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Old 03-01-2021, 12:43 PM   #1
jayydubbb
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Default STI Engine Refresh - New shortblock or reuse old one?

I have an 07 STI with 139k miles that I bought recently that had glitter in the oil. I am starting to remove the engine and I want to get some suggestions on what to do in terms of the rebuild. I am looking to have a reliable as possible daily driver with a motor that will hopefully see another 100k miles easily. My only plans in terms of mods is a TBE, oil pickup and baffle, larger radiator, possibly a CAI, and a tune. I'd like to be in the ~280whp range as well as keeping it reliable. My question is, should I teardown my shortblock, throw in new pistons and bearings, clean it up real nice and reuse it, or should I sell my shortblock and pick up an OEM one and use that? I would like to throw in new pistons but beyond that I don't see any reason to spend the money on other internals since I'm not going aggressive with power. An OEM one would run about 2k and I figure I could sell my shortblock for at least 500. But I don't love the idea of continuing to run stock pistons for the sake of longevity. Which would likely be the cheaper option in the end? I think I am going to have a shop rebuild the shortblock if I decide to go that route and I will have a machine shop clean up the heads and do the valvetrain.

Any thoughts on getting a 2018 STI RA short block? It ends up being a couple hundred more dollars I think but as far as I know they fit fine as long as you use a slightly thicker headgasket and there's suggestions that the pistons may be stronger as well as the crank. Hard to tell at this point though since there's not a ton of super high mile ones out there.
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Old 03-01-2021, 01:27 PM   #2
Max Capacity
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A lot of us Legacy GT guy's have followed my build.

Car, 2005 Legacy GT wagon 5mt, vf52 dynoed at 21psi.

At 154,000 miles I noticed it was using oil. My plan was to keep the car. I had read lot's of post about what others had done.
Feb 2012, I made a plan, listed the parts I needed, put a price next to them. Talked with my trusted auto machine shop. He saw that a new OEM ej257 was $1800. with all the labor and parts he told me I was better off to get the OEM ej257, have him rebuild my heads and assemble the longblock. I dropped off the new ej257 and my old engine and other new parts late April 2012. May 20th I think it was, I installed the engine and started the car.

That was over 142,000 trouble free miles ago. I did have him do some mild porting in the valve pockets of the heads. Your stock intake is a cold air intake, leave it in place. I do have a K&N panel filter (lightly oiled). Clean the MAF sensor yearly.

Car made 280awhp/300ftlbs on the mustang dyno.
Here's the thread,
https://legacygt.com/forums/showthre...-r-184106.html
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Old 03-01-2021, 03:36 PM   #3
BlackFighter
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Don't spend any money without research, which look like you need lots off. If there is glitter in the oil that is your bearing getting eaten up. If that is the case, then there is metal shavings in every little nook and cranny where the oil touched, avcs, cams, oil pump, oil cooler, prob even heads. Unless you are very familiar with the EJ eng and about every passage way, I would not risk it. Imagine cleaning it, putting it all back together, and one little metal shaving is left and damages your new bearings. You will have to start all over. Is there rod knock? Have you done a compression test leakdown test? If you want a eng to last you another 100k miles i would go with new SB and have a shop inspect your old heads very well. If it is your rod bearing you might need a new crank depending how bad it was. If you want to sell your old block, please make sure you mention about the glitter in the oil. Don't be that guy and pass along your headache to the next subi guy. In bird culture that is considered a dick move

Last edited by BlackFighter; 03-01-2021 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 03-01-2021, 04:01 PM   #4
jayydubbb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackFighter View Post
Don't spend any money without research, which look like you need lots off. If there is glitter in the oil that is your bearing getting eaten up. If that is the case, then there is metal shavings in every little nook and cranny where the oil touched, avcs, cams, oil pump, oil cooler, prob even heads. Unless you are very familiar with the EJ eng and about every passage way, I would not risk it. Imagine cleaning it, putting it all back together, and one little metal shaving is left and damages your new bearings. You will have to start all over. Is there rod knock? Have you done a compression test leakdown test? If you want a eng to last you another 100k miles i would go with new SB and have a shop inspect your old heads very well. If it is your rod bearing you might need a new crank depending how bad it was. If you want to sell your old block, please make sure you mention about the glitter in the oil. Don't be that guy and pass along your headache to the next subi guy. In bird culture that is considered a dick move
I understand what glitter in the oil entails. My point was that because this engine was so oil starved (and I'm guessing it has been a lot in the past) it isn't necessarily the bearing causing the metal wear since there are other engine components that can do that when the engine is running on 1 quart of oil for probably hundreds of miles. I intend to replace the oil cooler and thoroughly clean everything else. I'm going to have the machine shop clean the heads thoroughly for me. There is no rod knock, and compression was 120 plus or minus 3 psi on all cylinders while the engine was stone cold. And yes I certainly intend to disclose the oil problem to whoever buys it if that is the route I go.
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Old 03-01-2021, 04:13 PM   #5
jayydubbb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Capacity View Post
A lot of us Legacy GT guy's have followed my build.

