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Old 05-11-2018, 03:35 PM   #1
combatspace
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Default New to subaru. Killer mechanic's special on 02 WRX.

The good news: I managed to score a killer deal on an '02 WRX hatch last night and managed to get it home for $700.
The bad news: Definitely a blown motor. Knocking like crazy, dripping coolant on manifold, smoking from exhaust, cancer in the usual places. 200k miles.
More good news: I may have a buddy with a spare EJ205 short block that only need a little refreshing before slapping in. The car does actually drive and shift okay, aside from smoking out the neighborhood.

All things considered, I think I came out on top of this one. The interior is in really good shape, all the electronics work and everyone keeps telling me that Soobs are super easy to work on. Coming from a Ford background and working at a Honda dealer, I really hope that is true. Someone managed to install a bluetooth aftermarket double din HU, but beyond that and the AutoZone special shift knob, it appears to be stock (dare I say...original). Talking to the previous owner did not inspire confidence as far as maintenance goes, but once the motor gets pulled and I can take a look at the damage, I can then decide whether I'm going to drop a new motor in her or just start yanking and selling. Stay tuned for more info. Will post pics when I get home.
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Old 05-13-2018, 07:48 PM   #2
Ngardner
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Think you did better than me I went 1200$ into a 03 with a rod knock, busted windshield and headlights, only cool part of my car is its yellow and has a clean title, how about yours??
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Old 05-13-2018, 09:46 PM   #3
combatspace
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@Ngard: Mine is black with a clean title, surprisingly. Seems the more research I do, the bigger the emotional roller coaster I get strapped into. Realistically, I can't make any solid decisions until I pull the motor and take a look at the crank which is a real bummer. A full rebuild costs more than a new shortblock, but if the cranks in good shape i can just it polished and slap some new bearings in her....but either way she'll need a whole new gasket set. I'm starting to understand why people make these engines sound disposable but still not entirely convinced about how they hold their value so well if they are so prone to blowing up...its a bizarre concept to me. Guess thats the "welcome to subaru" package, eh?
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Old 05-14-2018, 08:54 AM   #4
Samurai Jack
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Quote:
Originally Posted by combatspace;45648391I'm starting to understand why people make these engines sound disposable but still not entirely convinced about how they hold their value so well [B
if they are so prone to blowing up[/b]...its a bizarre concept to me. Guess thats the "welcome to subaru" package, eh?
" Prone to blowing up " in many, if not most cases is due to stupid owners thinking they are driving a race car and can abuse the crap out of it without any concern.

Stupid is as stupid does
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Old 05-14-2018, 09:14 AM   #5
Abismo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by combatspace View Post
not entirely convinced about how they hold their value so well if they are so prone to blowing up...
Vocal minority. You dont hear of the tens of thousands that are running just fine. People are also stupid when it comes to vehicles. Being a mechanic you should know this as an absolute truth. Slacking on maintenance leads to dead engines. This should also be known.

Im not saying they didnt have some bad years for these cars reliability wise, just that its largely blown out of proportion.
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Old 05-14-2018, 12:17 PM   #6
combatspace
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Thanks for your inputs, guys. I've commited to picking up a JDM EJ205 from a local importer. I've done the research on what needs to be swapped over to make the JDM engine work with the USDM ECU, but what I'd like to do while I'm swapping the engine over is to make the oiling system a little more robust to try and stave off spinning another bearing. What would you guys recommend to make this happen? I'm assuming an aftermarket oil pickup, but are there better oil pumps and water pumps for a stock power motor? Is a catch can/air-oil separator necessary/recommended?
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Old 05-14-2018, 02:12 PM   #7
Samurai Jack
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There is nothing wrong with OEM oil & water pumps.
If you are going to do a motor swap, you should plan on a new water pump and timing belt kit.

Plan on replacing all your hoses ( vacuum, coolant, etc. ) as you don't what to go through all this and then have an old hose blow out.

You can replace the oil pan with an STi pan and an STi KillerB oil pick-up.
You should definitely replace the oil pan pick-up anyway. Just do some reading on oil pan pick-up failures. There is a long thread on it.

Only use proper, quality lubricants and perform periodic maintenance as specified in the manual. Just doing this alone puts you way ahead of all those people we were discussing earlier.

Check over your clutch and plan on a replacement.

As far as an AOS is concerned, not a bad idea but would not be on the top of my list as necessities at this point.

Who are you getting the motor from?
J-Spec Auto in Virginia is an excellent source.
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Old 05-14-2018, 06:03 PM   #8
combatspace
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Originally Posted by Samurai Jack View Post
There is nothing wrong with OEM oil & water pumps.
If you are going to do a motor swap, you should plan on a new water pump and timing belt kit.

Plan on replacing all your hoses ( vacuum, coolant, etc. ) as you don't what to go through all this and then have an old hose blow out.

You can replace the oil pan with an STi pan and an STi KillerB oil pick-up.
You should definitely replace the oil pan pick-up anyway. Just do some reading on oil pan pick-up failures. There is a long thread on it.

Only use proper, quality lubricants and perform periodic maintenance as specified in the manual. Just doing this alone puts you way ahead of all those people we were discussing earlier.

Check over your clutch and plan on a replacement.

As far as an AOS is concerned, not a bad idea but would not be on the top of my list as necessities at this point.

Who are you getting the motor from?
J-Spec Auto in Virginia is an excellent source.
Yeah I planned on doing the water pump since I was gonna have to have the timing cover off anyways to swap the crank sprocket. Any recommendations on t-stat temp? I know the old old old turbo cars liked a 180* to lessen the chance of det, but I imagine the knock sensor and use of 91/93 should prevent that for the most part.

The clutch feels pretty solid as it is, but I'll def take a look at it when I go to swap it over to the new engine.

