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External HG Leak on 98 OBW


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12 replies to this topic

#1 subsince77

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 01:22 PM

My details are a little spotty here, because this car belongs to a friend, but I wanted to see what you guys thought about this. My friend bought the car with a little less than 100K on it last summer. The PO had receipts showing that the HG's were done at about 80k. I told my buddy to call the shop where the work was done (in Denver) to make sure they used Subaru head gaskets etc. They said that, yes, they always use only genuine Subaru parts.

The car had some oil leaks, and minor stuff, but was really good shape and ran strong. He got it cheap, and set about having the various minor repairs done. He has now been told by two mechanics that he is going to need to do the HG's within 15 to 20k. At first I kept telling him that they were just saying that because they don't know that the gaskets were already done.

Turns out that the second mechanic, who I know somewhat, and pretty much trust, said that the head gaskets on this car (I don't know if this is one side or both) are currently "seeping" antifreeze EXTERNALLY. My friend says there has been no noticeable loss of fluid (and no overheating, oil mixing etc.). The mechanic looked at the receipts and noticed that there were no new head bolts specified. He says that you have to replace the head bolts or the heads won't torque right. So my first question is, is that right? While he had the car in the shop, he replaced the head bolts and retorqued the heads. He still says they were not done right and will fail within 20k.

So, I know you can't tell much without seeing the car, but I have never even heard of an external leak on a phase 1 - have you? If the car actually has the new style gaskets, and has been retorqued, what are the chances that it would fail? I just don't know what to think about this. Any thoughts?

#2 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 01:26 PM

Absolutely incorrect. The head bolts are never replaced unless they are damaged. The block is aluminium and the bolts are not torque-to-yeild.

GD

#3 outbackusjunkus

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 03:03 PM

I'd get a third opinion. Nobody replaces head bolts.

#4 grossgary

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 03:13 PM

The mechanic looked at the receipts and noticed that there were no new head bolts specified. He says that you have to replace the head bolts or the heads won't torque right.

Run, do not pass GO, do not look back, this mechanic is behind on his mortgage payments or just is plain dumb about Subarus. You don't replace head bolts on subaru motors, they are not Torque to Yield head bolts.

This is really simple and nothing to get worked up over though - GO LOOK!!!!! It's leaking externally!?? It's not like it's some secret mystical hidden hard to find thing requiring special tools, just go look or check coolant level. The mechanic should show him the leak.

That being said - if it is leaking it wasn't done right or was overheated significantly by the previous owner.

Heads and block need to be extremely clean and the heads should be machined. That's what the mechanic should be looking for, were the heads milled? Easy for a mechanic to skip these steps to save time and money, particularly on an older car.

#5 subsince77

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 03:26 PM

Run, do not pass GO, do not look back, this mechanic is behind on his mortgage payments or just is plain dumb about Subarus. You don't replace head bolts on subaru motors, they are not Torque to Yield head bolts.

This is really simple and nothing to get worked up over though - GO LOOK!!!!! It's leaking externally!?? It's not like it's some secret mystical hidden hard to find thing requiring special tools, just go look or check coolant level. The mechanic should show him the leak.

That being said - if it is leaking it wasn't done right or was overheated significantly by the previous owner.

Heads and block need to be extremely clean and the heads should be machined. That's what the mechanic should be looking for, were the heads milled? Easy for a mechanic to skip these steps to save time and money, particularly on an older car.


Thanks Gary, and everyone, the guy who owns the car doesn't know where to look for the head gasket seam. I do, but haven't had the chance yet, and right now it's snowing. i will check it out. He did say though, that he has not noticed any loss of fluid. I would not be surprised to find out that the car was overheated by the kid who owned it before, or that the shop in Denver did a less than stellar job. Too bad. I don't know what that will mean in the long run. I had just never heard of an external leak on these engines, but I wondered right away about the heads being machined or not.

If they were warped enough to leak, wouldn't there be some other signs of problems?

