2.5L Engine vs 2.2 Reliability - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-07-2008, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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2.5L Engine vs 2.2 Reliability

About to buy a Subaru Outback sometime in the next few weeks (totally sick of the snow, worst winter is 25 years) and have been studying up on things and have noticed that there are a lot of complaints from owners of very early engine troubles from the 2.5 models. Are these engines defective and should I stay away from them at all costs?

Also how hard would be it be to find a 2.2L model or are they mainly 2.5's?

I don't want to invest 5 grand in something with 125k miles in it and have to replace the engine in less than a year.

Thanks

Edit: Also whats the difference between the Outback and the standard Legacy. Is it just some hardened up looks and larger clearance or is the AWD system different? Thanks.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-07-2008, 05:45 PM
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Hi airiox and

For reliability the 2.2L can be the way to go. For Outbacks you will find them only with manual transmission though if I remember corerctly. Legacies I think had them availalbe with auto trans too.

The 2.5L up to ~03 sometimes have head gasket issues. But not all of them, and some used ones might have already had the head gaskets replaced. And it's not necessarily a deal breaker since it is repairable (albeit a few $).

Outback ('96+ anyway) has increased ground clearance vs Legacy and some other options. '95 Legacy Outback was just a trim level on the Legacy.

Impreza Outback Sport different than just the 'Outback' or 'Legacy Outback'.

Check out www.cars101.com for all sorts of soob spec info.

If you're looking for a good winter soob, a mid 90's with the 2.2L can be a great option. The Outback would be a good choice because of increased ground clearance, but you can take a Legacy and just put Outback struts and springs on it and larger tires and basically have a nice snow machine. A vehicle at 125k probably needs struts anyway.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-07-2008, 09:06 PM
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I bought a 98 Legacy 2.2 for my daughter two years ago with just around 100k on her (payed around 4K). I put a new timing belt/water pump/gaskets (maintenance items not because there were issues). The car has close to 120K on it now and it's been very reliable. Drive great, great in the snow. Go to cars.com or autotrader.com you should be able to find a Legacy with a 2.2 (95 to 99).

Let it Snow Let it Snow...
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-08-2008, 07:45 AM
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1996 Outbacks with a manual transmission had a 2.2 engine. The automatics had a 2.5. For 1997 and up all Outback Wagons, manual or automatic had a 2.5 engine. The outback sport in 97 with a manual trans had a 2.2. Not sure when they got the 2.5 engine. I bought a 98 OBW over a year ago, that had already had the head gaskets replaced, and was serviced by the first owner at the dealership I bought it at. So far it has been a great car, without any problems. As of today, it has 183,000 miles on it. If you study this forum you will find answer to any questions you may have about the vehicle you are looking to purchase. Good luck with whatever you do buy.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-16-2008, 02:41 AM
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I have the 2.5 Phase I, in a '99 OB, had a headgasket problem develope, got it fixed, and haven't had any serious problems, other than stupid things I do to the car myself, go wrong.

Oh, yeah, and I've moved to TEXAS!!! (yes, it is a bit warm...)

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-02-2008, 06:20 PM
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Thumbs up I am selling 1998 Outback for only $2000

Hi,

I am selling a 1998 Outback for only $2000. It is the 2.5 and does have a blown head gasket hence the price. Replace the head gasket or better yet buy a wrecked Outback and take the engine out and rebuild to put in the one I am selling. Check the classifieds for my post. I have many pictures available for e-mail. Other than engine issues the car is perfect.

Joe
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-03-2008, 02:41 PM
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Or you can do what I did and swap out the 2.5 with a 2.2. All you really need is a 2.2 from a '95 to '98 legacy auto (because these engines had EGR). The swap is simpler than you think and I'll not go into details at this time.

I will add that the 2.2 just loves the 4.44 diffs of an OB auto. Sure the tires are bigger OD (15" vs 14" on Legacy) but keep in mind that the Legacy LS had 15" (but lower profile tire due to strut lower spring support clearance issue)

Gas mileage is better and reliability is much better, overall. The ECM doesn't have to be changed as it adjusts injector PW to long term trim as well as the other load factors. I have personally overseen and sold 2.2 engines for over 30 such swaps in the past 3 years and not one ever came back with an engine problem.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-26-2008, 12:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by xnavnuc
Or you can do what I did and swap out the 2.5 with a 2.2. All you really need is a 2.2 from a '95 to '98 legacy auto (because these engines had EGR). The swap is simpler than you think and I'll not go into details at this time.

I will add that the 2.2 just loves the 4.44 diffs of an OB auto. Sure the tires are bigger OD (15" vs 14" on Legacy) but keep in mind that the Legacy LS had 15" (but lower profile tire due to strut lower spring support clearance issue)

Gas mileage is better and reliability is much better, overall. The ECM doesn't have to be changed as it adjusts injector PW to long term trim as well as the other load factors. I have personally overseen and sold 2.2 engines for over 30 such swaps in the past 3 years and not one ever came back with an engine problem.
xnavnuc I'm looking at doing a 2.5 to a 2.2 on my 96 outback
i have put in a 93 legacy 5-speed and the rear diff was changed to a 3.1.1
i've been trying to find info on an engine to choose from (egr or not)
i'm thinking about an engine from CCR and taking my 2.5 and rebuilding myself for a later project
any shop manuals you suggest to help me out????
the wiring is my main concern
any info would be appreciated
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-26-2008, 11:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by blindrummer


xnavnuc I'm looking at doing a 2.5 to a 2.2 on my 96 outback
i have put in a 93 legacy 5-speed and the rear diff was changed to a 3.1.1
i've been trying to find info on an engine to choose from (egr or not)
i'm thinking about an engine from CCR and taking my 2.5 and rebuilding myself for a later project
any shop manuals you suggest to help me out????
the wiring is my main concern
any info would be appreciated
Is this the car some of the other guys were talking about? Sounds like you've already started down the road a bit. I suspect you made a typo on the rear diff ratio as it should be 4:11 to match the tranny. Why a '93 tranny? As I recall they had a mechanical drive to the speedo head which as a minimum will need to be removed and replaced with a '95 or later speed transducer (it's just a permanent magnet alternator).

This is not a piece of cake swap in that wiring isues will have to addressed but they shouldn't be enormous. I'll have to cogitate on this for a bit as I'm quite busy getting ready for my daughter's wedding which will be held here in July. In my 'back yard' here, that is. But I'll give you some top of the head stuff within a day or two if you can wait that long.

I used to live and breathe standards but I'll tell you for reliability you cant beat the Subaru (Mitsubishi I believe) 4EAT. But whatever I can't be a curmudgeon to everyone, can I?
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-27-2008, 12:39 AM
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no hurry on the info
i would like to take my time and do it right
the car had a 4.11 diff (i think) with the 2.5 4EAT
which it was replaced with something that would match the 93 5-speed
i had this work done at simplesubie.com
its a small little operation in northern portland oregon
its run by Dale, he had many engine and trannies in his shop and this one was still attached to the engine
the only problem with the swap was the wiring to the computer even after grounding the trans pin the cel is on
maybe a 97 2.5 5-speed computer would make a better match
he did this on a car before mine and this guy lost his ABS because of it
i wish i was still living there
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