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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Preemptive Head Gasket repair on '97 Outback

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8 replies to this topic

#1 Ranger83


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Posted 08 July 2004 - 11:46 AM

My '97 Outback Wagon has 140K miles on it and I drive around 2,500 per month. After looking around here, at Skips head gasket log site, and at other car sites, I became convinced that this is affecting anywhere from 1 of 5 to 1 of 3 cars.

When I saw a few bubbles in the coolant overflow tank after hard driving, and started using some oil, I decided to have the job done before they blow. The two hottest months of the year are before us. I'd like to get 200K out of the car.

I inquired about a good Subaru garage around Manchester, NH (where I work) but with no responses I brought it back to PEabody Sunoco in Peabody, MA. They've done all the prior work since I got it.

When they took off the heads one showed some signs of leakage, and was warped 0.004". Maximum allowable warp is 0.003" according to the mechanic, so they were both cut.

I looked at them after they came back. Other than this head gasket problem, these are impressive engines. The valves show a nice uniform nut brown color and passed the leakdown tests. I looked at the short block still in the car and you can still see the cylinder hone marks in the sidewalls.

Two questions:

1. There have been a number of head gaskets produced and they got the complete set from the dealer - presumably the latest design? Do the different versions have different part numbers?

2. What is the current coolant requirement for this engine? I understand there are several formulations available now but most people just use the green stuff? For refill freedom that's my choice unless there is something compelling about the others.

#2 99obw


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Posted 08 July 2004 - 12:17 PM

1. Yes, Skip's site lists the newest one AFAIK.

2. I have been using plain 'ole prestone green with no problems. I recently bought a Jeep, and it's factory fill is Zerex G-05. After doing some research on G-05 I am so impressed that I will probably switch the Subaru over to it. It's low-silicate BTW. I have been a bad boy using the high-silicate Prestone in the Subaru. Bad, Bad! I would recommend using Subaru coolant as there really isn't a good no-silicate coolant available OTC AFAIK.

#3 MorganM


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Posted 08 July 2004 - 12:55 PM

When I care I run low silicate and no phosphate coolant. Less crap to build up as you cook that stuff in your engine!

I usually dont care tho and run whatever :)

#4 paladin_w


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Posted 08 July 2004 - 06:56 PM

I am too cheap to get anything other than the green cool-aid. lol

and good for you to change em before there was a problem, I wish I had that much initiative.

#5 Ranger83


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Posted 10 July 2004 - 07:33 AM

Image of head after machining. It turns out 0.004" out isn't very much for alloy heads.

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#6 Ranger83


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Posted 10 July 2004 - 07:35 AM

Image of block, before any cleanup.

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#7 Ranger83


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Posted 10 July 2004 - 07:36 AM

Won't let me load image of cylinder bore for some reason.

#8 Ranger83


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Posted 12 July 2004 - 09:43 PM

Got the car back today. It runs great. The tab for this repair was around $1,200. I had some additional work done to the brakes and some seals replaced, so the total bill was $1,400.

Peabody Sunoco, Peabody, MA did the work.

I also sent a letter to the new President of Subaru USA.

#9 scoobie_tex


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Posted 09 September 2004 - 09:54 PM

I got the pre-emptive head gasket work done ($1100) as well (@107K). I have '98 Outback (both my dad's '97 Outback and my friend's '98 Outback had their head-gaskets go out at 98K) so their problems were a wake up call for me.

Hopefully, our Suby's will have no head-gasket issues to 150K and beyond....

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