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Machine heads vs new heads vs new engine


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20 replies to this topic

#1 bstone

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 06:23 PM

As it appears I am suffering from a slow but significant HG leak I am now looking into options. This engine has 230k miles on it and is not nearly as optimal as it used to be. So should I::

1) Pull the heads, send them for machining and replace the HGs with the FelPro HG?

2) Replace the heads with quality reman heads?

3) Replace the engine?

The first would be the easiest for me, as I work at a garage and can do the labor mostly myself. I might pay some of the other techs a few bucks to help me lift the motor, if that ends up being necessary.

The second would be the easiest in terms of time and labor. Simply pull the old heads and put new ones on. Also, the price for a reman heads vs machining them is not too different.

The third would put a low-mileage motor in to replace my old one. A head job wouldn't solve any of the engine block issues and a JDM motor is just under a grand.

Suggestions? Ideas? Your feedback is very much appreciated.

#2 nipper

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 06:29 PM

non subaru HG's BAD. I love felpro but for HG i always go back to OE no matter the make.

The answer really is what kind of condition the car is in and how long do you want to keep it. If it is great and another few years or more, I would go with a used engine. If the car is in poor condition I would go the cheap route.

#3 bstone

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 06:31 PM

non subaru HG's BAD. I love felpro but for HG i always go back to OE no matter the make.

The answer really is what kind of condition the car is in and how long do you want to keep it. If it is great and another few years or more, I would go with a used engine. If the car is in poor condition I would go the cheap route.


The answer to that is I have been restoring this old car and plan to drive it for years to come. I recently put in a low-mileage trans, replaced the entire brake system (rotors, calipers, pads), replaced all 4 sway bar links, replaced the oil, trans, spark plug and valve cover gaskets, rear main seal and oil separator plate (while the trans was out).

Just trying to determine the best course of action. I am fine doing any of them.

Also, why not FelPro's HGs? I've heard they are superior to even the "new" Subaru HGs.

#4 nipper

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 07:12 PM

Well you answered your own question, replaced engine.

I worked for a well known auto parts mfg. An Aftermarket (AM) suppliers has literally 1000's of HG to keep track of. The original part the 1st used may be fine for years. On the other hand, they hit one where the OE may have to tweak it 4,5,6,7 times. OE may have an entire engineering and testing department dedicated to solving a issue which is costing them much bucks on warranty claims. AM has maybe 3-7 engineers and maybe 10-20 techs making sure parts interchange. They can do some testing. They can even do some life testing, but they do not do real engine testing or dyno testing for non-performance parts.

When OE comes out with part XXXX.0 and then comes out with everything in between to finally XXXX.7 all dealers will be told to send the old desgn back (for something that has failed) or to scrap it.

It may take AM years or multiple complaints to readress a part, unless they have high volume part with inside information. Most AM parts are sold to cars that have miles or age on them. If a second HG fails, rarely does the AM here about it. Also remember that OE and AM are in competition with each other, so OE is not quick to share info or design changes with AM.

Ocasionally you will get lucky where an AM supplies OE, b ut even then contractually they have to supply OE first.

#5 grossgary

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 07:25 PM

Phase II engine? since you can do the labor i'd install new Subaru headgaskets. i would have the heads milled unless you have some heavy reason not too, it's not that expensive to just have them machined usually.

Also, why not FelPro's HGs? I've heard they are superior to even the "new" Subaru HGs.

where have you heard that? you won't hear that on here and this board is comprised of more Subaru specific experience than probably any Subaru dealer, there's even some subaru mechanics on here.

the main reason to use Subaru is they redesigned it and success rate is really high, like pretty much 100% if the job is done right. in this case there's no reason TO use the fel pro's.

one reason you may have heard that, or see it here, is that the Fel Pro gaskets are a good fit for some Subaru motors. but not on this engine. MDJC has had i believe 3 fel-pro's fail on this motor.

#6 davebugs

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 07:26 PM

Nipper has the full answer.

The short answer is how good to you wanna get at removing this engine and doing HG jobs on it? You may save a few bucks, maybe not.

Why take the chance.

Do some searching here.

I use FelPro extensively on Subaru's and VW's. The only time I NEVER use Felpro is for Suby 2.5 HG's. And it's all a result of info posted here. And I've never had to redo one.

#7 Olnick

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 07:28 PM

why not FelPro's HGs? I've heard they are superior to even the "new" Subaru HGs.


Mind sharing where you heard that?

#8 lmdew

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 07:43 PM

Drop a good used 95 2.2 engine in and be done with it for the next 200K miles.

#9 StructEngineer

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 09:33 PM

Just in my opinion, at that mileage you should only be considering two options.

1. Full Rebuild with the correct parts.

2. Buy a rebuilt or low mileage engine (that has been rebuilt with the correct parts)

235k is pretty high mileage just to be replacing heads. Aren't you concerned about the bottom end?... I would.

