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International Automotive Technicians Network
Posted to Technical Tips Forum on 6/18/2020 66 Replies

Lets get down to it like Quentin Tarantino and then go back to explain. This was the worst engine related issue I have ever dealt with as being a technician for almost a decade.

The crankshaft piston bearings were scored pretty bad. That was the cause of this no start which was only identified with a relative compression test and two known good vehicles which we had access to as well as other things on our side.

If you would have been an independent technician you would have most likely sent this to the dealer or threw money and parts at this thing with no success. But who knows there are a few of you who would have gotten to the root quicker than we had.

This failure to find this multiple times was one part missing info, one part unfamiliarity with this vehicle, and another part of focusing and getting tunnel vision on one issue when we had kind of a slew of issues.

Back story is that this vehicle was brought in to the dealer to get the J02 or more commonly known as the engine valve spring recall. I performed that recall like I had done at least 10 plus recalls. I was very proficient and quick which I can do them in a day and test drive on day 2 since they only alot a two day rental if the customer insists.

Nothing weird was found in my inspection and I cleaned and sealed the engine with no issues. Timing was good. It is extremely difficult to really not time these engine like they should be unless something is already damaged or broken. We have seen a couple scored camshaft but that is besides the point.

Granted though I reassembled and made sure there were no leaks and test drove it pretty good on a ten mile stretch. I use to do them longer but there is no need since you would know if you did anything improper on these engines. I did fail to do a two trip check of everything which is where this turned for the worst. I drove it one trip of ten miles and parked. I didnt have anything issues with RPM or VVT.

Customer comes and gets vehicle which she started no problem and she stated when she got on it the engine ran rough and check engine light came on. The light was not on when I finally got to it. I didnt work the day she came to pick it up either and it sat for another day.

I thought this customer was just feeling a relearn issue which was odd because I drove it to make sure it drove wihtout issue since customers feeling over sensitive after a repair is a common issue with any shop. Ever since you touched my car is a well known idium for, I never pay attention to my car until I got it back from you working on it.

Either way I drove it an sure enough the check engine came on. Now again this is where I should have stopped and did some testing. Nope I drove it with no issues other than the MIL. P0018 stored and P0021 pending were the culprits. I deleted and was just checking PIDs to make sure everything was good. I did this on the side of the road and decided to take this girl on the interstate since it was running good.

I went to pass someone to get on the off ramp and it was the calmest engine destruction I ever felt. I heard a light tap and then stall. I did attempt to restart which may have been another wrong turn besides test driving on the interstate. I was towed back and from there nothing went my way. It would not restart.

After checking everything we found that timing was good but compression was crap. Picoscope Diag software only showed one cylinder which was the worst aparently on Cylinder 3. It was found that all cylinders had bent valves. I felt awful and I did fear for my job. I checked and rechecked as much as I could with the engine out and apart on the top end. Nothing was found abnormal. No FIPG sealant in the galleys. No brass chaving, which we will get to, anywhere I cleaned.

We sent the heads off to be cleaned and tested after we put in the valves. Got compression and leak down was good. No start.

After sitting for a month we got Toyota involved mainly because its protocol and of course no one contacted the customer after it was with us for a couple weeks. Absurd yes. We looked like chumps. Once we really started testing we found that relative compression waveform was weird looking. The pull up signal waveform of the Camshaft was going down. We had low pressure fuel at 57 psi whish was great. We found out after pulling fuses for fuel to keep from washing the cylinder that all the fuses and relays are needed for spark and sensor readings.

We chased our tails like morons for another three weeks focusing on the Camshaft waveform which we though was shorted or bad sensors and or VVT phaser. So yes we put valves in, machine shop NDI, Bank 2 Phasers, and pulled this engine a least 5 times so far. Parts is almost 5k and labor another 40 hours.

Our Field Tech Specialist guy spent a majority getting the proper information since our repair manual, new car features (which does give you some good diagnostic info), and Subaru service info did not exactly line up. We also talked to another tech engineer who had a high failure rate in his district when these recalls first came out since not a lot of techs had good training on the boxer engines in the first place or they used the wrong sealant or overused the right sealant.

We got all our good information from Picoscope Waveform Library on Toyota GT86 but the waveform was running. Get those cranking waveform too people! Live you learn. We had a couple good FR-Ss in the shop for an extended period.

We also found out that PCMs are the same. You do a VIN rewrite with Techstream and immobiliser handshake to make sure the keys will work. Testing the harness, sensors, reading through ScannerDanners book and comparing alot of waveforms we ruled out electrical. We had the thing apart so many times we checked timing until we were blue in the face. COmpression a couple times in car and out of car. We decided to do a Relative Compression test which I had done initially but most people told me wouldnt really help since we had good compression. Nope.

Everybody was so focused on timing and Camshaft waveforms that we didnt see a couple clear signs that were relatively easy to find.

After we had the engine out again we decided that the Relative Compression test that was redone was showing a hump that was just noticeable every so often. We cranked the crap out of this vehicle again and again and were looking at other waveforms that we missed it.

Our tech specialist called a guy that was involved with the introduction of this vehicle at TMS/ TMNA. He said if the Relative Compression was skewed or showed a tiny little has then that would mean possible bearing drag. He explained to take the plugs out and just like a pinion on a rear differential to read rotational torque when spinning over. If you had more than 2 ft lbs than you had resistance that shoukd be checked. We had almost 6 ft lbs at random times. We had to really feel for it and sure enough at times we had a good amount of resistance which warranted up to break the girl down to parad rest for you military guys.

Once we broke it down the crankshaft we found our issue. The piston bearing were so scored that this engine would be slow to crank which we also didnt notice. It sounded good but RPM on the scan tool was almost 30-50 RPM lower than the other two known good starting vehicles.

We took the oil pan off too since we knew we would be replacing a short block which is the ony way to get these new. No long block available. We found a clump of shavings of brass and steel that was built up at the top of the oil pan area which we never saw. This has no pickup screen either which was also incredibly odd. I did not see anoy shiny debris in the oil any of the times I drained the oil or cleaned the timing cover and associated parts.

Luckily we found no FIPG sealant which means I am still in the clear since I properly timed the vehicle. I though I was a tooth off but it was just looking at the marks at a less than straight on angle. The springs are good.

This vehicle was probably on the way out since everyone like to put garbage aftermarket filters on these, drift them like idiots, or run them ragged with no maintenance. We did the recall and it possibly multiplied an issue and it presented itself horribly with a huge time wasting head scratcher. Had this been a pure Toyota vehicle we could have fixed it no problem in a couple days.

No one and I mean no one at Toyota was well versed in this vehicle. All the info found was either by another failure, in house literature that is kept away from technicians, or old school engineer retired mechanics.

Some of you guys from TechHelp was kind of helpful. This engine did not have a timing belt which means a few of you are not as well versed in this vehicle either.

I will very much try and post pictures and waveform captures but everything is spread all over from two of us in our shop to a field guy that kept a couple good waveforms. I just wanted to spread this info since I didnt realize this issue as a fix until recently. I was also so stressed and exhausted from spending a lot of time on this I had to gather my thoughts and try to explain this in a short and informative setting.

Erik Owens
Legacy Toyota
Tallahassee, Florida, USA

66 Replies Received (View Replies)


car Vehicle Data

2013 Scion FR-S 2.0L

Engine2.0 L
Trans6-speed Automatic (Electronic)

car Vehicle Data

2013 Scion FR-S 2.0L

Engine2.0 L
Trans6-speed Automatic (Electronic)