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Avoid 2.5 at all cost


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17 replies to this topic

#1 dklein90

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Posted 17 April 2005 - 11:17 AM

Whats the flat out deal with the 2.5? Should they be avoided at all cost?

Whats the price of replacing the head gasket? Is it an easy job for someone to do at home?

#2 shimonmor

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Posted 17 April 2005 - 12:07 PM

Well, from what I gather...it's a problem not an epidemic. If everyone had HG issues with the 2.5 engine you would be hearing about more so than just in these forums.

I have a 99 OB with the 2.5 with 110K miles and I've just been waiting for the HG to go. In the meantime I'm just worrying myself for nothing. As my fourth grade teacher, Ms. Renick, said: "Why die twice?" So, I'm not going to worry about it until it happens. And it may never happen or if it does it may happen at 150K miles. Who knows? I'm just going to keep maintaining my vehicle properly and check the fluids a little more often for signs of problems. Otherwise the OB has been an outstanding vehicle.

On that note, if I was going to buy a used OB I would lean towards not getting one with a 2.5 that may have a potential early HG problem. Why bother?

#3 dklein90

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Posted 17 April 2005 - 12:18 PM

thanks for the input, your probably right about worrying about it.

when Im out car shoping are there any signs and symtoms that I should be on the look out for. Im interested in a forester which I believe only comes with a 2.5. I want to get the best car and motor for my money.

#4 99obw

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Posted 17 April 2005 - 12:26 PM

I think climate plays a huge role in the longevity of the Phase I EJ25 head gaskets. My limited knowledge of this engine suggests that the majority of head gaskets fail once they get past 100k in this region. People in other parts of the country seem to see much more reliable operation.

#5 Scottbaru

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Posted 17 April 2005 - 12:27 PM

I've run many cars over 200k with minimal trouble. It may be partially due to meticulous maintenance, but mainly it's choosing cars carefully. Sort of like good genes versus good habits. The cars I list below are all known for running well over 300k reliably. The 2.2 Legacy is one of those cars with most everything right for well above average longevity. The 2.5 seems to be average, so I wouldn't consider it. And maybe average is generous.

#6 Cougar

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Posted 17 April 2005 - 12:57 PM

If you can afford to get a '03 or newer Forester I would go for that. They made some good improvements to those models from what I understand.

#7 lmdew

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Posted 17 April 2005 - 01:35 PM

Look for any signs of oil in the coolant overflow tank. Any black stuff is a sure sign of HG failure. Take is for a long test drive if you can 50-100 miles and watch the coolant temp gauge. Most of them are rock steady just below the 1/2 mark. When its up to temp, and you've driven it hard, stop an look for air bubbles in the overflow tank. A few is OK anymore that that I'd walk away or get a great deal and drop a new 2.2 in from CCR.

#8 blitz

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Posted 17 April 2005 - 01:56 PM

If you can afford to get a '03 or newer Forester I would go for that. They made some good improvements to those models from what I understand.

Semi-closed deck (supported bores) among other things. The bores don't walk around and ultimately chew through the top of the head gasket. :banghead:

#9 Dangerdave

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Posted 17 April 2005 - 04:23 PM

Don't be scared off the 2.5. As long as its the Phase II you're laughing. I put one in a 93 Impreza. Excellent motor, love the low-end tourque.

#10 felipe01forester

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Posted 17 April 2005 - 04:45 PM

Any model after 2000 has the Phase II EJ-25 engines. They corrected the head-gasket issues this time. As long as you get one newer than that, you'll be OK.

#11 dklein90

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Posted 17 April 2005 - 04:46 PM

what is the differance between the phase 1 and phase 2? Is it just the production year or is there more to it than that.

#12 Commuter

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Posted 17 April 2005 - 05:02 PM

what is the differance between the phase 1 and phase 2? Is it just the production year or is there more to it than that.

