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Engine Home Rebuild from a wrx into a kind of stroker journey :->

Old 25 August 2018, 12:33 AM
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darrenmma
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Lightbulb Engine Home Rebuild from a wrx into a kind of stroker journey :->

I've read a few threads on here with peoples builds before, I am sure I am not doing something new but it thought it would make a good BLOG and at points maybe a VLOG of my journey rebuilding my engine. I thought it may also be of help to others who just try and give it a go. I am not an engine builder, I do bits and bobs on my own vehicles as I've done for years, but never anything big. Previous to this putting a new swingarm and bearings on my motorbike or changing rotors / calipers / doors was probably the biggest things I have done. About 15 years ago I passed a BTEC in motorsport and engineering rebuilding engines, the name was something like this. I passed but I also missed half the lessons and although I kind of done engine work and rebuilding in this course, the truth is by now I have forgotten most of it, but some things little things do creep back when attempting this. So for the most part I am what you would call a total Beginner who isn't crazy but just broke and so I am attempting this on my own! Below is my story of how this began - I have a few things on so this first post will be the beginning, I have done the dismantling part but I just decided on doing this, I feel It not only will help others but I am sure I will get good tips off you pro's along the way and also I'll have a kind of history of what I done or what needs to be done so I hopefully don't forget things. I will put in key points I remember but this will primarily be about the rebuilding and putting back into the car, not a dismantling how to.

So basically I have owned a Subaru WRX 05 BLOB for over 3 and a half years. Running 320bhp and engine wise with a VF34,full decat afterburner system, sti pinks,toyosport fmic, wrx internals, walbro 255,sti up/down redtop man, tgv deletes,k&n, mapped. ( I will get some photos of the actual car on next blog. )

The past 1 year it has been rotting in my garden. For 2 and half years, mechanically wise I did not do a damn thing to the poor thing, I did not even change oil. For the last year and half of her life the headgasket was going, had a sniff test. On two separate occasions It went above the red line and lost all compression, it started again after 30 + minutes. It progressively got worse, I even neglected giving it anti-freeze and ran it on water continually filling up. In the end It came by where the temperature would keep going to the red line and giving new fluids / draining rad burping etc did nothing for it! It was utterly ****ed , although the engine seemed to still run well and could drive round the block boosting to my hearts content for maybe 2 minutes - I guess you could say with the neglect it is amazing it never just failed big time .It has been parked on my terrible driveway ( mud and patches of grass ever since UNTIL LAST MONTH. Last month I just decided I could not keep looking at it rotting and that I yes I was going to become a master engine builder

My budget is low but I figured "I will start and however long it takes eventually it will get there , but if I never start nothing can happen" (Darren)

I now began my quest to either take the sword out of that stone and wave my long shiny Or to drastically FAIL - this will not be known for possibly several months from now

My first port of call was I need an engine stand. Ebay provided me with just the one, 15 from some far away land model CLARKE , I was able to fetch this while out on a delivery as I had to pass through the area by Liverpool where it was from. On collection I thought to myself F U C K I hope this fits, but luckily I managed to get it in the vans front seat as the rear was full.

I then was looking about renting a crane and It became so paintful trying to plan how long it would take me to get the engine out, how to pick a crane up drop it off blah blah I actually purchased one also second hand in great working condition SEALEY 1 tonne crane for 80. I also bought a ****load of socket tools and set for 50 from an old guy in Manchester which was an absolute bargain so this gave me almost everything to get started!

Now what I will say Is as part of this I am not going to go into details about the removal and dismantling because with it being a while ago I will definitely of forgot things, I don't want to give anyone the wrong steps. What I will say is that from other guides and knowledge already It was not too difficult. The worst part was as you may of guessed.....working on GRASS and soft MUD , using jack and axel stands was not easy. Also managed to get to all the gearbox bolts and nuts from the top of the car with various sockets , extentions and swivel joints. It came apart real easy from the box , possibly as it had a new clutch in not long before I parked it up for the last time. Using the crane half on grass and half on uneven slabs was kind of awkward LOL. Me and my friend then had to carry the engine off the crane and up the step and through my narrow door to my back room to put it on the engine stand which was bit of a pain also ha ha I would not recommend it !!!! This was the start. I will be adding a few posts on this to get up to date to where I am now including why It will be a stroker.

