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22 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2003 Legacy Outback that threw a connecting rod throught the block.

I found a 1999 Outback Short block at a junkyard that I believe was used with the dual overhead cams heads. The short block has 130xxx miles on it so I'm planning to rebuild it and put pistons for the SOHC engine in so the valves don't hit the pistons.

I found a shop in Utah that sells parts for rebuilding the engine and will also do the machining work, however they do not assemble engines. Their rebuilding kits make the cost of rebuilding the engine practical and they have stated that they are a large supplier of parts to the rebuiling market. However, since I haven't used them yet, I'm hesitant to post a link to their website.

I have the Subaru shop manual for this car. It calls out a NUMBER of very expensive, specialty tools some which are not in stock and not scheduled to be made until March (!).

So for the experts on this forum, what specialty tools do I NEED to purchase to rebuild this engine? Which tools can I build myself with a drill press and a welder? Are there any drawings or sketches of these specialty tools available that I could have a machine shop fabricate for me?

Any help will be greatly appreciated

666 Posts

Just the fact that you are asking these questions about which specialty tools are required leads me to believe that you are likely rebuilding your first engine. If this is the case, you are in over your head and will most likely not be entirely successful, and will find that you've spent a lot of money to be back at the same place you are now .... looking for a replacement engine.

If that's not the case, and you have an experienced engine builder looking over your shoulder while you do the work, then that makes a lot more sense.

I would suggest that you should really be looking at just replacing your engine with a known good one that can be verified as such. You would most likely save yourself a lot of grief and money in the long run. I apologize if you are offended by my comments here, but your post above comes across as someone trying to tackle a job that they are not qualified for. Good Luck, which ever way you choose to go.

Premium Member
11,882 Posts
I would tend to agree. Not only is it more practical, but it is also a lot less expensive to purchase a low mileage engine to swap out.

On the other hand, if you have another car and are up to learning while you perform the rebuild, and are patient in your endeavor, and not afraid of frustrations, know how to use measuring tools, then a short list is:

1/4 inch metric ratchet set
3/8 metric ratchet set; deep and shallow sockets
1/2 metric ratchet set; deep and shallow sockets
1/2 2' or 2.5' breaker bar
3/8 micrometer inch pound torque wrench
1/2 micrometer foot pound torque wrench
Metric combination wrenches to include: 8, 10, 12, 14, 17, 18, 19 and 21, 22mm
Spring clamp tool
Channel lock pliers
Needle nose pliers; short and long
Phillips and Common screw driver set with small to large in different lengths
Pry bars, in different lengths with one at least 3'
Feeler gauge
spark plug gap tool
small punch
ball peen hammer
Dead blow hammer
Seal puller/installer
Extendable magnet with small magnet head (for when you drop a fastener in a crevice)
Good Lighting; the brighter the better, just watch out for the heat output of the light
PB Blaster
Stud extractor set (for the bolts that may break; if this doesn't get it out, a drill, torch or replacement part works also)
Cylinder hone
Piston Ring clamp
Royal Purple Assembly lube or equivalent synthetic

There is a way to get around the tool to hold the crankshaft still to loosen and torque the pulley bolt. If you have air tools, a 3/8 impact works good, otherwise, you can fashion a holder to work by hand.

Then you can pull the engine, tear it down, clean, have the machine work done and reassemble the engine.

The tool list above will cost you about as much as a used engine. You could get by without the 1/4 inch set, but you may find it handy in tight spots.


22 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Alternative to the Subaru Specialty tools

Thanks for the advice. I hope that I'm not looking for a new motor after this is done! I've got about 6 weeks before this car needs to be in service so I have a little time to work on it. I've found that with most projects it's about the same cost to buy the tools and perform the job as it would be to have the job done. But the second time, the investment in tools is like money in the bank.

You are right that this is the first engine that I'm rebuilding. I've swapped out small-block chevy motors back in my high school days, but I haven't rebuilt a motor. I have a brother and brother and law to turn to for advice when I get stuck. I wanted the challenge of rebuilding a Subaru... and my 15 year old son wants to get his hands dirty too so I'm looking forward to a good father-son project.

