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1999 SUS with 260k on it. Kept up on maintenance as far as oil changes, timing belt, water pump etc. Due for inspection in November and would need new windshield (star crack went to side and in PA that's a no no) and tires as well as some muffler work. Had head gasket done at about 180k miles. Figured we'd put the money into it for this year to get more time out of it and then think about a new one. Body is in good shape, some rust but very minor. Interior is in above average shape.

 

Last nite driving home my husband heard a loud bang, lost all power and it died. Won't turn over. My guess when I got there was it threw a rod (there looked to be a bit of oil around the one plug tho I wasn't convinced it was fresh).

 

Had it towed to mechanic, he said piston went and the engine is shot. I'm not entirely sure how he determined this (bore scope in the cylinder or what). What would you do or what are the options? Mechanic is saying take the about $200 and scrap the car. I really don't want to do that. My thought was that if block was ok, could it be fixed enough to get it to car dealer for a trade in (possibly $1,800 - $2,000) or is it really just not worth it and scrap is the way to go.

 

This was the first car I ever bought and paid for myself as new so there's sentimental attachment that I'm trying not to let come into (too much) play here.

 

thanks!

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There's no saving the engine at this point. Loud bang = major internal damage which is simply unrepairable. The best option you have is to replace the engine, and its actually a very good option.

A swap for a '95 2.2 engine is very common in the 96-99 cars that had the DOHC 2.5. It's an easy swap because the engine bolts right in works with no modifications. You can find those engines for around $500 usually. Labor may make the total job around $1,200-1,500 depending on labor rates in your area.

 

Tires, muffler, windsheild are all things you may need to replace on another vehicle of you scrapped this one or traded it in.

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There's no saving the engine at this point. Loud bang = major internal damage which is simply unrepairable. The best option you have is to replace the engine, and its actually a very good option.

A swap for a '95 2.2 engine is very common in the 96-99 cars that had the DOHC 2.5. It's an easy swap because the engine bolts right in works with no modifications. You can find those engines for around $500 usually. Labor may make the total job around $1,200-1,500 depending on labor rates in your area.

 

Tires, muffler, windsheild are all things you may need to replace on another vehicle of you scrapped this one or traded it in.

Fully agree with fairtaxtime on dropping in a '95, 2.2 motor. That is exactly what I did on my 99 a couple of years back. Bought my motor for $400, and had it dropped in for about $1,300. Motor runs great, the 2.2 is smoother then original 2.5, just slightly less power, but not a negative.  I took my broken original 2.5 motor to a wrecking yard, and sold it for $50 to the yard.

 

If you do decide to sell it, list it on Craig's list. For sure you will be able to sell it for maybe $500-$700, without much trouble.

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Thanks for the thoughts. I'll have to start looking for motors and decide what we want to do. Thankfully we won't pay much in labor for the swap if we do it since we know a guy that works on cars (and races other cars) and has a shop (and just changed a motor on his 97 subaru - he said he'd help us out).

 

Would it be wise to change head gaskets on a motor we bought? Trying to think of other "incidental" costs that would be involved here.

 

Also on a used engine, what's a "good" mileage range? I'm finding a few 2.2s locally but I don't know what's acceptable

Edited by watson524

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If you find an EJ22 it probably won't need headgaskets as your current engine did. Do install the improved type of separator plate between engine and transmission while the engine is out (if you haven't already) as those tend to start leaking oil after a while.

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fixing and trading it in is not a good option.  you'd get very little trade in.  if you got $2,000 it would be as much juggling numbers as actual trade in.

 

EJ22 won't need headgaskets replaced.

Ej25 yes install new Subaru or Six Star headgaskets.

also install a new timing kit on anything you get - the gates kits on amazon are cheap.

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I think what we're leaning towards is putting it on Craigs list for $700 and see how it goes for a week or so (we have other vehicles that my husband can use - darn he'll have to drive the Miata as a daily driver for a while). Then if nothing, decide if we'll spend the money on the engine, tires and windshield and run it a while or just cut ties to it. If anyone is interested, we're in Northeast PA.

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If you buy a used 2.2 motor, I wouldn't recommend buying one with more then 150K miles on it.  2.2 motors are known to be "bullet proof," with a life span of 300+ K miles. When I did my transplant, I paid $400, and was told it had 142K miles on the engine. I gambled that previous owner changed the oil on schedule. I was fortunate to get a good motor, that doesn't burn oil, and runs great. You may want to go to the website: http://www.car-part.com/ to search for a motor.

 

Keep us posted on your progress.

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I found a 2.2 about 20 miles from us for a decent price, but that cost, plus the tires and windshield and still having a 15 year old daily driver are making us think trying to sell it as is to someone who wants to keep it going is probably the best option for us at this point.

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All good advice here.  Some Subaru wrencher will buy that up for a swap project.  Cars in that state don't last too long on Craigslist around DC when priced to move.

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I want to revisit this one with you gurus if you don't mind. We have the car listed for sale, other than 2 scammers on craigs list, no bites. So we've been messing around with it. Drained the oil fully expecting to see metal shavings and chunks.... not a thing, clean as a whistle even after putting it through a strainer. What does this say? If it threw a rod, wouldn't you expect some shavings? We also took the cover on the front passenger side of the engine off and verified status of timing belt. In tact and spinning when you turn the key over. For giggles, we're going to do a compression test tomorrow - can someone tell me what compression should be for this engine? We are assuming we'll have low/no compression on at least one cylinder. 2 other theories that friends who are "car guys" have kicked around.... bad compression and no metal could mean that the timing belt skipped and caused valves to hit - i.e. valve job at a minimum and still pricey. If compression is ok then the other theory is that an ignition coil died (apparently there's two on this engine?) and those have gone "bang" when they die which would cause car not to start.

