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1998 OBW
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164 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've cross-posted this to SL-I and NASIOC with no responses so I'm trying here before I order any parts...

I pulled the engine out of my car to put in a new clutch and the TSK1 kit along with fixing all the oil leaks. I'm going to replace the rear main seal and the oil separator plate, that'll cut down on my oil leaks. Also going to replace the valve cover and oil pan seals since they're leaking too.

Now I'm wondering what else I should do while I have the engine out. It sounds like it has piston slap/valvetrain noise when it's first started, low oil pressure when hot at idle, leaks/burns about a quart every 800-1,000 miles, and has a misfire on cyl 3 & 4 from 3,000 - 3,500 RPM.

I was considering tearing into it a bit more than just the oil leaks, but I don't have the time, patience or desire to get myself into a rebuild. I've just been running it on 10w-40 with a quart of Lucas additive in the crankcase for about 6 months & 5,000 miles now, which has helped the low oil pressure when warm problem. The PO put in new NGK plugs & wires with a new OEM coil trying to get the misfire to go away with no luck. Also has new O2 sensors for the same issue. The low oil pressure when warm & noise at startup came from the PO driving it about 75 miles with a bad oil pressure sensor that was spewing out oil everywhere (he kept pulling over and feeding it oil).

I bought the car with the assumption the motor was blown (he said it knocked and leaked oil everywhere, all I did was replace the bad oil pressure sender and change the oil since the knock was just at startup). I was planning on running this engine until it dies and replacing it with a known good one from a rotted out car, or getting an engine to rebuild as a side project. I have a '92 Lumina that's had piston slap at startup for the past 100,000 miles so I'm not too worried, I just take it easy until the engine warms up.

So now that I'm cleaning and disassembling, I keep finding more surprises.

For example, the timing belt cover has had the crank pulley rubbing against it, and it's stamped EJ22 on the inside. Along with that, whoever replaced the valve cover gaskets didn't install the one on the driver's side properly, because instead of being in the groove, the top rear of the gasket was just sitting there, not sealing anything at all. I found a missing bolt on the timing cover, along with a part of the block broken off where another bolt for the timing cover threads in.

Looks like the timing belt and I'm going to assume head gaskets were definitely changed at some point. Especially since everything is covered in silicone... ugh. There's a bunch of belt dust on the backside of the timing covers which concerns me - but that might be from the previous belt (after seeing the work done to this motor, not cleaning the timing covers wouldn't surprise me at all).

It's dirty as **** behind the timing cover from the oil leak on top of the motor, and the lack of timing cover seals but everything looks to be in good condition, although I'm not really sure of a *good* way to check it.



This is how the motor sits (still trying to find an engine stand to borrow):




Removed the leaking oil separator plate, going to get the new steel one - but this is the discustingness on the inside that I found:




Damage to cover:




Broken-ness:




I hope that's not important:




Not sure if that's left over from the oil leak, or the hydraulic assembly in the idler arm is leaking - although the belt is very tight:




Timing belt covers, note center cover says EJ22 and belt dust on it and the others:






Idler wheels are dirty as f**k! The gasket that's supposed to seal the covers was pretty much non-existent. In the few spots where there was a gasket, it was destroyed and hanging:



I have a bottle of engine degreaser and I'd like to spray it down and clean it up a bit. That oil leak made a mess of everything! Just worried about cleaning behind the timing cover, especially where that gasket is hanging and not attached to anything (5th picture). I'm wondering if the valve cover gasket not sealing was adding to the engine burning oil since the PCV probably wasn't functioning properly, if at all due to that - which might explain all that crud in the oil separator. Not sure if I should replace the timing belt, idlers & water pump. They seem fine and the pump isn't leaking, but I'm also not entirely sure how to check them.
 

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01 Outback H6 VDC, 97 GT wgn w/ ej22, 98 OBW w/ej22
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first, some folks run without timing belt covers, and i never buy and replace the TC gaskets, so don't worry about that.

if the belt has been saturated with oil it should be replaced.
how many miles on the car?
how many have you put on it.?
when was the timing belt last done?

if you want the engine to last and you do not know the age of the timing belt or IF the idlers have been / were replaced with the belt, i would do it all, including the water pump and tensioner. the most common t-belt failure is actually the toothed idler. this causes bent valves, $$$$.

the dust behind the cover is probably from the last belt issue. check the belt for wear, rubbing, damage. if there is evidence of damage then you should find the cause and correct it before you put the engine back together.

