Welcome to the North American Subaru Impreza Owners Club Tuesday March 2, 2021
Home Forums Images WikiNASIOC Products Store Modifications Upgrade Garage
Go Back   NASIOC > NASIOC Technical > Subaru Conversions

Welcome to NASIOC - The world's largest online community for Subaru enthusiasts!
Welcome to the NASIOC.com Subaru forum.

You are currently viewing our forum as a guest, which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our community, free of charge, you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is free, fast and simple, so please join our community today!

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact us.

* As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 
* Registered users of the site do not see these ads. 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11-26-2004, 03:28 PM   #1
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 75864
Join Date: Nov 2004
1996 Legacy Outback

Question Replace '96 2.5L Engine with '95 2.2L? (Head Gasket Problem)

Hi All,

I'm new here and in need of some experienced advice with a problem that involves an engine swap.

The short history is that we have had our 1996 Legacy Outback with 2.5L engine for about a year, and are quite happy with it (it now has 120,000 miles). About 2 weeks ago, my wife said that the engine temp had gone high (but not overheated). When we drove the car the next day, I noticed that the air from the heater was cool when we were stopped, and would heat up immediately when we started driving again. Later that day I and noticed that there was oil in the coolant overflow tank, and the engine was low on oil. Of course this indicates a head gasket leak, though the car runs fine. I have thoroughly flushed/refilled the cooling system, changed the thermostat, and changed the engine oil and filter. The car runs fine now, though the heater blows very warm (hot?) while driving and somewhat cooler (though still nicely warm) when stopped. Presently, there is no oil showing in the coolant overflow tank, but the walls of the tank do look a bit "dirty", but don't feel oily on the inside.

I have read much in this excellent forum regarding the head gasket problems of the 2.5L engines from the latter half of the 1990s, and know that it is only a matter of time before my head gasket problem becomes severe enough to warrant immediate action.

I have done some research on having the engine repaired and have arrived at the conclusion that our best bet (since the rest of the car is in good shape) probably is to get a rebuilt engine. My research also seems to indicate that the 2.2L engine is less trouble-prone than the 2.5L. I have been told that a 1995 2.2L is pretty much a "plug-and-play" replacement for our 1996 2.5L (with the exception of the intake manifold), and would cost us about $1,000 less than replacing the 2.5L with another 2.5L.

Does anyone out there know anything about doing this sort of replacement, whether it really CAN be done, and what problems we will run into? I'm not looking for guesses as I can guess pretty well myself. Our Outback has the Automatic Trans, will the 2.2L bolt up to it? Is all the "plumbing" and wiring the same? Will the Engine Computer have to be changed or reprogrammed? Anything else?

Thank you in advance for any solid information that you can provide.

* Registered users of the site do not see these ads.
corsairjon is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
* Registered users of the site do not see these ads.
Old 11-26-2004, 03:31 PM   #2
Homemade WRX
Scooby Guru
Member#: 33782
Join Date: Mar 2003
Chapter/Region: MAIC
Location: Mooresville, NC
96 3MI Racing
search FIRST, then PM!!!


I would stick with the 2.5 and just put on better head gaskets...besides, with the 2.2L you will miss the power and torque the 2.5 has over it.
either way you are pulling out the engine so just fix what you have, it is the better engine IMHO
Homemade WRX is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-27-2004, 03:12 PM   #3
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 7661
Join Date: Jun 2001
Chapter/Region: RMIC
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
1999 Legacy GT


Subaru did put a 2.2 L motor in the 1996 Outbacks. It was available only with the manual transmission. All of the 1996 automatics were equiped with the 2.5 L.
kermit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-27-2004, 03:24 PM   #4
Scooby Guru
Member#: 7977
Join Date: Jul 2001
Chapter/Region: MAIC
Location: Sterling, VA
100% Abuse


I have a 96 outback, manual with the 2.2. I've also got a 2.5 longblock waiting to go into the car. The 2.2 is very weak, you would miss the torque. Just fix your headgaskets.
rogue is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2005, 12:06 AM   #5
Visiting NASIOC Timeout
Member#: 67670
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Turboville Central NY
1994 Red GC8
JDM ej20/ej22t


Originally Posted by rogue
I have a 96 outback, manual with the 2.2. I've also got a 2.5 longblock waiting to go into the car. The 2.2 is very weak, you would miss the torque. Just fix your headgaskets.

weak?... TORQUE wise maybe, but not reliability wise!
lotus2843 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2005, 11:32 AM   #6
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 75864
Join Date: Nov 2004
1996 Legacy Outback

Default We Did It!!

Well, after much research and conversations back and forth with Emily at Colorado Component Rebuilders (CCR), we decided to replace our '96 2.5L with a CCR Rebuilt '95 2.2L and did the swap about a month ago. Of course, our local Subaru dealer said that we would run into all sorts of problems, but I expected that. We had a local auto shop do the swap.

I'm VERY happy to report that the only problem we ran into was that a few of the hydraulic lifters refused to pump up, which didn't prevent the car from running, but did get us strange looks from anyone nearby due to the constant ticking. Emily at CCR was very pleasant and helpful in resolving this problem, got replacement parts out to us quickly, and in short order the problem was fixed, and the engine now runs strong and quiet!

I have to say that it truly has been a pleasure dealing with CCR!

The only other part that needed to be replaced in order to switch from a '96 2.5L to a '95 2.2L was the intake maifold, which was also supplied by CCR.

As far as performance is concerned, we are noticing better gas mileage with the 2.2L, and we have no problems with acceleration for getting on the highway and passing other vehicles. Cruising, of course, is also fine, and hills are no problem.

In short, we are quite happy with the engine swap, would recommend the same to others who are looking to replace their broken 2.5L, and would not hesitate to deal with CCR in the future.

corsairjon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2005, 02:39 PM   #7
Matt Monson
Scooby Guru
Member#: 832
Join Date: Jan 2000
Chapter/Region: RMIC
Location: Teh Ghetto Garage, CO
99 2.5RS, '85 911
'73 914 and 2012 BRZ


Emily knows her stuff. She is about 60 and drives an LE Legacy Touring wagon and goes by the screenname of Turbogramma. CCR doesn't want to play in ther performance arena, but if you are ever looking for a stock replacment engine, they are one of the best places in the country to work with...
Matt Monson is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
No head gasket engine, anyone interested for the 2.5L engine? berdugo Built Motor Discussion 4 06-11-2009 06:07 PM
WTB: Late N/A 2.2L or 2.5L engine with low miles Evil XT Private 'Wanted' Classifieds 2 10-16-2006 03:11 PM
Anyone interested in buying a 03 RS 2.5l engine with 53k? jonnysubby North West Impreza Club Forum -- NWIC 8 11-22-2005 01:14 PM
Anybody ever seen a 2.5l engine with AVCS on the exhaust side too? mpj_becks Factory 2.5L Turbo Powertrain (EJ Series Factory 2.5L Turbo) 9 05-12-2005 05:11 PM
swapping out DOHC 2.5L engine for SOHC 2.5L engine 2.5GT Normally Aspirated Powertrain 2 11-14-2001 04:58 PM

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:06 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Powered by Searchlight © 2021 Axivo Inc.
Copyright ©1999 - 2019, North American Subaru Impreza Owners Club, Inc.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.