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Old 10-02-2012, 05:17 PM   #1
claythrow
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Default Can an amateur do an engine rebuild??

Hello there,

I have an 04 wrx 2.0 that I'm pretty sure has spun a rod bearing. I have a couple quotes for a rebuild that are around $3k for the engine pull lower half rebuild and checking out the rest of the engine.

I would describe myself as an amateur with cars. This particular car I know like the back of my hand. Almost everything on it is new, I did it myself and I have a small shop with very basic tools. I am however meticulous, a fast learner, and I have the shop repair cd for my car. I also have another car so it's not like I have to have this done right away.

What I was wondering is if I pull the engine (I would need to buy the dolly) do you think it would be possible for me to do the engine rebuild myself for equal or lesser cost? THe engine is pretty much all I have left to conquer before I could say that I'm a true car guy.

What I was thinking was this way, not only would I learn as I go (I have a a basic understanding of how engines work, just never rebuilt one myself) but with the money I save, I could buy some higher end parts. Nitrited crank, acl bearings, forged pistons etc. I understand that some items may need to be taken to a machine shop to be resurfaces/machined.

So, my questions are:

Do you think it's possible to do w/out a machine shop, just a rather basic auto workshop? I have access to a machine shop nearby that would charge me for any work they have to do.

Would it save me any money (money is very tight for me right now, I wasn't planning on blowing the motor)

Or could I do it for the same money but put performance parts in it? I definitely want a nitrited crank and acl bearings?

Would this be a good time to go hybrid if I can find a 257 block for cheap? From what I understand, then I wouldn't have to change the ECU etc, all though I would have to have it retuned which is $500.

Am I missing anything? Even if I could do it for the same price it would be worth it to me just to learn to do it myself.

Lets say I upgraded (compared to stock) the major components, what would I be looking at for cost. Labor would be free since it's me.

And my last question might just be another thread depending on the answers to the above but it would be what parts to buy i.e. different cam shafts, pistons etc

I may be over confident, but there isn't a project I have taken on that hasn't been successful. I'm just mechanically inclined and I'd love to rebuild this myself. But I don't want to be cocky and get in over my head here. I'm modest enough to take the advice from the experts if they say this is over my head. Any thoughts on all the stuff I just wrote?


(To give you an idea, I did the timing belt, the axles, tie rods, ball joints, control arms, cat less exhaust front to back, fuel pump, water pump, clutches on other cars etc, so I'm not exactly a noob. But never done an engine…though I'd love to try.

So is it over my head? Could I save any money? Or could I spend the same money and have better parts?

Lastly, what is the best budget engine lift as I will have to factor that in to the cost as well.

TIA for all your help and patience with this
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:33 PM   #2
dnorton
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Call me any time up till 9pm and I'll explain what you can do on your own. A lot of us started just like you, myself included. 904.742.6635
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:44 PM   #3
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Rebuilding an engine to OEM or near-OEM spec isn't difficult as long as you measure everything, STOP when something doesn't measure or fit right, and take your time.

It really helps to watch or help somebody else strip down and rebuild their engine before you attempt it on your own. There are some tricks that you pick up along the way, such as breaking the cam bolts, detaching and reattaching the shift fork, etc.

You should be able to do the vast majority in a basic garage, it's mainly just the boring, honing and balancing that you'll need to farm out.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:55 AM   #4
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DO IT! first couple times theres a learning curve like the suicidal eggroll said... youll need special tools and techniques to remove certain parts that are stubborn.. (like cam bolts), but hell dive in. Absorb as much info on here as you can. Youll def need a machine shop to hone the motor if your doin rings.. get the heads checked for straightness etc.. everything else you can assemble and spec out.. any questions, were all usually more than able to answer questions or point you in the right direction..
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:13 PM   #5
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Ive done a couple personal motors in the past without replacing rings.. just doin crank, bearings, oil cooler, oil pump. If the honing hatches look good and the motor is lower mileage, a machine shop isnt totally needed. Its not gonna run forever but on a budget, youll get 40-50k outta a "refresh" you gotta work with what youve got..

