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Cracked Heads


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7 replies to this topic

#1 KNGCWLL

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 05:05 PM

I recently bought a 1985 GL (my first Subaru!) with a blown head gasket and began taking the motor apart and resealing it.

Before I put the heads back on, I sent them to my local Napa auto parts store to get them resurfaced and checked for cracks and warping. I've sent in dozens of heads and they have always come back with a shiny new surface and no cracks but this time one of the heads was cracked and they were unable to resurface either of the heads. Although it was a pain in the butt, I didn't think it was that big of a deal and had probably happened when the gasket blew.

I pulled heads from a junk Loyale with half the miles which apparently run but had a timing belt problem before it was scrapped. No blown head gaskets or motor problems as far as I could tell. Before I put them on my motor I once again sent them in to get checked and resurfaced. This time both heads were cracked.

Before I hunt down another set of heads, and have the SAME thing happen a third time, am I making some sort of mistake? Do I just have really bad luck so far? Is there some reason I shouldn't be getting them checked? Are Subaru heads naturally very very fragile?

Both Engines are EA82, my car's not turbo. The Loyale had too much missing to tell if it was turbo or not.

Edited by KNGCWLL, 14 January 2013 - 05:10 PM.
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#2 86BRATMAN

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 05:09 PM

Subaru released a TSB a while back that said to basically ignore the crack in the heads. I'm sure all of the heads you're having check have cracks between the valves.

#3 ShawnW

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 05:22 PM

If it was turbo it would have an oil return line on the passenger side head. Post photo of the cracks and we can verify they are ok. Typically across between the seats is ok but if the cracks go down into the ports scrap the heads. You could also have the heads lock n stitched but its usually cost prohibitive. My guess is all 4 of the heads are probably ok but it would be better to see them.

#4 Petersubaru

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 06:25 PM

I recently bought a 1985 GL (my first Subaru!) with a blown head gasket and began taking the motor apart and resealing it.

Before I put the heads back on, I sent them to my local Napa auto parts store to get them resurfaced and checked for cracks and warping. I've sent in dozens of heads and they have always come back with a shiny new surface and no cracks but this time one of the heads was cracked and they were unable to resurface either of the heads. Although it was a pain in the butt, I didn't think it was that big of a deal and had probably happened when the gasket blew.

I pulled heads from a junk Loyale with half the miles which apparently run but had a timing belt problem before it was scrapped. No blown head gaskets or motor problems as far as I could tell. Before I put them on my motor I once again sent them in to get checked and resurfaced. This time both heads were cracked.

Before I hunt down another set of heads, and have the SAME thing happen a third time, am I making some sort of mistake? Do I just have really bad luck so far? Is there some reason I shouldn't be getting them checked? Are Subaru heads naturally very very fragile?

Both Engines are EA82, my car's not turbo. The Loyale had too much missing to tell if it was turbo or not.

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#5 KNGCWLL

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 08:07 PM

If it was turbo it would have an oil return line on the passenger side head. Post photo of the cracks and we can verify they are ok. Typically across between the seats is ok but if the cracks go down into the ports scrap the heads. You could also have the heads lock n stitched but its usually cost prohibitive. My guess is all 4 of the heads are probably ok but it would be better to see them.


All the cracks were right in between the valves. I poured solvent in the intake and exhaust to see if there was anything leaking out through cracks to see if they were just on the surface or not. The old ones were solid and the new ones had some leaks through the valves, not through the cracks. So I think I am just going to use the old heads.

Thanks a lot everyone!

#6 grossgary

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 07:05 AM

I explain to the machine shop and they do the work, they just won't warranty them. No use in a warranty anyway, it's not like I'd ever use or need it.

#7 Petersubaru

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 06:59 PM

Has anyone ever measured how far the crack can go down before one should consider not using it, even if it passes the pressure test..this was a question asked of me from the machine shop..and I know from experience that if the crack goes down 1/2", I have never had a problem for many, many thous. of miles.. I do have a set of spare heads with one crack on each head, but the cracks go deeper, closer to 5/8" ...

#8 Subruise

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 09:59 PM

how deep is the water jacket? if its into that youre done. if not, and it passes pressure test, id use em




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