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suspected head gasket leak.. Parts list and tools needed? 03 forrester


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13 replies to this topic

#1 Hakim Craddock

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 12:31 PM

03 forester 2.5 non turbo automatic 175k miles doesn't look like the heads were ever off.. So today my car started running hot at idle, i pop the hood and the rad fans are on but no coolant (hot coolant) is circulating through the radiator (its not low) so i give it gas and the coolant starts flowing (i know this because the air coming off the fans is hot instead of cold as before) and the temperature starts to go down.. So i look to my right and there is bubbles coming out the reservoir consistently, pull the over flow hose out to make sure its not coolant getting past the cap and no it was not coolant.... Sooo long story short, it looks like i have to do the head gaskets on my car after all (when i got it there was a cheap t-stat in there and it would over heat on the highway, that has been solved with an xact stat from stant)...

 

I have a full set of tools at work (mechanic) and a basic set at home. I know these cars are simple to pull apart, but i would like to do this job starting saturday after work and finish it Sunday on my day off. So what tools will i need? anything that stands out? i have heard that the turbo 2.5 gaskets are the way to go. Can anyone provide me with Subaru part numbers? will the following t-belt kit be okay to use http://www.rockauto....2534&cc=1411041 I have used gates t-belt kits at work on other vehicles and they always seem to be great quality.

 

i plan on leaving the motor in the car as i dont have an engine hoist at home.

 

 



#2 torxxx

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 12:57 PM

headset, head bolts, 2 gal coolant, few cans of green brake clean.  Subaru thermostat

 

 

part numbers can be found on opposedforces.com

 

I would highly recommend getting the heads resurfaced, since its a EJ253 motor (known for external leaks on the HG, not internal like the EJ25D) the heads may be slightly warped.  I've done tons of HG's on those motors and like 1 out of 100 will be an internal leak.  99% of the time they leak coolant out the backside of the heads. 

 

oh and you'll need a 14mm 12 point socket for the head bolts.  the rest will be 10mm, 12mm and a pair of hose pliers.     You'll want some form of surfacer for cleaning up the intake manifold surface/exhaust manifold surfaces.  I use a 90 degree head grinder with Rol-Loc purple pads (they arent the finest grit they make, but they seem to work the best for aluminum.  

 

 

 

and if you can get the headgaskets locally I'd buy an extra one just incase you screw one up installing since you will be doing it in the car.  The one time I decided to do it in a car, It was a sunday and I screwed the gasket up from trying to line up all 6 bolts while they are still in the head, and then getting the head on the dowl pins.    You could use the turbo gaskets, but I'd just go with the felpro blue metal gaskets, cheap and easy to get ahold of.  



#3 Hakim Craddock

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 01:15 PM

headset, head bolts, 2 gal coolant, few cans of green brake clean.  Subaru thermostat

 

 

part numbers can be found on opposedforces.com

 

I would highly recommend getting the heads resurfaced, since its a EJ253 motor (known for external leaks on the HG, not internal like the EJ25D) the heads may be slightly warped.  I've done tons of HG's on those motors and like 1 out of 100 will be an internal leak.  99% of the time they leak coolant out the backside of the heads. 

 

oh and you'll need a 14mm 12 point socket for the head bolts.  the rest will be 10mm, 12mm and a pair of hose pliers.     You'll want some form of surfacer for cleaning up the intake manifold surface/exhaust manifold surfaces.  I use a 90 degree head grinder with Rol-Loc purple pads (they arent the finest grit they make, but they seem to work the best for aluminum.  

 

 

 

and if you can get the headgaskets locally I'd buy an extra one just incase you screw one up installing since you will be doing it in the car.  The one time I decided to do it in a car, It was a sunday and I screwed the gasket up from trying to line up all 6 bolts while they are still in the head, and then getting the head on the dowl pins.    You could use the turbo gaskets, but I'd just go with the felpro blue metal gaskets, cheap and easy to get ahold of.  

I would like to get the heads resurfaced but i am not sure i will be able to get that done on a sunday or saturday night. Car is my daily driver so i am trying to get this done in one day..

 

So the felpro gasket set is MLS? i would like to get ride of the external HG leaks as well.