- On a budget youd be better off stickin the ej20.. hybrid build is gonna require modifying your EJ20 heads to match the cyl bore, tune, fuel, air etc.. again, you dont have to do this but it will prob run like ass and youll spend way more trying to fix issues..
Source a low mileage ej20 crank($150-200), or buy a brand new one for $315 shipped ( www.flatironstuning.com ), acl rod and main bearings (ebay $120), invest in a case of brake clean, & shop rags, harbor freight engine stand ($45), Full Engine gasket kit(includes head gaskets!) (ebay $115) & piston install tool ($10) assembly lube, fuji bond, some fine sanding sponges.. Theres your budget block EJ20 rebuild general cost.. around $500 new coolant and oil.. a few other things.. of course you prob wanna do the clutch while your in there oil cooler needs to be replaced after spun bearing, motor needs to be cleaned thoroughly of all debris, oil pump needs to be cleaned. total will be well under $1k
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:33 PM   #6
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I'm an amateur and did all of it out of an apartment.
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:37 PM   #7
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I've settled on doing it myself. I put up another post with what materials to buy. Problem is I need this motor to do more than 40-50k. I don't want a refresh. I need something better. My other post explains everything. If you were able to read it I'd appreciated your imput.

That harbor freight $50 engine stand is sufficient? I would not have expected that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 99imprezd View Post
Ive done a couple personal motors in the past without replacing rings.. just doin crank, bearings, oil cooler, oil pump. If the honing hatches look good and the motor is lower mileage, a machine shop isnt totally needed. Its not gonna run forever but on a budget, youll get 40-50k outta a "refresh" you gotta work with what youve got..

- On a budget youd be better off stickin the ej20.. hybrid build is gonna require modifying your EJ20 heads to match the cyl bore, tune, fuel, air etc.. again, you dont have to do this but it will prob run like ass and youll spend way more trying to fix issues..
Source a low mileage ej20 crank($150-200), or buy a brand new one for $315 shipped ( www.flatironstuning.com ), acl rod and main bearings (ebay $120), invest in a case of brake clean, & shop rags, harbor freight engine stand ($45), Full Engine gasket kit(includes head gaskets!) (ebay $115) & piston install tool ($10) assembly lube, fuji bond, some fine sanding sponges.. Theres your budget block EJ20 rebuild general cost.. around $500 new coolant and oil.. a few other things.. of course you prob wanna do the clutch while your in there oil cooler needs to be replaced after spun bearing, motor needs to be cleaned thoroughly of all debris, oil pump needs to be cleaned. total will be well under $1k
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by claythrow
I've settled on doing it myself. I put up another post with what materials to buy. Problem is I need this motor to do more than 40-50k. I don't want a refresh. I need something better. My other post explains everything. If you were able to read it I'd appreciated your imput.

That harbor freight $50 engine stand is sufficient? I would not have expected that.
The harbor freight $50 engine stand is sufficient just make sure you have room to get around it and don't knock into it as its only "3 footed" so it tops easily if it's heavy on top. The harbor freight hoist works great for the price too. I use it weekly or so in my airplane shop and its been going for 3 years without having to do a thing to it.
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:15 PM   #9
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I say do it!

Buy a new 2.0 shortblock and slap your heads on it. Will be faster, and possibly cheaper in the end vs tearing down, ordering bearings, getting crank and journals machined and so on. I know of a dealer that is selling brand new 2.0 shortblocks for 1850 shipped BTW.

Just make sure to upgrade things like the oil pump (11mm sti pump) Replace the oil cooler since it may have metal shavings in it and you can never be certain it's 100% clean, buy ARP head studs for piece of mind, get your stock heads checked out by a local machine shop and use factory gaskets when assembling. If you come across something that doesn't seem right, stop and go research before proceeding. No reason to force things, and take guesses that could cost you $$ in the end.
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:20 PM   #10
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Default Shortblock

You don't think I could build a better short block for $1850?

This will be the third short block going into this car, the previous two died at 60k.

See this thread for a fuller explanation and then tell me what you think…I just can't have another 60k engine failure for a car that doesn't even get beat on!!

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=2415771
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:25 PM   #11
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I see you are in MA too, who is the dealer? You can email me if you like [email protected]

And is it another Subaru built block or is it beefed up a bit internally. The regular subaru short blocks I've gotten so far are 0 for 2 past 60k.

$1850 seems steep when you factor in you're only going to get 4 years out of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by berge56 View Post
I say do it!

Buy a new 2.0 shortblock and slap your heads on it. Will be faster, and possibly cheaper in the end vs tearing down, ordering bearings, getting crank and journals machined and so on. I know of a dealer that is selling brand new 2.0 shortblocks for 1850 shipped BTW.

