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Best Years for EJ22 Legacy Wagons


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34 replies to this topic

#1 Dante

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 02:54 PM

I'm thinking about buying another subaru for use as a third (backup, trailhead, home and garden store and dump) vehicle. I'm thinking I'll go with an EJ22 Legacy Wagon. (My last Subie was a lifted '83 GL.)

IIRC, certain years are better than others. I remember reading posts recommending '93 to '95 or '96. I've tried a few searches, but can't find them. Can anyone tell me if certain years are better than others and, if so, why?

Thanks!

Dante

#2 WRX2FFU

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 03:28 PM

I know that a lot of prople say that the ej22t in the 94' legs are thre best block subaru has ever built. Fully closed desck, oil squirters, etc.... Not sure of the other years though. It is definately a tough rump roast engine. In a wrx with modded wrx dohc heads it can take 30+ lbs of boost with forgerd internals of course.


A buddy of mine has one in his wrx and he runs 25lbs + daily.

#3 Manarius

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 03:56 PM

Here's the low down.

92-94 Touring Wagons: Turbo, 4EAT (only), loaded. EJ22T block. Best ever block.

90-94 Wagons: Various, non-turbo, 5MT or 4EAT. There's no real difference between these except some facia. And then the 94 weird wagons like the alpine sport model (rare)

95-96 Wagons: Last two years of non-interference style. OBDII run, with major outer overhaul done for the 95 MY.


#4 Dante

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 05:06 PM

Here's the low down.

92-94 Touring Wagons: Turbo, 4EAT (only), loaded. EJ22T block. Best ever block.

90-94 Wagons: Various, non-turbo, 5MT or 4EAT. There's no real difference between these except some facia. And then the 94 weird wagons like the alpine sport model (rare)

95-96 Wagons: Last two years of non-interference style. OBDII run, with major outer overhaul done for the 95 MY.


Thanks.

#5 xrturbo

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 08:00 PM

any except the phase 2's will run forever

#6 Dr. RX

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 08:07 PM

Although the turbo EJ22T is a great engine, the extra maintenance and special attention do not make it s good choice for the average person. The phase 1 EJ22 would be my first choice for someone who wanted a reliable car, that would be the Gen 1 Legacy 89 to 94 and the first two years of the Gen 2 Legacy, 95 and 96. After that they went to the phase 2 EJ22, which is just as good as the phase 1's but you need to pay special attention to timing belt maintenance, you will cause internal engine damage if the belt breaks while the engine is running (not so on the phase 1 EJ22).

#7 99lego

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 08:59 PM

Although the turbo EJ22T is a great engine, the extra maintenance and special attention do not make it s good choice for the average person. The phase 1 EJ22 would be my first choice for someone who wanted a reliable car, that would be the Gen 1 Legacy 89 to 94 and the first two years of the Gen 2 Legacy, 95 and 96. After that they went to the phase 2 EJ22, which is just as good as the phase 1's but you need to pay special attention to timing belt maintenance, you will cause internal engine damage if the belt breaks while the engine is running (not so on the phase 1 EJ22).



Proceding with thread jack.......
engaged
So what other sorts of things that can go wrong and potentially wreck a phase II am I going to be dealing with now?

I guess what I really want to know is what is so different between the two..like..what makes the Phase II better

#8 hankosolder2

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 09:17 PM

Proceding with thread jack.......
engaged
So what other sorts of things that can go wrong and potentially wreck a phase II am I going to be dealing with now?

I guess what I really want to know is what is so different between the two..like..what makes the Phase II better


The phase II ej22 has slightly more power and torque than the phase I ej22. It also has non hydraulic lifters (more maintanence for manual adjustment of valve clearance, but less risk of the 'tick of doom' sticking lifters on the phase I.)

I personally prefer the phase I-- the marginal power increase of the phase II is offset by the knowledge that should the T-belt break, water pump lunch it etc, it's bent valve time. The phase IIs also seem to have a bit of the piston slap found in the ej25s--at least the phase II I test drove did.

