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Head gasket blown?

valve cover gasket head bolt head gasket

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16 replies to this topic

#1 twister5voy

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 01:04 PM

Hi there, I've only owned my Subaru (92 legacy L-EJ22) since the end of April and I love it! But now its sad  :(

 

Had a small oil leak which I figured was the valve cover gaskets. In the process of changing them I made a VERY dumb mistake and loosened my head bolts inadvertently. I tightened them back up to spec, went ahead and did the valve gaskets, plugs and wires, and changed the oil. 

 

I now have smoke (steam?) coming up from under the passenger side head and A LOT of white smoke coming out of the exhaust. Didn't see any bubbling in the reservoir but I might have just missed it.

 

I have the gut feeling that I need to do the head gaskets and wanted some input.

 

Thanks in advance!

 



#2 Rooster2

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 01:50 PM

Yea, I agree that you need to redo the head gaskets. You can make this a dui job. Suggest loosening the engine mounts on side you are working on, then jack up the motor to give easier access to the side of the motor. Entirely clean off old gasket material to permit a good seal with new HG. Retorque head bolts. Use Subaru made HGs.



#3 grossgary

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 08:57 PM

wow that sucks.  why undo the head bolts?  well, doesn't matter...

 

they can be done in the car...and hey, you already know where the headbolts are.

 

resurface the heads and i'd also use Subaru headgaskets on this motor.  there's a thread on here how to resurface heads yourself, take a glance, it is unbelievably easy.  once you have a piece of glass (see thread) it takes like a minute.

 

so it can be done very inexpensively as well. headgaskets, intake manifold gaskets are about the only necessities to doing this job. get intake manifold gaskets, many of the aftermarkets are thin cardboard and prone to leak.



#4 mikaleda

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 09:05 PM

Felpro head gaskets for this particular engine are exactly the same as oem. I've done a lot of reasearch on this since working on my 90 legacys head gaskets. The felpro gaskets even have the same oem symbols on them

#5 nipper

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 09:38 PM

On this car I agree, felpro is ok.

 

We all make mistakes, it happens. I'm curious how many miles on the engine?



#6 twister5voy

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 11:11 PM

Thanks for the advice all, the car has almost 176000 miles.

Mistakes do happen but this is a pretty bad one even for me......

I'm assuming there's a thread about doing them in the car? Guess I have some searching to do. 

 

Was planning to pull the engine and do the water pump and timing belt/pulleys as preventative maintenance but at this point quicker is better. I will be driving it to Burning Man in about 6 weeks so the last thing I want is to be stressing if this is done or not.

 

Edit: have read many different opinions on the subject but....

since I've already tightened them down once, should I replace the head bolts too?


Edited by twister5voy, 09 July 2013 - 11:13 PM.


#7 nipper

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 11:17 PM

I dont often say this, but ...

 

Aside from having the heads checked for flatness, since this was a mistake and not something that went bad because of wear, dont do any other machine work.

 

Head bolts do not get replaced on subaru, PER SUBARU and everyone else. Subaru head bolts dont torque to yield so reuse them.



#8 grossgary

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 12:32 AM

lifting the engine a couple inches only requires removing two 14mm nuts and the bolt for the top pitch stopper.  did this twice the other day and it comes up with those 3 fasteners only.  do that and they're not hard to do in the vehicle at all. very easy.

 

in your case - remove everything you're going to remove first for the headgaskets/water pump job anyway - intake, radiator hoses, a/c. then lift it up. 

 

not sure if this helps with engine clearance or not but i recall unbolting the rear trans mount too (it's only 2 or 4 of the same bolt, very easy) in order for the engine to move, but i can't recall why i did or how much, if any, extra room it gives you.  might need to support it at that point.

 

reuse the headbolts - says Subaru (and everyone else who does tons of Subarus).

 

if you only loosened one side you could just replace that one side.

 

also agreed, i'd go with aftermarket headgaskets on an EJ22 if it's good quality as he just verified. the EJ22's are very robust and forgiving. i would resurface



#9 grossgary

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 12:35 AM

link to resurfacing the heads yourself, it's super easy and quick, i save so much time just running to a machine shop and back now:

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

 

these heads never warp or crack so testing is pointless.



