1 2
GoLucky Reader
4/18/20 9:17 a.m.

Last fall our eldest applied for a driver's education class beginning in January. He has shown interest in driving for some time now and has successfully operated several of our vehicles in off road settings. Here in a helmet, like a professional driver.He even learned how to drive a stick with me in the free Ford Courier that we had briefly. Initially it was the plan for us to fix up that little truck and it would be his first car. The Courier did have some drawbacks in terms of winter capabilities. And passenger capacity. A decision was made; we gave the Courier to a friend and found the new project car.

It is AWD. It is manual (now a big point of pride for this young man). It is a 2007 and a 1 owner car. It is also very affordable. It is still nice enough looking to pass as respectable but beat up enough to be driven by a high schooler. It is also two hours away and broken. We road tripped over, picked up the car and stopped for a MTB ride on the way home. The project was off to a great start. 
Since it is a EJ25 Subaru the head gaskets were bad. It also has 285+k miles. We ordered a gasket set, head bolts and a timing belt. The budget is low, since the recipient is funding the project with a part time minimum wage job. It was fairly straightforward and only took 3x as long as normal because of all the great learning, but we yanked out the engine. Another big "first"  

John Welsh (Forum Supporter)
John Welsh (Forum Supporter) Mod Squad
4/18/20 9:24 a.m.

Is it just me or is awd and a tow dolly a bad combo?  

Is just putting the manual trans in neutral enough to not cause damage?  

FatMongo New Reader
4/18/20 9:27 a.m.

This is soooo cool. The manual Forrester is such an awesome utility car. Awesome buy, awesome thread.

FatMongo New Reader
4/18/20 9:28 a.m.
John Welsh (Forum Supporter) said:

Is it just me or is awd and a tow dolly a bad combo?  

Is just putting the manual trans in neutral enough to not cause damage?  

Probably not the best thing for it - but its a soda can with 300K miles on it? Whats the worst that can happen, they grenade the front diff?

Again probably not the best for it, but for a short distance, its probably fine.

GoLucky Reader
4/18/20 9:39 a.m.

The engine out and on the stand for disassembly 

glossing over some things but basically we did the classic "no machine shop" Subaru head gaskets and timing belt thing and put it back in. Got it all plumbed and wired. And.....

berkeley! It smokes bad. Sorry, in Subaru terms it exhaust vapes big time. It does run and drive so we take it to a local shop for their opinion. Replace the motor. 

This was a big blow. In terms of time line it is now February and the High Schooler is laid off. Replacement engines are highly in demand (because they all fail) and expensive. We hang our heads an mumble about selling the car for parts. 
Fast forward to today. A decision has been made to help this first car end its vape habit. The "new" engine is in a local junkyard and we are going to go harvest it today. It is also now a more GRM project. That is all for now.  

GoLucky Reader
4/18/20 9:40 a.m.

In reply to John Welsh (Forum Supporter) :

It is very bad to tow Subaru awd cars with a dolly. In this case the Rear driveshaft is removed  

we towed it 2 hours back home. The dolly is what was available at u-haul and the unexpected mechanical problem solving added to the experience. 

GoLucky Reader
4/18/20 9:46 a.m.

In reply to FatMongo :

I think that the rear wheels would lock and drag or the center diff would go out, even for a short distance. 

adam525i (Forum Supporter)
adam525i (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
4/18/20 10:10 a.m.

Yeah, the center diff will go very quickly.

As a proud owner of an 07 Legacy with a junkyard motor that runs quite well I wish you good luck and happy hunting. Look for cars that were in accidents and 06-09. You can always run the VIN through something like carfax if the mileage isn't painted on a window. It took me a few weeks to find my motor keeping an eye on all of our local yards, it eventually came out of an 08 Impreza.


wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
4/18/20 10:37 a.m.

Awesome first car and story. He'll always know what car ownership means now.


TED_fiestaHP Reader
4/18/20 12:54 p.m.

  When you had the heads off, did you consider doing the valve seals?  With some luck the replacement engine will be OK.

       A lot of the smoke could be valve seals.

      I actually pulled the heads off with the engine in the car, that was a little tricky.  I found one bad valve, replaced all the valves and it went from running poorly on 3 to running ok on all 4.

       Good luck with it.

enginenerd Reader
4/18/20 4:12 p.m.

Did you measure the cylinder heads and block for flatness? Every SOHC Subaru head gasket job I've done ended up requiring significant machining. In addition to decking the heads, a valve job (cut seats and replace valve seals at a minimum) was needed on most of them. 

GoLucky Reader
4/18/20 6:43 p.m.

In reply to enginenerd :

We put a straight edge on both and everything looked "okay" we didn't change valve seals because it was running on 2 cylinders when we got it but not really smoking. Now it looks terrible:the shop suspects a cracked head and it piston slaps quite a bit.  The exhaust valves were all pretty rough as well. It was driven extensively with HG failure... 

GoLucky Reader
4/18/20 7:10 p.m.

Today was a fun and very productive day. We charged up tools, loaded the JY tool kit and went to meet the donor. 

That's right! For those who don't know, this is a Subaru SVX. It is powered by the EG33. This is a3.3l flat six that is mechanically similar to the venerable EJ22 but with extra cylinders.

Disclaimer: I am not an expert on Subaru history/engineering etc. please check for your self any information contained herein. 

Anyway, we spent about three hours getting everything apart and unplugged and wound up with: engine. radiator. accelerator pedal/cable. ECU. And, what took the most effort, wire harness. 
This junkyard pulls engines with a huge loader. We had everything ready for the loader so took a lunch break while we waited for them to be ready.

