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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello, everyone!

I'm still on the search for my GF6/8 project car.

For those that didn't see, this was my first adventure looking for it:

Since then, I've travelled around and looked at many different cars in various conditions/prices...
I think I've found her now, but, as you read on the title... It's complicated.

85720


The car has been with its current owner for over 6 years, and he has been slowly building her up with:
-EJ22 Swap (from a'93 Legacy)
-STI front seats
-STI suspension
-WRX wheels
-Standalone ECU (Fueltech FT500)

He is very attached to the car, but I managed to convince him to sell, since he has a GC8, which is his main project and the GF has been receiving less attention. Structurally, the car is completely fine, showing no signs of rust/damage...
Mechanically, according to him, it was running fine some weeks ago, but now, it sounds very weird and, as soon as it starts, it starts spilling out coolant out of the radiator (even if the engine is still cold!), so our hypothesis is that there is a compression leak in the head gasket.

I am bringing the car to a mechanic soon, but I wanted to discuss it with the more experienced subbie lovers around here to know what to look for/ask when I get there (I have already read the buyer's guides).
Here are my questions:

1. I know head gasket issues are common in this engines, but how usual is block/head damage when these gaskets fail?
2.Am I safe buying it if I'm sure it's a "simple" head gasket failure?
3. How do I know if it's truly just a head gasket issue?
4. What are the main causes for the gasket failing?
5. What should I be on the lookout when the mechanic is disassembling the head?
6. What gaskets do you recommend to substitute the OEM ones?
Bonus question (not related to the engine issues): How do I identify if the seats/suspension/wheels aregenuine?

For question #6, here's what I'm thinking for the project: 250HP with smallest turbo setup possible to minimize lag... possibly front-mounted to maintain original look

Any help is really appreciated!


PS: I am really trusting of the seller/current owner as we have developed a nice relationship over the past weeks. He is bringing the car to his mechanic for this service and, once we know what we're up against, we will decide on who pays for what.
 

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98' GF8 NA-T
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Good evening, I hope I can provide some helpful information!

1. I know head gasket issues are common in this engines, but how usual is block/head damage when these gaskets fail?
The 1993 Legacy had the ej22e iirc. These engines are not known to have HG issues. From what I know they do occur but are far less common than ej25 HG failure.
2.Am I safe buying it if I'm sure it's a "simple" head gasket failure?
This would be up to you. If it indeed is the HG you could replace it with an aftermarket one that would be bit stronger than factory. I'm not sure what material the EJ22e HG is made of but I know some ej's have thin paper head gaskets and some can be upgraded to metal replacements.
3. How do I know if it's truly just a head gasket issue?
You can check for oil in the coolant (coolant will be discolored and have an oily film), coolant in the oil (oil will begin to thicken and discolor, at it's worst it will resemble a "chocolate milkshake"), unexplained loss of coolant, white smoke out of the exhaust. The last two symptoms are not necessarily sure signs but could be indicators.
4. What are the main causes for the gasket failing?
Consistently low coolant and/or oil, normal use deterioration, other small contributing factors
5. What should I be on the lookout when the mechanic is disassembling the head?
Im afraid I can't give you reliable answer from a mechanics standpoint. If the HG did fail perhaps check if there was any damage to the pistons or valve train? Sorry for the lackluster answer.
6. What gaskets do you recommend to substitute the OEM ones?
You'll need to know the OEM HG size in order to get correctly sized aftermarket ones. I don't have any experience with aftermarket HGs and couldn't give a good recommendation.
BQ: Im not sure
Also, maybe have your mechanic run a compression test on the radiator and see if you have any leaks in the system. Hopefully there's not a bad radiator in the mix as well!

In regards to your turbo question I don't think that's out of the question. With a stand alone you should be good for tuning after going turbo. Lower compression will be needed to get to that amount of power. This is because you'll need higher boost pressures than would be reasonable for the NA motor to handle w/o supporting mods. . A head swap, low comp pistons, thicker HG or some combination of those should help lower compression. Some math will be involved with figuring out what psi you need to achieve your desired power and also what compression ratio you'll need to achieve that psi. Most folks run 5-10psi fine on the stock motor. I've seen gains from stock 130bhp to 160bhp+ depending on boost. Im assuming you'll need to be closer to 12-15ish psi. A TD04 did me well for my NA to turbo build (98' GF8 NA-T). I'm not sure if it would be the perfect application for your car. You'll have to do a bit of research. Most likely a TD04 or VFXX (VF38 or VF48). The TD04 has a relatively quick spool time. You'll want to do a bigger fuel pump and bigger injectors (you'll have to tune for the bigger injectors) as well.
I can NOT speak on what would need to be done to the drivetrain in order to support the extra power. After a certain hp the axles, trans, and diffs would need to be considered for upgrading.
Hope this can be of some assistance. I apologize for any inaccuracies and my info should be double checked.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Good evening, I hope I can provide some helpful information!
Wow! That was super helpful!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read through my post and write such a thoughtful post!
I will definitely consider every point you brought up!

Thanks again!
 

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98' GF8 NA-T
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Wow! That was super helpful!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read through my post and write such a thoughtful post!
I will definitely consider every point you brought up!

Thanks again!
No problem! Let me know how things go. Love the ej22 and the GF’s. They are strong engines and that classic wagon look is timeless.
 

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98' GF8 NA-T
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No problem! Let me know how things go. Love the ej22 and the GF’s. They are strong engines and that classic wagon look is timeless.
The universe must have a sense of humor because I checked my oil cap after a few weeks of having to add coolant and what do you know, chocolate milkshake :(
85746

The oil will look similar to my picture above. You can see the "bubbles" in it which are pocket of unmixed oil. I'll be pulling the engine, doing the head gaskets, rear main, and oil separator plate. I'll be happy to keep you updated on the process if you are interested. I'll probably make a separate post pertaining to the pull and HG's. Anyhow, thought a real life picture would be helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The universe must have a sense of humor because...
Oh no!
I'm so sorry about that! Hopefully it's nothing serious... Thanks for the pic! I'll keep an eye for the milkshake on my car...
And definitely link your post here! I want to follow it!
 
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