the wear on the timing cover is probably from the crank pulley wobbling due to the crank bolt being under torqued. spec is 125 - 137 ft. lbs. i use 140.

the igniter , mounted on the fire wall next to the trans mount / support might be the issue with the mis-fire. the coil fires 1 & 2 together and 3 & 4 together and is fed by the igniter . so check that.

and check your valve clearance. it will necver be easier than it is now, adjustment is a pain but due at 105K miles. the exhaust valves tend to tighten up over time.

and finally the rear mian seal. do not replace it unless it is really leaking. most, if not ALL of the mess on the rear of the block is from the separator plate, not the rear main. they are hard to replace correctly and usually don't leak unless they have been replaced. so check it before you just remove it. and NOTICE before you remove it just where / how deep it sits. too deep will be a re-do mistake. but if the gaskets have been done then maybe the rear main was done as well. but it is obvious that the sep plate is original.

the oil pan gaskets don't fail a lot. it could be leaking. but more likely that it just looks like it is leaking.

hth
 

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01 Outback H6 VDC, 97 GT wgn w/ ej22, 98 OBW w/ej22
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you may not have thought of this yet, but he crank is not lined up correctly for removing the timing belt. the key way should be straight down and the round holes in the sprocket should be in the 3 and 9 o'clock positions.

NOT the ARROWS, NEVER the ARROWS.

 

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1998 OBW
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164 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Car has 165k, I've put about 5k on it. I don't know any of the maintenance history, the guy I got it from traded his truck for the car and just daily drove it. He didn't know much about it at all. I'd like to find out all of the POs and call them and see what kind of maintenance was done to it, but I don't know how I'd get that information.

The belt doesn't look damaged in the least bit, everything looks fine, but a bit dirty. I have considered replacing the igniter, but was thinking it might be the valves since it usually only happens around 3-3.5K RPM, I figured if it was the igniter it would happen in most, if not all RPM ranges. I took a 260 mile trip about a month ago and reset the CEL codes before I left. All highway driving, the CEL didn't come on until 200 miles into the trip, usually it flashes at me whenever I hit 3K RPM.

All the mess on the back of the block is from the separator plate, the rear main seal isn't leaking but I figured it might be a good thing to replace (PM wise) since I have it out. I'll just leave it alone then.
 

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1998 OBW
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164 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Got the oil separator plate and associated hardware from the subie dealership today. I didn't realize how expensive a piece of metal and some screws could be! Wanted to get some Fujibond, but all they had was a HUGE tube and it was $50 so I passed on that and just got myself some of that copper hi-temp silicone.

I've gotta go back and bring in my valve cover gaskets because apparently there's several different designs for the 2.5 DOHC depending on the VIN. Since I didn't have the VIN on me, it'll just be easier to bring in a gasket tomorrow. They don't sell a kit either. I have to buy the bolt gaskets, the valve gaskets and the inner gaskets for the spark plug hole separately. The spark plug hole gaskets aren't leaking so I'll leave those alone and just get the ones for the bolts and cover. Also, there's no associated P/N for the oil pan gasket. I see one on Rockauto, but the parts guy told me they just use RTV.

Huffer over on SL-i says the piston ring on #3 has a crack or is burned... That would suck, but I'd think it would've had a catastrophic failure by now.
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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coupla wild thoughts;

is the oil pump on these prone to needing the backplate re-sealed?

if the oil pan is off, try to very carefully clean and inspect the pick-up tube for cracks. Some folks have found cracks on WRXes and STIs - I'm not aware of other models reporting that though.

hope you get it up and reliably running!
 

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1998 OBW
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Discussion Starter #7
When I pull the pan I'm going to inspect the pickup tube, I've heard about the cracks on the WRX motors. but I have the P/N for the o-ring/gasket on the pickup tubs so I'll be replacing that.

I think I'm going to leave the timing belt alone, it seems to be in good condition - just dirty. And if Huffer is right, then I'm just going to run it until it dies.

What's the saying? Subarus will run like crap for longer than other cars will run at all...?
 

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01 Outback LL Bean
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I would perform a compression and leak down test on the motor while it is out. The misfire on 2 and 4 could be due to burnt exhaust valve.

The piece of metal that goes over the timing belt just above the crank gear to keep the timing belt from jumping off is missing.

I would not worry about anything else. Most likely the only way to fix the low oil pressure and excessive oil consumption is to rebuild the bottom end.
 