It was so smooth. We had actually unhooked EVERYTHING first try. The engine popped straight out. And then, the bolt through one end of the chain broke. 
The oil pan took the force of the fall and is now pretty smashed; we will have to address that later. There are no other SVX's in this yard so we loaded up and went home. 100% not our fault BTW their cheap ass bolt. I feel so relieved that nobody was injured; a falling engine is some scary E36 M3 ! 
After an uneventful drive we ended the project day with the motor on the stand. 
These things have dual throttle bodies and are just too metal for just one hand. 
Now we party. 

FatMongo New Reader
4/18/20 7:51 p.m.

This thread keeps getting awesome-er.

John Welsh (Forum Supporter)
John Welsh (Forum Supporter) Mod Squad
4/18/20 9:03 p.m.
FatMongo said:

This thread keeps getting awesome-er.

And the thread has an El Camino and a X1/9.  Then, a JY with a SVX next to a Mercury LN7 (the other Ford EXP)

Agent98 Reader
4/19/20 6:19 p.m.

In reply to John Welsh (Forum Supporter) :

LN7 and a Festiva, SHOgun project !!!! When you're done with the subie....

GoLucky Reader
4/19/20 7:26 p.m.

It was a beautiful day so out with the smoke machine. It just so happens that the refrigerant has already evacuated itself so now there are fewer lines running around the engine bay. 
I also ordered a MAF since the donor had already been robbed. 

GoLucky Reader
4/20/20 10:52 p.m.

The internet has been helpful with some wiring schematics. The SVX side is pretty well documented but I may have to dig a bit more into the Forester side of things.

GoLucky Reader
4/25/20 9:29 p.m.

The replacement MAF arrived broken. It was shipped in a padded mailer envelope instead of a box. Grumble! 
Looks like a job for some JB weld epoxy. 
We will see how this works. If it is good then fine, hopefully it will bolt to the Forester air box. If it sucks (haha) pod filter hello. 
The smashed oil pan and missing MAF are negative things, but the bright side is that this motor has some evidence of love. The oil we drained is clean, at some point the trans was replaced with a "genuine remanufactured" unit and the plugs are good. 

I snapped a picture while we were back in the JY today getting the igniter and the alternator plug. Minor progress then we went on a bike ride.  

GoLucky Reader
8/22/20 12:45 p.m.

Okay, it has been a while and things have been a bit hectic. Not much happening with this car until recently. 

At my job I learned that bicycles are/were the new toilet paper and for a couple of months it was nuts. Now we have very little left to sell or use for repairs. Apparently this is the case nationally. I am now patching tubes at work on a daily basis; reminds me of my youth when a patch kit was the only thing I could afford. 

This month began with a 30 day move out notice from the landlord. The housing market here is hot and we are not alone in this situation. Tons of rentals are now up for sale. In fact, my stepkids have the exact same thing happening at their dad’s house  simultaneously. Consequently rentals are in high demand with a short supply, effectively meaning there aren’t any. Fortunately, my wife and I are in a position to buy a house, we intended to wait but it looks like if we want to have a place to live we need to get a mortgage. An offer is made and accepted so now we are doing all of the jumping through hoops that many here will already be familiar with. 

Part of the “transition” has involved me doing the final push on my c10 and ultimately selling it. Now that it is gone we have 3 vehicles that run and drive and this one that doesn’t.  Our new house is an easy “tow strap” trip away, so it will probably not actually make the trip under its own power. Still, it is far more convenient if the engine is at least inside the vehicle. So we made that happen: 

First up: repair the smashed oil pan with a MAAP torch and brute force. We heated the metal and then bashed it with a hammer and blunted round rod. It was Smokey, loud and sweet. Not pictured, but an important step was measuring and adjusting the oil pickup tube clearance since that got bent as well. 

With the pan sorted we assembled the stock Forester clutch and sent for an install. 

15 seconds with the sawzall and the radiator support is out of the way. The transmission needed the lower starter bolt helicoiled for a bolt since the engine doesn’t have a threaded hole there. All tools and supplies were convenient and at hand. The motor mounts are from the Forester engine and bolt straight to the SVX engine. It looks like we will have to lift the motor and slightly elongate the cross member mount slots for a proper fit, but for now they both have nuts holding the engine in. 

With the convenience of no longer having an eg33 on an engine stand and no other time critical automotive projects (fingers crossed) we began some wiring harness adventures. So far we removed this: 

And are left with this:

for reasons of time and because the Forester is in the shape it is we are going the route of a stand alone engine harness and not doing a harness merge. What I like about this is the future possibility of moving this swap into a different and better shell. 

Great stuff.  Love the parent/child build.  I try to get my teen girls to help out as much as I can, but it's spotty at best with them.

My oldest just started driving in Feb, and she's also a proud stick-shift driver.  Seems like this generation has taken a renewed interest in the beauty of the clutch.

Good luck with your move and the new house!

GoLucky Reader
8/23/20 4:35 p.m.

Today we extended some wires, got labels added and made an interesting discovery. 

Apparently Subaru has used a black-white wire as a ground and a different black-white wire as a 12v power wire? 



FatMongo Reader
8/23/20 8:24 p.m.

This is super cool - well done - keep progressing and posting please!

GoLucky Reader
8/29/20 10:56 p.m.

License is acquired. Our teen has been logging miles on our beater Scion xB. Some Small progress this evening: connectedness of the easy side of the power steering. 3/8” hose plus two worm clamps easy peasy. 

None of the hard lines we grabbed will make a simple solution for the pressure side. So still more to figure out there. 

Also: more wires hit the floor. 

Even small steps feel like progres. 

r3vhappy New Reader
8/30/20 12:30 a.m.

What a great thread! I love this father/son stuff!

1 2
Our Preferred Partners