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'98 Outback 2.5MT
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New member from Norway

Greetings from Norway! I currently own my third Subaru, a 1998 Legacy Outback 2.5 MT which I bought this winter primarily for ice driving. I have previously owned a 2004 JDM Legacy 2.0T B-spec which broke in less than 24 hours after picking it up most likely due to bad rod bearings. After that I bought a 2008 Legacy Boxer Diesel with an engine out of a 2010 Impreza as the early boxer diesels where having issues with oil starvation and the original motor broke. Now I suspect my 98 Outback also has rod knock.. kinda just my luck.. :)
 

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Hi guys! I recently bought a 1998 Legacy Outback 2.5 which I suspect has rod knock. The knocking sound is most prominent at idle or low rpms.. it kinda goes away when I rev it. I uploaded a clip on YouTube so if anyone have any idea if this could be rod knock or in fact something else, please let me know :)


 

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is this your first subaru?

I hear a little odd noise, but not a lot.

any signs of a timing belt kit done recently?

head gaskets done or undone? (tabs sticking out on the head gaskets and or intake).
 

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merged threads and moved to 95-99 section.
 

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'98 Outback 2.5MT
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Timing belt done about three years ago. I'll start by checking the rollers. Don't think the headgaskets have been done. The car's got less than 90k miles on it.
 

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'03 outback limited, '01 Outback Limited, '01 Legacy L wagon, '96 Legacy Brighton wagon
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Doesn't sound like rod knock - rod knock gets louder with increased revs, not less loud.

Try listening to the engine in various places with either a stethoscope or a solid rod against your ear to see where it is loudest. Won't tell yo u what is actually wrong, but at least will point you in the correct direction to start looking.
 

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sometimes I think the loudest noise on them is just a cold exhaust manifold that has to heat up and expand a little to quiet down.

any subaru engine made before 2000 makes a bit mild tapping particular when cold,...such got smoother with the advent of the EJ251.


even my own H4 EJ251 is noticeably nosier then my H6 from same 2002 US model year.
(nothing wrong with either, and the H6 has more miles, ... the EZ set up is just plain QUIET, compared to the plain EJ engines).


I am not ruling out that you have a problem yet, ...any EJ25D powered car may have problems. (people sell the subarus with the worst engine the company ever made all the time, ...hopefully the buyer knows that and intends to fix or swap engines, and gets it CHEAP).
 

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'98 Outback 2.5MT
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
After listening with a stethoscope I'm pretty sure it's the timing belt tensioner. The timing belt was replaced 3 years ago and they probably didn't replace the tensioner. I've ordered a new one and gonna try and replace it myself.

Btw. I can't seem to find the OBD socket on my car. There is no "hatch" in the panel under the steering wheel and no socket underneath the panel either. I thought these cars were OBD2. It's a 98 Outback, EU model.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I just realized the head gaskets are probably blown as well.. wish I'd done some more research before buying a car with this piece of crap EJ251 engine. Soo.. given I paid roughly a 1000 bucks for this car it doesn't seem likely I'd spend another ~2000bucks to get the HG's done. Really a shame since the car is in very good overall condition with less than 100k miles on it :(
 

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2005 OBXT Limited, VF37, STI intake, 5MT
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That generation received the EJ25D.. which are notorious, at this age, for blowing headgaskets. If you can do the work yourself, the parts costs are generally under $500 USD.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
This is an EU model with a SOHC EJ25 so I figured it had to be the EJ251.. not sure though. Would it be less work doing the HG's on these since they are SOHC? I've never done something like this before but been wrenching on alot of different cars for about 20 years. Since the car is now pretty much worthless it's tempting to try and fix it myself..
 

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True, you are in Norway... What does the strut tower tag say for engine model?

The phase 1 SOHC engines are cake to do head gaskets (you don't even have to remove the valve cover!), the phase 2 are nearly as simple.

The DOHC do require more work, but nothing incredibly difficult. Mostly labor intensive, hence the high repair bill.
 

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Sounds promising :) Will check the tag ASAP


and can you find a build date (month / year)?

that is either a SOHC EJ22, a DOHC EJ25D,

or a every early SOHC EJ251 automatic = EJ252 manual. (world year 98 would be the first year of the SOHC EJ25 engine).


AND possibly someone swapped in a different engine over these 20 years.
(typically to trade away from the problematic DOHC EJ25D) ).

how about some pics of the engine top and timing belt cover?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Sorry.. had a bit of a brain fart :p It is in fact an EJ25D. I could swear it only had one cam gear on each side but I remembered incorrectly. Soo.. not sure if this is something I wanna get myself into. Some people say it's easier to take the whole motor out so..
 

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I know the EUDM/JDM markets got some "weird" things compared to USDM.

But yes, it's much less swearing, skinned knuckles and aching back to pull the engine and replace the head gaskets than to do it in the car. By comparison, it's only a few more connections, some bolts, and an engine lift. You've already drained the coolant (and oil), pulled the manifolds, etc. And it's MUCH harder to get the head bolts to play nicely and not have the lifter buckets fall out of the head while mounted in the car.

If you're going to do it, pull the engine.
 

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Yup.. sounds like the most reasonable thing to do.. thanks for the input :)
definitely pull any subaru engine to do head gaskets. it makes it so you can see, make sure things are clean, and lined up.

pulling and replacing EJ type subaru engines is fast and easy compared to almost all other cars with such small engines in them.



instead of doing head gaskets on this consider finding a EJ22 with a EGR. this would let you go from the worst engine the company ever made to one of the best.

as described in this thread (its all US spec discussion though).

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...248329-ej22-swap-into-ej25d-dohc-vehicle.html

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if you do head gaskets on this one, make sure you replace the main bearing at the same time. that gets weak from a head gasket situation, and after the engine is put back in the car after the HG job, the main bearing fails within 3 weeks. and the engine has to come out and be torn down again.

(sad people here with posts like that. = fixed at a paid garage for $2000 US, and then needs more expensive work, and they want to sell the car unfixed, as they have had enough of it. = and these cars are sitting all over the place as a cheap AWD, looking for poor people to buy them, without enough money to toss at them and fix.).
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
is this your first subaru?

I hear a little odd noise, but not a lot.

any signs of a timing belt kit done recently?

head gaskets done or undone? (tabs sticking out on the head gaskets and or intake).
By tabs sticking out, do you mean like in the attached photo? Is this a sign of stock headgaskets?
 

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