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I'm sure this has been discussed many times on here but I haven't been able to find exactly what I'm looking for on this. I'm hopeful for a bit of direction on my second subaru which is a 98 with approximately 105k miles on it.

Check engine light came on yesterday as I pulled into work and almost immediately began running rough as I parked. It wasn't a blinking check engine but solid. I had to drive home before tanking to mechanic this morning. All routes to my home are pretty steep and I barely made the 4 miles from office to house as it had nearly no power. At its worst I was barely able to maintain 20mph and my rpm's shot up up to 4000 to get up the hill. I popped the hood when I got home and could see I'd overheated as coolant was everywhere.

Dropped off at mechanic this morning and it drove pretty well getting there but it's mostly downhill there, but had no issues. They just called and said HG blown and are recommending new engine for $3200. It's an independent mechanic and we've used them before and are pretty good guys.

I really love this car and highly doubt I can find anything in as good of shape that I like for $3000. Just wondering if new engine is pretty typical after blowing HG and overheating like that?

Thanks in advance.
Chris
 

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2010 Forester
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I can't say though if a new engine is such a good thing... 105k miles is not that much - I've got 275k and it's time to replace the HG... not knowing if PO had any issues prior to this. I will just take the engine apart, replace the HG and keep on driving - those engines are pretty tough if it wasn't for the faulty HG POS... if they are taking it apart you might want to replace timing belt and water pump at the same time - if it wasn't done already...

and that should amount to probably abut $1500.00 easy, right?
 

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OK, you definitely have a dilemma...look at my '02 Outback with HG issues thread for some good information from grossgary, who is someone with quite a bit of insight into this issue. 105k mi isn't alot, but heavy load driving short distances daily could take its toll. I'd definitely steam the compartment and see if you can locate the source of the coolant leak before plunging into a HG job blind...but if you do, it's probably worth replacing the timing belt assembly (w/ tensioner and idlers) & H20 pump & accessory belts...not to mention front crank and oil pump seals. Good luck.
 

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01 Outback H6 VDC, 97 GT wgn w/ ej22, 98 OBW w/ej22
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basic head gasket info:

if you have a bad head gasket in an ej25, 2.5L, subaru 96 - 04, and it has not been over heated SEVERELY, replacing the head gaskets is a good solution. lots of folks have done it.

96 - 99 ej25 have a history of ''rod knock'' IF IF IF they were over heated severely.

and a few ej25s, 00 - 04, have rod knock issue even if there is no head gasket issue. but head gaskets and overheating both increases the risk og rod knock. (rod knock = engine replacement.)

but head gaskets do not absolutely mean, engine replacement.

on the other hand, $3200 is way more than i would spend if my car needed a replacement engine.

JDM engines can be had for $1000 - $1200 shipped. but depending on the year involved, they may not have EGR which the 95 - 99 cars need. and you MAY still have to pay for install.

plus, they suffer the same weaknesses as the US ej25s as far as head gaskets go. 96 - 99 there is a HIGH probability of eventual HG failure. 00 - 02 there is a possibility of eventual failure , but lower than the 90s. for the 02 - 04 years, the chances get lower.

but $3200 is way high for a used engine, not bad for a rebuilt engine. for around $3500, plus install, you can get a rebuilt engine with a 3 yr / 36k miles warranty.

regarding your 98 ej25 car with a bad head gaskets, there are 2 affordable solutions.
1/ replace the head gaskets, $1200 - $1800. if you have not SEVERELY overheated the engine (cooked the oil and starved the rod bearings of oil) you should be fine.

2/ swap in an ej22 engine. (some ej22s work and some do not, research is required.) this will cost about $1000 - $1500 depending on the cost of the engine and how much, if any, you do yourself. good used engines go for about $400 - $600. and $250 for timing belt and ALL components, plus install.

price not withstanding, the ej22 swap is a really good solution. they are amazingly reliable. they will take a lot of abuse and keep on running. they are easy to work on. and they will take a lot, a whole lot of abuse and keep running.

keeping the engine you have, you know the service history.

buying an ej22, you do not know the history of the engine. but it is pretty rare to buy a bad one from a salvage yard. most yards have a warranty, 30 - 90 days. but this is mostly a ''no DOA'' guarantee. meaning it will run when you install it. but these engines are reliable and durable, they usually ''take a lickin' and keep on tickin''.

buying a low mileage JDM ej25 .... you do not know the history , but chances are really good they are in good condition and they have good a history.

hope this helps.
 

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1993 Legacy LSi with still functioning Air Suspension, 1999 Outback 2.5L 5MT lab Rat
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Gen 1 EJ25 2.5l is a different animal than a Gen 2 EJ25 2.5L, esp. when it comes to head gasket construction. You can reasonably swap from a 2.5 to a 2.2 but you do give up a little horsepower. A well maintained Gen 1 2.5L longevity is on par with the 2.2L My opinion would be to rebuild the original engine, and use the late model STI MLS headgaskets. That should add a bit of stregnth to the rebuild, but nothing replaces regular & complete maintenance.
 
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