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noob to soob's.... could use your help with bad engine!


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Hey y'all:

I'm new here. I've been perusing with the search feature, but so far I haven't found everything I'm looking for. I'll keep looking, but maybe some of y'all can help a brother out? :-)

 

My daughter's '08 Legacy AWD with the 2.5L overheated on her this weekend. She pulled-over to find "smoke coming out of the hood". By the time I got to her, about 30 minutes later, the temp gauge was back down in the "normal" range, but no-start. So I had it towed.

 

Today I pulled the spark plugs on the right-side (passenger) of the motor; using standard methodology, I've got ZERO compression in either hole. Now, the caveat about the methodology is because I'm new to subaru's, so if there's something odd about doing a compression-check, I don't know about it. I find it to be pretty weird to have ZERO compression.

 

So then I put a borescope in, and there's clearly been coolant in the rear-hole. Probably the front as well, but the rear hole looks like it was being steam-cleaned, haha. I can see the valves moving in the periphery of the scope-view.

 

So here's the burning questions:

1) How common is ZERO Compression for this motor from just a head-gasket? Am I looking more at a cracked sleeve or something? (And there's no Subaru magic involved in this comp. check, right?)

 

2) I'm a better-than-average backyard-mechanic, but I've got two other projects occupying my garage space at the moment. Assuming this IS a headgasket failure, how fast will this project go in the driveway? Can I do this without removing the motor?

 

3) The car has around 150k miles on it: what's on the "Must-Do-While-In-There" list?

 

Thanks everyone.

I'll continue to search around, but some help and direction from y'all with experience would be greatly appreciated!

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Welcome to the Forum, here's the service manual, http://people.csail.mit.edu/ilh/vacation/

 

Most of us have GT's but there are a few members that know the 2.5i pretty well.

 

apexi is one of those members. He's on here frequently

 

Compression test is as normal, open the throttle plate and crank over the engine.

 

 

 

You can PM him from the second post in this thread, https://legacygt.com/forums/showthread.php/just-did-head-gasket-misfires-leaks-276532.html

 

Just click on his name in the block on the left side. You'll see the drop down menu.

Edited by Max Capacity

305,600miles 5/2012 ej257 short block, 8/2011 installed VF52 turbo, @20.8psi, 280whp, 300ftlbs. (SOLD).  CHECK your oil, these cars use it.

 

Engine Build - Click Here

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Unfortunately some of this is over my head, I've looked into replacing my head gaskets, but I've never done the job.

 

Briansmobile1 has some great subaru videos. He says he usually pulls the engine to do head gaskets, but decided to try doing one side with the engine in the car.

 

There's another guy that I like watching on youtube, south main auto, he has some videos on doing the job with the engine in the car as well. Though, his series is on an '03, but I'm sure some of the things could carry over to our gen.

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The timing belt was due around 105k miles if I recall even on the 2.5i motor, so I'd knock that out if not done yet. Check all the idlers, tensioner, water pump, etc..

 

I'd say get new spark plugs while you're in there, and the valve covers leak often. Replace the half moon seals if you do the valve covers too (assuming any of this is relevant to the 2.5i).

 

New ground straps probably at that age and depending on location. Maybe even new motor mounts.

Edited by BoozeRS05
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Having zero compression would be odd to me too, there should be some sort of compression unless the gauge was not fully seating in the housing. Coolant inside the cylinder and overheating is a defiantly a good sign of a blown head gasket. It is possible to replace the head gasket with the motor still in, it just requires a lot more patience as there is limited space to pull the heads, but it is possible. I've done it on my LGT.

 

Tip: If you plan on replacing the HG while in the car, remove the engine mount bolts and jack the motor up. This will allow you to move the motor side to side to give you better access to the valve cover, head bolts and removal of the heads.

My wife's balls are delicious.
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I've done head gaskets on a 2.5 DOHC N/A while in the car. It was a 98 OB, and it was a lot of work, but it was before I knew enough to take the engine out. It only went about another 170K before I sold it running, so it can be done, but as stated above, it takes a lot of patience and you must be very careful not to ding the head gaskets when you install the heads. You won't be able to stud it with the engine in the car-you'll have to use head bolts.
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New gauge, same results.

