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2001 forester head gasket issue

joem63joem63 Posts: 3
edited March 25 in Subaru
I have a 2001 forester auto with 85,000 mi. There is what appears to be a slight oil leakage from the cylinder head gaskets on both sides at the bottom. I have two very different opinions on how serious this is.

One shop told me that I needed it fixed in the next 6 months or bad things would happen. He did not expect to do the job so I don't think his assessment is biased.

But my regular mechanic looked at it and said it was no big deal. He told me to keep an eye on it, but that the condition would not necessarily get worse or that it may take a long time to do so.

Since I have no expertise in these matters, any thoughts you may have would be appreciated. I obviously prefer the second opinion, but do not want to screw up the car. The seepage is oil, and thus presumably not subject to the extended warranty by Subaru discussed in previous posts relating to coolant.

Thanks. Joe

Comments

  • bigfrank3bigfrank3 Posts: 426
    That doesn't sound like head gaskets at all but rather valve cover gaskets. The head gaskets seal between the head and the block and contain the combustion process. The valve cover gaskets seal between the valve cover and the out-most part of the head where the rocker arms, springs, and the back part of the valves live. They just keep the oil in the engine.

    Head gaskets are much more serious and expensive but valve cover gaskets are relatively cheap, and the only damage is if you run low or out of oil. It is messy too.

    Did either of these guys even try to tighten the valve cover bolts to see if that was causing the leak? That could be the cheapest fix of all.
  • joem63joem63 Posts: 3
    With the car up on the rack, the first guy showed me oil seepage on the bottom of the engine on both sides. It looked like the leak came from where two parts of the engine come together. The oil was not dripping down from the top. [Please excuse my ignorance here] Mechanic #1: "oil leak from both cylinder head gaskets (will leak onto exhaust and have odor)." He estimated 6 months before major surgery would be necessary.

    Joe
  • danielldaniell Posts: 128
    I had the same thing happen to me a couple of months ago. I have a 2002 Forester S, 72k miles.
    Internal coolant leak and external oil leak are two known Subaru head gasket issues. You are right, this is not covered by the Subaru recall and extended warranty.
    The Subaru mechanic suggested that I had the repair done, and have the timing belt changed at that time, so I had it done. Cost was about $1800 before taxes. Since this is a known problem with the Subaru 2.5l engines, after several calls to Subaru USA they agreed to reimburse about half the repair costs. I suggest you have the repair done, then call Subaru, and explain the situation. Be persistent but polite, and you have a good chance to get some money back.

    Daniel
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The number is 800-SUBARU3.
  • A quick check of my old account, last used in 2002, before I post a real question.
  • loddoloddo Posts: 1
    On a 2001 subaru forester, the head gasket blew at 127,000 miles. Not being a mechanic, my best guess as to what happened is that the thermostat failed, allowing the car to overheat. The heat caused the head gasket failure, which created more heat still, eventually causing the radiator to fail also.

    My mechanic is of the opinion that the engine isn’t worth rebuilding due to the amount of heat that was generated when the gasket blew. I am inclined to agree with him. But I am now out a vehicle, it was a 2001 with only 127,000 miles on it.

    I bought a subaru because I wanted a durable car that would last. I serviced it regularly, having oil changes, etc. when suggested by the manufacture. It was in for a oil service/ check-up only two weeks earlier where all points were looked at and fluids checked. This was totally unexpected, I received no warnings from subaru. I won't buy another one.
  • "On a 2001 subaru forester, the head gasket blew at 127,000 miles. Not being a mechanic, my best guess as to what happened is that the thermostat failed, allowing the car to overheat. The heat caused the head gasket failure, which created more heat still, eventually causing the radiator to fail also..."

    No, a head gasket leak causes a slow loss of coolant. The loss of coolant should have been caught before it damaged anything. Most Forester owners replace the head gasket(s) when coolant loss is noticed, and go on with the car.
    If your car overheated enough to ruin the engine, there was a more sudden leak from something else, like a hose or the radiator.
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