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Old 25 August 2018, 12:52 AM
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Old 25 August 2018, 07:58 AM
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Nice one,I look forward to following this project
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Old 25 August 2018, 06:55 PM
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dragging an engine through the house to the back room made me chuckle . Good luck with with rebuild
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Old 27 August 2018, 05:41 PM
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Ok so the engine was in my dining room on my engine stand...….operation take the **** apart......again not going to go into details as I cant pissing remember I will however give a few tips...………..

1) the ******* ALLEN KEY bolts on the cam pulleys!!!! They are an absolute nightmare! I bought a special socket from Halford to tackle it, cant even remember now if it is 11mm or 14mm basically Subaru are idiots, decide to use ALLEN KEY type bolts on the pulleys and on the wrist pin access holes, like did you have to do this or you done it to make me have to go buy more **** !

My cambelt was mashed as you can tell, I tied this around the pulleys and round my engine stand leg and clamped it off with 2 grips. They all come off , but I needed a friend to hold the engine stand, the stand and engine was literally coming with me. The amount of force I used to break them was ridiculous, If you feel like your going to snap your engine or break something do not worry you have to do it. The last one only came after several attempts and a 2 and 1/2 foot breaker bar attached - I think the breaker bar was bending and I was expecting life threatening injury from something going wrong. The crank pulley can be tough too, but used an IMPACT ON THAT. For anyone else i'd recommend loosening it whilst it's in the car to make it a lot easier.

2) Be careful with the tieing the belt everywhere method and clamping because of the force and movement the pliers moved around and chipped one of the teeth so I need to buy a new pulley on the rebuild

3) Have a good night with a girl before tackling this or have a quick session on Pornhub, stress levels will elevate doing this.

4) Cannot clarify but have been told a good trick to tackling this is to use a nut extractor set, apparently it grips better and therefore can get more torque to crack it unlike sticking a hex/allen key socket on the inside...…

5) Label your heads / buckets / cams / head bolts up properly. I did for most part but knocked a few bloody over and now have a few buckets mixed up, yay another job woo woo! Dismantling the engine not to bad , be prepared for all the bolts to break off on the water cross over pipe when removing. Can get the studs out pretty easily with mole grips.

6) Everything came apart ok, never really had issues of rounded off bolts or nuts or anything. Another tip, on the back when you remove the access plate to wrist pin the Oil separator metal plate or whatever its called with 6 screws.....Use an impact or something with decent torque I was impatient used any screw driver I could find rounded one off completely, got so pissed off I used a pry bar to snap the bottom of the plate and screw off to remove it lol - do not advise that.

7) On splitting the block halves, more than likely going to have to pry around the edges and take time to get it to split......I did I think make a nick in the aliminuium at the back , unsure of if this will have any impact on leaks until I assess it putting it back together, I would say use a pry or some type of lever around the edges but maybe try to protect it with rubber or something that wont cut into the aluminium.

So now were up to date on ive took most the **** apart......I will get into the GRIM findings next






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Old 27 August 2018, 05:54 PM
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So what on earth did I find when stripping this fun machine down …………………………..Firstly as you will see below - the headgasket has seen better days


As suspected the headgaskets were not very good at all - maybe they could of be worse ?? But For sure they was not good lol !!! Next off the heads hmmmm…...well they were 100% warped on each side. carboned to shizzle but the valves all seem good. As you can see by the photos only feeding water into a car isn't very good lol rusted and dirty but I am confident it will be saved.



Both sides were warped and horrible. So with that said first thing first was a quick clean and machining of them. On checked both heads are now flat and usable. Valves seals shims etc will all be adjusted and checked later.






So It was clear my heads have had a bad time of it! Camshafts all seemed good but maybe some burn type marks from the overheating will grab some pictures soon for them!

