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Head Gaskets


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16 replies to this topic

#1 hockeylvr93

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 09:23 PM

Hi everyone...I have a Legacy i with 222,450 miles on it, it's an 04 and a good car. I've been losing oil and hubby says it's from the head gaskets. I am using Mobil 1 Extended Oil at about $8.50 a quart and it gives me great mileage between oil changes, but is too costly to keep adding at about a quart every 3 weeks or so! So, I'm about to bite the bullet and get the head gaskets changed for a total of about $1400. Does anyone have anything that might be helpful for me to know before I put my car in the shop?? Anyone else had to do this yet? What are your thoughts on my cars life expectancy after I drop this $1400 in it?? LOL... I might add that it's been WELL maintained and all the miles are highway.

#2 grossgary

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 09:27 PM

Do the job right and you've got quite a few more reliable miles out of it.

Use subaru only headgaskets.

I'd get an ebay timing belt kit, at that mileage I wouldn't expect the timing belt pulleys to be in great shape. Being an interference engine, if the timing belt breaks it'll cost $1,500+ to repair it. Replace the belt and all the pulleys. Timing belt has to come off for a headgasket job so no extra work to install a new one (though by itself the job is $700 alone at a dealer - belt costs $59 so you do the math!)

Reseal the oil pump and tighten the backing plate screws on it as well.
Replace the crank seal and cam seals. All of this stuff is really cheap, like $3 per seal and you have easy access to it all (zero labor aside from just doing the seals) when doing a headgasket job.

Good luck!

#3 ocei77

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 10:25 PM

^^^^^+1
Is this a quote from whom you've been getting previous work done?


Do a little more shopping and you may find a reliable mechanic to do the job a few hundred cheaper.

O.

#4 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 03:44 AM

Yes - where are you located? There are many of us that do this type of work better and cheaper than the dealer.

GD

#5 hockeylvr93

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 09:42 AM

Thanks for the info! This is a place where my husband worked as a mechanic until he got into construction. If my husband had access to a bay, he'd be doing the work himself!! This was a discounted rate, they were actually doing this for another subaru and quote $1800 so $1400 was our discount. My husband has already done the timing belt, thanks for the input on the cam seals/oil pump we will do them too. I hope to get another 200K outta this motor...what do ya think my chances are?? :)

#6 grossgary

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 10:50 AM

$1,400 is top dollar and very high, that's not a bargain. Local Morgantown, WV dealer charges $1,500 for headgaskets and they are known to be very high. Granted if you really honestly trust and admire these folks, it's worth a few hundred more but otherwise you're way overpaying for the job.

Parts are under $100, so they're charging $1,000 or more in labor.

Consider GD or others and you'd find better rates, like under $1,000. With GD or someone very familiar with this engine you'd get more for your money too. Better end result, cheaper price, win-win.

At the very least be sure to follow recommendations from here as we have more EJ25 specific experience than those at the shop.

#7 hockeylvr93

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 02:48 PM

Definitely will do! What is GD?? I am taking your suggestions with me when we drop off the car...thanks for all the input and helpful info.

#8 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 03:22 PM

He (Gary) is talking about me. I do work like this all the time but I may not be in your area. I'm in Portland, OR.

Very likely my rate on that job would come in around $800 to $1000 - probably on the lower end if the timing belt has been done. And yes I do a lot more than most shops when I pull an engine - since I specialize in Subaru's I have the advantage of knowing what needs to be replaced, where to get the best parts at the best prices, etc.

But if you have a shop you are comfortable with (really it's the *actual* mechanic that you have to trust not some counter jockey) then by all means take it there. The rate they are giving you isn't terribly outragous but it's no real bargain either. $1800 is very high and frankly $1400 is easily on-par with most dealerships which probably will use better parts and gaurantee their work for longer, etc.

