Experiences w/ SSI Subaru (Traverse City, MI)? - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-15-2011, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Experiences w/ SSI Subaru (Traverse City, MI)?

I'm leaving all my options open while taking apart my '99 Outback's engine.

Since the odds against my engine surviving surgery are high, I wondered if someone around here have had any experience with a rebuilt engine from this shop. While looking for engines on EBay, I saw a listing for rebuilt engines that had a link their website, and today I found a few ads on the local Craigslist with a phone number that happened to be for the same shop. The place is called "SSI Subaru specialists", and the owner's name is Jerry. The shop is located in Traverse City, Michigan

My other option is a JDM crated engine, but from what I have read I should/would still need to replace the head gaskets and seals, so a rebuilt engine looks interesting. Besides, I can pick the engine up on a few hours trip.


'05 OBW 2.5 Auto, 199K miles
'09 Forester 2.5 Auto, 105K miles
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-21-2013, 04:13 PM
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I know this is an old post but I'm responding to it for those who may be looking for info on SSI in the future.

I bought a short block from SSI in November of 2012. My mechanic put it in and it seemed to work fine. I had the oil changed and engine looked over at ~1000 miles. I drove it another 2000 miles with no issues. Then I down shifted into 3rd at highway speed to avoid getting run over by a truck and something happened. I noticed a ticking and the loss of engine power. I tried driving back to a town but things go worse and the engine basically seized up. Somehow, the engine had run itself out of oil. There were no external oil leaks but I hadn't been checking the oil regularly. My mechanic found low compression and oil in the cylinders (95-135psi).

SSI was very uncooperative and refused to believe that it could be in any way their fault. They were also very slow. It took months to get things accomplished with them. It took a month for them to organize having the engine shipped back to them. When it got there, I asked the root cause and the said "It ran out of oil" but couldn't find where the oil went and claimed that oil wasn't added after the oil change (somehow it ran 2000 miles with no oil?) I bought a new engine from them but they sent it back without the new timing components and water pump that I had sent in with it (so they could dyno test it). They also sent back an engine setup for an automatic instead of a manual which cost me another few hundred dollars to get parts and sort out the labor. Two months later, I still don't have a receipt or warranty for the engine.

I don't recommend dealing with this shop, I wish I hadn't. Their customer service sucks and they are super slow to respond to any problems. If this shop is close to you and you can have the work done there, it might be a different.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-25-2014, 03:41 PM
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I'm adding my comments as I'm running a rebuilt 2.5 from SSI.

Ordering the motor was relatively easy, and I received it within a couple days of when it was promised. Pulled my old motor, swapped accessories and intake manifold, and dropped it in. Once it was installed, it cranked properly but wouldn't start. Ended up being the wrong cam gear was installed by SSI and the cam sensor wasn't getting the proper signals. Swapped the cam gear from my old motor to the new motor, and it fired right up.

I've since put 60,000 miles on this motor with no problems.

My one concern with SSI is that their warranty terms have changed twice since I bought the motor. When I purchased my engine, the terms stated that I needed documentation for oil changes to maintain the warranty. The terms now state the oil changes need to be done by an "oil change establishment" which effectively terminates my warranty as I'm an ex-auto tech and do all my own work. I also never received a receipt or "warranty registration card" which must be mailed to SSI within 30 days.

Would I do it again? Yes, but if there are other options for a rebuilt 2.5 long block I would look into it and check reviews.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-07-2015, 06:32 PM
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I don't know anything about SSi Subaru, but as n ASE tech of over 20 years there is no way to lose 4.5 quarts of oil in 3000 miles without an engine leak unless you were running around town with your car smoking like James Bond using his smoke screen mod. Unless the person who changed your oil and filter had forgotten to put oil back in after replacing the drain plug and filter the whole scenario sounds fishy to me. I'm very sorry for anyone who loses an engine, but it doesn't seem like a fault on the company supplying the engine.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-13-2015, 12:11 PM
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I live in Traverse City and used to take all my heads into SSI for machining. They always did a great job and fast, but they are sometimes hard to contact. Small shop I'm assuming. They moved buildings at the beginning of the year and we're operating under a delay because of it which necessitated me finding another shop.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-13-2015, 04:35 PM
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Called Jerri just now at 4:30 p.m. local time. My goal is tuning out what seems like throttle delay in my 2.5i SOHC pedal. I have to feather it before any throttle response. He seem tired and or distracted late in today, and also told me what they do is engines, and the tuning for the throttle is elsewhere, call SubiGuys and does not know if the dealership can correct this.

Another note, if anyone does have guidance for tuning my throttle, please do not hesitate to pm me. By the sound of it, I may never, but I would trust Jerry's judgment regarding head gaskets.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 11:42 AM
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I just hit 100,000 miles on my SSI engine and realized that I should add a comment here for anyone who finds themselves needing an engine.

My car is an '08 Outback Limited with a 2.5l engine. In September '14 at about 145,000 miles I threw a rod on my original engine. I studied my options, including having local shop (I'm in Central Coast area of CA) do a rebuild, replace the engine with a low mileage one from a junkyard, or get a rebuilt engine, and decided on the rebuilt engine. I searched around and found SSI Subie Specialists and one other company (which as I recall was in Colorado and had been around longer and did more volume) who sold rebuilt Subaru engines. The other shop was markedly more expensive and there weren't a lot of reviews of SSI Subie Specialists but reading between the lines of the reviews I did see, I was inclined to go with SSI for my engine and I spoke with them a few times and they answered all of my questions (including regarding negative comments that some of the reviewers had made).

Once I made my decision, everything went like clockwork. The engine arrived at my shop in California when SSI said it would arrive, the shop said it looked great, the installation went smoothly (i.e. no missing parts etc), and once the shop installed it they told me that the shipping of my original engine back to SSI (which was prearranged by SSI) was simple and easy. I have now driven 110,000 miles on this engine since it was installed, and everything is still running perfectly. Based on my experience, I can highly recommend SSI for an engine replacement.
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