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ztrain727

1997 Subaru - multiple overheats - new engine?

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Hey folks -

 

You all have been a huge help in the past with this motor. I replaced the head gaskets after doing a DIY resurface and drove cross country, but the problem returned. I did not vacuum test the heads or do a leak down test.

 

Coolant is leaking into the oil (nearly 2 liters after sitting a couple months) and oil in the coolant. This engine overheated to a stall one year ago, and I assume it was overheated before I owned it, hence the new HG when I bought it.

 

Am I wasting my time with this motor? Better to do a swap? The only ones nearby have 200k plus miles and they want $550 whereas this one has 140k but it's had a rough life.

 

I would think maybe a leakdown test might be a good starting point. Given that it's losing coolant even when not pressurized, it must be pretty major.

 

Thanks as always

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Hi,

Actually, I'd be concerned about the rod bearings. They wear out when OH and if you're 'lucky' you'll get rod knock warning you it's 'End of Life' time, rather than a rod that decides to break free and bust thru the block...real bad.

 

If your options include a  used 2.2 vs. 2.5, the 200K isn't as scary, but buying another EJ25D w/those miles is more of a gamble.

 

But in either case, i wouldn't install anything w/out doing new HG's anyway.......cheap(er) insurance.

 

GL,

TD

Edited by wtdash

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I'd be worried about the one that stalled from overheating. That's far worse than I've ever taken one. Full rebuild and inspection for cracks, resurfacing the block side too. Just get one that hasn't been abused and reseal it.

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I will second the ej22. You get a far more reliable motor for less money. Buy one from a 1995 automatic for a direct bolt in. 96 through 98 are the same but need the single port exhaust y pipe as well.

 

But yes. Scrap the existing motor.

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I agree with the 2.2 and you can actually use one from a 1990 to 1994 legacy also. Just need a 95+ 2.2 intake and an easy egr work around.

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I have a 95 2.2 motor in my 98 Outback. Runs just fine. Little loss of power compared to the 2.5, but you get use to it. The 2.2 is bulletproof, so gives me great peace of mind to know it won't blow its head gaskets.

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Thanks everyone! The current engine is also a 2.2.

 

There's a u pull yard 2 hrs away with a bunch of 95-98 legacy's - they want $225 plus the core. I'll probably make a trip down there and try to find one with low miles. The issue then is there's no way to know how it runs vs the other yard garuntees their parts and they are already pulled.

 

I'm glad everyone is on the same page here. I think I've gotta scrap the motor too and move on so this is the little kick I needed.

 

How long does it take you guys to pull one of these motors? I've heard a good mechanic can do it in 3 hrs, was hoping I could do it in a long day. I've done the head gaskets and didn't find it too bad. Not sure what I need to remove to pull the engine.

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The ej22 is a very durable engine. Once I overheated my 92 legacy very badly the rod started knocking right before I shut her off in a parking lot. My heater bypass hose split, so I duct taped it to get home and got a new hose the next day.

That's the end of the story, my girlfriend drives her every day. I changed the oil a couple days later.

Slap a junkyard engine in and do the head gaskets and timing belt on your old engine, unless the bottom end knocks.

That's what I would do! Screw using that engine for a core!

Cheers

Subaru engines come out in about 45 minutes :-)

Two motor mounts, four trans bolts and unhooking all the little nonsense like fuel lines and wiring!

Edited by sparkyboy
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I've pulled 20+ engines from the you pull yards.  Look for:

- Car hit hard, you know it was going down the road

- Car is in other wise good shape, you know the owner took care of it

- Oil, pull the pan plug, the cleaner the oil the better.  Put you finger in the drain hole and check the bottom of the pan for metal inside

- Engine turns over by hand and compression feels good on all cylinders

- Pull a plug or two, good clean burning

- Coolant looks good

 

If it passes all those checks pull it.  Before you install it:

- Reseal the rear breather plate

- New Plugs (NGK) and valve cover gaskets

- Reseal the Oil Pump and locktite on the rear cover screws

- New Subaru Cam and Crank Seals

- New Timing belt kit

- Make sure the thermostat is a Subaru one and the gasket is good

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Thanks for the extremely informative replies everyone. I did the HGs after the last overheat so I have new valve cover gaskets, cam seals, water pump, thermostat, timing belt in the current engine and will swap them to the new motor.

 

What about the head gaskets? I have an extra pair, but better to just leave them alone on 2.2?

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EJ22's are pointless to replace headgaskets.

EJ25 valve cover gaskets won't work on the EJ22, all the timing pulleys and water pump will.

1996-ish and earlier EJ22's have a different style timing tensioner than your EJ25, but they are interchangeable if you want to retain your newer 1997 tensioner. Remove the bracket behind the tensioner (bolts to engine with 2 12mm bolts), swap those and you can use either style tensioner on any EJ engine.

 

The older 1996 and earlier timing tensioners are more reliable, the newer styles fail sometimes - they only have one bolt which shears off seemingly for no reason and the tensioner mechanism itself fails more often than the old style.

