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"Just EJ it" a different look at this


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26 replies to this topic

#1 tweety

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 03:54 PM

Since the EJ series of engines came out in our Subaru's there has been a stream of owners of older models replacing the old school and far less efficient EA engine in their cars.

 

Almost every thread on the EA engine where an owner wants to get a little more out of the EA engine there will be the post  "just EJ it".  Not all EA owners want to go EJ.  Why not?

 

I think I have some answers to it.

 

1/   Modifying a car with a larger engine or an engine than what the car came out with (even as an option) has in some places eg Australia, requirements like an engineers report.  For those not accustomed to this it is a pain in the butt.  It costs a lot of money for an engineer to crawl all over your car making sure the engine mounts are strong enough, chassis can take the power etc.

 

2/  You usually cant just "throw another heavier and larger engine into another car" if you want to do it right.  Take the English Ford Escort.  It originally came out with an 1100cc engine. Then through its development it have many models right up to the Lotus powered twin cam model (I had 2) where it had beefed up brakes, diff, steering, larger wheels radiator and suspension and body stiffening. That's because the manufacturer didnt just throw the Lotus motor in the car.  It transformed the car to take the engine in ALL areas.

 

With the Brat for example I've read how you have to 'modify' the chassis rails to fit the EJ engine.  Does this weaken the car?  There would likely be another 50 kgms or 100lbs extra weight on the front end with the EJ engine. What about bigger radiator? thermo fans ECU, wiring etc.?  It all adds up.  So to do all this right you should beef up the suspension to cater for the extra weight.  I once beefed up a rear suspension of a Valiant and the new harder shockers nearly punched a hole through the floor. 

 

So here starts the 'snowball effect'.   You should then ad plates between the top of the shockers to the inner guard where they mount.  Extra front weight should also call for wider wheels.

 

Common EJ engines that are put in Brats/Brumby's are now reaching 20 or more years old.  So you do an engine swap with an engine that could be towards the end of its life....out it comes again.  More work.

 

My point is this.  Not everyone wants to "just EJ it" for the above reasons. But there are more reasons.

 

Many ute owners are quite happy to waddle along in their underpowered eA engine and when the opportunity arises make some basic modifications to get a few more horses out of it.  Some dont want wider wheels.  Somejust want it as a farm machine like it has served them for the last 30 years. 

 

Last but not least-  some like to do the valve clearances in 10 minutes, not fiddle with timing chains belts and a fuel injection system that turns you Mr Hyde into a Subaru Jeckyl.  Some like to look into an engine bay and actually see the engine.

 

So whenever we get a "just EJ it" guy here you, the one faithful to the old eA engine can just point him to this rant rather than explain it all.

 

I've read a lot of pro's for EJ'ing a car but not many con's. Perhaps when the EJ powered Brat's chassis starts to crack and needs welding my point will be proven.



#2 bratman2

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 04:55 PM

I can say I follow what you are saying exactly. Pretty happy with my lightly modified EA81. Now if it was to take a dump I would look an EJ to replace it. Biggest problem I have is they are not that common in Eastern North Carolina.

On a side note I joined this board in the late 90's, board crashed and reset some folks back to zero. I had to rejoin this wonderful forum. I have never heard of a frame crack from a EJ. At the same time I don't see the need to replace something that is not broken. The EA81 is a simple design that can last many decades with basic care. So I hold on to mine. Plus I get close to 30 mpg with a 4 wheel drive. That is something to brag about!!

#3 RustyBrat

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 04:57 PM

Many good points made, as always, and sticking with an ea engine may be the answer for some. However, an ea engine can only be pushed so far. You will never get a whole lot of power out of an ea engine without hugely expensive modifications. Anyway, and i know im goint to catch flak for this, its like i always say, do what you want and screw what everybody else says :)

#4 Scooner

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 06:30 PM

Engineers report?! That sounds about as awful as california emissions haha.

Here in wyoming you can literally do anything you want to a car, they require no emissions, no inspections, nothing. I thought it was pretty cool till every jerk here with a diesel truck straight piped their engine and then fly up and down the streets ALL DAY.

#5 Leeroy

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 06:59 PM

Engineers report?! That sounds about as awful as california emissions haha.

