Subaru 2.5 engine

Asked by Jun 24, 2016 at 03:59 PM about the 2009 Subaru Outback 2.5i Special Edition

Question type: General

How good is the 2.5i engine? Any major
widespread problems?

25 Answers


A true NIGHMARE engine! read all about it online.Subaru 2.5 L engine - the worst engine ever? I concur the 2.5L Subaru engine (non-turbo) has head gasket issues from 1996-2004(not present). Now they break piston ring land areas..However they seem to have stopped in 2005 where the engine design changed a bit. This is even evident in Consumer Reports which shows major engine problems for all the models (except turbo) only up to 2004. The major engine problem is the head gasket. Now the new models break piston ring land areas. STILL A NICE NOVELTY VEHICLE. If you don't like cars.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Auto_Centric- I'm sorry, but, that's just your opinion. Tell me, what do you think about the "intermediate shaft bearing" on the your car. And, while you slam the Subaru, which does not have anything like the Porsche design, you have a flat engine in your car. Now, tell me why there's a high mileage Subaru club with countless people over 100,000 up to 500,000 miles on their cars. Most people can and easily go 200,000 miles in their cars, especially newer models. The head gaskets issues pretty much disappeared on any cars 2010 or newer. Novelty engine? Wow, it was developed back in 1896 by Karl Benz. Subaru is the 5th most highly recommended vehicle. And, they have a proven track record of 96 percent of cars still on the road after 12 years. Of course, any person can neglect a vehicle and run it into the ground with poor maintenance and shoddy repairs. Look, every car has issues, but, the way you drive, maintain and repair your vehicle has a direct correlation with how far you'll go. If you didn't like these engines, WHY is one of these in your garage?

9 of 9 people found this helpful.

By the way, the 2.5 is rated by Consumers to be MORE reliable than the 3.6. And, when you consider that there are only 15 to 20 percent of 3.6 engines or less out there in the pool of available cars, they represent a fraction of the cars Subaru produces. According to Subaru, the technology for both the 2.5 and the 3.6 is the same, except that the larger engine has two more cylinders. Not everyone likes the 3.6, because it makes the front end heavy. And, one more thing, the super powerful Subaru WRX STI Is a modified version of the regular 2.5 engine and has 305 HP and 295 foot pounds of torque. Tell me, if that engine is so crappy, how did they manage to make a car like that?

5 of 5 people found this helpful.

Alean, here's a better answer to your original question. Check out this as well,

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Hi, Mark I don't own A Boxster never would ..Poorly! designed ..last Porsche I did own was the OLD 911 (aircooled) series.I'm not A FAN BOY of any manufacture... BUT, I service and or test and tune these manufactures vehicles I comment on. Lets be real they all build some Junk!The STI has its share of issues too I see plenty of Fails on this too, consider the production numbers too, such a small amount produced. So just to Make things clear I POINT OUT..really how so many manufactures produce design flawed automobiles as they should, Humans aren't perfect. Whatever, people should Buy what there in LOVE with. Please, comment on your preference for Subaru's design over the other...manufactures. Regards

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

Oh, sorry, I saw the picture of the 2001 Porsche in your garage.


Auto_Centric-. Here's one of the reasons I like the horizontally opposed boxer engine,. See this link below, As you can see, the boxer engines have a natural balance because of their design. They also have a lower center of gravity due the placement of the motor and have a proven safety record. In a front end collision, the engine is designed to go underneath the car and away from the passenger compartment, skirting under the floor boards. Also, boxer engines for their relatively small size have a lot of torque and are frequently used in aircraft for this reason. The opposed cylinders means that there is no reason for counter weights and balancing shafts used in inline Fours or V6 engines. So, there's a natural smoothness to these engines. Also, the fact that the horsepower and torque are identical,. 170 horsepower and 170 foot pounds of torque in my Subaru Outback, the power band of acceleration is steady and smoothly responsive at any speed. It also helps that this is perfectly coupled with the CVT transmission that is constantly changing on a linear continuous band for keeping the engine and transmission in the perfect gearing. So, that's why I like it. Is it perfect, NO. There is no perfect car.

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

I agree, on the inherit design potential of an opposed 4./ 6 (smoothness) Yes, low CG good polar moment of inertia etc.I have played with many of them, from VW aircooled type 1,2,3,4s along with the Subaru's EA / EJ / FB going back 20 years. SO, IF forced I'll tune or use an EJ22 but this causes a (for me) chassis choice issue? I've been in the Subaru tech center here in Ann Arbor, I hear and know directly about issues and jokes. I can't OUT... the engineers who speak frankly about lacking design features. They exists! Oil usage problems, Head gaskets a decades worth, Current piston (Wrx) blown ringlands and STI piston breakage. Everybody knows these(pattern) issues.. Nothing new. I also did work for Dunning Subaru (the dealer in town) So, I Do slam Subaru..But I also slam the others that are guilty TOO! You know even Fuji Heavy Industries, has changed in Name to Subaru, they have formed a Nice Niche market in the U.S. .Happy, to hear you enjoy your Outback and it performs well. Oh, I do favor a good Wright R1820 but it leads to chassis selection problems again.. Regards

