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How many miles is too many?


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21 replies to this topic

#1 danbennett2u

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 03:57 AM

Hi,

I have a 92 Legacy automatic with 320,000 miles on the original engine and transmission. I drive about 50 miles per day for my commute, mostly interstate highway. The car has a mix of miles, including being used as a newspaper delivery vehicle at times.

Little things have gone wrong that I am either not inclined to or not able to fix:
Window mechanism broke so it will not go up or down
Seat belt cable frayed and quit moving
A/C has leaked most of its freon
door locks are flakey
check engine light and AT light flash on and off at random times
lights are burning out in the instrument cluster
leaks lots of oil
AWD clutches burned out long ago, so it is now FWD
fuel smell coming from unknown location under hood, can not find any evidence of a leak.

There have been other things that have needed replacement but I took care of them on my own.

The two main things that concern me are as follows:
1) the engine knocks for about a second or two when first started
2) the transmission shifts hard from 1-2 (although this has happened for at least the last 100k miles)

The engine doesnt make any noise under load or anything, just when it first starts after sitting all day. I am worried this is a warning sign that I am about to have a catastrophic failure due to wear.

Other than the problems I have mentioned the car is in decent shape... It doesnt have excessive rust, the alignment is perfect, shocks are good, suspension and steering are tight, timing belt was replaced about 10k miles ago.

My question is, should I be getting worried about finding a new daily driver?

#2 Rooster2

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 04:32 AM

My advise is that you may want to be looking at finding another daily driver. At 320,000 miles, I feel that you are pressing your luck with the daily 50 mile commute. One of these days, the car will suffer a major break down, and leave you stranded. The "knock" on start up indicates that oil pressure is low due to high millage engine wear. If it were me, I would start using 20W - 50W oil. The thicker oil will increase oil pressure, and oil leakage will be somewhat less.

My feeling is when a car is that old, with that many miles, it reaches a point where it does not make economic sense to invest any sizable money into repairs. If it were me, I would buy myself a used Subaru to be my daily driver, and relegate the 92, as a back up car to use on local errand use. At 320K miles, the car is not something that you can sell for more than a couple hundred bucks, so like I said, just keep it to be your back up car.

#3 danbennett2u

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 05:10 AM

Thanks, I currently use Rotella T which is 15w40 I believe, so that should be keeping the pressure up some

#4 johnceggleston

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 06:11 AM

what's the logic behind the thicker oil???

#5 danbennett2u

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 06:24 AM

Lots of members on here use 20w50 in the summer, as the thicker oil is supposed to provide better wear protection. As far as I know the only reason for lower viscosity oils is that they supposedly give better fuel economy and flow better during very cold startups. I figured a 15w40 with higher levels of detergents wouldnt be a bad thing for a car with high mileage and more wear.

#6 bheinen74

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 08:41 AM

that early ej22 engine (89-94) is like a tank. It should be good for another 300k.
I cannot say that about the newer ones.
Do NOT change oil weight from what you use, and what the recommended manual says.
thicker oils will not get to where they need to be, will not lubricate the journals and passeways as well, it is a myth. Keep with what you have been using. Especially in the winter, thicker oil is like death for a engine. Some people on here are giving bad advice.

Edited by bheinen74, 21 July 2010 - 08:44 AM.


#7 danbennett2u

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 11:11 AM

I dont want to get into an argument over the oil, what I am using now has proven to adequately lubricate the car to get it up to the current mileage. I just want to know if the knock is something to worry about or if it is harmless

#8 Crawlerdan

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 11:14 AM

i just bought a 91 with 343k- runs like it just rolled of the showroom floor. looks like it to- the ej22 is hard to hurt. the tranny on the other hand....

i used to have a leggo with 395k, sold it to a freind 5 years ago, he came over to put a clutch in a few weeks ago and it sits a 615k now, properly maintaned, these cars will go forever

#9 ericem

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 11:33 AM

Because you are running thick oil the HLA's probably don't get oil right away as they have tiny ports.

I run 5w-40 rotella. I also get a knocking on cold start just the hla's though don't think its the bearings in the engine or something serious.

I don't see what your worried about? I would fix those tiny issues you can easily go to a scrap yard and get the window parts, seat belt, the locks idk what you mean maybe lubricate all the door components, get a new seatbelt assembly, a/c replace o-rings on the compressor and refill. All little things!

Or better yet continue driving it the way it is if it's fine and when you want something newer then look.

#10 Fairtax4me

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 12:00 PM

The thicker oil will increase oil pressure, and oil leakage will be somewhat less.

It will also flow slower when cold which is horrible for the engine. More specifically the top end (cams lifters) where the oil pressure takes the longest to reach. Running a cam dry at start up is a good way to lock it up.

Knocking for a second or two at startup is not a big concern. If you want to try a different oil, change to 5w40. A lower cold viscosity will flow better during startup, which will build pressure faster and may cure the knock.

Drivetrain-wise the car sounds fine. You just have the "old age" things to deal with, such as changing light bulbs, recharging the AC, lubricating all the various moving parts on the car. A can of spray-on lithium grease goes a long way to help out sticky locks and tired/slow windows.
The AT light is probably trying to warn you about the Duty C solenoid which you already know about so you can just ignore it.
The fuel smell under the hood might be a split hose for the Evap system. All of the rubber hoses (which there aren't many of on Subarus) could probably stand to be replaced.