Now down to the nitty gritty what is the wonderful shortblock saying
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Old 27 August 2018, 06:09 PM
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Time to look at the BLOCK and SPLIT the beast.....see what the damage is...….Firstly it was clear to see that this engine could do with some TLC. The block had more rust than the queens vagina, does not look good and starts me thinking would I of been better of buying another block. However I am dedicated to my car, I will make this work somehow.

I looked in the holes and although degraded like a nun in a brothel I was relived to see that the bolts seemed to be in tacts and not dissolved so splitting the block should be ok .






The cylinder walls were not in the best shape, but I was hopeful it could be saved! The next part was to get all the wrist pins out and remove the pistons and see what they was saying.

1) Tip on removing the pins. Dead easy and unsure why I read so many difficultys online. using the crank bolt line up the holes perfectly then using a long screw driver (rubber tip ) advisable I suppose...… just hammer with a rubber mallet the lip of it to push it through to the other side, all came out without problem.

2) To remove the pistons use the crank bolt to push the pistons up and twist them bring them back down and back up till they pop up. Its quite easy I am just not the best at describing it.

So the beautiful pistons were removed and to be honest, wasn't in back condition although looked like **** …..however when removing the rings, I noticed crack in the ringland and a piece come away pretty easily! So at this point I was aware yay, new pistons for sure !

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Old 27 August 2018, 06:25 PM
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Fair play to you but see those 10mm allen keys on the cams if you take the cam covers off there's a nice big section where you put a spanner on. Good luck with your build but a wee bit of advice do it once and do it right even if it means the dinning room is out of commission
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Old 27 August 2018, 06:29 PM
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After fun splitting the block I got to my Mr Crank. He said it was one hot vag and he burned the tip



now I don't think this part matters that much tbh, the rest of the crank seemed ok used obviously, but running my nail across I was not hitting bumps it was smooth.




has not been measured but the crank and my connecting rods seemed fine, pistons shot. Could see wear on the bearings but nothing spun and tabs in place.



as you could tell from the engine block it's a total rusted mess, so first port of call was giving it a clean before sending it to the machine shop to be skimmed! a little clean made a massive improvement.



So now we are getting nearer to the point I am currently at.

So on inspection the crank seemed ok, the rods seemed ok, the pistons were mashed and the block was terrible but I again though this could be saved!!!!.

I dropped off the block to my machining shop. Around a week later I had great news NOT. They did not skim the blocks for me or do any work because they stated a HONE was not removing the cylinder marks and it would need a rebore. It was at this point I realised I had ****ed up. I was now facing the dilemma of buying a new block or having it rebored, having it rebored meant over sized pistons meant only thing I new were forged pistons. The prices put me off massively, it was at this point where I started looking out for any good used pistons being sold or a used block in good condition. Of course my budget is not amazing and I wanted to rebuild my engine at the lowest cost, at the same time I wanted to get the best bang for the buck!

I took my blocks back home and started considering the options...……..I had to find something used either way, people will say don't use - used parts or this and that but I am a believer in when **** happens it will happen. We don't tend to expect a crank or pistons to just explode or need replacing in the lifetime of your car for normal purposes , So my beady little eyes searched every day like a pervert in the bushes waiting for my first sight of the goodys ! ……………………...tbc
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Old 27 August 2018, 07:16 PM
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thanks for creating this thread..It promises to be an interesting read..
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Old 27 August 2018, 07:18 PM
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After a good couple of weeks in search my inquisitive nature got me curious about these 2.5 cranks as I was informed it would give me better low down torque etc on my car. I figured why not look into it I could always sell my used crank. I kept checking ebay and other sites and Hey Presto.....I now found a Used 2.5 crank listed as inspected/measured good to go no spun bearings etc 150. I got talking to the seller
through ebay to then learn he had pistons to sell too. I said what my build is and he said well the pistons he had for sale were rather high end for my needs but gave me a price...….I then learned he had a lot of stuff and I asked if he would throw in STI RODS with the crank and pistons, his answer was yes and they would have ARPs on instead , so in my eyes although being greedy and thinking but but if I do this, surely I should get forged rods...… but in reality these rods should be good to 450ish and I will be running 350ish for next couple of years, I cannot afford the turbo or the 6 speed...……...so I agreed a deal.

