Those of you that follow the 1A Auto Blog may remember the 2006 Subaru Legacy GT project car that I bought a few months ago. If not, you may want to start off by reading Part 1 and Part 2 of the project before jumping head first into today’s post. Then again, maybe you just want to dig right into the meat and potatoes. For that, I can’t blame you. In fact, that makes you a straight shooter, and that’s what I’ve always liked about you.
Okay. Here goes…
The new-ish VF40 turbo on the 2006 Legacy GT destroyed itself in hellacious fashion recently. Yes. It was quite an experience that I won’t soon forget. Raining, muddy, on a steep hill, on a high speed road, and then shrouded in disappointment from my “towing service” who shall remain nameless. If I had only known a month ago what I know now, this horrible event would have definitely been avoided. So now, I want to inform turbocharged Subaru owners far and wide of this absolutely simple maintenance that can make a destroyed turbo totally preventable. For me, I can only blame myself for not researching this car & EJ25 engine more, because this info is already out there if you just search for it. Sadly, I just didn’t realize that I needed to. Research, research, research when you buy a car that you are unfamiliar with. Hit the car forums. Ask the people that drive them. Be your own automotive advocate. It WILL save you cash and stress.
Now let’s get to the good stuff! Once the red beauty was towed home and placed in the dry, loving surroundings of the garage, I found that the shaft inside the VF40 turbo had been completely starved of oil, and it broke in half at the center bearing. This left the turbine wheel dancing around inside the turbine housing, which is never optimal for peak performance. With the engine running, the sound could have been mistaken for somebody feeding steel chains into a wood chipper. I immediately asked myself “how the heck did this happen?!” The car had brand new oil in it, only about 2000 miles on the oil that I got it with a couple of months ago, and I knew that the previous owner took amazing care of this car because she loved it. I hit the internet in search for the answer.
Much to my surprise, there was 350+ page thread on Legacygt.com that discussed this exact problem in detail, because hundreds of other Subaru owners have had the same exact problem as me. The cause - the banjo bolt (also known as a “union” bolt) that is part of the oil feed line to the turbo. Inside this banjo bolt is a tiny little (stupid) filter. Over time, this tiny little filter does its job and filters contaminates from going into the turbo. Great, right? No. Not so much. Because most people rarely, if ever, replace them. Left untouched for too long, the filter becomes clogged, and your turbo is starved of oil, which quickly leads it to an early death.
Needless to say, I am no longer a fan of this bolt or the filter that lives inside it, and I decided that there was no way that I was replacing it with the same style system. There just had to be something better out there, like maybe an oil feed line with a washable filter, and more oil volume? ALAS! The internet saved the day again! A company called “Infamous Performance” in California created an oil feed kit that appears to be far superior to the factory system. The kit that they sell completely eliminates the factory oil feed, and grabs engine oil from a “better” location. It also has a terrific looking, larger oil filter than can be cleaned out easily at your leisure. Since I also needed a new turbo, I went with a hybrid 16G VF40 from BNRSupercars. Both parts got to me fast, and worked perfectly without any drama whatsoever. The car now is now fixed, the birds are singing, and a beautiful red 2006 Subaru Legacy GT is back on the streets again.
Now, for those of you with turbocharged Subarus, don’t freak out yet. The first step is to find out if your car even had this banjo (union) bolt with the filter inside it (Not all Subarus do. In fact, the majority don’t.). For the cars that do have it though, it is located on the back of the passenger side cylinder head, and it holds down the turbo oil feed line. A super helpful Subaru owner known as “niemkij” on iwsti.com did a fantastic write-up of how to replace one of these bolts yourself. Currently, a new “union” bolt is around $17 new from a Subaru dealer, and probably take between 15 minutes and an hour to replace, depending on your level of expertise.
For all intents and purposes, replacing this banjo bolt with a new one from the dealer is all you really need to do. I go overboard on everything that I do, so I went with the whole new feed line & fancier turbo instead of the OEM stuff. The moral is, this tiny little turbo oil feed filter needs to be replaced on a regular basis. If you don’t replace it, or don’t know when the last time yours was replaced, you may be risking the life of your turbo. Check it out, and report back your findings. I want to hear about your Subaru.
