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HELP! Is my Soob worth fixing?


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8 replies to this topic

#1 tpt519

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 02:23 PM

This past June I purchased a 99 Legacy GT wagon with 99K and was happy as a clam until I noticed it was using a lot of oil. No serious leaks but I was smelling oil occasionally like when I was backing up with the windows down. A few days ago I noticed oil in the coolant overflow and it looks like she's got the infamous 2.5L Phase 1 head gasket issue. Found a local guy that works on Soobs & Volvos telling me it's a basket case and I should consider walking away from this (I paid 4K). He's telling me that if the heads are pitted, it'd be cheaper to find a used motor but that since my car is a stick, I'd need to find a motor from a car with the exact same transmission and that might be tricky and expensive. Besides the engine issues, he's telling me the whole exhaust will need replacement soon and there's significant rust on a few body seams, the gas tank and stuff like the brake lines. For around 650$ he'll pull the motor and crack the case and tell me if the motor is toast or not. Any advice you folks have would be greatly appreciated......Thanks - Tim

#2 grossgary

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 03:21 PM

your car is not toast. rust sucks, but lets assume it's not serious cancer yet, the car should be good for a number of years yet.

all you need is any DOHC EJ25 engine...forget everything he told you. any EJ25 DOHC will work.

if you have oil and coolant mixing i'm guessing this one blew pretty good, was probably driven while hot without anyone noticing. they don't typically mix oil and coolant unless they're really bad or the block is cracked...which comes from driving while it's overheating. so you might want to make sure oil and coolant are really mixing. sometimes the coolant just looks black because of dirt in the recovery tank.

the cheapest fix is to just drop an EJ22 in it. there's tons of information on here and they're excellent motors. they have far fewer issues than the EJ25. no head gasket issues, less piston slap, and they don't have bottom end failures like the EJ25 has either.

and because EJ22's are so much more reliable they're also much cheaper and easier to find than the EJ25. EJ22's depending on your area of the country should run $200-$500. EJ25's typically run $800+...and you're still getting an EJ25 with possible head gasket issues.

place i got my EJ stuff from last year had engines and transmissions for $150 each, 100,000 miles, already pulled with a 3 or 6 month warranty. can't beat that, you can sell your old EJ25 for more than that...so the engine might be "free".

there is tons of information on here about EJ22 swaps - they're a very easy swap.

you have a 1999 which makes it a little trickier since the bellhousing changed. so newer 98/99 bellhousing engines are easier to use, but not necessary. personally i'd expand my market and still use a 1995 or 1996 EJ22, that's your best bet, the engine will still bolt up, you'll just have to tap the second starter hole or just leave it with one bolt (plenty). like i said you'll have to search and read up - but an EJ22 swap is really a great and cheap way to have excellent continued use of your subaru.

#3 msmithmmx

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 06:47 PM

Grossgary is right on the money. I would do the 2.2 swap. Your looking at around 2K for a shop to do that swap with parts. The head gasket is going to run you 1400 to 1800. I am not sure if you can do the work or not but if I had to pay someone to do it I would opt for a Headgasket from a shop that has done the Subaru HG before. Keep in mind that on this forum you will hear from lots of people that do their own work. I did the 2.2 swap in my garage with a tool set from Costco. Regarding the oil leak or smell, my guess is your rings are leaking. The shop you are at should be able to perform a leak down test to confirm this.

#4 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 08:19 PM

He's telling me that if the heads are pitted, it'd be cheaper to find a used motor


The heads can be resurfaced for about $35 each. The parts to do a head gasket job shouldn't run more than about $250. Figure about $350 with fluids and such for unavoidable costs. After that it's just labor.

but that since my car is a stick, I'd need to find a motor from a car with the exact same transmission and that might be tricky and expensive.


That's just complete hogwash. Any Phase-I 2.5 will work just fine. You simply reuse any of the manual transmission components from your old engine that you need - it's the heads and head gaskets that are in question, not the transmission or the components that interface it with the engine. This statement alone tells me the man is clearly either not well-informed or knowledgable about Subaru's in general or he's trying to pull something over on you.

Besides the engine issues, he's telling me the whole exhaust will need replacement soon and there's significant rust on a few body seams, the gas tank and stuff like the brake lines.


Really? On a 9 year old car.... that's not entirely far-fetched in parts of this country. I've seen it before. Why don't you take a look for yourself though and get us some pictures of this "death rot" that he claims is going to kill the car.