At this point of course I had questions on if they were actually good items and how do I know. I wont name , names but when collecting them I went to a big garage....It was items from a respected engine builder and mapper which put my mind at ease, for sure a few hundred quid and a few times would not be worth his reputation in selling me **** so I felt good about the deal!

So you may be thinking what the deal was...… well , I payed 500 for pistons, 2.5 crank and rods. 92.5MM .(2.1 stroker). Pictures to follow . I now knew that this mean OPERATION REBORE was now on!

Made my decision and this was the budget direction I was going !

















I then took my block with the pistons to the machine shop. About a week in I rang for an update. I got a great response. They had given my items to another place as they stated they could not rebore the EJ20 block, there seemed to be a big palava about not being able to reach the bottom or not having the right equipment. It does seem from many phones calls and research lots of place seem to be unsure or refuse to do an EJ block! Another week went by and I rang again, they said I can collect the block. I thought great . They told me the other place could not bore it either, I though ****

Eventually I got in touch with a guy from Birmingham experienced in machining for past 50 years. He said he done a Subaru block weeks before and he was confident he could do it. I have been skeptical because all the things I have been told this guy didn't seem like he new about all the intricacs of doing a Subaru block to what i'd read and other people had said. One day later and for 100 I had a rebored block. So this is basically where I am currently sitting at ! Stroker on a budget and prepping everything.





The next steps I am looking into is having the short block vapor blasted and machined. I have the bottom end gasket set ready to build up the block at a good price of 28 from ICP

I am looking for recommendations on Assembly Lube and Oil for the bores....I heard to use Oil in the bores. I am awaiting delivery on micrometers and trying to find a cheap Bore Gauge tom measure.....before I buy the bearings for rods and block.

I believe we are now pretty up to date. SO RECAP -

entire engine is smelly....saved the heads machined pretty......valves and shim be on the last bits to do...….
sourcing new pistons this comes to a halt when I am told it needs reboring.
found what I believe to be a good bargain for 500 and have block bored to 92.5 to match the stroker pistons and now got the 2.5 and sti rods with arps ready waiting.
cleaned up a litte. Dining room is now my engine development centre.

More to come...………………..
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Old 27 August 2018, 07:24 PM
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From now on the story of work and rebuilding will be more organised and better detailed will try do some videos too...……………..Unfortunately as said before only decided to blog this whole event after getting to the point I am at.....just feel it may help others consider giving it a go or not finding it as daunting as it is. It also will help me get advice and help off you guys whilst im doing this in case im missing **** and It will hopefully serve as a Log of what I have done in case I forget something and it's wrote down here .

1) what assembly lube and oil for cylinders would anyone recommend rebuilding.
2) any one experienced if compressed air in a can to blow out the items along with brake cleaner when im assembling will suffice or will I need an air line...……
3) thankyou guys for reading.
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Old 27 August 2018, 07:25 PM
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Oh also to all the guys looking at changing parts, you can really see why the STI rids will hold up to more power, they just look considerably thicker a bit like my meat compared to an average males. I think everyone may agree for 400 and under I don't really need eagle rods or anything do I even though it would be nice. Any feedback on anything or requests....appreciated
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Old 27 August 2018, 08:29 PM
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Looking good buddy, have you thought about importing parts from the usa to keep costs down?

I was going to use real street performance, speak with Trev I think his name is.

http://realstreetperformance.com/Shop-by-Engine/EJ20/
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Old 29 August 2018, 01:16 AM
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So two quick updates. My newly rebored shortblock is in the shop having a SPA day or two , will hopefully have new photos to upload next week.

I have also just scored a fresh cambelt kit for a bargain price!! Shoutout to Paul Leatherbarrow for the find. I believe BluePRINT is a fair brand, after all I am not pushing over 350 and im pretty sure its OE quality similar to GATES anyone got any views on blueprint ??? 49 B O O M !!

