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Phase I/II how to tell difference ?


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20 replies to this topic

#1 corsair

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Posted 12 June 2004 - 03:37 PM

Is there a way to identify a Phase I versus a Phase II engine when you open the hood and look at it? If I was looking at a used Subie how would I know the difference between these engines when I open the hood? (I have a 1999 Legacy L sedan 2.2, and want to be able to identify my engine as either Phase I or Phase II -- how would I know the same thing on a 2.5 Outback engine ?).

#2 Losiho

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Posted 12 June 2004 - 07:24 PM

The phase 1 is a DOHC engine, the phase 2 is a SOHC. It's hard to describe on a computer without showing you a pic, but probably the easiest way to spot the difference is to look at the black cam/belt covers at the front of the engine (directly in front of the radiator). The DOHC engine will have two "humps" for the camshafts, the SOHC only one.

#3 f15xxx

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Posted 12 June 2004 - 08:44 PM

welcome mr. corsair. i got a 99 leg l sedan 2.2 5-sp anniv edition (winestone pearl). is yours anniv too? i could not be more pleased with this model. last of the series and bulletproof like it's no-ones business. plus 30mpg on the highway. it's unfortunate that it's my winter only car and it just gets trashed 5 mo out of the year. how may miles on your sube?

#4 Chip Hedrick

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Posted 13 June 2004 - 08:11 AM

I believe the only Subaru engine to which the Phase I/Phase II distinction applies is the EJ25. As Losiho said, the primary difference is that the Phase I has 4 cams and the Phase II has 2 cams.

The Phase II engine was introduced in the Outback for MY 2000, so I assume it was introduced in other models at the same time.


In the cars the I have looked at:

Phase I: Air filter housing located to the side of the engine, on the passenger side of the engine bay. Air intake tube protrudes into the engine bay through the passenger side fender wall.

Phase II: Air filter housing located at the top rear of the engine behind the throttle body (not to be confused with the hollow plastic chanber that Phase I engines have in this location). Air intake tube extends to front of engine bay above passenger side headlight/top of radiator.

#5 corsair

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Posted 13 June 2004 - 11:01 AM

I believe the only Subaru engine to which the Phase I/Phase II distinction applies is the EJ25. As Losiho said, the primary difference is that the Phase I has 4 cams and the Phase II has 2 cams.

The Phase II engine was introduced in the Outback for MY 2000, so I assume it was introduced in other models at the same time.


I'm a newbie so I don't know what "EJ25" means, although I have seen a similar reference in other (older) posts which I have researched. I CAN tell the difference between a DOHC vs. SOHC (I'm a mechanic & have a Corvette & Chevelle), but I read in some previous posts that a Phase I was a 2.2, and a Phase II was a 2.2 bored-out (at the factory) to make it a 2.5. The Subaru that I own is the 1st non-domestic car with a horizontally opposed engine that I have ever owned.

If the defining feature is the air cleaner location, then I can tell you that my air cleaner is on the passenger side with an empty chamber behind the throttle body. However, I have a Subaru FSM (Supplement) which shows the (1999) 2.2 air cleaner location as ALL being on the passenger side, with the ONLY exception being the California car which has the air cleaner mounted in the chamber attached at the throttle body. There is no mention in this Subaru manual about PhaseI/II.

The reason for my question originally is that I called Subaru about the head gasket issue, and they told me that I have a phase II engine and don't qualify for any extended service (the anti-freeze additive). This causes me to want to know definitively (and by objective criteria) as to whether I have a Phase I or a Phase II engine because the Subaru phone service rep on the phone could NOT tell me what is meant by Phase I or Phase II (obviously she is a low paid hourly employee who just runs a VIN # and tries to brush-off any many people as she can). I guess I'll just go and pay for the coolant additive myself and hope for the best. I have 86,000+ on my 99 Legacy, and don't have any leaks, but I might as well have the coolant additive, than not have it.

