2005 turbo auto: Rusty Engine Cradle/Crossmember swap guide?

Technical Discussions - Got a mechanical problem?

Moderator: bajabob

Post Reply
ikea_femme
Scoobytruck Lurker
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2021 2:23 pm

2005 turbo auto: Rusty Engine Cradle/Crossmember swap guide?

Post by ikea_femme »

I recently bought a new-to-me 2005 Baja, and I found a concerning amount of rust on the engine cradle aka k-frame aka suspension crossmember. Part number is 20101AE050. It's rusted through on one corner so the sway bar is dangling on the passenger side. I'll take pics later. From what I understand, the sway bar isn't an essential component but I'd like to fix it especially so I don't have to worry about the rust spreading. I keep the car indoors and plan on diligently cleaning off road salt in the meantime.

https://parts.subaru.com/p/Subaru__Baja ... AE050.html

I'd like to just replace the whole thing with a good one, and I'm glad I could get oem if I want it (seems like a good idea if it's a pain to get out). If there's a bolt-in replacement that's cheaper and better, I'd consider it, though!

Can this be done at home with jacks and an impact wrench, or would I need a shop to do this? Would I need to rent an engine hoist or could I support the engine and transmission with something else, ie jacks from below or a strong plank bolted to the engine up top? I already want to replace the struts and rack and pinion so I'm going to need to take a lot of the suspension apart anyway.

This is my first project car and I could probably get a more experienced friend to help me with all this if this is a driveway weekend project. I live in New Jersey so even if one less mounting point for the sway bar is okay, I don't want the rust hanging out there in winter.
mike-tracy
Scoobytruck Master
Posts: 163
Joined: Wed Jun 05, 2019 9:30 pm

Re: 2005 turbo auto: Rusty Engine Cradle/Crossmember swap guide?

Post by mike-tracy »

You can realistically swap it in a driveway. Since I have an engine hoist that would be my preference. You could do it with a jack and jack stands too, but you have to be creative since you can't jack the oil pan.
1992 Legacy SS, 5mt and heavily modified
2000 Impreza RSTi Coupe
2003 Baja, H6 and Dual Range 5mt swap
joedavex
Scoobytruck Contributer
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:29 am
Location: NW CT

Re: 2005 turbo auto: Rusty Engine Cradle/Crossmember swap guide?

Post by joedavex »

I've got the same issue. I have 2 2004 turbo Bajas with rusted crossmember and a 2005 turbo with solid crossmember but starting to show beginnings of rust. All in the same area.
I bought a used crossmember out of a junkyard in Maine (I'm in CT) with the intention of swapping one out, repairing the pulled one and then swapping it into the other 2004.
It should be doable in your driveway, engine hoist would make it difficult because the hoist legs would be right where you need to lay to get the crossmember out. I believe Harbor freight has (or you can easily make with metal or lumber) a cross-fender support that will hold the engine for you.
The ideal way is to remove the engine and have access from the top and bottom. I've had the engine out of the 2005 a couple of times but haven't had the need to remove the engine on the 2004s.
My concern has been that the bigger issue on the removal is the removal of the steering system with everything showing signs of rust.
Interestingly this problem does not occur on the NA versions.
BTW, the used one I got from the junkyard looks like it was repaired in that same spot which led me to think that I will take the same approach so for $150 part I can fix 2 cars!
Where are you located ikea_femme?
Joe
Gray 05 Turbo AT
Silver 04 Turbo AT
Black 04 Turbo AT
and assorted other vehicles....
ikea_femme
Scoobytruck Lurker
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2021 2:23 pm

Re: 2005 turbo auto: Rusty Engine Cradle/Crossmember swap guide?

Post by ikea_femme »

I'm in the NYC area!

I ended up having a shop swap it out for me while it was already there for a timing belt issue (see my post history :oops: ), but I planned on doing it myself. I bought that exact harbor freight support and everything (had to try 3 different Harbor Freights!). I figured it'd be easier on a lift and the mechanics were very insistent on fixing it before they let me drive home.

Truthfully, I think the shop were super confused what it was during suspension diagnosis, he insisted the crossmember was the wrong part and that I didn't know what I was talking about, and said it needed a new lower control arm and told me he'd order a new one. The baja doesn't have lower control arms in the front. I looked up the part number, and it was the rear lower control arm for a forester. Yikes. I told him I thought it was the wrong part, to look at the other side's front suspension bits, sent pages from the service manual and the diagram from the OEM parts catalog, and he insisted I was still wrong. So, I told him he's welcome to order the part if he's truly sure but I could still bring him the part to compare to the rusted one. He thanked me for seeing his reason, and then about eight hours later I got a text telling me he actually did want the OEM cradle I had already and "sorry for the confusion." Then the dude interrogated how I knew so much about cars and how I could be on my back changing oil and stuff with long hair. Ah, sexism.

Despite all that, they installed the cradle and a Moog front-end suspension kit and the car drives great now! This is my first Subaru (and first car I've worked on so intensely!) so it really is a treat feeling so in control on fast turns and rainy conditions. I'm still a pretty cautious driver, but I'm glad the envelope of control is just a bit bigger.
joedavex
Scoobytruck Contributer
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:29 am
Location: NW CT

Re: 2005 turbo auto: Rusty Engine Cradle/Crossmember swap guide?

Post by joedavex »

Good to hear it's done.
Did you keep the old crossmember? I'd be interested in it if you have it still, I've been planning how to repair mine once I take it off.
What did the suspension kit entail? My '04 (which has the failing crossmember) is no where near as smooth riding as my '05. I've been wondering what to do to improve the ride quality.
The '04 also needs some rust work on the rocker panels and doglegs but that's another story...
Joe
Gray 05 Turbo AT
Silver 04 Turbo AT
Black 04 Turbo AT
and assorted other vehicles....
ikea_femme
Scoobytruck Lurker
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2021 2:23 pm

Re: 2005 turbo auto: Rusty Engine Cradle/Crossmember swap guide?

Post by ikea_femme »

Unfortunately, I left the old one with the shop. Since they're so expensive new, I'm sorry I didn't see your post in time. And who knows how long Subaru keeps selling them. I wonder if there's something like a condensation buildup making them all wear out in the same spot.

The Moog front-end kit was from RockAuto. It has the two control arms (doglegs), plus new tie rod ends and ball joints. I'm surprised they didn't also throw in suspension links, so I also bought those and new sway bar bushings.

I've been happy with all the Moog replacements for suspension components that I've installed myself and the ones the shop added (especially vs the price of new OEM parts), but I'm a pretty casual driver. Driving normally in hilly urban stop and go traffic and the highways, it handles predictably, and I think it's a bit stiffer but not in an uncomfortable way.
Post Reply