To each their own- ALL ej22s are good engines IMHO.

Nathan

#9 teppichkopf

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 09:37 PM

To me, the best is the '96 Outback. The EJ22 only came in manual. And the last year for the hill holder, quite helpful when at a stoplight on a steep hill, which are aplenty hereabout. I've owned a '91 and '93 Legacy wagon with auto before my '96 OBW. I like the refined dash layout of the later generation and never did like the auto seatbelts. The extra clearance helps in the snow up in the mountains. As does the 50/50 AWD.

As mentioned above, it's OBDII, so easy to track down problems when they arise.

#10 xrturbo

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 11:11 AM

the phase II has alot of electrical gremlins. i have been dealing with a few lately with map sensor problems and some other stuff

#11 99lego

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 02:03 AM

the phase II has alot of electrical gremlins. i have been dealing with a few lately with map sensor problems and some other stuff


08/26/2006 Subaru of America Manufacturer recall/service
bulletin issued
Recall #WWG901 Air flow meter
sensor service program

so 99 was map...the local dealer here couldnt even pull up this recall in the service dept. im giving him till monday until he goes on notice. since october is free subaru diagnostic month and all I suppose that I should just make the bastards figure out the idle problem for free...and if its related to the map that makes all of it covered by the warranty.

alright now people what else is up this this phase II 2.2 I drove off the lot today? ive only got 2925 more miles/89 more days 'till im off warranty or I eeeeek BUY the extended warranty.

#12 Dante

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Posted 24 January 2007 - 12:55 PM

To me, the best is the '96 Outback. The EJ22 only came in manual. And the last year for the hill holder, quite helpful when at a stoplight on a steep hill, which are aplenty hereabout. I've owned a '91 and '93 Legacy wagon with auto before my '96 OBW. I like the refined dash layout of the later generation and never did like the auto seatbelts. The extra clearance helps in the snow up in the mountains. As does the 50/50 AWD.

As mentioned above, it's OBDII, so easy to track down problems when they arise.


Thanks teppichkopf - I think that's the route I'll go. I considered and EJ22 wagon with an automatic, so I could install a solenoid to lock the center diff. Ultimately, I decided I'd rather have a stock '96 Outback than a modified EJ22 wagon. My last modified Subaru tried to kill me when the lift extension in the steering column fell out :eek:

#13 johnceggleston

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Posted 24 January 2007 - 09:57 PM

i don't know any thing about turbo engines. but apparently the ej22t turbo in 92 - 94 was a closed deck and a hellava engine. would there be any advantage to removing the turbo to eliminate that maintenance. would you gain anything?. the ej22 is so good in general, would closed deck improve it?.

#14 Manarius

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Posted 25 January 2007 - 01:55 AM

i don't know any thing about turbo engines. but apparently the ej22t turbo in 92 - 94 was a closed deck and a hellava engine. would there be any advantage to removing the turbo to eliminate that maintenance. would you gain anything?. the ej22 is so good in general, would closed deck improve it?.

There's a guy on the bbs doing just that. There really isn't any gain as far as I know. I think it runs a little rich though....

#15 86BRATMAN

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Posted 28 January 2007 - 10:34 PM

i don't know any thing about turbo engines. but apparently the ej22t turbo in 92 - 94 was a closed deck and a hellava engine. would there be any advantage to removing the turbo to eliminate that maintenance. would you gain anything?. the ej22 is so good in general, would closed deck improve it?.


in my opinion any motor made for a turbo, i.e. ej22t or ej20t, would run like horse crap with out its turbo, they have a good bit lower compression 8.0:1 as compared to the regular ej22 phase 1's 9.5:1, so you would actually lose more power that it would be worth,

further more if you want a non turbo ej22 and have a turbo ej22, save yourself the trouble of being considered an idiot and removing the turbo, just trade me, we'll both be happy

