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13 Forester XT 4EAT
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The motor in my 2013 XT gave up on life this weekend. It only had 53k on it. I’m disappointed because I loved the car and took great care of it. Body is great, new bilsteins, all the options, low mileage, vf52.

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('09-'13) - The Silver Bullet
2013 Forester XT Touring Mods: Interior Ortiz brothers gauge pod Defi White Racer boost gauge AEM UEGO A/F gauge Busted Finger logging cable Subaru Paddle Shifters Motor Cobb Accessport pro-tuned by Turbotek Ray VF52 Turbo Grimmspeed EBCS DW65C fuel pump Cobb catted downpipe...


So now I’m looking at replacing the whole motor. It’s being towed to AZP in Jersey tomorrow. Broke down on the jersey turnpike. Not sure which way to go here as I don’t want to throw good money after bad. I keep reading stories about people having their rebuilds fail. I’d love some input on engine replacement options and would consider something beefier than stock if I know it’ll last.


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2004 Forester XT Auto
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315 Posts
A shortblock with forged pistons (from IAG or similar) will be stronger, but nothing will last as long at stock power as a stock, factory shortblock. The route I went, and I'd recommend to others, is to drop in an OEM SB, make sure to replace and clean as needed, and you should be set. Used engines can be cheaper, but can be a bit of a gamble.

What exactly happened? "The motor...gave up on life" isn't exactly descriptive, and it's hard to give good recommendations with no information.
 

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13 Forester XT 4EAT
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I don’t know exactly. Cruising, then faint rattle only at light throttle. It went away. Then came back after passing. Progressively got worse as I tried to make it to an exit but didn’t. Pulled over in shoulder and engine stopped. Trying to restart yields awful metal sounds. Believe a rod or piston broke.

I’d love it if I can just get a short block. But if there’s metal all throughout the system, I’ve read just replacing that could lead to another failure down the road due metal particles hiding in the various other parts.


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2011 Forester X
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I would try to find a low mileage used. Plenty of them out there. You could even use your low mileage heads if you wanted. But honestly if your bottom end self destructed ditch that engine and find another.
 

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2004 Forester XT Auto
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If your bottom end is totally destroyed, and it sounds like it is (somehow), then you need to VERY carefully clean everything before putting it back together. Disassemble and clean the heads, cam gears, cams, turbo oil lines, oil pump, pickup and anything else oil touches. Flush the turbo, either with solvent and then oil, or just oil. Replace the oil cooler with a NEW part, it is impossible to clean. The oil pan and baffle can be cleaned, but new parts are fairly inexpensive and then you know for certain that it's clean. I'd also take the chance to swap in a Killer B pickup as well. Might be worth it to get the heads surfaced while you're getting them cleaned, just to guarantee a nice new sealing surface.

As long as everything is clean, you should have no issues, there's nothing intrinsic to a bottom end failure that precludes reuse of the top end and ancillary parts. A shortblock will run you around $1900 new from subaru, I'd get a Type RA part for the minimal extra cost. I'm not sure what labor cost would be, but it's likely similar in total cost to buying a complete used engine and getting it swapped, plus you don't have to worry about the unknown history of your used engine.
 

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Also, before you get too excited and start buying parts, I'd wait and see what actually happened to it...rods and pistons don't typically fail gradually at low rpm and load.
 

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13 Forester XT 4EAT
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Trust me, none of this excites me, lol. I’m having a shop do the work. I dont have the time or bandwidth to do this myself. They just got the car yesterday afternoon so I have to give them some time.

I had done a pretty hard third gear pull earlier in the drive. That is a long gear on the 4eat. I was coming back from Delaware and had gassed up at Royal Farms. Any chance some inferior or bad gas could have contributed to this?


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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I’ve gotten an estimate of almost 9k for a new small block, reworked/ refreshed heads and labor. A used motor quote was only 1,000 less which seems weird to me since labor is theoretically much less.

