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So I just bought a '96 OBW. My third subaru, but my first OB. It has a really silly number of miles on it, and needs a good bit of this 'n that, but it's basically solid.
According the the PO, the engine was changed at 190k, and the new engine had `60k at the time of the swap. It's a 5s with a 2.2L. Definitely the 2.2 engine.
If I'm reading the history correctly, all engines after '97 are interference engines, and the 2.2 was made before and after '97.

The timing belt is about due, and I would like to be able to tell if my engine is a crash motor or not. Will the serial number tell? fittings?

Wheelwright.
 

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01 Outback H6 VDC, 97 GT wgn w/ ej22, 98 OBW w/ej22
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the 96 outback with the 5 speed manual trans came with the ej22 engine from the factory. so it is probably a 96 non-interference engine. that would be the ''surest'' and easiest replacement engine.

first look at the exhaust ports on the bottom of the heads where the exhaust bolts on.
2 bolts on each head, single port = 96+ engine
3 bolts on each head, dual port = 90 - 95 engine, NON-interference. probably 95 but could be earlier since it is a replacement.

next remove a valve cover, either side , it does not matter. (tip: clean off as much dirt as possible before you start.)
screw bolt and lock nut type valve lash adjusters = 97+ and interference engine.
HLAs, hydraulic lash adjusters = 96 or earlier and NON-interference engine

in 98 they went to the ''new style'' one piece timing belt tensioner but you do not need that info to determine interference. you MAY need that info to determine which timing belt kit if you have the bolt and lock nut type lash adjusters.

of course there is a possibility a few engines in ''transition years'' may not fit the above specs. but the majority of engines for the years will.
 
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