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Discussion Starter #1
Sparing you the backstory for a bit, I need to replace the engine in my 05 Forester XT. One of the cylinders is shot, as confirmed by a trusted mechanic. I'm trying to figure out my options for replacement, balancing the cost with quality/risk.

I'm new to subaru and its forums, but not to the internet... so sorry in advance if there's like a bunch of threads like this. I've tried to look, but there's too much I'm unfamiliar with so even related ones don't translate to my exact situation well enough with my current understanding. Basically, my mechanic quoted the job at $3300. I'm considering it, but wanted to see if there were less expensive avenues, if I'm willing to put in some more work on my end.

My current engine is the 2.5L DOHC turbo -- pretty sure it's original to the vehicle. After some browsing, I've discovered some listings on eBay for compatible engines. It seems a little too good to be true, so I'm waiting for one of you more knowledgeable folks to rain on my parade. These engines are ~$900, all say "JDM" or "imported from Japan," have relatively low miles (30-60k) and reasonable shipping costs. I have noticed they're all 2.0L instead of 2.5, but everything I've seen so far suggests it compatible. They also come with some semblance of 30-90 day warranties.

My idea is I could buy one of these, then either get it installed by a shop that agrees to use an engine I provide, or install it myself. How realistic are these options? Is there something really foolish about all this?

If I tried myself: I don't have a ton of car experience, but I am mechanically savvy. Between YouTube and forums like this, I feel I can get prepared for the job. As for equipment, I happen to live near this cool place that lets you rent shop space/equipment to work on your own car. So in theory I'd have all the tools I need.

How "plug and play" is it, going from the 2.5L to the 2.0L engine in this case? I've read some stuff about how the wiring/computer aspect can be tricky, so I'm wondering it that applies here. That sounds harder to do myself than just the physical swap.

Any input you all have would be awesome. Sorry again if these are tired posts or I'm fulfilling some kind of stereotype! Just trying to approach all this with a humble attitude and learn some things to fix my situation.
 

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2004 Fxt mt, 2005 Fxt mt, 2005 fxt Mt project,2008 sports mt
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Lots of threads about this out there . But from what I have read its a lot of work and not easy to do a jdm swap. Id try and get more details of whats wrong with the motor and how they came to that conclusion.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hey medicalgradej, appreciate the reply. Yeah I'm still trying to figure out what exactly to do. I watched a YouTube vid of some guy swapping a 2.5 to a 2.0 JDM, but it was an Outback, and not a turbo model -- don't know how similar it'd be in for my Forester XT. In his case, he made like one change to connect the new PCV hose, otherwise it all was straightforward. Not to say easy; definitely looked like a lot of time/energy.

I am going to try and get a 2nd opinion from a mechanic, but I'm pretty sure it needs the new engine. The first shop explained all they tried: replacing spark plugs and coils, swapping fuel injectors, etc. They said the cylinder still failed the compression testing. Still, you're right, I'll try to call another mechanic and see what they say.

If anyone has recommendations for subaru mechanics the detroit-metro area, I'm all ears
 

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99 Forester 4eat
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Some JDM engines don't have AVCS, yours does on the intake side. They may also not have TGVs like your USDM EJ255.
So it's a pain but you can disable those and avoid a check engine light.
3300 sounds like the least headache of it all, especially if you have to pass emissions, and want to use the cruise control.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Some JDM engines don't have AVCS, yours does on the intake side. They may also not have TGVs like your USDM EJ255.
So it's a pain but you can disable those and avoid a check engine light.
3300 sounds like the least headache of it all, especially if you have to pass emissions, and want to use the cruise control.
Yeah reading this made me realize I still have a lot to learn if I wanted to try myself. I don't know if it makes any difference, but there is a Cobb access port on the car, if that helps manage the check engine lights or the engine tuning. That probably sounds dumb, again I recognize there's more to know. I live in MI where there's no emissions testing, so it's not my primary concern, though I'd definitely like to set it up to pass in case I move. Appreciate the extra info on my current engine. Thinking more seriously about just bringing it to the shop.
 

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99 Forester 4eat
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I'm in the same boat, I broke a piston on a rebuild I did last April. That was mostly sweat equity, except I'm eating the cost of head work that wasn't up to par. I cant slow build it this time as roommates need the space too. The trick now is to do what needs to be done, and not pay for duplicate labor, down the road. Buy once cry once as they say.
 
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