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Hi all, 

 

 I'll most likely be purchasing a forester (2006-2008) or OBW (2005-2009) soon from an auto-auction. 5-speed much preferred. Plan is to spend about $500-$750 for something with decent interior, okay exterior, and something under 150k miles. Right now, I'm assuming that anything I get will have leaking Headgasket(s), and will have been run low on oil. Some of the auction sites have videos of the motors running, and they often have rod-knock.  I need a dependable vehicle for the next 5 years, and I'm also pretty broke being in grad school. I can only afford something in the $5k-6k range, and everything I find is hyper-mileage and/or : leaking HGs, bad power steering pumps, leaking rocker covers, etc. AND people don't want less than they're asking. Just looked at an '06 Baja with 180k on it... guy said it was mint. They wanted $7k for 4 miss-matched bald tires, air-filled ps pump, leaking HG, leaking rear main, +1 quart overfilled oil, and a sticker over the check engine light that said (and I'm not joking) "Prayer helps".  I don't want to be doing a lot of time-consuming general maintenance while I travel to/from my clinical observations, so I'm considering purchasing a JDM-imported engine, a remanufactured engine, or an oem subaru shortblock...

Questions:

If I purchase a JDM import, do I put new gaskets in right away before putting in the car? They're supposed to have 50-60k miles on them... Should valves be looked at? Costs about $2500

There's a store on ebay selling a remanufactured long block for $3400, and a 3-year unlimited mile warranty. They have 100% feedback as well. Is that a decent price? (https://www.ebay.com/itm/Reman-06-10-Subaru-2-5-SOHC-with-Active-Valve-Lift-System-Long-Block-Engine/392273889947?_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20160908131621%26meid%3D1be2c92c13164e4abb215bcaf145c0f3%26pid%3D100678%26rk%3D2%26rkt%3D9%26mehot%3Dnone%26sd%3D254707892452%26itm%3D392273889947%26pmt%3D0%26noa%3D1%26pg%3D2380057&_trksid=p2380057.c100678.m3607&_trkparms=pageci%3Aded9a85d-f60f-11ea-bc4a-74dbd180c969|parentrq%3A8991b27f1740ada5af08721ffffff85c|iid%3A1

Subaru Genuine shortblock for about $2000 shipped to my front door. 12-month unlimited warranty, and doesn't need to be installed by a subaru shop. This is for the stock EJ253 block. Should I get a different block? EJ257? I'm not looking for anything but a leak-free, dependable engine/drivetrain. 

What headgaskets should I use to replace the SOHC paper-like-gaskets? 04-06 STI MLS headgaskets? 

 

I have a low-mile 5mt to go with the car. Even if the body is messed up a bit, as long as the drivetrain is solid, that's what i really care about.  Any thoughts or suggestions will be appreciated. 

Thanks guys.


Greg

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22 minutes ago, GeneralDisorder said:

Better option is the Subaru reman short block - 3yr / 36k warranty. 

GD

Hi Rick, 

 Are you referencing the ebay listing I showed above, or is there a reman from Subaru proper that you are talking about? I called my local dealership, and they only quoted me a 1 year warranty on a shortblock. Do you have a part number? Also, is the EJ257 something I should consider? Are their internals more robust? Would it mate to the 253 heads?  I think they're basically the same price from what I've seen from a dealer site. 

Greg

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2 hours ago, suprunner said:

Are you referencing the ebay listing I showed above, or is there a reman from Subaru proper that you are talking about? I called my local dealership, and they only quoted me a 1 year warranty on a shortblock. Do you have a part number? Also, is the EJ257 something I should consider? Are their internals more robust? Would it mate to the 253 heads?  I think they're basically the same price from what I've seen from a dealer site.

100% he's referencing the Subaru OEM shortblock.  That's the way to go. $2k for 3 year/36k from Subaru, that's hands down the best option, and he mentions it frequently.

