Project Powertrain Rejuvenation has officially begun. I started with a compression test while the engine was still in the car so I could rule out any big problems (ring land failure is a classic issue with these WRX’s), and the results were great. All four cylinders returned 175-180 PSI after a consistent number of compression cycles, so I’m confident that I don’t need to be digging into the internals. The smoking issue still exists, so I ordered up a gasket kit as well as a water pump and timing belt kit. In case there are any other issues I’m taking the engine out anyways, so replacing the water pump and timing belt is a practical measure.
Simply removing the engine from the car has been quite a process. After 15 years and 220k miles the bolts are difficult and the vacuum hoses are brittle. The wiring harness cracks and peels and everything is covered in a thick layer of dirt. The good news is that after the engine is returned to the car it will have a long life ahead of it with a lot more confidence. The engine still isn’t out, but all that’s left is setting up the hoist and unbolting the engine mounts. For anyone else thinking about attempting this operation, here are some early things to know:
- Invest in BP Blaster and penetrating oil. Not only is it helpful for freeing up stubborn bolts, but it will help with removing stubborn hoses as well! The hoses are installed with a type of adhesive at the factory. Use pliers to twist the hose while pulling in order to break the adhesive.
- You will most likely be replacing vacuum hoses. Get ready with some high visibility tape and a camera to record what connected to what. Then, think about getting a vacuum hose kit so you can make replacements as you go.
- The belt tensioner on the AC compressor is made of cheap plastic… don’t forget to loosen the idler pulley or it’ll break right in half. If you do break it, like I did, then Autozone has a steal replacement.
All the while I’ve been putting together a timelapse that I’ll publish when the project is over. In the process, I realized that most of the oil smoke is likely from a torn CV boot on the right front axle. Axle grease has been slung all over the exhaust (and everything else) just after the turbo. A new axle is in order for the right front, and I’m even more confident than ever that my EJ205 is in amazing working order for its age. Stay tuned on Facebook and Twitter or check back often for more on this build!