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Questions about 95-99 JDM EJ25 DOHC swap!


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11 replies to this topic

#1 Soobaroo4ester

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 05:58 AM

Hello everyone!
Im new to this forum, just got my first Subaru 2 weeks ago. I joined another forum when I got my Subie, but I cant seem to find some answers I need. I searched before posting this, but once again,(could just be my fault) I cant find the answers Im looking for. First, a little backgroud to help with my question.
My new vehicle is a '98 Forester S, with a 4EAT. The only mod I have besides wheels is my SPT exhaust. 133k on the clock, and other than sitting for almost a year, extremely well taken care of. Also, Im very much into cars. I have a garage that has all the tools I could possibly need, considering my roommate and myself just performed a RB25DET swap on his S14 240sx. Sadly tho, I have never played with boxer motors.:confused:

MAIN--> My forester has a blown head gasket. And at the time being, it would be easier(and much faster!) for me to do a straight up engine swap than it would be to tear down my current block and refresh it. I've found JDM engines(EJ25 DOHC, NA, fits MY95-99), with 40k miles, for around $900. I would reuse my auto tranny, and also there is no wiring harness or ECU included with these motors. My question being- what do I need to complete this swap? Will my ECU plug and play? Wiring harness? Different axles? Will I need to extend AC lines or hoses? Exhaust? I have been told it is a pretty straightforward swap, I just wanted to hear it for sure. Dont wanna buy a motor and find out that- oh I need this, and this, and this, etc....:-\

Thanks ahead for anyone who helps out. :)

#2 OB99W

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 08:36 AM

Welcome to the forum.

Not to put too much of a damper on your plans, but are you sure you want to go the JDM 2.5L DOHC route? $900 is a lot to spend on an unknown. First, the DOHC 2.5 head gasket failure is common, so there's a chance that your import engine will suffer from the same problem unless it's had the latest HGs already installed. The claim of only 40k miles is also dubious, given that those engines are now around 12 years old. Such an engine, even if the HGs are good now, should probably at least see a new timing belt and related parts -- the engine is an interference design, and if the mileage is really higher and the belt goes, you'll have a lot more than HGs to be concerned about.

It might just be better to reconsider working on your current engine, assuming besides the HGs it's okay (as in hasn't been severely overheated, etc.), even if you have to pay someone to do the work. Or, you might get something domestically. I'm not especially fond of it, but some folks install an earlier (non-interference) 2.2L in place of a 2.5L.

#3 mdjdc

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 08:44 AM

Once you have the engine out, you are only talking about a few hours of additional time to replace the headgaskets. If you want the heads machined, then add a day or two of wait time. I would also replace the timing belt and the waterpump while you are in there. Once you have this done your engine should be more reliable than the unknown JDM engine.

As a side note. use only SUBARU headgaskets. Non subie gaskets will fail in short order.

If you have any questions feel free to PM me and I will give you my phone number and we can talk over your options. I love rebuilding these motors and have done several.

#4 grossgary

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 08:53 AM

Any used EJ25, JDM or not, is a bad choice for this motor. That's a poorly spent $900. I'll sell you an EJ25 for $1,000 that has new headgaskets on it.

Otherwise this isn't even a swap, it's just an engine replacement, very simple. You'd bolt all of your existing equipment (intake manifold, power steering, brackets, etc) to the new long-block so there's really no difference at all.

#5 Gloyale

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 09:17 AM

Once you have the engine out, you are only talking about a few hours of additional time to replace the headgaskets. If you want the heads machined, then add a day or two of wait time. I would also replace the timing belt and the waterpump while you are in there. Once you have this done your engine should be more reliable than the unknown JDM engine.

As a side note. use only SUBARU headgaskets. Non subie gaskets will fail in short order.


It's not even an if.......It is a must. Doing headgaskets on a 2.5 without surfacing the heads is just setting yourself up for future work and spending when it craps again.


My bill to folks when I do Headgaskets on these is ussually between 900-1400 depending on whether we include doing a waterpump, valvecover gaskets, oil pump seals....etc......but ussually around 1200.

So spending $900 on just a motor then doing the install yourself isn't really saving you much.

#6 Soobaroo4ester

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 05:11 AM

Great sauce guys, I appreciate the quick replies- here are a few more thoughts and issues from me.

Welcome to the forum.

Not to put too much of a damper on your plans, but are you sure you want to go the JDM 2.5L DOHC route? $900 is a lot to spend on an unknown. First, the DOHC 2.5 head gasket failure is common, so there's a chance that your import engine will suffer from the same problem unless it's had the latest HGs already installed. The claim of only 40k miles is also dubious, given that those engines are now around 12 years old. Such an engine, even if the HGs are good now, should probably at least see a new timing belt and related parts -- the engine is an interference design, and if the mileage is really higher and the belt goes, you'll have a lot more than HGs to be concerned about.

It might just be better to reconsider working on your current engine, assuming besides the HGs it's okay (as in hasn't been severely overheated, etc.), even if you have to pay someone to do the work. Or, you might get something domestically. I'm not especially fond of it, but some folks install an earlier (non-interference) 2.2L in place of a 2.5L.


