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Engine Replacement...Swap... or??? 2005 GT Fir


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Hello All. Newbie to the forum. Had subie wagons for years in different variations, but first one with a hair dryer.


Technically, this is not a pre-purchase question as I made the jump and bought the car and have it on a trailer. Am looking for direction as to the best direction moving forward tho as far as which direction to pursue with respect to engine. 2.0....2.5...?


Wagon is a a 2005 GT Auto with 208k miles.


Far as I can know (which admittedly isnt much), it's a complete factory set-up without mods. Silver with black interior. Car is pretty clean in/out around, but reportedly has a bad motor per an inspection on behalf of the mechanic that inspected for the previous owner. The mechanic seemed knowledgeable but I had a hard time understanding him, and he I... so I just said to heck with it and decided to do my own investigating. He said something about the valve train. Still runs apparently, but rough. I didn't try to start it as I just assumed worst case scenario and purchased it with that understanding. Am intending to get it inspected in next few days and find out for myself. Lets assume, for case of my question... it needs another motor.


While I am pretty mechanically competent, I am no expert in the Subie world... so if I speak out of line... go easy. lol.


I have a near identical non-turboed automatic wagon (05 Silver wagon, NON turbo) I use as my daily driver for work, so I'm familiar with the platform and love my wagon. It'd be nice having 75-100 horse tho. I don't mind putting some investment into the GT wagon to get there reliably, but don't want to get buried in it either. Never haven driven it, I don't know the condition of the rest of the mechanicals of the vehicle, so I'm approaching slow.

While on the rack, will look for obvious issues (leaks, suspension wear, irregular tire wear... etc) but didn't notice anything where it was sitting for a few weeks at the shop. Again tho... having never driven it and receiving no maintenance history... I'm going in with a pretty conservative mindset. Will provide more definitive information as I have it.



So back to my real question. Assuming motor internals are bad (be it short or long block), what is the best approach to the motor? I am looking for a spirited and capable, low key but classy dd, not a 400hp invitation to be stolen everywhere it goes. So reliability and good mix of performance and is what I'm looking for. Maybe down the road, I take it to another level. So in short, a conservative approach, but leave it so I can build it later if things work out.


So understanding that. If needs a motor, do I look at a JDM used replacement or consider going with rebuild from a competent local shop? 2.0 or 2.5? Should I worry about Forged Internals, etc? I live in San Diego... so I have to be cognizant of the smog police as well. If I did go with the forged internals so the door is left open for performance in the future, what other add-ons or features should I be looking to incorporate for best mix of performance, reliability, value and flexibility.


And of course...what kind of money should I be expecting to lay out. I'm not expecting anything for free, but I'm also mindful that the rest of the car has 208K so the end value with be effected by that. The mileage wouldn't be a big deal if I intended to keep it forever, but I want to be sure if I decided to bail out, I'm not bleeding cash too badly either.


I realize, this is a vague and open ended question and everyone would likely have a different perspective/opinion. I'd appreciate them all tho as it helps me understand whats possible, practical, and ultimately whats important to me. So any comments, thoughts, or questions are appreciated.


Thanks to all in advance.

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Welcome to the Forum. You have come to the right place. Click on the click here link in my sig, I seem to have become the poster child for doing it right the first time.


If you need get a new OEM ej257 and gasket kit for your year car. Most local dealerships will sell OEM parts at a discount.


You can ask the MODs to move this to the 4th Gen Forum or the Engine rebuild thread forum.


You'll have to deal with CA emissions, stay OEM. I think you can have a catted downpipe ?


PM member "m sprank" he used to have a Subaru repair shop in Socal. He'll have all the info you need.

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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In addition to the Max's info cost wise you are looking at $4K-$5K. Ive ran the numbers on my 08LGT and just the parts were $3012 (Shortblock, turbo, gaskets and my needed replacement parts) add labor on that you will be looking at decent investment for a car that isn't worth prob what you paid for it.


But the more you drive it after the fix the more is pays you back, and its a useful capable platform. Just keep in mind that other parts can start to go after the engine rebuild due to mileage/age.

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