I have a '99 Subaru Legacy Outback, and I'm working on getting the engine (EJ25) back into the car after replacing the head gaskets. I got the four bolts that attach through the transmission tightened already, but when I set the engine down, the bolts on the bottom don't line up with the engine mount slots on the frame.

Last time I had the engine out, I was able (after like 4 hours) to get it lined up by lifting the engine up and backward with the cherry picker. That didn't work this time. What can I do to get the engine shifted backward that inch or so?

  • First thought: you sure you have the motor mounts on the correct sides of the engine and/or oriented correctly? Dec 16, 2017 at 17:10
  • By how much ? I have used tapered pins in the past... So the taper on the pin pulls the mount into place as it slides down the pin...
    – Solar Mike
    Dec 16, 2017 at 17:10
  • Also, isn't there a slot on one side and just a hole on the other where you stab the engine mounts? Hole would go first, then the slot would go second. Dec 16, 2017 at 18:00
  • @Paulster2 yes; I didn't take the engine mounts off the engine. Also, both holes are slots -- they're just horizontal slots (side to side on the car) and the engine is too far forward.
    – Cullub
    Dec 16, 2017 at 22:35
  • @Mike it's almost an inch off. That sounds interesting, but I don't think it would work for this far.
    – Cullub
    Dec 16, 2017 at 22:37

3 Answers 3


Until you have ALL the bolts for engine and transmission threaded don't tighten ANY of them.

  • This answer reads like a prescription. Could you qualify it? Thanks
    – Zaid
    Mar 29, 2018 at 7:17
  • 1
    It is a prescription for good mechanical work habits. I've learned over time if you are assembling two or more parts with two or more fasteners, don't tighten the fasteners as you install them. Once you have all fasteners loosely installed tighten them to the manufacturers torque specifications in the pattern recommended by the manufacturer, if any. Observe that the parts are meshing appropriately. If you start by snugging up each fastener as you install them you are likely to find that you can't get the last few fasteners installed AND the part won't move because there are snugged fasteners.
    – Tim Nevins
    Mar 29, 2018 at 19:33
  • Thanks, your comment should really be part of the answer
    – Zaid
    Mar 29, 2018 at 19:35
  • Simple advice like this often is your answer. Not needed to immediately get into car-specific solutions until basic practices are followed first. The OP specifically told how he violated a fundamental rule about torquing multiple related fasteners. Let's see how it goes after a loosen and retighten.
    – geoO
    May 11, 2018 at 12:05

There is a piece often referred to as a dog bone in the engine compartment. It's actually the pitch stop mount, bolted to the firewall and the engine (mount? I don't have the car in front of me right now). Unbolt this from the engine, and the engine will slide right in.

  • 1
    Whoever mentioned the dog bone, kudos to you dude. After much pushing pulling and cursing, taking this off made all the difference. You legend. Dec 22, 2020 at 6:18
  • Glad it helped someone! I still remember how many hours it took to figure this out myself lol.
    – Cullub
    Dec 22, 2020 at 20:11

The transmission is out of position - usually when the transmission mount is a little worn.

The best solution? once the engine is mated to the transmission, put a block of wood on a solid part of the engine (the crank is good), and use a crowbar to push the engine back while an assistant lowers the engine slowly. Once it's in the slots, use a similar method to center (left-right) the engine mount bolts in the slots, and then bolt everything to torque (including putting the dogbone back on).

On a related note, given the age of the car - check the condition of your engine mounts. It's a 30-second job to change them when the engine is out, and a massive nuisance (4hour job) when the engine is in place.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .