'06 Outback - Engine Issues - looking for suggestions.... - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-16-2013, 11:06 AM Thread Starter
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'06 Outback - Engine Issues - looking for suggestions....

I bought a used 2006 Outback limited with 56K about 6 months ago. The car has run great; sounds fine, no vibration, no smoke/smell, etc..... However, we recently discovered it is eating oil.

It has burned through approximately 4+ quarts over the last 4,000 miles. We thought it was caused by broken piston rings, but my mechanic found quite a bit of metal (shards) in the oil. Now we're thinking worn/broken ring(s) would cause the burning of the oil, but wouldn't cause the significant metal in the oil, and replacing them won't save it. He recommends replacing the engine.

Any ideas as to what's causing this? Replacing ring/gaskets is pricey enough, but a new engine in a car with <60K. WTF! We bought the car off a dealers lot (non-subaru) and it's clear to me now that the previous owners discovered this problem, filled it with fresh oil and traded it in. It wasn't until a few thousand miles were put on it that issue unveiled itself.

Any ideas as to what's causing this?

Options?

Engine swap options?

This is the 3rd subaru we've owned and keep coming back to them because of their dependability, but a new motor at <60K is shocking. Especially, after buying the car just 6 months ago.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated

Thanks,
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-16-2013, 12:51 PM
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A used oil analysis might be in order. The lab will figure out exactly which kinds of metal are in the sample you provide, and then you can figure out what parts of your engine are made of what they found. This should at least narrow down the list, and might open some options for a repair vs. wholesale replacement.

I would also get it tested for compression and oil pressure- that can let you know if it's top end or bottom end- or both.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-16-2013, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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A used oil analysis might be in order. The lab will figure out exactly which kinds of metal are in the sample you provide, and then you can figure out what parts of your engine are made of what they found. This should at least narrow down the list, and might open some options for a repair vs. wholesale replacement.

I would also get it tested for compression and oil pressure- that can let you know if it's top end or bottom end- or both.
Thank you very much for the suggestions. This is exactly what I'm looking for. As I mentioned earlier, as I'm sure as you could imagine, putting a new engine in a new-to-me car (in my possession less than 6 months) with sub-60K is a real kick in the teeth. I was having a tough time with the assumed ring replacement, but engine replacement is just shocking. If we need to replace it, we need to replace it. I don't have a whole lot of other options from what I can figure. Could we put a 3.0 in it? If I'm already paying for a new engine, could we upgrade the HP? Or is that too much of a hassle?

Thanks again - we'll have more diagnostics done to try to narrow down a cause...
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-16-2013, 02:00 PM
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An H6 swap is a lot of work assuming that it's an automatic, and harder still if it's a manual trans- lots of custom fabrication, particularly in the exhaust and wiring harness.

A turbo 2.5 would be an easier swap, but probably more expensive to get in the first place. Unless you can do all of that work yourself, I think you'd do better money-wise to replace the engine with its own kind, and then replace the car with a 3.0 or XT.

I certainly sympathize with your plight- it sounds like somebody abused the car and dumped it.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-16-2013, 02:09 PM Thread Starter
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An H6 swap is a lot of work assuming that it's an automatic, and harder still if it's a manual trans- lots of custom fabrication, particularly in the exhaust and wiring harness.

A turbo 2.5 would be an easier swap, but probably more expensive to get in the first place. Unless you can do all of that work yourself, I think you'd do better money-wise to replace the engine with its own kind, and then replace the car with a 3.0 or XT.

I certainly sympathize with your plight- it sounds like somebody abused the car and dumped it.
I figured as much, but thought if we're all in, might as well see what our options are. Safest and cheapest bet would be replacing with what came in it in the first place. It's freaking shocking. The car is immaculate. Really, it looks brand new. The risk of buying a used car.....

Thanks again.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-16-2013, 02:15 PM
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I'm sure there's an '05 or '06 out there that got rear-ended, rolled or took enough hail damage to total it. Taking the whole used engine from such might be the best way out. You'd be able to start & maybe even drive such a donor to verify condition.

You can use pieces of the '04 and earlier engine, but not all of it. There was a change in the heads for '07+ (active valve control sys) which might exclude them from swaps, not sure.

I wish you luck!

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-16-2013, 02:16 PM
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Change the oil type - try using high mileage formulated oil and see if anything changes with the consumption.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-16-2013, 02:57 PM
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Change the oil type - try using high mileage formulated oil and see if anything changes with the consumption.
^^not a good idea if there is already metal fragments in the oil.

Continuing to run will simply cause more damage if you are circulating metal bits through the engine. If the car has been running this way for a while it's hard to say whether or not there will be cylinder damage or not, but it's likely. AFAIK, dis-assembly and inspection is the only way to tell for sure.

OP--you may find it's easiest / cheapest to source a complete engine from a totaled car rather than rebuild your current engine. Definitely explore both options if you need to.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-16-2013, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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^^not a good idea if there is already metal fragments in the oil.

Continuing to run will simply cause more damage if you are circulating metal bits through the engine. If the car has been running this way for a while it's hard to say whether or not there will be cylinder damage or not, but it's likely. AFAIK, dis-assembly and inspection is the only way to tell for sure.

OP--you may find it's easiest / cheapest to source a complete engine from a totaled car rather than rebuild your current engine. Definitely explore both options if you need to.
Yay - that isn't going to fix the problem. Initially, prior to the metal discovery, we thought about just upping the oil weight and monitoring it, but with the metal findings, there's clearing something more sinister going on.

Pricing rebuilt vs salvage is necessary.

Does anyone know what the model number of this engine is? Am I just looking for a 2.5L SOHC?

Apologies for the ignorance, I'm not a motor-head Would probably save me some money if I was....
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-16-2013, 03:24 PM
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I believe the engine is EJ253...?
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