#4 torxxx

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 01:47 PM

yeah, its a 3 piece gasket.  The original problem with the external leaks stemmed from the coating Subaru put on the gaskets.  I've ran the felpro for a while now on customers rigs and tore one down the other day that a customer had seized up and the gaskets still looked original.  No sign of the coating coming off the felpro gasket.  

Check the heads with a straight edge, they might be flat still, could have been just gasket failure that caused it.  



#5 Hakim Craddock

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 03:28 PM

yeah, its a 3 piece gasket.  The original problem with the external leaks stemmed from the coating Subaru put on the gaskets.  I've ran the felpro for a while now on customers rigs and tore one down the other day that a customer had seized up and the gaskets still looked original.  No sign of the coating coming off the felpro gasket.  

Check the heads with a straight edge, they might be flat still, could have been just gasket failure that caused it.  

 

Thanks! so i should be able to get this job done with just a basic shallow and deep socket set with a few extensions and of course a 12point 14 mm socket for the head bolts. Will i need new exhaust manifold gaskets and or intake manifold gaskets?



#6 torxxx

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 04:53 PM

I always replace the intakes because they are a paper gasket, exhausts I will reuse if they weren't leaking.  I always spray my exhaust gaskets down with a couple of coats of copper coat.  

 

you'll need a 22mm and a breaker bar to get the crank pulley bolt off, timing cover and valve covers are all 10mm, its SOHC so theres no need to remove the rocker arms.  12mm on the intake, few spring clamps to the throttle body heater, 14mm on the A/C mount., 12mm on the alternator and PS pump.  I find its easier to remove the entire P/S pump with the bracket (3 12 mm bolts)  if you take the 2 10mm bolts off the intake runner for the power steering lines, theres more than enough room to get the PS pump/bracket up onto the fender where it will hold its self. 

 

You are gonna need a tensioner pin, or a small drill bit to for when you compress the timing belt tensioner down.

 

Do yourself a favor now and spray down the 6 exhaust studs with PB blaster and let them sit a bit.  helps eat the rust off them and keep the studs in the head when you pull the nuts off. 



#7 torxxx

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 04:57 PM

btw urs is an 03, so I dont think you'll have to mess with an EGR pipe.  If so, its a 22mm on the 2.5 SOHC engines

 

Just dont forget to unplug ur knock sensor and power steering connector.  I catch myself from time to time doing that, its not a big deal to replace the connector, just extra work



#8 Hakim Craddock

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 05:23 PM

awesome! Thanks.



#9 Gloyale

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 06:56 PM

Egr tube fittings are 17mm not 22

Rocker covers will need to come off for phase II heads.

Cams and rockers assembly can stay on.


I personally would rent a car or carpool to take extra days to do it right.

Surface heads. Seal cams, crank, oil pump oring and do water pump and timing belt at same time.

#10 grossgary

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 07:22 AM

resurface the heads yourself, it's super easy.  if you can do a HG job you can easily do this:

http://www.ultimates...hop-techniques/

 

the good news is EJ25 non-turbo heads are never damaged or suspect for major issues so testing or cracks aren't a concern at all.

the bad news is in my experience they always have high and low spots as you see when you resurface them yourself. with their known propensity to fail i would not want to install one without resurfacing...but at least that can easily be done yourself.

 

I'd use the Subaru EJ25 Turbo headgaskets - those motors have zero headgasket issues and enormous numbers of vehicles/miles on them.

 

unbolt the engine mounts, there are only 3 fasteners (2 14mm nuts underneath and one bolt for the engine pitch rod stopper up top) and jack the engine up.  this makes extracting the head bolts go from impossible to easy.  removing the heads with the engine in place is extremely difficult, i've done it on a 2003.  i can't imagine getting the heads back in place properly without scratching the headgaskets up or dirtying up the surfaces.  i've removed the heads in place, but ended up jacking up the motor to install them - much simpler.



#11 Downbound

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 10:33 AM

Here is a link to skips head gasket repair  for the 2.5 engine. It lists everting you will need and step by step instructions.

 

http://home.comcast....eplacement.html



#12 grossgary

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 04:34 PM

his is the previous version EJ25 but similar in many ways.



#13 1197sts

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 07:35 PM

You don't need to replace the head bolts.

#14 ocei77

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 08:19 AM

You also need a torque wrench for reinstallation.

 

O.






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