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Diagnose wife's screaming


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40 replies to this topic

#1 Starkapopolis

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 02:26 AM

During work, got a call last week from mrs. frantic. On her way to drop off kids, our 97 legacy outback wagon (2.5L auto) made a loud noise "like a belt coming off and then a breaking sound". Car has 125k mi. Has been a dream for 3 years. Not a single problem. After loud sound, car wouldn't move/ wouldn't turn over / no power steering / etc.

Car was towed to a mechanic and he told me, "the car lost oiling or a bearing, or a camshaft. There's a real loud noise coming from the right side. You either need a new engine or find someone who can replace the right side cylinder heads." He also described it as a copper bushing that got outta place and blocked oil from going somewhere important.

Does this sound like anything you all have heard of and does it sound like something worth having fixed or is it a sign of an engine replacement? The mechanic said he can get it to start but it won't drive. If I tried, he said it would seize up again.

I just had the whole brake system redone and the A/C so I don't want to dump the car, but to have a garage put in a new used engine would be around $3k. Even if that fixes it, the car isn't worth much more than that, so I'd be better to find a cheap engine and have a driveway mechanic do the swap for me.

Any ideas on the problem or a solution are appreciated.

Limping in a 91 legacy until later,

brian

#2 calebz

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 03:09 AM

That sounds pretty crazy. If he's right about the problem, that head is probably trashed.

I know someone here in TX that has a good running Ej22 from a 90 or 91 legacy sitting collecting dust. If it comes down to it, let me know and we'll work a deal to get it sent off to you. Installation is pretty easy ;)

#3 Gravityman

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 04:03 AM

If I were you I would source an engine your self. I am sure you can find one at a local junkyard that they pulled and sat on a shelf, especially around colorado. That should save you money if you buy one. On the other hand if you have tools and time I would suggest pulling the head off yourself. If the head is trashed then you have nothing to lose and tons on knowledge to gain (If you have not done anything like this before. Its not a hard project by any means. Just crack open a cold one and start pulling parts. (follow a repair manual, prefered).

GL
Scott

#4 grossgary

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 07:04 AM

how much do you trust this mechanic? a second opinion is not a terrible idea.

it does sound like the engine is trashed if what the mechanic said is remotely true. the part about a copper bushing sounds like complete nonsense to me, but maybe something is lost in the translation.

you could have a used engine swapped in for around the $1,200 range.

#5 Starkapopolis

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 09:40 AM

Thanks for the tips and insight. Scott, of your suggestion for tools, time, beer, and manual, I only have the last, but that hasn't stopped me before. I like the idea of learning about the heads by taking them apart - especially if it is trashed anyway.

Also, I agree a second opinion is a good idea. This mechanic is good at general diagnosis but nothing lets me believe he's knowledgeable about subarus nor interior engine parts.

Rather than have the car towed all over town for second and third opinions, I'll try and convince the mrs. to bring it home and let me tinker.

Will let you know what happens.

brian

#6 edrach

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 10:24 AM

Bring it home and pull the timing cover ends off. This will tell you if a timing belt broke. If that's the case, you'll likely need significant repair costs since your EJ22 is an interference engine. At 125K on the car, timing belt should have been replaced as routine maintenance. Good luck with it and let us know what you find.

#7 nipper

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 10:54 AM

this is a very rare but not uncommon failure.

nipper

#8 Cougar

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 10:54 AM

I agree with Edach about the timing belt breaking and causing the trouble. If the rest of the car is in good shape and will last at least for another 3 to 5 years you may want to consider getting a rebuilt engine from CCR engines. If you install one of their engines you will basically have a new engine with a 3 year warranty on it to boot. That is like a new car warranty for the engine at least. You pay more up front but down the road it could save you more in future repair bills by installing an engine you know little or nothing about.

If you decide to put in just a used engine you may want to install new head gaskets on it along with new timing belts, idler pully, and cam seals before you put it in, just as a precaution. You don't want another break down like this to happen again. I would also change the radiator out.

#9 Skip

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 11:00 AM

Nipper
did you get this line
from
Clem Piddlehopper?
"this is a very rare but not uncommon failure."

Just wanted you to know
your levity is not wasted.
You crack me up.

#10 Cougar

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 11:02 AM

Nipper
did you get this line
from
Clem Piddlehopper?
"this is a very rare but not uncommon failure."

You crack me up.


You're right Skip! :-p

#11 nipper

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 11:06 AM

Nipper
did you get this line
from
Clem Piddlehopper?
"this is a very rare but not uncommon failure."

