My journey down the dark road


2005 Outback XT, Atlantic Blue Pearl/Granite Gray Opal
109k miles at time of purchase, bone stock w/ 5EAT

Purchased the XT a couple weeks ago (7/18/15) in a private sale. Interior is rough, several scratches in the paint and huge dent in the hatch. Seemed to drive ok (worn out suspension) and pulled smoothly through the revs. I found out I know one of the guys that has been working on it and knows some history (old couple, dealer serviced (carfax confirms)), just drove it a few weeks ago and says its as good as it gets mechanically. No rust, so I made the guy an offer, paid cash and drove it ~50 miles home. Other than a slight stumble at idle and not knowing exactly how the turbo and tq convertor should feel, everything seems normal. Just planned to do a tune up, replace the majority of the suspension components and slowly upgrade it.

Biting into the crapsandwich
Cleaned the engine bay up, removed a grocery bag of pine needles and dirt from under the cowl the night I got it home. Couple days later I was putting tags on it and figured Id clean the maf and take it for a spin around the block. Noticed a rattle that would come and go with part throttle between 3-4k. Any more or less throttle would make it go away. Did some googling and scared myself into the worst scenario (rod knock). Called up the friend that had been involved with the car and asked if I could bring it to him to get a set of seasoned boxer ears to confirm or deny my suspicion. So I drove it to work the next day. No noises, everything seems fine. I get off the highway and Im manually shifting to listen for the noise...Its louder than ever. Oh no. Get 20 yards from my office and decide to go another block to listen further, accelerate and I get the moan of a banshee from under the hood, followed by a clank clank clank and it dies. No restart. So I push it to the side of the road and walk across the street to get a co-worker with a truck and tow strap. Another co-worker uses his AAA to get it back to my house. Neighbor came by later that night to check it out. Got it fired and it sounds like a rod is about to exit the block.
Oil is still full. I think I can see slight small shiny bronze particles. Im going to drain and cut the filter open, but I think we all know its done.


For real?

I hate dirty motors

Getting over the crapsandwich hangover and making a plan
My pre-purchase goal was eventually to hit 300+ whp/wtq and a Legacy suspension setup that isn't too harsh. Its going to be the family wagon, so ride quality needs to be reasonable. The only part of that plan that is really changing is the timing of it. Was hoping to ease into the modifications and slowly learn the intricacies of the ECU.  Looks like Ive got a lot of research to do right now.

Im going to have a ton of questions, as Ive never built or tuned a Subaru before. Ive downloaded the ROM and it all looks very familiar to what Im used to with other platforms. Ive got a lot of experience tuning Evos and Ive been dyno tuning my Mazda 3 on a fellow autocrosser's dyno at his house. He's upgrading it to AWD this fall, so the XT should see quite a bit of dyno time as I love doing it.

Any comments, suggestions, or slaps on the forehead are appreciated.

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New member
I want a neighnor with a awd dyno! Sucks to hear about your troubles man. My buddy just had to have his 06 OBXT rebuilt no compression in cyl 2. What are your plans for a build? I know cosworth sells factory STI cranks they pull out of the new motors they build. Well they use to anyways....



Im stuck between the decision of a new OEM EJ257 (~1800 shipped and I think includes a gasket set) or a Rallispec Street EJ257 w/ forged pistons (~3200 shipped and still need gaskets).  Replace/rebuild everything that touched oil (cooler, lines, heads, turbo). 

Eventually a VF52 or 18g, injectors, pump and TMIC.  Timing of turbo swap depends on my comfort level to clean and run the original turbo or just get a new one now. 

Grimmspeed coated crosspipe and uppipe, Cobb downpipe and nameless cat back is on the way. 



Subaru Ambassador- AdidaSubarus
Either way, don't reuse your stock turbo. They're known for grenading anyway, and it'd be better to invest money towards a better turbo now, rather than having it cost you more later. If the money is available, go with the rallispec block!



Been a while since this thread was updated. lol. So much happened after I started this thread. At one point, I had a Rallispec block on order, then canceled it. Almost junked the car. But at the end of the day, we decided to move forward and keep it. It until Jan, I believe. Then all this happened. There's more info and chattiness here ---> But I'll hit the important stuff in this thread.


I had backed off my plans and ordered a new STI shortblock. So I got to work.

This was the "new" shortblock right out of the box.

Yeah, wasn't a happy camper.....they shipped a new one immediately, but still.

Then I tore into my motor with rod knock

Oh, hi there!


At that point it was all torn down and I had some heads with lots of varnish, some cam bucket and camshaft scoring, and a bunch of metal flakes in everything.

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So now it was time to pull the actually new shortblock out of the box and get to work. I had planned to pull the stock pistons to check ring gap, it was Black Friday, I'm a compulsive buyer, so I bought some Manley graded forged pistons.

Bunch of parts on a couch

Killer B stuff, with really low exposure on accident.

On the stand

Butler McMaster refreshed the heads and put in some Inconel ex valves

ARP head studs

TIC FU bolts

AVCS assembly

Jack stand helping hand

JDM TGV deletes

Perrin Inlet/Samco BOV hose

Shaved the stock manifolds, wrapped them and the GS crosspipe and up pipe.



COBB DP, painted and wrapped

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She pretty much immediately had a leak at the IP&T turbo oil line double banjo fitting. And I managed to snap the fitting off in the head. Got lucky!

replaced it with a normal tee fitting

Right around 2 weeks after getting this running, my wife's 2.5i popped a head gasket. I was Subaru'd out and decided to let it sit for a little while and tossed her the keys to the XT, still on wastegate pressure. She pretty much drove it to 4.5k. Around the 2k mark, it desperately needed brakes. This was the stuff I knew about when I got the car.

We decided to do a slight LGT brake/rotor upgrade w/ some Hawk pads. Went ahead and put in some Spec B-style front LCAs and a Perrin front sway bar.

I did her head gaskets a month or so ago and she's now been driving her car again. And hating the lack of turbo. (what have I done? haha) I've been driving it daily and still wasn't comfortable really ringing it out with the suspension in such bad shape. I sourced a rear LGT subframe along with all the parts to fully convert to LGT arms and brackets for better geometry. All the bushings are also getting replaced. Got some rear LGT caliper/rotors and Hawk pads, new rear hubs. And I bought some 80k mile LGT struts/springs for a winter setup.

Went ahead and put the struts/springs on. Now I can crank it up!

I'm in the process of tearing this down and refinishing it.

Then it will get swapped in, I'll rust proof the rear undercarriage and maybe do something about this rusty leak cat back and get some rumble in my life.


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