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1999 Forester S 5 speed
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All, let me introduce myself. My name is Nate, I live in the mountains, and I love cars. I love cars ALMOST as much as I love to snowboard.

Let me begin.

I've been building my 1990 miata into what has pretty much become a canyon car. It's also used for the occasional track day and auto-x. Although it is what I would call a "toy", I dd it in the summer. Here she is:


It has a bunch of modifications, from chassis rigidity mods, safety mods, and of course power. It currently has a 99 motor swap with turbo goodies and a standalone ecm.


This thread is not about that car though. As mentioned, I'm an avid snowboarder. I try to get at least 50+ days in a season, which is typically around 3 days of riding a week. I also mountain bike in the summer. On top of that, I love driving (sliding) in the dirt/snow any chance I can get. These are all reasons why I've picked up a subaru.



Enough about me, onto the car I've acquired as a project. This is my new to me 1999 SF forester. I picked it up for a song with a nasty rod knock, although the engine still runs (only ran the engine to drive it onto the trailer). Here you can see it next to my brothers GC wagon which was also a hell of a steal, due to the timing belt snapping on the PO and wrecking the valves.


We've already got a complete low mileage ej22e for his car, so i have free reign over his hopefully still intact phase I ej22e bottom end.

Now I bet you guys can see where this is going. Here is the tentative plan. Check out the ej22e bottom end, ensure it's in working order still. Pull powerplant from the 99 foz, disassemble and inspect the heads. Assuming both are in working condition I will be assembling the two together to get her running hopefully in time for some heavy snow.

This *should* leave me with a good running lower compression ej22 with good flowing heads. Come spring assuming this frankenmotor is running as intended I have some homebrew turbo plans, assuming the lower comp ej22 isn't enough oomph for me. Plans for the subie are VERY tame. IF i do go turbo, it will be low boost wastegate setup, which will probably see somewhere between 160-180whp. That should be more than enough for a snow/gravel fun car.

I understand the mechanicals very well, I'm completely stumped when it comes to tuning so that is where I have been investing most of my research. So far it looks like I have a few options this being a MAF car.

1) rising rate fuel pressure regulator.
2) something along the lines of a SAFC or PP6
3) reflash? is that possible at all? Still more research to be done.

Now the turbo idea is a huge maybe, but the ej22 bottom/ej25 top is the plan now. Hopefully I can get this thing going before any serious snow comes my way.

This is kind of an intro thread, but this will also be my build thread. I'll keep you guys updated as I make progress on the new project. For now I'm just proud to be a subie owner!
 

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1999 Forester 5mt
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605 Posts
Howdy from Oregon! I look forward to your build! I am tryin to get into mountain biking, but my area doesn't seem to have as many trails as some places.. I love skiing, gotta love that snow! Rock on :rock:


Welcome to the forum! :icon_biggrin:
 

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1999 Forester S 5 speed
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127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Howdy from Oregon! I look forward to your build! I am tryin to get into mountain biking, but my area doesn't seem to have as many trails as some places.. I love skiing, gotta love that snow! Rock on :rock:


Welcome to the forum! :icon_biggrin:
Thanks man! My mountain biking advice would be to pick up a nice cheap bike to start on, don't worry too much about keeping up with your more experienced friends, or just ride alone for a bit. The fitness level will come as you ride, as long as you do it a few times a week.

Snow is coming! The tenative plan for the subie is to get it running asap, probably keep stock ride height with some stiffer struts, toss on some wrx sways to help in the the handling department, some HID fogs mounted on the bumper, and some big ole red mudflaps.

I'm thinking backroad rally car theme here.
 

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2009 2.5xt 6 Speed Swap version 8 6 speed sti trans with r180
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4,150 Posts
Holy Giant Pictures Batman! lol Welcome to the forum and i'm sure the foz will get you to the snow.

There are plenty of people on here that can get you pointed in the right direction on tuning that thing. Good Luck.
 

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1999 Forester S 5 speed
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127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Holy Giant Pictures Batman! lol Welcome to the forum and i'm sure the foz will get you to the snow.

There are plenty of people on here that can get you pointed in the right direction on tuning that thing. Good Luck.
I just realized how huge they are. Hopefully the forum re-sizes them for you, my apologies.

