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Discussion Starter #1
Can anyone knowledgeable about Subaru Outbacks (and Subaru in general) please lead me to the correct answer here?

I am looking for the correct ENGINE REPLACEMENT of my son's Subaru Outback 2008. Specs below:

Subaru Outback 2008
2.5L 4 Cylinder,
16 valves OHC

The Outback is NOT any special edition is 4 cylinders and is manual transmission (if that helps).
I can also provide the VIN# if its needed (?)

What Engine ID # should be I looking for when I search for it? While I'm not doing this myself, I am shopping for a engine replacement in order to save some costs.

Thanks everyone!
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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The 16-valve H4 2.5 engine is a DOHC design intended for the XT Turbo model; is that what he has?

All the other H4 2.5 models are SOHC, without the turbo option.

And if you're still not sure, yes, post the VIN here.

In both cases, you can directly replace like-for-like from anything that is 2008-2009 model year. If it's just a short block, then probably 2006-2012, but there are others here more knowledgeable about the specifics.

What is the issue with the present engine in the 2008?
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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The eighth digit in the VIN is the engine code.

If it's a 2.5i, premium or LL Bean, then it's got an EJ253. Differences would be Cali or Fed emissions, EGR and Throttle gate or not. The throttle gate won't make a difference on a replacement engine since you can swap the intake and harness. What will make a large difference is whether it has EGR or not.

The XT models have the DOHC EJ255 Turbo engine.

You can use an engine from an automatic, you just have to swap the bank 2 cam gear from the old engine to the replacement and put the timing belt guard over the crank pulley for the timing belt along with swapping the flywheel and clutch parts.

All of the 253s of this generation are AVLS engines, so you can get an engine from an Impreza, Forester, Legacy or an Outback.
 

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I saw the other post. So its not a Bean.

You can also get a rebuilt engine, long block, for about $1800 from builders listed on ebay and elsewhere. Like here: https://www.enginesus.com/

It calls for 14 hours to swap the engine, then you have fluids, filters, plugs, wires, coil if needed, thermostat, replace the clutch if it's worn, check the condition of the radiator and it's cap.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The 16-valve H4 2.5 engine is a DOHC design intended for the XT Turbo model; is that what he has?

All the other H4 2.5 models are SOHC, without the turbo option.

And if you're still not sure, yes, post the VIN here.

In both cases, you can directly replace like-for-like from anything that is 2008-2009 model year. If it's just a short block, then probably 2006-2012, but there are others here more knowledgeable about the specifics.

What is the issue with the present engine in the 2008?
Thanks for taking the time for your answer.

It's definitely not a turbo. The engine went bad and now it does a rattling noise, very troublesome to hear. It turns on, it's spitting a whole heck of oil underneath, it rattles as if it was working only on one piston.. that's how it sounds.. so I took it to a Subaru mechanic that is charging me over $4K to fix it by installing a used engine (apparently from Japan?) with only 50K miles on it.. and I thought I could save myself a bunch of money if I was to do some of this work myself (at least the searching / finding of an engine) and giving it someone that could to the swap for me. I don't have $4,000 to spend. Otherwise, I will have to sacrifice the car for less than $1,000.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The eighth digit in the VIN is the engine code.

If it's a 2.5i, premium or LL Bean, then it's got an EJ253. Differences would be Cali or Fed emissions, EGR and Throttle gate or not. The throttle gate won't make a difference on a replacement engine since you can swap the intake and harness. What will make a large difference is whether it has EGR or not.

The XT models have the DOHC EJ255 Turbo engine.

You can use an engine from an automatic, you just have to swap the bank 2 cam gear from the old engine to the replacement and put the timing belt guard over the crank pulley for the timing belt along with swapping the flywheel and clutch parts.

All of the 253s of this generation are AVLS engines, so you can get an engine from an Impreza, Forester, Legacy or an Outback.
The clutch was recently replaced (less than 3 months ago) - It's not any special edition, not an LL Bean, not Turbo either.

So what kind of engine should I be looking for? What are the “magic” numbers I should post in my search queries?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I saw the other post. So its not a Bean.

