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1999 DOHC EJ25 broken cam gear


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21 replies to this topic

#1 soobiedo

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 10:52 PM

170k miles, just redid head gaskets a year ago, now this. Anyone see this before? What would cause the cam gear to break apart like this? Everything was torqued to specs when I put it back together, and car has not been in any accidents. Opinions / comments / thoughts?

http://www.flickr.co...ome/4152315540/

Edited by soobiedo, 12 December 2009 - 08:53 PM.


#2 alaskan 2

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 01:26 AM

You kniked one of the composite gear when you were changing the HG.
seen this before. MOST IMPORTANT :: did the values hit the pistons.

Replace all four gears and check ALL the other idlers, water pump belt contact point.
MAKE sure the crank gear reluctor arms are not bent.
that is if the values are not bent from piston contact.

good luck !!! if you have to pull the motor apart then use the new redesigned head gaskets. subaru # 11044AA610A they take care of the HG problem.
These gasket came out from Subaru 3/09

search for my last post about these new style HG's.
AAA theshop Subaru repair designed them over 3 years ago, and they fix the HG failure problem.

our Alaska 98 OBW has had a set of them for 2 1/2 years ago. THANKS KURT !!! owner AAA theshop subaru ONLY repair.. (Anchorage, Alaska)

Edited by alaskan 2, 02 December 2009 - 01:37 AM.


#3 mdjdc

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 06:10 AM

I can't get your pictures to come up, but you may have a seized cam. Check to be sure that the cam is freely turning before you go any further.

If it is moving, then you may be able to get away with just putting a new gear on there. If you need one I have several in my parts storage. Let me know.

I would replace the gear and see how she runs before I tore the motor down. If you bent valves, it will be very evident when you start her up.

Good luck

#4 soobiedo

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 07:27 AM

Thanks for the replies, I do plan to see if all the cams spin freely, and also do a compression test once the timing belt is back on to see if any valves were damaged. I hope not...

About the kinked gear, what does that mean? I slid it all the way on with the key lined up, then install the bolt and torqe it. Notice the gear didn't break around the bolt, rather just disinegrated...

On the head gaskets, I use six star multi layer brand, the best I've seen yet to fix the head gasket issue. allwheeldriveauto.com describes these. Anyway, I'll keep you posted what I find.

Thanks again!

#5 grossgary

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 10:05 AM

What he is saying, and he's right, is that the cam gear was compromised at some point. Dropped, pried against, or used as leverage to remove the insanely hard to remove cam pulley bolt. If not by you, by a previous owner.

Or the cam seized - but I'm betting it was compromised and fatigue finally got to it. These plastic sprockets are sort of like brick - hard but brittle. Do not stress them.

#6 svxpert

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 01:01 PM

<<170k miles, just redid head gaskets a year ago, now this. Anyone see this before? What would cause the cam gear to break apart like this? Everything was torqued to specs when I put it back together, and car has not been in any accidents. Opinions / comments / thoughts?>>

what did you use to take the cam gears off originally? a strap wrench or something, or did you use the proper tool?

#7 torxxx

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 01:10 PM

You kniked one of the composite gear when you were changing the HG.
seen this before. MOST IMPORTANT :: did the values hit the pistons.

Replace all four gears and check ALL the other idlers, water pump belt contact point.
MAKE sure the crank gear reluctor arms are not bent.
that is if the values are not bent from piston contact.

good luck !!! if you have to pull the motor apart then use the new redesigned head gaskets. subaru # 11044AA610A they take care of the HG problem.
These gasket came out from Subaru 3/09

search for my last post about these new style HG's.
AAA theshop Subaru repair designed them over 3 years ago, and they fix the HG failure problem.

our Alaska 98 OBW has had a set of them for 2 1/2 years ago. THANKS KURT !!! owner AAA theshop subaru ONLY repair.. (Anchorage, Alaska)


Nice failed attempt at advertising a rip off Subaru shop. Place sells parts that legally they arent allowed to sell (like used cat converters) Triple A Subaru did not come up with the newly designed head gaskets that are used on the EJ25D. GM has been using that exact style of head gaskets for 10 years, subaru borrowed GM's idea.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

anyhow back to the posters question. Replace the gear that is broken, slap a new belt on it crank and see if it'll start. If it doesnt, or if it does but has a big misfire you'll need to compression test to it narrow down what cylinders have the lower compression because the valves are bent.

#8 soobiedo

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 10:08 PM

Update: camshaft is locked up solid, hence the broken gear. I'll do a search to see what would cause that, but anyone have any ideas? Sounds like a good time to do the 2.2L conversion...

