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Shot out spark plug at 382k. The end?


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27 replies to this topic

#1 axgutt

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 09:31 AM

So my wife and I both have '95 Legacy Wagons. She blew out a spark plug a few years ago with around 200,00 miles. Our mechanic was able to do a helicoil and it's been working great - now up to about 285,000 miles. Totally worth it.

I blew out a spark plug a week or so ago, but mine has a little over 382,000 miles. It's the one closest to the driver, and apparently is more difficult to get to than whichever one my wife blew out. The mechanic doesn't think he can get to it without pulling the engine. Furthermore, after doing all of the recommended things (timing belt, pulleys, water pump, plugs, wires, etc.) at 180,000 miles, 240,000 miles, and 300,000 miles, I didn't get it done when I hit 360k. The tires now have about 100,000 miles on them, and will need to be replaced before winter comes. So, to get things where they should be, I'm looking at the $1500 range. And the car will still have 382,000 miles. It runs pretty well, but sometimes gets a bit rough until I run some seafoam through.

Should I just get a 2005 wagon instead and start over?

Adam

#2 Rooster2

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 10:31 AM

It might be possible for your mechanic to install a helicoil in that hard to reach spot. Suggest he loosen the motor mounts, and tilt the engine up to gain access. If that doesn't work, then maybe it is better to retire the car. Putting $1,500 into a high millage car is not a good investment. I would put that money towards something newer.

Why are you and your wife having spark plugs come out? If tightened down properly, they should not ever come loose.

#3 uniberp

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 10:35 AM

It might be possible for your mechanic to install a helicoil in that hard to reach spot. Suggest he loosen the motor mounts, and tilt the engine up to gain access. If that doesn't work, then maybe it is better to retire the car. Putting $1,500 into a high millage car is not a good investment. I would put that money towards something newer.

Why are you and your wife having spark plugs come out? If tightened down properly, they should not ever come loose.


Good question, and here is blank speculation: At 350k+ miles you'd think it had plugs changed 3-4 times, and each time they get a little looser, being aluminum threads. I just replaced plugs, and had a little difficulty deciding how much to compress the gasket. I went 3/16 turn beyond.

I thinks it's kind of impressive that the engine has enough compression to blow out a plug at that age.

#4 mikaleda

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 10:40 AM

it might be possible for your mechanic to install a helicoil in that hard to reach spot. Suggest he loosen the motor mounts, and tilt the engine up to gain access. If that doesn't work, then maybe it is better to retire the car. Putting $1,500 into a high millage car is not a good investment. I would put that money towards something newer.

Why are you and your wife having spark plugs come out? If tightened down properly, they should not ever come loose.


1+

#5 johnceggleston

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 11:37 AM

i'm a big fan of the 95 legacy and especially the 95 ej22.

i would risk it as long as the repairs will put the car back on the road and the car is not rusted out or trashed inside.

if you spend the $1500 and drive the car 15k miles that is an ok return on you investment, but if you drive it 30k miles, that is a great return. how many miles a year?

and in my limited opinion, the 05 is not going to last as long or get the same mileage as the 95. the engine is not as durable and could have a head gasket problem down the road.

#6 Fairtax4me

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 12:11 PM

I'd fix it. The way I see it, if the engine has made it that far it deserves every chance to make 400k or more If the body of the car isn't rusted out.

#7 wally

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 12:20 PM

Should I just get a 2005 wagon instead and start over?


you like paying more for insurance? and registration? and car payments, period?

not me. my '95 has been paid for since 2000. it's been a very nice 12 years without a car payment, or insurance beyond carrying liability.

also, in NH, '95 and earlier don't have to pass the emissions testing run by the state (probably mandated by the feds). so, another plus for running a '95.

incidentally, mine just turned 286,000 miles this morning.

