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Head Gasket Job...need advice ASAP


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30 replies to this topic

#1 dizzydiva51

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Posted 22 December 2004 - 05:04 PM

Okay, I was the author of 97 Ob in shop thread...and the word came back that I do have a blown right head gasket and there is a leak in my right cylinder head as well. I asked for pricing, which would include the left gasket as well, preventative, and I was quoted abot $2700 for the entire job. I had a new timing belt already put in about two years ago when the oil pump seal went bad.

So my question if I do get this fixed what should I make sure they also check or replace while they are under the hood, especially since my car was overheating while driving? Are there specific parts I should request and finally will this solve my problem or can i expect a recorrence in the next few years? If so, how can it be prevented NOW....

Again, thank you to everyone who posted in my last thread and to anyone who has any words of wisdom on helping me make this desision...

#2 cookie

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Posted 22 December 2004 - 05:11 PM

the reason I ask is that they will know exactly what needs to be changed.
The prices seem high to me but might not be bad if it is a dealer and in an expensive area.
I am in San Mateo and had my Head gaskets replaced in Redwood City at Carlson.
I paid about 2 gs just for the head gasket job and had other work performed at the same time.
I would have the timing belt, seals,oil pump sealed,tensioner if it needs it, and water pump done. This closes up the front of the engine for the next several years.

#3 ballitch

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Posted 22 December 2004 - 06:09 PM

rule of thumb would say, while spending $2700 on a HG job, pay the extra $200-400 on anything else i.e: water pump, oil pump, tesioners, timing belts, and anything else you can think of, they have the engine already out, you paid to take it out, might as well fix more than just what is wrong, think preventative maintenance.

#4 Commuter

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Posted 22 December 2004 - 06:18 PM

At that price, you are close to justifying a CCR engine. I think the rebuilt engine from them (with warranty!) runs just a tad more. Yes, you'll have the installation expense on top of that. Do you want to put your money into the installation expense, or into other bits and pieces on your (questionable?) engine?

Note - I'm talking of the 2.5L engine. If you want to put in a 2.2L engine, I think they go for close to a grand less.

Just a thought.

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#5 grossgary

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Posted 22 December 2004 - 08:27 PM

2,700 sounds insanely expensive but i know nothing about outbacks. they better be doing a complete job for that price. i'd want to know with the problems these 2.5's have with headgaskets...what do they do different to keep this from happening againg? have they made any changes to the head gasket design to improve longetivity? i wouldn't want a repeat of this 3 years from now.

how many miles? if over 100,000 i'd think about getting a valve job and new valve stem seals. other items to replace - crank seal, cam seals, reseal the oil pump, valve cover gaskets, water pump, timing belt. it's all apart anyway, be done with it. maybe they even include some of that with the price? if they charge per job (head gasket + timing belt + water pump all separately) then you're screwed. if they charged a little extra for parts and labor you're golden cause it's already apart.

i know someone just had their XT6 completely resealed (except oil pan gasket) at a dealer for 1,600 last week. different car, but two heads, two timing belts. 2,700 sounds crazy to me. i just did my head gaskets last week, definetly not 2,700 worth of expense there.

#6 cookie

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 11:24 AM

I believe an article came out last week that had us among the highest priced places to live in the US. This also goes for shop rents, insurance, taxes, etc.
I am often amazed when I see the prices posted by others on the board.
I guess I shouldn't be when a middle class house goes for $700,000 around here.
I think if I had something major that I knew needed to be done to my car I would be tempted to drive it up north to somebody like Richy where rents and prices are far more reasonable.

#7 kudd

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 12:35 PM

Wow...$2700???? I friend and I just did head gaskets on my 2.2L.. It was under $200 for the valve cover gaskets and head gaskets. Took us about 5 hours to do. Had just done the t-belt/pump/seal thing 2 weeks before...so was a drag to take apart again, but it came apart easy!

So let's see.. $2700-$200=$2500.../5=$500/hr. woweeee! Course that wasn't a 2.5....but yikes!

Cheers!
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#8 dizzydiva51

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 12:48 PM

Thank you everyone for your advice...I live in Humboldt County and good mechanics are hard to come by. The dealer here consists of rude and unhelpful people so the shop I take it to deals explicitly with foreign cars, though they hate subarus...due to the high volume of expensive jobs. They saw one subaru who had FOUR head gasket jobs done within one year...they tried to convice me just to get rid of it...but I am too in love with my sube! Anyway, the job also includes replacing the right cylinder head and a lot of the items all of you mentioned will be included and some that won't, I will only have to pay for parts.

