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Old 02-18-2008, 08:12 AM   #1
suby53
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Unhappy 2.5 dohc to JDM 2.5 dohc... Need Help!

Well I swapped out the motor in my '97 Outback on saturday and the install went well but the start up did not go as well. I bought a low mileage JDM 2.5 dohc motor from a local company to replace the bunk motor the car came with. Before installing the JDM motor I swapped over the intake manifold and cam/crank sensors from the old motor. I did not however swap over the coolant crossover pipe with the coolant sensors or either of the oil sensors. I also swapped out the timing belt just to be safe. When we put the belt on, all of the timing marks were lined up perfectly but the marks on the belt were not lined up. I counted teeth on the belt and it seemed we either could have the teeth counted out right, the marks lined up, or the lines on the belt lined up, but not all at once. I figured the marks on the cam would be the safest way to go and went with that.

We put the motor in and got it all hooked back up. Everything went fine. We started it up and it idled fine considering it has been sitting in a warehouse for a while. A TON of white smoke came out upon start up but we figured it was condensation built up in the cylinders from sitting. We let it idle for a few minutes and shut it off to top off the fluids. Oil was a little low so we added some and topped off the coolant. Started it back up and pulled it out of the garage as not to smoke us out. Well I gave it a few short revs and it started to knock pretty loudly but was still running smooth. I got scared of it breaking so I shut it off. No CEL at this point.

I started it back up and the knock was still there but it idled fine so I let it run hoping it would just work itself in. After a few minutes the knock went away but when I tapped the gas it would start to idle rough and then smooth out eventually.

I took it for a drive and it was starting to get warm on the temp gauge so I took it back and swapped the thermostat as it had the old JDM one in it. Took it for another drive, same thing. It would get hot but no hot water was getting to the heater core. After swapping the thermostat the water was then flowing to the heater core though. I never let it get real hot, I always shut it off about up the temp gauge at most.

This is where the weird stuff starts happening. As it idled in the driveway, and it would start to warm up everytime I tapped the gas the temp gauge would move and then stay high. If I held the throttle in the temp gauge would steadily climb until I let off. I took it for another short drive and it was getting warm quick. I had to turn the car off and let it cool like 3 or 4 times so it didn’t overheat. After the last time of letting it cool down, I started it back up and the AT Oil Temp light blinked a few times and the car seemed like it was running on 2 or 3 cylinders and had no power at all.

So now to find out the problem. The CEL finally came on at the end of this whole dilemma but I have yet to pull the codes. I am pretty sure the timing is off a tooth or 2 and could be causing the overheating and/or the rough idle after giving it some gas.

I am going to pull the intake manifold today and swap the coolant crossover pipe and all the oil sensors to maybe fix the coolant problem.

I am also going to time the car and try to get it all realigned and worked out. What is the timing supposed to be at? I see the marks on the cover and the pulley but what is the proper procedure for checking timing on the DOHC 2.5 motors?

Other than all that the water pump could be bad but seeing as its mechanical I wouldn’t imagine it would stop flowing water all together.

I need any help, suggestions, whatever to try and get this thing running smooth. The motor has a 6 month warrantee but hopefully I won’t have to pull it all back out cause that just sucks. Thanks for any help or suggestions as to how I can fix this problem. Ask any questions if there is something I didn’t mention or didn’t give enough info on! Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-18-2008, 09:42 AM   #2
Matt Monson
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It's likely running hot because you haven't properly purged all of the air out of the cooling system. That's the most reasonable explanation.

I do have to ask the "stupid" questions however. IF you are trying to keep things reliable and are doing maintenance to prevent problems, why are you using used parts like a timing belt and thermostat? That can't be more than $50 worth of parts!!! Furthermore, assuming that because the engine is from a Japanese junkyard that these parts will be bad doesn't make any sense. You need to learn to objectively assess the condition of the parts and not just assume that your old parts are better than the ones off of the "new" engine. Furthermore, if you didn't replace the timing belt tensioner with a new one (yes, this is an expensive part) it could explain the clacking you heard as the car warmed up. This may fail on you any time down the road without warning...

Also, read your warranty on the engine very carefully. They usually require that you replace the timing belt and the water pump to have the warranty in effect. So, that said, start over. Do it right. Get a NEW timing belt, water pump, thermostat and timing belt tensioner and redo the work. Practice makes perfect, right?
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Old 02-18-2008, 10:50 AM   #3
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I replaced the timing belt and thermostat with NEW units. Not reusing the old ones. And by replace the timing belt tensioner, do you mean the hydraulic unit you need to compress to tension? Or are you referring to one of the tensioner wheels? All of the tensioner wheels felt good and had no play in them and they spun freely.