Now looking into bearings..... does anyone have any views on whether to go ACL or KING ………

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Old 29 August 2018, 01:33 PM
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49 is an amazing bargain. I paid way more from ICP. I have no idea though whether your bargain is any good but it 'looks' the same.
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Old 04 September 2018, 06:33 PM
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So guys - my shortblock has come back from it's SPA weekend and I must say they look a lot more glam than previous.....if your watching this thread you've already seen the condition it was in. If your new to this page scroll on up.

Below are the latest photos. Bear in mind it needs cleaning.

next jobs are to clean up the head mating surfaces properly and check if it needs machining or is straight. Hopefully it is straight but can't count on it , 10thou was took off between the two heads.
Then all bolts need removing and sorting , looking to purchase an air compressor to clean it out properly before I start building. I am waiting on a 2/3 micrometer and still trying to source a bore gauge so I can check the bearing sizes and oil clearances and double check the rebore was done true and straight. I will rtry record the next steps as a tutorial to help others, not sure when this will be done but good things come to those who wait. When that is all done, the assembly lube, bearings and oil will be ordered and the shortblock will be ready to build . I bought the ICP bottom end gasket kit for 29 off ICP - the Subaru OEM was 50 but I have been told the ICP gaskets should be no problem.






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Old 05 September 2018, 10:50 AM
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Picked up a Dial bore gauge for a bargain, apparently returned and unused. Two bargains in a row from Amazon. I will now have all the measurement tools I need, and can get on with the next part of the job before ordering the lube and bearings.
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Old 05 September 2018, 01:19 PM
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that blocks come up a treat!!! shiny mcshineface
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Old 05 September 2018, 01:59 PM
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I wonder how many of us have done this all at home and in the garden.
reading the Blogs above its like Dejavu for me.

Darren, One thing I'd like to say, because ist bitten me, is when you finally have your bores measured , and come to the point of fitting your pistons, make very sure you gap the rings. A simple feeler gauge will serve on this.

I had a clearance issue occur on Sti Pistons in my WRX EJ20 ( Honed block ) After a high Speed night time run in -5 deg C , the Pistons had expanded to such an extent that all four had started to scuff the bore walls , This was the ultimate cause for the big end fail after just 2000 miles.

Thus I can't emphaise enough the need to check proper clearances. These Pistons will expand considerably under the power Exhaust temp levels we are running, Its better to build and gap rings a little looser to prevent it.

And when running the car in and at any time later warm her up well before giving it a welly. Be sure to get all the oil / water passages de-gunked too.

If you use less than 2 rolls of kitchen towel you have skimped cleaning or
oiling something.

Take your time , and keep everything spotlessly clean, well oiled.

Good luck
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Old 05 September 2018, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by pjarvis6666 View Post
that blocks come up a treat!!! shiny mcshineface
thanks mate. Yes tbh because I started this thread way too late can't even show exactly how bad it was before it was worse than what you can see on here haha. It has come up considerably well for what it was. It's getting exciting being nearer to assembling the short block as then I feel that Im halfway there even though I am not.
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Old 05 September 2018, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Linksfahrer View Post
I wonder how many of us have done this all at home and in the garden.
reading the Blogs above its like Dejavu for me.

Darren, One thing I'd like to say, because ist bitten me, is when you finally have your bores measured , and come to the point of fitting your pistons, make very sure you gap the rings. A simple feeler gauge will serve on this.

I had a clearance issue occur on Sti Pistons in my WRX EJ20 ( Honed block ) After a high Speed night time run in -5 deg C , the Pistons had expanded to such an extent that all four had started to scuff the bore walls , This was the ultimate cause for the big end fail after just 2000 miles.

Thus I can't emphaise enough the need to check proper clearances. These Pistons will expand considerably under the power Exhaust temp levels we are running, Its better to build and gap rings a little looser to prevent it.

And when running the car in and at any time later warm her up well before giving it a welly. Be sure to get all the oil / water passages de-gunked too.

If you use less than 2 rolls of kitchen towel you have skimped cleaning or
oiling something.

Take your time , and keep everything spotlessly clean, well oiled.