I would think you could fix all of that for around 100 bucks depending on what the junkyards in your area charge.

#11 wtdash

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 12:30 PM

+1 for lifters @ startup.

Since you know the history, fix the little things and keep driving it. Get AAA if you're worried about being stranded (provided you have cell coverage on your commute). Cheaper than a new/used car.

The hard 1-2 shift seems to be a fairly common issue, but not necessarily bad. I'd suggest replacing (not flushing) the trans fluid if it's been 30K.

The rear transfer case can be replaced w/out removing the trans, to fix your AWD, too.

EDIT: Pull the CEL codes by doing THIS. The AT light is most likely as stated. I'd get a 2nd opinion on the fuel smell source.

How much oil is leaking? When the TB was changed 10K ago, did you/mechanic notice it?

GL,
Td

Edited by wtdash, 21 July 2010 - 12:39 PM.


#12 The Dude

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 12:55 PM

i just bought a 91 with 343k- runs like it just rolled of the showroom floor. looks like it to- the ej22 is hard to hurt. the tranny on the other hand....

i used to have a leggo with 395k, sold it to a freind 5 years ago, he came over to put a clutch in a few weeks ago and it sits a 615k now, properly maintaned, these cars will go forever


I am truly impressed. Both you, and your friend, really know how to maintain a car. Although a little luck is needed, as well.

Edited by The Dude, 21 July 2010 - 05:16 PM.


#13 subaru360

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 01:40 PM

i just bought a 91 with 343k- runs like it just rolled of the showroom floor. looks like it to- the ej22 is hard to hurt. the tranny on the other hand....

i used to have a leggo with 395k, sold it to a freind 5 years ago, he came over to put a clutch in a few weeks ago and it sits a 615k now, properly maintaned, these cars will go forever


That's amazing 615,000.

The most I have ever seen is 420,000 on a Subaru.

#14 952.2LX

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 02:59 PM

And here I've been braggin about havin 277,xxx on my DD... but 615,000:eek: wow. Most Impressive.

#15 nipper

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 05:36 PM

I have 270K on Blu. the real question is how much rust is too much, as that can not be fixed. If you want do a compression test wet and dry and that will tell you the important things, or do a quick vacume gauge test.

How little mileage vs age is a better question. Low mileage can be more harmful to an old car then high mileage.

For a car to hit high mileage it had to be well maintaned.


nipper

#16 danbennett2u

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 04:05 AM

I know what lifter noise is, and I get a little bit of that now and then, but the knock at startup definitely isnt lifter noise. A compression test will tell me what kind of shape the combustion chambers are in, but not how bearings, etc are.

The little things dont bother me, that is why I have chosen not to fix them. I guess I just drive it until it dies, because it doesnt sound like anyone is saying the noise is impending doom

#17 nipper

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 08:18 AM

Rod knock is really easy. Yank the spark plug wire to one cylinder at a time. The cylinder with the bad rod should change pitch. Rod knock actually gets louder as engine oil thins out.

A knock at startup is piston slap, ignore it and life goes on.

#18 grossgary

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 10:16 AM

EJ's can have piston slap which is a knocking sound at start up that goes away as the engine warms up.

piston slap is rare in EJ22's (usually EJ25's) and i don't think i've ever heard of piston slap on the older gen models like yours, but i'm not involved in many of those older ones either.

how fast does it go away at start up?

even with mild rod knock i've "heard" of people driving a long time with rod knock...and i've heard of cars (wait i owned one) that lasted less than 100 miles before locking up.

i'd keep driving it.

#19 danbennett2u

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 11:11 AM

It goes away within a second or two, and if I restart the engine when warm it doesnt happen at all. I had hoped for piston slap but I know it isnt common on EJ22's either. Maybe with that kind of mileage anything is possible.

#20 Fairtax4me

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 12:10 PM

It goes away within a second or two, and if I restart the engine when warm it doesnt happen at all. I had hoped for piston slap but I know it isnt common on EJ22's either. Maybe with that kind of mileage anything is possible.


If it only lasts for 2 seconds and only when cold it's because of a lack of oil pressure, once the pressure builds the noise goes away. Not really anything to worry about, but if allowed to go on for long enough it can lead to excess wear. This happens all the time when the anti drain back valve in the oil filter sticks open.
I'm not sure is Subaru filters have anti drain back valves since the engine is flat. Any upright V or inline engine design needs one to keep the oil in the pressure passages of the engine from being drained out by gravity while the engine is off.

#21 nipper

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 01:22 PM

EJ's can have piston slap which is a knocking sound at start up that goes away as the engine warms up.

piston slap is rare in EJ22's (usually EJ25's) and i don't think i've ever heard of piston slap on the older gen models like yours, but i'm not involved in many of those older ones either.

how fast does it go away at start up?

even with mild rod knock i've "heard" of people driving a long time with rod knock...and i've heard of cars (wait i owned one) that lasted less than 100 miles before locking up.

i'd keep driving it.


I got 1100 miles out of mine before things went boom

With the mileage he is talking about I wouldnt be shocked about the piston slap. Sometimes it can be imporved by chaining the grade of oil.

#22 Tank

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 11:52 AM

Saw this guy in the junkyard. So apparently the answer is 470,522 miles is too many miles. :eek:


http://im1.shutterfl.../rx=720/ry=480/

http://im1.shutterfl.../rx=720/ry=480/




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