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Guest Message by DevFuse
 

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'03 outback, yup-----H.G. leak


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10 replies to this topic

#1 pyropyro

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 01:23 PM

I took my recently aquired '03 Outback to dealer for recall service "Parking Rod".  Took 5 & 1/2 hours total, they had told me 3.  (ok, done bitching)

 

At one point in the middle of this, they called me back in to show me something about "your car".  I had a guess.  Yup, head gaskets leaking.  (externally) 

 

Single OHC.  (phase II correct?)   70,000 miles.   The guy was asking if I wanted to have it done now.  Suggested also do timing belts and showed me an oil leak at timing belt cover, lower just right of center, said was "piston plug gasket" 

 

I know it's time for new belts and complete front re-seal.  It's just that there is no way I can do this untill next spring.  I will have to do it myself, I do not have 2 grand to spend.

 

I mentioned I would have to do it myself, but what gasket would "they" use, MLS or what?  No, single layer.

 

Yet I have seen (I think) reference to a SUBARU MLS gasket for the Phase II EJ25.  I'm obviously confused.  Most here indeed recommend only using Subaru headgasket, though there are threads debating a "5 star ?" MLS.  But that's not my question.

 

If ask subaru for a HG for this car, exactly what are going to sell me?  The same thing that is now failing, or an upgraded version?

 

AND:  It's not using a lot of coolant, very slow weeping.  I need to drive it maybe a couple hundred miles per month, if that thru this winter.  I know there is no way to predict the odds, but I AM interested in hearing speculation as to if I might suceed in making it untill next spring.

 

Thanks for any thoughts



#2 987687

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 01:36 PM

Throw in a bottle of the subaru coolant stop leak conditioner stuff. Keep an eye on the coolant level. It'll be fine for quite a long time if you don't run it low.

Do have the timing belt, idlers, and pump done, though. They've probably never been done. At this point the belt is getting old and probably cracked. If that goes, you have a very expensive bill on your hands.

Subaru, or anyone for that matter will probably put headgaskets in it that are listed for that engine. Which is the same part that failed on you. You can use the STi headgasket that's a MLS gasket vs the steel gasket coated in spoob.



#3 pyropyro

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 01:57 PM

Throw in a bottle of the subaru coolant stop leak conditioner stuff. Keep an eye on the coolant level. It'll be fine for quite a long time if you don't run it low.

Do have the timing belt, idlers, and pump done, though. They've probably never been done. At this point the belt is getting old and probably cracked. If that goes, you have a very expensive bill on your hands.

Subaru, or anyone for that matter will probably put headgaskets in it that are listed for that engine. Which is the same part that failed on you. You can use the STi headgasket that's a MLS gasket vs the steel gasket coated in spoob.

Thanks for reply.  Ya, I changed the coolant the day I brought it home.  Used Subaru coolant and added their "conditioner".  What I took out looked exactly the same, darker forest green that your average coolant, just like the real thing.  There was also obviously the "conditioner" already present. 

 

I am going to have gamble on the timing belts holding out thru this winter.  I just can't do it now.



#4 mikec03

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 02:12 PM

First, read the manual.  The "front end reseal" is actually the Subaru recommended timing belt replacement based on the age, not milage  Is it really required based on age?  Probably, but you can do it yourself next spring.  Be aware that this is an interference engine and any failure of the timing belt, pulleys, or water pump will cause a complete catastrophic failure, but its a very small risk for 6 months. 

 

The front end oil leak at the timing belt cover is probably just a cam seal leaking.  You replace the cam seals when you do the timing belt.  

 

You should monitor the oil and coolent leaking.  It may be that you can wait a couple of years before replacing the head gasket.  On my 02, I waited a year after I first saw the head gasket leaking oil, and I could have waited a couple of more years before it really started to pour out.  If it's less then a qt/1000 miles of oil and/or 8 oz of coolent/1000 mi, live with it.



#5 987687

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 03:22 PM

Be aware that this is an interference engine and any failure of the timing belt, pulleys, or water pump will cause a complete catastrophic failure, but its a very small risk for 6 months.

Why is it a very small risk? For all you know it's dry rotted and cracked right now.

And yes, it is an interference engine.
A timing belt breaking is the cost of head gaskets, plus the cost of a timing job, plus the cost of rebuilding the heads. It's up to you. But you should know the facts here.

