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Shop for machining 2.2 heads in Northern Virginia?

ej22 head gasket machine shop legacy

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15 replies to this topic

#1 upnorthguy

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 09:38 AM

Greetings-

 

I just bought a '95 Legacy LS wagon with the EJ22 engine (EA4T with 143k) for cheap ($500) because it needs head gaskets.  I'm going to do the work myself (first time for this repair) and I'm wondering if anyone in Northern VA area has a recommendation for a shop that can machine the cylinder heads after I remove them.  I live in Springfield for reference.

 

I'm going to pull the engine to do this so I am going to do the timing belt/water pump (of course) and already saw some discussion about the eBay kits with the Aisin water pumps (which looks like a great deal).  I also see that there is decent amount of gunked on oil on/below the block so I am going to clean the block and investigate that and figure out what else I need to do (e.g. oil separator/baffle plate, etc.).

 

I'm still trying to figure out which head gaskets I should use.  I know the consensus for the EJ25 motors looks to be a HG with MLS.  How about for the EJ22...do most people use an OEM head gasket?  Decent aftermarket like Felpro that is similar to the OEM? Or some other aftermarket that is superior to the OEM?

 

Any info is appreciated.



#2 matt167

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 09:51 AM

IIRC some Felpro is marked "FHI" because they are the original manufacture of the OEM gaskets. I'm a believer that a quality parts store gasket meets or exceeds the original quality of the OEM gaskets.. With the engine itself, reseal the oilpan, rear seperator plate and valve covers at a minimum. You can go one further and do the cam seals, and oil pump seals but if there is no evidence of anything wrong, you really don't need to. They are actually remarkably easy to work on.

Also, a new OEM thermostat should be used.



#3 86BRATMAN

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 10:06 AM

Some of them are marked with the fuji logo because felpro buys out old stock when updated parts are made.



#4 grossgary

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 10:32 AM

EJ22's never blow headgaskets so just stick with OEM, there's no compelling reason at all to deviate from that.  some of the Fel Pro's are good quality but i haven't seen them for the older Phase I EJ vehicles.

 

General Disorder has the "post apocalyptic head resurface" write up on this forum, check it out.  if you can change your oil you can do it yourself.  it's really easy, there's just one piece of easy to find equipment you need to get to do it.  after that everything you need is at walmart and it takes 3 minutes.  it's worth it just to not go drop them off, wait, go pick them up, etc.  saves time which is money.



#5 Fairtax4me

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 11:15 AM

Fel-pros are $20 each at Autozone and are the same as dealer part for that engine. Have the FHI check logo stamped on them.

Can't recommend a shop off the top of my head. Phone book may have some listings, or call a few repair shops and ask who they use for machine work.
EJ22 heads rarely warp though. Unless there is scoring or burn marks on the head (under the fire ring), you probably don't need to have them resurfaced. The old gaskets are graphite and have plenty of squish room to take up small imperfections. Just be sure to get the fire ring area nice and clean.

If you find that the heads are heavily corroded around the coolant ports then you should definitely have them machined.

#6 johnceggleston

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 11:15 AM

are you sure the head gaskets are bad?

 

of course they can be, any part can go bad.

but a gary said,

 

EJ22's never blow headgaskets

 

i have not had any experience with bad ej22 head gaskets.

on the contrary, i have seen ej22 quit running due to overheating.

and then start back up when cool and keep running for years with no damage.

 

and since there is so much talk about the outback head gaskets going bad all the time,

i wonder if some of the ej22s selling recently with ''bad head gaskets'' are misdiagnosed. ?

 

so be sure before you act.


Edited by johnceggleston, 18 September 2013 - 11:19 AM.


#7 upnorthguy

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 04:02 PM

Dang it, I lost my reply before it posted...here is take 2:

 

Matt: I saw the discussion about the problems with non-OEM t-stats so I did plan to use an OEM 'stat.  Good reminder.  I also was planning on the valve cover gaskets and the cam seals.  Based on discussions here, I was not going to do the oil pan seal unless I found that it was leaking when I figure out the source(s) of the oil leaks.

 

Grossgary:  I like the sounds of GD's PAHR.  I looked at that thread...totally excellent!  I will get my supplies and set up a spot on my bench to clean those heads up myself.  I definitely will be working on this on the weekend (or two probably) and waiting for shop work is not my idea of fun. 

 

Fairtax: I didn't know what the fire ring was until I read the PAHR thread, but, now that I do, I will make sure that the fire ring area is nice and clean.