I am fixing and will be selling it within the next year, hoping that nothing else goes wrong. I can not trust subaru anymore...and i do so may long road trips i can not afford to see if this problem reoccurs. I am really saddened at subaru for them not acknowledging and at least offering to assist those who are putting out a lump sum for a job that may just happen again....

The sad thing, in my opinion is the power of word of mouth and because they have not taken care of this problem the trust goes doen the drain. I personally work in an outdoor field as an outdoor cooridinator and subaru is the car marketed to all outdoor enthusiasts...and because of this problem and the problem I have read by so many others...I am sooo angry and bitter...i have already turned four people away from consisdering buying the outback and let alone any subaru...they have lost a trusting customer who now has the power of words to influence the market I work in...and it will never be regained.

Thanks to all who chipped in and at least read my anger...

#9 Grimmreaper

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 01:41 PM

I am sorry you feel that way but I do understand your frustation. I had a 97 Outback with a blown headgasket as well. I guess the only thing I can say to your story is that to get it fixed so it does not blow again is to get a certified subaru tech that knows what they are doing.

I overheated the engine which required a head replacement as well as the gaskets , seals, water pump, etc... essentially a engine overhaul minus the crank set work.

The shop I went to informed me you can not just replace one side of the head, it has to be both sides (something about wear issues, and they are only sold as pairs as well)

From what I understand it takes a mechanic who really knows these engines to get it done. It cost me about $2900 but that also included replacing the radiator and the clutch. It was expensive but the Outback for me is a "known quantity" and I could not see getting another car for that kind of money. It has been about 7 months since I had the work done and I have not had a hint of a problem, mechanically my Outback feels like a new car again, so for me it was a good decision since I expect to get another 100, 000 miles out of it.

#10 cookie

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 02:00 PM

of Subaru head gasket. I say this because auto part store gaskets are often used by local mechanics and could easily explain repeated replacements.
When I got mine done I quoted the gasket number I wanted and the dealership had not heard of them yet. I waited an extra week for them to be shipped in. It was worth it to have no furthur problems. I had the same problem when I wanted the udated clutch kit.
This board often gets the info to consumers before my dealership gets it through Subaru channels.

#11 bajavwnsoobnut

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 02:16 PM

yeah I understand what all you gus are going through cause of right now I am getting information together for a friend of mine for parts and labor for me to replace a externaly blown HG on a 02 Legacy and when talking to RichieRich he told me it takes around 10 hours to do both sides and at about 45-60 bucks an hour you get an understanding how much labor is put into it to get the headgaskets replaced and to make sure that everything is sealed correctly and isn't going to leak down the road for at least another 300k (hopefuly)

as for replacement of accessories while at it I would say YES to it cause it's less hassle and good PM to replace things like the timing belt and water pump then also replacing seals that are hard to get to unless you remove alot of the stuff you had to remove when you did the HG's so all in all it is well worth the extra lil bit of money to do that too

#12 NorthWet

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 02:42 PM

...due to the high volume of expensive jobs. They saw one subaru who had FOUR head gasket jobs done within one year...

Ummmm... Anybody else want to raise a Red Flag on this? It would give me pause to think *if* this shop did all four of those HG jobs... :eek:

#13 rigfennid

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 03:04 PM

Call Emily or Rick at CCRengines.com - ~$3000 for a rebuilt 2.5 to your door! do the work yourself on the swap - time consuming, but not overly difficult - then you've got an engine with a 3yr/36,000 mile warranty. You might save some cash and go the 2.2 route but it'd have to be a 95.

Seriously, Call CCR! 303-293-9230

Scooby's rock but have their weaknesses. I went the 2.5 route from CCR and now it's about 20 degrees outside here in MD. Valve slap? What's that?? Runs good & strong and they will really take care of you. If you're going to spend that much, at least get a real warranty, even if you do decide to sell it.



#14 grossgary

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 03:06 PM

have they addressed this issue at all? what prevents the *new* gasket from blowing? did they make changes to it or the torquing procedures? i haven't heard anyone mention that.

on dodge neons they introduced an improved gasket to prevent future failures. has subaru done the same?

#15 Gnuman

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 03:46 PM

In a word, yes, they updated the head gaskets twice. Once about the 2000MY, which just moved the leaking to an external leak instead of a full blow that they had with the phase I 2.5's. Then they changed the head gasket again (along with a new part #) that is supposed to fix the problem altogether (From what I hear, there has not been anyone with enough miles on the new headgaskets to be sure the issue is totally fixed, but it is the best choice out there thus far).

#16 Glenner55

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 04:21 PM

I had the HG's done in my 98 GT for $1200 here in Vermont so price seems high. Work was done at a Subaru dealer. I've got 9K miles on the car since the work and so far no problems. Car overheated a few time with guage pegged by only very briefly so no damage occurred.