Car, 2005 Legacy GT wagon 5mt, vf52 dynoed at 21psi.

At 154,000 miles I noticed it was using oil. My plan was to keep the car. I had read lot's of post about what others had done.
Feb 2012, I made a plan, listed the parts I needed, put a price next to them. Talked with my trusted auto machine shop. He saw that a new OEM ej257 was $1800. with all the labor and parts he told me I was better off to get the OEM ej257, have him rebuild my heads and assemble the longblock. I dropped off the new ej257 and my old engine and other new parts late April 2012. May 20th I think it was, I installed the engine and started the car.

That was over 142,000 trouble free miles ago. I did have him do some mild porting in the valve pockets of the heads. Your stock intake is a cold air intake, leave it in place. I do have a K&N panel filter (lightly oiled). Clean the MAF sensor yearly.

Car made 280awhp/300ftlbs on the mustang dyno.
Here's the thread,
https://legacygt.com/forums/showthre...-r-184106.html
This is part of my dilemma, I'm not confident or experienced enough to be comfortable reassembling the shortblock, so I would be paying a shop to do the cleaning of it and reassembly. If I purchase an OEM shortblock I can just send the heads to a machine shop then do my own reassembly from there. I have no plans of autocrossing or tracking the car but I do have a heavy foot often when I drive on the street. You're confident that the OEM shortblock can handle the additional power in the long run? I'm just concerned about piston rings really since all the other internals should be fine for awhile on that power.
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Old 03-01-2021, 04:47 PM   #6
Jedi03
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Im close to 400 whp currently stock bottom end...was 316 whp on oem turbo so your goals are easily done depending on your tune...I would get new rings if you are re-using the pistons/block...but weigh the cost vs time for each...I currently have on the shelf a build going together, had it been trash like the seller thought it would have been cheaper for me to get new block vs sending it out to machine...
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Old 03-01-2021, 05:12 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Jedi03 View Post
Im close to 400 whp currently stock bottom end...was 316 whp on oem turbo so your goals are easily done depending on your tune...I would get new rings if you are re-using the pistons/block...but weigh the cost vs time for each...I currently have on the shelf a build going together, had it been trash like the seller thought it would have been cheaper for me to get new block vs sending it out to machine...
I know you can squeeze in the 400ish whp range out of the stock bottom end, it's just a question of for how long. I'm not looking to find out and I don't feel the need to run that much power in this car since I intend to use it as a DD for the foreseeable future. How many miles are on your current motor and have you had any issues?
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Old 03-02-2021, 09:17 AM   #8
Max Capacity
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If the machine shop will reassemble the heads and set the valve lash so all you have to do in install the heads on the ARP head studs, you should be fine.

You'll also want a custom tune for the car. Cobb AP is fine but for the best drivability a custom tune is the way to go.

I don't drive my car that much anymore, retired now, but it has seen plenty of WOT and hitting the fuel cutoff or running out of MAP at 7300rpm. That comes quickly in 1st gear. Car is still on stock fueling.
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Old 03-02-2021, 05:50 PM   #9
Jedi03
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im sitting at 170k miles an only issue is leaking turbo oil return...haven't fixed as is a pain to access...I picked up the car with 112k taking a quart every thousand miles...ran some seafoam an atf custom patent pending de-carbonizing flush and stopped using oil...I had to take the heads off as I was doing the TGV delete on the car leaving the runner and rod, broke a runner and the piece fell inside the block. Over the years did reliability mods such as ELH, killerb oil package, AOS, upgraded radiator, my turbo went out about two years ago and went to 20g with upgraded fuel package...have turbo back exhaust, RA intake with knn filter, I have had great luck using motorcraft factory weight oil and will be switching to Amsoil as soon as I deplete my current stock of oil...also have protune which I think made a world of difference as well
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Old 03-03-2021, 12:32 AM   #10
jayydubbb
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Originally Posted by Max Capacity View Post
If the machine shop will reassemble the heads and set the valve lash so all you have to do in install the heads on the ARP head studs, you should be fine.

You'll also want a custom tune for the car. Cobb AP is fine but for the best drivability a custom tune is the way to go.

I don't drive my car that much anymore, retired now, but it has seen plenty of WOT and hitting the fuel cutoff or running out of MAP at 7300rpm. That comes quickly in 1st gear. Car is still on stock fueling.
Should I really spend the extra 80 or so bucks on the ARP's vs the OEM bolts? Not sure I see a real reason for that given that my power increase will not be substantial.

I'm still inbetween on whether or not I want an accessport. I'd rather get a custom tune without it but also feel like it would be a good idea to have just for the sake of monitoring for at least the first couple hundred to thousand miles. I'd rather just get a protune and not spend the 500+ on the accessport on top of a custom tune but I'm not really thinking that far ahead at this point.
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Old 03-03-2021, 02:42 PM   #11
Max Capacity
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ARP head studs are cheap insurance. Do it right the first time.

