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WRX Starter Mystery

mhgamsmhgams Posts: 8
Out of the blue, my 2004 manual transmission WRX starter began to turn over the engine at an unusually rapid rate. The engine will not fire.

I have replaced the starter, that was not the problem.
I have inspected the flywheel. I cannot see any evidence of teeth being worn. I have rotated the engine to get a different starting point for the starter gear. No difference.

I have inspected the timing belt. It seems fine. It was replaced a year ago.
Everything appears to be normal other than the unusually fast speed at which the engine is being turned over when the key is in the start position.
Next steps anyone? Blown gaskets, sensors?

Comments

  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 694
    Missing spark plugs? (badly cracked or broken ceramic insulators)
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,159
    edited March 2013
    Interesting that you have gone through all this to no avail. I'm assuming this took place over the course of days/weeks?

    The initial circumstance where the starter turned the engine "too fast," I would think was due to the engine flooding. That's a quick fix... you hold the accelerator to the floor, crank the engine for a few more seconds, the flood clears, and the car sputters to life when you release the pedal.

    But, you've gone through all this rigamarole you listed and still nothing?

    Start by pulling a plug and taking a look / sniff.... is it saturated with fuel? If it is, put that puppy back in there and follow the procedure I listed above. Hopefully you'll get the car started, then follow up with some preventative maintenance as needed so it doesn't flood again.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • mhgamsmhgams Posts: 8
    Interesting.
    I will have a look. The plugs don't seem to be readily accessible. Maybe from below?
  • mhgamsmhgams Posts: 8
    Man, I would sure hate to think it was flooding after all I have done. After pulling the starter and replacing it, the same thing was going on. I have quite a bit of the engine apart now. Front and back. Each time I did something and turned the engine over I got the same cranking speed thing going on.
    I did notice however when I was cranking it with the inter-cooler removed that a mist of fuel/ air vapor came out of the upper connection into the engine. When that happened I thought perhaps the timing belt had slipped. Apparently it is fine.
    I connected my trouble code reader this morning. It came up with no stored codes. I am not sure why that would be.
    As suggested while I have a lot of the engine apart I will take a look at the plugs.
    Next step I will put it all back together and explore the possibility flooding.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,159
    Oh, wow. Well, it's catch-22 time! While I would hate for you to have a major issue going on, I also hate to think it might be something so "simple" and you've gone through all this effort!

    Either way, good luck to you!!!!
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • mhgamsmhgams Posts: 8
    Looks like it was a flooded engine. Dang drabbit! I changed the starter the plugs a couple of belts, and put on a aftermarket pulley.

    Fun stuff. I think I got a little carried away.
    It reminded me of all those years I skipped out of college classes to work on my 74 442.

    Thanks for the advise and support. I appreciate it.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,159
    I'm glad it worked out for you!
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • mhgamsmhgams Posts: 8
    Well, I was very optimistic that I had the problem identified and the solution was simple. Not so fast!
    I put it all back together. Very confidently put the pedal to the metal and cranked it. No go.
    Cursed and then gave up for the day.
    I am planning to have it towed to the dealership unless I have an epiphany during the next few days.
  • mhgamsmhgams Posts: 8
    Bad news,
    Subaru dealer claims timing belt jumped. Now need to replace entire engine.
    Bent valves therefore no compression.
    I am not sure how many times a replaced timing belt "jumps" but I would like to see the data on that one!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,159
    Timing belt jumped? What would cause that other than a bad tensioner? Definitely bad news, and that would certainly cause the engine to spin faster than normal during cranking in the same way a flooded engine would (loss of compression), but probably even more pronounced as flooding causes some loss of compression, but certainly not all of it.

    If you heard nothing other than the symptoms you described, I wouldn't think an entire engine is needed. Heads likely, but the short block should be fine.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • mhgamsmhgams Posts: 8
    The service rep suggests an engine replacement vs just the heads. More economical? Now I am wondering how complex it would be for me to do the engine replacement. The Subaru dealer claims that it is a labor intensive operation.
    I have quite a lot of hours under the hood of older engines. It seems that this engine is smaller, lighter and just more dense with bolt on items. Could it really be that challenging to replace it myself?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,159
    It is a lot of work, but also completely doable operation. If you're going for a long block, everything is literally bolt-on. I recommend visiting a performance-based forum, like NASIOC, for advice, but for my two cents....

    Label everything, disassemble carefully, have a helper on hand during physical block removal and installation, take your time, and have fun. You will need to have it tuned once you're done.

    I pulled the engine out of my '96 Outback twice and didn't have any problems either time. The second time was to replace the head gaskets, which takes you into the block fairly deep.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • mhgamsmhgams Posts: 8
    I've got the car back at the dealer who replaced the timing belt. Based on what happens there I will decide. I think for what you told me I can replace the engine myself. It seems to look worse than it really is.
    I will check out that forum you suggested. You tube could help as well I would think.
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