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Old 03-05-2011, 11:29 AM   #1
geronimo81
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9psi on 91 No EM

Default Major Maintenance on a Phase I EJ22

So I spent the last week doing a whole bunch of maintenance on my wife's car. A 1996 Legacy Outback with a Phase I EJ22 and a 5spd. It has had a minor oil leak in the bell housing for a long time and I decided to finally pull the motor and get it fixed. While I was in there I planned to replace the clutch. I knew that the oil leak was likely from the oil baffle plate on the back of the motor but decided to replace the rear main seal anyway. I also pulled the oil pan and resealed it as well as resealing the oil baffle plate. The screws on the baffle plate were very loose (no surprise there).

Pulling the motor


It took me 3 1/2 hours to get the motor out. I don't think it has ever been pulled in it's entire 240,xxx miles. Everything went pretty smooth until I tried to get the nut in front of the left front axle off of the bell housing. It was very stuck. I ended up getting up on top of the motor and reaching down and pushing with a wrench until it started to break loose. I went back underneath to finish it off and realized that the nut was just stripping. I couldn't get a 6 point socket on it with the axle in the way so I decided to separate the axle from the tranny. I popped the pin out and the axle couldn't slide off. I didn't have the big socket to remove the axle from the wheel hub so I decided to drop the suspension. I undid the strut tower from the body and jacked the car up so I could slide the ramp out of the way. At this point the axle was very close to sliding off but still wouldn't. I was laughing at myself cause it was either that or start swearing. I finally decided to continue on as if I was pulling the motor so I undid the motor mounts and tranny mount and started lifting the motor. Finally the axle slid off and I was able to get the nut off of the bell housing. Here is the motor.


Here is the engine bay sans motor
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Last edited by geronimo81; 03-05-2011 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 03-05-2011, 11:36 AM   #2
geronimo81
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Clutch and flywheel. I believe the clutch is original....the flywheel has never been machined (not conclusive evidence) but we bought the car with 135000 miles and have put on the rest without ever replacing it.


Engine bay after a lot of scrubbing

Bell housing

My new favorite tool
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Old 03-05-2011, 12:00 PM   #3
geronimo81
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So after getting the motor out I realized that the intake manifold gaskets and the driver's side head gasket were leaking. It was a little low on coolant when I drained the radiator/motor. I had never done head gaskets but was excited to give it a try. First thing I did was go on RS25 and read the DIY on head gaskets. I found out that the SOHC EJ25 has the exact same steps and torque numbers as the EJ22. So Monday night I went out to the shop and started the head gaskets.
Pistons are covered in carbon buildup

Heads are the same


I could have just cleaned the mating surfaces but I couldn't just leave all of that carbon buildup in the combustion chambers. So a few hours later.....



Random owl pellet I found under my IM just chillin.

I see a rib, tooth, femur...what do you see?


1am and I'm finally putting the head gaskets on

I used a Phase II EJ22 head gasket for that extra compression bump. I don't recommend this as I am not sure it is actually safe.
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Old 03-05-2011, 12:16 PM   #4
geronimo81
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So I went home and went to bed finally at 2:30am. I knew I would be tired the next day but just wanted to get the head gaskets done. After work I went back at it and had some help from a guy I contacted on the local Subie forum. Todd helped me get the IM and clutch on and torqued down. Next we put the motor back in. It fought us a lot but we ended up pinching the little inspection cover on the bottom of the bell housing in between the motor/tranny so we pulled that off and started over. It went much smoother after that. We quit after we got the bell housing, motor mounts, and tranny mount all bolted up.

Next day I put everything back together and I got the timing belt back on. I wanted to start it to test the timing before putting the covers back on so I hooked up the battery and started it. The timing was off so I went to try again. I figured out that the tensioner was dead and started looking for one. I found out that the dealership was actually going to be the cheapest option (I convinced the parts guy to put me on a COD account when I started the project) If I had been willing to wait for an internet purchase to show up I might have saved a little money but I ended up paying $124 for the part (NAPA wanted $166).

Upon start-up the engine was extremely noisy. I was freaking out a little bit cause when I revved it I thought I could hear the pistons hitting the heads. I had to drive it home though so I did. About a mile from home the power steering stopped working and the battery light came on so I drove it the rest of the way on battery. I shut it down as soon as I got home and figured out the alternator tensioner bolt had stripped out. Next day I came home with a longer bolt and fixed it. I started the car and the noise was gone! I think the oil just had to get through the valve train and heads. I still don't know if the Phase II gasket will work in the long run but it seems just fine now.
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Old 03-05-2011, 03:29 PM   #5
T Wrex--OH
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How in the heck did you get the pistons so clean?
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Old 03-05-2011, 11:04 PM   #6
Jonlegacy98
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do you have to remove the engine to clean the pistos the way you did. I have a 2.2 and would prefer to do such things on the car.
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Old 03-05-2011, 11:14 PM   #7
geronimo81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T Wrex--OH View Post
How in the heck did you get the pistons so clean?
I soaked the heads and pistons in Super Clean Then went to town with a brass bristle brush. Then used a red scotch brite pad by hand. I did this several times until I was happy with the results. Then I finished things off with some super fine steel wool. I found that since the pistons aren't Aluminum I could take a small flat head screwdriver and gently scrape the Carbon build up without damaging the piston. This was best done before applying any cleaner. Do not do this on the aluminum. If you don't want to leave the slightest scratch then don't use this method. I on the other hand didn't care if there were some tiny scratches on the piston.