From what I've learned, Tuner's don't like to do open source tunes. Most customers don't know how to use the software, so the Tuner spends lots of time teaching, which they don't get paid for.

If your good with IT may be you can go open source or DIY tune.

I'm bad with computers, I'd rather pay the man and have a great long lasting engine.

These cars don't do well on the factory engine MAP. They should all be on a better MAP. The stage tunes in the Cobb AP do that, but a custom tune using Cobb AP is the best.

This fall's into that. "you have to pay, if you want to play".

If I didn't say it here, both my Cobb AP's stay in the box, I don't monitor anything. No need to if you have a great tune. remember, I have over 142,000 trouble free miles, thanks to my Tuner.
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Old 03-04-2021, 09:12 PM   #12
Sleeping Pill
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Capacity View Post
ARP head studs are cheap insurance. Do it right the first time.

From what I've learned, Tuner's don't like to do open source tunes. Most customers don't know how to use the software, so the Tuner spends lots of time teaching, which they don't get paid for.

If your good with IT may be you can go open source or DIY tune.

I'm bad with computers, I'd rather pay the man and have a great long lasting engine.

These cars don't do well on the factory engine MAP. They should all be on a better MAP. The stage tunes in the Cobb AP do that, but a custom tune using Cobb AP is the best.

This fall's into that. "you have to pay, if you want to play".

If I didn't say it here, both my Cobb AP's stay in the box, I don't monitor anything. No need to if you have a great tune. remember, I have over 142,000 trouble free miles, thanks to my Tuner.

I was in the same boat last year with my '05 FXT. Using a quart per 200 mi but running very well until both HGs let go. I let it sit for 9 months, did a lot of research (particularly your build Max) on rebuilding vs factory SB. Ive been building engines for the last 35 years and in the end, I went with the 18-19 RA SB. Had the heads gone through only to find that the previous valve job included knurling the guides which probably contributed to the oil consumption along with roached oil seals on both sides of the turbo.

The factory SB vs rebuilding proved to be just too good of a deal for my modest goals.

The engine is almost back in the car but it has been a bit of a rabbit hole. Heads completely gone through, new guides, decked and lash set. Replace oil cooler or clean? Replaced. Injectors replaced. Killer B pickup, ARP head bolts, gates vs OEM timing set (OEM it is), cleaning the AVCS and replacing the OCVs. Hoses, etc. the list goes on but I think that once she's broken in, I can start looking into a few minor sensible upgrades to the turbo, down pipe and a good conservative tune. Id be stoked to get 200+k out of the engine as I really dig driving the car and can't wait to get it back as my DD!
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Old 03-05-2021, 11:14 AM   #13
jayydubbb
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Originally Posted by Sleeping Pill View Post
I was in the same boat last year with my '05 FXT. Using a quart per 200 mi but running very well until both HGs let go. I let it sit for 9 months, did a lot of research (particularly your build Max) on rebuilding vs factory SB. Ive been building engines for the last 35 years and in the end, I went with the 18-19 RA SB. Had the heads gone through only to find that the previous valve job included knurling the guides which probably contributed to the oil consumption along with roached oil seals on both sides of the turbo.

The factory SB vs rebuilding proved to be just too good of a deal for my modest goals.

The engine is almost back in the car but it has been a bit of a rabbit hole. Heads completely gone through, new guides, decked and lash set. Replace oil cooler or clean? Replaced. Injectors replaced. Killer B pickup, ARP head bolts, gates vs OEM timing set (OEM it is), cleaning the AVCS and replacing the OCVs. Hoses, etc. the list goes on but I think that once she's broken in, I can start looking into a few minor sensible upgrades to the turbo, down pipe and a good conservative tune. Id be stoked to get 200+k out of the engine as I really dig driving the car and can't wait to get it back as my DD!
I've been seriously considering just getting a Type RA shortblock and going from there. It'll just be quicker and easier for me in the end even if it ends up being a bit more expensive. Not sure how much my shortblock is really worth at this point though.
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Old 03-05-2021, 12:57 PM   #14
Sleeping Pill
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayydubbb View Post
I've been seriously considering just getting a Type RA shortblock and going from there. It'll just be quicker and easier for me in the end even if it ends up being a bit more expensive. Not sure how much my shortblock is really worth at this point though.
The machinist that fixed my heads has been my go to machinist for the last 25 years. Ive taken everything from Shovelheads, big blocks, Honda to Mazda engines and now the XT. He's a pretty straight shooter and his prices are fair. He straight up recommended the new factory short block as he couldn't even come close to the price. Ive listened to his advice for this long and he's never done me wrong. He said unless I had way higher HP - performance goals that OEM was the way to go.

I sold the short block and all of the old bits (oil pan, pickup, cooler) and an intercooler that I wasn't gonna use to a guy who was looking to build a spare engine. Was totally up front about the oil consumption and the blown head gaskets and that it had no knocks. Helped offset the project and freed up some garage space too. 500$ win win.
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