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Guest Message by DevFuse
 

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2.5L vs. 2.2L in buying a new (97) legacy outback.

engine 2.5 2.2

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14 replies to this topic

#1 Nick12684

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 05:20 PM

For three years I owned a pretty awesome car. I bought one back in 2010 and it hooked me. My 1997 legacy outback, 2.2L it was one hell of a reliable car, until someone rear-ended me and totaled it. So now I'm scrambling to get a comparable replacement. I found a 97 outback: with a fully rebuilt motor. Brand new head gaskets, head bolts, oil pump, valve seals, rear main seal, all gaskets replaced new spark plugs, plug wires, thermostat, timing belt, timing tensioner, timing pulleys, new brakes all around......but it has the 2.5L engine. From what I've heard the 2.2's are bullet proof! I know mine certainly was, not to mention how it got some great gas mileage. I'm not so much concerned with the MPG but the reliability of that 2.5 over.....pretty much the entire life of the car, because I plan to have my next Subaru for a while. So Should I hold out for that 2.2 or is getting that 2.5 no big deal and has at least another 50K in her?
Thanks for anyone's help.



#2 shortlid

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 05:54 PM

Depends on the price?  What they want for it.



#3 mikec03

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 06:25 PM

It also depends on who did the HG's.  Even dealers have been known to do crummy jobs.  I would pass, but that's just me.  I did find a 95 this summer with 125K miles, 2.2, that I bought for $2200.  I'm thinking that I would not have bought a 97 at that price with a 2.5 and the same milage.  I just don't want to deal with the HG's anymore.



#4 Wayback

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 06:43 PM

Just as an FYI, no Legacy Outback came with a 2.2 in the U.S. after 1996. So if your old car really was a 97 Outback with a 2.2, someone swapped the original 2.5 for a 2.2.



#5 Nick12684

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 08:03 PM

its a regular legacy wagon. not an official Outback.  Is it the heads that aren't made well, that keep blowing gaskets or is it the original gaskets themselves? When They are replaced, you would think that would of solved the faulty head gasket problem, no?
The 2.5 has 155K on the total car. 


Edited by Nick12684, 04 January 2014 - 08:41 PM.


#6 Wayback

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 08:40 PM

From what I've read, the problem with the early 2.5s is fire ring blowout, and there is no permanent fix. Basically some kind of design flaw with how the head mates to the block. But if the job is done right using a high quality gasket, it should last about 100K.



#7 grossgary

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 09:32 PM

I'd hold out for an EJ22 or Phase II EJ25.

 

A phase I EJ25D isn't all that bad but at the same time you're looking at the worst engine Subaru ever made. If you're trying to make the best possible purchase for reliability/longevity that's the worst starting point, bar none.

 

1.Yes Subaru came out with the 610 headgasket that's updated and better - but Phase I EJ25's have repeat failures, not uncommon at all. Forum members here who work on a lot of them, own/work at a shop (GD and Ivansimports), say just plan on future replacements.  That's for guys that know *the best* way to approach this block.

 

2. When EJ25's fail they overheat, that is their failure mode.  So if you're buying one that's been repaired - you know for a fact that it's overheated.  How much..who is to say, maybe benign small amounts.  Maybe a lot.

 

3.  The latter is often the case - because of the way they randomly overheat, can do it once a month at first, and there's no way to "limp" it home...like add more coolant, etc - that means often they are driven too much/too hot "i'll just get off the interstate, i'll make it home, i'll get to that parking lot...".  Severe overheats are common with EJ25D's and lower end bearing failures are common too.

 

You're better off finding an Outback with a blown EJ25 and having an EJ22 swapped in it's place.  Easy, more reliable, more buying options, and frankly better cars - you can get outbacks with a few extra amenities/trim stuffs.

 

If you're still amped at getting the car,

1. verify that Subaru gaskets were used - or verify/ask if something else was used before purchase.  it is possible to see the headgasket edge sticking out between the head/block mating surface so that might tell us something.

