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Guest Message by DevFuse

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New to 95' Legacy L 2.2L AWD and need assistance

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11 replies to this topic

#1 Bushwick


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Posted 11 October 2013 - 11:09 PM

Hi, just bought a 95' Legacy L with a 2.2L NA, auto and 177k primarily as a winter vehicle and a back up car. It's a first Subaru for me, so don't get crazy on me. I looked it over pretty good and caught everything that seems to need attention, but figured I'd ask about these issues before jumping into them. Coming from a Saab 9-3 turbo DD the nearly 75% CHEAPER prices you guys get to pay for parts on this older setup was a huge tipping-the-scale factor in buying this (plus AWDdm.gif) car and the fact everything inside the car works. The interior is basically perfect and flawless. A 72 year old woman owned this for 77k miles so it definitely wasn't beat on nor smoked in.  Anyways, here's the list:

1. Rear cross-member has rot and needs replaced before road worthy. I could probably weld in patches and reinforce for next to nothing, or go the replacement route, thoughts? What years/models cross over and are a direct fit?? If a bracket hole or something is different for a muffler hanger or something, not worried.

2. Both dust boots on I think the tie rods are ripped. It's right where I think it enters the rack. What options do I have replacing these? Can I just put replacement boots in? Does there need to be grease in there like a CV boot holds? Steering feels a little heavy (compared to the Saab, but unsure if it's a normal thing or not?) What's the best way to tackle these?

3. Engine tick. Definitely more noticeable on the passenger side, but both sides make it. I thought it might be a lifter tick, but after more searching not sure. The seller had a 2010 Legacy with 2.2L, had him start his, and the tick was VERY similar, but was much quieter. The 95' is more noticeable at idle. Quiets somewhat in gear/under load. Also, first starting it's quiet, after 20-30 sec it's noticeable. Definitely NOT injectors. NO CEL. Could it be a rocker? Are the lifters hydraulic? Piston slap? Doesn't have a "deep" in the block sound, but a lighter sound (dunno if it'd even develop a "deep" sound considering the orientation of the heads). Maybe oil pump failing? Do these typically sludge up in the head?

4. Valve cover gasket needs replaced, will do both sides, but if I need to adjust rockers or something else, gonna hold off until "3." is addressed. Anything to look at with it off? Rockers need torqued? If so, how much? Any special procedure?

5. Fuel pump and filter.... did I say how much I LOVE how inexpensive parts are for this car? Is the pump in-tank? Are there "tricks" to get it out w/o dropping the tank? Where is the fuel filter?

6. Will do a new timing belt, tensioner, pulleys, etc. soon. Is the oil pump under the cover? How long can they typically go?


7. What fluid does the auto take? I'd like to run a synthetic if possible. Is there a drain for the torque converter? The fluid doesn't smell like a US auto (either clean or burnt smell) so I can't tell if it's burnt or not?



8. Rear differential cover has signs of crud build up meaning it probably needs fresh fluid and a new gasket. What fluid works great in these?



9. Been reading the 2.2L ej22 is a desirable engine, why?




I appreciate all the potential help anyone is willing to put forth to help get this car 100% winter road ready and hopefully nice Fall weather ready to give the car some time to run before the weather turns bad. Wanna start fixing everything ASAP so please don't be afraid to pipe up, even if it's just for one topic. I know new guys often get ignored in bigger forums, just hoping this doesn't happen here...

Edited by Bushwick, 12 October 2013 - 01:00 AM.

#2 matt167


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Posted 12 October 2013 - 07:13 AM

'95-'99 crossmembers should work.. Engine tick may or may not be normal. Subaru's sometimes will knock if they have gotten hot, but the tick is usually associated with the hydraulic lifters on the pre 1997 engines


Front and rear diff can take 80W90. Trans fluid is regular dexron/ Mercon you can get anywhere, same for the P/S pump. Careful with synthetics, Subaru does not recomend them for the earlier cars. No drain in the converter. Do a cooler line flush, or drain/fill twice


IIRC 60k miles for the timing belt, replace idlers at the same time, cam seals if they are leaking and you can service the oil pump behind the crank sprocket if you want.


EJ22 is a well regarded engine because it can go for 250k+ miles reliably.

#3 Rooster2


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Posted 12 October 2013 - 08:37 AM

I have a 95, 2.2 motor transplanted into my 98 OBW. The motor has a 'bullet proof" reputation for reliability. They just seldom break down. Suggest you add a can of Marvel Mystery Oil to the crank case oil, then drive a 100 mile or so, then drain, going back to motor oil only. The MMO is a product that has been on the market for decades, and does a good job of removing engine deposits, and freeing up hydraulic valve lifters.


