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Forester - Headgasket Repair & Engine Rebuild

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Comments

  • erikwierikwi Posts: 71
    I'm concerned about life after warranty. The good thing is I didn't see any coolant in the oil I drained out during the oil change but then again I didn't expect to see any. Is there a lab I can send an oil sample to? I know there's places that test oil but I don't know any of them.

    Anybody ever have oil samples tested?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You should be fine because you are replacing the gasket before any major overheating, which would cause the heads to potentially warp, which is what would give you long term problems.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Sheesh... a little class 1 leak (dampness) which the dealer has agreed to repair but suddenly you're worried about being stranded and ready to start looking for another vehicle?!?!?

    Just my two cents but it seems you may be over reacting a wee little bit ;)

    -Frank
  • erikwierikwi Posts: 71
    My job (government work) requires a solid, dependable car. Bossman would get a little irritated at me missing work frequently for car repairs so that's why I'm concerned. Head gasket today, what tomorrow? What got my attention is the oil in the coolant and the possibility of future engine trouble as a result. Maybe I am overreacting but it's not easy to find another job with the present state of the economy, especially in my salary range. I'm getting it fixed and will then go from there. I've still got 17000 miles and 2 years left on the warranty so if trouble develops, warranty will cover. If that's the case, when the warranty is gone, so's the car.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Guess you should move right next door to your work, because even a bicycle will break down!

    Seriously I think you are blowing the ramafications way out of proportion on this!

    -mike
    -mike
    Subaru Guru and Track Instructor
  • I have been trying to decide on what car to buy, and am having a very hard time with it. My choice is between the Honda CRV and the new Subaru Forester. I drove both and really liked the Forester. Was almost going to make that decision until I read about the HG problem. My understanding was that the issue was in older Forester's models and was resolved by Subaru and now I am wondering if this was just a isolated incident or more to come. Please new Forester owner's what is your take??????????
  • chienchien Posts: 6
    I have a 1998 Forester and rebuilt the engine last year after the headgasket blew. I did that as a matter of economy and also (most importantly) because I really, really trusted my mechanic to get the best rebuilder and fight for me in case anything went wrong. If I had my druthers, I would have bought a new Honda Element. Honda has a better track record for long lasting-ness.

    I loved my Subaru and bought it with the understanding it would run to 200,000 with only minor problems. Needless to say, I was not happy I had to pay $5000 for a rebuild (of my own engine) after only 100K. Subaru America also totally ignored the faulty engine design (no bulletins), but replaced it with a redesign after only one year. I no longer trust Subaru as a company.

    If you are looking to keep a car for 20 years or 200,000 miles, I think a Honda is a better bet.
  • erikwierikwi Posts: 71
    Be nice if I could but I'd be moving every week! Just think of the gas I'd save. You're probably right Mike. I'm just concerned about this and venting a little. I'd expected long life and was a little shocked at work this big so early. Heading to the dealer in the AM to get it done and hoping this is just an anomaly. Mom bought hers 4 months after I bought mine. She's got a few less miles on hers and no HG leaks so maybe mine was just built on a Monday.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Yeah, as Juice said this is the first HG problem that has come up on the 09s and probably the first we've heard of on most of the newer gen cars.