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EJ257 will most likely have dished pistons to aid dropping the compression for boost. I could be wrong though, the difference could be in the combustion chamber volume build into the turbo heads. 

GD will know I reckon. 

Also: best to get a manual vehicle if that’s what you want. Swapping a manual into an auto can have all sorts of wiring issues leading to codes etc from what I understand.

Cheers 

Bennie

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257 will lower the compression and isn't going to be useful for a non turbo application. It's additional strength will never be used. The places it is stronger are never failure points on the NA engines. 

The reman block is a different part number. It comes with oil and water pumps, pan and pickup installed, etc. They are around $2350 and have three times the warranty of the new short blocks. I don't know the part number (there's a few for different years) but any dealer parts department should be able to look it up if you ask specifically for it. 

GD

Edited by GeneralDisorder

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1 hour ago, GeneralDisorder said:

257 will lower the compression and isn't going to be useful for a non turbo application. It's additional strength will never be used. The places it is stronger are never failure points on the NA engines. 

The reman block is a different part number. It comes with oil and water pumps, pan and pickup installed, etc. They are around $2350 and have three times the warranty of the new short blocks. I don't know the part number (there's a few for different years) but any dealer parts department should be able to look it up if you ask specifically for it. 

GD

Alright, Thank you. I'll call around for that option. Do I use the STI MLS gaskets? Or just the stock ej253 headgaskets? I've been told from an older tractor mechanic/"retired" engine builder that I should run 15w-40 in these engines. I figure that's probably okay in my current ('98 OBW) while I'm living in Las Vegas, but with what I'm looking at with the EJ253, that has AVLS, correct? Should I assume that the normal 5w/10w-30 is where I should be? 

 

Greg

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3 hours ago, el_freddo said:

EJ257 will most likely have dished pistons to aid dropping the compression for boost. I could be wrong though, the difference could be in the combustion chamber volume build into the turbo heads. 

GD will know I reckon. 

Also: best to get a manual vehicle if that’s what you want. Swapping a manual into an auto can have all sorts of wiring issues leading to codes etc from what I understand.

Cheers 

Bennie

Thanks Bennie

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13 hours ago, idosubaru said:

100% he's referencing the Subaru OEM shortblock.  That's the way to go. $2k for 3 year/36k from Subaru, that's hands down the best option, and he mentions it frequently.

Thank you

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6 minutes ago, suprunner said:

Alright, Thank you. I'll call around for that option. Do I use the STI MLS gaskets? Or just the stock ej253 headgaskets? I've been told from an older tractor mechanic/"retired" engine builder that I should run 15w-40 in these engines. I figure that's probably okay in my current ('98 OBW) while I'm living in Las Vegas, but with what I'm looking at with the EJ253, that has AVLS, correct? Should I assume that the normal 5w/10w-30 is where I should be? 

 

Greg

synthetic and check and change often are all that matter for a daily driver. if running hard, hot, not checking/changing fluids often - then run GD's favorite Amsoil product and weight.   i'd follow the owners manual for 10w30ish, but brand and weight are low priority.  Don't be dumb, follow the owners manual.  Any more than that is a waste of time outside of neglect or hard use application.  it's a self fulfilling prophecy - whatever you choose will run perfectly fine for the life of the engine unless it's neglected or abused. that's why so many people swear by "their choice".   no one is actually hitting the limits of what they're oil can do....unless, again, they are running hard or neglecting the engine. 

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@idosubaru

@GeneralDisorder

 

I found the part number: Soa478h1100r1

I've talked with three different dealerships. Two dealers said it included oil pump, water pump, thermostat, thermostat housing, and oil pan.. . . the third said it was just the block with pistons installed. One dealership said 3 year-36k mile warranty. One said only 3 year/36k mile IF the dealership installed it. The third said it was 12 month only. Price is about $2300.  If it is only a 12 month warranty (I'm doing the installation) is that still a better deal than that reman long-block from that ebay store? Theirs is a 3-year unlimited mile. . . But they aren't subaru technicians is my guess. 

