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Review of Subaru Head Gasket Problems

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Comments

  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,729
    Wes, I enjoyed your family home page. Hope you didn't mind me taking a look. Great house, beautiful family. Why are you letting the page die? I'm waiting for pix of the garden!!
  • loosenutloosenut Posts: 165
    verry nice,and EXTREMELY informative!..detail-for a work in progress,-was near,and sometimes -gave better tips than those people that write for hanes and sutch..--the carbon fiber camshaft was a new one on me,and someting to be aware of !..
    --a great page !
    --but---that one got away...and mebee i'm getting ambitious in my old age-just slightly past the mid-century mark..but,if a owner raves and loves a car that has gone through what that one did-well,i'm impressed!
    the "crunched" car--was that the same one?? anyway,they did a good job building a survivable compartment!..
    you're a braver man than me-gunga dinn !,as the closest i've come to weather like you describe-was a winter-mid -60'd,williston,north dakota..in the oil patch!..when it warmed to minus 20,we could work,as even running water would freeze in the pumps of the sizmograph rig..!unfortunately,no camera-and no picks!!..i did better later on,but still gotta scan them in,..they're on film..

    many thanks for all the info!
    wendell
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Agreed - OK so long as it did not overheat severely and warp the heads.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,268
    Steve - I want to keep an information source like that, but have just not budgeted in the time. The last post was essentially a week or two before we found out my daughter was "in the oven," so to speak, and my life simply shifted gears abruptly. I have yet to find the "leisure time" I had back then; every day seems like a lesson in chaos. :(

    As it is, that site is going away on 6/30, so perhaps that is the motivation I need to revamp something.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,268
    the "crunched" car--was that the same one?? anyway,they did a good job building a survivable compartment!..

    Crunched car... yep, that was the same one. Bad memories, those, so I'll just let that topic die.

    The warming climate is quite evident this far north (especially this past decade), so winters are, for the most part, quite mild these days (as are the summers compared with those past). We get a week or two of intense cold most winters, but that sure beats the several weeks (almost guaranteed) of yesteryears.
  • loosenutloosenut Posts: 165
    right-like th old v-w's.... guess the main part of my question was--can it be changed WITHOUT having to pull the engine?..
    -my situation is living in rental property/limited tools/no garage..basically,a weekend would be a MAX timetable,as landlords-as most people-get their panties in a knot when their parking lot turns into a graveyard of abandoned projects-
    -i've gotten to calling them "lawn ornaments/scrap iorn sculpture,etc..
    --had one place-i opened the hood to fix a broken ground strap to fix the wipers-about ten minutes--the manager drives up-says"you can't work on you car here (the jerks put it in the lease)..i asked"am i allowed to check the oil??"-cause thats about how long it took-apart from her distracting me-- i made my point,but--tearing out a engine--wile i have done it--it's -NOT- a option!-but-i found the knocking rod in my olds cierra,and THAT one was at that "fix it or f- it" points,where i replaced it -with a ford aerostar--twice the room,ran better,and --even better mileage !..
    current ride is a -98 grand cherokee i saved from the crusher --only had to replace two windows!,but the rear axle's got a nasty growl,and with all the jeep freaks here--i've gotten guesstimates from $500 to 2 g's..more than i've got in it-..and the mileage-at 15 S.U.C.K.S ! !
    all the gadgets are starting to fail,and-for a fella on food stamps,many think i'm "riding hi on the hog" altho i got it the week gas hit $4buks per,and got it for $500 buks,and th 318 sounded great..i drive it in town mostlyfluid levels and all that,but keeping a eye at someone who will swap me outta it,as those leather seats don't impress me,when you'r lookin at a potential lawn ornament.. :sick:
  • loosenutloosenut Posts: 165
    edited April 2010
    impressive reconstruct!,and agree..as bad as it could have been,including the non-occupied child seat,i've been in a few, pickups scare me anymore-specially mini imports,where they flip and flatten-as trucks don't have to meet car standards?!
    ---SOOO, when my ritch uncle gets out of the poor house,(joke),and a fresh car is in the cards,a subaru is definately on the list..
    --also,had a junior hi science teacher-whose parents were missionaries in point barrow,so i've heard-and kinda keep a eye on the hap's near the artic circle..
    --give that little firecracker of yours a hug from me,and may the good lord keep a eye on y'all..thanks,and good luck!
    wendell :shades:
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,268
    edited April 2010
    Wendell -

    While that car may have been reconstructed after that crash (Subaru is a very popular brand up here!), it was not by me - the crash ended my 6.5 year ownership of the car at 220,651 miles, if I recall correctly. I wanted to keep it and use the drivetrain to build an AWD buggy of some sort, but my wife would have none of it. So, in the interest of preserving my marriage (yes, things really were that tense at the time), I opted to scrap the car. We replaced it with that 2007 Outback shown on the top of the page you visited.