    -mike
    Subaru Guru and Track Instructor
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,450
    Many 2006 Foresters have been on the road for nearly four years at this point. If head gasket issues were still commonplace, we would be hearing far more about them than we have. This incidence here is clearly, though unfortunately for the owner, an isolated event. Such events will happen with all makes once in a while - machines can and do fail.
  • erikwierikwi Posts: 71
    Well, I'm back from the dealer. They couldn't do the work b/c they didn't have all the necessary parts, specifically valve cover gaskets. It's been rescheduled for 12/16. Tech checked it and the left side is leaking oil and coolant. Right side is beginning to seep some oil now. He was telling me that he'd heard something about a few of the 06 Foresters possibly having some bad machining on one or both of the heads but hadn't seen anything official on it. They've also suggested that my using pure synthetic oil may have caused the leak which I don't buy. Tech told me Subaru doesn't recommend the use of synthetic oil in the engine until it has at least 75k on it. If this is the case, why does it not say "No synthetic oil" in the owner's manual?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,450
    The no synthetic story is BS. It is possible that there is an issue with the machining - especially if both are leaking. If it comes back that they have to machine the heads, I would press harder for that extended warranty as it was clearly a manufacturing defect. ;)
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Actually Subaru addressed the problem with the 1st generation Forester head gaskets by providing a leak-sealing coolant. And if you used their coolant, Subaru agreed to extend the warranty to 100k. Also, Subaru waited 5 years (not 1) before they changed the design (it took that long for the problem to manifest itself).

    But I do agree that you should be able to expect a Subaru to last longer than 100k before any major works needs to be done. On the otherhand, it is a 10 or 11 year old vehicle we're talking about...

    In any case, by all means, go buy a Honda, they NEVER fail ;)

    -Frank
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    :D

    Let's not forget the 2002 CR-Vs had that engine fire problem when the oil filter gasket would stick to the engine block. I recall at least 9 or so caused engine fires.

    I had a 98 Forester that went about 90k trouble-free miles, sold it, now we have a 2009 Forester that we trust completely.

    You have to see a pattern of failures, i.e. not just one or two, to conclude a certain problem is common.

    There's a guy in the RWTIV thread saying he has a Fit that goes through $1000 worth of brakes every 5000 miles, but even if it's true (doubtful) that doesn't mean the Fit has poor brakes.
  • erikwierikwi Posts: 71
    I wasn't buying the "No synthetic story" either. Porsche uses Mobil 1 in their stuff and I've never heard of any issues with the few owners I know. Then again when you plunk down 70k+ for a new 911 you expect perfection.

    I'll keep ya'll posted on this, especially if they have to send the heads out for milling. I really and truly have no desire to trade and have car payments again. Plus this thing just flat goes in the snow. Can't wait to test it with the new Blizzaks I installed Wednesday!
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Yeah the Synthetic is just a story the dealer is telling you. You do need to wait until 10,000 miles before using synthetic on Subaru engines though.

    -mike
    Subaru Guru and Track Instructor
  • erikwierikwi Posts: 71
    Mike, I was reading an article in End Wrench magazine that talked about the use of synthetics. It clearly said synthetic was allowed provided it meets the same API service standard as regular oil, was the same viscosity as required by the owner's manual, and was changed according to the maintenance schedule. It strikes me as odd the dealer and tech would tell me one thing only to have their own technical publication say something completely different. No mention in the article about when to use synthetic though. I think it was the August 2008 edition I saw it in.

    I'll be heading to the dealer this coming Tuesday for the HG replacement. I'll keep you folks posted on whether or not they send the head(s) out for machining.
  • erikwierikwi Posts: 71
    Car's out of the shop now with both HG replaced. Tech found no cracks in the heads or imperfections in the machining. Heads were within tolerance for straightness. I eyeballed the left side HG in the presence of the tech and the service manager. There was a rough spot on the gasket below the cutout for the oil return passage under the #3 cylinder. Both the tech and the SM spotted it too and said that was the likely cause. Long story short, bad gaskets. I hope this was an oddity otherwise they'll start seeing more 06's with seeping gaskets. The tech said I shouldn't have any further problems until 200k or longer.