 

greg

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Ebay is a crapshoot - might last, but probably have issues. I can't do a long block rebuild for that price - not correctly with quality parts anyway. Wouldn't trust it and no one local to deal with so that's an absolute full stop IMO. 

The reman blocks DO come with all that included (I buy 2-3 a month). And they DO have a 3yr/36k warranty. That warranty is subject to the VIN being provided as AFAIK the warranty is available to anyone the dealer wants to offer it to - be that their own service department, an independent shop (such as myself), or an individual. I can ABSOLUTELY tell you that I have warrantied out reman parts through my dealer...... they have ZERO problems with us doing that (I buy something like $75,000 - $100,000 in parts from them annually). It's VERY rare and I can only think of maybe half a dozen in 10 years. Never a short block, but other reman parts. They DO require the VIN and that the part number matches to that VIN for a warranty claim. 

So it depends on your dealer. Some will offer you the warranty, and some might not. And it depends on your relationship with said dealer. I buy a huge volume and it's very much in their interest to trust my judgement since that teensy warranty claim is nothing compared to my business volume.

GD

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22 minutes ago, GeneralDisorder said:

Ebay is a crapshoot - might last, but probably have issues. I can't do a long block rebuild for that price - not correctly with quality parts anyway. Wouldn't trust it and no one local to deal with so that's an absolute full stop IMO. 

The reman blocks DO come with all that included (I buy 2-3 a month). And they DO have a 3yr/36k warranty. That warranty is subject to the VIN being provided as AFAIK the warranty is available to anyone the dealer wants to offer it to - be that their own service department, an independent shop (such as myself), or an individual. I can ABSOLUTELY tell you that I have warrantied out reman parts through my dealer...... they have ZERO problems with us doing that (I buy something like $75,000 - $100,000 in parts from them annually). It's VERY rare and I can only think of maybe half a dozen in 10 years. Never a short block, but other reman parts. They DO require the VIN and that the part number matches to that VIN for a warranty claim. 

So it depends on your dealer. Some will offer you the warranty, and some might not. And it depends on your relationship with said dealer. I buy a huge volume and it's very much in their interest to trust my judgement since that teensy warranty claim is nothing compared to my business volume.

GD

Thanks GD, 

 Do you have recommendations on reman heads? I'm hoping to have all components of the motor built on one weekend, and have the other motor/transmission pulled and replaced on the other weekend. The dealers I spoke to said they don't do reman/rebuilt heads. I know I could do them myself, but it would take extra time, and I'm really looking for peace-of-mind. Like I said above, I'm most likely going to get something with at least 100k miles on it, so I'm assuming the valves need to be ran-through. . 

 

Greg

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I would just lap the valves (optional), resurface them, and put them back on. We do a LOT of head gaskets and block replacements and it's very rare that we "rebuild" a cylinder head. Usually only if it's got burnt valves, etc. 

GD

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If you’re going to lap the valves it’s worth replacing the valve stem seals while you’re there. 

Cheers 

Bennie

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3 hours ago, GeneralDisorder said:

Never seen a bad valve stem seals on an EJ. We don't touch them generally.

GD

I did them as cheap insurance/maintenance. Both engines I did them on were 350,000 and 420,000km (not miles!). 

Cheers 

Bennie

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I've done both a EJ20 JDM install and purchased a rebuilt CCR EJ25D engine for my Subies. My two data points don't mean squat but non the less I've had good luck with both.  Apparently CCR is no longer in business and was taken over by someone else that didn't seem to have as good a reputation.  My CCR engine has over 200k and the JDM engine is on it's second owner.

My son also replaced HGs on his EJ251 that eventually had rock knock (didn't know about the poor oil pump on those engines).  

If I have to do this job again I would definitely go with the Subaru reman as it's a known quantity. Ebay, JDM and used engines are a crap shoot and you can get good and bad results.  Few of us want to do this job over again.

