Subaru Outback Forums banner
  • Our 4th of July contest is live! Enter HERE for your chance to win a $400 Walmart gift card.
  • Hey everyone! Enter your ride HERE to be a part of this month's Outback of the Month Challenge!

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
2005 Outback 3.0R
Joined
·
1,064 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My saga started Labour Day weekend on the 2nd. Wife and I are doing a grocery run. I was driving across an overpass, passenger front window is down. I started to hear a rattle I hadn't heard before. I didn't think it was my car because I hadn't heard the sound before and a car was going by me on the inside lane of the road. I thought it was the other car as the sound died off for the most part. But the sound followed along with me and that's when my mind started working on it. I don't have any heat shields so it's not that. The rattle sound gets louder with more throttle. Most of the time the sound would stop when idling/rolling down the road.

Parked the car at Costco. Wife goes in and I stay with the car. I have the door open and lean down as far as I can to the ground while still in the seat and rev the engine. The rattle is very near the centre of the car but I can't figure out where at this point.

On the drive home the car was very noisy. 8km/5Mi. Like rocks in a dryer noise. And the car feels heavy.

Sunday morning (3rd) I checked all the fluid levels. Everything is good and smells as it should. When I start the car the noise is there immediately. I borrowed a friend's stethoscope, put the car up on ramps, and started probing around. The noise is at the drivers (bank 2) catalytic converter. Checked the bank #2 head and I can hear the slightest faintest of a tap at cylinder #2 but nothing but whirring from #4 and #6. No tap can be heard at the top of the head, anywhere in the block, or passenger head. With the noise limited to the cat, at that point I'm thinking, my cat broke and I'll gut it (again) and that'll be that. Drive the car in the mean time and sure it may be noisy but I'll get from point A to point B for now.

Tuesday (5th) the noise stops. Power seems to come back. Mileage meter shows improvement. I'm telling myself yep, it's the cat. It's guts are loose and blocking the exhaust flow making the car feel heavy. Rattled around and straightened out for the moment. Got to gut the cat.

For the next several days the car feels fine. Occasionally I hear the rattle from the cat. But I've noticed the car is pinging. Nothing more than 1.4 degrees. It's always pinged to a point. I've pulled timing over the last year or so and it reduced the 2-2.5 degrees I was getting. I also noticed over the last week or so (I log my car often) that Bank 2 has gotten richer than normal. Bank 1 runs ±1% LTFT and bank 2 is normally -3/-4%. Now bank 2 is -9. Odd. It's under my hat for later. The rattle is minimal to negligible. Got to gut the cat.

Then comes yesterday afternoon. Friend asks if I can check out his oven for him. I drive 35km/22Mi to his place one way. The rattle comes back with a vengeance but hey, I haven't gutted the cat yet. Dies off just before I arrived there. I see he needs an oven element so back into town I go. 30km/20Mi. I'm 25km into the trip and coasting to a light and I feel the car shaking like there's a misfire. The CEL is not flashing. I touch the gas and the car straightens out, then back to the shake. Light changes to green and I drive off. Get to the parts place, get the element I need, and get into the car. I *try* to start the car and it sound sick and won't start. Sounded like it wanted to start but just coughed and sputtered and stalled. Six or seventh attempt and I gave the car some throttle as I rolled the engine and it started up. It idled very rough.

I backed out of the parking spot and gently gave some throttle to see what would happen. Seemed to straighten out. Then started to shake, followed by the flashing CEL. TADA! And I'm thinking [email protected], I don't have my computer with me that I often do, and totally forgot about the scanner in my door cubby. Didn't matter what cylinder as I had a misfire and I knew it. My friend I was fixing the oven for has a garage/tools/hoist so I thought I may as well go back there anyway.

Car smooths right out when driving. But with the previous misfire I didn't give any hard throttle. Drove around 2000-2100RPM and kept out of fifth going up a hill on the highway portion of the drive to make sure the car didn't drop to third for any reason. Car seemed to be fine. Hit some construction that was stop and go a few minutes before the drive was done. While stopped I could smell what smelled like oil burning. Didn't think it was me at that point. Got to my friends place and realized I had the scanner and checked pulled the code: P0304. Exhaust/cat was rattling too up this point.