As Gary mentions - do all the cam/crank seals, have the oil pump removed and check the backing plate screws + reseal it (and new o-ring), replace the valve cover gaskets, and while the engine is out you should replace the heater core hoses, radiator hoses, and water pump bypass hose. If the water pump or any of the idlers/tensioner wasn't done when the timing belt was then do all that as well. The belt itself is less of a concern than the lower cogged idler and the water pump (+ OEM thermostat) at your kind of mileage.

GD

Edited by GeneralDisorder, 13 January 2011 - 03:26 PM.


#9 hockeylvr93

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Posted 14 January 2011 - 11:47 AM

Thanks, this is super helpful. I will make sure I share this with my hubby...I'm in Maryland, so Portland is just a tad too far away :)

#10 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 14 January 2011 - 12:15 PM

Thanks, this is super helpful. I will make sure I share this with my hubby...I'm in Maryland, so Portland is just a tad too far away :)


Indeed that is quite a distance! I went to school in Maryland for the ARMY. Aberdeen Proving Grounds..... if you have never been there they have a very interesting ordinance museum.... if you like that sort of thing or your husband does. I was a museum gaurd for a short time - that was easily the best detail I ever got put on!

Good luck with the repair and hope we have helped.

GD

#11 Jaerl

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Posted 15 January 2011 - 08:58 AM

Hello, I just joined to get some advice. I bought my daughter a 96 outback with a bad head gasket. I just about have the second head off and I wanted to ask about parts. I see a lot of guys saying you can do this for around $200 but I have been priced $250 just for the head set from NAPA and $80/side for new head bolts. That seems kind of high but I haven't been working on cars for a few years so who knows. Should I go with the dealers gaskets or are the aftermarket ones redesigned too? How important are the new bolts? Any other info would be appreciated, Thanks

Jerry

#12 johnceggleston

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Posted 15 January 2011 - 09:39 AM

if you do a search you will find lots of info. but basically you want to use subaru only for the HGs and seals and reuse the head bolts.

2 online dealers:

www.subarugenuineparts.com
http://subarupartsforyou.com/


basically you want to replace anything that is leaking, which includes:
cam seals - 4 ea.
front crank seal - 1 ea.
oil pump o-ring - 1 ea.
(check / tighten the bolts on the backing plate on the back side of the pump.)
oil separator plate - 1 ea. w/ 5 screws. (on the rear of the engine)
head gaskets - 2 ea.
intake caskets - 2 ea.

exhaust gaskets - 2 ea.

all timing components
timing belt - 1 ea.
idlers, smooth - 2 ea.
idler, toothed - 1 ea.
tensioner pulley - 1 ea. (either just the idler assembly or the whole thing depending on whether yours is the old style, 2 piece, or the new style, one piece.)

timining belt kits can be had for a good price on ebay from ''theimportexperts'', good parts fr a good price.

(the stuff in red from a SUBARU dealer online.) .)


i'm pretty sure i'm forgetting something but i can't think of it. EDIT: Valve cover gaskets 2 ea.

heads should be sent to the machine shop and resurfaced and the valves checked to make sure they are sealing tight. typically a valve job is not required.

the valves should be adjusted. (they are / were due every 105K miles.) this a a pain to do on some engines (buckets and shims) and the parts have to come from subaru, but there is a recent thread where it was not done and ended up with a burnt valve not too long after.

you will also need RTV ultra gray or anaerobic sealant to reseal the oil pump and the oil separator plate on the rear.

motor oil - 4.5 qts ?
coolant - 6.5 qts. ?
AT fluid for the power steering - 1 qt ? (and i would do a drain and fill the trans if it is an auto, about 4 qts. it holds ~10 but only drains ~4 or less.)

do not replace the rear main seal unless it is really leaking, they usually don't leak until someone has replaced it.

and if you do not do the oil pump and rear oil sep plate you will regret both.

are you pulling the engine or doing it in the car? (you can't do the oil sep plate on the rear if you don't pull the engine.any oil leaking on the rear of the engine is coming from the oil sep plate, not the rear main seal.)

