could use some advice on purchasing a used engine
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This is a discussion on could use some advice on purchasing a used engine within the Engine Modifications forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; As the title states, im looking for an engine to replace the one in my 2002 4eat wrx. Im thinking ...

  1. #1
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    could use some advice on purchasing a used engine

    As the title states, im looking for an engine to replace the one in my 2002 4eat wrx.

    Im thinking worse case scenario so if the engine is indeed bad I would like to be ready and not be caught with my pants down. Car on start up makes a terrible grinding and knocking noise. Im having a mechanic look at it and he says its the motor. I am getting a second opinion and debating if to have him pull the engine and find out whats going on. My mech only suggested a new motor because the labor cost to pull, disassemble, and troubleshoot the current motor may be quite high. The current engine has about 98K miles on it. My ultimate goal is/was to keep it as my daily driver and have it custom tuned by clark tuning via a custom map to be flashed with a cobb ap (a custom stage 2 map).

    I was thinking of sticking with the stock motor and not do anything fancy like finding a different motor, or an upgraded motor, etc etc. I wanted it to be able to run fine with the mods i have purchased already (grimmspeed uppipe and cobb accessport) and with mods i have lined up (turbo xs catted downpipe and turbo xs catback).

    Is sticking with the stock motor a good idea? Should I consider another solution? Like I said, right now im thinking worst case scenario, which for me is the motor is done.

    Also where would be the best place to source a used motor? Ive already started with craigslist and NASIOC. Im hoping to find one local so I can check it out before hand. Also can anyone suggest steps to take once I get a new motor? Like what should be done with while ive got the motor out? Replace normal belts seals and so on? Also some of you may be curious on my budget, well its not a great budget I work part time and go to school so that should tell ya. I was hoping to keep the cost of a new engine under the 2 grand mark (that may or may not include install :\ ). I had spent about 7400 to get the car initially.

    Looking forward to some feedback and input! Thanks!

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    So far no luck with finding a motor yet. Most of the local motors around have 90, 95, 100K on them and people are asking 1500 -2500, quite a bit over my budget.

    We decided to pull the engine and pull it apart to find out whats going on and we'll take it from there.

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    and the Funky Bunch Calvinball's Avatar
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    Good luck!
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    To anyone interested,

    My car was towed to a shop in long island. The name of the place is PetrolWerks. One of the mechs said the engine is pretty much gone. Ill know FULL details when I get in touch with him again (my brother was taking care of it and he just gave me the jist of whats been going down). Apparently metal was found in the oil, oil was also low, and he said there was an issue with the heads. I cant wrap my head around this because I check my oil weekly (via the dipstick) and its never been below the full line, let alone low. This is my first turbo car maybe ive been doing something wrong or overlooking something?

    The mech also said he will try and source a motor for me, and if he does an EJ205 would be under warranty by the shop for X amount of months, either 3 or 6 (like i said ill find out details within the next few days). He also said hes sitting on an STI motor that he can drop into my 02 WRX which has an 4eat tranny, cost for that is about 1800 (not including labor). The sti motor needs rebuilding i believe he said there was an issue with the heads or bearings, but if i go the route of the sti motor (im not sure what year it is yet or the mileage) again, it would be covered under a warranty by the shop, which I like.

    One of my concerns right now is if my auto tranny can support an sti motor. Would I need to get my current tranny rebuilt or what? I also just purchased a Cobb Accessport. I was wondering if that would work if I go the route of dropping in that STI motor. Im still under RallySportDirect's 30day return policy for the Cobb AP so ive got some time to do research to see if it will work or not.

    Ive also got to get in touch with this guy to find out if its a USDM or JDM motor aswell. In any case im 100% sure that an STi motor swap to a WRX w/ a 4eat HAS to have been covered somewhere here on ClubWRX or even NASIOC. I know ive got a lot of searching to do before I make a decision. Even so, my ultimate goal was just stage 2 w/ a custom tune via clark tuning to have a quicker reliable daily driver.

    Anyone ever deal with PetrolWerks in Long Island? Anything I need to ask these guys if I go the route of dropping in that STi motor? Like I said, I know this MUST have been covered somewhere on the forums, so right after this im hitting up the search bar and google.

  6. #5
    Good news, everyone! xxxxxxxAnub1s's Avatar
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    The tranny will be the least of your worries in that case. There will be quite a bit of work ahead if swapping a full STi engine in there, depending on year and model it could be a nightmare, could be not so horrible, but not as easy or cheap as sourcing an original EJ205. It isn't as simple as drop in and go, and I guarantee you it will be a lot more money than you're thinking right now. A lot of hidden costs and what-not.

    Wiring, tuning, and disabling AVCS for a start for any USDM long block. You can go the hybrid route, if you use EJ20 heads (though it sounds like your heads may have problems) on the EJ25 block, but that still requires tuning, and careful assembly. I would hope you REALLY trust that shop if you choose to go any route different from a simple EJ205 which, by the way, I highly recommend doing in your situation.
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    Re: could use some advice on purchasing a used engine

    After doing some research on here and NASIOC I see it would be a huge job and costs have been crazy for the sti swap. ill ask the mech to see if he can keep looking to find a 205.

    I pretty much came on here to get a second opinion from the community and from what I've been reading an sti swap may be a money pit

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    I had a couple of minutes to talk to the mech at the shop.

    1200 for the STi motor, 800 to have it rebuilt, 800 for labor and fluids (approx 10 hour job).
    He says the engine will mate fine with the 4EAT and as far as EM goes they can have an open source tune done. If I go this route ill be able to return the COBB AP swap it for a Catted DP and have them take care of stage 2 one time. He also mentioned it'll be utilizing the ECU i currently have.