I though the #4 misfire was odd because last week I could hear a slight tap at #2 at the exhaust port. I wasn't surprised about the fact there was a misfire. I'm still thinking blocked/damaged cat until when I started the car up (hard to start again) again the exhaust was a white/blue mix. More I revved, the more white/blue it was. CEL started flashing slowly again. Scanner indicated #4 still. My friend was at a loss. The smoke had us thinking head gasket but that would start all of a sudden. That'd be over time. No burning stinky exhaust before yesterday afternoon. I hooked up his computer after installing FreeSSM. Started counting misfires right away. When I give the car throttle the misfires stop. But it smokes more. And the cat rattles loudly. I drove the car home as is though I didn't think I should.

My friend lives on a private road that's about 3/4 mile long, straight, flat. I put the car in 1st gear and floored the gas and stayed there until redline. No misfire. Couldn't see out the back window for the smoke.

In general, cars in my rearview mirror stayed back 75-100'. If I could see them. There were times they were in quite a haze. No misfire on the drive. Made myself nauseous from the stink (had my windows down, right or wrong). That took an hour or so to get over. Maybe I was just nauseous from the thoughts of what was going on inside the engine. Probably both. I checked the oil and I'm down to just over half way between full and add, about 1/2 quart over 7 days.

This morning! First I checked the PCV. It's fine. Nice solid clacking sound. Sprayed it full of thinners to clean it regardless. Next was pull the plugs out and do a compression test. Photos of plug condition and compression values attached below. Plug installation mileage and current mileage in my signature below.

All coil packs are clean and free of oil/dirt. Plug terminals and insulators are clean and free of any oil or carbon tracks.

Bank 2:
Cylinder #6: Electrode, strap, and insulator are brownish/black and dry. Cylinder is 185psi.
Cylinder #4: The electrode, insulator, and ground strap are wet with fuel coated in carbon and solid black. Compression is 62psi. Not what one wants.
Cylinder #2: Electrode, strap, and insulator are brownish/black and dry. Cylinder is 192psi.

Bank 1:
Cylinder #1: Electrode, strap, and insulator are gray/white. Cylinder is 181psi, 16psi lower than 3 and 5.
Cylinder #3: Electrode, strap, and insulator are gray/white. White areas prominent. Cylinder is 198psi.
Cylinder #5: Electrode, strap, and insulator are gray/white. Cylinder is 196psi.

While doing the compression test with all spark plugs removed and the compression tester installed in any cylinder but #4, the engine sounds a particular way. When I have the compression tester connected to #4, the sound engine makes is different. That probably wherever the piston is pushing the air where it shouldn't be.

I completed a roadtrip/vacation that was about 5000km/3100 miles long three weeks ago. I had no issues whatsoever. Bank 2, always richer than bank 1, was running it's normal -3/-4% LTFT. Bank 1 runs centered on 0 LTFT. Yesterday the LTFT went to the -20s. Coolant levels are right where they should be. Radiator cap and overflow caps are clean.

I want to think that the problem is a broken exhaust valve. To me, that would explain the rattle in the cat (pieces of the valve,) the low compression, the smoking, and the rich condition as opposed to a lean condition as all the fresh air would be pumped out an exhaust valve that would effectively be open. The smoking and misfire, and much louder rattle, came on all of a sudden and at the same time.

Regardless of what it is, I'm looking for solutions. Continue with further tests? Rebuild? Get a used engine? No used EZ30 engines near me and for the cost I'm super timid of buying and shipping one that turns out to be a dud. Then i'm out more money for a return and still don't have a running car. I believe I'm capable of getting repairing valves but.... nearest used engine is 14 hours away, one way, from me.

Looking forward to comments.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
85BRAT97SVX03Baja5mtHonda's
Joined
·
2,170 Posts
exhaust or intake valve perhaps. can probably just redo the head with new valves, but would need pull head off and check the bore.
 

·
Premium Member
(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
Joined
·
18,333 Posts
how many miles on the engine? if 'high' a junkyard or JDM might be a better way to go than rebuild.
 

·
Registered
2005 Outback 3.0R
Joined
·
1,064 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
how many miles on the engine? if 'high' a junkyard or JDM might be a better way to go than rebuild.
231,200km/143,700mi. The issue is with the used engine + freight. Looking at about $2k anyway.
 

