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Question on 96-00 EJ25 Subys


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8 replies to this topic

#1 SUBARU3

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 01:13 AM

Well, I swore that I would never buy a 1st gen 2.5, but now that the "survivor" "Grandpa" cars are appearing, I am tempted.

I located a nice 1996 Outback, about 120K, Super clean, babied and well maintained car for $2700. No issues. Is that too high? (Texas car...no rust)

The car runs fine, never had a head gasket issue...yet. But I am spooked by this car because of the history. Now I know I can drop a 2.2 in it and it's all fixed, but that's another project in the mix of the 100s that I already have. I just don't know if I could ever trust these cars. I want to get this car for my Dad.

  • If the head gaskets fail on these, about how many miles?
  • Do they all fail eventually? What is the failure rate?
  • If you replace the head gaskets with the new version gasket, is it all good, or is there still a reliability problem?
  • Would any of you still consider buying one of these?
I know the low mileage EJ22s from 1995 with EGR are getting harder to locate. Maybe I should get one and store for future use?

Thanks, Todd

#2 grossgary

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 08:03 AM

I have a 1999 LS or LSi wagon that's really nice and has the EJ22. Might want to see if you can find any of those if he wants a wagon?

I located a nice 1996 Outback, about 120K, Super clean, babied and well maintained car for $2700. No issues. Is that too high? (Texas car...no rust)

i guess it's an automatic? if it's a manual it's the only Outback ever offered with the EJ22 - 1996 MT OBW's.

that is a fine price,sounds really nice for one with zero rust. that would be a really good price for a well maintained, great condition one in the Subaru rich northeast or out west.

[LIST][*]If the head gaskets fail on these, about how many miles?

it is random, any number given is only an average containing all possible mileages so it's anecdotal and meaningless for purchasing. there is no mileage "where it tends to happen". there's more statistical analysis and comments but suffice it to say you'll see numbers tossed around - "120,000 miles" and what that means is that's the mileage most of them, in good shape, worth fixing, tend to have right now. it's not really indicative of when a headgasket will actually fail.

[LIST][*]Do they all fail eventually? What is the failure rate?

not all. i don't know of a quantitative number. someone who has owned a Dodge neon would guess 25%, someone who has owned a 1995 EJ22 would guess 95%. LOL

In general, what vehicle is more likely to end up on the used market?:
1. A perfectly running vehicle with no issues
2. One with ominous signs of looming issues

Every week EJ25's are hitting the used market with the first signs of headgasket issues. Common thread starter on Subaru boards: "I got this Subaru because I thought they were reliable and a week later it's overheating"...there's one on subaruoutback.org right now and that's failure regular.

First step is to make sure you're not getting that high percentage of used market that's hitting the market due to this issue.

[LIST][*]If you replace the head gaskets with the new version gasket, is it all good, or is there still a reliability problem?

I have relied on the newer gasket but my limited experience falls wwwaaayyyy short of the millions of older gaskets that have been around for over a decade.

[LIST][*]Would any of you still consider buying one of these?

to put an EJ18 or EJ22 in it. they're good though, just personal preference, try it out and see what happens. it's just a car and just a gasket.? my hang up for the EJ25D is the complete random nature of the overheating episodes. this detracts from ownership in two significant ways for me:

1. reliability. don't want to (or my wife) to get stranded. when the EJ25D starts to overheat it is random and can not be mitigated. in the past few years i have driven to colorado, maine, new orleans 3 times, florida, missouri, south georgia...almost ten 2,000+ mile road trips, and shorter distances often, so I'm a bit picky. No engine break downs and those Soobs all had 150k+ or more.

2. lower end issues. they occasionally loose rod bearings and i have always assumed it was due to prior overheating, the random nature and not being able to drive without it overheating lends itself to folks trying to "limp it home" since nothing else will work. some with blown motors i have gotten have already had the headgaskets replaced prior...not a huge sample size and could mean other things...but either way it's a concern.

ideally you get an EJ25 that has never had headgaskets replaced, then you have a strong case for suggesting the block has never been compromised.

I have done the following. Pull the perfectly good EJ25 in it now....then buy an EJ22 and install it. you can probably pay the mechanic and make money on the deal...and end up with a better motor.

A friend bought a 98 outback, EJ25D, last year...this summer the headgasket blew, he had it less than a year. The motor is sitting in my office right now. i picked up an EJ22 for $300 (there were cheaper ones, i went low mileage) and installed new timing gear, seals, etc and gave it to him. by the time i sell the EJ25 he won't be that far in and might even break even.

Edited by grossgary, 20 December 2012 - 08:10 AM.


#3 Rooster2

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:01 AM

From my experience..........

I have a 98 OBW, that blew the HG while my wife was driving it. She limped it home, but cooked the motor. It had about 150 K miles on the odo. I replaced with a 95, 2.2 motor.

I also have a 99 OBW. It blew its HG last summer at 193 K miles on the odo with original HGs. I never over heated the motor, so had the HGs replaced, and all is well. I am confident this motor is now reliable.

From what I have learned, the 2.5 gen 1 motor, was designed so that the pistons rose just slightly above the block at top dead center. So, this necessitated slightly thicker head gaskets. The problem is the thicker head gaskets eventually blow out, so that exhaust gas enters the cooling system, thus the over heating, and diagnosis of bad HGs. Subaru re-engineered the head gaskets three times to cure the problem. I suppose the re-design helps, but still, a thicker then normal head gasket is sort of a band-aid fix, so they will eventually blow out again. Others have said that with new HGs installed, the motor should be good for 100K miles before HG concerns return. Other then the HG issue, the 2.5 gen 1 motor is a good reliable motor.

On the 96 you are contemplating buying for your dad, if he does mostly local driving, then I would wait for the HGs to blow before replacing them. He just has to know to keep a sharp eye on the temperature gauge, and watch for over heating. It doesn't help that the 96 Subaru does not have a warning light showing over heating, so it is easy to over look the temp gauge while driving.

Keep us posted on what you do.

#4 ivans imports

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:30 AM

is it hydrolic lifter engine ? theese engines have less hg problems as they use a grafite gasket but only in 95-96 check and see if says twinn cam on valve cover if do's should be good for 250000kms or more. Was doing hg on a 96 with 450000kms other day still running strong. all depends on how it was took care of

#5 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:32 AM

isn't it due for a TB change? maybe go ahead and put in the turbo or Six Star mls head gaskets when doing the TB job.

#6 SUBARU3

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 04:59 PM

All good information and so appreciated!

It is a 96 DOHC, so it would have the hydro lifters and a graphite gasket I guess.

It seems that locating a low mileage 2.2 is increasingly difficult! I am one to stick with the mental reassurance of a 2.2. I guess I need to get one.

$2700 is not a bad deal.

#7 3Pin

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 06:27 PM

I would offer 2100 and if you need to do HG's, you are still OK on hte car. I wouldn't replace with a 2.2 unless the engine had problems. 2.5's are not bad motors unless they get overheated or are run without oil. The 2.2 is a lower maint motor, but if it runs well, keep it.

#8 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 12:35 AM

http://www.ultimates...ad.php?t=137882

#9 ivans imports

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 11:12 AM

i sold the last 96 outback for 3800$ with 0 kms on new engine had 350000kms onit and some rust




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