    I actually have two "little firecrackers" (which is an apt description) now, so I'll be sure to keep the hugs heading their way....

    Best of luck to you!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sawzall a giant sunroof and build a home-made canvas top. :D
  • loosenutloosenut Posts: 165
    i REALLY needed your e-mail today....it's that time of year when pressure's gettin to me,and you made me smile..a true gift,and i thank you..
    understand the "peacekeeping" aspect,but also saw a vid on u-tube where some russians,who built tanks.came up with a 4 wheel track drive system,where you drive up on kinda a car lift-take off the wheels,and you got a tanl with a car body and powerplant!..it looked like a fiat-with traks!...maybe she-d go for that,as nobody's gonna argue with tou-when you have the capabilitit to jusrt drive over them !!rofl)..
    keep up th good work!
    wendell
  • rangnerrangner Posts: 336
    It's been years since I've posted on this forum but I thought I would share my HG replacement experience on my 00 OBW.

    Mileage: 115k...symptoms: gradual loss of coolant, coolant turning darker with black particles floating in coolant (not oily) eventually overheated mildly at the nashville airport (not in the red). Dealer told me I was out of luck since the recall only covered an external HG leak not an internal one (what I had)

    The black particles in the coolant were hard to tell if that was the coolant conditioner or something else. (which is btw totally useless) the only thing the subaru stop leak will do is clog up your cooling system. Gas was bubbling through the overflow jug.

    I bought a coolant hydrocarbon test kit from snap-on and the test told me unequivocally that hydrocarbons from the cylinder were being forced into the water jacket around the cylinder. i.e. the head gasket had failed.

    I wanted the repair to last and didn't trust the skill of the local dealer to do the job. So I pulled my engine and freighted it to All Wheel Drive Auto in Kirkland WA for a HG replacement, heads milling, and top end rebuild. My father and I re-installed the rehabbed engine in the car and it's been running great with 5k miles since the repair. Will let you know farther down the road.

    Justin Stobb at AWD Auto is an expert in dealing with these issues and the only way he does these repairs is to pull the engine because he says you can't get all of the old HG material off the heads and block with the engine in the car. This is why the gasket replacement typically doesn't last when done at the dealers. Whew...
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,268
    Thanks for the update! What was the cost of the work done at AWDA?

    I replaced the gaskets on my '96 Outback at 192,000 miles. My gaskets' failure was identical in symptom to yours. I also pulled the engine but did the work myself - the total cost was about $550 in parts (including replacement timing belt, pulleys, and tensioner). I had the car to 220,000 miles and had no further problems with it.
  • rangnerrangner Posts: 336
    ~$2400 total...including insured freight shipping between nashville and washington state. I had new idlers as well, heads shaved (they were warped), new valve stem seals and guides I had like 20% leakage on one cylinder so I opted to do them all. Resealed the oil pump & oil pan. New HG's, valve cover g's etc. I have pictures of the offending cylinder--the piston looks like it had been steam cleaned by the boiling coolant.

    Not cheap, but I couldn't find another car that had been taken care of for $2400...

    Hopefully I will get to 250-300k with this repair..
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,268
    No, that's not cheap, but you all but received a new engine out of it! Compared do the dealership cost of a full head gasket replacement, which is probably somewhere on the order of $1600, you paid a reasonable price.
  • rangnerrangner Posts: 336
    Yeah that's pretty much what it would've cost without milling the heads had I gone to the dealer. In my mind, if I was going to be shelling out that kind of money for a $4-5k car, I wanted it to last. So I took the harder road, but hopefully it will last for a long time.

    Btw, it's running pretty sweet now with a wrapped borla header and new brakes with rebuilt calipers and ss lines. ( I actually wasn't going to rebuild the calipers but one of the rear calipers seized with rust last winter, so I replaced that one and rebuilt the other 3 for good measure)

    All part of being a subaru owner right? ;)
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,268
    Haha, that's right! Enjoy it, brother! :D
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