Just make sure to upgrade things like the oil pump (11mm sti pump) Replace the oil cooler since it may have metal shavings in it and you can never be certain it's 100% clean, buy ARP head studs for piece of mind, get your stock heads checked out by a local machine shop and use factory gaskets when assembling. If you come across something that doesn't seem right, stop and go research before proceeding. No reason to force things, and take guesses that could cost you $$ in the end.
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:40 PM   #12
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You will need to spend a nice amount on equipment, spent over 650 on mics and gauges and stuff, still need a ring rile, piston ring compressor, torque plates (some day)

so thats like a thou, + paying someone for machine work on honing and valve job. but you will understand it, be able to do other and possibly make that money back, peace of mind is the biggest thing, if you can understand it all, there are plenty of building video's out there, whether its a subie motor or not, look at the high quality builds to understand what it takes for perfect, even if you cant do all that

as for the oil pump, isnt sticking with the stock 04-07 sti size pump of 10mm good enough for a daily driver, with no more then 500whp (04 sti)?

does this have to do with single avcs 10mm, dual avcs has 11mm?
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:43 PM   #13
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Good luck, major respect for you for considering going balls in!
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:52 PM   #14
99imprezd
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Its not rocket science.. Its like legos for big kids. with measurements and patience..

harbor freight, (harbor break) has good stands n engine hoists.. some of the hand tools are junk but you can tell before you buy it if its a p.o.s.
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:55 PM   #15
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The only thing that will go would be the rings.. spend the $150-200 on a hone and get new pistons and rings..(cast ebay ones are like $130 a set with rings, pins, and circlips) Harbor freight stands are fine)
I'll check out oyur other post

Quote:
Originally Posted by claythrow View Post
I've settled on doing it myself. I put up another post with what materials to buy. Problem is I need this motor to do more than 40-50k. I don't want a refresh. I need something better. My other post explains everything. If you were able to read it I'd appreciated your imput.

That harbor freight $50 engine stand is sufficient? I would not have expected that.
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:03 PM   #16
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Chiming in as another person who has done a rebuild with zero prior experience or training. I've developed a good mechanical ability over time so I had that going for me. Other than, I rebuilt a buddy's EJ257 in my garage with nothing more than common tools, a few specialty tools, the factory service manual and tons and tons of reading up on proper techniques. The engine fired up on the first try and is running strong today 15k miles later.

My best advise I can give is to read up on everything you need to know and be able to do every set of steps in your head before actually doing them. Do not take any shortcuts and do everything by the book, even if some things seems silly like the damn torquing procedures Subaru has come up with.

Also - stay as organized as possible. I have pretty severe ADD, so I tagged and bagged every nut, bolt, part, etc and organized things into bins. It made re-assembly so much better especially since I had 6 month gap between tear down and rebuild due to the owner's lack of funds for parts/machine work.
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:18 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WRXt4cy View Post
Also - stay as organized as possible. I have pretty severe ADD, so I tagged and bagged every nut, bolt, part, etc and organized things into bins. It made re-assembly so much better especially since I had 6 month gap between tear down and rebuild due to the owner's lack of funds for parts/machine work.
Good advice. Before you start, buy yourself a box of 1 gallon zip lock bags and a sharpie. Put every set of bolts and brackets into their own bag and label them. You should have a bag of flywheel bolts, a bag of A/C bracket and bolts, manifold bolts, TGV bolts, etc.

Also take a lot of pictures, they'll come in handy not only during the rebuild, but for any in-depth maintenance you do after that. These are the pictures I took during my disassembly...you have no idea how many times I've gone back and referenced my pictures of the EVAP or PCV system even months/years after finishing the build:
http://www.thesuicidaleggroll.com/sti/7-18-09/
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:19 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WRXt4cy View Post
Chiming in as another person who has done a rebuild with zero prior experience or training. I've developed a good mechanical ability over time so I had that going for me. Other than, I rebuilt a buddy's EJ257 in my garage with nothing more than common tools, a few specialty tools, the factory service manual and tons and tons of reading up on proper techniques. The engine fired up on the first try and is running strong today 15k miles later.

My best advise I can give is to read up on everything you need to know and be able to do every set of steps in your head before actually doing them. Do not take any shortcuts and do everything by the book, even if some things seems silly like the damn torquing procedures Subaru has come up with.

Also - stay as organized as possible. I have pretty severe ADD, so I tagged and bagged every nut, bolt, part, etc and organized things into bins. It made re-assembly so much better especially since I had 6 month gap between tear down and rebuild due to the owner's lack of funds for parts/machine work.

I can do all that. What I really need now though is part suggestions. I've been reading my brains out on how to do every step, but I would really like suggestions (I posted the thread above) on what parts to use. On top of all the learning of the mechanical teardown/buildup I wouldn't mind a jump start on what brands/companies/parts to either seriously consider or avoid.