The more I read it looks like I'll end up somewhere between 8.5:1 and 9.0:1 compression, so it will probably need a little bit of boost. I also live at an altitude of around 7,000 ft. The air is quite thin.

If anyone has advice on tuning this thing for a low boost application, please do chime in.
 

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1999 Forester 5mt
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605 Posts
Thanks man! My mountain biking advice would be to pick up a nice cheap bike to start on, don't worry too much about keeping up with your more experienced friends, or just ride alone for a bit. The fitness level will come as you ride, as long as you do it a few times a week.

Snow is coming! The tenative plan for the subie is to get it running asap, probably keep stock ride height with some stiffer struts, toss on some wrx sways to help in the the handling department, some HID fogs mounted on the bumper, and some big ole red mudflaps.

I'm thinking backroad rally car theme here.
Nice man! Thanks for the advice! I have a bike with shocks on both the front and the back, I guess I'll just have to get out and ride!

I can't wait for the snow, I am so ready to go play in it, both on skis and in the foz.. :rock:

What kind of struts are you looking at running? My struts are in need of replacement I think, but I'm also considering replacing the struts and springs with lift springs, just for kicks.. :icon_biggrin:

If you want some information about boosting the N/A engine look here! I think it may have just what you are looking for! Also, check out this thread, it also has a ton of good information!

:woohoo:
 

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1999 Forester S 5 speed
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127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Nice man! Thanks for the advice! I have a bike with shocks on both the front and the back, I guess I'll just have to get out and ride!

I can't wait for the snow, I am so ready to go play in it, both on skis and in the foz.. :rock:

What kind of struts are you looking at running? My struts are in need of replacement I think, but I'm also considering replacing the struts and springs with lift springs, just for kicks.. :icon_biggrin:

If you want some information about boosting the N/A engine look here! I think it may have just what you are looking for!

:woohoo:
That thread is interesting, but if there is one thing I've learned in the turbo miata world - it's that using only a rising rate FPR is bad news. You need to be able to control both fuel and timing maps to some extent to get a properly running car that will last any period of time. Running boost on the stock n/a timing map sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.

I want to run KYB gr2 shocks, basically a very slightly stiffer oem replacement shock. I have them on my 94 integra and they ride very nicely, and had a noticeable increase in performance.
 

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1999 Forester S 5 speed
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127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hey guys, huge change in course here. Sorry, but no turbo build now. I just got my hands on a 65k mile ej253 from a 2007 impreza I. Going to be swapping it in hopefully before the dead of winter, and should have it up and running soon! Super excited.

Anyways, I'll update with pictures shortly.
 

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2016 XT Touring CVT
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Looks interesting... is that a SOHC motor? That's what your '99 should have, mine does.

Keep us posted, we'll be watching. :woohoo:
 

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1999 Forester S 5 speed
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127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yeah, the 253 is a SOHC. Mines a newer 253, which has the I-Active valves (VVL intake side) and is rated at 175hp.

I've done my research and the engine will drop right in, i just need to swap over my intake manifold/sensors and the cam gears from my car. I've looked into it and the I-active is actuated by a 12v signal. I'm planning on using either a window(rpm activated) or a WOT switch to activate the VVL so that I can make use of the full potential of the engine.

Also thinking I'll do some kind of intake, probably a drop in with some airbox mods. And some kind of header. Debating UEL vs. EL right now, i really like the UEL sound but the EL makes more power. I've also got a line on a wrx exhaust I'll be making work.

Really excited. The engine was from a 2007 impreza I that was wrecked and parted out. Going to do a timing belt/waterpump/vc gaskets/etc. to freshen it up, then toss it in. Should be done sometime in the next month. here's a pic of the engine:
 

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1999 Forester S 5 speed
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, I've had some bad luck in subaru land boys. Here's the lowdown.

Got the new 2007 ej253 setup and ready to drop in. New timing belt, re-used tensioner and grabbed the best pullies from each of the motors to make one complete timing belt setup. This motor is claimed as a 65k mile out of a t boned impreza that ran great when pulled, BUT i've never seen it run myself so I was skeptical and re-used some parts to get it running.

All timed up with a new timing belt, re-used tensioner and pullies/waterpump. Intake manifold, cam gear (drivers side) and main crank sprocket swapped, and a few misc sensors swapped over to match my cars wiring.



Was pretty happy with it, slapped it into my foz. Don't mind the duct tape ghetto rigging on the intake box, it's temporary (hole in the box from PO), just wanted to see it run!