#16 bgd73

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 09:24 AM

This thread is frustrating.
I have yet to see any good EJ's at all...
There was a 2 liter that became popular here , and of course disappeared forever. Am I the only one? I have dug and dug some more at info, on newer EJ stuff,and my locale doesn't allow them to last or even get the performance I have seen on the web.
I am assuming if there is even a remote chance of arctic blasts, there are too many dainty parts to hinder good opinions.Personally a -25F cold start and a crankshaft skinnier than a piece of luan is a Disturbing thought to say the least.:confused:
The very generation legacy spoken of as a favorite in this thread,was the first junked soobs I found, to learn the 2.2L engine was annhilated.The car sadly looked abandoned BTW, sinkin in the dirt lookin purty. This is not my pessimistic opinion mind you, I Really wanted an ej engine soob....
Back to the oldest for me...never going to happen.
A v8 touching off 20mpg will replace my desire for the bigger boxer that keeps failing anyway. My Line Is Drawn.
Cheap enough would be realistic enough, I am glad to find info here on what a good EJ was.. someplace else of course. But hey, good info nonetheless. :)

#17 1Subaru1

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 06:06 PM

From a previous post: "The 95-99 Legacy (Brighton, L and 95 LS/LSi) models had the somewhat underpowered but very reliable EJ22 engine. Try to get a 1999 model with the Phase 2 EJ22 engine which has more HP (142 hp vs 137) and more torque (149 lb ft vs 140). The Phase 2 EJ22 also produces its peak torque at 3600 RPM instead of the Phase 1's 5,600, which make it a far more usable engine. Avoid 4EAT automatics prior to the 99 model year (or is it 98?). In 99 (or 98?) Subaru introduced a new 4EAT case design which does not suffer from the torque bind problem in such high frequency. The pre-98 transmissions had a metal part moving against the aluminum transmission case, which would eventually wear and develop a pressure leak (and torque bind). In 98 Subaru added a hardened steel sleeve to prevent this wear to the aluminum transmisison case and in most cases this will prevent torque bind (it will at least reduce the cost of fixing torque bind). Basically if the transmission has a spin off transmission oil filter near the front drive shaft on the driver's side, it is the new transmission and this is the good one. The old 4EAT's aren't that unreliable though, just keep $800 aside to fix the torque bind problem that will almost always occur between 70-120K miles. The 5MT's are not smooth and the clutch sucks, but this is true of most Subaru's. If you can shift properly and get used to the long throws of the gears and clutch and tolerate some clutch judder, the 5MT is pretty much bulletproof. I quite like my 5MT, but when I drive my relatives' BMW's and Acura's I really realize that the Subaru 5MT transmission is not all that great. So my recommendations are: Get a wagon, unless you absolutely want a sedan. The wagon is more versatile and is easier to resell. Don't get any Subaru with the old Phase 1 EJ25 SOHC engine (1996-1999 Legacy LS/LSi/GT and Outback had this engine). The 1995-99 Legacy L and Brighton had the far more reliable EJ22 engine, and the 99 Legacy L and Brighton had the more powerful Phase II EJ22 engine. Don't get any Subaru with the early 4EAT transmission. (1989-1997?). Look for the spin off oil filter on the driver's side of the transmission, this is the redesigned and more reliable 4EAT (should be on 1998+ models)". Hope that helps.