We have a tool chest from 40 years of collecting tools. I think the oldest tool in the chest is the magnet on an extension stick that is used to retrieve the parts that I dropped :-/

Ones on your list that I don't have are the
  • spring clamps,
  • pry bars (Where are those used?? separating the engine and transmission or...??)
  • PB Blaster (I'm not familiar with this penetrating oil, I'll get some)
  • Cylinder hone (I'm planning to have the machine shop do the honing)
  • Seal installer (See list below, there are many seal installers in the Subaru special tools list)
What I'm most concerned about are the tools that cost over $100 each from Subaru that are listed in the shop manual. Here's the list
(The prices are linked to the source of the price and the picture of the tool, click on the price to see it)
Buy a Torx Plus bit set on $23.00
499497000 TORX Plus T40? $9.92 [T40
499057000 TORX Plus T50? [Used for removing the flywheel Torx Plus 50 head according to post
499767200 Valve Guide Reamer [will have machine shop do reaming if necessary]
499767400 Valve Guide Reamer [will have machine shop do reaming if necessary]
499767700 Valve Guide Adjuster [Will have machine shop adjust valve guide if necessary]
499767800 Valve Guide Adjuster [Will have machine shop adjust valve guide if necessary]
499037100 Connecting Rod Bushing Remover and Installer $16.48 [I assume that this tool is used with a hydraulic press.. that I don't have .. so I think I'll have the machine shop press in the bushings]
498457100 Engine Stand adapter [I have an engine stand that already has functional adapters]
498747300 Piston Guide [I purchased a ring compressor from HarborFreight for $10, I will use oversize pistons so I doubt that the tapered ring compressor would work anyway]

498497100 Crankshaft stopper $96.00 [Bent piece of metal I think I can fabricate with a 1/8" X 1" piece of cold rolled steel from the hardware store, a vice to bend it in and a drill press to drill one hole)
498857100 Valve Oil Seal Guide $38.59 [I don't think I need this to disassemble the heads, Is this needed for assembly?]
499017100 Piston Pin Guide $41.33 [I assume that I can just just a center punch or a steel 1/2 or 5/8" rod or even a wood dowel to perform the function of this tool]
499587200 Crankshaft oil seal installer $152.61 [What is the alternative for this tool?]
499597100 Crankshaft oil seal guide $51.95 [What is the alternative for this tool?]
499587500 Oil Seal Installer $78.72 for Camshaft oil seals [Is there an alternative?]
499597000 Oil Seal Guide $23.53 [Alternatives?]
499587700 Camshaft Oil Seal Installer $114.92 Use to install Cylinder head plug [Alternative?]
499207400 Camshaft Sprocket Wrench $244.53 [Alternatives?]
499587100 Oil Seal installer $99.24 [Alternatives?]
499718000 Valve Spring Remover $89.40 [Alternatives?]
499977100 Crank Pulley Wrench $92.99 [Home-made one described in this post: ]
499987500 Crankshaft Socket $68.07 [Alternatives?]
499097700 Piston Pin Remover slide hammer $344.00 According this this YouTube Video can make a tool from 1/2" steel rod or use a 1/8" key stock and push piston out from the 'other' access hole [ link
, ]

Alternatives Welcomed!

22 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I found a link with many good photos showing the rebuilding process without the use of ANY special Subaru tools here.

In one of the forum posts the poster stated that the rear-main-seal can be overdriven and if that happens it leaks badly.

Another poster described the use of a 'really long thin screwdriver' do drive the pins out. Another uses a long 18" drill bit extension.

The alignment tool can be a piece of copper tubing cut to length

I'm concerned at the moment that the crank may be the wrong displacement. The 2003 is a 79mm displacement, while the 1999 may be a EJ25D with a 75mm displacment.

666 Posts
I'll jump back in on seal installers. Within the last year I did seal replacements on the twin cams and crank shaft on my 1990 300zx, while doing a timing belt change. Instead of the required installers I found short sections of plastic pipe from the plumbing and electrical sections of Home Depot that fit the seals' diameters perfectly. Putting the seals in was a snap using them. I just had to ensure that I struck the pipe ends squarely to seat each one.

When you purchase the seals, take them with you when you search out the pipe diameters you'll need.

And now that we've all read how and why you're tackling the job for the first time ever .... good for you, dad! It makes a great deal of sense, and the both of you will learn a lot about engines ... and each other. I wish my dad had taken the time to do the same with me when I was growing up.

Good Luck with your project!!! I hope it goes well.

Premium Member
11,882 Posts
I suggested pry bars for two reasons:

You may get the engine out without removing the axles, but its been my experience in teaching a few techs that when you go to put the engine in, the lower studs are going to give you a headache while you try to stab it in. Its easier to remove the lower studs, stab the engine, then reinstall the studs until you've done a few and can get it stabbed with the studs in. The only way to install the studs is with the axles removed. Removing the axles, pry bar.

The other is, yes, to separate parts.

Have fun. Stop when you get frustrated and walk around the block to clear your head. Don't get frazzled at questions your kid asks either. I think you both will be learning quite a bit.

2,342 Posts
Have fun. Stop when you get frustrated and walk around the block to clear your head. Don't get frazzled at questions your kid asks either. I think you both will be learning quite a bit.
I've done a few engine swaps on chevys, and this is the best advice. Sometimes you get "boxed" into thinking a certain way and that's when stuff starts to break. Getting away from the problem can help you to figure out better ways to accomplish your current task.
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