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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 2005 2.5L Outback had an engine failure (a lack of oil), so I bought a replacement engine from a company in California to swap in. The replacement engine is said to have under 50,000 miles on it.

The engine showed up, and after removing the intake manifold to start swapping in components from my engine, I found two of the cylinder intake valves are covered in a brown sludge and rusty buildup.

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What would cause this?

Am I correct in assuming that this could be the tip of the iceberg of problems this engine might have in the actual cylinders?

The other two cylinder valve areas look more like what I expected; some carbon buildup, but mostly normal looking. I'm wondering if the engine was pulled from another vehicle and left out in the rain; the closed valves had standing water, and the open valves drained into the cylinders... but I don't know if that actually explains the weird brown sludge, or even if that is the case, if anyone should use this engine without a complete tear-down.

My instinct tells me this engine should not be installed; who knows what crud has made its way into the cylinders through the valves that were open (I assume that's why they are "normal looking")

Thoughts?

Thanks,
James
 

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2020 Outback Premier 2.5i
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1,212 Posts
Unless you like swapping engines on a frequent basis I would get deeper into it - remove both heads and sent out for rebuild and checking (could even be warped) but first drop the pan and look at the crank. Could be rust or sludge where you least expect it or even remains or byproducts of little critters. Maybe even pop off a main cap or two; check camshafts, etc. I agree that it seems like it was stored on the ground if not under a leaky roof. Also, oil and water will make a sludge by the way. Question is, would that be from storage or operation? Only a deeper look could tell.
 

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2010 Outback 3.6R 2014 Legacy 2.5i
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^ what he said and they can pay shipping for engine to go back and new one to come

that is water sitting in engine for a long time damage
 

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2010 2.5 CVT Limited
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Caveat emptor.
Did the seller make any claims this engine was recently running and will run when installed as-is? Or just that it is low mileage?
You could try pulling the spark plugs and drain plug to scope the internals with a fiber optic camera. If there is pervasive corrosion or sludge that's not so good.
 

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2004 Subaru Outback H6.30 35 anniversary edition
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249 Posts
That pic quickly poured cold water on my ideas of having an engine replaced instead of doing HG for instance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
To follow up, I contacted the seller (with confidence thanks to all your replies) and they were very apologetic, esp. once they saw the pictures. They paid to have the engine shipped back to them, and as soon as it was picked up from my driveway, they shipped a new engine out to me. I pulled the intake manifold on that, the valves are much more aligned with what I expected.

Thank you all for your feedback!
 

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2020 Outback Premier 2.5i
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1,212 Posts
WOW. I'm impressed. It's so nice to know when a business stands behind its product and values its reputation. Compare that with those who want to steal your money through some sort of phishing scam.
 
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