    The STi engine actually belongs to the mech, it came off of his 04 USDM STi

    The mech also said they have done these swaps before, I inquired about the tranny being built for this, his answer was he would recommend a rebuild for a 5MT, and since this isnt a track car he said the tranny should be fine.

    They were able to source an Ej205 with approx 30k miles on it but they wanted about 2700 for it (not including labor, fluids, etc).

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    Sounds like they are doing a Hybrid swawp. STI Blocks can run fine with the EJ205 heads, but usually require some machining to make sure they mate up for proper flow. A customized tune would be required as you cannot use the AP (which the basemaps are made for a 2.0L block, but you'd have a 2.5L) unless you were to get a protune done with the AP for your engine specifically. But like your shop suggested, an Open Source tune would be cheaper and you can return the AP.

    Your transmission isn't any source of worry here. The 4EATs are known to be pretty stout as is without any modification. Even a 5spd manual would be fine as long as you weren't beating on it (which incidentally is the cause of most transmission failures). Your STI block isn't going to be the utmost source of power...the turbo you use on it is where the major power comes in (and of course going Stage 2 and so on). In essence since you will still be using the stock turbo (at least from what you haven't mentioned about it), it'd be similar to just being Stage 2 on a 2.5L block like any other 06 or 07+ WRX, which is fine. But again...this doesn't apply to you anyway ha.
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    Yeah I know there must be some important bits of info missing, I only had a bit of time to make a quick phone call and get some ballpark figures. Im trying to plan a visit to the shop so I can sit down and talk about whats going on and what they think is best in their opinion to get my car running and meet the goals I want. And then possibly by what they tell me here on the forums, as I mentioned I also value the opinion of others on the the forums.

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    Luke Skywalker Mikie13's Avatar
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    To be all honest with you, I'd take that low mileage WRX engine, keep the AP since you bought it, and run with it on the OTS Stage 2 tune. Machining the heads will be a $500 job anyway on top of the STI block.

    BUT, if you are in fact looking to improve performance, perhaps with an upgraded turbo at some point, the 2.5L block is not a bad idea at all since you will irk some more torque out of it (you'd do that anyway with the stock turbo, but not near as efficiently).

    Or you could use Open Source tune with either option, and send the AP back regardless. Yeah...talk to your shop
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    Yeah definitely gonna talk to them. The way he explained everything is sounded like my EJ205 was going to be removed and a complete STi motor was going to be installed. He said the STi engine had issues and will need to be rebuilt.

    And yeah if i was going with the low mileage ej205 then I would have hit up ClarkTuning for a custom tune map.

    In any case ill stop by the shop and have a chat and see where I get.

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    Decided not to do the route of the STi engine, kept looking for a wrx one. I found one with 120K miles for about 1300. According to the seller the heads were rebuilt by wicked innovation in Rhode Island 10K miles prior. I will negotiate on price seeing as how the motor is still in the car and WE (my party or any other buyer) would have to pull it out ourselves without "doing a hack job" or screwing anything else up. The seller is also willing to get me the paperwork for the work done by the shop as well.

    Still talking to him and will ask about leak down / compression test and take a look to see what else was on the car (mods wise). As of right now the motor is still in the car it can start up and be driven, so we'll see how it turns out tomorrow morning when we check it out.

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    Thanks for all the advice and feedback to those of you who posted, i figured i should update and let you guys know what is going/went down.

    I ended up finding a motor in rhode island. The price was right and the mileage was so-so. I found a private seller selling the motor with 120K miles on it. The heads were redone at a shop 10k miles prior as noted in my previous post. I ended up getting it for 1.1k which i guess wasnt too bad considering the price on the other motors i was finding. The seller also had proper paperwork documenting work done on the motor. (btw it is a ej205 wrx motor i didnt go the sti route)

    the shop i took the motor to quoted me 600 for the install. I ended up paying approx 990 for the install. Reason for the 300 added was for misc stuff, belts needed to be replaced (not timing), oil, coolant, manifold intake gaskets, o ring gaskets, lof filter, various hard ware (nuts and bolts that were rusted to hell and needed replacements), exhaust studs and the towing of the car. The shop i used was petrol werks if anyone was interested in that bit of info, they seem like a good shop and they work on tons of different imports. I checked out their website and facebook pages and after speaking with the owner found out they do regular work on Subarus. The only thing i didnt like was being quoted $600 for the install and then being called and told that the 600 will go up "not by much" and it ended up being well over $900. When i was called i had asked for a ball park figure and they couldnt even do that for me, but that aside it was a overall good experience.

    So i spent approx 2k for a new (used) motor and install w/ hardware and fluids. My car is finally up and running and it drives and pulls SO much better than before. There is no more hard idle and shaking on cold starts (reused the same motor mounts where are still in good shape according to the shop).

    I had asked the shop to install a catless grimmspeed uppipe for me since they were doing the motor install for me anyway, but they didnt. They said they used the oem uppipe (which still has the cat). But they did say to drive it around a bit to see how the new engine sits and bring it back to the shop and they will install the uppipe free of charge, i guess thats okay. I was considering picking up a downpipe so they can take care of that as well so i can go stage 2 and call it a day since that was my ultimate goal anyway.

    The only thing i noticed since i got the car back was that it now makes a whining noise and sometimes shakes when im turning the wheel. A quick search pointed to the power steering fluid/pump. My car never did this prior to having a new engine dropped in, im figuring they maybe they used the other older power steering pump that came with the motor (which is about 30k miles older). Ill call them and hopefully they can get that sorted out.

    Anyways my cars finally up and running and running much better than before. Thank you guys for the insight and feedback!

  15. #14
    and the Funky Bunch Calvinball's Avatar
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    Cool! That stinks about the added cost, but hopefully it will be worth it!
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