the Dune Buggy Archives
DBA Forum - Not logged in
Previous Next Up Topic Engines / Subbug - Subaru Power / Low compression on all cylinders? (28420 hits)
By Jermaine B 1349 Date 2009-01-07 00:56
Hello all,

I have been reading up on the subaru conversion for quite some time but now I've decided to build a subaru Ghia.

While picking through the junk yard a couple of weeks ago, I came upon a 1993 EJ22 Turbo. The engine was clean, complete and from a manual vehicle. I pulled the engine and conversted the harness. Compression is only 90psi all around. I was hoping to add new rings and seals but was not intending on a complete rebuild. I'm not sure what low compression on all 4 could mean or how I should proceed. Any  help would be appreciated.
By Jay H (X-20) (ManxVair CC) Date 2009-01-07 02:15
That is odd. Equally scored cylinder walls? Bad rings? SUPER high mileage motor? Dual blown head gaskets? :-)  Maybe the valves are not properly seating? Did the motor get over-revved and the valves are ever so slightly bent?

It's hard telling without pulling the heads to find out what it is you have there. Get your eyes on it, then you'll know.

By Sandsurfer Date 2009-01-07 03:29
If the timing belt is a tooth off it can substantially lower the compression, even without bending the valves. I would start by making sure the cam timing is spot on. 
By Jermaine B 1349 Date 2009-01-07 07:32
I really really hope its not the cylinder walls. 135k. I believe they are coated with a special substance. I was thinking dual head gaskets or bent valves from overheating. Hopefully the bottom end is still in good condition. Is there any diagram of where all the intake hose go or if some could be removed? I am really lost there. On a side note. I know you guys have experienced this but that engine weighs much more than the VW. Geez. I have no help so I had to put it on the engine stand alon. PAIN.
By Jay H (X-20) (ManxVair CC) Date 2009-01-07 13:45
Lets hope you've guessed the issue. That would be the easiest to fix... New belt and a hydraulic tensioner and he would be back in business. I hadn't though about the tooth off scenario. That may be a good call there, Jerry.

By Tom & Kathleen I 639 Date 2009-01-07 22:52
We had the same issue in handling a (new to us) Subaru engine.  If you look in this picture , you can see a 3 sided rolling stand to move the engine around.  Being 3 sided allows the use of a floor jack to install and remove the engine.  If you have a shortened oil pan, it will have a flat bottom that will allow the engine to be balanced if located correctly.  This engine came in a crate, and we needed an engine hoist to get it out and into the stand that I made.  This tool will not allow you to remove the heads, but most of the rest is accessable.  Tom
Tom & Kathleen Manxter #16, Kick-Out SS #16 & FiberFab Buggy
Manx Club #1030, CVA, RBC, SCCA
By dunelimo Date 2009-01-08 05:01
90 lb all round sounds strange---one or two but not 4---I would check the gauge before anything else
By Mel Adjusted Date 2009-01-08 08:40
Hi Jarmaine. 90 lbs on all 4 cylinders could be many things. A lot of them have been hit on here but alos another one could be, how long has the engine been setting? Sometimes when a engine sit for long periods the rings kinda stick in the piston lands and will loosen up when you start it... If the valves were bent you'd be able to hear the hissing in the intake manifold or exhaust.
Depending on how much time and money you want to spend, I'd personally pull the heads and get a fresh valve job, put in new rings and new timing nelt then you'll know you'll have some life there.
At my age.. Everything I buy comes with a lifetime guarantee..
By Jermaine B 1349 Date 2009-01-08 20:46
Thanks for all the help guys. I am going to pull the heads and rering/gasket. Im just hoping that the block and the bottom are OK. You guys give me hope. I am going to make this work. I spent way too many hours on that darn harness. Also, I was looking into transmission options. Realistically, from what I have read mid engine subaru seems to be the best option. There are two manual transmission subarus in the yard and they seem as if they'd hold up longer without spending an arm and a leg on a good built vw type1 swingaxle. The only problem is that I am already way out of my league here. Not sure I can do all of this. I just taught myself how to wirefeed weld a month ago and its not that pretty. :-)
By Jay H (X-20) (ManxVair CC) Date 2009-01-09 00:44
Jermaine, Where are you located? I know there are several hobbiests out there who don't mind getting together for a wrench-fest or to assist with a build. If you post your location, you never know... you might make a new friend. Even if you don't have someone close who is into buggies, you can always seek help here.

By Jermaine B 1349 Date 2009-01-09 01:57
Hello Jay,

I am actually in chicago. I know the mid engine ghia thing is a little on the wild side for someone with no fabrication experience but, you only live once. I reside on the Northside of Chicago in Logan Square.
By Jay H (X-20) (ManxVair CC) Date 2009-01-09 10:21
There are a LOT of buggy lovers in your state. In fact, you wouldn't have to drive too too far to hit Dune Engines. I imagine even if your build goes south as far as fabrication is concerned, you might be able to contact Paul and probably hire some professional fab skills to get you out of the woods. (Paul is the web master here) I know he did a Subi in Warner's Bug, so I don't think he limits himself to buggies.

