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Welcome me to the Gen2 H6 head gasket club


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36 replies to this topic

#1 CNY_Dave

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 10:31 AM

2003 H6, 190K with a little green spooge on the head gasket.

Not sure if I will (when forced to) pull the heads with the engine in place, or pull the engine, try to just find another engine (rebuilt or lower miles than my 190K), or just throw money at the dealer to do it.

I'll get some of the dealers magic head-gasket schmutz Wednesday as a last-ditch attempt at putting the job off.

Looking at the torque-converter to flywheel bolts under the car, behind the oil pan, how the hell do you get a socket in there, and how on earth do you get the bolts back in?

#2 Gloyale

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 11:20 AM

Access to the TC bolts is under the throttle body.

I recommend a 12mm socket on a 1/4 drive ratchet with a swivel head.

Or even better is a "socket ended wrench" wrench with an open at one end, and a swiveling socket head on the other (instead of the box)

Either way, use a 6 point...and make sure you get a good bite before turning. the TC bolts are short heads, so easy to slip if you don't get a good bite.

#3 The Dude

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 11:41 AM

I'm not familiar with external head gasket leaks on the H6. There have been plenty of these leaks on the H4. If it's not too bad the Subaru Stop Leak might possibly end the leaking. If it's a very small leak some owners manage the problem by carefully monitoring the radiator coolant level.

You might be getting close to replacing the timing chain. You could probably save some shop labor if you had both the head gasket and the timing chain done at the same time. Some of the more experienced posters on this board could probably advise you on this.

#4 ivans imports

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 12:07 PM

have done my own 3.0 six was over 160 bolts to get to one piston and took some time i made cardborad templates to keep the blots in check but takes alot of time to get to gasket. Caution subaru stop leak wrecks cooling syestems is crap i whould never use it ever. And i will not waranty any engine that its been installed in

#5 CNY_Dave

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 02:01 PM

have done my own 3.0 six was over 160 bolts to get to one piston and took some time i made cardborad templates to keep the blots in check but takes alot of time to get to gasket. Caution subaru stop leak wrecks cooling syestems is crap i whould never use it ever. And i will not waranty any engine that its been installed in


You've seen the magic goop plug up radiators and heater cores? Not an expense I'd want to add.

#6 The Dude

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 07:15 PM

You've seen the magic goop plug up radiators and heater cores? Not an expense I'd want to add.



It's obvious from his many posts that Ivan is a highly experienced Subaru specialist, I respect his opinion. On the other hand, I believe that other highly experienced Subaru specialists have opined on this board that Genuine Subaru Stop Leak, when properly installed, is highly unlikely to cause cooling system damage.

Personally, I would do some research on this matter. If you have a small external head gasket leak that is "weeping" it is possible that the Genuine Subaru Stop Leak may stop it at very little expense. Check and see if Genuine Subaru Stop leak is recommended for use in the H6. And do a website search to see what others have had to say on this subject.

In general, I am death on "stop leak" products. They can be engine killers. Genuine Subaru Stop Leak may be an exception, check it out. From what I know of it, I would install it in my Forester if it was "weeping" coolant.

#7 porcupine73

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 08:17 PM

Supposedly the Subaru goop is simply a rebranded product. I don't have enough experience either way to think it is good or not. I remember when the bulletin came out about adding it retrospectively, Subaru said it could be used in earlier model Subaru's as well, and said they were adding it at production to all new models. Whether they still do that with late models I don't know. I think a lot of manufacturers do add it to the system. Again not necessarily meaning it's good; if it keeps a customer from coming in during warranty complaining of a small coolant leak most manuf's probably would go for it I would guess.

#8 grossgary

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 08:56 PM

Oh man, sorry to hear that Dave. That's unfortunate.

As mentioned TC bolts just come out through the bellhousing access hole under the throttle body, not from underneath.

how much did you see/are you loosing? The 00-04 era Ej25 headgaskets often get worse very slowly. it's not hard to get 50,000 more miles out of one after an initial green spot is seen.

I wouldn't be too worried about the Subaru conditioner on a properly maintained, known good motor. It's standard on all Subaru's for over a decade and I haven't seen any significant radiator or heater core failure. I've seen one clogged 99 Forester radiator...unknown vehicle that was previously overheated..who knows they may have been dumping tap water in it.