#8 wally

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 12:23 PM

oh, as for the spark plug, your mechanic must not be a subie person.

remove the washer fluid reservoir, and it's easy to get at that driver's side rear spark plug. the reservoir requires two bolts at the top of it to be removed, along with disconnecting the power source for the washer pump (2 for a rear washer car), and pulling the water line off of the pump. done.

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#9 The Dude

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 01:54 PM

Good question, and here is blank speculation: At 350k+ miles you'd think it had plugs changed 3-4 times, and each time they get a little looser, being aluminum threads. I just replaced plugs, and had a little difficulty deciding how much to compress the gasket. I went 3/16 turn beyond.

I thinks it's kind of impressive that the engine has enough compression to blow out a plug at that age.



I'm just asking, I thought that Subaru heads had steel thread inserts for the spark plugs. Are the spark plug threads really nothing but aluminum? If so, that would make using anti-seize and torque wrench even more critical when changing the spark plugs. You could also try stretching out the recommended 30,000 mile spark plug replacement interval.
I would think that at 350K+ this engine has had the plugs replaced at least six, or more, times.

Edited by The Dude, 18 September 2012 - 01:58 PM.


#10 wally

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 02:05 PM

You could also try stretching out the recommended 30,000 mile spark plug replacement interval.
I would think that at 350K+ this engine has had the plugs replaced at least six, or more, times.


kind of funny. i just replaced mine today, after 132,000 miles since the last change. the gap was up to between .061 and .072 for the four, with the center electrode somewhat worn down. car was still averaging 27 mpg.

#11 The Dude

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 02:16 PM

kind of funny. i just replaced mine today, after 132,000 miles since the last change. the gap was up to between .061 and .072 for the four, with the center electrode somewhat worn down. car was still averaging 27 mpg.


It's well known that you flinty New Englanders tend to be on the tight side. Get off your wallet, and buy your poor hard working Subaru a set of new plugs every once and while! BTW, what you going to do now that "Car Talk" is going off the air?

#12 wally

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 03:01 PM

:-p:D

i don't listen to click and clack very often, so i won't really miss them.

#13 Rooster2

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 08:56 PM

kind of funny. i just replaced mine today, after 132,000 miles since the last change. the gap was up to between .061 and .072 for the four, with the center electrode somewhat worn down. car was still averaging 27 mpg.


When I bought my 99 OBW used with 148K on the odo, I swapped out the plugs and wires, on what I am sure was the originals that came with the car new. It was still running well, even with worn plugs. Changing plugs at 30K mile intervals seems way too early to me.

#14 WoodsWagon

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 02:38 AM

Yeah, you do plugs with a timing belt change if you're using platinum's. 30k maybe for plain coppers but I've seen them pushed way farther than that.

I crush the snot out of spark plug gaskets and I've never had one strip or pull the threads out later. 15 ft lbs is the spec on a plug in aluminum head, and yes the threads are plain aluminum. I usually take them past crush to the point they feel tight. Not Really F'n Tight, but a bit more than snug.

If it was a DOHC 2.5l, I'd say give up on it. With the 2.2l though it's so easy to get in to fix that it would be foolish and wasteful not to.

You can buy a helicoil kit but I prefer time-serts. It's a sleeve with threads on inside and out. http://www.timesert..../sparkplug.html

Edited by WoodsWagon, 19 September 2012 - 02:40 AM.


#15 Suba_GL_87

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 05:36 AM

+1

1+



#16 Durania

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 10:18 AM

I thinks it's kind of impressive that the engine has enough compression to blow out a plug at that age.


Posted Image

Would be really tough for me to go to an 05 Legacy with the EJ25. You could always find a set of low mileage heads for that thing.

#17 987687

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 10:29 AM

I've had to put inserts in a number of subarus. I've probably done that particular plug. It's no harder than changing the spark plug. You put the tap on a socket, and thread it into the head as if it was a plug. Thread it out. Thread in the insert and then the plug.
It's absolutely no harder than doing a plug job twice on the same hole, if your mechanic can't figure it out. That's pretty sad.

