05 OB-XT blown engine - help me diagnose - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums

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Old 07-18-2012, 09:58 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 05 OB-XT blown engine - help me diagnose

Morning all, I have sitting in my parking lot an 05 Outback XT with 80k and what sounds to be a blown piston/rod. Here's a little history:

Car was bought used a little over a year ago, service history was spotty but looked to be maintained. I had the oil changed twice with Mobil 1 since buying it.

Back in April the turbo blew on the highway, unfortunately was in the middle of nowhere and had to drive it about 30 more miles to get to a garage.

Had the turbo replaced by an independent Sube mechanic for $2k, they dropped the pan and looked for metal frags and said they found none. Picked the car up in May and was driving without problems ever since.

Last week as I'm out on lunch the CEL comes on with the cruise control blinking. I figured nothing much of it, maybe just emissions as the CEL wasn't blinking and I had a code reader at home I'd check it with.

I never made it home...not too long after CEL the motor blew on the highway...made a noise that kind of sounded like vacuum lines blowing off and then the godawful loud knock...car lost power and died. Literally hours before there was no warning whatsoever other than the fact the A/C seemed to be running not as well and there was this odd ever so slight rocking coming from the motor....like it was off balance.

So here's the problem now, with car only over a year on a loan I still owe $7800, I've already dropped $2k for the turbo and now without anyone looking at it yet I was quoted roughly $3500 for a reman motor with 3 year warranty. (I haven't had it looked at professionally yet as it will need to be towed, so that cost may go up or down)

Before I get into this I wanted to see if anyone had any other experience with this. The car right now will turn over, but it won't go anywhere and it knocks like a mother, something is definitely blown. However, there is no coolant leak, no oil leak, turbo sounds fine, and no smoke. The oil in the block was just changed and looks brand new...granted it's just from the stick but nothing noticeably different.

In that I'm already at a loss I wanted to crack open the block, if for nothing more than curiosity to see what happened. So any suggestions?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:36 AM   #2 (permalink)
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You have bad bearings and need a new block or rebuild.

the turbo's have some fairly specific issues that you should probably read about. they "require" synthetic oil, so if it was ever run in it's history without synthetic that may increase the risk of future lubrication related issues (which would mean lower end bearings and knocking).

Subaru has a specific turbo-only mention on their documentation about running synthetic oil only. i have it copied and pasted below.

i know people that do Subaru work, own shops and recommend not buying the EJ25 Turbo motors unless there is documentation that it has been run on synthetic at proper change intervals it's entire life. all this to say - it's likely it had compromised lubrication at some point and you're now seeing the repercussions.


Here is Subaru's official language on the matter:

Subaru Turbo care and maintenance requirements.
Turbos require careful maintenance.
April 25, 2008. l 'Proper lubrication of the turbocharger requires high-quality engine oil. Some do not provide enough lubrication performance or durability when used in turbocharged engines. Using poor-quality oil or oil not designed for turbo engines may cause damage to the turbocharger and other engine components. Consequently, it is critical to follow Subaru vehicle owner’s and service manuals for recommended oil grade and viscosity.
A second key component of the lubrication system is the oil filter. The Subaru Genuine Oil Filter, available at your Subaru dealer, is the only filter that Subaru has tested to meet requirements for filtration and flow. Aftermarket oil filters may have different filtration performance and relief-valve opening pressure, which could affect filter and engine performance. Subaru Genuine Oil Filters help ensure optimum engine and turbocharger performance.
Due to heat generated by the turbocharger and carbon deposits contained in exhaust gas, the oil in a turbocharged engine will deteriorate faster than the oil in a naturally aspirated engine. Therefore, special care should be taken to use proper grade oil and to monitor oil deterioration.
Under normal driving conditions, the recommended oil and oil filter change interval for turbo vehicles is every 3,750 miles or four months, whichever comes first.
However, for vehicles driven in conditions beyond normal, such as racing conditions, the oil and oil filter may require more frequent changing.
Racing-Type Driving
Racing-type engine stress doesn’t only occur on the track. Racing-type driving occurs when the drivetrain, suspension, and other vehicle components are used at near peak capacity. Any driving where the engine speed is kept high – either by using lower gears at higher speeds or using engine braking – is considered racing-type driving.
Important: A “track day” or autocross event requires an oil and oil filter change immediately before and immediately after the event. Make sure to check other engine fluid levels as well.
Engine Oil Level
Check the oil dipstick periodically to make sure the oil level is within proper range in order to keep the turbocharger properly lubricated and cooled. More frequent level checks are necessary especially when utilizing engine braking, because this increases the engine’s demand for lubrication.
Important: Allowing the engine oil level to drop by more than one quart may cause oil starvation, oil pump cavitation, and bearing damage. Over time, this cumulative damage will cause turbocharger and engine failure.
Oil Changes
Carbon deposits produced by a turbocharged engine can accumulate at the bottom of the oil pan. When changing the oil, always drain the oil through the oil drain plug hole on the oil pan.
A vacuum draining device could leave carbon deposits at the bottom of the oil pan and potentially contaminate the new oil.
Fuel Requirements
Turbocharged Subaru engines are designed to operate on premium unleaded (91-octane AKI or higher) gasoline. This is essential for maximizing performance and is required to prevent possible engine damage.
Driving Tips
1. Do not rev the engine or accelerate past half throttle immediately after start-up. Oil requires time to heat up for full flow, and high-rpm driving with a cold engine can damage the turbocharger.
2. After highway driving or high-load driving, Subaru recommends allowing the engine to cool by idling for at least 30 seconds before shutting off.
Modifications
Engine modifications such as, but not limited to, adding a boost pressure controller, using a non-genuine aftermarket air intake or exhaust system, changing the air bypass valve, “chipping,” etc., may negatively affect the warranty. Your Subaru dealer offers a line of Subaru Performance Tuning parts, which are designed and tested to Subaru standards and do not void the warranty.'
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:39 AM   #3 (permalink)
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quite likely you have valve/piston damage from a broken timing belt.

how many miles on the car?
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:59 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Car has 80,000 miles on it, the original turbo blew due to blocked supply line. Like I said spotty history, but at least the last 2-3 years it was changed regularly with Mobil 1.

So if I researched correctly, short block would need to be replaced which run around $1600.

For a rebuild, is it feasible to DIY? Semi-mechanically inclined, if I can do at least some of the work myself and then send it to a garage to have it finished I can save some $$.
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Old 07-18-2012, 11:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Very possible that the turbo failure caused damage to the engine bearings. But checking the timing belt will only take a couple minutes. Remove one side of the timing belt cover. It's 4 bolts that are easy to get to and check the condition of the belt. Then drain the oil into a clean container and drop the oil pan. Inspect for metal.

If there's no head damage, then all you need is the shortblock. You'll need to check your turbo for damage since there's likely metal in the oil. If you have the means to pull the engine, you can replace the shortblock. You'd need an ej257 shortblock.
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Old 07-18-2012, 11:55 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks, good tip, narrowing it down here...will pull the cover off the belt this weekend and see what I find.
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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mileage seems low for a TB failure.

ccrengines.com is a well respected source for rebuilt soob stuff. I'm sure there are other options that would work for you.
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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New short blocks are cheap enough that a rebuilt one doesn't make much sense to me.
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Old 07-18-2012, 01:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seabass View Post
New short blocks are cheap enough that a rebuilt one doesn't make much sense to me.

got it, yeah - I dunno anything about prices.
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Old 07-18-2012, 02:10 PM   #10 (permalink)
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definitely verify what is wrong first. sounds like block but checking the timing is a good idea.

yes you can easily do the work yourself with the help of folks here.

the easiest solution is to buy a short block and you do the rest. pull your motor, disassemble, clean, and reassemble onto the new short block.

clean/address any fittings, hoses, potential clogs of the turbo oil lines, there are possible screens or something that can clog - replace them.
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