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Auto_Centric,. Hi, thanks for your post. It's unfortunate that there's an ebb and flow to the arc of many cars with repairs. When Subaru changed from the EJ Series engine to the newer FB Series there were some initial problems. My 2010 is the EJ Series Phase 2 engine with the newly designed multi layered head gaskets. Since Subaru redesigned this, there have been very few head gaskets failures. There have been a number of 2013-2015 H4 engines with oil burning issues, but, Subaru had a technical service bulletin on those and offered people a oil consumption test and in some cases did a ring and valve job on their cars with new pistons. Most of the affected cars I've heard that were involved turns out were Forrester models with the manual transmission. People with manual transmissions love to rev up their engines to the red line. Also, to comply with federal regulations, they lowered the oil viscosity from 5-30 as it is on my EJ Series 2 to 0-20 on the"FB Series engine. Yes, Subaru is a niche market, but, their cars serve a particular purpose and are workhorses. I had a 1995 Honda Accord station wagon for 19 years and it was a great car, but, it was too low to the ground and couldn't as effectively pull my teardrop trailer. Here's a picture of my car and the trailer with the Subaru, much better.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

My car doesn't burn excessive oil, however, because it's a boxer engine,. I do check it regularly and recommend that people do this. Only occasionally have I found it necessary to add a half quart usually after running pulling the trailer up hill or sustained driving in very hot weather on the freeway. All cars have the capacity to burn some oil. My car is just under 80,000 miles and runs great. I've had it just over two years, it was a certified pre-owned vehicle and runs like the day I purchased it. So, I'm VERY pleased.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

I wonder which vehicles got the new FB engine? I think the Outback did before others, 2013? I'm also researching whether that engine is closed deck, or semi-closed. Car and Driver had a detailed article about it, but I don't recall it having the information I was looking for.


Stelcom66, here's a thread on this subject below, open-145417/


Stelcom66- The Forester models got the new FB series engine first in 2011 and it was introduced on the Subaru Outback beginning with the 2013 model year. Prior to that, the 2012 and earlier models had the EJ Series Phase 2 engines from 1999 to 2012. The phase one EJ Series engine started in 1989.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Read through this link and they discuss closed and open deck ,


Not a nightmare in 2009 but they could be better. Head gaskets are the only major issue. Use Subaru brand anti-leak in the radiator and keep the engine in tune. Use a higher octane gas if the car pings as pinging can put stress on the head gaskets. Why Subaru stuck with the IDIOTIC OPEN BLOCK set up is beyond me. Even the morons at Subaru used a closed block on the turbo's to get a better head gasket seal.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Markw1952 - Thanks, I saw that the displacement of the 2013 Outback engine was slightly larger than the previous year. Just doing research for the future. The 2002 Forester I own now is my 6th (have had 8 w/my name on the title counting those my kids owned). It's right around the time the head gaskets typically start leaking, 125k miles. At the moment I don't see any obvious signs. Every couple of months or so the coolant may be down just a bit.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

If you have not already use Subaru brand stop leak in your radiator. I went 200,000 miles on my 2003 Forester (original head gaskets) and it was running strong when I sold it. Over all a much better car than my new Forester.


Well then that's encouraging! I will invest in the Subaru Brand stop leak. This may sound strange but I love driving my 2002, it's a 5 speed manual - maybe it's the slight crudeness I enjoy. Rides well though, the heated seats and powerful heater make it great in winter. I've heard about weak heat situations in newer Foresters. Why do you consider the 2003 better than your new one?


For one thing my 2003 went 200,000 miles on the original engine. The 2015 needed THREE engines in the first 20,000! The older car was a nice driver and problem free except for normal maintenance items like wheel bearings and timing belt. I also liked the older AWD system better, the traction control in the 2015 cannot be fully turned off and it will stop your progress is slippery conditions whereas the older one would just cruise on through.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

I own a 2015 2.5 Outback that is now consuming oil. The dealer wants to perform an oil consumption test which I will comply with. Problem is I have no idea if the dealer is introducing an additive to the crankcase to prevent oil consumption. Because of this I will be requiring my oversight of the process including watching the technician change the oil to make sure I am not being fooled. If this engine continues I will get rid of this potential nightmare and go with a Toyota instead. I have driven five Corollas over 250k with zero failures of any component. I now wish I had opted for the Rav 4 instead.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Hi i just bought a 03 outback with 180k on it the motor taps and the rear main seal is leaking the first do i got it changed the oil put a k&n oil filter with the anti drain back seal its alil bit quieter but my question is how long will the 2.5 last i check the oil every day and try to avoid highways as much as possible never owned a Subaru and really like the car just dony wanna have to drop a motor in it any time soon


Outback03, guess it really depends on how much you paid for this car..... I personally would have not purchased any car with over 150,000 miles, UNLESS it was a diesel.... Good luck.


Keep putting oil in it and hope for the best. You might get quite a few miles out of it but if the rear main seal fails you will might lose all the oil in less than a mile and destroy your engine. What is the oil consumption rate right now?


I'd assume the head gaskets have already been replaced at those miles. Hopefully that being the case that wouldn't be a concern until well after 200k miles.


Do not assume that the head gaskets were replaced. Mine went 200k+ miles and did not leak more than a tiny bit. Others ca fail a lot sooner.

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