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Phase I and Phase II?? help a newbie!!


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20 replies to this topic

#1 wendybradley

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Posted 29 April 2005 - 10:36 PM

OK so now I'm scared! lol. I'm a newbie here to this board, I posted a couple times about my soobies, I have an '01 4 cyl Outback and an '84 Brat. I also read a couple threads here recently, Anyway, regarding my Outback, do I have a "Phase I" or a "Phase II"? I love my car and it's been really good so far (56K, knock on wood!!!) other than some pinging. What should I be looking for and what should I be preparing for? Mostly I've owned older American cars (and we all know their reputation) so I thought I was doing real well to buy Subaru, which seemed to have a good reputation...now I'm not so sure! :eek: :eek:

#2 SuBrat84

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Posted 29 April 2005 - 11:40 PM

Is your outback the 2.5 model? I THINK '01 is a phase II ( I know my '98 is phase I ) I don't think you have much to worry about with your motor.. There has been reports of people blowing head gaskets in the 2.5 more than like a 2.2 or 2.0... Regular maintanence (which it sounds like you do) and driving it regularly like a half-sane individual should keep everything in good working order.

I drive my Phase I 2.5 really hard and it's holding up good at 75k/30k (it's a long story.. but 30k on the block and 75k on everything else.)

P.S. Don't let the stories here scare you away from your subaru.. no one posts about their awesome subaru's that have lasted 200k+ with very little or no problem.

#3 later, Peter

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Posted 30 April 2005 - 12:25 AM

OK so now I'm scared! lol. I'm a newbie here to this board, I posted a couple times about my soobies, I have an '01 4 cyl Outback and an '84 Brat. I also read a couple threads here recently, Anyway, regarding my Outback, do I have a "Phase I" or a "Phase II"? I love my car and it's been really good so far (56K, knock on wood!!!) other than some pinging. What should I be looking for and what should I be preparing for? Mostly I've owned older American cars (and we all know their reputation) so I thought I was doing real well to buy Subaru, which seemed to have a good reputation...now I'm not so sure! :eek: :eek:

You are in a Phase II vehicle. the scary HG issues (which may or may not be so worrisome are apparently related to a Phase I cooling system design flaw= trapping air bubbles if not properly "burped") You, on the other hand, are welcome at the Subaru dealership & they will give you some coolant additive to
"stop" the external coolant leak... should it happen.

In the long run, with the proper maintenance, you should have the vehicle for the long run.
Later,
Peter:cool:

#4 The Dude

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Posted 30 April 2005 - 09:28 AM

Peter,

I find it rather dismissive to suggest that the many, many 2.5L DOHC Phase I owners whom have posted on this board with reports of failed head gaskests simply were incapable of "burping" their radiators. What gives? Enlightened Phase II owners are just naturally gifted cooling system belchers and thus enjoy a far, far lower head gasket failure rate than their less evolved Phase I owning brethren?
How did the half dozen or so versions of the Phase I head gasket address the air entrapment conundrum? What of the Phase I owners who replaced their head gaskets, retorqued their head bolts and experienced no more problems with their engines? Did they sudenly walk upright, sprout opposable thumbs, and aquire the mental acumen required to "burp" their cooling systems?
And why have a Phase II anyway? Probably the Subaru engineers in Gumma were really bored one day and figured, "what the hell, let's design a new engine". Yeah, that's probably it.
And apparently, even the Phase II has been modified significantly. One poster reported that the Phase II is now a semi-closed deck engine. If that's true, it's a pretty significant alteration. Who knows, maybe it was cheaper to manufacture an engine with cylinder walls that didn't shake all over the place, than produce an endless supply of complimentary oatmeal based stop leak for Phase II owners. You just never know, do ya?

#5 subyrally

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Posted 30 April 2005 - 09:39 AM

they redesigned the heads for better coolant flow in the phase II heads. that and the phase one cars, after being fixed, they generally use better parts to fix it, thus preventing the issues from returning. atleast, thats what they did at the shop i worked for.

#6 The Dude

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Posted 30 April 2005 - 10:36 AM

they redesigned the heads for better coolant flow in the phase II heads. that and the phase one cars, after being fixed, they generally use better parts to fix it, thus preventing the issues from returning. atleast, thats what they did at the shop i worked for.


I'll tell you what I suspect. If it's true, I find it very significant that Subaru has gone to a SEMI-CLOSED DECK version of the 2.5L.
The Phase II engine incorporated a number of improvements that, for the most part, ended the internal head gasket failures that plagued the Phase I. But it wasn't enough, the open deck design of the early Phase II engine still allowed the cylinder walls to move (a very bad thing), so the early Phase II still suffered from EXTERNAL head gasket failures. The quick fix? Offer the owners a free bottle of stop leak and a 100,000 mile warranty.
I could be off on my dates, but notice Subaru offered the stop leak and warranty to 1999-2002 2.5L Phase II owners. Engineering "counter measures" were supposed to stop external head gasket leaks on 2003 and newer engines. Well, what were the "counter measures", and why refer to them in such a vague way? Why not just announce, "We now have a semi-closed deck design for the 2.5L engine"? I'm guessing here, but some people might say that would be like admitting that all the earlier Phase I and Phase II engines NEEDED a semi-closed deck. That many of the head gasket problems with the Phase I may have occured because that engine had an open deck and the cyclinders "walked".

I own a car with a Phase II engine, and I haven't suffered any head gasket problems. But it infuriates me when someone suggests that Phase I owners somehow caused head gasket failures through their own negligence or ignorance. It's just not true. No one with any real knowlegde of car engines would ever make such a charge. I think Phase I owners have suffered quite enough without having their competence or intelligence questioned. As far as I am concerened, the vast majority of Phase I owners who suffered head gasket failures probably are victims.