GD owns his own shop, does EJ's all the time and uses it all the time. Maybe he'll chime in.

I would suspect most issues are due to overheating or some other compromise, probably not likely on a properly maintained engine.

#9 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 11:05 PM

I'm just gonna posit that, when people panic, they tend to go overboard on stuff and maybe, when a mechanic experiences a lot of cars with coolant systems clogged with 'leak stop' - it could be due to improper application of the product, or use of several products ("Hey,if one bottle is recommended for leaking, maybe 3 bottles will save my blown gaskets") - type of mentality.

but more research can't hurt.

#10 CNY_Dave

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 09:28 AM

The head gaskets have had a greenish tint for at least 50,000 miles (at 100 miles/day that's not such a long time).

This is the 1st time there has been any drops of goo, though.

#11 Fairtax4me

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 11:43 AM

For a small external leak I would definitely try the Subaru conditioner. It's not the thick chunky stuff like you see in the clear bottles on the shelf. One thing I would do though, is wait until the engine is warm and the thermostat is open to add it to the system. With a cold engine the conditioner wont flow through the engine for several minutes until the thermostat opens. If you're concerned with the heater core possibly becoming plugged, bypass the core temporarily before adding the conditioner.

#12 ivans imports

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 11:12 AM

pluging the cores is just a small bitt of the problem THAT STUFF ATACKS RUBBER components and water pump seals makes hoses soft and makes coolant oily absolut garbage never use it ever. Stop leak of any kind adds hours of cleaning to my headjobs and i have never seen it help any subaru engine ever but i have seen many many bad hoses because of thiss stuff. It will not fix your gasket problems because the gasket base meatal is stainless and when the coatings gone its shiny polished stainless nothing will stick to that so why wreck a good coling syestem when it just needs headgaskets. The headgaskets the problem dont dodge it fix it. Also the subaru coolant condishiner is just there to get the subarus off waranty not to fix the problem just prolong it till waranty is gone NICE JOB SUBARU in not recogniseing there own problem and hiding the fact that they used crap gaskets right since the day they changed the 25ds from grafite to meatal gaskets meatal gasket = problems

#13 grossgary

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 02:16 AM

Boo. Good luck knocking it out Dave.

Not that he wants to do this anyway...but...

Since Subaru has used the Coolant Conditioner in tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of EJ25's for over a decade I think it's hard to surmise that the stuff is that bad. I typically say avoid them as well but I have never seen issues in any EJ25 i've disassembled and there aren't vast reports of hoses/oily coolant disasters you've seen. i've never heard of it myself, stuff like that (as the headgasket issue itself) are usually obvious on forums like this.

#14 lmdew

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 07:22 AM

Glad I've kept my 95 2.2 in the 98 Outback!

#15 The Dude

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 10:53 AM

Ivan, you're thinking like the good mechanic that you are instead of like an owner. Let's say that the only reason Subaru of America installs the Genuine Subaru Stop Leak in new cars is to get a car with a leaky engine through the warranty period. Well, the warranty period is 60,000 miles. Dave's Legacy already has 190,000 miles on the clock. If the Subaru Stop Leaks only holds for another 60,000 miles old Dave is going to have 240,000 miles on his Legacy. That's a lot of miles, even for a Subaru.
The more miles on a car, the more you have to stop and really think before spending a wad of cash on a major repair.

If I could get another 60,000 miles on a car with 190,000 miles on the clock for the cost of a bottle of Subaru Stop Leak I would give it a lot of thought. Especially since since the application of ONE bottle of Subaru Sop Leak seems very unlikely to do any harm.

#16 CNY_Dave

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 01:13 PM

I agree there are very few magic cures in a bottle (trans-x for delayed fwd engagement syndrome being one of them), and there are many coolant leak sealers that are a crime to use, but I could not find a single case of someone regretting using the holt's radweld (other than spending 2 bucks and having it not work), and found a few cases across various manufacturers where it worked so I'm giving it a shot.

Maybe it'll stop my summer-only transient heater core leaks-just-enough-to-cloud-the-windshield leak.