I am most afraid that if the timing is off it ran one of the valves into the pistons and that was the knock I heard at the beginning. And maybe it bent the valve which is why the knock went away? If this were the case wouldn't a valve coming into contact with a piston cause major internal damage and possibly prevent the motor from even running?

Also, what are subarus timing supposed to be at so I know what to check it against when I check the timing later today?

I will check the cooling system and make sure all the air is out and see if that helps the cooling issue.

When I first got the motor all the seals around the water pump, oil pump, and valve covers were new. The company that distributes these motors removes and inspects these components when they undergo all the testing for leaks, compression, etc. So I would imagine the waterpump would be in good condition or replaced? I know that I shouldn't rely on that but it seems the problem is elsewhere.

I am most concerned about the knock and the rough idle. It feels like a misfire but it has a newer coil, new plugs and wires and it is getting spark.

I do think the timing is off and maybe that is why it idles rough and has low power upon accelerating? What are some other possible symptoms of the timing being off a tooth or 2?

Thanks for helping!
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Old 02-18-2008, 11:04 AM   #4
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Well, after all the failed test drives we let it run in the garage w/o the rad. cap on for a few minutes and filled the coolant as it needed it so it should be pretty well purged?

Does anybody know what the timing should be at while its running and how to check it? Like any little things you need to disconnect/connect before getting a correct reading?

Last edited by suby53; 02-18-2008 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 02-18-2008, 12:41 PM   #5
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If all parts are new; belt, tensioner, waterpump then you should be all set to go.

When BURPING the coolant, you have to give it revs so the coolant cycles. When you feel HEAT through the vents inside the car, you have most if not all of the air out of the system. I might have to do a coolant burping 101 video when I get this motor into my dad's outback.

The KNOCKING, IMO is because the motor has been sitting for a long time. I've experienced this through one of my friend's swap, and my old EJ22T. It'll tap tap tap for like 10-15mins. Once the oil goes through the system and things heat up to temp, it quiets down and will run regular. IF NOT then there's something wrong with your rods, or the engine has piston slap. Our '98 outback 2.5L DOHC has this apparent piston slap on cold starts especially in the winter right now. In the summer there's less of a tap and it goes away when warmed up.

Timing
well....as long as you have the marks on the timing belt with the notches on the cam gears and crank pulley, that's all that's needed. No other timing needed because the car doesn't run a distributor. I DO crank the motor so ALL the notches are up, but the don't all have to be STRAIGHT UP. As long as I have my marks on the belt to match the notches, that's all that matters.
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Old 02-18-2008, 01:33 PM   #6
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x2 for air in your coolant.

When I initialy started up my RS after the motor swap, I had no coolant flowing through the engine at all...even after MULTIPLE burps. I had to take off the top radiator hose and fill up the engine from there. After that I just burped it like normal...untill all the air was out.

I'm interesting to see what the kock is from though...
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Old 02-18-2008, 03:10 PM   #7
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Well the knocking went away after a few minutes of it running.

See the problem I think I have is that the timing is off. Instead of aligning the lines on the belt, I aligned the lines on the gears with the marks on the cover backing plate. It was a Goodyear belt so I'm not sure how accurate it would be but I'm assuming it would need to be accurate or else it would screw over a bunch of people! Lol.

So maybe what I should try is to fill the coolant up in the motor through the upper hose and burp it real good and then align the cam gears with the lines on the belt instead of the cover plate and see if that helps the idle and rough running/no power problem.

Thanks alot guys for all your help! I'm gonna do all those changes this afternoon and post the results!
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Old 02-18-2008, 03:26 PM   #8
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remember that YOUR motor is a DOHC. The cam gears have 2 notches together and 1 notch 90* from the 2 notches. Align the markings on the BELT to the single notch on the cam gears. MAKE SURE you have the crank notch up. When you INSTALL the belt, the cam gears will NOT ALWAYS be straight up or say the 2 notches on each cam gear will NOT sit straight across from each other.

This is for a WRX, BUT your DOHC is the same with the notches and marks. The amount of tooth will probably not be the same unless you want to count them to confirm that the WRX timing belt is the same or NOT the same.
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Old 02-18-2008, 03:30 PM   #9
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That is the same diagram I went off of out of the Haynes manual. See my problem is that I aligned the marks on the cam gears with the marks on the other gears/cover plate instead of aligning the marks on the gears with the lines on the belt! Dam!

