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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Advice/Opinions- 97 OB blown Head Gasket

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3 replies to this topic

#1 Wanga


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Posted 18 April 2005 - 09:38 PM

Hi. I own a 1997 Subaru Outback with 144,000 miles on it, and I just blew a Head Gasket over the weekend. The dealership has not looked at it, just a local shop that I don’t think knows what they’re doing, but they (the dealership) has estimated that replacing the head gaskets, plus the water pump and timing belt (since they’ve got the engine out) will cost in the range of $1100 to $1500. They don’t believe that the heads would have been warped, they say they rarely are. I’ve had no other major work done to the car in the 115K miles that I’ve owned it. Aside from new struts last October, I’ve only had the 60K and 105K recommended service done (now regretting not getting the 135K, maybe they would have caught something).

I believe I caught the car overheating before it was hot for more than a couple of minutes, and drove it a few minutes at a time to get to the only shop in town that was open at 6:00 on Friday. So, I would hope not too much other damage has occurred. It overheated a little bit 2 years ago when I had the timing belt and water pump replaced and the shop forgot to re-attach electrical connections to the fan. This I also caught pretty quickly.

Now my questions! I you think you have an answer for even one of them, please put in your $.02! I’m trying to decide to fix it or unload it. I understand that many people have blown head gaskets on this engine, what was your experience following the repair? Should I expect additional peripheral repairs due to the overheating or oil/coolant exchange that has occurred? If it’s a big risk to dump the money into the car, do I stand a chance of getting anything for it sold “as is”? Will the fact that I replaced the HG’s affect the resale by much? Are there any other major time bombs I should expect in the next 20K or so? Ideally I’d like to drive it for another 6 months to a year before going to something new.

Thanks for any advice!



#2 ShawnW


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Posted 18 April 2005 - 10:48 PM

First, the heads need to be resurfaced. The dealer is wrong there. They warp and warp often. They don't see as many as CCR, a Subaru only engine builder does, who surfaces all their 2.5 heads as part of the rebuild. If you are going to keep the car for 3 years/36K more miles get an engine from them. Warranties are a nice thing.

The prices seem about what I would expect.

The fan not coming on should have triggered a check engine light. The prior overheating probably led to this but frankly it was inevitable.

The lack of the last service is not a factor here. They would not have been able to notice imminent head gasket failure if you cant in driving it around.

Selling it as is isn't going to do you alot of good compared to selling it with a fresh head gasket job.

I converted mine from EJ25 to EJ22 to get rid of the engine but they aren't bad if you do the regular coolant changes yearly and change the oil regularly.

#3 Cougar


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Posted 18 April 2005 - 10:48 PM

I would try and fix it. Hopefully the other side will be ok until you sell it later. It will help the resale value fixing this but you would not get the full value for the repair if you sold it right away. Even if you didn't fix the problem the car would have some good value as is.

#4 rweddy


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Posted 19 April 2005 - 02:58 PM

If you plan on keeping the car for 3 or more years fix it.
As long as they use the updated HG and mill the heads you should be fine for a long time.

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