 

johnceggleston:  The person who sold me the car took it to a local shop for regular maintenance//repair work.  I know the shop fairly well and they diagnosed the HG problem (and quoted $1100 for the repair apparently).  I also had to add a fair amount of water to the radiator before I made the two mile drive to my house and saw plenty of white smoke behind me on the drive (although I did keep an eye on the temp gauge and it never went above the normal running temp).  I have not checked for bubbles in the radiator yet, but I will do that.  Are there other tests I should do to triple confirm that I have a HG problem?



#8 matt167

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 04:21 PM

IMO, I put victor reinz valve cover gaskets on my car. They fit and looked just like OEM, and the kit came with the bolt seals ( which are as good or better than OEM ), where as OEM is extra.

 

To determin if your head gaskets are bad, check for bright white spark plugs


Edited by matt167, 18 September 2013 - 04:22 PM.


#9 upnorthguy

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 08:13 PM

Update: I used some degreaser and sprayed and wiped a bunch of goo under the engine tonight...what an oily mess. I ran the engine some to burn off the cleaner and when viewing the underside, saw nice big squirts of water coming from the water pump seal. Obviously that is bad and likely steaming off on the exhaust pipes. Maybe that is the source of the white smoke (and not a bad HG)?! I will take a look at the plugs as suggested by Matt to see what they look like. Can just pull one plug per side or do I need to inspect all four?
If it is just the water pump seal, is it still worth it to pull the engine to get at the oil separator plate seal? I guess I could just do the other seals I would get access to while doing the water pump/timing belt and then see what happens...

#10 matt167

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 10:39 PM

Inspect all 4. The Subaru is an open deck so it could leak from the coolant passage to the chamber on any side of the bore for each cylinder.. Seperator plate is probably much of the leak. your seeing. Some may be the oil pan. Both are sealed with permetex ultra grey ( Subaru ok's the use of it as per the manuals, and it's easy to get ) so it's inexpensive.. Engine pull is really no big deal.



#11 johnceggleston

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 06:21 PM

doing the water pump, AND the TIMING BELT components with the engine out of the car is easier.

but i would not pull the engine for that unless you are SURE the rear plate is leaking.

 

fisrt i would replace all fo the timing belt parts, water pump, all idlers, and t-belt.

(maybe the tensioner depending on year.)

i would also replace ALL of the seals on the front of the engine, 2 cam, (2 cam cap o-rings) 1 crank, and the oil pump o-ring.

i probably would also check the valve cover gaskets and replace if leaking.

 

then i would drive the car.

see what happens.

you will eliminate most of the leaks with the above work.

if there is still a substantial leak, i would pull the engine and address the rear plate.

 

but this is just me, doing it outside in my shed.

if i had a shop, i might do it differently.


Edited by johnceggleston, 19 September 2013 - 06:23 PM.


#12 grossgary

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 07:39 PM

can do an EJ22/EJ25 timing belt in 45 minutes....definitely not worth pulling an engine for water pump and seals up front.  granted it'll take you more the first time...but so will pulling the engine, lol.   timing belts are really simple on these things, i'd just do a front end timing belt, water pump, crank seal, cam seals, cam cap orings, reseal the oil pump, and see what you got.

 

water pump has an associated bypass hose and clamps, make sure that's not leaking.  thermostat housings can crack too - two simple and easy places to leak.

 

since EJ22's generally never have headgasket issues then this all seems more likely.



#13 Fairtax4me

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 12:21 AM

I'm betting it was overheated a few times by its previous owner and this is why the shop has diagnosed bad head gaskets, because they probably are now. One thing aluminum engines do not like is overheating. Water pump leaks all the coolant out and the next thing you know the engine overheats and the head gaskets are compromised.

Pull the timing covers off and check the rear halves of the covers for signs of melting where they bolt to the heads. This is a sure indication of overheating.
If the covers are melted pull the engine and put new head gaskets in it.

I had one that was overheated and burned an exhaust valve on one side. Fixed that and a few months later had to tear it down and do the head gasket on the other side because it had failed. Timing covers were melted so bad they were rubbing against the cam sprockets and were almost ground through in a few places.

#14 upnorthguy

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 01:08 PM

Partial update:

 

I'm pacing myself on the repairs/parts as the car is not needed as the family third yet, but I've discovered a few more things.

 

I removed the timing belt covers and, of course, both sides had a bolt or two (even after I'd been soaking with PB for a few days) that was frozen which spun the backing nut in the rear cover and cracked each one.  Rear timing belt covers have been added to my parts list.  Has anyone had luck acquiring these at junk yards?  