What I was hoping for here is a 3-6month transplant, and if they are still good, I could use some of the accessories off of the imported motor. Mainly the alternator, and AC compressor. My alt is weak, and my AC pulley is going, because it got rusty, and when the AC is engaged, the belt seems to move a lot more than it should. BUT- you make a good point, and I have already found an alt for $25 and an AC for 80, so that isnt really a big deal. Excuse my Subie Noobness here, but Ive never heard the term "interference" or "non-interference". Im assuming this means the valves interfering with the pistons if not timed right, or the belt breaks? Which of course means the engine is F'ed..

Once you have the engine out, you are only talking about a few hours of additional time to replace the headgaskets. If you want the heads machined, then add a day or two of wait time. I would also replace the timing belt and the waterpump while you are in there. Once you have this done your engine should be more reliable than the unknown JDM engine.

As a side note. use only SUBARU headgaskets. Non subie gaskets will fail in short order.

If you have any questions feel free to PM me and I will give you my phone number and we can talk over your options. I love rebuilding these motors and have done several.


I have a hoist, and tranny jack, so getting the engine out is not a problem. What Im worried about is having the heads machined. That is mandatory(although I have seen people skip it) in my book. The machine shop that I have used before requires that I pull the valves and everything outta the heads before I bring it to them. This presents a problem to me seeing as how that is one of the two things I haven;t ever touched- Valves and tranny internals(internal gears. Clutches are no prob.) And since you offered, I might hit you up for some advice. Also, if anyone can post any realllll good links on valve specs, or DIY valves, please do!
You also said use Subaru-only when it comes to HGs. I read in passing somewhere that they addressed the problem with the EJ25s when they made replacement HGs? Im hoping this is true!

Any used EJ25, JDM or not, is a bad choice for this motor. That's a poorly spent $900. I'll sell you an EJ25 for $1,000 that has new headgaskets on it.

Otherwise this isn't even a swap, it's just an engine replacement, very simple. You'd bolt all of your existing equipment (intake manifold, power steering, brackets, etc) to the new long-block so there's really no difference at all.


It's not even an if.......It is a must. Doing headgaskets on a 2.5 without surfacing the heads is just setting yourself up for future work and spending when it craps again.
AGREED!

My bill to folks when I do Headgaskets on these is ussually between 900-1400 depending on whether we include doing a waterpump, valvecover gaskets, oil pump seals....etc......but ussually around 1200.

So spending $900 on just a motor then doing the install yourself isn't really saving you much.


The good thing about the motor is that it has everything attached except the intake box, hoses(they are cut, of course), exhaust, and tranny. all accessories are attached. But with this input, Im rethinking the transplant... I really appreciate all of your inputs. If anyone can give me links to follow, or have any other advice, Im all ears(and eyes). No wonder my brother-in-law has been trying to get me into Subie's for so long! So many supporters!:grin:

#7 OB99W

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 08:51 AM

[...]Excuse my Subie Noobness here, but Ive never heard the term ''interference'' or ''non-interference''. Im assuming this means the valves interfering with the pistons if not timed right, or the belt breaks? [...]

Yes, ''interference'' refers to valves hitting pistons or other valves when the engine is mistimed, due to either wrong timing belt installation or breakage.

#8 Gloyale

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 08:58 AM



The machine shop that I have used before requires that I pull the valves and everything outta the heads before I bring it to them.


That's crap.....he's just trtying to get you to pony up more for him to do it:rolleyes:


Go to another shop. It is NOT REQUIRED to pull valves to surface or pressure test the head. I never pull the valves unless there is an indicated problem with one.

If he won't do it like that...go to another shop. Don't let them BS you....they CAN surface the head with the valves in place.

#9 grossgary

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 10:02 AM

That's crap.....he's just trtying to get you to pony up more for him to do it:rolleyes:


Go to another shop. It is NOT REQUIRED to pull valves to surface or pressure test the head. I never pull the valves unless there is an indicated problem with one.

If he won't do it like that...go to another shop. Don't let them BS you....they CAN surface the head with the valves in place.

+1 doesn't sound very professional or helpful, i'd go elsewhere. i've never heard of that and i've done tons of engine work and gone to many machine shops. never heard of that before.

one option is to call a Subaru dealer if any are local and ask what machine shop they use.

#10 davebugs

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 04:38 PM

Neither of my local shops break down the heads on the Suby heads that I have them do.

#11 Durania

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 06:05 PM

I wouldn't buy another motor. Just fix the one that is in it already.

#12 Soobaroo4ester

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 04:32 PM

Wow so now I feel stupid about the "deal" that the guy gave us last time on some nissan heads. A-hole told us he would pull the valves, work the heads, and replace the valves, for only {insert seemingly low price here}.

I reallllly appreciate EVERYONE's input. It's weird how even when you know a good bit about cars, the littlest things can go unnoticed... If I had known that, I'd have the motor on the hoist by now. I know of at least 3 machine shops in town, so Im sure there are more, and Ill find a good one.

Thanks again!:banana:

Edited by Soobaroo4ester, 29 August 2009 - 04:34 PM.
mis-word





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