·
Registered
2005 Outback 3.0R
Joined
·
1,064 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
exhaust or intake valve perhaps. can probably just redo the head with new valves, but would need pull head off and check the bore.
That I think is the ultimate proof of problem. I have nothing to lose. As it stands, it's dead as it is.
 

·
Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
Joined
·
16,223 Posts
So Hey Man,

XRT has a chat group on BBM At the beginning of the summer, one of the tuned 3.0 sedans was having some issues. It was still being actively tuned, so the owner was pointed in the direction of a burned valve. We caught that one before the same that that happened to you...happened to him.

The theory is that the his previous owner ran cheap gas. Combined with the lean tune from the factory...detonation damage occurs. His cylinder was #4 also. I suspect the same here.

I don;t have any idea where you are at, where you left tuning. What ROM you are running if still on an XRT tune...or...when the last time you logged any data was.

Sorry to hear about these troubles, I just figured I would pass on what I have heard ...
 

·
Registered
2005 Outback 3.0R
Joined
·
1,064 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Right now I'm planning on dropping a used JDM engine into it. Talked to a couple of people that have torn down H6s locally and they're telling me by the time I fix the head I may as well bought a used engine and saved my time.

I'm hitting Florida in 2-3 weeks along with my parents and their Econoline van. Gonna be down that way for 3-5 weeks. Grab an engine, test it all out, sans car, by checking oil tailings condition, compression, leak down, rod/main bearing clearances, and cam lobe condition, before hauling it the 33 hours back when the trip is done.

If anyone knows of somewhere in Florida that I either should, or especially SHOULDN'T, buy a used engine I'm all ears.

Need a rear prop shaft too. Something is rolling around in mine. God knows what. Once I replace mine I'm cutting it open to find out what it is. $1200 new, $400 used locally. Sub $100 in Florida.
 

·
Registered
2005 Outback 3.0R
Joined
·
1,064 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I pulled the trigger on a JDM engine I found in Montreal. $2k Canadian shipped/taxed to the garage I'm going to do the work at. 48k miles/72k kilometres. All cylinders have compression (according to the Youtube video) over 200psi. Should be in my possession by Friday next week.

Don't know yet if I'll have to change over the harness yet or not and I'm not worried if I do. And if there's something smashed off the side of it, like an oil control valve, I've got spares. :)
 

·
Registered
2005 Outback 3.0R
Joined
·
1,064 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
so that is like $1600 USD, delivered...not bad. :smile2:
That makes my stomach feel a little less queasy about handing over cash for something I haven't seen run in my car yet.

A friend of mine's opinion is that I should throw away the car and get something else and bring it back up from near death, like I have for the this one and the three before it. I might agree but for the condition of the car otherwise. The big one is no rust. On the coast. Where the roads get pickled and brined. It needs nothing else but a prop shaft that has something rolling inside of it in the rear half and I want to cut it open and find out what it is. Still grabbing a replacement prop in Florida next month.
 

·
Registered
2005 Outback 3.0R
Joined
·
1,064 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Drove the car 30km to my friends garage. The "old" engine is a hard oil burner. Had to put the climate controls on recycle and keep the windows up the stink was so bad. My buddy said he'd warn the flies around his yard. If it wasn't for the oil burning I wouldn't have known there was an issue. It quite compliantly did 90 up a hill on the highway. The smoke provided me with lots of room on the road.

I got the "new" used JDM engine so yesterday. Clean clean clean and shiiiii-ny! The harness loom is all crispy, couple of connectors clipped off, and a knicked wire. I'll move my harness over to it. Got the new engine dropped into the garage and moved my car into position to work on it.

I started tearing the car down, making sure to make lots of mental notes and get pictures of anything interesting. There were a few standouts.

Got the car up in the air and found that the manifold had oil weeping out just before the cat. The head had oil weeping out between it and the manifold at the #4 exhaust port. This weeping either hadn't burned off over the drive or it's just leaking that much. Once I had the exhaust taken down I got pictures of each exhaust port. #2 looked fine. #4 was black and wet. #6 was as well. That was unexpected but not surprising. Whatever happened to #4 I believe beginning to happen to #6.

After having the manifolds off I shook the drivers side and the cat sounds like a bell. It melted. That's my cat rattle. No exhaust valve bits.

Both heads have a yellowy crust on them where the manifolds bolt up. I don't remember ever seeing this nor do I know what it is.

