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230k miles, HG leaking

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2006 LGT with 230k miles on it as a DD.

Stock engine and all. I’ve replaced the timing belt and assoc. parts twice, and plugs, but that’s it for the engine.


Going to pull it to replace the head gaskets. I’ll take the heads in for surfacing and inspection, but what else is the minimum I should do?


I’d like to get another five-ten years or so out of it.


No issues with the turbo, don’t push it much really. Do I need to replace it or can an inspection spot likely issues?


What about crank bearings and seals?



I’ve done head jobs before on a SOHC VW, and a Chevy V8, never on this car. Not at all excited about tearing down the bottom end, and wish to avoid if possible.


Current symptoms are overflowing radiator, and oil leaking on the passenger exhaust. Oil has been leaking for a while, radiator overflow is new.


I’ve garaged the car until I can fix it, and am ordering the gasket kit and head bolts.


What else is the minimum I need to do?

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It's unfortunate that the headgasket is blown, because doing a compression and leakdown test would be ideal before doing any work here. This would be the easiest way to evaluate the health of the engine overall, including the rings. It wouldn't be a terrible idea to consider a new shortblock if you're already planning to do all this work, as they only cost $2k from the dealer. I certainly wouldn't consider doing any bottom end work when this is an option; the extra cost won't be that significant.


The turbo should be easy enough to check by hand; basically you want little to no play in the two turbines, which you can check with your fingers.


The valvecover gaskets like to leak, but if you're doing the heads you'll do those anyways. Camshaft, rear main and oil pump seals aren't a bad idea, regardless if they're leaking.

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There is a local engine rebuilder in town, not sure if they work on Subaru engines.

My roommates worked for them years ago. Should I see about having them reman then engine?


Not looking to put a bunch of money in to it of course, but it’s been a great car for me.

Going to be missing it this winter, need the AWD and snow tires, even if ski season doesn’t get going.

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With 230k miles on the engine and turbo, those parts just aren't going last another 5-10 years. You can do this 2 ways, 1 is just repair the head-gasket and checked valve lash and wait until the motor or turbo fails. The other is have the heads rebuilt, replace the short block and turbo, you should be good for a long time.
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What kind of miles are on this car? 230K around town is very different from 230K highway. I recently tore down a 180K engine where the first 140K was run by a travelling salesman. Everything inside the shortblock measured to spec including pistons, crank, bearings and so on. This is what highway miles and good basic maintenance can do.


If you are able to do this work yourself, i.e. cost=time, then why not just do the head gaskets with standard bench cleanup, check the valve clearances, correct where required and pack it back up. Replace rear main, and oil pump seals if they are leaking otherwise leave them alone. You stand a good chance of creating a leak that you didn't have before. If you need to correct valve clearances then the cams have to come off so of course new seals are needed.


The idea here is to keep your outlay under a few hundred dollars or so in parts, because that engine may last the 5-10 years you are looking for, or it may die two weeks after you re-install. Once you open up the engine, you pretty much have to do everything just to protect the cost of parts an labour invested for each component. Example: would you really put that high mileage turbo back on the engine after spending 2K for a shortblock and 1K for head work?


As far as the bottom end goes, buy or borrow a mechanical oil pressure gauge and check your hot idle pressure before you pull the engine. If it is within spec, then there is a good chance your shortblock still has some life left. Heads up: the oil line connection is BSW 1/8 pipe so you may have to adapt something.


A cold leak down test once the engine is out may tell you something, but if you had no running problems like rough idle or heavy oil consumption so far, it will probably pass with flying colours.

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In your area there has to be a Subaru repair shop and a machine shop that knows these engines.


When the turbo is off, inspect it and may be have member JmP6889928 rebuild it, he's the go to guy for that.


Talk with the machine shop before you take things apart, have them do as much as they are welling to do once he engine is out. Let the experts do what they do.


When my engine was getting tired and still running well, I bought a new ej257 shortblock, had my heads rebuilt and used ARP head studs.


See my click here link in my sig.

305,000miles 5/2012 ej257 short block, 8/2011 installed VF52 turbo, @20.8psi, 280whp, 300ftlbs. CHECK your oil, these cars use it.


Engine Build - Click Here

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Local shop (https://www.cylinderheadservicespokane.com/) will clean, inspect and surface the heads for me.


I bought a new oil pump based in a thread I read here, a good idea to put it in?


I’ll inspect and maybe reman the turbo at least, but maybe leave the rest alone. I’ve already started pulling things apart, so not convenient to do much testing on it.


Mileage is mixed- drive to work is 30-50mph, four stoplights in 12 miles.

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Once the valve cover started leaking, I had to top off about a quart every 3000 miles.

Before that, I could go 5000 and not quite be a quart low.


Burning/leaking a quart every 3000 is not bad at all for an EJ255 with 230k miles.

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Well, got it loose. Got a spackle knife in the crack, then a second one and drove a cold chisel in between them.


Snapped my expensive spackle knife, cheap one was fine.


None of the videos showed that the ATF would pour out like that, made a mess.


Turns out the 1000 pound engine stand from Harbor Freight doesn’t fit the engine. I’ll have to make an adapter.

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I used all oem hoses except vacuum lines. I ordered the oem from Heuberger because the prices were reasonable, website was easy and they had $12 flat rate shipping. The vacuum lines are bulk turbosmart brand silicone which I ordered through amazon or ebay.
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  • 1 month later...

I ended up ordering an autobahn88 kit for hoses. Took a few weeks to come in from China.

Most hoses fit well enough. One breather hose on the pass side was the wrong length, but I was able to splice an extension on and make it work with a brass couple from the hardware store.


I do have some extras- I replaced most everything, but some short ones on connections I didn’t disturb I left.


My current issue is that I can’t tell where to make a few connections.


On the pipes that go to the heater core, there are two small hose ports, one on each one, right before it leaves the engine. Where do those two go?


There is another missing connection on the bottom of the throttle body, I think one of the above connections goes there?


What attaches to this vacuum port on the driver's side rear intake?


Thank you very much-




Edited by Zephrant
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Drivers side #4 intake runner goes to Fuel Pressure Reg on the Shock tower.


I think the small heater hoses go to Throttle Body.









We also T that #4 runner to the small hose off the blow off valve and plug the port on the #4. I'll try and find picture of that.


It helps stop the surging between 2400-3000rpm.

Edited by Max Capacity

305,000miles 5/2012 ej257 short block, 8/2011 installed VF52 turbo, @20.8psi, 280whp, 300ftlbs. CHECK your oil, these cars use it.


Engine Build - Click Here

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Thank you very much for the info and pictures- I spend hours searching and couldn't find that info.


If I don't block/tee the #4 port, where is it supposed to run to?


When I re-assembled the TGV, I got the sensors on wrong, so am throwing two codes- P2016 and P2021. I fixed the Driver's side one, trying to figure out how to get to the passenger's side one. Thinking I have to remove the turbo I just got put back together, can't get in there to remove/rotate the sensor.

Edited by Zephrant
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