The engine teardown doesn't scare me a bit, that's why I asked for opinions, I didn't want to be over confident and get in over my head.
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:20 PM   #19
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I am also an amateur looking to do a rebuild over the winter. I've developed a knock. What kind of price range can I expect for a rebuild, going the built motor route? I am also wanting my rebuild to last longer than 40k-50k.
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:23 PM   #20
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Read, read, read, prior to starting this.

Do you know all the parts of the internals of an engine, what they do, look like etc? Good continue.

Do you have spare time and can you afford the downtime? Good continue.

Grab an engine blueprinting book, read it up, take notes. And go at it. Pulling the engine out is no problem if youre somewhat mechanically inclined. Be neat, take it apart, you will need to go to the machine shop IMO to make sure everything is within spec or to get things brought up to spec and within tolerance.

And get a GOOD torque wrench. I see you mentioned Harbor freight, don't buy their garbage of a torque wrench.

Good luck.
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:29 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crystal_Imprezav View Post
I'm an amateur and did all of it out of an apartment.

I've been following your posts for a while (and more importantly, your incar 1/4 mile videos ), and if you're an amateur, I'm a full retard.
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:51 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ByeBye4g63t View Post
if you're an amateur, I'm a full retard.
You never go full retard...
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:09 PM   #23
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I rebuild my valvetrain and cylinder heads when I knew nothing about cars. Granted I had a friend with an epic garage, LOTS of time (Summer) and plenty of great sources. I had nasioc, my uncle who owned a shop, friends who knew a lot.

I took my time and if I didn't know...I waited! Know where to get the info. I did head gaskets, cylinder heads, and new timing components. Here's my thread for proof of my ignorance (I called bearings half moon shape things lol)


http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=2010918
and
http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=2014110

C/N
If you know where to get the information, and are willing to do what you need to, and you have the tools available you can do this.

A note on shortblock work. I have just recently assembled my first short block. In retrospect, if I split my block and tried to install new bearings / pistons etc... I feel as if I would have gotten in over my head. Doing it now after I have experience turning a wrench on many other things, I enjoy the work and look forward to doing many many more!


Good luck
-Dave


Edit: Forgot the most important things!

-GET A PDF FOR YOUR ENGINE! Probably the most important thing!
-Take TONS of pictures and videos as you go along! You'll be putting it together like, which hose was on top? Where was this clip? Etc...
-Label ALL part with painters tape and a sharpie. All of them.
-Put everything in a ziplock baggie, even if you think they aren't specific bolts. I.E. put valve cover bolts in one baggie. Exhaust bolts in another baggie. Another step, have a large storage space and work from one side of the space to another. So you will take the hood off first, then the splash guard, then the exhaust.Set them in there respective order. This may sound silly but when you get to harder parts it will help you. Which goes on first, the engine water pipe or the oil lines? Some parts don't matter but if you put parts back on in the order you took them off you will avoid stress and taking apart freshly sealed components.

Don't do something with the wrong tools
Don't do something if you are questionable about it. Study study

Last edited by lavid2002; 10-03-2012 at 11:38 PM.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:48 PM   #24
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Without reading anything above..

I started out just like you, blown motor, light skills, and the willingness to learn. I spent countless amount of time read the forums on this site. I ended up not replacing the bearing and buying a used 2.5 block (i have a 04wrx) and doing a hybrid. No head work and oem gaskets. I would 100% tell you to buy a used 2.0 short block or have your old short block rebuilt and do the rest of the motor build yourself. Def save money that way. Put it into and Sti turbo, inter cooler and injectors then tune the 2.0. You will be much happier. 2.0 short blocks are cheaper and better IMO. I just wouldn't waste time with a hybrid and building a flat four short lock is not easy at all. Harder then a normal short block. Checking clearances and **** like that. Hope this helped. Feel free to pm me
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Old 10-04-2012, 12:30 AM   #25
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I did the timing belt, water pump, thermostat, entire exhaust, a couple axles, ball joints, tie rods, cv boots, brakes, brake lines, master cylinder, control arms, rotors, Radiators, starters etc. Pretty much anything outside the engine I've done. But yanking that hunk of metal and disassembling it I have yet to do.

Thanks for all the suggestions. The ziplock bags and marking what goes where is something I've done for a while and it's very helpful.

I do have the PDF of the engine.

I think I'm ready to go, like I said it's just which parts to go with where I get lost. Still waiting on suggestions for that.

Also, I see blocks of all sorts everywhere, but I don't see many heads around. New, built or otherwise…My tuner said I should take care of that while I'm at it. Why are heads so much more scarce?
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