Remember last summer when we watched the 4G63 (read: Mitsubishi Eclipse engine) powered dragster go deep into the 7′s in the quarter mile at 190 mph? Well this year it runs 6.85′s and 195. According to math, science and history, that officially makes this thing sickly fast, and a new record holder. The guys at turbo4.com deserve a round of applause for really pushing the limits with this engine, and the car that it is strapped into. Amazing work as always! Now let’s see what 200mph looks like!
As you saw a few weeks ago, I recently purchased a 2006 Subaru Legacy GT Limited that was missing compression in cylinder #3 due to a burned exhaust valve. Long story short, it runs again, but getting to this point was a fair amount of work. Here is how it played out:
I bought the car about a month ago:
Then I got it home, and began diagnostics with a cylinder leakage tester. » Continue reading more of this post…
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…
Back in my high school years, I knew of a reclusive man nearby that had an entire yard full of totally complete 1960′s Ford Falcons. There were probably more than 30 of them scattered around his yard with just few other models sprinkled in between. It was quite clear that none had moved in several decades because the vast majority had old plant growth securing them firmly to the earth below. I never did find out what his draw to Falcons was, but being a car guy, on some level, I respected it. Yes, I realize that he was potentially the reason that these cars would never see the road again, but that is not always the case, and not always a bad thing. It really depends on the situation. Maybe the Falcons were destined for the junkyard long ago, and he saved them from certain death in the crusher? Maybe he was storing them for a friend? Maybe he had already saved 100 of them, and these were the leftover real junky ones? Who really knows. The only thing we knew was that the dude had a lot of Falcons, and they may still be there.
Today, we have a more modern version of the story, but seen in a much happier light. This story takes place in Michigan, on Craigslist, and it’s a person with 50+ Mitsubishi 3000GT’s and Dodge Stealths. That, my friends, is a hell of a lot of lug nuts. He (I’m assuming it’s a “he”) has twin turbo cars, he has N/A cars, he’s even got factory red interiors for god sakes. How jealous are you? Be honest. The great thing, it’s all for sale! That’s right, he isn’t just hoarding them and watching them sink into the worms presumably like the Falcons. He is selling parts so that other cars can breath life again. It is the automotive life cycle and assuming that these cars weren’t mint when he got them, he is definitely doing the responsible thing, helping his fellow enthusiasts. Well done!
Are you this guy? Are you a car hoarder? Contact us and tell us about your collection at firstname.lastname@example.org! Seriously. The enthusiasts here are jealous and want to see more.
Oh and here is the Craigslist Listing if you need some 3000GT/Stealth parts.
Special Thanks to Jeff B for Spotting This!
A friend of mine has had this 3-rotor twin turbo Mazda 20B engine forever and it haunts my soul. Over 10 years ago, it was going to be dropped into his 2nd generation RX7 which would have been an absolute monster. Sadly, just a short time after the engine was commandeered from a land far, far away, his RX7 was t-boned hard in the side. He was fine, but the car was destroyed. The beautiful 3-rotor engine was then put into storage where it lived in the darkness up until recently, when it needed to be relocated. So what’s the plan for it you ask? That’s a super fantastic question, that I would love to know the answer to! I know that I dream about owning it every single night, but honestly, it is worth more than any of my vehicles, so swapping it into any of them would just be shameful.
What would you guys do with an engine like this? Caterham? 3rd gen RX7? Miata? VW Bus? I’m out of ideas…
Last week, this video popped up on the interwebs. It consists of a camera strapped to a 650+ horsepower Ariel Atom. Not familiar with the Atom you say? Well, just imagine an F1 car that you can drive on the street. It is sort of like that, but less expensive. It’s not a luxury or winter vehicle by any means, but it will out corner any other vehicle in your neighborhood, and make your friends shriek out profanity. The one in this video was apparently built by RealStreetPerformance in Orlando Florida. It claims to have 650+ horsepower coming from a K20 Honda engine with the help of some forced induction. The power is sent through a 6-speed to the rear wheels, which clearly makes for one serious hell ride.
Can’t see the video? Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUl-4BPLgfQ
Ariel Atom Website