If someone can give me a more specific, or technical way to distinguish by sight how I can know whether my 1999 Legacy L sedan 2.2 is a Phase I or a Phase II, I should like very much to hear it. If LOGIC would dictate, there would be a reason (different manufacturing process, engineering improvements/advancements, a different or more advanced engine design) that would logically dictate why Subaru would designate an engine being a Phase II, rather than a Phase I. On this (logical) basis, I would of course assume that it would be more desirable to have a Phase II rather than a Phase I engine, and I'm saying this on the basis of logical progression of improvements, not simply because the Phase I has the bad head gaskets.

#6 corsair

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Posted 13 June 2004 - 11:15 AM

welcome mr. corsair. i got a 99 leg l sedan 2.2 5-sp anniv edition (winestone pearl). is yours anniv too? i could not be more pleased with this model. last of the series and bulletproof like it's no-ones business. plus 30mpg on the highway. it's unfortunate that it's my winter only car and it just gets trashed 5 mo out of the year. how may miles on your sube?


I have basically the same but with an automatic: 1999 Legacy L sedan 2.2 30th anniversary Ed. 4dr. winestone pearl. The only major service that I have had is a leak in the auto transmission where the electrical plug goes into the trans and I was 2,000 miles out-of-warranty. The other major problem with my car is the intermittent speedo (not yet fixed). I have also had the driver seat recliner adjuster assembly go bad - seat bouncing up and down when the recliner adjusting arm is in center travel - not in fully locked position. Another minor problem is defective spark plug pipe gaskets which causes oil to puddle in the spark plug holes.

Can you tell me what major/minor problems you have had with your car, so that I can know what to watch for in mine ?

#7 ferret

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Posted 13 June 2004 - 11:37 AM

Both the 2.2 and the 2.5 have had phase 1 and phase 2 implementations.
The 2.5 is easier to tell, as described it obviously went from DOHC to SOHC, as well and many internal changes.

The 2.2 is Difficult if not impossible for the average owner. About 1999, the went to solid lifters, changed the valve angles, increased compression, shortened the piston skirts and became an 'interference' engine.

I do have an 84 pg PDF file (3.6meg) which describes the evolution of the 2.2 phases as well as the 2.5. Send me a message and I will reply with the .pdf attachment.

#8 f15xxx

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Posted 13 June 2004 - 12:49 PM

mine was originally sold in oregon and states california emissions on the underhood decal. the air filter is directly behind the throttle body. the only real problem is that prior numbnuts owner hit something, my guess a dog or something, and front cap need to be removed to replace the plastic push-pins and holders. i thought that all were certified to cal emissions at this model year and i don't know anything about the air filter housing being located on the passenger side. there is some type of plastic intake box there, though. there were phase 1 and 2 2.2l engines, you can get more info in an old article at endwrench.com. see what your underhood decal says regarding emission status. what was manufacture date (month/yr)? obviously the later model run was phase 2. go to sube dealer and have them print out a warranty repair history on your car.

#9 corsair

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Posted 13 June 2004 - 05:09 PM

mine was originally sold in oregon and states california emissions on the underhood decal. the air filter is directly behind the throttle body. the only real problem is that prior numbnuts owner hit something, my guess a dog or something, and front cap need to be removed to replace the plastic push-pins and holders. i thought that all were certified to cal emissions at this model year and i don't know anything about the air filter housing being located on the passenger side. there is some type of plastic intake box there, though. there were phase 1 and 2 2.2l engines, you can get more info in an old article at endwrench.com. see what your underhood decal says regarding emission status. what was manufacture date (month/yr)? obviously the later model run was phase 2. go to sube dealer and have them print out a warranty repair history on your car.


The manufacture date on mine is 11/98. The sticker under the hood (I never LOOKED at it before) says engine family XFJXV02 2.2. litre SFI and a long number for the "evaporative family" XFJXR01251BB.

I have the Subaru FSM Supplement and it shows the air filter location for all 2.2 non-California cars as being on the right front fender with the intake opening behind the right headlight. All California cars are shown in the manual as having the airfilter mounted on the throttlebody inside the big housing at the center next to the firewall. Since my manufacture date is 11/98 (a Wisconsin Legacy non-Outback), I have to guess that I have Phase I as everything that I have read suggests that Phase II came in late 1999 and early 2000.