So I had my wife come crank the key, while I looked it all over....

Compression coming out of a crack in the top of the plastic radiator.

Yup. That's pretty definitive.

 

So:

Rebuild? Or replace with used motor?

The car's only worth about $5k.

 

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Like a lot of us, you need to decide if the car has value to you. Not just the book value.

 

How much of the work can you DIY ?

 

What can you get to take it's place, will that car be as good ?

 

If it was a 5mt GT wagon or Spec B, it would be easier to say keep it.

305,600miles 5/2012 ej257 short block, 8/2011 installed VF52 turbo, @20.8psi, 280whp, 300ftlbs. (SOLD).  CHECK your oil, these cars use it.

 

Engine Build - Click Here

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I feel like around here I could source a good used 2.5l NA motor for not too much money. It's outside my skill set to pull it and replace, but maybe easy for others.
I can do it, but I can't find a good used motor for under $2k. Plus new fluids, belts, hoses, radiator.... yeah.... I'm $3k easy.

 

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I just replaced a USDM EJ253 w/ AVLS (2.5i SOHC NA) with its JDM counterpart. Hit me up if you need any advice on motor sourcing, parts choices, etc.

 

Info: https://legacygt.com/forums/showthread.php?p=5848048

 

Now-solved issues: https://r.tapatalk.com/shareLink?url=https%3A%2F%2Flegacygt%2Ecom%2Fforums%2Fshowthread%2Ephp%3Ft%3D276532&share_tid=276532&share_fid=5383&share_type=t

 

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Edited by TimothyOnline
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I feel like around here I could source a good used 2.5l NA motor for not too much money. It's outside my skill set to pull it and replace, but maybe easy for others.
No, it isn't outside your skillset.

 

On the Legacy you can ratchet strap the hood open using the sunroof. A gantry crane is what I used, but cherry pickers are available at Harbor Freight Tools for roughly $200. Aside from cables/wires/hoses/grounding straps/fuel lines (*ahem*:

) you've got two motor mounts attaching to a crossmember and give-or-take eight bolts/studs holding the engine to the transmission.

 

You can do this by yourself; it just takes time.

 

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Edited by TimothyOnline
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The car has around 150k miles on it: what's on the "Must-Do-While-In-There" list?
I welcome input on this, but after having blown three engines and five transmissions (some due to foolish driving behavior) I'd like to consider myself somewhat educated on the matter. :D

 

All of these are mandatory, as they're all being removed:

-Valve cover gaskets & spark plug tube seals

-Head studs: ARP is recommended; if you prefer Fel-Pro ORDER TWO KITS as each only fastens a single head

-Head gaskets: Six-Star Bernie is recommended

-Exhaust manifold gaskets

 

Do the timing belt, pulleys & water pump & gasket while it's out. Stick with a reputable OEM supplier, such as Aisin or Gates (*cough* I snapped one of their belts). The bearings/pulleys should all be NSK, which is what was supplied with your engine. If it's a manual, UPGRADE YOUR TIMING BELT GUIDE with a milled part like a Tomei, spacing it properly. When I junked my valves the timing belt bent the chintzy OEM guide right upwards.

 

If your rear main seal is leaking, you should take the time to replace it. If it isn't, the general consensus is to leave it alone.

 

If it's a manual you will want to replace the pilot bearing, clutch & thrust (throwout) bearing and resurface the flywheel. My '09 2.5i 5MT takes an Exedy KSB04. I wouldn't put a stiffer one in unless you need one (i.e., engine upgrades); certainly don't do it without addressing the chintzy OEM clutch fork.

 

SOA recommends three varieties of grease to lubricate the transmission shaft splines (and, for MT cars, clutch fork pivot and bearings): Subaru P/N 000041000, Phillips 66 Multiplex Red #2 (available by-the-tube from Fastenal or a local ConocoPhillips distributor) and Nichimoly N-130 (eBay only).

 

You don't *have* to do the oil pump (aft of the crankshaft sprocket) or the crankshaft position sensor; I did.

 

Motor mounts are easy to do as long as the engine is out. Despite what sites told me, JDM/WRX mounts fit my EJ253 w/ AVLS like a glove.

