Subaru Burned Valve – Found The Problem!

I recently picked up a great new toy in the form of a 2006 Subaru Legacy GT.  Much like all vehicles that I buy, it needed some major work before hitting the streets again. When I first heard about this car, the local Subaru dealer had just declared that it needed a new engine. Technically speaking, it did still run. However, it was running really rough due to lack of compression in cylinder #3. With the higher mileage that it had, and the repair being a seriously labor intensive job, it just wouldn’t make sense for the owner of the car to have it fixed. For me though, I get a weird thrill over fixing cars that other people condemn. Before long, a deal was struck, and the red Subie landed in my driveway.

The first step of any repair is determining what the problem is. Since I already knew that one cylinder was missing compression, I began the diagnosis by determining where all of that compression was going. I knew that if the piston was damaged, the compression would have to be filling the crankcase like crazy with air, so I started the car and yanked the oil filler cap off. I then waved my hand around above the oil filler tube. If the piston was damaged, there would have been massive amounts of compression pumping out of there. Luckily for me, there wasn’t. This, along with a quiet running engine, told me that the piston & rings were probably in good working condition. Next on the check list, and really the only other option, were the valves. I shut off the car, and installed a cylinder leakage gauge into the spark plug hole. I then set the engine to TDC on cylinder #3, and pumped 90psi of air into the cylinder. Sure enough, all of that air immediately flowed right out the exhaust system. Tada, an exhaust valve was damaged! This meant that the engine was coming out, and the heads were getting pulled off. Most of Saturday came and went, and the picture above is what I discovered.

So what causes burned valves? Well, from what I have read about these engines, the valves aren’t known to be the best quality to start with. Compile that with the fact that the valves were never adjusted in 140K miles (which is rarely, if ever, done by anybody with a Subaru), and the valves were given the opportunity to hang open just enough to burn. Yeap, a total bummer for sure.  This car though, is getting a second chance at life, with new valves, head gaskets, timing belt, water pump, etc.  I cannot wait to get it back together!

More to come in the weeks ahead…

Click Here to See What Happens Next!

 

Integrated Exhaust Manifolds

Cadillac CTS 3.6L Engine

Under the cover of darkness (okay, not really), there has been an evolutionary change going on beneath some new car hoods. Something that we all have grown to love & hate may finally become a thing of the past. For these new GM V6 engines, upgrading to a set of long tube headers for some added fun at the track is a total impossibility, because the exhaust manifold doesn’t even exist anymore. A tragedy? Nope, not really.

You see, General Motors has been starting to integrate the exhaust manifolds into the cylinder heads themselves.  This is absolutely terrific news for several reasons. It gives engineers & technicians a bit more room to play, weighs several pounds less, has fewer gaskets to blow, and it locates the catalytic converters closer to the cylinder heads which reduces emissions even further. Oh yeah, they also claim that these fancy new heads flow better than the old exhaust manifolds used to. So unless these integrated cylinder heads start cracking from heat cycles (plausible?), they are really nothing but great news for the enthusiasts and environmentalists alike. It’s a strange new world out there, and times they are a’ changin’.

Just a Twin Turbo Fairlane 500

In the warmer months, I find myself sauntering around car shows quite a bit. It keeps me motivated on my automotive projects, gives me some great ideas, and I often meet great people. One car that I have seen several times over the past couple of years is this 63-64? Fairlane 500 with a twin turbocharged 5.0L nestled under the hood. This sort of thing always brings a smile to my face because it’s soooo outside the box, and most likely disturbingly fast. Both of which I happen to appreciate greatly.

That said, I have absolutely no details on this car other than what you see in the pictures.  I can tell you that it appears to be a 5.0L fox body mustang engine with a couple turbos hanging off it.  It’s gotta have some kind of aftermarket ECU (megasquirt? AEM?) because well….it’s injected, and the owner has extra sensors wired up for measuring temperatures on the inlet and outlet of the intercooler. Most factory ECU’s can’t handle additional inputs.  Anywho, with that, I give leave you with this. An absolutely killer Fairlane 500 with an engine to match.

Brand New 1984 Harley-Davidson XR-1000 In The Box

I could go about a million different directions with an eBay find like this.  Maybe I should reference Brad Pitt in the movie “Seven” when he is screaming “WHAT’S IN THE BOX!!!“?  Or I could write my own version of Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg’s  famous “Saturday Night Live” like song:

Step 1) Cut a hole in the box…

Step 2) Put a motorcycle in the baaaahhx…

Step 3) Never open the box… and that’s the way you do it. It’s a bike in a box!…

It’s not just a bike though. This is a 1984 Harley XR 1000, and yes it is brand new, straight from 1984 to your computer screen. You can’t make this stuff up. Here’s the story quoted right from the eBay auction:

Up for auction is a 1984 Harley Davidson XR-1000 Motorcycle. This bike was delivered to Thurnalls Harley Davidson in Clarksville Indiana. Due to slow sales at the time, the motorcycle remained at Thurnalls warehouse in its shipping crate. Mr Thurnall passed in 2003, and in 2007 the bike along with other motorcycle related items were purchased by the current owner. When the bike was transferred in 2007 a small C shaped cut was made in the crate so the local sheriff could inspect the VIN number. Other than that, the Motorcycle has been undisturbed in its crate.  I was able to take some pictures by inserting my camera through the C shaped hole. We have a clear Ky title in the current owners name showing 3 miles. Local pickup, is preferred, with payment of the balance at that time. We will ship if payment methods are acceptable.

Much like the brand new Bronco from a few weeks, I’m left wondering what the owner can possibly do with it?  It’s a crazy piece of history that is totally one of a kind.  Tearing the box off of it would potentially hurt its value, never mind ever starting it and riding it.  Sure, it would be amazing to tear up the streets with a brand new bike from the 1980’s, but let’s face it, once this thing has a couple thousand miles on it, its value will slice in half.  Amazing mechanical finds like these are always a blessing and a curse for me to see because I am always so torn up about what the “right thing” is to do with them!  Luckily, none of us will have to stress out about it, because the motorcycle sold yesterday for $30,000 to somebody that we don’t know (most likely).

Check out the eBay Item # 220942214431 for more pictures.

Automotive Sheep Cyclone Spotted

It’s no secret that when you mix vehicles and excitable farm animals, you can nearly guarantee yourself a great youtube video (and entertaining car blog). Today, for all of you animal/automotive lovers out there, we have just that. It’s a sheep cyclone, no… a sheep… tornado! I cannot even begin to imagine why these sheep decided to create a such a whirlwind around this car, but I know a humorous situation when I see it. Enjoy!

Are You Ready For The New Top Gear USA Season?

Last year we discussed the new Top Gear USA that had graced our TV’s for the very first time, and there were some mixed reviews. I personally liked it, but hoped that the whole thing would get a bit less “stiff” as the season went on. Luckily, it did. By the end of the season, Tanner, Adam, and Rutledge were really drinking flowing together quite well.  It’s now a year later, and we are just one week away from the new season beginning on February 14th at 9pm on the History channel.  Will you be watching this season?  Will you forget that it’s also Valentines Day?

Here are the promo’s for your viewing enjoyment.