 

Possibly worse! In Oz you may also have to prove a new engine meets current emissions regs too, especially if it is modified from stock. This is expensive, plus there are not many testing stations you can actually go to and get the car tested.



#6 suprjohn

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 07:38 PM

I'm just getting to drive my '89 DL wagon since its rise from the ashes (still got some rising to do). My initial impressions, are that in stock form, the 1.8 SPFI makes adequate power. It is definitely not OVER powered, but it will go fast enough to get me a speeding ticket. I'm also an avid collector of international harvester trucks and tractors, and there are always lots of new people wanting to know, 'how can I go faster?'.

 

While speed may be 'just a question of money' (to quote one of my favorite old Australian movies), it is important to remember that no lawyer can get you off for breaking the laws of physics. Machines pushed beyond their design envelope, can come apart at high speeds with toxic side effects. Redesign responsibly. The life you save might be mine! lol

 

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#7 spazomatic

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 08:48 PM

I totally understand how other things need to be upgraded, once you have a little extra weight, as well as nearly 2x the power. My biggest worry would be the brakes...they suck in stock form, and now Im going to go faster too?

I learned that lesson in my old 74 bronco with 4 wheel drum brakes; now its putting out 335hp at the wheels, and the brakes just dont quite cut it anymore. (I still drive it, but it requires rapt attention, to not get in trouble)
A vehicle needs to have balance between all its components.

slow it may be, but that pokey little motor just keeps chuggin along without fail. Until it dies, Ill keep it.

Plus, I have a lot of irons in the fire so to speak...and im lazy.

Edited by spazomatic, 04 May 2014 - 08:49 PM.


#8 tweety

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 09:35 PM

We havent mentioned cost.?  It's becoming increasingly cheaper to J a car now. Half cuts allow good opportunity to get all the parts required.  But it would still cost a fair bit.  Adapter plate in Oz is $600.  And all the bits.  Can someone give us an accurate cost they had to EJ their car?

 

The alternative is to keep the EA.  Many doing this are happy to receive the basic recommendations like- weber carb, deck the heads etc.  When it comes to reconditioning the whole engine with new pistons, cam grind etc etc cost rises considerably and the EJ swap is gaining attraction.

 

Bolt on power is what is needed for the EA owner.  Covered in a previous thread a modern compact supercharger like a sprintex could be the answer. I mean the sprintex is even made for Harley V-rods! so they are light and small.  We need a company that will recognise that kits are needed as an alternative to the EJ way.  Of cause some the other upgrades like brakes need to be looked at. 

 

But you'd be keeping the original engine and that has positives.



#9 MR_Loyale

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 10:56 PM

For me it hasn't really been an issue. I accept the car for what it is, a small economical, reliable, easy to repair bit of transportation. That was exactly how it was engineered and since from new that is exactly the service it has provided me.

 

Subaru did offer a turbo for the EA engine, it made all of 10 extra horsepower and a virtual guarantee of premature HG failure. Do folks think the engineers at Subaru are stupid and left some "extra" in the EA series that hasn't been exploited? There have been numerous threads and discussions as to why the EA is pretty much at its max. 

 

You argued that Ej'ing a Brat requires chassis mods and an engineers report. Modifying an EA with non-stock turbos and such would not require an engineering report? 

 

Personally, I don't want an EJ in my Loyale, I am perfectly happy with the stock EA82. If I want to haul and tow, I got my Ram for that. If I want to win races, I will get a WRX.  God bless the folks that go to all the trouble of putting in an EJ though.

 

So if you come here asking how to increase the power on an EA series engine, please don't get disappointed if those that have treaded down that very same path, asked the same questions and concluded EJ is the way to go, offer you their wisdom. It may not be what you wish to hear, but if there was a magical way to increase the EA doesn't it stand to reason that after 25 years someone would have found out about it?



#10 AKghandi

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 11:17 PM

the ea82 is good as a well maintained stock engine. ive had a couple and even a turbo and never had any serious problems. if you want something cheap and easy to mod pick up a ford 2.3 turbo or a chrysler 2.2/2.5 turbo. those have lots of room left for tire smoke. 



