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best head gaskets?


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16 replies to this topic

#1 swamphunter

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 08:50 PM

I just got a '98 Forester. It seems to have the original head gaskets @ 122K miles. I'm contemplating a preventative head gasket replacement. What gaskets do people recommend? (I'm a certified mechanic, but this is my first Subaru. It came with all 3 factory service manuals) Dennis

#2 Ionlyhave3suubs

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 09:02 PM

Definitely go with OEM Subaru. Will post link to my experience with another brand shortly. Has lots of info supporting the use of OEM.

http://www.ultimates...&highlight=hate

Nipper gives a lot of information about the benefits of sticking with OEM

Especially important on 2.5d engine in your car (like mine)

Edited by Ionlyhave3suubs, 24 January 2011 - 09:08 PM.
add link to another thread


#3 davebugs

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 09:18 PM

2.5 DOHC - OEM. no doubt about it for me.

If you read around here you'll see folks have tried others, and name brands (and generics) and are even better doing it the second time with OEM parts.

Poke around. Most of us do idlers, oil pump Oring (and check the screws) crank seal, cam seals, often WP, etc. It's easiest to yank the engine so reseal the baffle plate while you're at it and throw some new NGK cheap plugs in to (the ones w/Green writing). Of course a TB and you should be set for quite a while.

Look here for burping procedures also.

Not a bad job really.

#4 bheinen74

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 02:08 AM

+100,000,000,000 on OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts, only available from the Subaru dealers.

Others have, and will fail and be a bad choice.

#5 EastCoastEJ22T

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 02:25 AM

On a few occasions I have used Cometic HG's with no complaints or problems. Not sure how they price up against OEM, but they worked for me so I will stick with them.

http://www.cometic.com/

"And..... cue the negative responses....:popcorn:"

#6 ShawnW

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 03:48 AM

On a few occasions I have used Cometic HG's with no complaints or problems. Not sure how they price up against OEM, but they worked for me so I will stick with them.

http://www.cometic.com/

"And..... cue the negative responses....:popcorn:"


I have had pretty good luck with those on EJ20 WRX engines here when customers request them. Unless requested though, I use Genuine Subaru only.

#7 grossgary

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 06:32 AM

Subaru OEM is great. Given the significant usage of the cometics on the RS and impreza forums I'd use them without thinking about it too if there was some need or advantage. They'll even custom make different thicknesses, etc.

This is one engine you don't want to use a Fel-Pro headgasket on. Great gaskets on some Subaru engines, but not this one.

I'd double check to make sure they haven't bee previously replaced.

#8 Petersubaru

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 06:31 PM

some info to help with that question ... http://allwheeldrive...ead-gasket-kit/ and http://allwheeldrive.../#comment-40486

#9 swamphunter

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 06:52 PM

Hey, thanks for the responses. I will probably be picking up a set of H.G.s pretty soon so that I have them on hand when I get an extra day or so to do the job. No bubbles in the coolant, so we are okay so far. Already did the valve cover gaskets (reminiscent of my old Chevy Corvair days), checked the plugs (not my favorite experience), and changed the oil. Trans fluid change is just waiting on better weather (raining), and a set of steering rack boots are in the near future, as well as a heat shield fix. I will also be changing the differential fluids along with a bearing check and brake pad inspection.
The engine does seem to have a small knocking at idle, but it goes away at about 1,000 - 1500 RPM. ?????
What is this baffle that I have heard about? Dennis

#10 davebugs

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 09:11 PM

Search for baffle plate or oil seperator plate. This will also help you decide whether to reseal the plastic or buy a new metal one (with new screws).


When you pull the engine youi'll see it on the back. I say it kinda looks like the state of Florida. While it's out do this but not the rear main.

I always throw plugs in it while it's out because it's so much easier.

#11 Ionlyhave3suubs

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 11:44 PM

Something to consider, Investing in a bottle of subaru coolant additive could help extend the life of your existing gaskets, considering they are not even leaking yet. Prices differ from dealership to dealership, but should set you back less than $5 Just follow the instructions on the bottle. If it were my car, and I were pulling the engine to do the headgaskets, I would go ahead and replace the original oil separator with the replacement metal one. You have to buy new screws for it, should cost about $45 give or take for the separator and screws.

While the engine is out go ahead and replace the spark plugs. Its a lot easier to replace them when the engine is out. Use the cheap NGKs, the platinums and irridiums are just a waste of money. If you replace spark plug wires too, only use OEM. Lots of folks have had problems with aftermarket. I personally bought a Beck Arnley set for one of my ej2.5d powered cars before I read about problems others have had with aftermarket. I have not had any problems with those (have been on for a year), but best I recall they were not much cheaper than OEM, have bought OEMs for my other 2 cars since then. Kinda waiting to see how the Becks do on the first one since they are already there now.

Edited by Ionlyhave3suubs, 25 January 2011 - 11:49 PM.
spelling/grammar


#12 nipper

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 11:48 PM

I just got a '98 Forester. It seems to have the original head gaskets @ 122K miles. I'm contemplating a preventative head gasket replacement. What gaskets do people recommend? (I'm a certified mechanic, but this is my first Subaru. It came with all 3 factory service manuals) Dennis



None. If it isnt broken do not fix it. I don't know why you are in a rush to change something that may never go bad. Personally I think it may be a gamble, as there are just as many soobies on here that go forever on the original HG as there are that blow them. Also it is rare that forester blows them. It happens, but personally I would just drive the car.

#13 Ionlyhave3suubs

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 11:57 PM

Also it is rare that forester blows them.


Is there something different about the Forester engine from the Outback engine? Just wondering.

#14 nipper

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 12:08 AM

I've been wondering that myself. There are a few reasons HG's fail internally. One of them is ping, the ping that you can not hear. the ping you usually hear is from a too-hot spark plug, or before fuel injection carbon build up. A lot of ping that is unheard happens from the side of the cylinder, sometimes at the HG seal as it is highly stressed and gets a hot spot. Letting coolant go for too long can cause an electro-chemical process (do not ask me to explain as it is not my feild, like spelling or typing)

Why do some blow and others don't... why do some people get hit by busses and others dont.

I have not looked at the gearing between the forester and the outback. Maybe it is gearing, i really do not know why, unless we just do not see the complaints here. I know on the Austrailia board there was only 1 hg forester complaint. Granted i am not on the forester board (maybe i should correct that).

But back to the OP. YOu made it this far let it be. AT this point if it goes, it will be more about maint, etc

My money is on you going on for a lot more miles as long as you run decent gas, keep your knocke sensor circuit good, do tuneups, change anitfreeze, and avoid trees.

#15 bheinen74

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 02:39 AM

Nipper. Right on. Why is the foreign market not seeing Hg issues?
We have it here, why no there?
made in usa for here, vs made in japan for there perhaps?

#16 nipper

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 04:03 PM

Maybe the fuel formulation?
The engines come from Japan, as well as the transmissions for the years affected.

#17 swamphunter

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 06:13 PM

My best guess on the lack of failures in foreign markets, would be better maintenance. Face it, with the demise of full service gas stations years ago, most cars are lucky to get the oil changed. Another strong possibility for the Japanese market would be the replacement of the engines at such a low mileage (think JDM engines).
Just found out last night that I didn't get the L.H. cam cover gasket in correctly (2 tries). Something I couldn't see must have slipped out. It is a shame they couldn't have put about 1 more inch between the engine and the body rails. Dennis




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