Biggest change was moving from DOHC to SOHC.
They stiffened the bottom end.
Added 2 (or more?) bolts to the bell housing.
Liquid filled engine mounts.
They moved the crank thrust bearing from the center to the end (rear I believe).
Got rid of the EGR circuit.
Did things to address the piston slap supposedly (with little to some success).
Addressed the head gaskets. Seems they got rid of the internal leak, but the 99/2000 to 2002's had incidences of external leaks. They finally addressed that with the anti-freeze "conditioner".
Various other changes based on the experience a guy had putting a Phase II engine into his 97 Legacy GT. Some stuff in the throttle body area (TPS or IAC, one of those), different sensor wheels for camshaft/crankshaft (one or the other or both, don't recall), things like that.
HP remained 165. Torgue went from 162 to 166.
More notably, the curves "fattened" in the mid-range. As much as 15 or 20% I believe. The main reason being less valve train losses due to the SOHC design.

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#13 blitz

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Posted 17 April 2005 - 06:04 PM

Semi-closed deck...

I meant to say the turbo 2.5 has semi-closed deck. :o the N/A 2.5 does not.

#14 rizzo

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Posted 01 May 2005 - 10:14 PM

If you can afford to get a '03 or newer Forester I would go for that. They made some good improvements to those models from what I understand.


know anything about the 03 impreza 2.5? i just got an 03 outback sport. is this the phase I or II 2.5? after reading some of this stuff, i'm now starting to worry... got my first scare today when my clutch started sticking... luckily the rubber floor mat had slid up just enough to catch the bottom of the pedal when fully pressed.

#15 Cougar

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Posted 01 May 2005 - 10:51 PM

Here is a copy of some info I found doing a search about phase 2 engines. Hopefully this will help you.



* There are two phases of 2.5 liter (normally aspirated, non turbo) engines used in Subarus.

* Phase 1 engines are DOHC (Dual Overhead Cam), were used from '96 to '99 in most cars, and typically experience an "internal" head gasket failure if failure happens. This is hard for a lot of mechanics to diagnose, is difficult to reliably duplicate, and often has resulted in the owners throwing money and parts at the problem. New thermostats, flushing coolant, new water pumps, and other things described in the above links are examples which do not fix the problem if it is indeed head gasket failure. If the engine overheats too many times or too severely, it can result in warped heads and the need for a new engine. As of this date Subaru has never acknowledged the existence of any problem. They have redesigned the head gaskets and most people that have had the new gaskets installed have had good success. The "coolant conditioner" described below DOES NOT fix this internal leak, nor does it give you an extended warranty as described below. Headgasket replacement, at a cost of a hundred (DIY) to a thousand (independent shop) to a few thousand (Subaru dealer service) dollars are your only options besides engine replacement.

* Phase 2 engines are SOHC (Single Overhead Cam), were used from '00 to present in most cars, and typically experience an "external" head gasket leakage if it happens. This problem, while pretty widespread, does not seem to be as damaging in nature to the engine. It has been acknowledged by Subaru in the form of a "Service Campaign" #WWP-99 which applies to certain '99 to '02 cars. It involves adding a "Coolant Conditioner" to the coolant and if this is done the owner's head gaskets are covered against external coolant leaks for 8 years or 100K miles. Here's a Nasioc thread about the service campaign:

WWP-99 Campaign thread There is a lot of discussion about exactly what the "Coolant Conditioner" is, and it seems the consensus is that's it's just a form of stop leak. But, if you want the extended warranty you must have it added. It does not help resolve the "internal" leak as described above that plagues the Phase 1 2.5's.

#16 swc7916

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 02:23 PM

The head gasket on my 2000 Outback went at 47,000 miles and the dealer fixed it under warantee.

#17 stevetone

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 05:30 PM

I hope everyone avoids low mileage (100k), Phase I 2.5's "at all cost", so when I buy my next used Subaru I can get it for real cheap :)

#18 rweddy

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 08:23 PM

I hope everyone avoids low mileage (100k), Phase I 2.5's "at all cost", so when I buy my next used Subaru I can get it for real cheap :)

I agree with you!! :drunk: Keep the prices low!!
I love the 96-99 Legacy OBW and know first hand of several in the 200k+ range with no issues.




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