New to us '03 Baja

General talk about the Subaru Baja.

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62willy
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New to us '03 Baja

Post by 62willy »

I owned a couple of Brat's back in the late 90's and just loved the one I drove (bought 2 in a package deal, made one working from the two) until it was rear-ended and totaled. When I first saw the scuttlebutt about the new Baja (several years before it even made it to concept), I wanted one. But alas, pricing wasn't going to work for me, even used they were out of my range. Then, I saw one sitting in a local tire/mechanic shop and it hadn't moved for years. So I spoke with the owner and found that a couple had brought the car in for a loud ticking noise from the engine. After diagnosing the issue, the mechanics told him it would be a new motor. The car owners turned the car over to the shop in lieu of payment for work done to that point. The owner of the shop was going to put a new motor in it for his wife, but just hadn't gotten around to it. I told him if he ever wanted to get rid of it, give me a call. A few month's later I stopped by again and asked about it and he said "$800". I said "Sold!". He had started to take the motor out, but only had disconnected a few items so after reading about some of these motors having a loud ticking noise for hundreds of thousands of miles, I decided to just put it back together and see what happened. I got it all back together, but can't seem to get the fuel pump working. I spray carb cleaner in the TB and it fires for a few seconds. Disconnect fuel line at fuel filter and nothing. I cannot hear pump run when turning ignition switch on. I disconnected the connector at the fuel pump but without stripping all of the tape and rubber off the wire bundle, I can't tell which wire is the fuel pump positive and which one is the ground. Also having a difficult time finding the fuel pump relay as it seems this year of Baja is a little different than some of the others. I have the lower dash panel off and can see the row of relay's below the fuse box but don't see anywhere that tell you what those relay's are for. Any help identifying the relays and/or the pin-outs for the fuel pump connector would be appreciated. Also, what is the best manual to get for working on this particular year Baja?

Thanks,

Bill
Acro2pilot
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Re: New to us '03 Baja

Post by Acro2pilot »

Congrats on your find! Some heads up, the Subaru engine that can tick for ever yet run fine is the EA82 from the 80's. It has a gasket on the oil pump that fails so it provides enough lubrication to the lifters but not enough to pump them up so you get a constant ticking. If an EJ is knocking then it probably is in need of overhaul or replacement and is likely going to totally fail at any moment. The good news is you can find an EJ25 super cheap and drop it right in. If you wanted to update there are a ton of JDM importers bringing in 2Ltr EJ turbo engines for cheap and you could swap to one of those for a nice bump in power and the opportunity to tune it for more.

On my Baja (different year, and turbo FYI) the pump wires are black and black/yellow.
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kamesama980
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Re: New to us '03 Baja

Post by kamesama980 »

Actually, JE25s are known for piston slap when cold and will also run forever with the noise.

A 2 liter turbo will bump the peak power but at the expense of bottom end "daily driver" torque that we need to get 3800lbs moving.

repair manual: best is from the horse's mouth: http://sl-i.net/FORUM/showthread.php?18 ... el-USDM-EU
-Russell
"You don't get to judge me for how I fix what you break"
03 sport 5mt
05 turbo 5mt vf39 and other STI bits, 3" turbo-back
Acro2pilot
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Re: New to us '03 Baja

Post by Acro2pilot »

Very true, the piston slap when cold is mostly benign, when I think of endless tick I think of the classic EA82 sewing machine. Both of those are pretty harmless. A loud ticking noise bad enough for a shop to start pulling the engine raises my suspicion that it might not be one of those two.

Going from NA to a warmed up JDM 2Ltr turbo is going to be a fantastic bump up in power, I would totally stand by that recommendation. However if the OP is looking for max torque the H6 out of the Tribeca would be a fine choice. I went for a ton of upgrades to my 2.5Ltr turbo and have been very pleased with the result, those engines can be found as well. Naturally any of these swaps need a wiring harness or stand alone engine management if you can get away with that with your location's emissions laws.

Have you gotten it to fire up yet Bill? Any progress report?
62willy
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Re: New to us '03 Baja

Post by 62willy »

I've been tracing down the fuel pump relay. I think I have it out now, just need to find the blower motor relay to swap with it. I don't have a lot of time to work on it and the current weather her in Arizona isn't helping motivate me. I will post up when I get it fired up and can describe the noise better myself. This is going to be my wife's car so reliability is more important than power but if I can get both without breaking the bank that would be great. Thanks for the replies guys, I appreciate the help.
Acro2pilot
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Re: New to us '03 Baja

Post by Acro2pilot »

If it isn't going to be modded with performance increase then the shortest cheapest route if the existing engine turns out to be trashed is just swap in a used engine with reasonable miles then tear this one down at your leisure and see if it is worth an overhaul.
62willy
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Re: New to us '03 Baja

Post by 62willy »

Ok, I cut the Black wire with the Yellow stripe and wired it to 12V and no joy on the fuel pump. So I ordered a new fuel pump. I tested the relay and it was bad. I thought it was weird that the pump and the relay would be bad so I looked at the service manual wiring diagrams and found that the hot wire for the fuel pump is actually red with a black stripe. I spliced 12V to that and the fuel pump fired up. The truck fired up. I heard the knocking noise and it sounds more pinging maybe like a valve than piston slap although I really wouldn't know piston slap if it slapped me in the face. At any rate, the motor ran good and the noise went away at higher RPM's, but seemed to momentarily come back as I accelerated from the higher RPMs and anytime I let it idle down. There was a significant amount of blue smoke (oil) from the exhaust. This motor hasn't been run in several years (possibly 5 to 7, but at least 4) so I don't know if that could contribute to the smoke or not. Any suggestions on where to go from here now?

Thanks,

Bill
62willy
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Re: New to us '03 Baja

Post by 62willy »

I replaced the fuel pump relay and rewired all the cuts I made. The subi fired right up and this time with no blue smoke. The noise is still there and is pretty loud. I took some video so you guys can listen. I took the drivers side timing belt cover off to see if I could see any movement, but it's rock solid at idle. If I really rev it up a bit it'll bounce a little. I definitely think its time for idlers and a tensioner and probably belts just to be safe, but I don't think that'll fix my sound so I"ll wait until I find out if its a replacement motor or a repair. I'll post the video this weekend.

Thanks guys,

Bill
62willy
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Re: New to us '03 Baja

Post by 62willy »

How do you attach video files to posts?
62willy
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Re: New to us '03 Baja

Post by 62willy »

Couldn't find out how to post video so uploaded it to YouTube. Here is the link

https://youtu.be/QqBudGIgvGc

Thanks

Bill

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62willy
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Re: New to us '03 Baja

Post by 62willy »

Well, it's been sitting since my last post. I've started looking for a used motor and from what I can see, a 99 to an 06 2.5l should be a direct swap. I think I'll go the route suggested here and swap in a used motor and then rebuild this one while thinking about a turbo. This will be my wife's car so reliability is paramount. Since I am only interested at this point in a direct swap in, any suggestions on years or cars to look for?

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62willy
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Re: New to us '03 Baja

Post by 62willy »

Change again. I just decided to drive it. So far so good. Several couple of hundred miles trips and lots of around town driving. Runs fine, just noisy.

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