I hired Paul to do my conversion simply due to time. I had little to none (at the time) and didn't want the buggy down for too long during the riding season. I was very pleased with his fabrication skills, his knowledge, and ability. Plus, I made a great friend out of the deal, so you can't complain about that! :-)

By Jermaine B 1349 Date 2009-01-09 18:55
Thanks for all the info Jay,

In fact, I'm pretty sure that this project will go down hill several times. There are always those times when you look at everything and think to yourself, what the hell was I thinking. Actually, I had one of those moments today after I read for about doing a mid engine set up. A surreal moment before the project begins.
By Jay H (X-20) (ManxVair CC) Date 2009-01-10 04:14
Breathe deep! Enjoy the moment. It's a big undertaking, but a unique and powerful one of a kind ride will be all yours to enjoy once its done.

By Jermaine B 1349 Date 2009-01-12 20:54

Can someone tell me the easiest way to remove the piston pin. Ive tried to grind a notch into a threaded rod. It does not work. Any ideas? Maybe a tool that I can modify easily?
By Jay H (X-20) (ManxVair CC) Date 2009-01-13 22:23 Edited 2009-01-13 22:25
You need to check out the manuals section of the SUBI section here on the DBA. Here's a BLOCK PDF that should show you something.

I don't know if the wrist pins are pressed in on a SUBI or not. You'll want to go through and select the right year and model. Start here:

Hope this helps you,
By Sandsurfer Date 2009-01-14 01:49
I think reringing the engine is a mistake, Subis typically go 200,000 with no ring issues. I took the heads of mine with 147,000 miles when the timing belt tensioner died and the cylinders looked like new, no ridge and still had the cross hatch in the cylinder walls. I would spend the time, money and effort, locating and repairing the problem.
By Jermaine B 1349 Date 2009-01-18 02:38 Edited 2009-01-18 19:53
Found the camera.All pistons look pretty much the same. Any insight? Got a quote of $250 to rebuild the heads? Is this OK? What do you guys think of Deves rings?

By Jay H (X-20) (ManxVair CC) Date 2009-01-19 09:48
I can see a crosshatch still in the cylinder walls. Did you check valve timing before you pulled the belt? Would have been good to know if it was off a tooth as Jerry suggested. Overall the cylinder walls don't look horrible. The engine overall looks like it's never gotten an oil change. You've got a lot of "varnish" there. She'll clean up. I would recommend getting a few cans of gumout or brake cleaner to get as much cleaned up while its apart as possible. I can't tell you much about the rings from your pictures. Have a look and see if the shoulders of the rings are nice and crisp or weather they are rounded off a little. This will give you some indication of ring wear.

If you are set on re-ringing, you should look into having the cylinder walls honed, just as a good measure.

I paid over $400.00 to get both of my heads rebuilt. I think it was close to $450.00 but I'm not looking at my receipt, just going from memory.

By Sandsurfer Date 2009-01-19 10:49
Before changing the rings be sure to measure the ring grooves in the pistons. The ring grooves do more to seal the rings than you would expect.
By Jermaine B 1349 Date 2009-01-19 18:18 Edited 2009-01-19 18:21
Thanks for the additional info.

I did check and the blet seemed to be on. I forget the exact count of teeth between the crank and cam on both sides but they were consistent with what I read online. The engine looks much worse on the pic than in person.

I am pretty sure that I am going to rering. I didn't plan to have the cylinder walls honed for a couple of reasons:

1. The Crosshatch is still visable.

2. I read that the Cylinders are coated with a speacial substance on the turbo block.

3. Didn't really want to seperate the case and remove the crank. Then It would be a must to put in new bearings and such.

Would it be a totally bad idea to not have the cylinders honed? Also, I will thourghly clean the grooves and measure them. I planned on using a groove cleaner from autozone.
By Jermaine B 1349 Date 2009-04-20 19:18
Hi All,

I have the engine completely apart. I am going to do a complete rebuild. I have some questions.

1. I took the oil pump apart but I did not mark the position of the rotors. Is the pump balanced? What should I do?

2. I was pretty effecient as I took this apart but Im not sure I can put it back together. Does anyone know of a thread on any of the Suby boards with pics of a rebuild.

3. Still wandering if it nessessary to get the block honed.
By Terry F Date 2009-04-20 21:37 Edited 2009-04-20 23:46
Sorry to jump in here so late but I kind of fell off the world forum wise. Jermaine, I have a EJ22T also, so I can help you with the plumbing and such, just ask away and I can send you pic's too.
It's too bad you had to open up the case.  :-(

I doubt you need to worry about the oil pump, I'd suggest that you read though the Haynes and Chiltons manuals and if there isn't anything in them it should be fine.

As far as the honing, even though you may see the cross hatch, it has been worn as it set the rings, any re-ringing will require a fresh cross hatch to seat the new rings properly.

For what it's worth when I pulled the timing belt covers off my 2.2 the drivers side cam was off one tooth but it didn't seem to effect the compression.

I have the same idea to do a mid-engine Ghia with my 2.2 also, but right now it's pushing my sons Dune Buggy around...

I'm in Paw Paw, Mich. About two hours away if you really get stuck on something. :-)

By Jermaine B 1349 Date 2009-04-21 17:08
Thanks Terry,

I may have to take you up on a couple of those offers. I dropped the case of this morning. $110 to Mic the crank and the cylinders, hone the cylinders and hot tank. Does this sound correct? I didn't think it was bad. I've had the heads rebuilt already.

Thanks for the help.
Previous Next Up Topic Engines / Subbug - Subaru Power / Low compression on all cylinders? (28420 hits)

Powered by mwForum 2.10.2 © 1999-2007 Markus Wichitill