Anyway, you answered my questions about the bolts. I thought that sounded fishy, but I just didn't know. I'll post when I can get a look at the car.

Thanks

#6 outbackusjunkus

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 03:29 PM

Nope, they can leak at the seams with no other problems. Have a 2.2 doing that to me now.

#7 grossgary

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 03:34 PM

. I had just never heard of an external leak on these engines,

the DOHC almost never leak externally, but with a gasket replacement anything is possible if it's not done right...just depends what part was compromised in the process.

#8 subsince77

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 03:35 PM

Heads and block need to be extremely clean and the heads should be machined. That's what the mechanic should be looking for, were the heads milled? Easy for a mechanic to skip these steps to save time and money, particularly on an older car.


Is there a way to tell if the heads were milled at this point?

#9 subsince77

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 03:44 PM

Sorry guys, I just keep thinking of questions. Let's assume it was overheated or whatever, and the heads are now seeping. What is the most likely thing to happen next? Will it follow the typical phase one course of overheating as the gaskets deteriorate? Or should we be looking for a mixing of oil and coolant?

Might it be reasonable to redo the gasket job with proper milling of the heads, given that the car seems to have good compression etc.? I am thinking maybe that would be a good thing for him to do is have a good compression check for starters to see what condition the engine is in. I only say it is good because it runs well and doesn't misfire or throw any codes.

I know some will say it is old and forget it. But they can afford some repairs if the car is worth it, but not a new car. The rest of it is in really good shape, and my 97 is still serving me well.

#10 Petersubaru

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 04:26 PM

My details are a little spotty here, because this car belongs to a friend, but I wanted to see what you guys thought about this. My friend bought the car with a little less than 100K on it last summer. The PO had receipts showing that the HG's were done at about 80k. I told my buddy to call the shop where the work was done (in Denver) to make sure they used Subaru head gaskets etc. They said that, yes, they always use only genuine Subaru parts.

The car had some oil leaks, and minor stuff, but was really good shape and ran strong. He got it cheap, and set about having the various minor repairs done. He has now been told by two mechanics that he is going to need to do the HG's within 15 to 20k. At first I kept telling him that they were just saying that because they don't know that the gaskets were already done.

Turns out that the second mechanic, who I know somewhat, and pretty much trust, said that the head gaskets on this car (I don't know if this is one side or both) are currently "seeping" antifreeze EXTERNALLY. My friend says there has been no noticeable loss of fluid (and no overheating, oil mixing etc.). The mechanic looked at the receipts and noticed that there were no new head bolts specified. He says that you have to replace the head bolts or the heads won't torque right. So my first question is, is that right? While he had the car in the shop, he replaced the head bolts and retorqued the heads. He still says they were not done right and will fail within 20k.

So, I know you can't tell much without seeing the car, but I have never even heard of an external leak on a phase 1 - have you? If the car actually has the new style gaskets, and has been retorqued, what are the chances that it would fail? I just don't know what to think about this. Any thoughts?

...if it is correct..your friend has not noticed any fluid loss..and 2 mechanics have made statements without showing any evidence ...I would keep away..hopefully you can find someone else who can give you an honest opinion or the understanding to monitor a potential problem ..if there is one ??

Edited by Petersubaru, 08 December 2009 - 04:31 PM.


#11 Petersubaru

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 04:29 PM

Is there a way to tell if the heads were milled at this point?

call the repair shop that did the head job..maybe it is there policy to send out the heads for milling ..plus the name of the shop that did it

#12 grossgary

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 06:57 PM

I agree with him - if it's not even a known problem yet I wouldn't worry about it too much.

If it is the head gaskets I don't think you can expect any kind of "typical" issues since we don't know what went was done wrong to it.

i don't know of any way to verify the heads were milled just by a cursory glance.

your options are a proper head gasket job - machine the heads, Subaru only head gasket, clean all the bolt holes and bolts and reinstall via the proper torque sequence.

or get another engine.

#13 subsince77

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 07:09 PM

Great, this helps a lot everybody. i will pass it along.




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