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2012 limited, white, no moonroof or nav
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Check the numbers on the motor......I am betting someone swapped in a 2.2. Cheap way to go might be to find another 2.2, with lower mileage, and swap it again. Good luck.
 

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01 Outback H6 VDC, 97 GT wgn w/ ej22, 98 OBW w/ej22
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.I am betting someone swapped in a 2.2.
there are not very many DOHC ej22s out there. very, very, few in fact. maybe only one.

The piece of metal that goes over the timing belt just above the crank gear to keep the timing belt from jumping off is missing.
i think that piece is only on the manual trans engines, but i'm not 100% sure.
 

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1998 OBW
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Discussion Starter #13
That's what I thought when I saw that! I wonder if that's because I'm missing the timing belt guide on top of the crank pulley, or maybe the oil is from the tensioner... Should I be able to spin the bottom idler by hand, or should the belt be so tight that it's not possible?

EDIT: Just ordered the Gates timing belt kit w/ water pump from Rockauto along with the valve cover gasket set (Subie dealer didn't have them, along with auto parts stores). Now I need to go to the dealership and get the new-style water pump gasket along with the o-ring/gasket for the oil pickup tube since I completely spaced on those today. Tomorrow I'm heading to the used-subaru guys a town over to grab myself a timing belt cover & guide.
 

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1998 OBW
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Discussion Starter #14
So I've got the clutch replaced, TSK-1 kit, timing belt w/ water pump, belt guide, motor and trans mounts, pitch stop, valve cover gaskets, pickup tube o-rings, oil pan gasket and got the car back together.

The misfire is still there, and the car seems to idle around 500RPM and pretty rough. The roughness might be noticeable now from the Group-N mounts, could have been there all along and I never noticed. Misfire is only around 3-4k RPM still. So far no oil leaks and I'm re-learning to drive the car after those Group-N mounts and the Excedy clutch. Still noticeable slop in the drivetrain that I thought was the motor/trans mounts.

This was after turning the engine over a couple of times to make sure the timing was good:

 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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So I've got the clutch replaced, TSK-1 kit, timing belt w/ water pump, belt guide, motor and trans mounts, pitch stop, valve cover gaskets, pickup tube o-rings, oil pan gasket and got the car back together.
did you reseal the oil pump? you should have if you have oil pressure concerns. the oil pump has a backing plate and almost certainly a few of the screws are loose. tigthen those screws (with lock tite) and replace the oring and seal the oil pump case.

also while the engine was out/valve covers were off you could have measured how tight the exhaust valves were and could have entertained adjusting them (though they are very annoying to adjust - unless it has non-adjustable HLA style valve train), keep that in mind if you go in there again.

misfire:
1. NGK plugs and Subaru OEM wires
2. Coil pack (i forget which cylinders you said were misfiring)
3. I've repaired phantom cylinder misfires by swapping out intake manifolds on EJ25's - Not sure why, but I assume it's fuel injector or supply related and likely caused by prior overheating episodes.
4. Exhaust valves

the oil pick up tubes don't crack in non-turbo motors.

that crank sprocket metal cover is completely benign and unnecessary, it's only for building/shipping purposes and I believe they only installed that on 1996 manual transmission Ej25's.
 

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1998 OBW
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Discussion Starter #18
No, between here, NASIOC and several other forums I was never told to reseal the oil pump. I didn't bother with the exhaust valves because i didn't want to take the engine to the dealership for adjusting, not something I was interested in doing myself after reading up on it.

New NGK plugs and the OEM wires were swapped out for Bosch ones? I don't remember the exact brand but they were recommended on several Subaru forums as replacement to OEM.

The belt guide is necessary on MT equipped cars. If the car is left in gear while parked it could jump timing, which I'm pretty sure is what happened in my case because the PO never used the hand brake. From talking to the dealership and browsing the net all M/T equipped cars have the timing belt guide.

Haven't seen the oil light come on at idle since it's been put back together, even with it's low idle. We'll see after the oil thins out in a couple thousand miles.
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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No, between here, NASIOC and several other forums I was never told to reseal the oil pump.
weird, that's standard practice for most folks doing lots of Subaru work, should be done with every timing belt change. it can be done in an hour once you're familiar so not too hard to jump back in if you need to later.

for technical stuff like this, USMB (ultimate subaru message board) tends to be more advantageous forum in my opinion.
 
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