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Picking up a 2004 Forester 2.5i leaks 90k original miles/ one owner


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16 replies to this topic

#1 vtwinjunkie

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 01:41 PM

Hey all,

 

I am picking up this Forester and I wanted to know if the 2004 Forester was known for its head gaskets or if it could possibly be valve cover gaskets instead? It certainly has an oil leak as I can see it from the top but have not yet examined the full extent. 

I already have a 2005 outback that I picked up with 97k miles and although the head gaskets has a very slight seep that hasn't progressed in 2 years since I bought the car, did require me to change the valve cover gaskets early on. 

 

Question is...does the 2004 forester and the 2005 outback 2.5i both have the same engines? If so, I am hoping it could be just a very bad valve cover leak but I havent had the chance to get under it due to snow...either way I will still pick it up, Just wanted to hear everyone's thoughts. 



#2 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 01:57 PM

Head gaskets. Always. The external leak affects all 2.5's from 1999 to 2010. They will leak as early as 30-50k and usually get really bad around 70-90k. The better the maintenance, the worse and faster they leak.

 

GD



#3 idosubaru

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 02:13 PM

Headgasket. All EJ25s have headgasket issues, the specific failure modes differ slightly by year/type but failed headgaskets nonetheless.

It could be valve covers as they’re guaranteed to leak over time/mileage as well, but if headgaskets have already been diagnosed then there’s not much reason to do more than a cursory check to verify.

#4 vtwinjunkie

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 02:15 PM

Headgasket. All EJ25s have headgasket issues, the specific failure modes differ slightly by year/type but failed headgaskets nonetheless.

It could be valve covers as they’re guaranteed to leak over time/mileage as well, but if headgaskets have already been diagnosed then there’s not much reason to do more than a cursory check to verify.

 

Never said head gaskets were diagnosed. Sorry for the confusion.


Edited by vtwinjunkie, 23 January 2018 - 02:18 PM.


#5 vtwinjunkie

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 02:19 PM

Head gaskets. Always. The external leak affects all 2.5's from 1999 to 2010. They will leak as early as 30-50k and usually get really bad around 70-90k. The better the maintenance, the worse and faster they leak.

 

GD

Crazy that my 2005 outback is still going strong at 120k. headgaskets havent gotten any worse from what they were when I bought the car at 97k.

 

Perhaps the religious maintenance schedule and subaru coolant additive is working



#6 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 03:05 PM

2005 models don't leak coolant and don't require the conditioner additive. That was 99 to 02 models. 2005's leak oil only. Conditioner is not needed and will only make the system dirty. 

 

GD



#7 vtwinjunkie

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 10:45 PM

2005 models don't leak coolant and don't require the conditioner additive. That was 99 to 02 models. 2005's leak oil only. Conditioner is not needed and will only make the system dirty. 

 

GD

 

Interesting,

 

Although your experience is valued,

 

The 2005 Subaru Genuine service manual specifically states to add it during the coolant replacement. 

Not sure how I follow your logic about the conditioner making the system dirty..it is from a sealed bottle. Its not a contaminate. 

 

Could you explain your claim?

 

Thanks



#8 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 12:21 PM

The manual is a CYA. 03+ don't leak coolant. Period. 

 

The "conditioner" is a stop leak product - it's actually re-branded Holt's Radweld from the UK. It's full of solids to clog up small leak paths. It's basically fancy dirt. Pour some out and see for yourself. 

 

You don't need it. 

 

GD



#9 idosubaru

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 02:07 PM

Crazy that my 2005 outback is still going strong at 120k. headgaskets havent gotten any worse from what they were when I bought the car at 97k.

 

05+ EJ25 factory headgaskets always leak oil as opposed to coolant.  Reread that and let it sink in - that's what the last 14 years and millions of miles have shown. 

 

Any more than that gets subjective.  If you're still under warranty then follow the owners manual, after that do whatever you want.  This is so simple and almost zero cost that it doesn't make much difference otherwise, but it shouldn't encourage neglectful maintenance or give warm fuzzies either. 



#10 vtwinjunkie

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 03:41 PM

05+ EJ25 factory headgaskets always leak oil as opposed to coolant.  Reread that and let it sink in - that's what the last 14 years and millions of miles have shown. 

 

Any more than that gets subjective.  If you're still under warranty then follow the owners manual, after that do whatever you want.  This is so simple and almost zero cost that it doesn't make much difference otherwise, but it shouldn't encourage neglectful maintenance or give warm fuzzies either. 