My whole reason for wanting to know Phase I/II was an attempt to find out whether I was affected by the head gasket problem. When the dealer tells me that I'm not, I naturally believe that they are lying in order to get out of fixing something. Everything that I have read suggests that this problem was ONLY on 2.5 engines when Subaru took a 2.2 block and bored it out for bigger sleeves to make it a 2.5 engine (and adding the DOHC heads & valvetrain) [bad engineering decision].

If your car states compliance with California emissions (even if sold in Oregon), then I have to believe that you have a California car - this would put the air cleaner in the center housing right next to the throttle body. The right side intake box on a California car is "empty".

Can you tell me what has been fixed on your car (and how many miles on your car)? I'm trying to get a picture of what will go wrong next on my car which shows 86,000+. I have already done the crankshaft seal & timing belt. I skipped the cam seals because when I had it all apart, I didn't have a cam sprocket wrench (or service manual) and didn't have time to fabricate one and weld on a handle. Sadly, I also didn't replace the water pump when I had it all apart. So what has been replaced on your car ?

#10 Losiho

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Posted 13 June 2004 - 09:24 PM

Sorry, I have no idea regarding Phase 1 or 2 2.2L variations. My reply was specific to the 2.5L Legacy/Outback engine.


"EJ25" is just a Subaru nameplate and ID code for the 2.5L engine.

I have also heard that the main reason for Phase 1 EJ25 headgasket problems is the fact that it's a bored out 2.2L block.

FWIW the new Outback/Legacy line and the Phase 2 EJ25 were released in late 1998 in world markets.

#11 corsair

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Posted 13 June 2004 - 10:24 PM

Both the 2.2 and the 2.5 have had phase 1 and phase 2 implementations.
The 2.5 is easier to tell, as described it obviously went from DOHC to SOHC, as well and many internal changes.

The 2.2 is Difficult if not impossible for the average owner. About 1999, the went to solid lifters, changed the valve angles, increased compression, shortened the piston skirts and became an 'interference' engine.

I do have an 84 pg PDF file (3.6meg) which describes the evolution of the 2.2 phases as well as the 2.5. Send me a message and I will reply with the .pdf attachment.


Many thanks ferret, this technicians reference will be very handy to me in the future. I now have a good reason to know that my engine is a Phase II, and it will be verified once I see what is under the valve cover.

#12 Geoff4130

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Posted 13 June 2004 - 10:32 PM

Chip Hedrick, the way you described the Phase II intake it sounds like a better flow of air. Is it possible to put that one on a Phase I engine? My car is sluggish, probably cause of the auto tranny, and would like all the help it can get. Also it seems the scoop on the Outback hood is useless, is there a way to incorporate that into the air intake?

#13 Setright

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Posted 14 June 2004 - 02:48 AM

EJ is a designation for a whole series of open-deck engines. EJ22 is an EJ series, 2.2 Litre. EJ18, EJ20, EJ22, EJ25 - are the ones I know of in this series.

EG22 and EG33 are closed-deck, but otherwise similar.

(As far as I know, I might have misunderstood something along the way..)

#14 f15xxx

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Posted 14 June 2004 - 10:42 AM

yo corsair, i think mine is a late 98 manufacture too, i'll check that. i think emission status is part of the inquiry too. just visit your dealer and get a printout from them and ask a mechanic some questions.the only thing that gets my goat are buzzy heatshields at about 24-2600 rpms. car has about 75k miles on it. haven't done timing belt or any front engine work yet. manual says 105k on timing belt. no leaks, i'll just wait and see, probably do it after another winter season or two. oh, i did replace the two drive belts and all of the heater, bypass, and radiator hoses. of course, there are two small formed hoses (the size of fuel hoses) that bring hot coolant through the throttle body, subaru has discontinued then. can you believe that, after 5 years?

car had new potenzas when i bought it. they're ok in the snow, although i did get the car stuck once last winter in about a 1 foot drift at the end of the driveway last winter.

manual tranny is real finicky and use redline mt-90 in it, mobil 1 75-90 in rear diff. change your auto tranny fluid and filter regularly to avoid toasting that electric tranny.

couldn't be happier, it'll probably blow up on next start, you know how that is! pretty good luck with a lease return vehicle.