#9 Fairtax4me

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 11:34 PM

Camshaft locked is usually due to lack of oil. Silicone or other foreign matter clogged an oil passage to the cylinder head. Perfect time to drop in a 2.2 because you have no idea what else may be clogged without tearing down the whole motor. A 2.5 is just not worth all that work IMO. Next thing you know the bottom end (or would you call it the middle end? :-p ) will fudge itself and you'll be SOL.

#10 alaskan 2

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 01:33 AM

Nice failed attempt at advertising a rip off Subaru shop. Place sells parts that legally they arent allowed to sell (like used cat converters) Triple A Subaru did not come up with the newly designed head gaskets that are used on the EJ25D. GM has been using that exact style of head gaskets for 10 years, subaru borrowed GM's idea.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

anyhow back to the posters question. Replace the gear that is broken, slap a new belt on it crank and see if it'll start. If it doesnt, or if it does but has a big misfire you'll need to compression test to it narrow down what cylinders have the lower compression because the valves are bent.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXx


Call Kurt at AAA the shop in Anchorage, cause he would like to set you (another Alaskan Subie owner)
straight on these HG's,
If you live in South central Alaska and have a Subaru, you wouldn't call this place a rip off.

If chevy had these gaskets 10 years ago then why did it take subaru so long
as you mentioned to borrow Gm's idea. Call Kurt and learn something.
Stay warm !!!!

p.s. My good friends from Fairbanks The Bodenstat's (Diesel Doctor) own "The Alaskan" AA/A (Supercharge, Nitro burning, IHRA Altered)
Alaska's fastest racecar. He knows my as his old Drag racing, 747 Anchorage pilot friend.

Edited by alaskan 2, 03 December 2009 - 02:01 AM.


#11 torxxx

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 03:08 AM

LMFAO.. thats funny that car isnt the fastest car in Alaska. The Grizzly is. Get your facts straight. I've worked on many cars that came from AAA and its some shady ************. bolts left out, hose clamps missing on fuel lines, intake's RTV'd on instead of using a gasket, thermostats put in backwards.

Why dont you stop advertising a half assed shops on the forums? The way you carry yourself on here almost tells me you are getting paid by them to advertise. I work on these cars for a living, guarantee I've worked on prolly 10x more of these than you can dream of.

And the Diesel doctor? Oh you mean the shop that tried to weld a friend of mine's 6.2L diesel starter to the bellhousing when they snapped off a starter bolt installing it? yeah that great shop. Now get over your self, ur not that great

#12 alaskan 2

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 02:05 PM

LMFAO.. thats funny that car isnt the fastest car in Alaska. The Grizzly is. Get your facts straight. I've worked on many cars that came from AAA and its some shady ************. bolts left out, hose clamps missing on fuel lines, intake's RTV'd on instead of using a gasket, thermostats put in backwards.

Why dont you stop advertising a half assed shops on the forums? The way you carry yourself on here almost tells me you are getting paid by them to advertise. I work on these cars for a living, guarantee I've worked on prolly 10x more of these than you can dream of.

And the Diesel doctor? Oh you mean the shop that tried to weld a friend of mine's 6.2L diesel starter to the bellhousing when they snapped off a starter bolt installing it? yeah that great shop. Now get over your self, ur not that great


XX back it up.XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

same racecar, but since you know everything, im sure you knew that.
Darrell Cokers AA/TF dragster ran a 5.42 (early 80's) but couldn' back it up.
P.S. Just called Gary, he said your full of Sh+t, Im sure you know that.
Alum can't be welded to cast iron. but im sure you know how to do that. haha
I don't fix subaru's for a living, I fly 747's
You remind me of a NWA copilot. He knew everything about the 747, except how to fly one !!!! Call Kurt (AAA) and learn something !!!!!!!
thermostat won't fit in backwards.

Edited by alaskan 2, 03 December 2009 - 02:08 PM.


#13 Fairtax4me

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 11:49 PM

I don't fix subaru's for a living, I fly 747's


Well that makes you qualified to judge a CAR repair shop. :rolleyes:

Seriously guys, shut up. Don't clutter up this guys thread with your pissing match. I don't think anyone else here cares what the fastest race car is Alaska is, or who built the damn thing. Bottom line is, it doesn't matter, unless you have something useful to add to the thread stop posting in it. PM each other if you feel the need to continue with your childish bantering. Please, and Thank you.

#14 mtskibum16

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 02:15 PM

OP: I just bought a 97 OB from a coworker with the exact same problem. The car has like 130k on it and is in really good shape other than the motor - picked it up for $300. Your picture looks identical to my motor and the cam is siezed as well. Figure anything out on cause? I figured it had to be a lack of oil. I can get a 2.5 from a 96 OB that ran good before it was wrecked for $500 but I'm wondering if a 2.2 might be a better solution. Thoughts guys? I think I'm going to replace this motor but I'll probably still this one apart to see if I can figure out what caused the problem. I'm just a bit worried about the car being even more underpowered than it already was if I go with a 2.2L. Still not sure if I'm going to keep the car or just fix it and sell it.