#18 Ricearu

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 11:30 AM

to whomever does it, make sure you grease the tap to catch all the yummy aluminum chips that are otherwise going to fall in. I stop half way, back out, and clean and regrease before going more

#19 axgutt

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 02:07 PM

So, the mechanic just called and it's ready - $135. I can't complain about that. My plan is to drive it for a couple of weeks to make sure it's going to hold, then do the 60k interval I skipped at 360k and get some new tires. It will run about $1,000 for all that, but as other people have mentioned if it buys me another year it's worth it. Maybe my seven year old will drive it some day after all. :)

This has forced me to start thinking more seriously about what I'll replace it with eventually. Frequent oil changes, a warm garage, and rural interstate commutes have helped my wife and I get lots of mileage out of these for next to nothing in cost. $5200 total purchase price for both '95 wagons, and we've driven them for a combined total of over 300,000 miles over the last 9/7 years. One used AT, one clutch, a few wheel bearings, a couple of alternators, and two spark plug ejections. Other than that it's just been brakes, tires, batteries, timing belts/pullys, oil, wiper blades, etc.

But, at this point the newest 2.2 you can get in a Legacy is what - 14 years old? At some point the age/durability lines have to cross.

#20 Fairtax4me

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 02:39 PM

The last year for the 2.2 in the US was 01 in the Impreza line. Legacy didn't get them anymore after '99. 96 was the end of the "bulletproof" non-interference 2.2. So in reality the reliable days of the 2.2 ended 16 years ago.
The 2.5s are still good engines, you just have to plan on doing some work to them at some point between 100 and 150k miles. You can minimize costs by replacing head gaskets at the 105k timing belt interval.

The vehicles themselves seem to be holding up ok, with the exception of a few that like to eat wheel bearings. The 4EAT transmission is just as tough as it ever was. The 5EAT seems to be doing well. The 5 speed manuals are somewhat better in the newer cars except for 99-00 ish which seem to have the transfer gears and center diff grenade.
I think Subaru upgraded the synchros and a few other things on the really new MTs.

#21 Ricearu

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 11:46 AM

just buy a turbo one. they never leak headgaskets unless you just nuke them with a serious overheat. :brow:

#22 The Dude

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 01:23 PM

just buy a turbo one. they never leak headgaskets unless you just nuke them with a serious overheat. :brow:



Of course, the need for premium fuel will detract from any other savings. Plus I already simmer spaghetti sauce, I draw the line at simmering an entire car.

#23 WoodsWagon

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 11:25 PM

So, the mechanic just called and it's ready - $135. I can't complain about that. My plan is to drive it for a couple of weeks to make sure it's going to hold, then do the 60k interval I skipped at 360k and get some new tires. It will run about $1,000 for all that, but as other people have mentioned if it buys me another year it's worth it. Maybe my seven year old will drive it some day after all. :)

I would check the tightness of all the other plugs too.

#24 rxleone

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 12:39 AM

Haven't really got any info to help with, but holy hell, 382,000 miles? Looked it up and thats 614,000km! My Legacy is just a baby with 273,000km (169,000mi) :D

#25 axgutt

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 05:39 PM

So I headed out to the car after a meeting around noon, and the car would crank, but wouldn't start. Before looking under the hood too much I had someone try and jump it, no luck. Then I checked the spark plug boot and it was loose. AAA to the rescue - towed me back home, 40 miles away - very glad we have the "Plus" service.

Once home I went to the dealership and bought new boots. No luck - but I did manage to destroy a new boot trying to remove it. Apparently I don't know how to do this. Anyway, I pulled the spark plug and it has a "ring" of rubbery compound at the top of the threads (the threads closest to the middle of the plug). I shone a light in there, and it looks like the original threads to me. I'm wondering if the mechanic may have just cleaned up the threads a bit and put some threading compound on it instead of using an insert.

I think my plan is to call around on Monday and see if any local shops have the Time Sert kit. Ughhhhhhhhh.




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