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98 Forester
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10 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello. I just joined. I have a 98 Forester that blew a head gasket. The dealer tore the engine apart and told me I needed a bunch of stuff including a new block. They said the cylinder walls were damaged. They wanted $7000 for the repair. I towed it home with the engine in pieces in the back of the car. I'm not a mechanic, but several folks looked at the cylinder walls and said they were perfectly fine. They said the factory honing marks are still there (after 141K miles). I want to save this car as I LOVE it, but I need a manual to tell me how to put the motor back together (with updated head gaskets). I can't fine one anywhere. Neither Haynes or Chiltons has one. The Subaru service manual doesn't tell me how to remove/install motor. I tried searching the forums, but could not narrow the search results enough. The new Foresters are nice, but I like my boxy looking '98. See the pic of the supposedly damaged cylinders. Each cylinder looks like this.
 

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Super Moderator
2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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35,929 Posts
I see this is your first post, so welcome to the forum from Oregon. :biggrin:

Sorry to hear of your engine problems. If it were me, I'd have another shop look it over. If the head gasket was the only issue, perhaps that's all that needs to be replaced. In addition, if you need a new engine, you might be able to get a used engine for much less. :confused:

As to a repair manual. You could go here to the Subaru Technical Information Site (STIS), but it's not a free service. :frown:

Bobby...

My MODding Journal
 

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1998 Cayenne GTS 6speed
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1,752 Posts
techinfo.subaru.com, alldatadiy.com

And there is a big difference between 98 and later years - the engine is DOHC, so you need the manual for that year.
 

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04 Forester X, MT
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1,051 Posts
the picture looks pretty good.

was the car overheated much? if not, should be OK to do headgaskets and other timing and reseal components. be sure to get heads machined with new valve seals too.
 

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05 FXT 5MT
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255 Posts
My first DOHC motor rebuild was done using the Chiltons for the 96 EJ25D. Aside from visiting those sites which were pointed out earlier, PM me an email address which will allow sizable attachments. I will send you what I have for the 98 EJ25D.

Welcome to the forums from sunny (for the moment) Ohio! :)
 

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98 Forester
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10 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for your reply's and welcome. Strangely, the dealer said the heads are not warped. There is a website where a fellow posts pics of his EJ25 rebuild. The cylinder walls look just like mine. I'm confident mine are fine. I am a little nervous about putting the motor back together in that I'm told everything has to go back in it's original place. I cannot do that. Those valve caps (?) are in a box. The camshafts are in a box, etc. Anyway, I'll get my mitts on the docs and have a go at it.
 

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05 FXT 5MT
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255 Posts
Since they put the buckets in a box, they made the job 10,000 times tougher for you (or anyone else). You'll need to go through each bucket and measure it's total thickness (including the shim) and mark them. Then you need to install the cams without any buckets and measure the gap from the base circle of the cam lobe and valve stem. Do the math of subtracting the proper valve clearances for int. and exh. valves and choose the bucket that will get you there, and mark the bucket for that valve position. When you finally have all that done, you can take the cams back out and complete the assembly. Time consuming and irritating.....but unfortunately necessary to get your clearances right and not burn valves or listen to noise from the motor.

Depending on how far they tore it down, this may be the biggest hiccup in getting your car back on the road. The pic in the first post suggests that they didn't crack the block apart or remove any pistons....at least not the piston that's still in the bore, anyway.
 

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1998 forester s
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7 Posts
ugh

sorry about all that hassle from the dealer but its not fun to learn you have to semi rebuilt an engine from the ground up.. i did mine last year and i have the manual in a digital form if you still need it. the two most top things i will tell you to do is have the heads worked i.e. surfaced, valve job, cleaned..maybe pressure tested for your best interest which can be done at any machine shop call around and get prices. next thing would be to take your time at the timing of the engine because it is very hard and can get frustrating but its doable. last thing is to purchase a head set from any parts store chain which will have all of the necessary gaskets for assembling the engine including the head gaskets themselves. the set costs around 200 maybe less. also a torque angle finder because the head bolts (which also will need to be replaced b/c they stretch) have a certain way they are tighten and then loosened upon which angles are used rather than inch or foot pounds of torque. all of this is available through your local O'Reillys store..aherm i work there as an assistant manager and i know ther parts and the part numbers if you need those as well...good luck
 

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04 Forester X, MT
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1,051 Posts
don't try to skimp and leave out the head job. you will be glad you got them done in a few months after the trouble and pain of spending $ subsides.

mine only had 86kmi and i can tell it runs a little better than before.

after the head machining...
I wouldn't worry about matching the shims and buckets exactly. with that many miles it is likely some valve clearances may be more than ideal. i would measure the shims and have them in order of increasing thickness. then, fit them one-by-one, selecting the best one for fit. it is likely you will have to purchase say 4-6 new shims at the thicker end of the range and discard a similar amount at the thinner end of the range to get valve clearances to spec. the shims shouldn't cost too much. better to err a thousandth or two on the side of too much clearance if you are trying to minimize the purchase of shims, though. you don't want to risk burned valves.
 

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98 Forester
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10 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Well, I have a manual. Fortunately the shims have not been removed from their "buckets". The bucket-shim combos are grouped by cylinder head. JStorm, your procedure was greek to me when I first read it, but now it makes complete sense. Time consuming but not difficult. Thanks.
 

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98 Forester
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10 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Well, 9 months later I finally had a go at putting the motor back together even though I'm no mechanic. It worked. My '98 Forester runs great. I'm totally confident with my ability to deal with any issues regarding the motor. I know where everything is and how to get to it. No more dealer for service. It didn't cost me 7K the dealer wanted. I spent ~$200 on parts. I didn't do anything with the heads. Probably should have. Meanwhile I bought a 2010 XT. Night vs day. Still, I drive the '98 most every time.
 

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2002 Forester L
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89 Posts
Great! You deserve a six pack of premium beer! It's a happy ending when you fix your car properly and prevent thousands going to the dealer...
 
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