Glenn

Okay, I was the author of 97 Ob in shop thread...and the word came back that I do have a blown right head gasket and there is a leak in my right cylinder head as well. I asked for pricing, which would include the left gasket as well, preventative, and I was quoted abot $2700 for the entire job. I had a new timing belt already put in about two years ago when the oil pump seal went bad.

So my question if I do get this fixed what should I make sure they also check or replace while they are under the hood, especially since my car was overheating while driving? Are there specific parts I should request and finally will this solve my problem or can i expect a recorrence in the next few years? If so, how can it be prevented NOW....

Again, thank you to everyone who posted in my last thread and to anyone who has any words of wisdom on helping me make this desision...



#17 RubasuGirl

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 05:51 PM

Why does the car (and all future Subaru's in general) get pushed to the curb for this? Granted, the HG is a problem. But it's a one fix, and you're done thing. I have to agree with NorthWet. I would be extremely leary of a place that took four tries to get a HG done correctly. I mean come on, they couldn't figure out the HG was blown in the first place. Not all imports are created the same.... and neither are the mechanics. Just because they don't know how to work on it doesn't mean that it is costly and unreliable. Three options: either find someplace that knows how to work on the car, learn to do the work yourself, or move on to another car.
Oh, and another thing. A reputable shop will have a parts & labor warranty. If they do the HG and blows again within a year, they should have to do fix it free of cost to you.
just my two cents.

#18 Gnuman

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 06:23 PM

I have to agree with this and the others that have mentioned that this shop may be the biggest problem with your Subaru. Subarus are, in general, very tough and reliable cars. If you take any car to a shop that does not understand how the car works, you will have problems. My recomendation in a nutshell: find annother shop.

#19 Gnuman

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 06:32 PM

Thank you everyone for your advice...I live in Humboldt County and good mechanics are hard to come by. The dealer here consists of rude and unhelpful people so the shop I take it to deals explicitly with foreign cars, though they hate subarus...due to the high volume of expensive jobs. They saw one subaru who had FOUR head gasket jobs done within one year...they tried to convice me just to get rid of it...but I am too in love with my sube! Anyway, the job also includes replacing the right cylinder head and a lot of the items all of you mentioned will be included and some that won't, I will only have to pay for parts.


Damn! you live close enough that I could maybe help you if I had some tools and help with the job (I have most of the tools to do the actual job, but I'd need a few more to lift the engine out. I'd also need a place to work, if you have one). At the very least, you need a mechanic that is not afraid of Subarus. . .

What say anyone in the area? Humboldt is just up the road from the SF area. . .
Who wants to go on a rescue mission?

#20 cookie

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 09:41 PM

it down here you could use my garage. I would have most of the tools needed and could just buy whatever else we would need.
I no longer have my rollaways and hoist but there is a rental place around the corner with anything needed.
On the average weekend I can swing about 8 hours for my own stuff due to other commitments. For example tomorrow I will be at headquarters in San Carlos and will be the officer on duty responsible for SamTrans and Caltrain.
Humboldt is a bit of distance for something like this unless you are free to go up there.

#21 Gnuman

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 11:05 PM

Yeah, the hoist and repair stand are the sticker for me as well. I wonder if i could get one that breaks down in a way that it would fit in the back of my Legacy wagon. . .

#22 cookie

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Posted 24 December 2004 - 01:33 AM

that came folded down when I bought them. I think I bought the hoist I had from Harbor Freight and although it had a large welded base it would break down flat.
When I got sick of mechanical work I gave all that stuff away.

#23 Gnuman

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Posted 24 December 2004 - 02:42 AM

that came folded down when I bought them. I think I bought the hoist I had from Harbor Freight and although it had a large welded base it would break down flat.
When I got sick of mechanical work I gave all that stuff away.


Damn, I wish I had known you then. . . :grin:

#24 cookie

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Posted 24 December 2004 - 11:38 AM

I'm just getting to the point where I work on things I enjoy again but it has taken about eight years of dealership repair.
Being shop manager for fleets can really burn you out on something you used to love.As some one wise once said, "I am glad I don't (#@$) for a living."

#25 Gnuman

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Posted 24 December 2004 - 05:54 PM

I'm just getting to the point where I work on things I enjoy again but it has taken about eight years of dealership repair.
Being shop manager for fleets can really burn you out on something you used to love.As some one wise once said, "I am glad I don't (#@$) for a living."


7 years as Service Manager in a bicycle shop. I still love bikes, but will never work in a shop again. . .




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