 

What is so simple? Head gasket replacement? 

 



#11 vtwinjunkie

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 03:43 PM

The manual is a CYA. 03+ don't leak coolant. Period. 

 

The "conditioner" is a stop leak product - it's actually re-branded Holt's Radweld from the UK. It's full of solids to clog up small leak paths. It's basically fancy dirt. Pour some out and see for yourself. 

 

You don't need it. 

 

GD

 

CYA? Forgive me, I dont understand this acronym.

I did not know that about the conditioner. Ill definitely check it out, thanks for explaining. 



#12 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 05:51 PM

It means "Cover Your A$$", and that's exactly why they put that stuff in the manual. The "conditioner" (stop leak) was left in the manuals after the gasket re-design in case some percentage of the new gaskets also had this problem. In practice they don't - 100% of the '03+ redesigned gaskets leak OIL ONLY. Thus the bottle of fancy mudslide is completely superfluous on anything but a 99 to 02 model with original gaskets (which there are basically none of left in the wild at this point). 

 

So if it makes you feel better to use it - it's unlikely to cause any short term damage. But it's also not solving anything and may cause long-term issues if used excessively.

 

I wouldn't. It's pointless on that model. 

 

GD


Edited by GeneralDisorder, 24 January 2018 - 05:54 PM.


#13 vtwinjunkie

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 06:29 PM

It means "Cover Your A$$", and that's exactly why they put that stuff in the manual. The "conditioner" (stop leak) was left in the manuals after the gasket re-design in case some percentage of the new gaskets also had this problem. In practice they don't - 100% of the '03+ redesigned gaskets leak OIL ONLY. Thus the bottle of fancy mudslide is completely superfluous on anything but a 99 to 02 model with original gaskets (which there are basically none of left in the wild at this point). 

 

So if it makes you feel better to use it - it's unlikely to cause any short term damage. But it's also not solving anything and may cause long-term issues if used excessively.

 

I wouldn't. It's pointless on that model. 

 

GD

 

Thanks for the explanation. 

 

So basically for the 2004 Forester it will be ok to clean it up and drive it some more to actually see how much oil it is leaking.  A friend who is the original owner says he only puts a quart in per oil change so It may not even really "need" to be replaced at this point.

 

I am aware that it will only get worse....but If I could at least drive it till the summer and do the job in the warmth, I would feel much better about it!



#14 impostor

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 03:26 AM

Thank you GD, there is at least one other human that agrees with me on the conditioner bs.

#15 HASx11

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 08:14 AM

I hate to disagree with you on a 2005 couldn't leak coolant via headgasket but my 2005 forester leaks coolant from the passenger side gasket not oil I have all the service records from the original owner and second owner and the head gaskets have never been replaced. Now I know my forester could be a rare case but I am just saying that it's not 100% not possible for them to leak coolant from the headgasket.

#16 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 03:07 PM

I hate to disagree with you on a 2005 couldn't leak coolant via headgasket but my 2005 forester leaks coolant from the passenger side gasket not oil I have all the service records from the original owner and second owner and the head gaskets have never been replaced. Now I know my forester could be a rare case but I am just saying that it's not 100% not possible for them to leak coolant from the headgasket.

 

I've never seen it. And I do about 2-3 head gasket replacements per week for the last 10 years. I would have to say, without more proof, that either they were replaced incorrectly and you haven't got the records, or it's a mis-diagnosis. Given the number of these I've seen I would have to say it's virtually 0%. And every time I think I've found the outlier that would prove otherwise - some idiot has been into it and screwed it up. EVERY. TIME.

 

GD


Edited by GeneralDisorder, 25 January 2018 - 03:11 PM.


#17 idosubaru

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 07:25 PM

I have all the service records from the original owner and second owner and the head gaskets have never been replaced.

two prior owners and a decade, thats a lot of room for miscommunication, questionable data, and loss of, or lack of, paper trail - which is very common.

Replaced headgaskets have multiple failure modes the originals don’t have, or have at much lower rates.

That being said - initial external coolant leaks of OEM installed headgaskets respond with nearly 100% success rate to the Subaru coolant conditioner.

So change your coolant and add the conditioner and you’ll no longer have a leak.

If you still have a leak then misdiagnosis or prior headgasket replacement is likely.

Edited by idosubaru, 25 January 2018 - 07:28 PM.





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