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Guest Message by DevFuse

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EJ25 Phase II Head Gasket Failure on 04 OBW - Decide to Test the Conditioner

Head Gasket 2.5L OBW HG conditioner phase II EJ251

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3 replies to this topic

#1 Fisky



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Posted 27 December 2013 - 02:55 AM

Hello, I'm a new comer in USMB. Always like subaru, bought a used 04 Outback (Blue color :D ) with 121K and love this car! It had a slight oil and coolant leaking when I got it. After I did the coolant flush with "all maker/all models" orange coolant without any "conditioner" ( have no idea of the head gasket thing back then, did the flush because a stupid coupon...), coolant is leaking faster. Now I can hear the dripping when car stops. It lost about 1 gal coolant in 3 months, but the oil level was only down down a little bit between oil changes. 
Now it has 128K and I'm going on a road trip so I need to replace timing belt to make it safer. I did have the T-belt checked before it was in a good shape although it's original. First I planed to replace both T-belt and head gasket (HG) at the same time to save the labor cost, but I decide to only do the T-belt and use the famous subaru cooling system conditioner to mitigate the leakage, after 3 day's research online. Really thanks everyone who post on HG leaking, especially grossgary and GeneralDisorder :)
Here's my reasons:
1. many examples (15+) has been found that prove the little conditioner works pretty well and car should be good for 50K+ miles. And almost everyone who tried conditioner found it worked although the total number is only a few. 
a. GeneralDisorder tried this on his severe leaking 99 forester ( I guess EJ253?), the dripping stoped almost immediately and last for 20K+ miles (by now?). Also he said "My parts guy says many times the stop leak cures the problem forever and they (customers who had HG leakage) never come back." I think most customers found HG problem was fixed, though some might sell the car. 
b. grossgary talked about his friend's 03 (outback?) went from "solid oil leak" to "leaking really good oil" in 70K~80K miles, which was quite a lot mileages. But I don't know if HG is finally blown or not when he stopped using car. 
c. lots other cases can be found by searching on this board or through the internet, I just can't named them all. 
d. Very interesting and useful reviews about the conditioner on amazon: <http://www.amazon.co...yRankDescending7 worked, 4 didn't specify the effect. also all worked cases are from newer reviews, so I guess they got this information online maybe this board. Great Jobs:)
2. coolant won't go to combustion chamber or mix with oil for these engines (EJ25 Phase II). Because of newer design of phase II, leakage was found to be external and most likely to stay with external leakage. Although allwheeldriveauto claimed this external leakage can become internal if not replacing HG after major leakage, I have only found one suspected case that overheated after 15K miles of coolant leaking, but no reason for overheat was stated. No one actually posted internal leakage after external leakage (I might see somebody said a direct internal leakage developed, but not sure), after going though some posts here, all posts in HG failure log on <http://www.subaruout...og-only-20.html>, and most post on <http://allwheeldrive...lems-explained/>. 
3. Even if coolant goes to combustion chamber, sign can be seen from bubbles in coolant overflow bottle; or even if coolant mixed with oil, sign can be seen from milky color thing on oil dipstick ( maybe and oil in coolant overflow bottle?). Even if all signs are missed, replace HG after first overheating seems won't cause more issue. If overheat is missed, then no next....
4. This seems to be better in the long run. I expect my subie could run more than 350K miles, even not with me at last. I wish it could last for 8k+ miles with the conditioner, then replace both HG and TB, definitely using a MLS HG, which should be good for at least 150K according to allwheeldriveauto. But does anyone see a failure on the MLS HG? just curious...(I know the OEM ones are prone to fail a second time as the first one)
5. For the short run, spend much less money now. Local independent Subaru Shop quoted ~1500 for HG and TB replacement at the same time. If do them separately, TB (and gears) ~530, HG ~1270, so total is ~ 1800. As a college student, I feel nearly $1K saving is a lot. Even if it turns out HG need to be done very soon as well (which is very unlike to happen), I only need to pay 300 more.
The disadvantages and concerns:
1. Replacing HG seems to be better for the mid-term run. If I only drive it for less than 8K miles, it is better for me to do HG now, but not the best way for the car.
2. The risk is higher for long road trip. Replacing HG gives more peace in mind than checking oil and coolant at each stop in a long road trip. I love road trips so this is a big concern for me. But checking fluid levels frequently also provides quite a peace in mind. 
3. If the condition doesn't work and problem become severely bad within 10K miles. then I need to have the HG replaced, spend 300 more. But I believe possibility for this to happen is <2%.
4. This is just for me, my mechanic is a honest, knowable, and fair Subaru specialist. It may be a little struggle to find a good Subaru mechanic if I move away after graduation (probably will). But I need to find a good mechanic in the new area anyway. 
Well, to sum up, from the information and analysis I got, if just using conditioner, topping off fluids, and keeping an eye on temperature after leakage being found, I think there's 97% probability for engine to last 20K miles, 80% to last 50K miles, 60% to last 80K miles, 40% to last 100K miles (frankly, just guessing) before problem goes really worse, like annoyance by topping off every 300 miles, or internal leakage, etc. I have already dropped my car for replacing TB (&gears), coolant flush, and adding conditioner. I would like to test this method and post updates later, to see the result. 
Thanks for your reading, looking forwards to replies, answers, corrections, comments, etc. apologize if any misleading due to my poor english as a non-native speaker. And most important, Happy Holidays!

Edited by Fisky, 27 December 2013 - 03:01 AM.

#2 ivans imports

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 11:25 AM

I have been calling the heads/ gasket at 155000kms this is when the belt is due to be changed and timing belt job includes headgaskets / waterpump and timing gears and head surface have done 8 05 - 08 outbacks in a row is very commen what I can tell you is the Subaru coolant addative is not any good and makes a mess. just fix it right one time and your done

#3 Gloyale


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Posted 27 December 2013 - 01:40 PM

I agree.


If it's leaking water out that bad, some of it's getting into the oil.  Which will kill the rod bearings.


Conditioner is to prevent leaks in newer engines. (subaru wanted them to make it out of warranty)  that's why it was introduced.


Will not "fix" a leak that bad.


Do the headgaskets, surface the heads (they are all .02mm off on the bottom "back" edge....factory tool deflects as it exits the cut)


Don't let the engine get ruined if you do it with the T-belt it'll save labor.

#4 ivans imports

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 12:21 PM

Every single one I do has coolant in the oil you cant see it but its getting into oil the pcv pulls water out and leaves aditives / sugars in oil that can damage engine. The gasket is stainless so stop leaks will not stick to it just slip past it have been here many times. Have done so many Subaru headgaskets I paid for my 6000$ head surfacer in two years and it never rests. But I get very nice surfaces and have it setup just for Subaru heads with aluminum specific bitts. when the surfacer does its 1rst pass I can realy see the low spots on head The lower ds headbolt thru oil passage and front lower bolt on PS head are the worst spots always looks like oil filter is leaking but its not

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