 

Coolant hoses, drive belts (I recommend Bando or Mitsuboshi) and spark plugs aren't mandatory...just a good idea.

 

My dealer recommended I upgrade the oil pickup with one from Killer B Motorsports; I was in a hurry and haven't yet installed it.

 

SOA-recommended antifreeze/coolant will be either the green Subaru Long Life or blue Subaru Super coolant with the purple bottle of system conditioner. If you can't get your hands on the genuine coolant I list alternatives here (https://r.tapatalk.com/shareLink?url=https%3A%2F%2Flegacygt%2Ecom%2Fforums%2Fshowthread%2Ephp%3Ft%3D276561&share_tid=276561&share_fid=5383&share_type=t). Some have had good experiences with specific "All Makes / All Models" coolants; confirm others with your particular engine / head gasket combination have had good luck before using it. As for the conditioner, any dealer or Amazon can sell you a bottle for under $10.

Edited by TimothyOnline
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There's a salvage yard near me with a bunch of motors for $1500. Most have around 110k miles with a 6 month warranty.

 

I'm sure there are sources even cheaper - FB marketplace, Craigslist, etc..

 

 

No, it isn't outside your skillset.

 

You can do this by yourself; it just takes time.

 

Good looking out, I actually might agree with you. With time, the right tools and space I could probably work through it. I'd really like to try it at least once in my life in fact.

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"DO NOT use generic "all makes / all models" coolant: use the green Subaru Long Life or blue Subaru Super coolant with the purple bottle of system conditioner. "

 

This is one thing I don't agree with. Both my cars use Prestone or Peak Global, 50/50 or the pre-mix stuff. I used it first when I did the timing belt back on Sept 2008.

305,600miles 5/2012 ej257 short block, 8/2011 installed VF52 turbo, @20.8psi, 280whp, 300ftlbs. (SOLD).  CHECK your oil, these cars use it.

 

Engine Build - Click Here

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Thanks guys.

I think im gonna take it to a friend's shop. I've got a porsche in the garage on stands that's about 6 weeks from being done. She needs the car sooner than that.

I figure the labor on it can't be more than about $1k, yeah?

 

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This is one thing I don't agree with. Both my cars use Prestone or Peak Global, 50/50 or the pre-mix stuff. I used it first when I did the timing belt back on Sept 2008.

 

Years / miles since switchover?

Head gasket brand?

 

 

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Good looking out, I actually might agree with you. With time, the right tools and space I could probably work through it. I'd really like to try it at least once in my life in fact.

 

It'll give you a real sense of accomplishment. So take 'er on! :D

 

 

 

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I figure the labor on it can't be more than about $1k, yeah?

 

Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk

 

The shop that effectively rebuilt my TY758 (5MT Revised) gave me an estimate of $1200 plus supplies, other required parts, etc. to do the swap.

 

http://www.lynchburgtransmissions.com

 

Oh, and nice Galaxy S7! I miss mine.

 

 

 

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Years / miles since switchover?

Head gasket brand?

 

 

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk

 

 

I see your new here, but my car is well known by us older members. I keep a note book with eveything done to the car.

 

I bought the wagon new late June 2004, replaced the timing belt Sept 20 2008 at 96,300 miles, used a Dayco belt and kit, with Prestone 50/50 mix anti-freeze.

 

At 153,877 miles, on May 20 2012, I started the new ej257 with a OEM gasket set for my year car for the first time. I did have to replace the Gates water pump because it was dripping out the weep hole, 20,000 miles later. Seems some of them had issues back then. I had a OEM water pump installed to replace it. Again, Prestone or Peak was used.

 

May 8 2018 at 255,400 miles I had a OEM timing belt kit installed by my trusted mechanic, again Prestone anti-freeze was used.

 

You can see the engine change in the click here link in my sig.

 

My Spec B had it's timing belt kit replaced Aisin Kit, at 10 years and Prestone was used in that too. The Spec has 86,500 miles on it currently.

Edited by Max Capacity

305,600miles 5/2012 ej257 short block, 8/2011 installed VF52 turbo, @20.8psi, 280whp, 300ftlbs. (SOLD).  CHECK your oil, these cars use it.

 

Engine Build - Click Here

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