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97 Subaru Legacy Engine Knock
Posted 22 November 2000 - 02:58 PM
I know posts about this probably exist but I've looked through the
threads and couldn't find one.
I have a 97 Legacy (about 47000 miles), well-maintained (by me and
My problem is this:
When I start the car in the morning, I can hear a noticable knocking
sound coming from the engine.
This knocking continues (and as the engine warms up, turns into a
clicking, lite knocking sound inside of the passenger compartment).
I haven't tried my dealer again with this complaint, but about a year
ago I had it in to have it checked for this knocking sound and they
said they couldn't hear anything abnormal, only that Subaru engines
are noisy (which they are).
What could be the problem? And my other question is: What can I
say to the dealer to help them diagnose this problem? Does anyone
have a tech service bulletin that I can present to the dealership to
at least get them to acknowledge the problem?
And my final question (Sorry I know I'm rambling hehehe ) is this, if the dealer won't
do anything for me, will I still get the normal amount of life from this
car? (I love it, and my next car will be a Sube)
Thanks for help!
Posted 22 November 2000 - 06:48 PM
Posted 22 November 2000 - 07:33 PM
Posted 23 November 2000 - 12:02 PM
I called SOA again today and they recommended that I switch to 89 octane gas.
I don't see how that can help when it doesn't seem to be a gas related problem (I was using 89 and still heard the knock).
Posted 24 November 2000 - 01:52 PM
Posted 29 November 2000 - 02:10 PM
The good thing is that I have a brand spanking new 2 year 24,000mile bumper to bumper warrany I bought through the dealer for just this reason. It actually says that If it isn't convienient to bring it to the dealer I purchased it at, I can redeem warranty service at ANY mechanic. So now that I've found others with the same problem...and I've heard the runaround that the dealers give you, I'm wondering if I should take it to a private mechanic to get it checked out in hopes of a more straight-forward explination of the problem.
I really hate this noise and it's actually embarrasing in front of friends to have the car making the tapping noise right after I bought it.
Any other advice?
Posted 29 November 2000 - 05:28 PM
also this subject has come up before and most of the time it can be related to the solid lifters making noise, when cold. The solid lifter suggest to be replaced at 100k or when lifter noise is constant. ($800 at dealership ouch!)But I would check that the knocking noise is not a rod before your warrantees run out. And get documentation of the problem i.e keep all receipts and complains, incase they are incorrect. And later at say 75k they say you need a motor.
Posted 29 November 2000 - 05:35 PM
1999 MY ENGINE NOISE:
'97 MY engines have been fitted with solid valve lifters. These filters help increase the power of the engines and provide improved startability in cold weather. The 2.5 Liter engine in '97 uses a lifter setup that requires the use of a shim to adjust the clearance. A characteristic of this type of setup is a slight tapping noise, heard especially at idle, under the hood. The intensity of the noise may vary with engine temperature. Typically, this noise is not apparent in the passenger compartment.
It is imperative that you understand this operating characteristic to prevent unnecessary and UNSUCCESSFUL attempts to totally eliminate this noise. Dealers must not attempt any repair for this noise since it is a characteristic of the system.
Every engine is being closely screened for noise level at the production line. We are confident that each engine meets our standards for operating noise. If any customers identify this noise to you, explain that this characteristic will not cause any failure.
We are interested in monitoring field opinion of this noise. Please report any customer complaints or comments to SOA Technical Service.
So that's it straight from the horse's mouth. By the time I was able to drive my car from my house to the dealership to have my sound checked, the engine warmed up and the sound had gone away completely. (which was embarrassing). But we did get to shoot the breeze about which hop-ups he recommended for a '98 GT wagon, so it wasn't a totally wasted lunch hour.
Hope this helps,
Posted 30 November 2000 - 05:01 PM
Posted 30 November 2000 - 07:36 PM
On a side note. Someone in my family has a '96 with a 2.2 and it makes the same sort of sound.
I guess there is nothing to do about it really
Posted 30 November 2000 - 09:19 PM
1) In the 2.5, the noise you are hearing is most likely piston slap which goes away when the engine warms up and the metal expands. Unfortunately, given the design of the engine, this is "normal", but damn annoying! The best thing is to warm the car up somewhat when you first start it (always good in cold weather anyway). Here in Denver, the dealers are so used to it, they'll usually warranty the shortblock with practically no questions asked.
2) IF you are having early bearing breakdown (which you can only tell by disassembling the engine), it's probably due to the design of the oil pump. There is a plate on the back held on by short screws. Over time, these screws back off, loosening the plate and reducing the oil pressure, not enough to show on any warning lights, but enough to cause damage over time. (Oh, for gauges in a Legacy/Outback.) When we rebuild those pumps, we LockTite them in!
