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2.5 question


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15 replies to this topic

#1 86subaru

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 04:57 AM

what years were bad for the hg problem,on the 2.5 motor, looking at a 2000 legacy wagon a/t 108.000mi not bad shape, no hg problem , thanks

#2 Rooster2

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 07:22 AM

The 96 thru 99 were the worst years for HG problems with the 2.5 phase one motors, that could leave you stranded on the side of the road. 2000 thru 2003 2.5 phase two motors still have some HG issues, but not as severe, and won't leave you stranded on the side of the road.

#3 grossgary

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 07:26 AM

this is all covered in depth here and on the internet.

96-99 legacy (98 forester) have the EJ25 DOHC with internallly leaking gaskets.

2000-200? has the SOHC with externally leaking gaskets. Subaru requires and installs conditioner (stop leak) with these and has an extended 100,000 mile head gasket warranty from 2000-2002.

#4 86subaru

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 04:54 AM

ok, thanks

#5 86subaru

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 05:43 AM

so by putting in the subaru stop leak , this will stop the inside leaking, the car has 108,000mi on it , no over heating ,

#6 Rooinater

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 06:51 AM

What's there to look at on the 1998 Forester to notify of the internal leak? We were looking at one that didn't have any overheating problems. A little high on the oil level and water level, but no oil in the radiator, no white smoke from water out the tail pipe and no warning lights. What are the symptoms and signs for the internal leaking gasket? Is there a copper aftermarket gasket or a better head gasket that you can replace them with?

#7 86subaru

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 06:59 AM

good question

#8 johnceggleston

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 07:54 AM

What's there to look at on the 1998 Forester to notify of the internal leak? We were looking at one that didn't have any overheating problems. A little high on the oil level and water level, but no oil in the radiator, no white smoke from water out the tail pipe and no warning lights. What are the symptoms and signs for the internal leaking gasket? Is there a copper aftermarket gasket or a better head gasket that you can replace them with?


the internal head gasket leak works like this: exhaust gas leaks into the coolant, displaces coolant into the overflow, and beyond, (adding gunk to it) and eventually causing an "air" pocket in the cooling system and over heating. over heating can be cause by loss of coolant or from an "air" lock in the system.

when the leak is new, just beginning, it will only leak a little and can cause an occasional overheat. this is usually address by flushing the cooling system and maybe replacing the t-stat. (if you see service receipts for either, or they mention either in the car ad, look harder at the car). depending on the car, the driver and the leak, it could be weeks or months before it overheats again. as the leak gets worse, it will happen more often.

some of these cars with bad head gaskets can be driven around town "forever" and show no sign of over heating, some will over heat after 20 - 30 minutes of any type of driving, and some only after 30 minutes of hiway driving. so "test drive" the car.

in a normal car, the coolant level will vary in the overflow depending on the conditions and type of driving. usually when the cars heats up it will push more coolant into the overflow, then when it cools down it will suck that coolant back into the radiator. this is a normal process, but the cold level should be the same from one day to the next. in other words, it is not loosing any coolant.

if the car pukes coolant out of the over flow it's bad news. if there are little bubbles in the coolant in the overflow bottle after the test drive, this is bad. if the coolant level when cold before you drive it and the coolant level when cold after you drive it (cold, hours later) is not the same, i would think this is a bad sign. if there is any gunk in the coolant, this is bad. if the coolant is brand new, i would ask why and look harder at the car.

typically, cooling system pressure testing does not "catch" bad gaskets in the early stages, maybe never since the exhaust is leaking into the system, not coolant leaking out. there is a test which will look for exhaust gases in the coolant, but if the leak is small, and the coolant just changed it may not catch it.

Edited by johnceggleston, 08 October 2009 - 08:08 AM.


#9 Rooinater

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 08:56 AM

So if it's barely in the start of the problem and it's purchased and I yank the engine and do a head gasket swap within the first month I would be in the clear? I won't pay the dealer to do that job, and it wouldn't be the first head gasket that I've replaced. It had fairly new coolant, the level was near the same before and after if I recall, but I'll double check again when I test drive it friday. I drove it fairly hard, breaking to accelerating hard on a consistent basis for the 30 minute test drive and than had to stop at a few stop lights and I didn't get any over heating.

Thanks for the info so far.

#10 johnceggleston

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 09:21 AM

So if it's barely in the start of the problem and it's purchased and I yank the engine and do a head gasket swap within the first month I would be in the clear? I won't pay the dealer to do that job, and it wouldn't be the first head gasket that I've replaced. It had fairly new coolant, the level was near the same before and after if I recall, but I'll double check again when I test drive it friday. I drove it fairly hard, breaking to accelerating hard on a consistent basis for the 30 minute test drive and than had to stop at a few stop lights and I didn't get any over heating.