#11 sumoco

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 11:21 PM

The real question is, have you ever driven an ej swapped ea car?

#12 jj421

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 11:32 PM

For me, I keep saying that if my EA82 ever dies, I'll consider an EJ swap. In a sense, so many people do EJ swaps that EA82s are kinda becoming rare. Yeah, it's still probably got another 5-10 years before you can comfortably say they're rare, but it's on its way.

 

Everything I do to my car serves a vital function. There is a reason for every modification, besides looks, speed, or what have you. So if I were to do an EJ swap, I better have a good reason for it. And that reason is because I am running 27" tires, so the extra power would be helpful to run them. That being said, the EA82 does a decent job turning these tires. Going uphill is a little slow, but I haven't had many major complaints. For folks running even bigger tires, an EJ swap can definitely come in handy.

 

Otherwise, for me personally, there isn't much more purpose to doing an EJ swap. It costs a lot of money (especially for someone like me who works at minimum wage (or near it)) and the biggest thing you get out of it is more power (which I don't have a need for). My EA82 provides sufficient power, is plenty reliable (though an EJ22 is more reliable), gets decent gas mileage, and is stupid easy to work on.

 

Yeah, if my engine ever catastrophically fails, I might consider doing an EJ swap. It depends on the funds I have and the availability of both an EJ22 and an EA82. Regardless, I plan to maintain my EA82 as much as I can. High quality oil and oil filter, frequent oil changes, clean coolant, not overheating it, etc. I plan to keep the EA82 for a long time.



#13 Loyale 2.7 Turbo

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 11:57 PM

In Honduras, you only need the Bill of Sale (Sales Receipt) of the New engine (Any that fits onto your car) and the bill of the Repair shop that did the Swap Job, saying it is working good; or an Sworn Declaration that You did the Swap Job by yourself and is working Good. However, the Authorities will take a "Print" of the imprinted numbers on the New Engine (That is done by cleaning the area where the serial number is emblazoned, then smear enough ink and put a blank paper over, to copy exactly the numbers and their shape, right from the metal casting, to avoid Clones from being registered) and that's it; now you can ask the New Certificate of Registry for your Car, featurin' the New engine's serial number on it.  I did that on a Chevrolet Blazer which we "Castrated" from a V6 Automatic, to a Toyota 22R EFi Manual; also I did that to my Wife's car, the "KiaStein" and also on my Dead Loyale 2.7 Wagon project.

 

I suffered from said "Snowball Effect" on my dead Loyale 2.7 Project, which originally was my second wagon / parts car ... the Brakes became weak and Handling poor with the overweight on the front; also no place for a normal radiator... it only needed a front crash and all the project ended.

 

So, I better stay with my Humble EA82 Weberized engine onto my First Wagon, the "BumbleBeast" which has been in the family since New in 1985; and still is rumbling Strong, traveling and daily driving + weekend offroading with the Family... for my Style of driving is Enough, even with a 2" lift + 25" tires on it.

 

Kind Regards.



#14 Subruise

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 12:47 AM

ejs offer not only more power but better mpg as well. not to mention fuel injection is real nice on steep terrain.



#15 djellum

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 01:31 PM

like most any motor choice it begins with a desired outcome. the reason people always say EJ it is because someone is asking how to wring out the most power from their car.  in order to make your power goal you need to start with a base that is capable of it, and an EA is capable of very little (without knowledge and skill that most askers don't seem to have).  when you look at the cost of an average EA build (cam grind, weber or FI, SPFI pistons, maybe turbo) it will cost quite a bit of money and still not produce the power of the EJ.

 

its the same as the big block and small block debate.  theres no benefit to the big block if you want to make 300 hp, but if you want to make 1300 hp you start with a base motor that can handle it, which isn't a 305.  People have pushed huge power out of any motor, but most of your big hp drag cars start with a big block cause the platform and supporting products can handle more hp in general.

 

the question that is usually asked isn't "how can I tune my motor for more power"  its "how do I get the most power".  An EJ is the easiest way to get the most power into one of these cars, so it becomes the default answer.  there are a lot of reasons not to swap, just like there are lots of reasons not to lift, or lower, etc, but we can't know all variables.