#15 99obw

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Posted 14 June 2004 - 11:12 AM

AFAIK on the Phase I EJ22 the spark plugs exit the head above the valve cover, and on the Phase II they pass through the valve cover.

#16 f15xxx

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Posted 14 June 2004 - 07:37 PM

i got the phase 2.

#17 Chip Hedrick

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Posted 14 June 2004 - 09:08 PM

With respect to the placement of the air filter housing on cars with the 2.5L engine, I'll stand by what I said.

I have a '98 OBW with the Phase I (4 cam) EJ25 engine. It is California emissions compliant per the original window sticker and the under hood sticker. The air filter housing is on the passenger side of the engine bay. There is a black plastic chamber at the top rear of the engine behind the throttle body.

I recently installed the air filter on my mother-in-law's 2000+ Legacy with a Phase II (2 cam) 2.5. In that car, the air filter was at the top rear of the engine behind the throttle body.

Thus, with respect to the 2.5L, I think the Phase of the engine (not whether or not it is Calif. emissions compliant) dictates where the air filter housing is located. Things may be different with respect to the 2.2L.

Geoff4130: I don't think it would be worth it to install the intake from a 2000+ Legacy into an older car. Even though the intake design appears to be better, the 2000+ 2.5s put out the same HP (165) as the older 2.5s and only slightly more torque (166 v. 162 lbs-ft). Plus the 2000+ 2.5s have substantial internal changes, so doubtlessly some of the power gain come from those internal changes, and not the redesigned intake.

If you want increased performance, install a K&N panel filter and a lightweight crank pulley. They're the best bang for the buck.

#18 corsair

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Posted 14 June 2004 - 10:34 PM

AFAIK on the Phase I EJ22 the spark plugs exit the head above the valve cover, and on the Phase II they pass through the valve cover.


If that is the defining characteristic, then I definitely have a Phase II. I had a thread a couple of weeks ago about oil in the spark plug wells (to which you also replied) and which happen to go through the valve covers. The part as defined by Subaru is a the "Spark Plug Pipe Gasket". I happen to need all 4 of them.

By way of verification that I own a Phase II 2.2, I also got a PDF yesterday from ferret which details the difference between Phase I/II. Shown in those pictures are the two different cam belt tensioners for Phase I & II. The one that I have is more round than long (the best way that I can describe it) which verifies that I own a Phase II 2.2 (I have already done the timing belt so I know exactly which tensioner I have).

The problem that I'm having in this thread is the EJ engine designation that I keep hearing. Since I'm a Subie newbie I don't know where to find this number on my car or if it's even written on my car. I have a 1999 Legacy L sedan 4dr. 2.2 Phase II engine manufactured 11/98. This is the 1st boxer engine that I have ever owned. Everything else that I own is domestic (Corvette, Chevelle, Crown Vic. and F350). Am I supposed to be able to find this EJ number somewhere on the car and if so where??

#19 Losiho

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Posted 14 June 2004 - 10:59 PM

The problem that I'm having in this thread is the EJ engine designation that I keep hearing. Since I'm a Subie newbie I don't know where to find this number on my car or if it's even written on my car.


I don't know if this applies to US made cars, but the letters EJ25 are stamped on my engine block, easily visible just below the intake manifold.

#20 99obw

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 05:41 AM

IIRC EJ22 should be cast into the block roughly below the alternator.

#21 corsair

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 10:23 PM

IIRC EJ22 should be cast into the block roughly below the alternator.


OK..... Thank you. Now I feel fulfilled. I opened the hood, looked under the alternator and there it is "EJ22" stamped on the block. Hooray!! Now I won't have to feel left in the dark when I read threads where everyone is identifying their engine with the term EJxx. Now - when I look down to the post by Setright posted yesterday, combined with the Subaru Tech manual that I got from ferret, I understand what he is saying. Thanks to everyone who posted to this thread in the last 3 days. I have learned alot more about the boxer engine than I knew a week ago !!!!




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