#18 Manarius

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 06:42 PM

From a previous post: "The 95-99 Legacy (Brighton, L and 95 LS/LSi) models had the somewhat underpowered but very reliable EJ22 engine. Try to get a 1999 model with the Phase 2 EJ22 engine which has more HP (142 hp vs 137) and more torque (149 lb ft vs 140). The Phase 2 EJ22 also produces its peak torque at 3600 RPM instead of the Phase 1's 5,600, which make it a far more usable engine. Avoid 4EAT automatics prior to the 99 model year (or is it 98?). In 99 (or 98?) Subaru introduced a new 4EAT case design which does not suffer from the torque bind problem in such high frequency. The pre-98 transmissions had a metal part moving against the aluminum transmission case, which would eventually wear and develop a pressure leak (and torque bind). In 98 Subaru added a hardened steel sleeve to prevent this wear to the aluminum transmisison case and in most cases this will prevent torque bind (it will at least reduce the cost of fixing torque bind). Basically if the transmission has a spin off transmission oil filter near the front drive shaft on the driver's side, it is the new transmission and this is the good one. The old 4EAT's aren't that unreliable though, just keep $800 aside to fix the torque bind problem that will almost always occur between 70-120K miles. The 5MT's are not smooth and the clutch sucks, but this is true of most Subaru's. If you can shift properly and get used to the long throws of the gears and clutch and tolerate some clutch judder, the 5MT is pretty much bulletproof. I quite like my 5MT, but when I drive my relatives' BMW's and Acura's I really realize that the Subaru 5MT transmission is not all that great. So my recommendations are: Get a wagon, unless you absolutely want a sedan. The wagon is more versatile and is easier to resell. Don't get any Subaru with the old Phase 1 EJ25 SOHC engine (1996-1999 Legacy LS/LSi/GT and Outback had this engine). The 1995-99 Legacy L and Brighton had the far more reliable EJ22 engine, and the 99 Legacy L and Brighton had the more powerful Phase II EJ22 engine. Don't get any Subaru with the early 4EAT transmission. (1989-1997?). Look for the spin off oil filter on the driver's side of the transmission, this is the redesigned and more reliable 4EAT (should be on 1998+ models)". Hope that helps.

I take issue with some of that.

The early 4EAT's are not bad transmissions. They may get torquebind, but it's not fair to say that all of them get it and they get it between 70k and 120k miles. Mine and many others have gone more than 120k miles and have little or no torquebind. Torquebind is not a transmission killer as long as you don't make the car shudder all the time.

The Phase II EJ22 may have a better torque band, but it is an interference engine which means that you need to change the timing belt more frequently and regularly or else you'll need a new engine. The old EJ22's are just as reliable if not more reliable than the newer ones because they are not of interference design.

The Subaru 5MT is not a bad transmission as long as you don't beat it around. I saw one 5MT with 450k miles on it and it was attached to a turbo engine.


#19 Reveeen

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 06:54 PM

1991 Legacy (June 1990 manufacture date) EJ22T 4EAT automatic.
@322,000 miles I am not quite convinced I own "a bad one", and I am not convinced there is better, though I would not mind trying a 6 cylinder.

The only "bad" thing that has happened to this car since new was the idiots that owned/serviced it from 180,000 miles to 210,000 miles.

#20 Qman

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 09:30 PM

1991 Legacy (June 1990 manufacture date) EJ22T 4EAT automatic.
@322,000 miles I am not quite convinced I own "a bad one", and I am not convinced there is better, though I would not mind trying a 6 cylinder.

The only "bad" thing that has happened to this car since new was the idiots that owned/serviced it from 180,000 miles to 210,000 miles.


Funny, I have one of those "bad" EJ22 Legacy's too. 1993 wagon, 4eat with 268K, original engine and transmission.

Interference or non-interference makes no difference. They are both good engines. They produce adequate power for there size. Heaven forbid, you should actually follow the manufacturers recommendation for service and actually change the timing belts when they are supposed to be instead of when they just break.

I am getting tired of this conversation from someone who doesn't own one. Thinks they are junk and doesn't plan on owning one. Then deal with that fact and quit b1tching about it(BGD).

Your ramblings are non-educated and lacking any factual information or knowledge. I am glad you do not like the EJ22. It leaves more of them for those of us that do!!!!!

