Engine failure (partially) solved - Carnage photos attached

Discussion in 'Modifications And Maintenance' started by pleiades, Sep 10, 2022.

  1. pleiades
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    pleiades Well-Known Member

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    My wife was driving her '15 Legacy 2.5 last week, making her way out of a parking lot when she states the engine briefly started "chugging" and then shut off. On attempting to restart it, the starter appeared to engage but wouldn't turn the engine over. With a keyless ignition this caused the starter to continue trying and apparently burned out because she said it started smoking and it definitely smelled of an electrical short.

    I got the car towed back home, really couldn't tell what the issue was so I got decided to try the easy items and replaced the battery and starter, but it still won't turn the engine over. It wasn't until this point that I tried rotating the crank by hand and discovered what seems to be a major concern. Going by the marks on the crank pulley the engine will rotate freely (with normal resistance from compression), nothing feeling out of the ordinary, turning nearly 360° but then hits a hard resistance and will not turn further. Rotating the crank back the other direction yields the same results, with the resistance occurring in roughly the same spot.

    Seems obvious now why the starter was having so much trouble, but I haven't a clue what's stopping the engine from rotating. I pulled a cam position sensor and confirmed the gear is still rotating with the crank, checked the oil and found no metal (at least on the dipstick), fluid levels are good, and there were no previous symptoms. I don't have a scope handy to take a look in the cylinders, but I think my next step might be to pull the plugs and check that.

    Anyone have any idea what this would potentially be or have any experience with the same issue? Kind of at a loss here and hoping someone might have some insight. Thanks.
     
  2. pleiades
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    pleiades Well-Known Member

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    Ok, one more small bit of info. After talking to her my wife said the only issue she noticed prior to this was that it didn't seem like it wanted to accelerate right away and had to give it more gas than usual to get it moving. Also, what she described as "chugging" didn't necessarily mean misfiring, just that the engine seemed to be struggling.

    In consideration of that it seems like maybe a torque converter issue, but still not really sure.
     
  3. Optimus8304
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    Optimus8304 Member

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  4. euro
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    euro Well-Known Member

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    Is there actually oil in the engine still?
     
  5. pleiades
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    pleiades Well-Known Member

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    Yes, engine oil is still full.
     
  6. pillboy
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    pillboy Well-Known Member

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    Have you scanned for any codes? Oil level might be full, but maybe there was an oil pump failure and she didn't notice the "Oil" light on the dash.
     
  7. pleiades
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    pleiades Well-Known Member

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    My OBD scanner is pretty basic but didn't find any codes. Only thing I've noticed after checking out further is that it looks to have an extra quart or so of oil in it. Level on the dipstick is about an inch over the full mark. Not sure if that'd be enough to cause issues but it's the only other thing I've seen that was out of the ordinary.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2022
  8. euro
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    euro Well-Known Member

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    Sweet jesus, an inch over?
     
  9. pillboy
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    pillboy Well-Known Member

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    That's odd.
     
  10. pleiades
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    pleiades Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, not sure why I didn't catch that earlier but I was mostly checking to make sure it had oil and what it looked like. She's always had to top it off occasionally with normal oil consumption but maybe did it once or twice without checking the level first?
     
  11. euro
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    euro Well-Known Member

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    I have killed a motor putting too much oil in it. Maybe try draining it and checking the cylinders for standing oil. The 2.0 aba vw engine i killed blew the piston rings and the cylinders were full of oil
     
  12. pleiades
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    pleiades Well-Known Member

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    That's what I'm worried may have happened too, little unsure why that would cause the engine to bind in one spot though. Would you think there's a chance a valve could've bent from that?
     
  13. tangledupinblu
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    tangledupinblu Event Coordinator Staff Member

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    Yep, bad for rings and seals
     
  14. pleiades
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    pleiades Well-Known Member

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    Finally had a chance to ask her about it and she had last added oil to it about a week prior to the failure and had driven it probably a couple hundred miles since.
     
  15. euro
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    euro Well-Known Member

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    Less likely a bent valve than hydrolocking with fluid in the cylinder on a bank. Anything is possible though
     
  16. Krazylegz1485
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    Krazylegz1485 Well-Known Member

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    I guess I take that as if the extra oil was the issue it would've shown itself earlier than that?
     
  17. predavore
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    predavore Well-Known Member

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    Amazing what an extra inch can do...
     
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  18. pleiades
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    pleiades Well-Known Member

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    That's kind of what I was thinking, unless it just happened to not get past the rings until after that long? Really should get my hands on a boroscope and look in the cylinders, want to see if there's any oil pooled up or damage on the pistons.