#15 soobiedo

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 02:22 PM

Yeah, took the cam cover off, it's the journal closest to the rear of the engine that seized. I plan to take the head off today to see if I can find something in the oil passage. I did a compression test on passenger side, seems to be OK but will repeat once I put the timing belt back on. I have another head to install, so owner just wants me to install that and wrap this up. Oil level in engine is fine, so like others on the post mentioned, I'm thinking something plugged the tiny hole that lubes that back journal. I'll post updates once I know for sure.

I've done (3) 2.2L conversions so far, they go pretty well and are better motors, get better gas mileage too. Yes, a few less ponies, but not too bad really. I'm a 2.2L fan, what can I say...

You got a good deal on that car, you have room to budge either way costwise. Way to go!

Edited by soobiedo, 04 December 2009 - 02:24 PM.


#16 soobiedo

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 04:30 PM

OK, found a small piece of sealant plugging the cross holes for the oil channels to the cam journals.

http://www.flickr.co...ome/4158204127/
http://www.flickr.co...home/4158204127

http://www.flickr.co...ome/4158204169/
http://www.flickr.co...home/4158204169

http://www.flickr.co...ome/4158967488/
http://www.flickr.co...home/4158967488

Edited by soobiedo, 05 December 2009 - 06:19 PM.


#17 outbackusjunkus

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 04:58 PM

What now? I thought we were fighting about the fastest car in Alaska. :confused:

#18 johnceggleston

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 05:41 PM

What now? I thought we were fighting about the fastest car in Alaska. :confused:


you behave or mom will send you to your garage with out any off roading or any used parts. :eek:

#19 mtskibum16

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 08:28 PM

Yeah, took the cam cover off, it's the journal closest to the rear of the engine that seized. I plan to take the head off today to see if I can find something in the oil passage. I did a compression test on passenger side, seems to be OK but will repeat once I put the timing belt back on. I have another head to install, so owner just wants me to install that and wrap this up. Oil level in engine is fine, so like others on the post mentioned, I'm thinking something plugged the tiny hole that lubes that back journal. I'll post updates once I know for sure.

I've done (3) 2.2L conversions so far, they go pretty well and are better motors, get better gas mileage too. Yes, a few less ponies, but not too bad really. I'm a 2.2L fan, what can I say...

You got a good deal on that car, you have room to budge either way costwise. Way to go!


Interesting. I can also get a head (or both) for a good price. I'm wondering if it might just be better to replace the heads and HGs while I'm at it on this motor rather than swapping in another one. Thoughts? I'll check for something blocking the oil flow once I get mine apart. Thanks for the info!

#20 soobiedo

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 07:09 PM

Yeah, if it were my car I'd fix the motor you got. With only 130K, you should have lot's of life left. Replace both head gaskets too (I assume you know about the HG issues with these 2.5L, and about what gaskets to use or not to use...). You know about the rear seperator plate too, etc? If not, just ask. Also, check the valve adjustment, and if you need different shims let me know as I have a few of these (and 16 more now too:-)

Good luck!

#21 mtskibum16

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 07:38 PM

Yeah, if it were my car I'd fix the motor you got. With only 130K, you should have lot's of life left. Replace both head gaskets too (I assume you know about the HG issues with these 2.5L, and about what gaskets to use or not to use...). You know about the rear seperator plate too, etc? If not, just ask. Also, check the valve adjustment, and if you need different shims let me know as I have a few of these (and 16 more now too:-)

Good luck!


I'm just getting starting with my research. My dad runs a body shop where we specialize in Subaru (especially OB) so I'm very familiar with OB in general and their common issues (ie HGs) but as for what type of gaskets to use, or what the separator plate are I'm not sure. Any help is appreciated but I'll be doing plenty of research as I get closer to "go time". I've never had a Subie motor apart but I'm confident that I can do the rebuild. Hmm....what to do....The used motor is about the same mileage. I'm waiting on a buddy so I can borrow is engine hoist.

#22 johnceggleston

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 08:49 PM

(ie HGs) but as for what type of gaskets to use, or what the separator plate are I'm not sure.



the haed gaskets have to come from subaru, you can get them for less online, but it has to be a subaru part.

the seperator plate is on the back of the engine block, behind the fly wheel (flex plate if an auto trans). some years they were made of plastic and over time will leak pretty bad, so any time the engine is out you check it.

if you have an auto trans, be sure to search and read the "torgueconverter" threads, seating it correctly is very important in prevent the destruction of your trans..

also read up on the timing belt threads linked below, it will save you some head aches.




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