 

Any thoughts on the validity of all this? We figure while the car is sitting in the driveway, might as well play around with it and a compression test is easy enough to do.

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Should see at least 160 psi compression. 180-200 is considered normal but with the high mileage you may have a bit lower.

The bigger deal is that compression should be fairly even across all 4 cylinders.

 

You can tell alot about the compression of the engine by turning the crankshaft by hand with a breaker bar and feeling the compression in each cylinder build as you turn the bar. You should feel compression building each half rotation of the crankshaft. It takes two full rotations of the crankshaft to bring all 4 cylinders through their compression strokes. If you count the compression strokes you can tell if one or several cylinders are not making compression.

You can also tell alot by running the starter (via turning the key), if you know what to listen for.

If the engine spins smoothly, and doesn't chug-chug-chug-chug as the starter is running. That's an indicator of no compression in any cylinder.

Here again, if you can count the "chugs", these are the compression strokes for each cylinder. These should be evenly spaced for as long as the engine is cranking. If you count only two or three chugs, with a gap between, that's an indicator of low or no compression on only one or two cylinders.

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Thanks for the info! Tomorrow will be very telling then. To me, the engine sounds totally normal as its cranking just that it's not catching. We have a Mexican VW Bug (2003) with a very high tech (LOL!) security system in it. You have a little wand thing that you have to wave under the steering column to engage the circuit. If you don't, it turns and turns but won't catch. That's exactly how it seems with the Subaru right now.

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I know you said you kept up with the timing belt, but have you checked the belt to see that isn't broken?  This sounds like my car when the timing was off (don't ask how my own rookie move kept me on this problem for a few weeks!).

You should be able to remove the inspection covers and see if the belt is moving when you are cranking it.

 

Also, if this ended up being the problem, you should be able to get some used heads to swap onto your block rather than doing a valve job.  I know there is a guy that has been selling some on CL here outside of DC for a few months ("cleaning out his storage unit" or something...appears to be no takers so far).

 

There is an ignition coil pack on the top center of the intake manifold.  I'm not sure, but I think there are two coils in the pack (one for each half of the engine).  This is the black square item that the spark plug wires are connected to.  While I was chasing down my problem I swapped out the coil pack before I figured out it was a timing problem.

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If it's only jumped timing or the timing belt is off, you might first try just putting on a new timing belt before you yank the heads off. There's a slight possibility it will run ok. That happened with my dad's '99 Outback, he let the timing belt go and it broke. We put a new one on and it actually runs OK.

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Yeah you have a compression issue in at least one cylinder, possibly two.

You can hear the quick spike in the starter speed at every 4th stroke.

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Well the saga continues. At this point it's more to find what the heck the issue is than to actually fix it.

 

Compression on drivers side cylinders front and back (2 and 4) is 85 and 100 respectively. On the passenger side, 0. Doesn't even move the gauge. Ok so we took off the timing belt inspection cover and the other cover on the driver's side and the belt looks fine (as it had before but our friend wanted to see it). Put a bar on it and turn it by hand to watch things..... turns left to a certain point, then stops. Like no budging makes it go. Same after a certain point to the right. Now apparently the starter is strong than we are so now we're thinking it skipped time (tho there's no slack in the belt and it's in good shape) and let valve and piston collide.

 

Ok it's Friday afternoon and why not pull the passenger side valve cover and see what's what. 5 bolts off. Bottom rear bolt will NOT come off. Tried everything possible and it just will not budge. I am wondering if whatever flew off the tracks is up near the bolt and has it jammed up (is that even possible??). So my husband's friend is coming back tomorrow and they'll try some other things. Getting on this one bolt is particularly hard but there's no way it should be this tight.

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The valve cover bolts can be pretty tight if they've been in there for long.

Possible it was cross-threaded when the head gaskets were done.

 

One trick you might try. When all of the other bolts are loose/removed it puts more strain on the last bolt. Try tightening all of the other bolts back down to take some load off that last bolt.

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The head gasket was done not ALL that long ago so we're all shocked that this one won't budge. And with the rubber gasket at the top of it, penetrating oil doesn't really get down in there and then threads are so far in anyway, not sure if it'd help. We'll give it another go later today.

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Valve cover came off. I think it must have loosened over nite :)

 

Anyway, cylinders 1 and 3 both appear goofed up (which the compression sort of already told us). The stop point for turning the engine is visible where the cam lobe on 3 comes around to meet the valve. I have to do some more research on the timing marks because there for some reason are two on the top sprocket of the passenger side. When we get one lined up with the notch on the cover, the driver side isn't lined up and we can't line the driver side up because of the "stop point". 

 

Still not sure if it jumped time or what the heck happened but I'm going to try to source a bore scope and have a look down in there to see if we can see a bent valve or something. Don't really want to take the head off at this point unless we get motivated when we see what we see with the bore scope.

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Compression numbers look promising for jumped timing, the hard stop when turning the engine is kind of concerning, but if the starter is able to make the engine turn its probably not indicative of major damage.

 

Not much point putting a bore scope in it. It's hard to see bent valves with one of those anyway. More fun to pull the head and have a look at what happened.

Those heads aren't too expensive to rebuild, but it depends on how many valves you need.

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