If I had the time I would have tried oven cleaner. My hand was very cramped after all of this. I think that it has helped the car's performance a lot and my throttle response is much improved.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonlegacy98 View Post
do you have to remove the engine to clean the pistos the way you did. I have a 2.2 and would prefer to do such things on the car.
I don't think you can do it in-car. What you didn't see was that every water and oil passage had a bit of blue shop towel stuffed in it while cleaning. I then tilted the head or motor down when pulling them out and flushed everything with carb cleaner while it was tilted down. Otherwise it would be hard to keep debris out of the motor. It helps to have an engines stand
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Old 03-06-2011, 01:10 AM   #8
RaceFaceXC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geronimo81
I found that since the pistons aren't Aluminum I could take a small flat head screwdriver and gently scrape the Carbon build up without damaging the piston. This was best done before applying any cleaner. Do not do this on the aluminum. If you don't want to leave the slightest scratch then don't use this method. I on the other hand didn't care if there were some tiny scratches on the piston.
If not aluminum, What are they?
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Old 03-06-2011, 03:09 AM   #9
williaty
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They should be aluminum. AFAIK, none of the EJ-series engines ever had steel pistons.

Nice to see someone actually getting everything clean though.
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Old 03-06-2011, 04:12 PM   #10
geronimo81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by williaty View Post
They should be aluminum. AFAIK, none of the EJ-series engines ever had steel pistons.
I stand corrected. I assumed that because they appeared to be harder than the block that they were steel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by williaty View Post
Nice to see someone actually getting everything clean though.
I just couldn't stand the idea of putting it back like it was. That carbon was thick!
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Old 03-06-2011, 04:14 PM   #11
geronimo81
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonlegacy98 View Post
do you have to remove the engine to clean the pistos the way you did. I have a 2.2 and would prefer to do such things on the car.
Are you pulling your motor for a head gasket job? If I were you I would try running some Sea Foam through the fuel and intake before pulling the motor. It might help. There are lots of products out there that claim to clean the combustion chamber but I can't personally vouch for any of them.
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:46 PM   #12
geronimo81
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Default Update

Okay so the headgaskets and everything else seems to be working well. Good thing cause my wife is going out of town this week with the kids.
Here are a few pics of what I did today:

Took the Ver. 6 wing off of the RS (I like the original better)


The Outback just got a whole lot faster!
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Old 03-20-2011, 07:25 PM   #13
benjileo
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Nice! can you reuse the head bolts?
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Old 03-20-2011, 08:16 PM   #14
Zac86
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Fantastic job, love the fact that you actually cleaned all the carbon out
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:35 PM   #15
williaty
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benjileo View Post
Nice! can you reuse the head bolts?
Yes. They're torqued into their elastic deformation range.
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Old 03-20-2011, 11:45 PM   #16
RedGauge
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That was a dirtyyyyy engine!!
.........................................
I just reused my head bolts.

Im from Missoula too!
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Old 09-14-2011, 03:18 AM   #17
scoob347
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so how did those head gaskets work out?
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Old 09-14-2011, 06:49 AM   #18
CameronMac
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Great job! That thing was hurting for a cleaning.
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Old 06-25-2012, 12:06 AM   #19
geronimo81
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So I have an update on the car.

Last week while driving home from work my thermostat stuck and I blew the driver's side headgsket. To tell the truth I had been suspecting a slight leak for a few months but it had not really been affecting driveability and only ate about 2 cups of coolant a month.

So I pulled the motor again and did another headgasket job. This time I decided to go back to the thick phase I gaskets. The reason I did that is I was not really happy with the driveablility of the car and it required higher octane or it would knock/ping. I can confirm that with the phase II gaskets the valves still do not make contact with the pistons but the power band got narrower and it really didn't make a noticable difference in power. I suspect that using the thinner gasket also affected timing negatively.

This time around I got the heads resurfaced and used some copper gasket spray on the headgaskets. My oil pressure sender had been leaking so I replaced that as well.

Once the motor was back in the car I went to fill it with oil but it all came spilling back out of the fill tube! I realized that I had left 2 pieces of blue shop towel in the oil passages on the drivers side of the block. I had put them in there to keep debris out of the motor while I buffed the block for the headgasket.

I tried to pull the oil pan with the motor still in the car but had used so much sealant last time, and the wrong kind, that I ended up bending the pan and breaking my oil pump So I had to pull it all back out again

Once I got it out and on the engine stand I was able to break the oil pan free. Sure enough, the little pieces of rag were in there. Once I got those out I pounded the oil pan back into shape and put it on with a healthy dose of Permatex Ultra Grey. I had a used wrx 10mm oil pump laying around so I cleaned that up and put it on.

While I was in there I realized that several of the HLA's had air in them (had been hearing them for awhile). I took out the ones that I could compress even the slightest bit and pumped them back up til they were rock solid. You have to dunk them in oil and use something (I used a screw) to push in on the check ball while pumping them. I only had one that wouldn't pump all the way up but at $42 each on my account I decided to just put it back in.

Now the car runs better and quieter than it has for a very long time. Just in time for me to go to Chiropractic College.
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Old 09-27-2012, 08:29 PM   #20
cconwing
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damn everything looks awesome! I cant believe it took you less than 4 hours to pull the engine. I'm looking to take the engine out of my 99 outback sport (theres a bad bearing in it) and was wondering if you had any suggestions when removing it or more pictures explaining the removal process. I havent been able to find a lot of threads on removing/replacing the ej22 engines. So any help would be aprreciated!
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