#21 ShawnW

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 12:43 AM

Personally a -25F cold start and a crankshaft skinnier than a piece of luan is a Disturbing thought to say the least.:confused:


I rebuild these things for a living and the ej22 cranks and engines are one of the toughest in the Subaru lineup.
You are hereby officially warned. Get some first hand facts, read Genuine Subaru manuals, talk to Subaru technicians....SOMETHING!!!
Guit guessing, speculating or otherwise imagining facts about things you have no first hand knowledge about. And please quit whining about users picking on you...they are doing so because you make stuff up!
Have you even driven one of these cars!?!? They make the Loyale seem like a brick on wheels handling and power wise. The timing belt design is superior, the cams being...uhm...built into the heads instead of in a CAM TOWER, are much nicer design....you are making my brain hurt with these posts.

The Turbo BLOCK is amazing. Its impossible to argue with closed deck, oil squirters and the 2.2L displacement.
But the hoses, plastic pieces, coolant fill tank and 4eat transmission that needs a rebuild every 100-135K miles (in a turbo car), and lack of stock intercooler on the ej22 turbo cars are an absolute pain in the butt at this age in the vehicles' life.
They did a much better job on the WRX engine layout and its obvious when you pop the hood on both cars.

#22 Snowman

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 12:45 AM

Heaven forbid, you should actually follow the manufacturers recommendation for service and actually change the timing belts when they are supposed to be instead of when they just break.


Oh come on. It's more exciting that way!:lol:

I do agree that the 1st generation legacy is overall the best car Subaru has produced (or just about anyone else for that matter). That's why I drive a 92 Legacy. Sure, the new ones are way faster, but they don't appear to be as trouble-free (besides the improved 4EAT, which has always been a great tranny anyway). If I had to trust my life to one car, I would pick a gen 1 legacy, hands down.

#23 Manarius

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 01:14 AM

Oh come on. It's more exciting that way!:lol:

I do agree that the 1st generation legacy is overally the best car Subaru has produced (or just about anyone else for that matter). That's why I drive a 92 Legacy. Sure, the new ones are way faster, but they don't appear to be as trouble-free (besides the improved 4EAT, which has always been a great tranny anyway). If I had to trust my life to one car, I would pick a gen 1 legacy, hands down.

Same here. My car - as far as I know - has never been towed in its 154k mile experience. And, when it comes to reliability in my house, we all know we can go jump in my 1991 Legacy over the 1997 Camry and the 2003 Grand Prix. I'm extremely grateful to have learned how to drive in my '91. It's been a dependable beast (albeit, an electrically annoying one as of late). But, the nice thing about it is that if something breaks, I can fix it myself! I only have to take it to the mechanic for the things I physically don't have the tools for. You can't beat that. Add in the fact that I know the engine is good for at least 200-250k and you have a car that is well worth having. I seriously think that the drive train of my car will outlast the car itself (I'm in a losing battle with rust on the fenders). But, as long as it moves, I'm going to drive the car and I have no qualms on taking it anywhere.

#24 powderhound

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 01:51 AM

What's all this jibberish about cold starts? I've cranked mine over more than a few times at -30F...starts right up and runs fine...the only time it didn't start was -50F in Big Sky MT...Not a single car in the parking lot started. You've obviously never owned one. 1998 L Wagon with 161K original engine, clutch, battery, etc, etc.
Oh and if the ej22 crank is weak why do so many pilots trust and swear by them in small aircraft? I know it can be isolated in ME but you have the internet...get some facts.

#25 firstwagon

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 05:51 PM

Heaven forbid, you should actually follow the manufacturers recommendation for service and actually change the timing belts when they are supposed to be instead of when they just break.


Trouble with that comment is when you buy one used. Unless it comes with service records, how do you know if has been changed and when?

I bought my 91 with 100,000 miles on it. It should have been changed once but I don't know for sure. I could just go ahead and change it anyway but that's a lot of work (or money) wasted if it was just done 10,000 miles before.

I plan to change it next summer as part of routine maintenance but at least I don't know to worry about destroying my engine if I guessed wrong.




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