When starting the engine, do not press the throttle at the same time! The engine management system is programmed to automatically adjust the settings and if you should press the throttle during the sequence it is actually possible to cause the system to shut down with the result of a non starting car.
(A couple of owners have reported a more persistent starting problem. When the dealer connected the "select monitor" to the ECU, a fault in the crank sensor was reported: a new crank sensor cured the starting problems)
In order to prolong engine life, a few common sense rules should be followed when starting and stopping the engine of your Impreza. When starting the engine from cold, you should avoid hard acceleration or high revs (i.e. boost conditions on turbo cars) until the engine has fully warmed up. Most engine wear occurs within the first few minutes after starting when the engine oil is cold and hasn't has time to fully circulate. Most owners restrict themselves (where possible) to 3,000 rpm and light throttle until everything has warmed up nicely.
After a period of hard driving, you should let the turbocharged Impreza models idle for at least 1 minute. This allows the circulating engine oil to dissipate most of the excess heat that has built up in the turbo. Failing to do this can leads to increased thermal stress on the turbo (particularly bearings), and in severe cases can literally "fry" the now stationary engine oil, turning it into a useless sludge. Continued abuse can also lead to "coking" of internal components (carbon based deposits which are both damaging and difficult to remove). You should never switch your engine off immediately after hard driving, no matter how much of a hurry you are in.
Of course, hard driving means different things to different people, but in general it's a prolonged (another subjective term!) period of driving at high boost. A 70mph motorway cruise isn't hard unless it's uphill; A 90mph cruise is hard; a second and third gear blast along a country lane is hard. Fortunately most hard drives have a period of gentle driving before parking, and this gentle driving is as good as idling. The biggest risk is forgetting to idle for a few minutes when pulling into services after a fast motorway cruise.
To help minimise the inconvenience of letting the engine idle for at least a minute after hard driving, a range of products called Turbo Timers are now generally available. These keep the engine idling for a pre-programmed (or automatically determined using fuzzy logic) period of time after the owner has switched off the ignition and removed the key (usually 1 to 4 minutes). Many owners are rightly worried about security, and it takes a certain amount of courage to walk away from your pride and joy with the engine still running.
We have been informed that with some minimal additional work, some Clifford alarms can be successfully adapted to act as a turbo timer. Obviously, this method will be inherently more cost effective and secure than independently operating devices, and indeed some models of turbo timers and alarm systems have proved to be incompatible. You should check carefully with your supplier (and possibly insurance company) before ordering. Also, local laws may prohibit leaving a vehicle unattended with the engine running.
<< Running-In | SIDC FAQ | Common problems, symptoms and remedies >>
Copyright 1998-2000 Steve Breen, Peter Croney, Adam Curtin, John Stewart, see Copyright page for details