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Tr00b 11-09-2012 08:36 AM

Main bearing noise on 2.2
1999 2.2 150k

Upon start up I have an rpm related knock between 2000 and 2500. It doesn't sound like a valvetrain issue. It pretty much goes away when its warmed up. I'm also experiencing lower rpm bucking and stalling under load which can be diagnosed as knock sensor picking up the knock from the out of tolerance part.

Note, its fair to say the problem is not bad and the stalling is intermittent.

Something to be worried about? If it is indeed main bearings going out, how long will they last? The noise did not worsen after a severe overrev and its done it the same since I bought the car.

subikid90 11-09-2012 09:46 AM

Are you sure it is not piston slap? Subarus are known for developing piston slap when cold on higher mileage motors.

To be honest if it has not gotten worse I would not worry about it. Worst case the lower end goes and for $300 you drop in a used EJ22 from a junk yard.

Tr00b 11-09-2012 10:59 PM

Thanks for the reply subikid.

Mine sounds the same as piston slap but is pretty much confined to the 2000-2500 RPM band, and goes away pretty quickly. I would guess it is a minor case of slap. Its not that annoying as full fledged "dump truck full of clams" piston slap some of the cars have on youtube. Thanks for pointing me in that direction.

johnegg 11-10-2012 02:48 PM

noise info.

Tr00b 11-10-2012 04:25 PM

Great link johnegg.

I always wanted a mechanic's stethoscope, this might be a good time to get one. My Jeep also has a similar noise when its cold. Jeeps are also notroious for piston slap and I've seen several guys on the forums lose piston skirts.

Tr00b 11-12-2012 09:28 PM

I didn't get a chance to grab a mech's stethoscope, but I did try with a hose (with little luck).

Ive noticed (definitively) the car is consuming alot of oil. We are talking a quart every ~400miles. I am glad I checked it today because there was nothing on the dipstick. This will be 10 quarts since I put it in mid August, and I've never changed the oil yet! I thought the valvecover gaskets would fix this, but I guess not!

I also noticed go-go gadget smokescreen under hard accel a few days ago when a trucks headlights were just right. Reading that website, I am hoping that adding a quart of MMO the day I bought it didn't push mud through the main bearings and mess it up...

The misfiring POSSIBLY was a sparkplug boot that was not clicked down all the way after replacing the valvecover gaskets. It was bent and just bounced back, rebent it and it clicked on

Tr00b 11-25-2012 08:32 PM

OK, I got a mechanics stethoscope.

The motor has obvious knock at low RPMS around 2k but its only truly audible with the stethoscope on it. The noise is audible outside of the car when its cold. Basically this is "just starting." Its not severe, nothing has come apart. The only thing that could be happening is the knock sensor derating the engine and causing a misfire on cyl #1. The CEL for this comes back very quickly after clearing codes.

What I want to know from the Subaru experts is:

How long will the engine last like this?

Would you just trade it off and get rid of it (honestly now) or would you swing in another engine? Or would you drive it till it really gets bad?

I have not found a 1999 EJ22 for under $500. I have to drive all the way to Kentucky to get it. The 1999 motor looks totally different than the other older models.

johnegg 11-26-2012 12:57 AM


The motor has obvious knock at low RPMS around 2k but its only truly audible with the stethoscope on it. The noise is audible outside of the car when its cold.
still could be piston slap. no reason for rod knock to improve or get quieter as the engine warms up.

if it is your only car and you NEED it to be operational buy an engine and do a swap. but if you can afford to wait until the engine fails to buy an engine, you MAY have a long wait.

i bought a 97 outback with noise and drove it 40k miles . at some point early on i realized it was piston slap.

the 99 ej22 is a phase 2 engine and it can have slap.

drive it until it gets worse.

spooln30 11-26-2012 10:55 PM


Originally Posted by johnegg (Post 4153180)

Oh no, that place is by far the worse engine rebuilding shop I've ever delt with. Have a good friend that owns a 85 Cadillac Seville and his engine overheated and cracked a liner. He ordered a reman engine from these guys and it turned out to be the biggest headache I've ever had. There were a lot of problems with the engine along with it being a month late. Never buy from these goofs, trust me.

Tr00b 11-27-2012 08:57 PM

Spooln, i wouldn't have the dough for these goofs in the first place. its a $2500 car... Not worth a rebuilt engine is it?

Lets just say I've had a long, tiresome history with lemon cars.

Posted a vid of the noise there...


What does piston slap sound like? What happened to the outback you had that did that? It would take me 2 years plus to rack up that kind of mileage, if it would last that long, its very much worth putting money into another timing belt other issues etc...

I don't need it to be operational. I bought it because I wanted better fuel economy than 14-16mpg I get with the Jeep, with a little comfort to boot and manual trans and AWD. I believe the PO described the odd noise the motor made as "Subaru rumble."

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