Just wanted you to know
your levity is not wasted.
You crack me up.


now imagine if i was awake :)

#12 Gravityman

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 12:41 PM

Before anything pull the oil pan and take a look and see if you find any metal parts. Take a picture and post them. This will give us a better look at what is REALLY wrong.

The best way to do this is by using a metal mesh strainer (My wife would kill me but I would tell her it will save us money in the long run, diagnosis purposes) and pour the oil from the oil pan in and sift out the metal parts(if any). Take a picture of the damaged parts.:banana:

I love seeing broken stuff as long as it isnt mine!

GL
Scott

#13 Skip

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 12:49 PM

Stark says
" Car was towed to a mechanic"

Hope this is not to be take "ver-baitum"??

as he may have more issues than just
a FUBAR'd engine.

#14 x_25

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 02:08 PM

We have a '99 OBW that failed like that. My dad was driving it home from work then it sputtered and shut off. He got out and looked at it and there was a piece of one of the camshaft sprockets sitting on top of the engine. The (looking at the front of the engine) top left camshaft had seized. We ended up putting in a CCR rebuilt engine ourselves.

Also, I hope that by tow you mean "put on a truck" because towing a Subaru with 2 wheels on the ground can make a mess out of your AWD system.

Anyway, good luck with this. I would like to say that it sounds like it might be a simple thing but I can't.

#15 Kilroy

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 12:53 AM

If I had the space to pull apart, I would absolutely jump at the chance. Like it was stated, at this point you have nothing to lose and everything to learn. I have wanted to do this with my Legacy on many occasions, but it runs very well and there was just no point to doing it. :-\

#16 Rooster2

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 04:48 PM

After I read the original posting, my thought was that the timing belt had broken with the resulting noise being the bent valves. This assumes that there is sufficient motor oil in the engine. Others seem to think the same thing is a strong possibility.

As others have said, I too, think it will take a replacement motor, or extensive rebuild of the current motor. I had good luck installing a used motor from a car found in a wrecking yard. Luckily, the motor was still in the wrecked car, so the yard was able to start it up. It ran perfectly, so I bought it.

#17 crazyhorse001

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 06:23 PM

My wifes screaming is usually directly relative to the speedometer's distance past the posted speed limit.:grin:

#18 Starkapopolis

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 10:52 PM

Thanks for all the tips, guys. I would have loved to do the job myself, but can't make the time right now. Today I had it towed 20 miles from the first mechanic who couldn't fix it to a husband / moonlight mechanic of a co-worker.

He looked at it tonight and mostly agreed with the first mechanic's diagnosis. He said that things looked good, the timing belt didn't break. The cogs on the timing belt gear were not stripped. My rods weren't bent, and the oil had been fine. However, the right cam is spinning inside housing and needs to be replaced.

He said this job should take around 8-10 hours to do and his original labor estimate was $30 / hr. On the phone tonight he said the job would be $400-500 labor. The math doesn't add up, given his first figures. Does anyone have a different timeframe for this job?

Also, I will look around the message board marketplace for a camshaft but I need to know a few things: are the right and left side different (I think they are).

What other years legacy will fit mine? I've got a 97 Legacy Outback 2.5L automatic. I have a contact who will sell me a non-running '98 outback with a bad crankshaft for $1000, and it comes with new tires. I could pull the camshaft out of the scrapped car and take the tires, and donate the rest, or sell the remaining parts. Do you know if the 98 and 97 are the same engine?

If anyone has a lead on a working camshaft that is already out of the engine, let me know.

Thanks again,

Brian

#19 ShawnW

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 12:39 AM

The cams and head are a matched set. If you want the cam off the other engine take the entire head with the cam caps and end caps. Otherwise you risk seizing the cam. Above mentioned was the TBelt didnt break....

It slipped even a couple teeth.... I can almost guarantee that. Make sure you friend knows what he is doing because if he doesnt at 30/hr that still adds up to a lot lost if he doesnt fix it right the first time. That is one of the more complicated Subaru engines and is not to be mistaken for its more easily fixed brother the ej22. This engine has shim on valve bucket adjusters that need proper adjustment, head gaskets that need to be torqued properly and 4 cam gears that need to be lined up EXACTLY right.

#20 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 01:25 AM

However, the right cam is spinning inside housing and needs to be replaced.