#16 wagonist

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 09:10 PM

For me it hasn't really been an issue. I accept the car for what it is, a small economical, reliable, easy to repair bit of transportation. That was exactly how it was engineered and since from new that is exactly the service it has provided me.

 

Subaru did offer a turbo for the EA engine, it made all of 10 extra horsepower and a virtual guarantee of premature HG failure. Do folks think the engineers at Subaru are stupid and left some "extra" in the EA series that hasn't been exploited? There have been numerous threads and discussions as to why the EA is pretty much at its max. 

 

You argued that Ej'ing a Brat requires chassis mods and an engineers report. Modifying an EA with non-stock turbos and such would not require an engineering report? 

 

Personally, I don't want an EJ in my Loyale, I am perfectly happy with the stock EA82. If I want to haul and tow, I got my Ram for that. If I want to win races, I will get a WRX.  God bless the folks that go to all the trouble of putting in an EJ though.

 

So if you come here asking how to increase the power on an EA series engine, please don't get disappointed if those that have treaded down that very same path, asked the same questions and concluded EJ is the way to go, offer you their wisdom. It may not be what you wish to hear, but if there was a magical way to increase the EA doesn't it stand to reason that after 25 years someone would have found out about it?

Oz only got factory EA82T (never got the EA81T) for 3 years because of rallying (Subaru won the Australian rally championship for at least 3 years in a row), and while we can benefit from getting Jap half cuts cos the steering wheel is on the same side, the availability is hard.

And there is plenty of headroom. The rally teams got a lot of extra power, but they could also afford to rebuild them regularly because of the decreased reliability.

 

Adding a turbo to a vehicle requires engineering. Modifying the turbo on an existing turbocharged vehicle does not.

I know I'm going to need one for putting a spider manifold EA82T into my carb EA82 wagon.



#17 jono

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 04:14 AM

Wagonist ? Jay ?

 

The EA82 RX rally spec ran different exhaust and ECU, increased boost control from inside cabin from memory and they ran them in low range all the time I think I read. The extra stuff was fitted up by Subaru workshops in Oz. I have the name of a dude who bought one of these hoping to drive it on the roads - roll cage and all - has no compliance plate I hear, so may have been a special import rally beast :)



#18 Gloyale

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 10:39 AM

First off, you do not need to modify framerails of EA81 body cars to fit a SOHC EJ18, EJ20, or EJ22.......or a 2.5 block with those SOHC heads.

 

The weight difference is less than 100lbs........Stock suspension can handle that fine.....if you like.....get some slightly stiffer springs

 

A 130 hp EJ22 is not going to rip frames in half either.   EJ257 STI......yes...that will.....but it will blow up the trans first so transfering that much force isn't an issue.

 

 

My GFs car has an EJ18.  Slightly wider 14" rims.  Otherwise completely stock suspension and brakes.....and it is a well mannered and totaly safe vehichle on the road......with more HP, better reliability, and easier/cheaper maintanence than the EA82 that was in it.

 

So.....If we are talking regular DD engines and types of cars.....the EJ18, EJ20, EJ22 engines are awesome........you guys can even get carbed manifolds for them way easier than us.

 

Adapter plate, Flywheel, harness......Even if you pay for them not make/strip yourself......still less than $600.....don't know why just the adapter would be $600 in AUS?

 

I do understand the inspection issue is tough for you guys........but the status of an EJ as an "upgrade" is undeniable. 



#19 TallonX

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 02:58 PM

Ah that age old addage comes to mind...

"There's no replacement for displacement"

But ya know... There's a lot of old timers that have been fiddling with things since inception. There's now quite a few newcomers to these here EAs engines that have grown up with new technology that don't think within the same box as the old timers.

To each their own, never know what might arise in the future, if the simple answer is EJ it, what about the hard answer?

Makes one wonder what these EAs would be like if it was manufactured with today's technology.

Edited by TallonX, 06 May 2014 - 03:00 PM.


#20 djellum

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 04:27 PM

if an EA was manufactured with todays technology…. it would be an EJ lol.  They are all part of the natural progression of an H4 motor.

