Disassembling our Subaru WRX engine: No instructions required

We've had our enjoyable with this 300,000 mile Subaru WRX and now it's time to come down to organization and tear it apart. Davin's never ever touched a Subaru previously, but how hard can it potentially be? Loosen a couple of bolts there, cut a couple zip ties here, and perhaps break out a hammer and sculpt and it should break down … right?

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Disassembling our Subaru WRX engine: No instructions required

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About the Author: RareCars

45 Comments

  1. Not gonna lie, watching Davin disassemble a Subaru engine without instructions is very entertaining indeed!

    Looking forward to the next installment of Redline Update for the Subaru engine.^^

    1. @Omaris almost as entertaining as watching 99% of Americans try to figure out how to pronounce your last name!
      (Not meant to offend, laughing WITH you my friend)

  2. Hi guys, interested in this one! Also can you please give us an update on the historical race car on the hoist in the back? Thanks heaps:)

  3. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone take a Suby block apart with the pistons still attached to the rods. That had to have been tedious. There are plugs in the block so you can access the piston wrist pins. WAY easier to leave the rods on the crank, pistons in the block, then split the block.

    1. @jagvette1 especially when you snap your 15th brittle plastic part that USED to be made from metal before BMW became “Bakelite to Murder the Will”

    2. @Beardedcap Ha! yes some can get a little uppity. That’s when I break out the Urabus nickname. I’ve met more air-cooled VW /Suby fans than Tuner-Ru fans, might just be the circles I prefer.

    3. David of all people should know the value of YouTube when it comes to how to tear down an engine. The wrist pins come out through the block. And I hope he kept track of the lifter cups because those set the valve lash.

  4. Having done about 6-8 of these per month in my shop for head gasket or bearing failures, it’s interesting watching davin navigate this one.

    (FYI, the intake comes off with the wiring harness, so you don’t have to fish it out 😉)

    1. @Joe’s Garage they got at least that much right. EZ engines to pull, on account of their horrid reliability

    2. @Alexander Campbell that’s what I keep hearing, though I’ve never messed with them. In fact I only mess with 90’s units. Not a fan of new stuff. Seems like everytime EPA standards get stricter, engineering gets more complicated and a lot of stuff was released prematurely in almost an experimental state to meet those new guidelines faster. I know a lot of changes were made around 95, but not at the drastic rate they are now.

    3. @Joe’s Garage we mostly work with stuff from 2005-9. That’s when Subaru used single layer HG’s, and they categorically fail at 140-165k. We usually do a full engine RnR in about 6.5hr.

  5. Dang, 300k is way more mileage than any WRX that I’ve heard. Then again, every WRX owner I’ve known has totalled theirs. I would have thought 200k would be about the time death is knocking on most WRX engine’s door.

  6. Love your channel you work on the same kind of stuff I do rusted out. All the road salt they use in the Rust Belt especially up here in Canada and Chicago Buffalo NY ex. Few people I watch on YouTube won’t work on rusted vehicles they say it’s not worth their time because something easy can turn into something hard.

  7. I’m sure you’ll **love** the way to put piston-pushrod pins back 🙂 Or call local proctologist, he’ll have all the tools and skills necessary…

  8. Subaru guy here. Heres some general ej series motor knowledge. Turbos don’t have chronic head gasket failure. While it isn’t unheard of on a turbo it’s really the ej251 and ej253 that the head gaskets fail on (non turbo sohc). The head gaskets don’t even “blow” normally, they start leaking oil externally from the bottom seam, and will for a while until the coolant passage is inevitably affected, even then coolant and oil mixing is rare, it usually just starts to overheat. A sohc engine will go 100k- 150k before it 100% needs head gaskets every time, every engine. The turbos can go 200k plus without being opened up. The gasket used for the turbo is different. The ej205 turbos are very stout and usually tend to die when they spin bearings due to lack of oil pressure. Usually because the owners have run them dry and beat them hard or even cracked oil pickup tubes. The early ej255 and ej257s can do the same but usually loose ringlands due to overboosting in a low rpm range and also lack of maintenance. While subarus are definitely prone to popping, it’s really the less than bright owners thinking maintenance isn’t necessary on their turbo hotrod. Aswell as owners modding their cars when they really have no clue what they’re doing. The turbo engines the subaru dealers are changing all day always seem to have 1 common denominator and thats the owners. It’s the cars with headlight overlays, fart cans and a rear windshield covered in stickers blowing up, while grandma’s sohc forester just needs head gaskets and grandpa’s stock turbo outback usually runs just fine for 250k.

