PM   #14 (permalink)
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What kind of mileage do you have on the shortblock? If you are nearing the 100K mark I would steer away from doing the cylinder heads without freshening up the bottom end.
Current engine now is at 95,XXX miles, which is why I'm leaning towards replacing the entire motor and obtaining a 2-year warranty along with it.
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Old 06-13-2009, 12:56 PM   #15 (permalink)
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For ~$700 more, I'd go with the entire motor with 2-year warranty. Especially if $2500 will grow with labor hours, and you have a the tools for swapping, there's almost no question about which direction to go.

IIRC, the 257 will mate up to anything the 255 mates up to. It's essentially the same block.
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