 

the hard answer isn't hard its just expensive.  one of the guys on the old XT forum was running around 200 hp, but that was a full custom job and he had to watch his temps like a hawk to avoid blowing it up.  If I remember right he did everything, custom forged pistons, copper head gaskets, independent fuel system, new turbo setup, cams, exhaust, the works.  

 

he had said once that he had around 10k into the car (over time of course).  so for 10k you can have a spooled up EA82T that will make almost 200 hp as long as your careful, or you can put an EJ in it for $1500 and drive it like any other car with the same power.



#21 jono

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 04:42 PM

".......you guys can even get carbed manifolds for them way easier than us."

 

 

 

not so, not in Aus, only got efi here



#22 Loyale 2.7 Turbo

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 07:59 PM

The LADM (Latin American Domestic Market) Specs Subarus, got Factory Carburated + Disty EJ Engines on the Dual Range Legacies & imprezas, 'till year 1994, as you can read further info & see lots of Photos, here:

 

~► http://www.ultimates...e-legacy-wagon/

 

Kind Regards.



#23 Gloyale

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 08:11 PM

".......you guys can even get carbed manifolds for them way easier than us."

 

 

 

not so, not in Aus, only got efi here

 

NZ then???   I thought those Kiwis talked about carbed EJ18s.

 

Ah that age old addage comes to mind...

"There's no replacement for displacement"

 

 

Like I said.....we replaced the old EA 1.8 with an EJ 1.8 in my girlfriends car, and in my wheeler.....

 

Even with the same displacement, you get better, more reliable power for marginally more weight.  And you can still get good parts anywhere for the EJ not true for the EA anymore.



#24 TheWanderer

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 09:41 PM

NZ then???   I thought those Kiwis talked about carbed EJ18s.

 

 

Like I said.....we replaced the old EA 1.8 with an EJ 1.8 in my girlfriends car, and in my wheeler.....

 

Even with the same displacement, you get better, more reliable power for marginally more weight.  And you can still get good parts anywhere for the EJ not true for the EA anymore.

 

 

I've held off on commenting on this thread for now, but I have to agree with you and others for the most part.  An EJ swap is a good option, considering there are tons of them out there.  Not so much so with the EA's.  Although I do disagree with you on getting good parts for the EA, I have yet to have problems sourcing parts for my 88...

 

Anywho, back on topic:  Sure, the EA is underpowered with its measly 90hp (in N/A form), and sure its not the most technologically advanced powerplant.  But it does have a certain flair for reliability that can't be overlooked. Its the ford escort of Subaru's, not meant for frills and not meant to be pretty, its meant to be basic transportation

 

As far as an EJ swap goes, I do agree that the weight increase is negligible and should not require suspension, brakes, etc upgrades.  The parts are readily available, the aftermarket is bigger, and the MPG definitely better.  I personally look at it as this:  IF the EA in my car ever goes south, then I will swap to a more modern (EJ22 sohc) setup.  The extra 30-40 hp and more torque would be nice for stoplight to stoplight (i.e., non highway rolling start) get up and go.  That is really where I see my car lacking in power is the low end (I can floor it and it takes forever to get up to speed, but on the highway when I'm at speed it goes like stink between 65-90)

 

However, given that I still have only 93k original miles on my driveline, its not a project that I should need to take on anytime in the near future (<5 years).  And realistically if I still have the car at that point, I probably won't, unless she becomes a winter time only D/R swapped car or an RX clone for rally/autoX purposes only (which is highly unlikely).  Again, its the Escort of the Subaru world, not meant to be pretty, but meant to be reliable basic transportation.  Honestly, if I wanted to mod any subaru, it'd be a 92 SVX or a mid 90's OBDII Impreza Outback wagon with an EJ22



#25 Gloyale

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 11:28 PM

 That is really where I see my car lacking in power is the low end (I can floor it and it takes forever to get up to speed, but on the highway when I'm at speed it goes like stink between 65-90)

 

Yeah....uh.....Nebraska is pretty flat and low elevation.

 

Try driving I-5, I-90/4, or I-80 in mountainous areas....Your EA82 won't do 90.


Edited by Gloyale, 06 May 2014 - 11:28 PM.





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