Subaru Forester Owners Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
2001 Forester S Auto
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

I am in need of some advice (obviously), my foz is about to roll over 324,000 and I'm about to do the head gaskets. I bought the car a couple of years ago for $200 at about 300,000 miles. It was a steal! Needed a new alternator so I slapped a spare one I had on it and drove it home. I've been driving it ever since. It has had the P0304 (Cylinder 4 misfire) code popped since I've had it.

I have since noticed that there was a mysterious coolant leak that has progressed over time. Now, I pretty much top off the radiator every time I drive it more than around town. Especially now that it is summer and relatively hot here in PDX. Otherwise, it starts and runs fine. The engine feels pretty dang tired though. For example, when I am on the highway, I'll floor it to pass someone and the car is just slow. Same with pulling up a hill at highway speeds. It'll down shift like twice in order to actually pick up speed. It doesn't hesitate or stumble, it just feels tired.

Where I need advice is in regard to my short block. I've priced out a couple of fresh reman ones online, as well as JDM shortblocks online and locally. Though I'm wondering if I even need to bother with one. Considering the mileage of the vehicle and the way that it feels at speed and under load, I figured may as well right? The main thing holding me back is that the car burns like ZERO oil. I had the oil changed over 3,000 miles ago and have never needed to add any oil to it. In fact, I haven't even noticed the level lower on the stick. It also doesn't make excessive noise. Every other forester I have owned has at least needed a little oil at each fill of the gas tank.

So, what are y'alls thoughts? I like the idea of a fresh short block, but I also really like the idea of saving like $1,000 or more.

Disclaimer: I am a mechanical engineer and have been working on autos for most of my life. I am very comfortable with the work and have the tools.


Btw, Here are my plans for the rest of the engine.

  • Aisin timing belt kit w/ water pump
  • Six Star head gasket kit
  • New OEM head fasteners
  • Reman heads from a local shop (~$450 for the pair)
  • NGK plugs
The reman shorties I was looking at are...

Sunwest Enhanced EJ25 SOHC

MAG Engines Reman EJ25 SOHC
 

·
Registered
2001 Forester
Joined
·
1,318 Posts
I would do a compression test first before assuming you need a short block. The transmission is known not to downshift when you need power and needs to downshift 2 gears. If I roll up to green light and take right turn, it will take the turn in 3rd gear. And then you floor it, delay before it decides "oh you want 2nd gear" and actually downshifts. So when it stays in 3rd the pickup is really slow.

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
2013 crosstrek, Forester+
Joined
·
138 Posts
I am not an expert on these engines specifically, however at 72 years old and wrenching since a teen it is my experience that alloy blocks tend to get brittle over time such that anything threaded into the alloy may pull threads from the material. VWs were awful about this, but I do realize all alloy is not the same. I would be looking for a lower mile engine from a wreck and rebuild it myself or if in a hurry buy a reman long block, but I do like your plan to use new fasteners and the best head gaskets and timing components. Upon reflection I may not have helped you at all. As for using no oil, that's remarkable and would seem to mean the lack of power is not from loss of compression. Perhaps from worn cam lobes or injector faults or ignition issues. Possible even exhaust restriction.
 

·
Registered
2001 Forester
Joined
·
1,318 Posts
I have a 2001 as well. With 220,000 miles and it also does not use any oil. Runs just fine. I bought it new and take-off from the lights have not changed. If I give it part throttle for "normal" acceleration, it would be deemed as slow in today's standards. But if I press the throttle it keeps up with others. As explained in my previous post, the transmission on this vehicle is not known for "take-off", it's setup for MPG. It tries to keep the engine in the tallest gear possible at all times.

So given that the OP's engine is not using oil, I have to wonder if this is a perception issue that it is "SLOW". It's only got 165HP and the engine has to work with AWD and approx., 3000 lbs vehicle weight. The AWD sucks up a lot of power, if you want to feel the power, insert a fuse into FWD socket to disable the AWD and just power the front wheels.
 

·
Registered
2001 Forester S Auto
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I would do a compression test first before assuming you need a short block.
I'm planning on doing one in the next couple of days.

So given that the OP's engine is not using oil, I have to wonder if this is a perception issue that it is "SLOW". It's only got 165HP and the engine has to work with AWD and approx., 3000 lbs vehicle weight. The AWD sucks up a lot of power, if you want to feel the power, insert a fuse into FWD socket to disable the AWD and just power the front wheels.
My basis for comparison is my girl's 00 forester. Awhile back the engine in it went so I replaced it with an EJ25 from an 01 Legacy. Her foz doesn't seem to drive the same way under those conditions. It seems to pick up speed faster. Was the 4EAT geared differently prior to 2001?
 

·
Registered
2001 Forester
Joined
·
1,318 Posts
@SmokeyTheZent Can't speak to your question regarding gear ratio before 2001. But take a look here: List of Subaru transmissions - Wikipedia

Here is another link that talks in greater detail regarding the 4EAT: 4EAT Basic Information FAQ

Try driving around with it in 3 instead of D if your speeds are primarily below 40 mph, it might keep the transmission on it's toes and be ready to downshift, and skip the delayed shift.
 

·
Registered
2003 Forester 2.5X 5MT & 2008 Impreza WRX 5MT & 2009 Impreza 2.5i 5MT
Joined
·
88 Posts
Seems like the cheapest way to go would be to get a running engine from a car that is being parted out.
 

·
Registered
2001 Forester S Auto
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Bman, I guess an easy check I can do is to just drive both my 01 and 00. Take them on the highway and see where my rpms are sitting at, say, 60 mph. I'll do that soon and report back.

Seems like the cheapest way to go would be to get a running engine from a car that is being parted out.
My reservation with that is potentially having to deal with the same issues all over again. I'd rather just do the head gaskets on my existing motor and know that they will be solid.
 

·
Registered
2001 Forester
Joined
·
1,318 Posts
If I was in @SmokeyTheZent shoes. I would not buy/replace the engine. Too many unknowns. Especially if body on the vehicle is in good shape, and he wants to keep the vehicle as a simple A to B daily driver. Putting new head gaskets in and just keep it going. Send the heads off to a machine shop for a rebuild, put new timing belt/wp idler, tensioner. That's what I did last year on my 2001 when it reached 219,000. Still runs like a champ.

It's a great vehicle to drive up to Mt. Hood during the winter, etc....

Swapping for a JDM short block just brings on too many unknown variables, as well as buying a used engine from a parting out vehicle. The Parting out vehicle would likely need new head gaskets, timing belt/wp, idler and tensioner to be on the safe side since the engine is out of the vehicle already. The JDM seems a bit too exotic, but that's my opinion.

Both JDM or Parting out will need heads/head gaskets along with the Timing belt. Let's be surgical about this, find out what if anything is wrong with the existing engine. Rather than taking a sledge hammer and doing engine swaps, etc.....I would prefer the devil I know(Head gasket on existing engine) vs the devil I don't know(engine swaps).
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top