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07 Spec B EJ255 Rebuild Advice

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I’m looking for some journey man advice. My motor is finished at 152k miles. It’s got a burnt valve and ringland failure on multiple cylinders. It’s just worn out and time to make the big decision. I’ve gone through the thought process of buying or leasing a new car, but I’ve never bought new or leased, due to the costs (probably a discussion for another time). I’ve looked at used WRX’s and Sti’s, but what I’d want is above my budget. Throughout the process I keep thinking about my Spec B amd how much I love it. It’s been the most reliable car I’ve ever owned and one of the most enjoyable to drive, especially in the snow. That’s saying a lot, because I used to personally buy and sell used cars. I’ve had Ford Mustangs to Mitsubishi GSX’s, also owned a few Audi’s I wished I hadn’t. So I’ve decided to keep it and deeply research my options.


I’m technical guy who enjoys wrenching and repairing just about anything to save money. With the money saved you can almost always buy better parts or upgrades. With that said, here’s my dilemma. I live in Michigan where the temperature has been dipping to the single digits. I have a two car garage that’s not insulated or heated. No engine hoist or motor stand, but not against buying if needed. I’ve tried portable heaters, but they need to be on all night to keep the temp up. I’m uncomfortable doing that. The garage is attached to the house and I worry about the fire hazard with my family. I’ve thought long and hard about rebuilding this motor, but I’ve been told by other engineers and machinists not to rebuild an engine in a cold environment. It will affect the way the metal components seat and line up.


My current engine is a stock EJ255 with stock heads.

Here’s the list of my mods:


E-Tune Premium Gas

Perrin high flow catted down pipe with divorced waste gate and second bung added for wideband

Innovate Motorsports DB-Red Wideband Kit w/ LC-2 and O2 Sensor

ProSport Boost Gauge


KS Tech 73mm Intake

VF52 Turbo

Mishimoto Turbo Inlet

Mishimoto Aluminum Radiator

GrimmSpeed ECBS P/N GRM-057032

ID 1050 Injectors P/N 1050.48.11.WRX.4

AEM Fuel Pump 340lph E85-Compatible High Flow In-Tank fuel pump (65mm with hooks, offset inlet) P/N 50-1215

** Will be replacing the clutch, flywheel, and fork with Competition Clutch Kit Stage 2 with flywheel P/N 15026-2100


I’d like a plug and play scenario without having to install a timing belt, water pump, oil pump, etc. But will if my budget doesn’t allow. I’d also like the swap to be done in several weeks instead of a month. I’ve got a $7k budget and would like all of my mods reinstalled. Given the current temps in Michigan and the down time I would be able to rebuild the motor myself.

Here’s the options I’m left with:


Buy a new crate long block from Subaru – I’ve searched for these and even called Heuberger. They told me they’re no longer it stock and may have been discontinued.


Buy a remanufactured long block from AIG – I really like this one a lot. AIG is one of the best Subaru engine remanufacturing company out there. But they aren’t cheap even at stage 1, which is about $8k. It won’t include timing belt, water pump, oil pump, etc. Plus, they’re in Maryland about 8 hours away. The motor would need to be sent by freight, which can be expensive. I’m also unsure if they’d give me an engine core return. (should have asked that as part of the quote their working on for me). They don’t do E-Tunes, but I’d want them to tune requiring a trip down there.


Have reputable local machine shop (Automotive Machine) rebuild – I’m leaning towards this option. Probably the least costly at $3k to have rebuilt with an array of performance parts to select from. Again, I’d need to install timing belt, water pump, oil pump, etc. It would take about a month turn around (longer than I’d like to wait). Would still need an E-Tune or Cobb Accessport tune afterwards. **Any advice on components to use would be greatly appreciated!


Have a reputable Subaru performance shop (Horsepower Tech) rebuild and Tune – I’m on the fence about this one. Probably at the top of my price point $8k. Although these guys have a great reputation, I still don’t trust the job will be done right. Nothing against them, but we’ve all heard the nightmares of engines blowing up 3 months after a rebuild just outside the warranty coverage. They want to install everything and tune with Cobb Accessport after wards. I talked to them briefly on the phone about my situation and they suggested an AIG Stage 2 small black and rebuild the heads. Currently awaiting quote.


Buy a used JDM or US motor – Hands down the most cost effective option at $1k – $2K. I know a lot of you out there have had success with this. There’s also a lot who haven’t. I’m not being snobby about used parts, hell most all of my performance parts are used. I know the motors are compression and leak tested, at least that’s what they claim. I’d still want to perform my tests before I’d receive the engine which isn’t logistically possible (Would I make the delivery driver what until I run the tests). Even if I could, what happens if it doesn’t pass? I’d need to send the motor back and find another company to buy from, because I’m not buying from them again. This would delay the entire process. There’s just too many moving parts inside an entire engine. I know the argument about JDM used, low mileage and wear. I have friends in Japan that keep cars for a year or two based on the way the automotive tax system is. They don’t baby their cars. Their mentality is that a car is a disposable and be replaced soon. I just think it’s too much of a crapshoot. I don’t want to go through all that work and have to replace the motor again in a few years.


Sorry for the long post. I know a bunch of you have gone through this same situation. I wanted to outline my thought process, budget, and timeframe for myself as well. I know you guys will give great feedback and it makes for a good conversation.



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Send your VF52 to JmP to have him rebuild it.


Read my click here link to see how to do it right the first time. EJ257, have the machine shop assemble the long block.


Here's the service manual for you,


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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Buy a OEM short block and pay someone to assemble it, if you want to just install a long block.


IMO If you have multiple broken ringlands and a burnt value, you likely have an issue with your tune that is causing a lean condition/detonation. You need to resolve that issue or its going to happen again.

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Putting an engine together is quite rewarding, so if I were in your position I would buy one of these:





They heat up a space quite fast.


Then I would take the money you save from not paying someone labor and spend it on an STI Crank, some forged pistons, rods and headstuds.


I'd pay a machine shop to hone the bores and take care of the heads.


Otherwise, this seems like a pretty good deal to me:


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Send your VF52 to JmP to have him rebuild it.


Read my click here link to see how to do it right the first time. EJ257, have the machine shop assemble the long block.


Here's the service manual for you,




Will keep JmP in mind. I greatly appreciate your advice and support. I've read through your build and totally agree with your recommendation. You've got a great blue print on exactly what to do. I'll likely take that route. I'm even considering Tuning Alliance for my tune. I'll keep updating this post until I make my final decision.

Edited by Esq
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did you see the Brandon spec.B is selling his lightly used IAG short block for $2400? Get your heads refreshed and you're good to go on a fairly quick timeline...


Thanks. We're hashing out the details.

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  • 1 month later...
After thinking it through the logical decision for my circumstance was to buy a newer car. I found a good priced 2017 STI in California and had it shipped to my door. I sold the Spec B to the owner of a local performance shop. He's got the resources and time to rebuild and maintain it they way it should be. A big thanks to everyone who offered advice and help. Headed over to NASIOC. All the best!
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