The car was not down in coolant. The overflow bottle was right at the full line. There is no scum on the overflow cap or rad cap.

I've removed the intake manifold and all the intake ports look good. I have not yet done a leak down test nor have I looked in the spark plug holes.

It was tricky breaking the lower nut loose at the bell housing on the drivers side, with the axle, transmission cooler lines, and steering column. A small 3/8" ratchet with a 1" extension cracked it loose. Then I could use a u-joint to get it off.

I left the car last night with one bell housing bolt left to remove to start again at it today.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
2005 Outback 3.0R
Joined
·
1,064 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I got the JDM engine installation completed yesterday. What a pain. But, my bestest buddy ever let me use his garage, hoist, time, and experience, lent his muscle to the job too.

The easiest part was doing the plugs. Was a pleasure to do, not being in the engine bay. Had a bit of a snag though. I gave the dealer the part number for the ILFR6B plugs. I was invoiced and I paid for ILFR6B plugs. $30 EACH! I didn't clue in until I was in the fourth or fifth plug that I was having to gap down that I had been given PLFR6A-11 plugs. They'll work. I was committed with no way to get the others and already installed over half of them.

When buying JDM engines you're usually buying the long block. The accessories are attached but as-is. They may be broken or usable. The wiring harness was pretty crispy from heat and the intake was broken. Those were easy enough to take care of. It was the original engine that was the pain.

The nipple on the torque converter was fused to the flex plate. When moving the engine forward in the bay the torque converter came off with the engine, and off the transmission. My buddy and I both staring at it in disbelief. He works on a lot of cars and builds ratrods for fun. He's worked on cars for 30 years and said he's never seen anything like it. Of course, the engine is wedged at this point against the rad support and ATF is spreading far and wide across the floor. I really should have taken a picture. The memory of it is a lot funnier now than it was at that moment. It took the two of us with a 36" pry bar each, one on each side of the engine bay, prying on the torque converter, alternating my prying on one side of the TC and him on the other for 15-20 minutes, rocking it back and forth and finally popped it off. Next the nipple got sprayed with oil, and put back against the flex plate. The next fight was getting it all back onto the transmission.

The engine wasn't exactly balanced on the hoist. So my buddy manned the engine hoist and I lifted the front of the pig-of-an-engine at the front by the AC compressor bracket. He lowered the engine down and I held the front to get the torque converter lined up with the trans and the bottom engine bolts aligned with the bell housing. Once everything was mostly back in place he popped the TC onto the input shaft and lifted the engine out.

Our backs are hurting now.

Once the dud engine is out it's time to get the flex plate off. We debated the difference between the torx plus bit I had for the flex plate bolts and the T-50 straight torx he had. I suggested we just try the bits in the bolts and my bit fit and his didn't. But I digress. The breaker bar wasn't getting the bolts out. His 600ft-lb impact gun couldn't get them out. Propane didn't get them cracked. We both thought the TP-50 bit I had was going to break and I bought the last one any stores had in the area.

The bolts were covered in a very fine layer of rust, that he said, when he's seen crank bolts on Honda's like that he's needed a torch to get them off. He had the acetylene but not the oxygen. A friend of his had a couple of "spare" tanks of oxygen and got us hooked up but not before having us scan his garage for any junk he wanted and also handed out cans of Bud. An hour break was very helpful. Got back with the tank, lit the torch, and 20 seconds on every other bolt heated things up enough to break them all loose.

The rest wasn't very interesting. The JDM engine went in quickly. I'd had the harness moved in short order as well as the broken oil pressure sensors and control valves, replacing the broken ones on the JDM engine with the ones from the original engine. We stopped that Thursday night with everything on the top done. Yesterday we got the bottom side of the car back together and changed the oil. Hedging my bets I skipped the coolant in case the worst possible outcome came to pass. I pulled the fuel pump fuse and rolled the engine over. No funny noises! Rolled it for another minute just to the new oil moving around the engine. I re-installed the fuel pump fuse, gritted my teeth, and turned the key. It started up! Smoked like a SOB but that was the oil from the last engine burning out of the manifold. Cleared up in 10 minutes at most. Next I got it filled with coolant and topped up the ATF. Took it for a short drive and returned to burp the cooling system. Added another cup of fluid to the rad.