I’ve go to do some more homework, but at that price I’m considering moving on with my life and seeing what I can get for the rolling car. It really sucks cause I kept up on maintenance religiously, finally got the suspensions in a GREAT place with bilsteins, braces, etc and kept everything in great shape, and it only had 53k on it and all the factory options. It would be the perfect 6speed swap candidate, but I’m at a point in my life where I don’t really have time to mess around with everything. Anyone have any opinions?


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Keep shopping around. 9K US to rebuild your engine seems awfully high and 8K for a used engine as well. For kicks can you break down the quotes a bit? How many hours of labor are they citing. It's almost as if they are giving you the FU price, which is basically they do not want the job, but if you are willing to pay through the nose with a huge surcharge they will take it on. Sorry to read about all your headaches with the car. I hope someone can provide you a better outcome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It was the initial ball park email. I have to get it itemized and talk to them to really get details.


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That price seems INSANE for dropping in a new shortblock and cleaning the heads, I definitely agree with @Quadraria10 that they are fishing for a whale or just don't want to touch it. Heck if you were nearby I'd do it for less than half that :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Other reputable shop in the area gave me a similar quote. Sounds like its not just a new short block. Heads need to be refreshed all new gaskets water pump etc. labor. Etc.


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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If you guys have shop suggestions in Tri-state area that will do a good job, I’m all ears!


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I mean, the heads should be cleaned, but there's no reason to do anything beyond surfacing them (and new valve seals, which come with the gasket set). A gasket kit runs $400 from a dealership, head resurfacing should be $100 or so, an hour or two of labor to disassemble/reassemble. A full water pump/timing kit is $300, and basically zero extra labor. Maybe my expectations aren't realistic, but it sounds like they're going to charge you $6k just in labor (based on total parts cost when I did all the work myself). Even at $100/hour, that's 60 hours of work when it ought to take maybe half that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Again, haven’t seen comprehensive detailed estimate, but this from the rough estimate:

New OEM Short Block
GADT Cylinder 4 Coolant Mod
OEM NGK Spark Plugs
Motul Fluids
Oil Pump
Aisin OEM Timing Belt Kit
Engine Gasket Kit
ARP Head Studs
Cambolts
Machine Shop (Resurface, clean heads, remove, clean and reinstall valves)
Installation

I don’t know what the work on the heads will be, but I have to think it’s more than $100.


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So it sounds like $9k is for more than just a basic shortblock replacement, that's a bunch of extra work and parts. Oil pump doesn't need to be replaced, neither do the cam bolts. If the machine shop is doing all the head work, you're probably paying Big Bucks for their labor and a minimal fee for the actual machining work. Price is still absurd IMO, but slightly less absurd. And who knows, if you live in a high COL area that might just be the price of services near you.

You might see if you can find a local facebook subaru group or groups and ask there, the one local to me is pretty helpful and we get a lot of people asking for shop recommendations.
 

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Have you thought about JDM? Should be a lot of qualified shops around New York City to do the swap.

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
So it sounds like $9k is for more than just a basic shortblock replacement, that's a bunch of extra work and parts. Oil pump doesn't need to be replaced, neither do the cam bolts. If the machine shop is doing all the head work, you're probably paying Big Bucks for their labor and a minimal fee for the actual machining work. Price is still absurd IMO, but slightly less absurd. And who knows, if you live in a high COL area that might just be the price of services near you.

You might see if you can find a local facebook subaru group or groups and ask there, the one local to me is pretty helpful and we get a lot of people asking for shop recommendations.
It is the NY area, so stuff isn’t cheap. This is a well known shop in NJ. As an FYI, I contacted another very well known shop in CT and they ballparked even more over the phone. They were great and spent 20 minutes on the phone with me even though my car was at another shop. I’ve had work done at both places in the past. Yes I’m sure I could save a grand or two somehow, but I don’t have the time to really get into the weeds with it. Two young kids, running a business, and enough projects in the works already. If I had a bigger garage I’d bring it home and do it myself over time, but that’s not my reality.

It really sucks cause I maintained the car very well and chucking this kinda money at a $13,000 car kills me inside. They did offer me options with used long blocks that would save some money, but not enough to take the gamble IMO. This way I’ll have essentially a brand new motor.


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