You will like that there is a drain plug to drain the ATF. Recommend doing a drain, fill three times, as about half the ATF remains in the torque converter, and can't be drained out. You use up a lot of ATF, but this technique works well. I use regular Dextron ATF, and it works just fine.


Subie parts don't cost Sounds like you do your own car maintenace work. You will like the ease of doing Subie work. Most everything is readily accessable under the hood. Changing brake pads is super easy. If you need to change a brake rotor, thread a caliper bolt into the threaded hole on the face of the rotor. It is designed to accept the bolt,  so threading in the bolt pushes the rotor off the hub for easy removal.


You may want to get a 4 wheel alignment done on the car. Who knows how many curbs the 72 year old lady ran up against.


The fuel filter is under the hood, on driver's side, sits kind of high close to the firewall. Easy to get at and replace. Pretty sure that there is a trap door on the top of the gas tank that can be accessed to r & r the fuel pump. So, tank does not need to be dropped. I have only hear of others talk about the trap door.


Have fun with your "new" Subie.

#4 Bushwick


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Posted 12 October 2013 - 11:17 AM

Thank you guys! You both added some very helpful info specific to the car and it'll save time getting to work on it knowing what to look for right away. Yeah, there are bumper scratches and what not from her scraping stuff, but it's all cosmetic. Tires are in good shape as are the rims. Good point about the alignment as it'll need one anyways once the cross member is fixed.



Built in trap door and trans drain plug?? Very nice. Cheap fluids? :) Saab manual trans fluid cost $13 a liter and you need 5 to flush the old out with new superseded fluid and final fill. Subaru is like how Chevy used to be cheap to work on. Kinda wishing I'd dumped my money into a WRX or something instead of the 9-3.


Anyways, what is the best way to deal with the rack and pinion dust boots? Just unbolt an end or something and it slips on? Does there need to be grease in there?


I'm thinking lifters then. Does the head need to come off to get them out? Do these engines get any oil sludging issues in the head?

#5 upnorthguy


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Posted 12 October 2013 - 03:34 PM

I also just got a '95 last month so I'm going through many of the same issues.  Both of my inner tie rod boots are ripped like yours.  It looks like a simple removal of the inner tie rod end to slip on new boots.  I'm going to clean and regrease the joint as well.

#6 MilesFox


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Posted 12 October 2013 - 04:58 PM

Tou can remove the outer tie rods to remove the boots. they are spring clamped on the inner end, you can simply roll them off. The inner tie rod end is a ball and socket, check it for lube/corrosion. If it needs replaced, the inner tie rod unscrews form the rack.


The fuel pump is behind hrte rear passenger seat. pull up the carpet and there is an oval cover. remove that and there you go.


As far as the trans pan,do not remove the pan if it is not leaking. There is no filter in there. There is a magnet, however, but removing it to wash anyting out is not warranted with the low miles.


The lifter tick is probably due to the low miles and short trips, old lady driving. Change the oil and do some spirited driving. Rev the piss out of it since they probably havent seen their full range of operation in some while. Clean or replace the PCV valve to addrss any oil consumpsion or sludging issues.


the rear suspension parts will swap out between 95-99 and i'm pretty sure that the suspension crossmembers on the 9-94 legacy is the same, even with imprezas.


What is noce about these cars is how retrofittable they are, so you can swap in a 2.5, use 2,2 heads on a 2.5 block, and use taller struts from foresters and outbacks for a little ground clearance, all bolt up from stock over the counter parts.

#7 mikec03


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Posted 12 October 2013 - 05:05 PM

I currently have two 90's subarus with the 2.2 engine and I junked another one.


      Rear cross-member has rot and needs replaced before road worthy. I could probably weld in patches and reinforce for next to nothing,


I also had this problem and it looks like the crossmember can come out rather easily, and I was going to replace it, but a mechanic showed me where the frame was also corroded  where the crossmember bolted into it.  So check that.  I junked this 95' instead of dealing with the frame corrosion.


The 95 has hydraulic valve lifters so there is no adjustment required.  The sound that you probably is piston slap. Very common. If it goes away on running, then it's definately piston slap.  If so, it's not a problem.


Ozing of oil out of the rear differential is definately a problem [if that is what you are seeing It's hard to tell from your description]. It's hard to get the  bolts out of the rear differential.  Search this site for the best proceedure which uses the weight of the car to break loose the bolt.  