Got it running, and it ran GREAT dispite a bit of smoking. I assumed the smoking would go away, got the rad burped, and the car running good. Drove it a few times, still smoking steadily.. then while revving it stationary in front of my garage it lets go. Something let go, at least. All the sudden BAM huge smokescreen like I've never seen, motor still running fine chugging along with no strange noises or anything, shut off engine immediately. Uhh.. okay. Start it up again one more time to pull it into the garage, still smoking like a MOTHER. Yeah, so much for my luck.



Yip, f that motor! Anyways proceed to diagnosis.

Leakdown test on that motor came out perfect. Less than 15% leak on all four cylinders, all within 5% of each other. Actually pretty DAMN good leakdown results for a cold motor.

Then i did a compression test, the results were:

Drivers side, both cylinders are around 140psi. Both within 5psi of each other.
Pass side, both cylinders are around 160psi. Both within 5psi of each other.

Hmm, still not really telling me much. Pull the motor time now!

Yay, at least these things are SUPER easy to work on. From running to a pulled motor within 2 hours or so, easy as pie.

Started by pulling off the intake manifold:



Yip that is oil POOLED on the intake valves. Howdafuq. Look at the exhaust ports now. Both sides were like this, lol.



The header was filled with oil. Oil CAME OUT of the exhaust when it was running. LOL!!


LOL, let me tell you guys how i really feel:



BACK TO SQUARE ONE!

 

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1999 Forester S 5 speed
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127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Believe it or not, I'm still stoked on this car. I got to drive it a few miles and got a taste of subaru love. really! happened, IDK yet. However I'll be tearing this thing down soon, probably after christmas at this point though (busy as hell).


What's to come? Not sure 100% yet. Possibly a rebuild of the ej253, possibly a hybrid setup using this 2.2 bottom end i have in the shop. EJ22E bottom end, 253 heads, drive it around. If (when) it feels underpowered, build a turbo kit for it ? It's an idea, the impreza guys love boosting the 22e's, apparently they are pretty stout and 200whp should be no problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Picked up some neat OEM ski racks on craigslist for $60, score!

Heavily considering a turbo ej22 again, should make it by the shop for more teardown today.

Happy holidays everyone!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
A quick update with no pictures ( yeah, yeah ). this is the synopsis.

So far, even just pulling the valve covers this is internally the cleanest motor I've ever disassembled. I got the heads off and they are in great condition, pistons look good from the top with minimal carbon, cylinders don't have a scratch on any of them and the hone looks brand new.

Also, the head-gaskets are fine. This is all good news, but it leaves me wondering really! the problem is. I guess the next step is going to be to pull the pistons (which you have to do before splitting the cases anyways) and look further. I know the motor sat, so maybe I'm dealing with a stuck oil control ring.

I'm thinking about re-ringing it and leaving the bottom end. This motor clearly is around the 60k claimed miles, and I'd really like to slap it back together and run it seeing how nice it is internally. I'll get pictures tomorrow!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well guys, I'm an idiot. After getting this motor apart and finding pristine internals, i started second guessing my PCV setup. I've come to find that when installed the PCV got hooked up backwards, and the valve cover vent was going DIRECTLY into the intake manifold (read: HIGH Vacuum). This obviously acts like a straw and would suck oil into your IM and into the intake valves and of course into the combustion chamber.

So since I have the heads off already I'm going to clean up the tops of the pistons and do a headgasket job. I don't think there is anything wrong with the rings, as my leakdown tests were all good. Besides, i've clearly found an issue that would cause these symptoms, too bad i didn't find it earlier - but i guess it's never a bad time to do headgaskets on a subaru.

That is my most current train of thought, and i feel like a real n00baru for doing this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
After looking at the intake manifold again today, i'm almost 100% sure that is where the oil was pouring in through. My worst automotive fail to date, I think.

The port on the IM that I had the valve cover port hooked up to.


The inside of the IM, oil pooled under where that port is.


Heads both look like this:



Headgaskets looked fine:


Cylinders:





The carbon on the pistons seems to flake off in big chunks, I'm guessing that is new from the suck-by (reverse of blow-by).

Thinking I'll clean the tops of the pistons, clean out the intake manifold, get some new gaskets and go back together. Learn something new everyday
 
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