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2002 Subaru Forester L 4EAT/TZ1A3
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
[Build Begins - 27FEB2019]

February 27, 2019. I purchased my MY98 SF6. $600. Runs, drives, not very pretty but gets the job done.


Shortly after, I swapped out the crappy $6.82 aftermarket stereo for a nice factory unit from an MY08 (PF-2851B-A). Sure, it doesn't really fit in the bezel but a little help from a dremel and you don't notice it.


Fast forward to summer (July 26, 2019). I get a good deal on some XV wheels. They looks really good on the SF. I'm excited.


Less than a week after picking up these wheels, an MY02 pops up for sale. $500. "Needs work". Ok. I'm mechanically minded. I can fix it. I mean, look at it!


Rod knock.

Ok. Maybe I can find a cheap motor. Or even swap the one from the red one. They're both EJ25 right?

Nope. EJ25D is phase 1 and EJ251 is phase 2. Sure, it's possible to swap them but you would need to swap engine, trans, wiring, and a whole slew of other things. So I'm left with finding a new bottom end and potentially case halves ($1000 easily) or a used motor. I figure an engine can't be much more than $300. After all, it's a Subaru!

$850 later, I've put my deposit on a used engine. That was this morning (August 2, 2019). They've said it will be a week before it's available for pick up (and won't allow me to pull it myself) so I decided to go ahead and pull the engine out of mine. I followed a video series (below) which shows a third generation Legacy/Outback sedan. The bits are all the same, except I found two more bolts that hold the trans cooling lines to the underside of the engine. Didn't find these until I had the engine in the air. Fair warning to anyone else planning to pull one. They're on the bottom of the head on the driver's side. 10mm.

Video series:




Removal was actually very easy. 4/10. Anyone who has some mechanical skill should be comfortable doing this. Most difficult bits were the bellhousing bolts behind the front axles and the removal of the starter from above. The whole process took roughly 4-5 from start to finish. Mind you, this was my first engine removal and I'm including down time for drinks and rechecking the videos mentioned above to be sure I had everything right so far.

While I've got some down time I plan to thoroughly clean the engine bay. This includes pulling all brackets off, cleaning the rust off if possible and then painting them. I'll also be rebuilding my alternator and cleaning the new engine thoroughly. Also on the list is to do a light polish and wax job on the car.

Stay tuned for more!

2002 Subaru Forester L 4EAT/TZ1A3
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Found the culprit of the noise.

Didn't have much time today but managed to get the intake and oil pan off. Hopefully I can get the heads off and split the cases tomorrow.


2002 Subaru Forester L 4EAT/TZ1A3
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
[NB: This build will mostly be detailed on OverlandBound but I'll try to keep it updated here too.]

[Update 1: The New Engine]

Yesterday (Aug. 7), I spent some time cleaning up the alternator, starter, AC comp and PS pump. I brushed down the brackets on the AC and PS and decided to paint the Alt and Starter. [NB: Duplicolor Hyper Silver wheel paint is a great match for the aluminum on these things.]

So, last night I went down to Evansville (about 70 miles each way) to pick up my new engine. They say it has 130k on it. I couldn't check due to the cluster being sold already. This engine is a little crusty. Definitely spent its life up here. But thankfully, so far, all the bolts/nuts have spun free.

Right now I'm in the process of freshening up this engine (filter, VC gaskets, plugs, wires, etc) and I hope to have it in this evening. Running by tomorrow. Hopefully. [NB: An 18" tyre fits the engine pretty well. These are 325/60r18 off my old truck. I think it's hilarious that this one tyre is as big as the whole engine.]


[Update 2: The Issues]

Spent about 13 hours yesterday (Aug. 11) with the engine. Real quick rundown: Started at 7am, new timing belt, water pump, thermostat, ignition coil, plugs, wires, and filters all around. Cleaned up gasket surfaces and put on new intake and throttle body gaskets. Got the engine sat in and partially bolted up around 1p. Short break, then continue bolting in the engine (half of the damn bolts are behind the front CV axles and a total pain.)

Get to bolting on accessories, find out that 2/4 AC compressor bracket bolt holes are cross-threaded or stretched. Same goes for 1/3 of the PS pump holes. Great. Some careful maneuvering with oil, tiny screwdriver, and good bolt later, the bolts go in alright. Start bolting up the alternator (tensioner adjustment) and it decides to strip the threads. Why? I have no idea. So by now it's too late to get to the store (7p) because it's Sunday and the hardware store closed at noon. Wait for tomorrow.

Finish bolting up the air box and radiator, get the fan in place, fill up the radiator. Squeeze upper hose to sort of pressurize the system. Pinhole leak. Coolant bypass pipe. Under the intake. No. luv this. Go to sleep.

Today, 8am. Go to store, buy a bolt for the alternator and some quick-steel. Clean up the metal pipe, throw on quick-steel. Hurray, pinhole (possibly) fixed. Bolt alternator in and set belt tension. Throw battery in. Put in oil.

Ready to fire it up! And ...

No crank. Check fuses. Good. Check cables. Good. Check starter stud. Loose. Tighten in back in and re-check everything. All good. Start? No. No crank.

Buzzing noise coming from the starter area? Definitely either starter or under dash. Can't really tell.

So here I sit. Typing this up. It decided to rain today. 10% chance. And it rains. I'll have to pull the starter off tonight or tomorrow and get it checked. Not sure what to do if it's good.


Resolve of issues: QuikSteel seems to be holding. Will know for sure tomorrow. Starter issue was a bad ground. Fixed.
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