#6 brus brother

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 07:49 PM

Isn't there a way of having a peak at the TB to determine its condition without disassembling the front of the car?

Alls I know I learned from the great oracle Google and USMB of course!



#7 987687

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 07:56 PM

Yea, you can pull the driver's side timing cover cap. It's 3 10mm head bolts and it comes off. Good luck getting them out if they've never been off before....

It helps to also remove the coolant overflow bottle. Two more 10mm heads, pull the hose off, and it just pops out.


Edited by 987687, 02 October 2013 - 07:57 PM.


#8 grossgary

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 08:29 PM

pull the timing cover and have a look at the condition of the timing belt, it's only 3 10mm bolts.  inspect for cracking, severe glazing, etc.  EJ timing belts don't fail that often - but as mentioned it's risky in that if it breaks you'll have valve damage.

 

*** these things are cake for timing belts - can be installed in 30 minutes if you only do the belt...call it an hour your first time.

personally i'd do the timing belt only right now - because it's so easy, quick, and cheap.

 

then do all the timing gear, tensioner, headgaskets later.

 

if the headgaskets are seeping coolant some folks have even added two bottles of conditioner, someone on here, GD i think has said it works nearly every time if it's recently started or not bad.  obviously that stuff doesn't do anything if it's oil.

 

these year/model headgaskets you can drive like 100,000 miles without ever replacing the headgaskest so you've got gobs of time for that.  not that i recommend planning on 100k - they'll be leaking good by then probably, just saying you've got lots of time.  friends 03 had a solid oil leak on his headgasket but the car had been wrecked twice, 250,000 miles and was in bad shape - wasn't worth doing headgaskets on.  i told him to just keep adding fluids and driving it, it would be fine.  he drove it another few years and like 70,000 or 80,000 miles.  granted at 300k+ it was leaking really good oil by then...but you can pretty much predict it won't get bad that quickly.

 

use the EJ25 turbo headgasket, not the one Subaru will give you for that non-turbo engine.  unless they've changed something they still give you the same headgasket that was failing in 2009 EJ25's too.

 

at this point timing belt is more important than the headgasket.  i'd call the timing belt an as-soon-as-you-can-get-to-it item and the headgaskets a wait and see, you've got lots and lots of time to plan/prepare for that.

 

this is of course assuming they've never been done before - replaced gaskets tend to fail in varying ways and quicker.



#9 pyropyro

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 10:02 PM

I want to thank all who have responded.  You guys have taken a load off my mind.

 

Especially it's nice to see some familiar, trusted names from quite a few years ago still here, guys whos advice and tech experience helped me build my 85 wagon into a lifted dayly driver that stood by me for close to a decade. 

 

Thanks again.

 

I'll be around.



#10 pyropyro

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 11:24 AM

In all my searching USMB and the google machine I had not seen mention of using two of the Subaru coolant "conditioner". (stop leak)

My first impulse is to feel reluctant, since I HAVE seen more than a few debates regarding weather or not the stuff is bad for radiators, or is fine for them. After reading quite a few of those debates, I concluded that there was close to a consensus amongst the old hands that the conditioner was in all likelyhood not harmfull to radiators.

So that was my first impulse. After sleeping on it, I still feel reluctant.

Time to do some more reading, see if the google machine or USMB search will reveal debates and comments about doubling up on this stuff. Of course comments are always welcome by me, I did ask.

#11 johnceggleston

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 11:55 AM

personally i'd do the timing belt only right now - because it's so easy, quick, and cheap.

when the belt is off,

spin the idlers and see if they all sound the same,

are they all tight and quiet?

this will give you an idea of how soon you need to replace them.

loose and noisy is not good.

 

when i pulled my 00 ej25 a part (bad rod bearing)

there was a collection of crap at the t-stat.

it looked just like a ''dust bunny'' but of course it was wet.

i assume it was stuff left over from some off-brand kind of stop leak / conditioner.

 

rather than just adding more to the system,

i would remove the t-stat to make sure it is clean,

re-install it and refill the system,

(filter the old coolant and reuse if, you are careful)

and then add the subaru conditioner, 2 bottles.

 

you probably do not have this situation, but it can't hurt to check.

did you pull the t-stat when you replaced the coolant last time?

 

i don't know what caused the ''stuff' that was sitting on my t-stat,

but it did not look healthy for an engine.

i wonder if it contributed to the bearing failure?


Edited by johnceggleston, 03 October 2013 - 11:59 AM.





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