#10 nipper

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 09:47 PM

Just in my opinion, at that mileage you should only be considering two options.

1. Full Rebuild with the correct parts.

2. Buy a rebuilt or low mileage engine (that has been rebuilt with the correct parts)

235k is pretty high mileage just to be replacing heads. Aren't you concerned about the bottom end?... I would.



My concern is always blow-by but i on ocassion get some pushback on that one. My rule still stands at 180K replace engine at 160K go over engine with a fine tooth comb and move on from there

I do like the 2.2 idea

#11 StructEngineer

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 10:44 PM

yea, i'm not so sure I'd be that worried about blowby if its not already a problem. Would think there are other possible bottom end issues at high mileage. Either way, since the OP works in a shop and may be able to do it cheaper than buying a separate engine, I would just do the full rebuild.


Or just roll the dice and do HG's only. Depends on what sort of bulletproofness is desired. The more I think of it, if i had a lift, and wasn't driving the car cross country, maybe I wouldn't mind tearing it apart twice...

#12 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 11:00 PM

Depends on known/unknown history. If you know that it hasn't been severely overheated a bunch of time and you are pretty confident in the bottom end - I would resurface the heads ($35 each) replace the gaskets, and drive on. The repair shouldn't take long, won't cost a lot, and for my money I would gamble the $100 plus my labor on the engine lasting a good bit with new head gaskets.

They are just gaskets - not that big of a deal ya know?

I would not replace the heads as that will increase cylinder pressure's with the new valve seats, etc - that could be bad on the bottom end.

GD

Edited by GeneralDisorder, 05 July 2010 - 11:04 PM.


#13 bstone

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 03:38 AM

I think the consensus here is pretty clear- new/low mileage engine.

What are the thoughts on the JDM engines? The low mileage sounds good and I can to a HG replacement with the new Subaru (not FelPro) ones before any damage happens.

Eager to hear your opinions.

#14 Olnick

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 04:12 AM

What are the thoughts on the JDM engines?


Not an expert but I've heard they're not as great a deal as they sound! You might want to try a search, I think it's been discussed on here.

#15 nipper

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 12:31 PM

I've heard mixed reviews. You have the advantage of having the engine delivered to a shop and the tools to easily deal with it. I always questioned the logistics of returning one if it is bad.

#16 bstone

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 12:34 PM

I would be willing to pay the money for a CCR rebuilt engine, but it is expensive. Is there anything different in those engines other than a general rebuild? The JDM engines have between 55-65k miles on them, approaching the HG failure point. I can easily swap the HGs before putting the engine in the car. Do you all think that would give me an engine to last a long long time?

#17 nipper

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 12:46 PM

If you are going to replace the HG, and since you are a pro, I would say either go for it or rebuild. Usually the issue with a sooby bottom end isnt the mains but the connecting rods. Crunch the numbers see what works better. HYou can always tear down the engine then decide.

#18 bstone

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 12:47 PM

I'm no pro, but I do work at a garage and have access to lifts, pulleys and a bunch of mechanics who can guide me when things get confusing. I do mostly minor work- brakes, oil changes, tune ups, reading codes and swaping sensors when they fail. Learning more every day.

#19 nipper

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 12:50 PM

I'm no pro, but I do work at a garage and have access to lifts, pulleys and a bunch of mechanics who can guide me when things get confusing. I do mostly minor work- brakes, oil changes, tune ups, reading codes and swaping sensors when they fail. Learning more every day.


My mistake but you are better equipped then most to do it. ANother thing to check on a really cooked engine is the cylinder liners. If they have shifted game over, engine is scrap.

#20 bstone

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 12:52 PM

My mistake but you are better equipped then most to do it. ANother thing to check on a really cooked engine is the cylinder liners. If they have shifted game over, engine is scrap.


Would you believe me if I told you that I've only been working at the garage for 3 weeks? I did a lot of work on my own car, which is how I got started. Before I dig into someone else's engine I figure I'll do my own.

#21 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 02:15 PM

There have been mixed reviews of the CCR engines.

Frankly, if it weren't for the propensity of EJ25D's to have bottom end problems there would be no question here that you should simply "gasket slap" the thing and be down the road. With any other engine you should have an easy 70k miles left in it which is totally worth the 6 hours and $100 in parts to do the gaskets.

Since you have access to good facilities - you should consider just replacing the main and rod bearings, doing a deglaze of the cylinders and fitting new rings. Then you can have the heads resurfaced and a valve job done and put it back in. It's really not that big of a deal - the cost of a bottle brush hone and the parts basically. Once you have the engine out and torn down to the short-block it's not much more work to just split the case and replace the bearings and rings. If you are prepared to pay CCR for this then I sugest you just do it yourself as it will be an excelent learning experience and you can take advantage of all that knowledge at your disposal and you'll know the job is done right or at least who to point the finger at if it's not :rolleyes:

GD




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