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2002 Forester S Premium 4EAT
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm considering buying a really nice '05 Legacy with what sounds to be a bad rod bearing. I've rebuilt motorcycle engines, and replaced bearings in my 5MT without any difficulty, so I'm thinking this is something I can do- although I'm expecting it to take me a while. I'm trying to count the cost before I decide whether to buy this car. I know I'll need to buy a gasket set (including newer multi-layered head gaskets,) timing belt, and I'll either need my crank turned and oversized bearings, or possibly can use this:1997 2007 Impreza Legacy Forester 2458cc 2 5L Crankshaft Kit | eBay

I'm thinking I might be able to pull this off for under $1K if the bearing is all that's bad. Am I missing anything? Anyone have advice on the overall project, such as pitfalls particular to the EJ25? Thanks!
 

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2008 Forester X Premium 5MT
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I have done enough of these to be able to tell you, to do it right it's tough to land under $1K.
Off the cuff:
Gates timing belt kit TCK304 $150
Gaskets(HG, and others) budget ~ $350(should come in under)
Head work(resurface, valve job...) $250-400
Rod and main bearings $150
water pump $50-100
plugs/wires $70
Accessory belts $50
Hoses $50
Coolant, oil, filters, t-stat... type stuff $100
Head bolts $80
Pistons $250
Rings $100
Hone/bore $80

That's my basic if all is good and there are no surprises like a bad rod/s, crank and the cases are still good around the main bearings if it is a bad main.

As soon as you get a surpise like a main bearing journal beat up or a rod that is no longer usable I say it is better to look for a good used engine. Same price range, less work, faster repair.
 

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2002 Forester S Premium 4EAT
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks! I'm not trying to cut corners on anything that could cause damage (like the timing belt,) but is it necessary to do the valves if all seems well with them? I understand the concept of doing it all while I'm in there, but is this an area where I can save some money for now, even at the risk of having to do the valves in a year or 2 if it starts to smoke?

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2008 Forester X Premium 5MT
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100% your call to make.

I always lay out these reasons when dealing with someone who wants work like this done.

- It's always cheaper and faster to do it right the first time and only have to do it once, than to have to redo work and pay for the same parts/gaskets again.
- If you don't have the money to do it right this time? How do you know you will have the money to go back and do it right when it fails at some unknown time in the future?
- If I was doing it for myself. I would do it simply because it is less work now and the total end cost is cheaper than doing it twice and I don't pay my self labor.
- If I were doing it for sale(to flip). I would do it because it is something that if it fails down the road the buyer can only look back and say I went cheap or did a poor job. It's my name/rep.

I like to do it simply because the added cost in negligible, once you are done you know the whole engine is fresh rather than a fresh bottom end with a used heads. I also personally feel checking for migrating valve guides is a must. I like to put some force on them with a press to make sure they are still a tight press fit and don't feel like they will move in the future.

As the builder/rebuilder these are all judgment calls you have to make. You are the one with the parts in your hand that has the ability to access the condition of them.
 

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1998 Forester S 4EAT
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574 Posts
I made the mistake of not doing valve seals. I was under a time and money crunch to get my subaru done. If I had to do it again, I would do valve seals, which is pretty much a valve job.

Thank god mine arn't leaking or bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You're right, what you're saying makes a lot of sense. It's worth a few hundred more to have a solid engine. Thanks for shooting straight! :icon_biggrin:
One more question if you don't mind, does the crank always need to be turned when replacing a rod bearing? Is there almost always wear to the journal, or is the rod bearing itself soft enough that it usually doesn't cause much wear? I know I'll need to get a micrometer on it, just wondering if having the crank machined and getting oversized bearings is the usual way to go? Thanks again, having advice from someone who's already been down this road helps a lot!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Okay, maybe 2 questions- Now that I've watched a few more videos and seen the damage that a loud knock indicates, I'm expecting to find no rod bearing and a bunch of metal filings in the oil pan. I'm thinking I'd at least need to have the crank turned and use oversized bearings. And I'm figuring those metal bits have gone through the oil passages and oil pump. Should I just plan on getting a used engine from the get go? Thanks!
 

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1999 Forester auto
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This is exactly what happened to my '99 - the #2 rod bearing literally disappeared. It had 220K on it. I finished it last week.

I priced it all out, at about $900 it was all parts, no machine shop expense. Once I had the block open, it was readily apparent the reman crank was justified, part of the estimate. What tipped the scales was pulling the cam cradles off and finding the integral machined bearing surfaces in the head were badly scored.

That forced including another couple of hundred for doing the heads, and having that part of the heads remachined, plus cams. Redoing the valves with new piston rings is mandatory for long term survival - if one is done, the other has accelerated wear if not done and usually needs it in 25-30,000 miles. Overall compression goes away fast, so there is no economy in avoiding it.

All told the total cost of the reman motor from valve cover to valve cover would have exceeded the cost of a used one I had shipped in for 1,400. SOHC motors are hard to find. The total cost of a completely reman motor - zero miles - is 1,700 (ebay ?!?) to 3,400 (auto parts store,) add at least 600 labor.

It took about ten working days over three weeks time (days off,) and it's running. FWIW, there's one example of numbers that might be helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
This is exactly what happened to my '99 - the #2 rod bearing literally disappeared. It had 220K on it. I finished it last week.

I priced it all out, at about $900 it was all parts, no machine shop expense. Once I had the block open, it was readily apparent the reman crank was justified, part of the estimate. What tipped the scales was pulling the cam cradles off and finding the integral machined bearing surfaces in the head were badly scored.

That forced including another couple of hundred for doing the heads, and having that part of the heads remachined, plus cams. Redoing the valves with new piston rings is mandatory for long term survival - if one is done, the other has accelerated wear if not done and usually needs it in 25-30,000 miles. Overall compression goes away fast, so there is no economy in avoiding it.

All told the total cost of the reman motor from valve cover to valve cover would have exceeded the cost of a used one I had shipped in for 1,400. SOHC motors are hard to find. The total cost of a completely reman motor - zero miles - is 1,700 (ebay ?!?) to 3,400 (auto parts store,) add at least 600 labor.

It took about ten working days over three weeks time (days off,) and it's running. FWIW, there's one example of numbers that might be helpful.
Thanks for all the info. I was pretty psyched about doing this (ex. cond. 05 Limited wagon with 146K miles and a rod knock for $3k!), but wife says it sits too low for her. (Outback is just fine at a whopping 1 inch or so higher.) Maybe she'll come to her senses, who knows? This is great info. to help someone else decide if an engine rebuild is something they want to get into. Thanks all!

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