You are going to need to clarify that a bit. For one thing this is the phase 1 DOHC 2.5L yes? So there should be 2 cams on each side, not one. Which one is "spinning" and what part of it exactly?? Is the belt still on? What exactly is happening?

If the belt is unbroken, that doesn't mean much. The belt CAN skip teeth without breaking, and without shedding any teeth. I have the old belt from my EJ22 that is still perfect but skipped several teeth on the drivers side cam due to a seized water pump - the backside of the belt (smooth side) runs the water pump and the when it seized it caused enough friction to jerk the belt hard - pulling back the hydraulic tensioner and allowing enough slack for the belt to jump several teeth.

GD

#21 Starkapopolis

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Posted 04 December 2007 - 10:33 PM

A week after I saw my little red wagon towed 20 miles away and I don't have much new info. The mechanic did clear up that I don't just need a cam, but a complete head for the right side. As was mentioned above, this sounds like it will have a better chance of success if the whole head is replaced rather than matching and mixing my parts with salvage.

It seems like it would be a hard sell to get someone to pull a perfectly good head off a working engine and sell it to me (unless their engine had something else wrong with it).

In answer to the earlier question, I think it is a phase 1 ('97). I'll check the marketplace again but what's ballpark on a working head for the EJ25?

If it's close to $500 then I might as well buy this junked '98 and use the new tires off it, the bumper to replace the one my wife crunched in a parking lot 3 weeks ago, as well as the head = all for $1000.

thoughts?
meanwhile I catch the city bus at 5:45 am to get a ride at 6:15 to get to work at 7 and come home by 5. Wheels would be nice.

#22 Starkapopolis

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Posted 04 December 2007 - 11:44 PM

So the junked car, if I bought it, turns out to be a '98 Legacy L sedan, so the bumper wouldn't work on my obw. Any guesses if the right head from a 2.5L auto from that car will fit into my 2.5L dohc auto '97 obw?

#23 nipper

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Posted 04 December 2007 - 11:49 PM

So the junked car, if I bought it, turns out to be a '98 Legacy L sedan, so the bumper wouldn't work on my obw. Any guesses if the right head from a 2.5L auto from that car will fit into my 2.5L dohc auto '97 obw?


I had a 98 leagcy L, it was a 2.2L

http://www.cars101.c...chive98_99.html

nipper

#24 kimokalihi

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Posted 05 December 2007 - 08:38 AM

Bring it home and pull the timing cover ends off. This will tell you if a timing belt broke. If that's the case, you'll likely need significant repair costs since your EJ22 is an interference engine. At 125K on the car, timing belt should have been replaced as routine maintenance. Good luck with it and let us know what you find.


I'm not sure if this was corrected or not but the EJ22 is a NON INTERFERENCE engine. If the timing belt snapped, replace it and you should be fine. This happened to me in my Legacy while I was passing someone the day after I bought the car. I think the belt had something like 120,000 miles on it. Quite a bit. Anyways it snapped and the car died and I had to let everyone pass me that I just passed (3 cars I think, one had a horstrailer behind it) so I could get to the side of the road. I had no idea what had happened. But it wouldn't start.

I took it home and pulled the cover off and sure enough the belt was all squished into one corner of the cover. I bought a new one and put it in and the car has run flawless for a year and a half afterwards and still running strong!

I noticed that he said 2.5l so it's not an EJ22 anyways. The EJ25 is an interference engine(I dont' know why they would even make interference engines)so if it did snap, you're screwed.

#25 nipper

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Posted 05 December 2007 - 09:27 AM

I'm not sure if this was corrected or not but the EJ22 is a NON INTERFERENCE engine. If the timing belt snapped, replace it and you should be fine. This happened to me in my Legacy while I was passing someone the day after I bought the car. I think the belt had something like 120,000 miles on it. Quite a bit. Anyways it snapped and the car died and I had to let everyone pass me that I just passed (3 cars I think, one had a horstrailer behind it) so I could get to the side of the road. I had no idea what had happened. But it wouldn't start.

I took it home and pulled the cover off and sure enough the belt was all squished into one corner of the cover. I bought a new one and put it in and the car has run flawless for a year and a half afterwards and still running strong!

I noticed that he said 2.5l so it's not an EJ22 anyways. The EJ25 is an interference engine(I dont' know why they would even make interference engines)so if it did snap, you're screwed.


All engines for the most part are now interfernce. If you want more horsepower, more torque, that means higher compression and more valves. To get more then two valves in the top of a engine and more HP, you have no choice but to have an interfernce engine.

nipper




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