Good luck
Thankyou for your post, yes cleaning is a major thing. I am trying to source a cheap air compressor to help tackle this future job. I am awaiting the Dial Bore due tomorrow apparently, so I can start measuring the rods and oil clearance so I can then order bearings. Yes the ring gaps will all be checked prior to pistons going in. I will gap them to whatever there meant to be. One thing TABOO I have done is not ordered NEW RINGS. I bought the Pistons of a reputable engine builder and looks very good con.....he confirmed to me that in his and someone elses opinion I can use the rings that are already on the pistons and I do not need to order a new set. He runs a rebuilding and mapping garage so I have took his word on this. Received my 2-3 Micrometer today, just ordering some blocks I forgot the name of them they are 100% certain sizes in order to calibrate the MICS. Once this I can start having a crack at doing the measurements. I will do some videos hopefully , I am sure there is 1001 in fact I know on YouTube however perhaps me as more of a beginner doing it may help other beginners give it a go. Bores have been rebored to 92.5 which should give 3thou clearance - I am going to check this though. because of the vapor blast it needs a glaze/hone to put the cross hatching clean finish back in to it. So when its cleaned and ready kind of thing i'll check all the ring gaps to each cylinder one by one - I am thinking they should already be pre-gapped and be fine as have already been used.

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Old 08 September 2018, 01:06 PM
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4I have recently been double checking and measuring my journals on my crankshaft - here is a TIP - I seem to of made small scratches and now I've noticed a couple of tiny nicks out of them metal ( not sure if this is from my MIC ) absoloutely shocked and annoyed , I was careful maneuvering the MIC and not heavy handed , I am wondering If people would normally OIL the journals first or if they use a certain type of MIC or some type of protective covering :/ ……… I have also noticed a big PIECE of metal and thread broken off on my BLOCK - Photos will follow of all of this ……… I never noticed any big pieces of metal on disassembly so I am unsure if this is someone elses damage , or if it has been like this for years :/ ……. Hoping it will still be USEABLE - so if any experienced guys on here can advise be great. Will post photos up in a bit . I had been measuring 2.046" in spec I believe with no taper etc, and now it's all gone to ****

Last edited by darrenmma; 08 September 2018 at 01:08 PM.
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Old 08 September 2018, 01:34 PM
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and this was sound of my engine before removing to start this rebuild - To me engine sounded pretty solid nothing spun or broken that I could tell.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRgD...ature=youtu.be
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Old 09 September 2018, 10:18 AM
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Looking great so far!
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Old 10 September 2018, 04:14 PM
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Apart from the CEL , It sounded fine ,before re-build.

As regards to the crank Journals , I would just polish out any imperfections first , it really does not matter if these were a bit scuffed, by a feeler gauge you just can't have protruding scores on them. From the bearing side these are in any case often slot pocketed to promote oil flow. And must be spotless free from dust , I have rather re-used some good conditioned main bearings on a Audi 5 cylinder , because the new ones were just a touch tight for comfort.

When building I do a cylinder at a time, squirt plenty of oil on journals re-checking for tight spots each time I torque something.
When adding Conrods and Pistons I often remove and repeat in a different sequence. re-checking for a smooth
operation and a progressive resistance to each new Piston and its own gapped rings, don't be affraid to file them to get well in spec gap, don't be tempted to leave as is , because they are "almost" to spec , much rather a touch looser
than too tight.

The cams and followers though should be spotless and without any visable defects , if at all in doubt get new followers and shim them in to spec. Keep it going .
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Old 31 October 2018, 04:30 PM
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Any updates?
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Old 31 October 2018, 05:20 PM
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Old 31 October 2018, 05:26 PM
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Hi guys sorry for my drop off.....as of right now I have no updates Im sorry to say. End of July Ive had to have my youngest son live with me who is 4 Ive currently got court hearings and social work meetings / assessments coming out my ears - as such the work on the Subaru has took a back seat as I need to get all these things in order which Im sure most will agree is more important , I will finish this project but at this current time unsure if I will resume any more work on it pre Xmas. Sorry guys and thankyou to those watching , sharing tips and commenting appreciate it all guys.
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Old 06 November 2018, 09:54 AM
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Yep you're too right, all of that is much more important.
Hope it gets sorted and you can reward yourself with mechanical therapy soon.
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