For around 650$ he'll pull the motor and crack the case and tell me if the motor is toast or not. Any advice you folks have would be greatly appreciated......Thanks - Tim


Wow - RUN, don't walk, away from that guy. What's his game? He going to use your engine as a training aid for some new shop monkey?..... "Let's have the kid tear it down and we'll tell the owner it's trash - that way it never has to go back together AND we can charge for the labor!!". The $650 doesn't including putting it back together and from the knowledge this gentleman demostrates you don't want him near your car with anything resmbling a tool or sharp insturment. Trust me. Go somewhere else.

There is no reason at all to suspect the bottom end is worn out of the engine. Why he would offer to split the case of an engine that merely shows symptoms of a HG failure is beyond me. Your oil smell is likely the HG leaks, or valve stem seals, or something leaking onto the exhaust system. Subaru engine's really don't have a lot of bottom-end failures - ring wear is almost unheard of and past 300k miles you generally see them die of rod bearing failure.

GD

#5 johnceggleston

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 08:29 PM

The $650 doesn't including putting it back together and from the knowledge this gentleman demostrates you don't want him near your car with anything resmbling a tool or sharp insturment. Trust me. Go somewhere else.

GD


what he said.

mechanics who know subarus will suggest either a head gasket job or an engine swap. they already know about the head gasket issue with the 2.5L engine and the life expectancy of the engine after the repair.

when you tell him "ok, the hel with it", i bet he offers you 500$ for the car. then he can fix it, sell it and make some money.

find a subaru shop. get a second opinion.

#6 Hondasucks

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 09:08 PM

I'd take it to a dealership. Will run ~$1400 to replace the head gaskets, and if they are done RIGHT with OEM parts, they won't leak again, at least the Senior Master Tech I work with says he has never had one come back that he has done. The motor is probably fine, since I'm guessing that it has never had the snot overheated out of it. Be prepared though, they will probably try and sell you a timing belt at the same time, but since you have to take the belt off to get the heads off anyway, it's just cost of parts.

#7 Gnuman

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 10:32 PM

The heads can be resurfaced for about $35 each. The parts to do a head gasket job shouldn't run more than about $250. Figure about $350 with fluids and such for unavoidable costs. After that it's just labor.



That's just complete hogwash. Any Phase-I 2.5 will work just fine. You simply reuse any of the manual transmission components from your old engine that you need - it's the heads and head gaskets that are in question, not the transmission or the components that interface it with the engine. This statement alone tells me the man is clearly either not well-informed or knowledgable about Subaru's in general or he's trying to pull something over on you.



Really? On a 9 year old car.... that's not entirely far-fetched in parts of this country. I've seen it before. Why don't you take a look for yourself though and get us some pictures of this "death rot" that he claims is going to kill the car.



Wow - RUN, don't walk, away from that guy. What's his game? He going to use your engine as a training aid for some new shop monkey?..... "Let's have the kid tear it down and we'll tell the owner it's trash - that way it never has to go back together AND we can charge for the labor!!". The $650 doesn't including putting it back together and from the knowledge this gentleman demostrates you don't want him near your car with anything resmbling a tool or sharp insturment. Trust me. Go somewhere else.

There is no reason at all to suspect the bottom end is worn out of the engine. Why he would offer to split the case of an engine that merely shows symptoms of a HG failure is beyond me. Your oil smell is likely the HG leaks, or valve stem seals, or something leaking onto the exhaust system. Subaru engine's really don't have a lot of bottom-end failures - ring wear is almost unheard of and past 300k miles you generally see them die of rod bearing failure.

GD

I'm with this one, but I'd add $50 to the parts estimate, if you get them online. The parts I would get are:
headgaskets
timing belt
cam seals
front crank seal and oil pump O-ring
Valve cover gaskets
valve cover bolt seals

Optional:
rear main (crank) seal (add 10 to parts cost)
waterpump and thermostat A(add 50 to parts cost)
idlers (add 270 to parts cost)

I would also get all of these parts OEM from an Online Subaru parts house. Several are available. I use 1stsubaruparts.com (866)528-5282 and ask for Jason.

#8 tpt519

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 08:53 AM

Wow guys - thanks for the responses. I'll get a 2nd opinion for sure and quite possibly start looking for a EJ22 motor. I'll post updates as I get them. Regards - Tim

#9 FSRBIKER

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 01:20 PM

There is a JDM importer just across the border outside of Toronto as well, I bought my JDM 2.5 for $900 delivered. It's Tiger imports or Tiger JDM.




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