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#13753 of 19336 Yikes! Engine Problem in Forester?!!
Dec 13, 2002 (6:09 am)
My family has owned Subarus for years. I've had a Chaser and a Loyale Wagon, Mom still has an Impreza Wagon. I would love a new Subie but can't afford the price anymore, so I went shopping for a Forester (the only Subaru wagon type made in Japan). I found one, a 1998 model, and the salesman told me that they are replacing the engine after 140,000km and that this sometimes happens on Subies from the years 1997 to 1999!!! We have had very reliable Subies, so what happened? Did they have a Domestic (non Japan made) engine in there?
Dec 13, 2002 (7:24 am)
That's the Phase I engine. A small percentage had piston slap, and a few also had front main seal issues (oil could leak). We're talking a few, most didn't of course. I have a '98 and it's only even been to the dealer once in almost 5 years.
All Forester were made in Gunma, Japan, including the engine. It's been the most reliable Subaru in the lineup.
I doubt they are replacing the actual engine. They might be changing the seals and/or gaskets, but that's perfectly normal for the mileage (87,500). In fact, while they are at it they should probably go ahead and do the timing belt, all other accessory belts, and the hoses too.
Dec 13, 2002 (8:01 am)
actually the front main seal is not rare and it is not limited to the 97-99 DOHC 2.5L.
the front main seal will go on nearly all EJ series engines produced to date at some point. many before 100k miles, some as early as 30k.
it's a known weakness. not a critical concern because it's easy to replace, so long as you don't let it go or consistently run the engine low on oil.
Dec 13, 2002 (8:04 am)
Is it more common on the RS, vs. the Forester? I just haven't heard of many cases in the Forester threads. Perhaps RS owners push their engines much harder?
Dec 13, 2002 (8:17 am)
ah, no Juice my comment was not based only on RS experience.
a few 1.8L guys were grumbling about it and a few Subaru dealership techs posted in one of the threads that they replace front main seals all the time.
Dec 13, 2002 (10:24 am)
Well, if the dealer is indeed "replacing the engine" I would guess it's the shortblock. In that case, you would probably be getting the newer Phase II shortblock which is generally more robust than the Phase I model.
Actually, the Impreza wagon is also manufactured in Gunma as well.
Dec 13, 2002 (11:15 am)
What is involved with replacing it? Remove timing belt, remove crankcase pulley, then what?
#13760 of 19336 Front main seal
Dec 13, 2002 (11:28 am)
I have an older friend who owns a garage in town. Many years ago I was struggling with removing the harmonic balancer on my Datsun 810 after the rubber coupling failed at something around 100k miles. Ed saw me working on it, and came over to lend a hand. When we got it off, he picked up a screw driver and rammed it into the front oil seal. My jaw dropped as I watched my supposed friend intentionally damage my car! He smiled, and told me to pick up a new seal when I ordered the balancer. I have mixed feelings about his approach, but understood the message.
#13761 of 19336 Engine crankshaft seals
Dec 13, 2002 (5:47 pm)
My '98 OB Limited 5-speed had the rear main seal spring a leak at around 30K miles. They ended up replacing the flywheel, clutch disk and plate. When they put it back together the gearbox locked up in 3rd gear. They couldn't figure out the problem. After diddling around I mentioned that they could save a bundle of money by just replacing the gearbox with a new one - which was done. Finally had to go back after about 9 months to have a recycled piece of shift linkage replaced that was rattling at freezing temps.
BTW, installed a K&N air filter last month. Seems to have a little more punch. But my gas mileage is only 20-21 MPG with the 10% ethenol for winter. Have to remove the negative battery cable for 30 min. See if that will improve the gas mileage after the first tank-full.
Now if it would only snow - sigh.
#13762 of 19336 Service Bulletins
Dec 13, 2002 (8:22 pm)
Subaru dealers often receive bulletins about special problems that we might have, but we are unaware of these bulletins because they are not made readily available.
How can one get access to bulletins that relate to specific problems and remedies?
Is there a particular subaru web?