Thanks for the info so far.


yes, that would put you in the clear. and buying the car with that in mind, subtract the repair cost from the purchase price.

however, the only advantage to doing it right away, is that you can plan on it. but usually the problem progresses so slowly it does not leave you stranded, you can plan on it anyway.

some of these engines went bad at 60k miles and some are only going bad now at 180k - 220k. and many more outback and GT engines go bad than forester or impreza. (someone has suggested that the extra weight of the legacy size over taxes the original 2.5L head gaskets and the lighter cars do not.) so depending on the car and the number of miles on it you may be able to drive several years before the gaskets blow, or they may never let go.

in any event, when you do the repair, make sure the gaskets come from subaru, no after market gaskets allowed.

read up on the timing belt procedure to avoid a 'no start' problem after you finish. and if you pull the engine to do it and have an auto trans, read up on "seating the torque conveter" before you re-install the engine. you may make a very costly mistake if you don't.

let us know what you decide to do.

Edited by johnceggleston, 08 October 2009 - 09:24 AM.


#11 Rooinater

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 11:20 AM

More than likely I'll purchase it. It drove really well and overall appeared to be mechanically sound for the most part, except after what I've read online and here I think the initial signs of the head gasket going are starting, but there isn't anything in the major i'm going to strand you on the side of the road category screaming yet. The retail for the model that I'm looking at (S model fully loaded, winter package, compass, heated seats...) is around $7500 here, and we've already talked them down $1500 from that and $1000 dollars from what they initially were asking and got them to the point that they have refused to go any lower. My Dad and I discussed with the dealer about the head gaskets being a concern and no direct paper record of the timing belt, which finally got them to budge on the price.

I do plan on getting the head gaskets from Subaru, and I'll do the timing belt, tensioner, cam seals and water pump while I'm in there. That way I know what the hell has been done. Do the timing parts and cam seals need to come from Subaru as well, or are those fine to put some NAPA stuff in? It appears that the water pump has been replaced due to the sealant at the mounting surface, but I'm not 100% sure.

Thanks for the heads up on the Auto tranny since I've never owned an automatic, but I've pulled a lot of manual tranny EA82 and EA81 engines... this will be my first interference engine... So I'll be doing as much research as possible over the next month or so as I gather the parts to start the repair. Are the specialty tools needed to lock the pulleys needed or is there an easy homebrew tool to make?

Thanks for the information, it has been a great help. I've been reading online for the last several days and it was the details that I just needed linked together. Especially knowing that it's not generally an instant failure but a quiet one to keep an eye on has been a tremendous help in helping my decision of getting it and prepping for the work ahead. Thanks again.

#12 johnceggleston

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 12:23 PM

a lot of folks will use a kit from an ebay vendor, something with import in the name / title. (search here for it.) if you call them up you can get a the kit with what ever you want in it. i got everything, belt, idlers, water pump, cam seals, valve cover gaskets, oil pump / crank seals, etc, except the tensioner. most folks here will discard the t-belt and get one from subaru (online), that's a pretty good idea on an interference engine. i used the ebay belt since my engine is non-interference.

if your engine is not leaking oil, you may not need all the seals, but eventually, if you drive it long enough, you will. the t-belt has to come off for the cam and crank seals.

Edited by johnceggleston, 08 October 2009 - 12:27 PM.


#13 Olnick

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 12:26 PM

Johnceggleston, your posts #8 and #10 are an excellent overview of the HG problem. Thanks for laying it all out so clearly, hopefully it will be of help to others in the future (should it be stickied maybe?)

#14 Rooinater

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 12:29 PM

Johnceggleston, your posts #8 and #10 are an excellent overview of the HG problem. Thanks for laying it all out so clearly, hopefully it will be of help to others in the future (should it be stickied maybe?)


I vote for it being stickied or added to the FAQ. It was the most clear cut and detailed explanation in one spot that I have found so far on the early model 2.5L. And many more thanks for helping finish connecting the rest of the dots.

#15 johnceggleston

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 12:46 PM

Johnceggleston, your posts #8 and #10 are an excellent overview of the HG problem. Thanks for laying it all out so clearly, hopefully it will be of help to others in the future (should it be stickied maybe?)


thanks, i learned none of this first hand, all of it came from others on this site. i just had the time to put it together.

Edited by johnceggleston, 08 October 2009 - 12:56 PM.


#16 johnceggleston

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 08:17 AM

bump for tagline : badheadgaskets




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