#10 Fairtax4me

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 01:53 AM

Hold the presses!
White smoke from where? Tail pipe or under the hood?
Its common for oil to run down the bottom of the head and drip onto the Y pipe when changing valve cover gaskets. Once the engine is started and the pipes get hot the oil burns off and makes lots of white smoke.

You must have been pretty determined if you loosened the head bolts. Those are breaker bar territory with a 14mm 12 point socket. Did you loosen all 6? How far did you loosen them?

#11 twister5voy

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 01:07 PM

It comes from the tailpipe and under the hood.

I was determined,the haynes manual illustration showed 6 bolts to the valve covers so when I saw the 6 bolts in the car...........

 

All the bolts on the passenger side were completely (hand loose) loosened and the left and middle top on the driver side I had barely broke loose.

 

It seems that you can do this in the car but the only writeup I can find is for a late 90's 2.5..... any leads on info to doing this in the car?

Should I go ahead and do the water pump and timing belt/pulleys too?

 

 

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#12 chaz345

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 02:17 PM

Thanks for the advice all, the car has almost 176000 miles.

Mistakes do happen but this is a pretty bad one even for me......

I'm assuming there's a thread about doing them in the car? Guess I have some searching to do. 

 

Was planning to pull the engine and do the water pump and timing belt/pulleys as preventative maintenance but at this point quicker is better. I will be driving it to Burning Man in about 6 weeks so the last thing I want is to be stressing if this is done or not.

 

Edit: have read many different opinions on the subject but....

since I've already tightened them down once, should I replace the head bolts too?

No need to pull the engine to do the timing stuff, just remove the radiator. And since you need to remove the timing belt to remove the heads anyway, no reason not to do the timing components at the same time. In fact it would be silly not to. Only case where I'd think not doing it would make even a little sense is if money is extremely tight and you know it's been done recently.



#13 chaz345

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 02:19 PM

Hold the presses!
White smoke from where? Tail pipe or under the hood?
Its common for oil to run down the bottom of the head and drip onto the Y pipe when changing valve cover gaskets. Once the engine is started and the pipes get hot the oil burns off and makes lots of white smoke.

You must have been pretty determined if you loosened the head bolts. Those are breaker bar territory with a 14mm 12 point socket. Did you loosen all 6? How far did you loosen them?

Any oil on the exhaust smoke I've seen is usually not white but more black.



#14 chaz345

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 02:20 PM

Should I go ahead and do the water pump and timing belt/pulleys too?

Defintely since you have to pull the timing belt off anyway.



#15 Fairtax4me

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 04:31 PM

Just noticed the picture you added. That brown rusty looking thing down under the engine is the right half of the Y pipe. Basically the exhaust manifold on these cars. Some smoke from that area is normal after changing valve cover gaskets.
You really might just want to let the engine warm up and see if the smoke clears before pulling the heads off. If the smoke doesn't go away its because its still leaking and then you would want to look more seriously into head gasket replacement.

If it comes to that:
The removal process is the same for your car as the writeup you found. You have the advantage of having smaller heads though so the heads are a bit easier to remove. It's a bit tricky getting the bolts out just right but certainly doable.

Timing belt and idlers should definitely be replaced. As said before the belt has to be removed to get the heads off anyway.

Edited by Fairtax4me, 12 July 2013 - 04:42 PM.


#16 Fairtax4me

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 04:36 PM

Any oil on the exhaust smoke I've seen is usually not white but more black.

Oil burning off of the manifold or pipes should be a light grey color, which often looks white.
Black is diesel, kerosene, lamp oil, etc.

#17 chaz345

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 05:19 PM

Oil burning off of the manifold or pipes should be a light grey color, which often looks white.
Black is diesel, kerosene, lamp oil, etc.

What I've seen, and I'm currently driving a bit of a leaker, is certainly noticeably darker than what you get if you are burning coolant in the exhaust. Maybe not black and certainly not the "oily" black like a diesel, but defintely not the almost bright white one gets from coolant.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: valve cover, gasket, head bolt, head gasket

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