    By the way it turns out she added extra because she had checked the level right after shutting the engine off and forgot it would read lower than actual until the oil drained back down.
     
  19. pillboy
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    pillboy Well-Known Member

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    2015 is way too young to die an untimely death. My sympathies.
     
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  20. pleiades
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    pleiades Well-Known Member

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    True, just seems odd that the crank would be rotating/stopping the way it is if that's the case. Unless maybe it broke a rod off or something and that's just lying on the cylinder wall and hitting the edge of the piston? I'm really not sure. Hoping a look in the cylinders will reveal the issue, even if that's not what I'd want to see.
     
  21. JasonoJordan
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    JasonoJordan Well-Known Member

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    I would start with pulling all the plugs and turning it over by hand and see if this yeilds any change and/or fluids coming out of the sparkplug holes.

    In my 02 wrx I hydro locked it when I accidently dropped the front corner of it into a ditch full of water with a cold air intake. When hydro locked the starter on it would not turn the car over either.
     
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  22. pleiades
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    pleiades Well-Known Member

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    That's more or less my plan. I ordered a new borescope since my old one seems to have disappeared, so once that arrives in a couple days I'll be pulling the plugs to get a look in the cylinders.
     
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  23. Chux
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    Chux Well-Known Member

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    Yea, I would definitely pull the plugs, and probably the valve covers.

    I don't know the FB25s very well, but I'd be concerned about timing or valvetrain problem, so I'd want to look at the top of the valves and cams to make sure everything is moving as it should. There was a recall on 12-13 models for broken valve springs, but I've heard of a couple cases on newer cars.

    Has this engine been apart at all? They rely almost exclusively on silicone to seal them back up, and it's not uncommon for inexperienced mechanics to use too much, and have excess wind up blocking oil passages. The cam carriers, in particular, can be very difficult to seal without causing problems.
     
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  24. pleiades
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    pleiades Well-Known Member

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    It has not been apart, really never had to do any work on it aside from normal wear items. I was suspecting a timing issue, unlikely with a chain but still possible it could've worn/stretched or had the tensioner go out and skipped. I might look into that further if scoping the cylinders reveals any indication of it being off.
     
  25. pleiades
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    pleiades Well-Known Member

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    Finally had some time to dig a little deeper into this, pulled the plugs and took a peek inside the cylinders. All 4 had some oil around the spark plugs, looks like the valve cover gaskets have been leaking a bit. First 3 cylinders were kind of crusty but checked out ok, plugs were at least dry. Last one (and the most difficult to get access to) was a hot mess however.

    First indicator of a major issue was the spark plug, which looked like someone beat it with a hammer.
    Screenshot_20220916-093442_Gallery.jpg
    Screenshot_20220916-093434_Gallery.jpg

    Looking inside with the borescope I first noticed a lot of impact marks on the piston.
    20220916_093042_capture.jpg
    Screenshot_20220916-093635_Motion photo viewer.jpg

    Then switching to the side camera I found a broken valve upside down with a fair amount of oil pooled behind it and another that looked to be cracked.
    Screenshot_20220916-093711_Gallery.jpg
    Screenshot_20220916-093652_Gallery.jpg

    Little tough to tell what you're looking at here but the broken valve is wedged into the seat of another one.
    Screenshot_20220916-093827_Gallery.jpg
    Screenshot_20220916-093844_Gallery.jpg
     
  26. minnesotanice
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    minnesotanice Well-Known Member

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    Woof. My condolences.. that is beyond what I would have expected. Hopefully you have an extended warranty?
     
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  27. pillboy
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    pillboy Well-Known Member

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    That looks expensive.
     
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  28. pleiades
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    pleiades Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, and no we don't. It's 7 years old with over 150k on it so I don't know if it'd be eligible anyway. Used engine looks like it'd run about $800-1,000 or so, got a quote from a local mechanic I sometimes use and with labor, fluids, etc we'd be looking at the $2,500-3,000 range. Could replace it myself but that's a lot of time I don't have, hassle I don't want to deal with, and liability on myself if anything goes wrong.

    On top of all that it got hailed on in May and was totaled, we kept it for I think around $4k, and now can't have full coverage on it. Sticking another few grand into it seems like a risk and not a very good investment, but my wife loves it and doesn't want to buy a new car. Really not sure what we're going to do with it yet but we'll have to figure that out very soon.
     
  29. Krazylegz1485
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    Krazylegz1485 Well-Known Member

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    Holy sh!t... My condolences as well.
     
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