I thanked my buddy profusely for the help and left with the computer connected to log just what was going on with the car's new heart. The passenger side bank is running 10% on the stock ROM at idle, and bank 2 is spot on. Both banks run 5-10% lean under any load. I'll have to check over the intake manifold and injector seals on bank 1 then rescale the MAF from stock again to take into account the higher exhaust flow. I'll retune from there.

It's nice having a car again after a few weeks. :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: miker104

·
On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
Joined
·
26,846 Posts
did you do valve cover gaskets on the JDM before dropping it in?

and $30 CAD each ...for a H6 type plug be it platinum like you got / or the iridium that you asked for,
....sounds like a canuck form of highway robbery.....the definition of getting "Hosed by e Hoser"

maybe you should go on back down there with some neighbors and complain.

 

·
Registered
2005 Outback 3.0R
Joined
·
1,064 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I did not touch the valve cover gaskets. My removed engine made it 140k miles with the original gaskets without a hint of a leak. The "new" engine is two years older, 45k miles, delivered full of oil, and no signs of a leak. I'm living on the edge. ;)

As for the price of the plugs, go to https://www.amazon.ca/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias=aps&field-keywords=ilfr6b and check the prices on the ILFR6B. It's more than I paid. The $30 was tax in. Amazon lists at $30.81 + tax + ship.
 

·
On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
Joined
·
26,846 Posts
I did not touch the valve cover gaskets. My removed engine made it 140k miles with the original gaskets without a hint of a leak. The "new" engine is two years older, 45k miles, delivered full of oil, and no signs of a leak. I'm living on the edge. ;)

As for the price of the plugs, go to https://www.amazon.ca/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias=aps&field-keywords=ilfr6b and check the prices on the ILFR6B. It's more than I paid. The $30 was tax in. Amazon lists at $30.81 + tax + ship.
and rock auto list the same plug for $8.58 USD which is $10.70 CAD each, when I convert it on google as per today's rate
....plus whatever they want in sticking them in the mail. (7 USD > 8.73 CAD to halifax)

2006 SUBARU OUTBACK 3.0L H6 Spark Plug | RockAuto
 

·
Registered
1999 30th Anniversary Legacy Outback DOHC 2.5L 4EAT, 2008 Impreza WRX 2.5L 5MT, 2008 Impreza Wagon 2.5L 4EAT
Joined
·
1,224 Posts
Would Canadian Tire had those plugs any cheaper?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Hey Cracklin,

so good to hear
that your up and running again!

major congrats on successfully
installing the ‘new to you’ engine. (iam very impressed...youve got skills man)
how long did this task take?

Hi miker104,

dont think CT carries those ILFR6B plugs,
they would have to be ordered.
when i called last year i was quoted
over $20 each, cant recall exact amount.

was fortunate to source some locally from my
the discount auto place last yr for 17.50.
(i didnt know of Rockauto at the time)
 

·
Registered
2005 Outback 3.0R
Joined
·
1,064 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
There wasn’t any waiting for shipping with this. I needed them as soon as yesterday. Where I was using a friends garage I needed everything ASAP as soon as the engine showed up.
 

·
Registered
2005 Outback 3.0R
Joined
·
1,064 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thought I'd provide a bit of an update on this.

Before recycling the old engine I shoved a borescope into #4 and #6 since those were covered in oil. Internally they were wet with oil. No cylinder wall scoring. Very little carbon on the pistons. My guess is an internal oil/head gasket leak.

Took the valve covers off. Of course, one of the bolts refused to come loose. Seeing as the engine was going to be recycled, a sledge hammer worked wonders to get the cover off fast. No (obvious) wear on any of the cam lobes.

I installed a wideband O2 sensor back in November to rescale my MAF with the new engine and adjusted the tune provided by XRT. My old engine would never not knock. All seems tied back to a failing #4 cylinder. The new engine knocked a little but nothing like the old. After adjusting my MAF scale a little at a time over the last few months and some minor timing adjustments (advanced some timing as much as 2*) I have a car that has no learned knock correction. I'm particularly pleased because of the months and months and months and months of "What could it be??" I'd gone through. There were so many different occasions I'd think that I had it fixed but nope. But this time I've got it! 40 days of driving with no ROM edits the proof is in the pudding in the attachment below.
 

Attachments

1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top