Turbo MLS Subaru gaskets are the way to go (11044AA770).  Some have used FelPro with varying results but lots of board experience with the turbo MLS gasket and it's the one Rick uses and recommends.  Since he has done more HG jobs in a week than I have done in my lifetime, I'm going to take advantage of that experience.

Edited by Mike104

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14 hours ago, suprunner said:

Thanks GD, 

 Do you have recommendations on reman heads? I'm hoping to have all components of the motor built on one weekend, and have the other motor/transmission pulled and replaced on the other weekend. The dealers I spoke to said they don't do reman/rebuilt heads. I know I could do them myself, but it would take extra time, and I'm really looking for peace-of-mind. Like I said above, I'm most likely going to get something with at least 100k miles on it, so I'm assuming the valves need to be ran-through. . 

 

Greg

Those heads have virtually no failure modes except rarely a dropped valve guide.  Valve guide statistics between shop reman and factory installed used one are probably a wash in terms of longevity.  

I would do what GD said, and focus on getting good heads to start with.  if you're buying a blown engine Subaru there's no telling what's it's been through.  i've seen blown engines with obvious signs of oil neglect and severe overheating.  if that's the case, I wouldn't reuse those heads.  if it's caked in bake oil or has melted knock sensor or a hole through the block or otherwise points to very poor history of oil changes or severe overheating I'd source less abused heads.  there's plenty of heads out there and they're cheap to buy a used set. $100-$200 for a set, get them off a good runner that's all rusty or wrecked rather than from a nasty engine. 

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3 hours ago, Mike104 said:

I've done both a EJ20 JDM install and purchased a rebuilt CCR EJ25D engine for my Subies. My two data points don't mean squat but non the less I've had good luck with both.  Apparently CCR is no longer in business and was taken over by someone else that didn't seem to have as good a reputation.  My CCR engine has over 200k and the JDM engine is on it's second owner.

My son also replaced HGs on his EJ251 that eventually had rock knock (didn't know about the poor oil pump on those engines).  

If I have to do this job again I would definitely go with the Subaru reman as it's a known quantity. Ebay, JDM and used engines are a crap shoot and you can get good and bad results.  Few of us want to do this job over again.

Turbo MLS Subaru gaskets are the way to go (11044AA770).  Some have used FelPro with varying results but lots of board experience with the turbo MLS gasket and it's the one Rick uses and recommends.  Since he has done more HG jobs in a week than I have done in my lifetime, I'm going to take advantage of that experience.

Is there a difference between 11044AA770 and 11044AA642 Headgaskets? 

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32 minutes ago, suprunner said:

Is there a difference between 11044AA770 and 11044AA642 Headgaskets? 

 
 
On 7/9/2018 at 11:53 AM, GeneralDisorder said:

There is no real difference between 642 and 770 other than some minor cooling port shape differences. They don't matter and either work in every application in my experience. 

GD

 

On 8/15/2018 at 1:23 AM, GeneralDisorder said:

642 and 770 are basically interchangeable and we just use whichever best matches the head casting being used. 

GD

 

On 5/25/2017 at 10:59 AM, GeneralDisorder said:

There is no significance to the cooling passage alignment. The factory uses gaskets that partially or completely block passages all the time. I have NEVER seen an issue due to gasket/head cooling passage mismatch. If it's for an EJ engine, has the right bore diameter, and the thickness you are looking for then you are OK to run it.

GD

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59 minutes ago, suprunner said:

Thank you for doing the research I should have. 

Greg

Sure thing. I've wondered the same thing and looked before so i knew i could find the source quickly rather than me repeating it.

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On 9/16/2020 at 1:25 PM, idosubaru said:

Sure thing. I've wondered the same thing and looked before so i knew i could find the source quickly rather than me repeating it.

Thanks for providing the links.  I may have asked the same question before and GD replied so I was fairly certain in what I said about the turbo gasket.  The opinion of those that have done hundreds (like GD) is of way greater value than my silly three examples :)

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