    I'm going to check my mom's 06 and see if her car has any seepage. The dealer uses a synthetic blend in her car versus me using full synthetic. If hers is exhibiting any sign of leakage, I'll tell her to take it to the dealer and have it checked while it's under warranty.
  • erikwierikwi Posts: 71
    OK, checked Mom's 06 Forester for a head gasket leak. Car has 22k on the odo and has been serviced by the dealer who uses Valvoline Durablend 5-30. Driver's side head showed no signs of leakage unlike mine. Passenger side head is another story. Evidence of oil leakage beginning under the #4 cylinder but lessening as you look forward under the #2 cylinder. No oil or coolant present on the side of the head so it appears to be coming from the bottom of the head. I cleaned it off with some brake cleaner and used compressed air to dry it. I'll re-check it in 10k or so and if the oil comes back, I'll know it's seeping. I'd like to look at the date of manufacture to see if my 06 and her 06 were built in the same time period but I don't know where to find it. Anybody have any ideas?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Don't wait 10k, check at each oil change, or every 3750 miles.
  • erikwierikwi Posts: 71
    Not a bad idea, will do. Found out my car was built 12/05 and hers was built 1/06. Coincidence they both have a bad gasket?

    Called the dealer that did mine and told them about it. The service advisor said SOA had them return the HGs to SOA headquarters for analysis. Hopefully they'll figure it out. I'm wanting the same tech to do my mom's car since I know he does quality work, if it turns out the gaskets actually do need to be replaced.

    Keep ya'll posted!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm glad to see SoA wants to analyze the HGs, see what happened to them.
  • erikwierikwi Posts: 71
    You're not the only one. I hope they can figure it out and I wouldn't be surprised to see a TSB or something come out to let dealers know to keep an eye on the 06's, just in case.

    Needless to say, my faith in Subie has been restored!
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    Send a used oil sample to Blackstone for analysis - the standard test includes coolant:
    http://www.blackstone-labs.com/free_test_kit.html

    I have monitored the Forester Forum for the past year and have not heard of a head gasket leak on the 2006-on Forester.
    http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/
  • erikwierikwi Posts: 71
    I took a sample after I got home the evening before I took the car to the dealer and sent it to Blackstone. They haven't gotten it yet and it's been almost a month now. I should've put it in a box but you know hindsight's always 20/20. I've been in contact with them and they know about it. They're just waiting for it to show up.

    As I posted earlier, Mom's 06 showed signs of oil seepage on the passenger side head gasket. I cleaned it and will recheck it every opportunity I have. If it comes back, then it's off to the dealer with her car.
  • Well, at 70,000 miles my Subie has the dreaded HG leaks. Indie mechanic, who I trust, wants over 2 grand for total repair. Or should I fight the battle with SOA and have the dealership do a half a$$ job. I need new tires also. Total cost could be around 3,000 and the trade in is around 6,000. I love my Forester and would consider the 09. What would you do? I know I am not alone with this problem-to sell or fix. I need a safe reliable AWD auto for driving in Northern Michigan. Thanks ahead for advice. :confuse:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    See what the dealer offers as a trade. They will wholesale it, question is will it be more than $3000 (your net profit sale minus cost to fix). If so just trade-up, and avoid the hassle.
  • My Subaru 2001 Forester (130000 Miles) makes a clicking sound when it goes from 2nd to 3rd. There is a little jerk only when it goes to third. It an automatic but I know the gear num as its quite obvious. Any clue as to whats going on?

    Thanks
  • Goldengal, sounds like you've had the same problem I’ve experienced, same model and similar mileage.
    I have a 2003 Forrester 2.5 XS with 73K on it. Although it’s a 2003, I bought it in May 2002, it was one of the first new ’03 models that hit the showrooms. I’ve maintained it regularly and haven’t had any major problems with it. Until this month. I had leaky head gaskets.
    Contacted Subaru. After some delays in getting an answer, in the end, I was told that my Subaru is “not part of the campaign” that Subaru apparently has to help customers who have had the head gasket problem. The “campaign” is for 2000-02 vehicles only.
    Not the ideal outcome from my perspective. And it does seem like the issue might not have been solved with the 2002 models. I understand any car can have a leaky head gasket, but 73K seems a little early, no?
  • Call Subaru's 800 number, I had HG problem with my 2003 forester (i also bought in May 2002!). They paid for half the cost.
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