(by the way, there has been more than one backyard mechanic that has torqued the head bolts to 132 ft lbs because they mis-read the haynes manual where it said 132 INCH lbs, which is 11 ft lbs.)


to everyone else, is the info below accurate, torque to 51 and back off 180* twice? just comfirming there isn't a mis-print.

from the 1997 FSM (section 2-3b, page 45).

E: INSTALLATION
1. CYLINDER HEAD

(1) Install cylinder head and gaskets on cylinder block.
CAUTION:
Use new cylinder head gaskets.


2) Tighten cylinder head bolts.

(1) Apply a coat of engine oil to washers and bolt
threads.
(2) Tighten all bolts to 29 N⋅m (3.0 kg-m, 22 ft-lb) in
numerical sequence.
Then tighten all bolts to 69 N⋅m (7.0 kg-m, 51 ft-lb) in
numerical sequence.
(3) Back off all bolts by 180° first; back them off by 180°
again.
(4) Tighten bolts 1 and 2 to 34 N⋅m (3.5 kg-m, 25 ftlb).
(5) Tighten bolts 3 , 4 , 5 and 6 to 15 N⋅m (1.5 kg-m,
11 ft-lb).
(6) Tighten all bolts by 80 to 90° in numerical
sequence.

CAUTION:
Do not tighten bolts more than 90°.

(7) Further tighten all bolts by 80 to 90° in numerical
sequence.
CAUTION:
Ensure that the total “re-tightening angle” [steps (6)
and (7) above] do not exceed 180°.

Edited by johnceggleston, 15 January 2011 - 09:57 AM.


#13 Jaerl

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 12:17 PM

All good stuff. Thanks

#14 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 12:26 PM

You need intake, exhaust, and head gaskets for sure - get them from the daeler. You should probably just get the valve cover gaskets there too - bring the valve cover with you to match them up as there are about 4 or 5 different valve cover configs for the EJ25D.

DO NOT REPLACE THE HEAD BOLTS. This is not done on Subaru's unless they are damaged.

Adjust the valves!!!!! Can't stress this enough..... if you don't you could be looking at a valve job sooner rather than later.

Is this an '96 OBW with a 2.2/manual or a 2.5/automatic?

GD

Edited by GeneralDisorder, 16 January 2011 - 12:31 PM.


#15 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 12:30 PM

to everyone else, is the info below accurate, torque to 51 and back off 180* twice? just comfirming there isn't a mis-print.


That's correct. That's how they are done. Even on the phase-II engines this is still the procedure.

GD

#16 Jaerl

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 08:12 AM

The car is a 2.5 Automatic and I'm trying to do it in the car. I got stuck because the only 12 point 14mm socket I have is long and I can't get it in between the body and the engine. Need to get a smaller socket today so I can finish getting the driver side head off. :banghead: Is there room enough for a torque wrench in there? I'll probably need to get a new one because mine has the gauge and pointer and I know it isn't going to fit.

Are the head gasket sets on ebay OK? I was thinking of picking one up and then just buy a set of factory head gaskets from the dealer? Is the 1996 2.5 different because I see a lot of sets for the 97 on,but not the 96?

Another question, I have a 2.2 with dual exhausts outlets and it was an automatic. I am not sure of the year but I pulled it a few years ago for a VW conversion I never did. I was thinking of putting it in the OB but the wiring on the 2.5 has 3 plugs and the 2.2 has 2 and they are different sides of the engine. I read that this engine is a "plug & play" but the differnt wiring got me worried so I decided to stick with the 2.5.

Edited by Jaerl, 17 January 2011 - 08:40 AM.


#17 ShawnW

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 11:42 AM


Adjust the valves!!!!! Can't stress this enough..... if you don't you could be looking at a valve job sooner rather than later.

Is this an '96 OBW with a 2.2/manual or a 2.5/automatic?

GD


If its a 1996 2.5L engine and the valve covers have 16 Valve stamped to them you have hydraulic lifters and there is no valve adjustment necessary.

I am amazed at how many head gasket jobs are done in car. My back hurts thinking about bending into an engine compartment for that long to save a couple hours of removing and installing an engine.




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