#8 Bushwick


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Posted 12 October 2013 - 08:04 PM

Great tips everyone, much much appreciated! Took a chance at Pull-A-Part to see a 229k mile 97' Legacy that had been there a month fully expecting the the car to be bare and cross member to be rotted. Surprisingly it had been replaced previously so it was in near perfect shape! Cost $18! Those 2 nuts on the back of the differential cover were nasty. Got everything off except those, and was stumped what to do. Thankfully, I have this 4 pound 12" solid steel "rod" and was able to bang a 16mm deep socket on and both and breaker bar loose. Will tackle the rear diff cover too since it's easy to get at with the cross member dropped. Is there a gasket? Or should I use some 518 anaerobic sealant? Also, the 2 rubber bushings, are they replaceable? Take it they are pressed in? They seem OK and aren't rotted, just curious.


After watching a you tube video where the guy replaced/bled his lifters and did a before/after of the running engine, I'm 95% certain it's lifter noise. Will definitely need to get some good Mobile One synthetic (10w 30 I guess) in there and run it once the rear is back together. If they don't quiet, I'll spend the $80 and replace all 16 lifters. 3 bolts hold the valve cover on? LOL. Such a nice welcome. 


Oh, you can't swap in a solid lifter setup, can you? If you just get the rocker assembly from a donor? Pulled a cover off the 97' out of curiosity and pulled the rocker assembly to examine. Can't believe something so tiny and simple can hold up for so long. Would think those tiny set screws would break or wear down to nothing!


No trans filter? I NEVER would have guessed :)

Edited by Bushwick, 12 October 2013 - 08:07 PM.

#9 heartless


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Posted 12 October 2013 - 09:48 PM

before going to all the trouble of pulling the lifters to clean and bleed them - do what was suggested by Rooster and use some MMO, or even a little bit of tranny fluid (no more than 1/2 qt) in the oil - run it for about a 100 miles, then change the oil/filter.


During that 100 miles, get it out and RUN it! get the rpms up - you wont hurt it. get it up to full operating temp, and keep it there for a good 20-30 minutes at least.


Short trips are harder on an engine than long ones. short trips dont really allow the engine to get up to and maintain full operating temp.


fuel pump access is very easy on a wagon - a little harder on the sedans, but basically the same. the main fuel pump access covers are inside, next to the right rear wheel well. it will be an oval shaped plate held on with 4 screws. On the AWD cars there is a round one on the drivers side for access to the secondary jet pump / guage unit.

like Miles said - pull up the carpeting to locate the access covers - on the wagon, there is usually a plastic strip between the cargo area carpet, and the rear seat backs (fold the seat backs down) remove the screws holding the strip in place and fold the cargo carpet back and you will see the access cover.


on a sedan, the access covers are actually in the trunk - making them a little harder to get to, but not impossible.


90 - early 96 EJ22 is desireable due to the fact that they are a non-interference engine. there is zero damage done if the timing belt breaks on these - replace whatever caused the belt to break - idler pulley seized, water pump, whatever - retime and install a new belt - good to go.

They are also a very durable engine and will easily go over 250,000 miles with no major services needed when cared for properly.

My current daily driver - a 1990 model - has around 236,500 on it and still going strong. There are others here that have seen much higher mileage than that on one of these engines.

Edited by heartless, 12 October 2013 - 09:57 PM.

#10 Bushwick


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Posted 13 October 2013 - 11:40 AM

I've never used MMO before and not a fan of oil additives, though I respect others use them with apparent success. The valve covers need pulled anyways (passenger side leaks slightly, and driver side should match- seriously 3 bolts- not complaining here) and since it's only 8 very easy to remove bolts and the entire rocker assembly comes out, I definitely don't mind inspecting the lifters if they don't build up after the oil change. At $4-$5 a pop, I'd rather spend $85 for a set of 16 new lifters and be done with it. 

#11 MilesFox


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Posted 13 October 2013 - 11:44 AM

You might be able to soak them in oil and pump them up by hand. I doubt they are worn. Maybe clogged at worst.

#12 Bushwick


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Posted 13 October 2013 - 01:43 PM

^ Sounds like a good idea. Will definitely check them out if they don't quiet on their own.



Does the rear diff (or even front diff for that matter) have limited-slip? I bought limited-slip 80w90 just in case, but unsure otherwise.


Does the rear cross member need thread locker on any bolts? I'm planning on using anti-seize as much as possible.

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