Best scenario is a brand new Subaru 1996 and earlier EJ22 tensioner set up - but maybe cost prohibitive.

I used to keep older style tensioners all the time butnow they are getting aged. They're all rusting away out here and i rarely deal with them any more so not sure what i'd do now.

 

Spend the time and effort finding a good EJ22 - great engines and run forever.

1995 and 1996 are non-interference and you literally can't hurt them unless you seriously neglect and try to.

www.car-part.com is another easy option.

 

I will warn you though - it's going to be really really boring having the thing go 100,000 miles on oil changes and air filters. It's not your normal older vehicle type feeling...

Edited by grossgary
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Spring has arrived so I'm finally set up for the job! Drove the old gal into the middle of the desert where I acquired a little land, after draining about 2 litres of coolant sludge from the oil. Still runs smooth though! 

 

I had one other question. I believe all the timing pulleys/belt/water pump have less than 15k miles, but they went through that bad overheat. Do you think they're compromised? I'd prefer to save the $130, but not if it means more problems. 

 

I do plan to pull the engine before I head to the salvage yard and trade it for a core. I really don't have anywhere to store another engine, and I just want to be done with this one. Should I keep a set of spare parts? I was thinking of keeping an extra PS pump, maybe alternator, AC compressor, starter. It sounds like my '97 2.2 intake manifold should work with 92-98 ej22's? I have single port exhaust but no big deal to pull whatever I need there. 

 

I've gotta say, 100,000 miles sounds lovely right now! 

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Take note of the year vehicle you pull the engine from. That will be good to know.

 

Definitely keep the alternator. Aftermarkets suck. Although due to a rare glitch you can get a $70 alternator from Subaru for that car anyway so personally I'd just install a new one from Subaru but $70 yiu might want to keep.

 

Timing belt bits should be fine - what brand components?

 

There are two style timing tensioners. But the tensioner bolts to a bracket so just move your current bracket over to the new engine if it's different. Swap brackets and tensioner.

 

If you got a 96 or earlier engine then it's a noninterference and at least won't destroy the valves if something did happen.

 

The heat can degrade the grease and cause it to expand. So just check them.

 

You can also plan to check them again a little early in a couple years. Which I would recommend anyway if it's a 1997 replacement engine or later which is intereferemce.

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Thanks grossgary! You've been so helpful over the years with this vehicle. 

 

Not sure the brand of pulleys/belt as I bought it with them. It has the old style hydraulic tensioner. Still looks pretty good - no rust, popped pretty hard when I last pulled the pin. 

 

How about the water pump? Seems more likely to suffer from an overheat since it's part of the cooling system. If I should replace, OEM or aftermarket? Let me guess.... OEM

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Water pump depends - smart to replace but very low risk.

 

These water pumps are robust and easily make 200,000 miles.  Discounting outliers, the only failure mode is slowly leaking out the weep hole.  Very rare, I've never actually seen a failed EJ or EZ water pump, but of course they do rarely happen.  

 

If you replace most of us buy Aisin pumps as they are the OEM supplier and ou can buy those elsewhere and use a Subaru gasket - they are robust stamped steel, not flimsy cardboard like aftermarket, clearly better quality when you hold them side by side.

 

Check the timing pulleys by hand - sometimes I'll replace the lower cogged idler - they're only $20 - $30 or something and the most common one to fail.  It's likely to be notably more devoid of grease (not as tight) as the others. 

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Awesome! Thanks guys! I'll check the pulleys by hand and at least compare the water pumps on the two engines and replace the gasket. Don't know what year ej22 is going in yet.

 

Thanks for that guide AdventureSubaru! I found some others but nothing that detailed. Again, most of this I've done with the head gasket job, so I'm hoping it will go quickly. 

 

Sounds like the biggest concern is keeping the torque converter in place. Fingers crossed...

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If you already have an EJ22 in there then shopping by year is not as important since you can run any 1990-98 EJ22 with your intake manifold.

 

All things being equal I like the 90-96 EJ22s since they are non interference, the timing belt stuff can be stretched/risked more. Worst that would happen is a roadside timing job. I carry spares and have run without timing covers in the past to make it a 15 minute fix in case.

 

97 and 98 motors are just as reliable but you need to be religious about timing components because if one goes, so do your valves. These also switched away from hydraulic lash adjusters so they aren't usually as tappy on cold starts as the early motors.

 

So depending what you buy - if it's a 90-96 go ahead and re-use the timing stuff. 97-98 get new stuff.

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Haha that's awesome you carry a spare timing belt! Nothing like a roadside fix... 

 

I think your advice is sound. I'd preferably go for a non-interference, but realistically I'll get whatever has the lowest miles/best indicators otherwise at the yard. What's the deal with EGR and the older ej's? As a novice, it gets confusing. I've read some conflicting information, but maybe I just don't get it. 

Edited by ztrain727

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