New rad hoses are likely a given, though it looks like someone has been in this engine bay recently to do stuff, so I'll be sure to keep an eye out for vacuum, fuel and coolant lines that are starting to get crispy.

I kinda figured the oil pickups were a problem, since I hear a lot of the cars that spin or prematurely wear bearings are typically a quart or more low on oil. Most cars won't flinch at that, but these boxers seem to be particularly sensitive to it. Not to mention you start adding metal bits to the oil and things start to get clogged up. I'll add it to the list.

As for fluids, I plan on using mostly soob fluids aside from maybe honda coolant. My buddy works at a Soob dealer and I at Honda. Considering he'll get me a discount and I'll basically get free stuff here, its a pretty sweet deal. I plan on flushing all the systems and putting all new fluids in her. With 200k on the body, there's no telling what kind of abuse this little lady has been put through. With new coolant, brake and clutch fluid, manual trans and diff oils, she oughta be right as rain.

I'm looking at JDM Engine Zone of out Clifton, NJ that seems to have a stockpile of these 205's flowing in from japan. They're maybe 15 miles from me and I should be able to go pick it up with my Fiesta in the days leading up to my planned vacation time.

Last edited by combatspace; 05-14-2018 at 06:12 PM.
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Old 05-15-2018, 07:12 AM   #9
Samurai Jack
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Just stay with an OEM thermostat. Aftermarket ones seem to be nothing but a problem.
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Old 05-15-2018, 07:41 AM   #10
rtv900
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Quote:
Originally Posted by combatspace View Post
The good news: I managed to score a killer deal on an '02 WRX hatch last night and managed to get it home for $700.
.
^thank god you said $700

I was worried you were going to say you paid $3000
Sounds like you paid pretty close to it's actual value
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Old 05-15-2018, 11:40 AM   #11
Charlie-III
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Near Clifton huh......not too far from me.

Good Subaru shops are AZP in Kenilworth and Broken Motorsports closer to you.

I also maintain 2 Subaru in my family as well as a handful locally. Most are older NA except my son's 04 RS with a full 05 STi swap.

For some of your parts like thermostat, stick to OEM.
Oil, keep it full, use a reasonable weight. I do 10w-30 at a minimum. Sometimes 10w-40 in summer when pulling trailers. Usually Dino oil or Dino/synth blend.
I never use Mobil1.
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Old 05-15-2018, 11:50 AM   #12
combatspace
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Originally Posted by rtv900 View Post
^thank god you said $700

I was worried you were going to say you paid $3000
Sounds like you paid pretty close to it's actual value
Yeah, considering it has 200k and needs a $1000 just to get it back up and running properly, I'd say it was worth it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie-III View Post
Near Clifton huh......not too far from me.

Good Subaru shops are AZP in Kenilworth and Broken Motorsports closer to you.

I also maintain 2 Subaru in my family as well as a handful locally. Most are older NA except my son's 04 RS with a full 05 STi swap.
I'll have to look those guys up. Ideally, I won't ever need them, but it'll be nice to have em around if something goes wrong with the swap.

I actually live in Lincoln Park so its just a short jaunt down I80 to get there.

This will be my first subaru and first engine "swap". I've pulled a few motors before in my old trailblazer and my dad's '66 Stang, but this will be the first time I'm pulling the motor on my own. Certainly gonna be a learning experience and truth be told, since its quite nearly the same engine, it shouldn't be too involved. Just gonna say I'm glad this isn't my daily and i get to take my time with it. Wasn't so lucky when the trans blew up in my trailblazer. Had to replace that little bastard with no hoist, hand tools and only a weekend to do it. Never. Again.
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Old 05-15-2018, 01:02 PM   #13
Charlie-III
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LP, I used to live in Wayne, I am maybe 25 miles from you.
I have pulled quite a few Subaru engines, last was last weekend helping my son do a clutch.

You get me there and back, maybe beer there, I can help. I have done mostly MT's but some AT's, so I have run into most issues and resolved them.

If you are on Subaru mechanics (FB?), my son is there. But, when things go wrong, he "calls Dad"......
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Old 05-15-2018, 01:32 PM   #14
Charlie-III
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Hmmmmm.....my son is going to swap his car into an 03? Chassis.
Has engine issues, not sure on the SB. Maybe you buy his SB (from the 03) for cheap and go from there?

PM me, we can swap cell numbers.

There is also a guy on TriState parting out Subie's quite a bit, he is sorta local to you, maybe he has something.
Look in TriState local FS.
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Old 05-16-2018, 09:22 AM   #15
combatspace
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I'd be grateful for the help for sure, but I'm still in the process of sourcing all the bits and making sure I have everything squared away before I do the job. I expected to go on vacation this year July 5th-9th but plans fell through. I still have the days off from work so I'll hopefully be doing the swap then. In the meantime, I need to snag the engine, the oil pan and pickup, get my dad's hoist and engine stand and prep the car by getting all the fluids drained and accessories out of the way. If all goes well, the swap itself will take no more than a day or two and everything else will be changing fluids and troubleshooting.

I'll have to look into the facebook groups. I've had a few people tell me thats where most people go to communicate...only 27 and I'm already behind the times...
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Old 05-20-2018, 08:02 AM   #16
ScubiSnax
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I got my Subi for a pretty good deal too. I paid $1500 for it but it has an issue that I am still trying to track down. Kinda sounds like we got both of ours around the same time frame too. I have had mine for about a month now.
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Old 06-06-2018, 08:39 PM   #17
NicMonte
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I picked up a 02 wrx wagon subie 215k all stock, clean interior. Runs great, just has a transmission whine/ twirling noise. And body could be in better condition... but it's my project car what more could I ask for? I'm a fan already having an 09 Impreza, and 2015 forester. The turbo was all I lacked lol
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