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Head Gasket Advice.


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7 replies to this topic

#1 snake05

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Posted 17 July 2010 - 10:14 PM

Just bought a used 1998 Outback for a couple hundo. The interior is immaculate and the exterior is in great shape for a car that old. This is my first Subaru. I knew the head gasket was blown on the exhaust side from the start. I need some advice on where to start. I want to do the work myself, should I go ahead and do a complete engine rebuild? Just replace the head gaskets? Its got 163,000 on it. Any advice would be much appreciated!!!!! Thanks!

#2 Suzam

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Posted 17 July 2010 - 10:56 PM

Welcome to the board. Plenty of information here about what you are experiencing.

You can use the search function for a limited look around for answers, also check the "Similar Threads" section on the lower part of this thread.

With that mileage you may want to consider a used 2.2 swap to eliminate head gasket issues the 2.5 has and not worry about a rebuild. Otherwise if the engine is in good shape, new head gaskets would give you a new lease on life, but the lower end would still have 163k.

There are several ways you could go on this, do some research here and see what makes the most sense to you and your situation.

#3 grossgary

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Posted 18 July 2010 - 03:05 AM

lots of advice and info already on here. you'll notice right now on the bottom left of this screen 5 other threads with nearly the same topic title. all of your questions have already been answered.

key points: if you have no clue on the condition of the engine - how badly and often was it overheated....then you might consider an EJ22 engine swap. more reliable engine but will cost you 20 hp.

if you do the headgaskets, only use Subaru headgaskets on this particular motor. not true of all Subaru engines, but of this one. it's an interference engine so it's in your best interest to replace all the timing belt, water pump, and pulleys as well to prevent the timing belt from breaking.

#4 snake05

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Posted 18 July 2010 - 01:55 PM

Thanks for the replies. I have been reading similar threads for a week now but hadn't come to a conclusion. I have come to the conclusion that I am going to pull the engine and get a rebuild kit. The kit is $800. Ill have $1000 into the project plus some beer for my buddies and I but my first Subaru project will be up and running. I think this will get me on the road fairly soon and I shouldn't have to do much other major maintenance to the car for a few years.

Edited by snake05, 18 July 2010 - 02:00 PM.


#5 skibumm

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Posted 18 July 2010 - 02:32 PM

Get a 2.2 from a 95 and the y pipe, changes are after your beer buddies do the work, you'll need to rebuild it again, don't forget cam seals, oil pump seals, water pump, separator plate and new timing belt. I have seen several outbacks for sale that still have Head gasket leaks even after they were fixed by a local mechanic. 2.2s are $200-400 and almost bullet proof. I just checked car-parts.com and found a local 95 2.2 w/93K and warranty for $325. Bet there there are 2.2s in your area for sale that are similar.

#6 johnceggleston

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Posted 18 July 2010 - 07:16 PM

Thanks for the replies. I have been reading similar threads for a week now but hadn't come to a conclusion. I have come to the conclusion that I am going to pull the engine and get a rebuild kit. The kit is $800. Ill have $1000 into the project plus some beer for my buddies and I but my first Subaru project will be up and running. I think this will get me on the road fairly soon and I shouldn't have to do much other major maintenance to the car for a few years.


800$ for a rebuild kit is crazy plus all the labor!!!! you can get a 95 2.2L engine for 300 and a timing belt kit for 125$ and drive it for 100k miles. how long do you plan on keeping the car.

a total rebuild may go 300k or more, but will you be driving it that long? will the rest of the car make it that far?

#7 snake05

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Posted 18 July 2010 - 10:11 PM

Its $800 for the kit which includes rings, seals, gaskets, oil pump, water pump, the cam and more. I didnt think it was terrible. The labor isnt a big deal, I have another vehicle and picked this outback up for a project vehicle. Im looking to get 150k out of it. The body is in great shape and the interior is cherry for an 08 yet alone a 98.

Im definitely new to the whole subaru thing and every does say the EJ22 is a better engine. I did find a 95 EJ22 from a running impreza on craigslist not too far away for $425 with the timing kit. But now power steering pump and no a/c compressor. Are these items I can pull off the EJ25 I have?

#8 mdjdc

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 05:53 AM

This is just me, but I would reseal the engine you have. I am more inclined to keep the car stock so that if I want to sell it it isn't a hassle explaining it to the new owner.

Don't go the full rebuild, that is unnecessary.

Get a set of Subaru HG's and all the seals necessary for the project, a water pump and timing kit. You can get the water pump and timing kit off ebay. Reseal the engine and be on your way. My thought is, that if the car is in such good shape, the owner probably didn't overheat it too bad. He/she was caring for the car very well and this probably sidelined the car due to concerns of total failure.

I can routinely get the necessary parts for around 300 and then you just have your labor.

Go for it and have some fun.




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