Well that is going to be the first thing I changed when I get off work! Hopefully that is it! I thought the gear position was critical and the people at Goodyear (who made the belt) were just idiots! Ha ha, whos the idiot now?!
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Old 02-18-2008, 03:34 PM   #10
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diagrams are ALWAYS perfect. lolz
but yup, align Belt markings to Cam gear notch, NOT TIMING BELT COVERS. You'll be fine

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Old 02-18-2008, 03:59 PM   #11
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Sweeet! Thanks alot man! I've been freaking out thinking about how I probably wasted tons of money on a project I just ruined. Phew!
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Old 02-18-2008, 04:01 PM   #12
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^^^ That's totally assbackwards from the way I would do it....but if it works, so be it.

I always go off the cover marks and pulley marks. If I have any question on belt slack or positioning, I'll count the teeth.

ymmv....
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Old 02-18-2008, 04:31 PM   #13
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Ya I tried counting teeth too but when the belt was on there with the proper teeth distance then neither the belt marks or the cover marks lined up.? Damit, now I'm all confused again!
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Old 02-18-2008, 08:37 PM   #14
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Ok, good news! The motor is not ruined like I thought so. Firstly I burped the cooling system and it ended up taking another half gallon. And also I tightened the EGR tube that plugs into the driver side head and into the EGR valve. Since that was only finger tight I assume it was creating a large intake leak which was making the engine run lean and thus overheating. It started right up and idled great! I took it for a little drive and the CEL was on but it ran really good so I figured it was something small. Turned it off for a few minutes and started it back up and the CEL was gone! So I started driving it home and all went well until about half way home when the CEL came on again and it lost power and was sort of falling on its face and jerking when at cruising rpms. I limped it down to the nearest Autozone and the code pulled was P0325. It was for the knock sensor malfunction. He printed me out a reciept with possible symptoms including a bad sensor, loose connection to sensor, engine knock or rattle, or low fuel pressure. I listened closely and couldn't hear any detonation or knocking on the way home but it was sluggish and jerky.

I checked the timing with a timing light and it was at about 14-15 degrees BTDC. Which is I assume is ok since it was idling so well. Unless I'm doing it wrong? But one of the cams could be off a tooth or 2 so I'm gonna check it again this weekend and see how the timing belt looks with the gears.

Any suggestions or possible fixes appreciated!
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Old 02-18-2008, 08:51 PM   #15
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IIRC the stock knock sensor is sapposed to be facing a certain direction or whatnot...

is your mounted correctly ?
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Old 02-18-2008, 09:05 PM   #16
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i didn't know the knock sensor was supposed to face a certain direction? I'm not sure what direction it is facing now. Would a bad sensor or a unpositioned sensor make the engine run bad like it is? Like all the jerking and sluggishness?
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Old 02-18-2008, 11:18 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm View Post
^^^ That's totally assbackwards from the way I would do it....but if it works, so be it.

I always go off the cover marks and pulley marks. If I have any question on belt slack or positioning, I'll count the teeth.

ymmv....
Jay Storm
I'm wondering how you go about doing it.

I do crank it so that the correct notches are all facing UP then I take the belt off and install the new one. I know what it does HAVE to be STRAIGHT UP for the belt to work, as long as the markings are aligned with the notches.
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Old 02-19-2008, 07:44 AM   #18
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Ya thats what I thought too. I made sure all the cam gears were aligned with the notches and the crank notch lined up also. I'm taking the car into my neighbors mechanic shop this afternoon and have them work the bugs out.
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Old 02-19-2008, 04:22 PM   #19
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^^^Maybe a misunderstanding. It seemed like you placed alot of emphasis on the belt markings. I favor the pulley and cover markings, and confirm with tooth counts, that's all. If I wanted to put an old 100k mile belt on, I wouldn't have belt markings to match up (not that I would use an old belt).


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Old 02-19-2008, 05:56 PM   #20
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Well the timing belt was put on correctly, luckily! The CEL for the knock sensor malfunction goes on and off as it pleases as of now. I read in the CEL log forum that when that code for the knock sensor is triggered it retards the timing to prevent engine damage which would explain the sluggishness and loss of power. I took the car into my neighbors shop today so his guys could check everything over and make sure its all in good order!
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Old 02-19-2008, 07:00 PM   #21
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I hate that KNOCK SENSOR problem. My '99 had this sluggish problem for a LONG time and I hated it. I dealt with it until I got my swap and I am SO happy I don't have to go through that again.
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