 

2. it would be nice to know the heads were resurfaced



#8 grossgary

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 09:37 PM

For the same price you could get into a newer vehicle - probably an H6 which is a fantastic engine:

http://boston.craigs...4274883174.html

 

Or yeah, hold out for an EJ22.

 

Or hold out for one with a blown motor - they should be priced $1,000 or less:

http://boston.craigs...4257145313.html

they're asking too much and i doubt it'll sell unless winter and temporarily rich tax return people jump on it.

 

$1,000 car (i wouldn't pay that much unless it's rust free and great shape)

$350 used EJ22 - $650 to install it and a new timing belt kit,


You're in a fantastic vehicle capable of another reliable 120,000 miles for $2,000 or less.

 

That's the best option and what I would do. 

 

I bought mine EJ25D vehicle, sold the engine years ago when they were worth a lot more and installed a $150 junkyard EJ18...car ended up being nearly free and i got a better end product - more reliable, cheaper, easier to maintain.


Edited by grossgary, 06 January 2014 - 09:42 PM.


#9 Junkie

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 02:41 AM

I was under the impression that the FelPro MLS gaskets were pretty good in the EJ25D as well. I hope they are, it's what I just put in mine.



#10 Rooster2

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 06:46 AM

I heard somewhere that the phase 1, 2.5 motor's HG problem stems from the design, in that the pistons protrude a tiny bit above the block. This necessitated a thicker HG, but in time they leak. Don't know how true this is. My 99 OBW blew its HG at 187K. I caught it early before it over heated much. I had the HGs replaced at a dealer, and things have been fine for the last 20K miles.

 

Can anyone collaborate that the HG problem is because of the piston rising out of the block??



#11 grossgary

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 10:29 AM

I was under the impression that the FelPro MLS gaskets were pretty good in the EJ25D as well. I hope they are, it's what I just put in mine.

they're good.  but the EJ25D blows headgaskets.  Ivansimports does gobs of Ej25's at his shop - they even resurface the block and he says...like most of us have seen...repeat failures happen on EJ25D's.  done right they should last but they're going to be lower percentage than every other Subaru engine ever made.  how much lower is anyone's guess.  not enough to be alarmed about, but enough to make an informed and good decision. 



#12 grossgary

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 10:36 AM

Can anyone collaborate that the HG problem is because of the piston rising out of the block??

 

Probably part of it., they do protrude out of the block..and the thin cylinder walls and "movement" between block and head. Quite a few specific threads about that exact discussion, those interested could read through those threads.



#13 Prwa101

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 12:28 PM

It wasn't just the head gaskets that the 25d had issues with it was also that it had smaller rod journals than the 2.2.

Advice, stay away from the 25d engines. We have another one coming in the shop soon to swap it for a 22. Not a cheap swap but make it a much more reliable car.

Prwa

#14 nipper

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 12:48 PM

Guys he is saying it has a fully rebuilt motor, so HG is a non issue.

 

I had a legacy 98 which was killed by reare end collision and a 97 Outback.

 

The biggest difference is power. If your doing a lot of hilly drives or with passengers, the 2.5 ismy  preferred recomendation. If not so hilly a 2.2 is fine. The 2.2 gets better gas mileage then the 2.5. Tming belts on the 2.2 are much easier then the 2.5.

 

A 2,2 is bullit proof new, but now at almost 15 years old, you can run into issues. Find out who did the rebuild and are they repuitable. If it was done by the owner where did he source his parts, especially HG's.



#15 grossgary

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 03:22 PM

Guys he is saying it has a fully rebuilt motor, so HG is a non issue.

EJ25D's are more likely to experience a second blown headgasket again before 100k than Phase II's.  i'm not sure how prevalent it is, but it is an issue and enough of one that i would simply start with a different engine if there is a choice, which there is here.






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