You can also get a rebuilt engine, long block, for about $1800 from builders listed on ebay and elsewhere. Like here: https://www.enginesus.com/

It calls for 14 hours to swap the engine, then you have fluids, filters, plugs, wires, coil if needed, thermostat, replace the clutch if it's worn, check the condition of the radiator and it's cap.
That's about the same amount of $$ the mechanic is charging me - I thought I would be able to save some $$ here.. Ugh.
The clutch has recently been replaced less than 3 months ago. Do I need to replace it again?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Here is the VIN # = 4S4BP61C786304981

So, the big question is:

What do I search for? Are there any special set of numbers? Symbols I need to search for? Please understand, I'm reasonably handy with cars and I know very little about Subarus. I lot of the answers given here included letters and numbers I really don't know what they mean. Can someone please put it in plain words for me? I'm not dumb, I am just not a mechanically-inclined individual, LOL. Thanks!!
 

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Here are all the pertinent details on this VIN; I don't bother with the digits and their meaning, I just let the free VIN decoder tell me what I've got:


And apologies, I had thought that the 16 valve design was unique to the DOHC XT Turbo - obviously not. You are on the right track with either the replacement Japanese engine that the mechanic suggested, or from the source that @cardoc suggested. And no, you don't have to replace the clutch again, you should be good to go on that.
 

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2000 & 2002 Outback Wagon EJ251/Auto + 2004 Outback LL Bean EZ30/Auto + 1996 Legacy Outback Wagon EJ22/5sp + 2008 Outback Wagon EJ253/Auto + 2004 Legacy Sedan 35th Anniv. EJ251/Auto (not OB) + 2005 O
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The engine code is C
These 253 engines are high cost because of demand and short supply. Subaru quit selling long blocks and now sells engines in pieces. Short block, blank heads, cams, valves, retainers, springs, gears, etc. You then have to assemble the.parts if you go that route.

The salvage and importers know this. Subaru engines don't sit in yards for long due to demand. You won't find an engine for less than a $1k and that engine will have high mileage.

Where are you in the state's? Maybe someone can direct you to someone in your area that may be lower labor cost, or, can rebuild the one you have.

The Japanese engine that mechanic was referring to may be a 2.0 L engine, may be a 2.5.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Here are all the pertinent details on this VIN; I don't bother with the digits and their meaning, I just let the free VIN decoder tell me what I've got:


And apologies, I had thought that the 16 valve design was unique to the DOHC XT Turbo - obviously not. You are on the right track with either the replacement Japanese engine that the mechanic suggested, or from the source that @cardoc suggested. And no, you don't have to replace the clutch again, you should be good to go on that.
I appreciate your response.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The engine code is C
These 253 engines are high cost because of demand and short supply. Subaru quit selling long blocks and now sells engines in pieces. Short block, blank heads, cams, valves, retainers, springs, gears, etc. You then have to assemble the.parts if you go that route.

The salvage and importers know this. Subaru engines don't sit in yards for long due to demand. You won't find an engine for less than a $1k and that engine will have high mileage.

Where are you in the state's? Maybe someone can direct you to someone in your area that may be lower labor cost, or, can rebuild the one you have.

The Japanese engine that mechanic was referring to may be a 2.0 L engine, may be a 2.5.
So, is the number EJ253 the correct code to search for? What does the Engine code C mean? Should I include that in my search query? I appreciate your response nonetheless.
 

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There are engines with and EGR and engines without it. If yours has EGR, you need to find an engine with EGR. Look on the driver side of the intake and you'll see a black cube with a plug/connector going to it. If it's there, that's the EGR valve. It runs off exhaust porting in the cylinder heads. The replacement needs to have it if yours does and vice versa.

And I erred earlier. You engine VIN code is 6. The engine is the 6th digit for Subaru. Other manufacturers it's the eighth. My bad.

The "6" just indicates it's a 2.5, aka an EJ253 for this year model.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So, I have found a wrecked Subaru Outback LL Bean Edition 2005. Can anybody tell me if this engine would be a good fit for my 2008 Subaru?

It does seem the Subaru is a 6-cylinder engine and mine is a 4-cylinder. Is this not good of a match to replace?

Thanks.
 

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You do not want the job of putting an H6 engine in an H4-equipped Subaru - it's not going to be worth the effort.
 

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H4 to H6 requires engine, trans/diff, harnesses (engine and interior), instrument cluster, ECM and TCM swap.

It's doable, but probably more than you want to do. It's about a 40 hour job with good equipment, tools and knowledge of how the car is put together.

People have done it with Impreza, Legacy and Outbacks. Brucey swapped an H6 VDC setup in to an H4 BAJA. Came out good, too.
 
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