Subaru Coupes/Sedans/Wagons 1985-1996 Repair Guide




See Figure 1

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Fig. Fig. 1: Using a compressor to remove the valve spring-except 2.5L and 3.3L engines

  1. Remove the valve system and related components.
  3. Remove the cylinder head.
  5. On all models except 2.5L and 3.3L engines, use a valve spring compressor to compress the valve spring and remove the valve spring key retainer.
  7. On 2.5L and 3.3L engines, remove the camshafts. Refer to the Camshaft removal and installation procedure in this section for removal steps.
  9. Remove each valve spring assembly.

Mark each valve assembly for location, as the valves must be installed on their original seats.

  1. Remove the valve oil seal using suitable pliers.

Take care not to damage the lips of the valve oil seals.

  1. Remove the valves.


See Figure 2

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Fig. Fig. 2: Inspect the valve head thickness "H"

  1. Inspect the cylinder head in the valve seat area for signs of damage or cracking.
  3. Check the seat of the valve for any sign of poor contact or damage and repair as necessary.
  5. Check the head and stem of each valve for burn, wear and deformation; replace the valve as necessary.
  7. Check the valve head thickness "H". If smaller than minimum specification, replace the valve. Valve head minimum thickness specifications are as follows:

    1.2L Engine: 0.020 in. (0.5mm) intake; 0.020 in. (0.5mm) exhaust.
    1.6L Engine: 0.020 in. (0.5mm) intake; 0.031 in. (0.8mm) exhaust
    1.8L Engine: 0.031 in. (0.8mm) intake; 0.051 in. (1.3mm) exhaust
    2.2L Engine: 0.031 in. (0.8mm) intake; 0.031 in. (0.8mm) exhaust
    2.5L Engine: 0.031 in. (0.8mm) intake; 0.031 in. (0.8mm) exhaust
    2.7L Engine: 0.031 in. (0.8mm) intake; 0.031 in. (0.8mm) exhaust
    3.3L Engine: 0.024 in. (0.6mm) intake; 0.031 in. (0.8mm) exhaust

  9. Check the valve springs for damage, free-length and tension. Replace the valve spring if not to specification.


See Figure 3

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Fig. Fig. 3: Using a valve grinder to reface a valve

Using a valve grinder, resurface the valves according to specifications. The valve head thickness should be greater than the minimum specification after refacing. The valve stem top should also be squared and resurfaced, by placing the stem in the V-block of the grinder, and turning it while pressing lightly against the grinding wheel.

Reaming the Valve Seat

See Figure 4

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Fig. Fig. 4: Reaming a valve seat

Select a reamer of the correct seat angle, slightly larger than the diameter of the valve seat, and assemble it with a pilot of the correct size. Install the pilot into the valve guide, and using steady pressure, turn the reamer clockwise.

Do not turn the reamer counterclockwise.

Remove only as much material as necessary to clean the seat. Check the concentricity of the seat. Coat the valve face with Prussian blue dye, install and rotate it on the valve seat. Using the dye marked area as a centering guide, center and narrow the valve seat to specifications with correction cutters.

After making correction cuts, recheck the position of the valve seat on the valve face using Prussian blue dye.

Power Resurfacing

Select a pilot of the correct size, and a coarse stone of the correct seat angle. Lubricate the pilot if necessary, and install the tool in the valve guide. Move the stone on and off the seat at approximately two cycles per second, until all flaws are removed from the seat. Install a fine stone, and finish the seat. Center and narrow the seat using correction stones, as described above.

Valve Seals

Due to the pressure differential that exists at the ends of the intake valve guides (atmospheric pressure above, manifold vacuum below), oil is drawn through the valve guides into the intake port. This has been alleviated somewhat since the addition of positive crankcase ventilation, which lowers the pressure above the guides. To reduce blow-by, Subaru employs valve stem seals which must be pressed (or tapped) into position over the valve stem and guide boss. Recently, Teflon® guide seals have become popular. Consult a parts supplier or machinist concerning availability and suggested usages.

When installing seals, ensure that a small amount of oil is able to pass by the seal to lubricate the valve guides. Otherwise, excessive wear may result.

Factory seals should be inspected and replaced if the seal lip is damaged or the spring is out of place. Also, whenever the seating surfaces of valve and seat are reconditioned or the guide is replaced, the seal should be replaced.


  1. Lubricate the valve stems, and install the valves in the cylinder head as numbered.
  3. Lubricate and position the seals (if used) and the valve springs.
  5. Install the spring retainers, compress the springs, and insert the keys.
  7. Tap the head of the valve lightly with a wooden hammer to seat the keys.
  9. Install the cylinder head.
  11. Install the valve system and related components.
  13. Adjust the rocker arm clearance as required.