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2003 Forester head gasket

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Comments

  • danielldaniell Posts: 128
    Consumer Reports Buying Guide for 2011 shows that for both the Legacy and Outback MY2004 the 4 cyl motor is "much worse than average". The Forester and Impreza (both non-turbo) motors are average. Same motor, should show same ratings, so CR is clearly not 100% reliable either... However with no design changes, one should expect the head gasket issues to continue, perhaps at a smaller rate, due to various patches employed (special coolant, special head gasket material).
  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 680
    Consumer Reports Buying Guide for 2011 shows that for both the Legacy and Outback MY2004 the 4 cyl motor is "much worse than average". The Forester and Impreza (both non-turbo) motors are average. Same motor, should show same ratings, so CR is clearly not 100% reliable either

    Oddly, the average motors are in models assembled in Japan. The "much worse than average" models are assembled in Indiana. I wonder if the cylinder heads are put on the blocks in Indiana? If so, there is another side to the story.
  • danielldaniell Posts: 128
    edited November 2010
    Could be country of origin... but also small sample size, self-selected sample (non-random) etc.

    The CR 2010 Buying Guide (last year's) shows for MY2004 the NA Forester motor as better than average, while the NA Impreza is much worse than average. The 4cyl Legacy is average. No consistent pattern...

    So far, MY2005 has been holding quite well, according to what I could see here and on other Subaru websites. We'll see if it holds up for the next few years.

    My 2002 Forester needed new head gaskets at about 65k miles. I had all the known problems (head gaskets, rotors warped, brake pads needed 2-3 times at each end already, inner CV boot ripped, overhead clock stopped working, a wheel bearing failing now at 77k miles etc.). Also had a few other "bonus" ones (some front differential seal failed twice). Car has been meticulously maintained, never abused. Might consider another Forester is the new motor solves the head gaskets issue and it gets a more modern transmission.
  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 680
    Might consider another Forester is the new motor solves the head gaskets issue and it gets a more modern transmission

    The transmission at this time is still the 4EAT, but in its favor is minimal problems AFAIK. When (if) the CVT replaces it, performance and mpg should be better with perhaps a price penalty.

    Replacing my 2005 Outback VDC, I chose an XT in 2010 to get the semi-closed deck block as well as the performance enhancement. The new chain drive cams on the 2011 normally aspirated engine are another nice enhancement.
  • krc2krc2 Posts: 4
    I was driving around on the road the other day and the temp guage shot up toward the red. I pulled over turned off the engine (but left the fan going) to try to cool. Added some water - for some reason was low! Took to mechanic - bad head gasket. Subaru specialist mentioned that these engines are notorious for hg failure. Did a hc test to confirm exhaust in coolant which was displacing coolant with air/ exh gas.

    Do a quick web search and you will see the quality problems specifically with the HG on these motors. This despite using subaru "coolant conditioner" - though perhaps getting to 125k was because of this?

    Overall, the car is good quality, but the expense and failure rate (bad enough on earlier models to force subaru to change warranty policy) of HG is horrendous. We are talking about a repair bill that is 40-50% the value of the car - so is it even worth doing? How many have had the HG repaired and gone 150k? When do you just throw in the towel and move on (interestingly, my Ford Taurus has 150k with NO issues - just good luck or is J quality declining?)?

    Hopefully the heads can be shaved and saved.... :)

    K
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Newer models have been better, but you're right, it was common. 125k miles is a lot, though, it usually happens sooner.
  • Well my head gaskets did blow. My nephew put some stop leak in in and it seems to have fixed it for the time being.I realize this is a temporary fix. I am now looking to get it fixed before it blows AGAIN!!! The mechanic I am using said it would be best to put a new/rebuilt motor in it than rebuild the one in the car at this time. I am driving the car daily and sometimes it smells hot but seems to be doing ok.I just feel very anxious to get this fixed.I have Multiple Sclerosis and live on disability I am trying to get help from my church to help with the cost.My question is : is it better to buy a rebuilt one or repair the motor in the car???Repair or replace???
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,282
    It depends.... When the motor overheats, there is a possibility that the heads will warp. If that happens, then replacement of the gaskets will result in continued leaking (or the leaks resuming not long after replacement). If they're not warped, your engine is probably fine.

    I had issues with mine, as well as intermittent overheating prior to the gasket replacement, and finally took the time to tear it all down and replace at 192,000 miles. I had the car another 28,000 miles and had no further problems with them. When I had it tore down, I put a straight edge across the heads and could not perceive any warpage, so I simply assumed they were fine and plowed ahead.
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