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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Head Gasket Problem again?

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8 replies to this topic

#1 glee29


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Posted 03 February 2004 - 08:37 PM

It is really hard to believe. First a bit of a history on my '02 OBW Limited. Around 20,000 miles (i.e. last winter), it suffered the dreaded external head gasket leakage (driver side head). Spent a whole week in the dealer's garage. It was a sad sight seeing your whole new engine block sitting on the work bench.:(

Since then, it has been running great until a week ago. I started smelling the infamous burnt antifreeze while the wagon is at idle.

Called the dealer today and will bring the Subie in tomorrow morning for a check. The service manager told me on the phone that it is not uncommon to have the HG leakage again. That is not very comforting. The reason why I have a Subie in the first place is because of three factors.
1. Safety-AWD
2. Reliability-an urban myth?
3. Exclusivity-it is not another Toyota!!!

Even though I assume the repair will still be under warranty, I am not happy about it at all. SOA should start recalling all early '02 Subies with this early Phase II 2.5 engines. I really don't think just by adding some "snake oil" anti-freeze additive from SOA will cure the problem. I am not looking forward to bringing it in every 20,000 miles or every winter to have the head unscrewed!!!!
:banghead: :banghead: :banghead:

#2 gbhrps


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Posted 03 February 2004 - 10:00 PM

59 000 km on my 02 OBW LTD and both heads are leaking coolant, one side a little worse than the other. The problem started last week on the COLDEST day recorded this winter. Car goes in for head gasket replacement on this coming Monday. Dealership quotes a day and a half to do the job and I'm getting the owner's Forester XT as a loaner in the meantime, as I live 70 miles from the dealership. (I promised not to put myself on a first name basis with every cop in town while I had it.)

#3 99obw


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Posted 03 February 2004 - 10:09 PM

I have heard rumors of an improved Phase II gasket. I know the Phase I gasket has been through many revisions. glee29, do you know if they used an improved gasket the first time?

#4 glee29


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Posted 03 February 2004 - 10:40 PM

From what I have gathered reading some of the discussions here on USMB is that the early Phase II 2.5 engines are having driver side head gasket problems. Later Phase II engines (mid '02 models onward) seem to fair better. There is a new bulletin out (Feb '04) from SOA to all the dealers to add some kind of conditioner in the coolant system to help the situation.

With my '02 OBW, it seems too late for the conditioner. But I just hope that this better well be my last time replacing the gasket. Even the service manager apologized to me on the phone today for this chronic problem.:mad:

#5 99obw


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Posted 04 February 2004 - 07:02 AM

If it were my car I would strongly discourage the use of the conditioner and insist on a gasket replacement.

I am glad to hear that SOA is at least replacing gaskets on some cars.

#6 Dinero


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Posted 04 February 2004 - 07:35 AM

How many head gasket revisions has Subaru made to "fix" Phase I head gasket failures? Well, did they work? It would seem not.
Lets see, the Phase II has head gasket problems too. And to "fix" the problem Subaru comes up with, surprize, a head gasket revision! Like a cheap and greasy bowl of chile, history seems to be repeating itself. Maybe the newer Phase II engines have a lower failure rate because they haven't been in use very long, and don't have very many miles on them. At this point, who can say?. Maybe the head gasket problem has been fixed, maybe not. Time will tell.

#7 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 04 February 2004 - 08:35 AM

Well, the creation of multiple revision HGs obviously shows us the REAL problem is elsewhere in the design. But the only approach to the problem is HGs. I've read the 'open deck' design on the 2.5l may be a little TOO 'open' and the 'jugs' move around too much - thermal creep, vibration, whatever, something is compromising the HGs - it's not the gaskets per se.

#8 joybell


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Posted 04 February 2004 - 09:59 AM

So what was changed in the later 02 head gaskets? I seem to remember something about a different gasket liner? Or was the gasket itself redesigned? IMO Subaru should just scrap the 2.5L and go with the proven reliable 2.2L. Can there really be much difference in power?

#9 K9Leader


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Posted 04 February 2004 - 11:48 AM

Originally posted by glee29
With my '02 OBW, it seems too late for the conditioner.

Why do you think it is too late to try the conditioner? Unless it has gotten so bad that the gasket is blown, it is worth it to try the conditioner. Subaru will extend the warranty on the gaskets to 8 years/100k miles if you try the conditioner. Extending the warranty does demonstrate Subaru's good faith and confidence in the fix.

If the stuff works, then you have avoided major surgery on your engine (and all the potential problems that come with it), you get the car back quicker, the problem is solved, and you are covered to 8 years/100K miles. If it doesn't work, then you are still covered to 8 years/100K miles.

Good luck!


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