    1. Not a WRX. But the H6 (3.0L) motor in my 2005 Legacy is way past 300k miles (525k km) and it’s never needed opening up – so far!

    2. No one is cracking ringlands from boosting low in the revs. It’s almost always attributed to detonation on these and usually accompanied by a lean condition. Boots should be able to come on as quick as possible with a good tune (lugging the engine is a whole different issue)

    3. @Alex Al-Zaid you just tried to disagree with me then gave same (albeit more “technical”) reason the early cars broke ringlands. Shitty tuning on the early 2.5s could result in a higher boost situation than desired, usually when lugged down low in revs with higher boost built. This results in what? A lean condition producing detination and ultimately destroying a piston. I am not claiming the boost itself pushed the piston apart if that’s what you’re thinking. But boost is air and air means lean. Subaru had updated mapping for the early cars specifically for this. It became less of a problem as years when on but remains an issue because of poor aftermarket tuning, mods and maintenance on later cars. In a factory configuration the early 2.5 cars are the ones with the ringland issues. Not the rest, The rest result in blown ringlands because they’re either not running correctly or modified incorrectly like you were saying. The only stock cars I’ve ever seen crack a ringland out are the early ones, the rest of stockers seem to spin bearings mainly. When it comes to modified units all bets are out the door, they blow up all sorts of ways, and when it comes to subarus most seem to be modified.

    4. @IchirouDesu_. The car is running like a champ now. Just much headache to get to this point with only 110k on the clocks

    5. @fokuz02 Good to hear! But I do agree with you, I would MUCH prefer to work on a Honda haha. Might need to get a Civic Si for daily!

  9. If you ever want to know how something is SUPPOSED to work when re-assembling this engine, the Subi-performance channel has a bunch of rebuild videos. Now, some are in German, but you can still see what he is doing! Sometimes it is nice to watch someone who does these all the time and see how they tackle the process.

    1. His videos are amazing. His shop is so clean you could eat off of just about any surface. Really impressive tear down and rebuilds!

  10. Going to be a great project. As they say “You learn something every day.” I certainly learned something today. What a beast this thing is. Going to be great fun to follow along

  11. I remember when I too lived in the rust belt. I had a three year old Ford Explorer Sport Trac that started handling funny and when I looked at the front end one of the anti sway bar struts was missing. Looking at it Ford had placed the struts inside a plastic tube I guess to protect them but all it did was trap dirt and then road salt in between. When I replaced them the remaining one in places had rusted down from 10mm to about 3mm in diameter.

  12. Gostei muito da desmontagem, apesar da dificuldade, você também vai fazer a retificação e a montagem?

  13. I have had a bettle engine apart, but never a Subaru engine! A interesting video to watch. Thanks for posting this!

  14. I absolutely love how crusty that Subaru is. Living in the Northeast, all of my cars look like that to some degree. I love the frozen bolt technique, I’m definitely adding that one to my arsenal.

  15. I’ve been building/working on Subarus for a very long time and even though I take it apart a lot differently, I give props on just figuring it out. Exactly how I learned over 10 years ago, start taking bolts out until it falls apart. If you got any questions. I’ll gladly help you out

  16. For those of us in the know on these engines the facepalm starts at only 2:50 in. The intake design on the EJ engine allows the intake manifold/fuel rails and wiring harness to be removed from the block as one unit. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone remove the wiring harness with the intake in place. 😅

    1. Right? Had had to snap that all off the bolts underneath the manifold, or just fought to remove them

  17. Wow! I actually just got a free impreza with a spun bearing! I already ordered a reman engine but it’s neat to see them come apart and their weak points!

  18. I love watching davin work he is so good on camera i laughed the whole episode he is a wonderful mechanic so passionate about his craft even with a Japanese boat anchor ⚓️ much love to you and your team thank for bringing me happiness at the end of a long day

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