#17 ivans imports

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 10:54 AM

Well after 500 headgasket jobs and having to clean that crap out of every one i have seen some damage. The main problem is evry dealer whats to put it in and you get mutiple dealers puting it into the same cars. Have seen it were theres been 3-5 bottles of that in one car all put inby different dealers. Anyway i have piles of bad hoses and rads all pluged or softend by subarus stop leak. Or bars leak in a subaru bottle as far as subaru standing behind thiss stuff. I spend my days fixing subarus mistakes witch are many and i do not think the same way as many techs. I think of the cars as my personal car that customer uses. And i a'm so bussy because the people do not trust the subaru dealers and there methods.

#18 CNY_Dave

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 11:14 AM

If one bottle doesn't do it, yeah, I'm not going to add more.

I could see how what was safe with one bottle could be not safe with more, as these don't really have a large coolant capacity.

I did notice just removing a hose and then re-installing it caused one of them to swell a bit right at the clamp, before adding any of the schmutz, probably time for new hoses.

#19 ivans imports

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 11:15 AM

funny it says right on the bottle will not hurt rubber but no list of what it contains. Benifit of the doubt probly when it gets mixed with the combustion gases from blown headgasket. The biger problem is that people are under the imprestion they can install a coolant conditioner and not fix the gasket and leave it to long and ruin the engine were as if they did the gaskets as soon as they saw problem the engine could be saved way cheaper and more efictively.

#20 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 01:54 PM

If one bottle doesn't do it, yeah, I'm not going to add more.

I could see how what was safe with one bottle could be not safe with more, as these don't really have a large coolant capacity.

I did notice just removing a hose and then re-installing it caused one of them to swell a bit right at the clamp, before adding any of the schmutz, probably time for new hoses.



heck, you could start with half a bottle.


you can do a search and find folks on both sides of the issue. But if Subaru was willing to warranty cars that had this installed when new - seems like it should be OK in an otherwise well-maintaned and functioning older coolant system. Of course, if I just bought an abused 175k miles car with rusty old coolant, then decide to throw in some of this or any other leak-stop, well, I could definitely see partially clogged radiator passages or maybe weak thermostats etc. being clogged or gummed up in some way.

#21 CNY_Dave

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:01 AM

The gunk has been in awhile, I took a quick look the other day and didn't see any 'wet', where before there was, but I'm not chalking a mark in the 'win' column by any means.

#22 Caboobaroo

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 10:01 PM

I've seen a few that over time, creep coolant from the head gaskets externally but the issue with the head gaskets, is they like to blow internally.

How often do you change the coolant? Every 30k or two years? If you haven't breeched the head gasket into the combustion chamber, then continue with the recommended service and it might last quite awhile.:brow:

#23 nipper

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:35 PM

2003 H6, 190K with a little green spooge on the head gasket.

Not sure if I will (when forced to) pull the heads with the engine in place, or pull the engine, try to just find another engine (rebuilt or lower miles than my 190K), or just throw money at the dealer to do it.

I'll get some of the dealers magic head-gasket schmutz Wednesday as a last-ditch attempt at putting the job off.

Looking at the torque-converter to flywheel bolts under the car, behind the oil pan, how the hell do you get a socket in there, and how on earth do you get the bolts back in?



Say what now? I am about to pull the trigger on a 2002 H6 ,,,

#24 ivans imports

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:02 AM

I will not waranty any engine i sell if that conditioner is installed not even mabee. the six has a torque converter axsess under the ds intake by the heater hoses is a removabble plug there. Most of the leaky headgaskets i see are leaking coolant into the pan and the coolant evaporates from the oil and is pulled out by the pcv you do not see thiss part of the leak but its there. By the time you see coolant on the bottom of head you are doing engine damage because it has to get past the oil pasage ways to leak out the bottom.

#25 CNY_Dave

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:13 AM

I will not waranty any engine i sell if that conditioner is installed not even mabee. the six has a torque converter axsess under the ds intake by the heater hoses is a removabble plug there. Most of the leaky headgaskets i see are leaking coolant into the pan and the coolant evaporates from the oil and is pulled out by the pcv you do not see thiss part of the leak but its there. By the time you see coolant on the bottom of head you are doing engine damage because it has to get past the oil pasage ways to leak out the bottom.


I am monitoring the oil for any signs of contamination, and had the pan off to change it (rust through from the outside) just a few weeks ago.

My leak is coming from the area between the two end oil passages seen in this photo:

Posted Image


I can see not adding the conditioner to a new or freshly gasketed engine, but a calculated risk at 190,000 miles plus I think it's a reasonable gamble.




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