Hello, newbie needs a little help

Feb 5, 2024
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Hey all,

Old knuckle buster ford guy here, not older than dirt but close.
I'll apologize in advance because this is gonna be a long one.

I have an issue with a 98 outback basket case that I bought and I don't know what options I have for repairing it so I thought I should check out the Subaru forum and ask the people who would know.
Like I said I bought a 98 outback ej25(d?) DOHC Sitting in a guys back yard.
He drove it there and parked it to fix an oil leak and discovered he was in over his head.

I had to put the rear end back into it, find a power steering pump and a battery and reassemble everything that had been taken off including some of the interior.
he was starting to part it out.

I got it all back together and running and driving and oh boy did it leak oil!
I drove it home (not far) and noticed a ticking noise coming from the drivers side head area.

I got the valve cover off (major part of the leak) and I discovered the rear cam journal on the intake cam was loose and the bolts were backed out several turns.

Here's the issue... I tightened the cam journal down and tried to hand turn the engine and it was locked up so I pulled the front cover and timing belt off and sure enough the cam would not turn at all until I loosened the journal again.

I pulled the engine out and got it on the stand and it appears that the cam was slapping against the head and deformed the aluminum head and wore both journals out of round.
I need a head.. preferably complete

The question is what are the donor options.
Will most years and models with the 2.5 dohc interchange or are this era 2.5 different from newer ones?
The car is high milage (200k) but ran good and drove real nice despite the tick and it didn't burn oil.
I paid $250 for the car and figured it needed all new seals anyway, throw in a gasket set,
timing set and water pump and have a good little car

I saw sets of reconditioned heads on ebay but there were "round valley" and "square valley"
heads. Is that in reference to the spark plug opening?
I believe I have round valley heads.

Finding a single donor head in my area (Taos New Mexico) has been near impossible and Im not sure what other Subaru models had the same 2.5 dohc.
reconditioned heads run about 800+ a pair.
It's almost as cheap to get a whole engine if I could find one.

Thanks for reading and any insight/advice is appreciated.

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