Loss of Power, 2004 Subaru WRX - Subaru WRX Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 Old 12-20-2010, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Loss of Power, 2004 Subaru WRX

My parents bought me a brand-new 2004 WRX when I got my license but have since gone away to college and my mom has taken the wheel for the last few years (unfortunately). The story goes that my dad took it into the dealership to have the 60,000 mi. tune-up and when he was driving the car back afterward he had noticed the extreme lack of power. The tune-up consisted of the basic changing of fluids and spark plugs. The car has aftermarket Injen exhaust and upcat, aftermarket blow-off valve, and AEM cold air intake (Just some basics). The car has literally no power compared to how it normally runs. If you hit the gas hard it just "bogs" down as if its flooding or something. It takes forever to accelerate and is actually quite scary to enter onto the highway and makes passing anyone near impossible. The turbo sounds like it is spooling, but is not as loud as I remember it. Once the car gets going about 30 mph it has more power but still nothing close to normal. If I slam down the accelerator and hold it it sounds/feels like something bad is happening, as if I'm damaging it. We have no idea what to do and told the dealership it was fine before they got it but their reply is that they didn't do anything wrong and for them to fix it they'd have to rip everything apart costing an arm and a leg. In summary it feels as if you're driving the car with the engine alone and no turbo at all. If anyone could give me some sort of direction as to what the problem may be I can have some friends that are mechanics take a look but none are familiar with turbos. Thanks in advance and any problem identification would be helpful
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post #2 of 13 Old 12-20-2010, 09:36 PM
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No Check Engine Light? You could have a spark issue, but then you'd have a check engine light. I'm going to jump on and say it before someone else says it negatively. It's not really a good idea to have the AEM Cold-Air intake, because of the lean condition it causes with the MAF sensor right after the bend out of the fender. The BOV could be leaking, but I think you'd hear that if the turbo were spooling and leaking out of that, but everyone here will tell you to take that off too, but you can choose on that one if decreased performance, running a little rich and potentially destroying your catalytic converter prematurely from that rich condition are worth the sound. . . Anyway, now that that's said. . . Maybe a vacuum leak which is making the wastegate not function properly (stuck open), or it could also be other things that everyone else will need to help out with. I'd check the wastegate duty first, which can be checked by hooking up a vacuum line to the wastegate line and it should pull around 7-8 lbs of boost. Do you have a gauge? AccessPort? Those would be helpful. Anyway if you need to check it out, PM RcrsWetDream, as he actually knows what he's talking about with checking the wastegate. Good luck, man! Remember to give us an update when it's all figured out.
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post #3 of 13 Old 12-20-2010, 09:51 PM
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Take it back to that shop...they obviously messed it up

355 awhp fp green six speed wagon in Corvette Atomic Orange
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post #4 of 13 Old 12-21-2010, 06:43 AM
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^^ Exactly.... Tell them to take the plugs out they put in and never go back if they are going to be reh-tards about it. Was is just the plugs and fluids?

But it does sound like a vacuum hose came off or a cracked hose from the time they were in there.

Paul
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post #5 of 13 Old 12-22-2010, 11:05 AM Thread Starter
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I don't have a boost gauge beacuse unfortunately I had to get an automatic tranny keeping in mind my mom would want to drive it. I didn't know that the air intake and BOV were doing such negative things to the car, being in high school when I got them on I just thought it was cool and would give me more hp. My check engine light has been going on and off since the exhaust was installed, their reasoning was that the exhaust was cut by the catalytic converter and it trips the light to turn on when the chip doesn't catch it in time? Idk thats their reasoning and whenever it would trip the light I would have to take it back in for them to "reset" it. So it's difficult to say what the engine light is on for, but at the moment it is not on but I'm sure it will be sometime within the week. any ideas on how to specifically check the wastegate pressures?
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post #6 of 13 Old 12-22-2010, 11:08 AM Thread Starter
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P.s. the tune-up included plugs, fluids, and filter changes
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post #7 of 13 Old 12-22-2010, 12:36 PM
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I haven't a clue how to chk the WG pressure or cycles on an automatic or with a logger (AP or dashawk). Contact rcrswetdrm on here (he might know) like a previos poster said.

Take the car down to an autoparts store and get the code read (AutoZone, NAPA, etc...)

So there isn't any engine management on the car ?

Paul
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post #8 of 13 Old 12-23-2010, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
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No engine managment on the car, or at least no aftermarket engine management
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post #9 of 13 Old 12-24-2010, 02:54 AM
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I don't know if anyone would refer to the factory ECU as engine management. . . Although I validate that it manages the engine. . . Not what we're talking about. Engine management will be a good thing to get. I know that RcrsWetDream put it in a post about how to check the WG, except you need some sort of gauge to read it. You have an up pipe and exhaust, which I would assume means you have a downpipe as well? If that's the case, that's another thing you'll want to get EM for. We're not ragging on you for mods that are done to your car, but there are a few things you'll want to do to maximize the power and reliability. Getting the codes read while the CEL is on would be the first step if you can get it done. The reason that light comes on is to let you know the car isn't running the way it should and there's potential to harm the car. When you use EM you're not just ignoring the light, but rather making sure that the car expects the values you're giving it with the mods done. If You can run a check on your vacuum lines to see if there are any that have cracks or splits in them, but really it might be hard to check without being able to gauge it. You might be able to find a shop that can just check for a vacuum leak if that's what you go in asking for in the first place. Good luck, and let us know when you can.
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post #10 of 13 Old 12-29-2010, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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After having the car looked at by a mechanic he found a large chunk of metal about the size of a fist that had melted off the pre cat and was stuck in the exhaust before the turbo restricting the exhaust from fully powering it. They also realized that one of my cylinders is running at about half of its capacity, but due to money restraints we are leaving the cylinder alone and just happy to have the car somewhat back to normal with the turbo working!!! They said with having put in a new exhaust and air intake that the car is running rich and the injectors and headers etc. should be upgraded as well as the turbo to prevent any further problems, is this true? or there another way (cheaper) around that?
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post #11 of 13 Old 12-29-2010, 10:46 PM
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All you need is a tune. You dont have to change more parts out. Look into some form of engine management, or a tuner around your area.

Joshua
"2007 WRX- PPG'd, 20G- Tim Bailey tuned
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post #12 of 13 Old 12-29-2010, 11:53 PM
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It would still be a good idea to replace your stock catted up pipe with a new/used aftermarket/stock catless one or at least gut the one you have to prevent this type of thing from happening again. The tune will probably help bring some power back, but it might not do anything about the cylinder that's running at half capacity... you might need to do some internal work to fix that one.

John
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post #13 of 13 Old 12-30-2010, 06:14 AM
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What he said^ New injectors or headers are not going to fix a rich fuel mixture. I would install a catless up pipe on the car and get a tune that is safe enough for the cylinder that is on its way out. Just wondering, did you have any sort of Engine Management on the car prior to taking it in for the check up? Having the cat fail on your up pipe is a prime example of why it is highly recommended to change it out for a catless one.
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