So, can you do anything about it? Bitch, a lot!
Will it shorten the engine life? Oh, maybe from 250,000 miles to 175,000 miles.
Of course, you can always install a block heater
Posted 30 November 2000 - 09:24 PM
Posted 30 November 2000 - 09:25 PM
My Legacy has 93000 miles on it, '95 LSi wagon w/EJ22 engine, I get this tapping thing intermittently, usually but not always after an oil change. Is it worth having the oil pump checked out?
Posted 01 December 2000 - 01:19 AM
My '98 OB is coming up on 30k and I'm willing to give up the car for a bit to look into some of these things.
Is it worth it to crack the engine open at this age and do a full inspection? Would it be worthwhile to fight for the replacement pistons that Sube has available for noisy customers?
It's had regular oil changes (4-6k intervals at the dealer, yeah yeah I know) and no major problems. It has the standard ticking on startup.
Since things are working I'm not too hot to crack things open.
Thanks for any insight...
Posted 01 December 2000 - 08:34 AM
Posted 01 December 2000 - 01:10 PM
Posted 01 December 2000 - 01:15 PM
Subaru has replacement pistons for noisy customers? How noisy do I have to be? What's different with replacement pistons?
Posted 01 December 2000 - 04:15 PM
i found and artical by JOSEPH KRAL stating it's not the lifters. in fact the 1998 2.5 has the improved screw in type lifters and do not depend on oil presure or valve lash. it "says" "incorrect clearance on 2.5 ENGINE WRIST PINS CAUSES KNOCKING on start up and thereafter there's a tech bulletin" what the hell are wrist pins????
Posted 01 December 2000 - 04:39 PM
The refrence is brief and near the bottom. But it is there and it would be great to find the tech bulletin. Anybody know how to find the guy?
I'd love to shut my ping up even though it goes away when the car warms up.
Posted 01 December 2000 - 04:52 PM
damn i forgot to type where i found the info sorry.
Posted 01 December 2000 - 11:09 PM
Glad you like Wentworth, I'm in Aloha and love the boys at CARR Subaru. Wentworth blew my sale big time so I never got as far as their service department. Good to hear they're worth something over there tho.
If you ever want to talk tech w/somone local, feel free to drop me a line, russ at randomsoup.com!
Posted 02 December 2000 - 06:23 PM
Joseph Kral wrote:
Found your subaru outback page while searching for information on the problem ours has. If you haven't yet, you'll be hearing more about a serious engine problem. This problem apparently affects 98 model year cars. It manifests itself in a knocking noise when cold, that sometimes remains when the engine is warm. On our car, we experienced intense knocking for 15-20 seconds on a cold start. The problem? Incorrect clearance on the wrist pins. Dealers now have a Tech Note on this. The solution is a complete rebuild of the block assembly. The factory doesn't do engine sub assembies so the dealers have to order all of the individual parts and do the work locally. Our car has been in the shop for a month, and they just received the parts. Subaru is covering this under the power train warranty.
So there it is. This does sound similar to my problem, but it also sounds more severe. I'm not sure. The guy who does the Outback FAQ page reccomened two sites If we want to try to find the tech bulletin. Here they are:
Posted 03 December 2000 - 02:40 AM
Posted 03 December 2000 - 03:33 AM
First, please disregard my mention of replacement pistons. I cannot find any messages referencing it and as such I cannot back up that assertion.
Second, the current thiking is that The Noise is a problem with the piston wrist pin (where the piston attaches to the crank) being too loose and allowing the piston to "slap" around in the cylinder/on the crank. The proper solution appears to have the entire short block rebuilt. I believe this problem exists on all 2.5DOHC engines (including '97-'99OB), although the strongest objections come from '98 owners. SOA has done it for a few people on the outback list who bitched loudly. So a solution is out there.
Third, from the anecdotal solution section, someone claimed to switch to synthetic oil and it made the noise go away. This is an anecdotal story only. (see msg# 5082)
I'm beginning to think there's two noises people are hearing. There's the usual engine clatter and the knock/tick/click on cold that some (myself included) can hear inside the car. The external clatter is normal, the noise on cold start is not.
My questions to the group are:
1. Is this piston slap detrimental to the engine? If so, then in what way? (By "detrimental" I mean engine life, as in abnormal wear of internal parts.)
2. If one should choose to take this up with the dealer/SOA, what would be your strategy? (Read: Is there a TB or other documetation on this problem one can use as leverage?)
There's some fuel for the fire...
Posted 03 December 2000 - 12:16 PM
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