I did not see any melting of the rear timing covers, so I'm hopeful that the engine was not overheated a bunch.

 

After cleaning lots of oil off of various parts of the engine/transmission, I think I can now say that the separator plate is leaking a fair amount, both valve cover gaskets have some leaks, and maybe the oil pan (it is at the rear, which could be fallout from the separator plate leak).  Looks like an engine pull will be coming, but not until after I get the t-belt and water pump done.

 

The timing belt itself has some decent cracking, so it can't be long before it would be shredding, so my planned replacement is well timed.

 

I learned a couple of weeks ago that Fairfax County was upping the penalty if you didn't title your car within 30 days (from $100 to $350) so I need to get it registered.  To do that, I need a current emissions inspection.  Since there is a significant leak at the water pump (the gasket) I decided to install a new gasket so I could try and stem the water flow and get the car to an inspection location.  

After the usual wrestling with rusty hose clamps and a frozen spade connector to a ground wire for a rad fan, radiator out,  timing belt off, starter bump to loosen the crank bolt (took 6-7 bumps before it came loose...a bit scary!), water pump removed, new gasket in place (just the main one, did not replace the "L" shaped one on the side), torque everything.  I had a devil of a time figuring out the spot to stick an allen wrench to hold the flex plate so I could tighten the crank bolt (a wasted 15 minutes).  Now I can't believe it took me that long to find it.

Fill 'er up with some water...and proceed to hear water steadily leaking out of the water pump location (same as before) as I'm filling.  Ugh.  Way more than a drip.  I started it up and, surprisingly, the leak reduced to just a small drip now and then.

off to emissions testing (pass, yay!).The leak is, like it was last time I checked, definitely from around the water pump joint and not the thermostat gasket.

I know my t-belt kit that I plan to get from mizumoauto includes a new water pump.  I'm wondering if the water pump currently on my car could have been damaged (warped?) or something to make it so that even a new gasket installed would still allow such a hefty leak?  This may be moot because if my planned water pump replacement, but could something have happened to the block that a new water pump/gasket will not address the issue?

 

Side story: During the emissions test the inspector told me my car wouldn't start (even though it started fine to get to the station, and the three times I started it to move up in line just prior to the test).  I just replaced the battery when I purchased the car two weeks ago and have not had any problems with starting.  Turn the key, all dash lights come on but no crank.  We look for alarm system (none to my knowledge and no key fob came with the car).  One of the mechanics comes over and taps the starter with a long screwdriver and voila.  This leads to some searching on here last night that points me in the director of ordering a rebuild kit from ebay with new contacts and plunger.  Even reman starters are expensive!  If the rebuild doesn't work I'll pick one up at the junk yard.

 

Side story number 2: I learned (the hard way, of course) that it is not a good idea to start and run the engine for a couple seconds to check the timing after installing the belt WITHOUT connecting a small hose between the transmission cooler inlet and outlet tubes.  That fluid shot 10 feet in the air and a one second blast made for some fun cleanup under the hood.

 

John, I'm like you- no garage and just working outside the shed.  I live in (and dislike) the typical northern VA home that does not have a garage (or even a carport in many cases).



#15 Fairtax4me

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 09:53 PM

If you get a timing kit from Mizumo order a kit with an Aisin water pump and it will come with a factory style rubber coated metal gasket.
If there is any roughness to the water pump sealing surface on the block use 2000 grit sand paper to smooth it out and you will have no problems with sealing.

Junkyard timing covers will all be just as broken. I've resorted to zip ties to hold them on if I put them back at all.

That sucks they charge you $100 if you don't title a car within 30 days! Ridiculous some of the laws they have there just to make money!
I have family in Great Falls who have tried to convince me to move there (almost did this past summer), but I just don't think I could deal with Northern Va on a daily basis.

Edited by Fairtax4me, 02 October 2013 - 09:55 PM.


#16 darsdoug

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 10:40 PM

I replaced the HG's on my wifes 96 Legacy LS EJ22 with 274K miles last July and it runs just fine. Went with a cheap head gasket kit I found on E-bay for only $34.00 containing single layer graphite head gaskets, cam seals, etc. Havent had any problem's with it. No air bubbles coming up in the surge tank anymore. Actually little if anything comes up in the surge tank now. I shaved the heads the GD way. Saved a grip of money on that one. She drives it like NASCAR too.





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