#7 Subarunation 713

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Posted 30 April 2005 - 12:54 PM

(Snip) As far as I am concerened, the vast majority of Phase I owners who suffered head gasket failures probably are victims.

I would agree with this statement. By in large Subaru owners tend to be maitnenance minded folks. We are not talking about disposable car owners here and specifically not on this group. I still like and will drive Subarus so I am not bashing Subaru.

Has there been any coralation (sp) between headgasket failures and length or time of average trip? My mother's 40 minute 30 mile one way average trip allows her car, heads, block, pistons, transmission, exhaust and the whole "shabang" to get completely up to operating temp and then remain there for an extended period of time. 97 OBW with phase I 2.5, 140,000 miles, and knock on wood, no problems. I realize this is a HUGE control group of 1! :-)

So, those with headgsket failures do you have a long or short commute? Or has this been debunked and debated ad nauseum? Just curious.

Greg

#8 rweddy

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Posted 30 April 2005 - 01:57 PM


So, those with headgsket failures do you have a long or short commute? Or has this been debunked and debated ad nauseum? Just curious.

Greg


Debunking aside, it is more of a squeaky wheel issue than anything else. You do not find people looking on the web for sites and posting topics when the cars have no issues at all. So the bulk of reports on this board are from people who have had 2.5 HG failures or issues. I know of many 2.5 that have gone 200k+ with no HG issues.

I do believe there are issues with maintenance, climate, etc that can cause issues but the 2.5 HG failure rate is nowhere near as bad as one would believe from this list.

#9 Olnick

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Posted 30 April 2005 - 02:18 PM

Excellent thinking. The Dude! I believe you've hit the nail squarely on the head. The Phase I engine was flawed from the beginning but Subaru simply won't admit it or take responsibility for it. It's shameful--and very costly to a lot of trusting and loyal Soob drivers.

But I don't think anyone is suggesting negligence or ignorance on the part of Phase I owners. No one expects such a weakness to raise its ugly head, especially after 20+ years of bulletproof design and build quality and the brand's excellent reputation for ruggedness.

The problem is insidious. I think it happens quietly and with no obvious clues to the average driver as air and gasses from the combustion chamber push into the coolant system creating that fatal "bubble." But who amongst us burps their cooling system every week "just in case?"

Sorry, I'm rambling. I just feel terrible for those poor Phase I owners who have been stung.

The 2.5L really intrigued me when it first came out. I thank God (and my frugal nature) that I ended up with a lovely 2.2L!

#10 Scottbaru

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Posted 30 April 2005 - 03:54 PM

Is the 2.2 semi-closed deck? Is it susceptible to air bubbles in the coolant? I haven't seen evidence the problem is gone, and I'm not sure why these are the fixes to the problem.

One of my brothers gets paid to evaluate production cars and trucks, and help plan new cars, by several car makers. His opinion is valued by the big car companies. He advised me to stay away from the 2.5 Subarus because of the headgasket problem. It's known about in the industry. Subaru certainly knows about it, why it's happening, and how to fix it.

#11 Olnick

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Posted 30 April 2005 - 05:39 PM

How did they create the 2.5? I always thought of it as a bored out 2.2, but with too much material removed thus weakening the structure! Oversimplification, I know. But hey, the Subaru engineers didn't do such a great job on it themselves.

#12 blitz

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Posted 30 April 2005 - 09:40 PM

How did they create the 2.5? I always thought of it as a bored out 2.2, but with too much material removed thus weakening the structure! Oversimplification, I know. But hey, the Subaru engineers didn't do such a great job on it themselves.

It's bored & stroked (both). The consensus is that the bores ARE weak from overbore in combination with open-deck design. FHI has never admitted to it.

IMO, the fact that the displacement ended up at 2.457 in order to market it as a 2.5 gives reason to believe that a quest (greed) for displacement resulted in a bad gamble. e.g. "Can we safely squeak 2.457 out of it it?, and 'no' is not an acceptable answer."

FWIW, I believe that improper bleeding DOES exacerbate (compound) the problem.

#13 subie94

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Posted 30 April 2005 - 09:53 PM

You are in a Phase II vehicle. the scary HG issues (which may or may not be so worrisome are apparently related to a Phase I cooling system design flaw= trapping air bubbles if not properly "burped")



even though i don't own a 2.5 with the hg prob,a friend of mine that works at the local dealership told me that the prob was being caused by bad gaskets.apparently they used some new type of gasket that had a coating on it.an during warm up an cool down,the slight shifting between the heads an block would wear down or scrape off the coating causing it to leak through.hence the overheating prob.

#14 later, Peter

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Posted 30 April 2005 - 10:09 PM

[quote name='The Dude']Peter,

many 2.5L DOHC Phase I owners whom have posted on this board with reports of failed head gaskests simply were incapable of "burping" their radiators. What gives? Enlightened Phase II owners are just naturally gifted cooling system belchers and thus enjoy a far, far lower head gasket failure rate than their less evolved Phase I owning brethren?
QUOTE]

I apologize to my brethren that were offended by my comment... that is to say:
I was attempting to note the failure of the cooling system design that allows trapped air bubbles in the Phase I engine... something that normally would not occur (& I believe much less likely to occur in Phase II) by a normal & simple changing of the coolant. I don't remember any other vehicle I have owned that it was suggested that I raise the front end of my car & fill through the radiator hose then fill through the radiator making sure the overflow tank is at correct level... and on.
I ALWAYS filled the radiator, ran the engine until operating temp. with the heat open & on, adding coolant until the water reached the correct level, then filled the overflow.
I own TWO Phase I's because:
A. best looking car out there
&
II. Subarus are reliable (with proper maintenance)
I have spoken with every owner of a Phase I that I can... NO ONE 'round here HAS HAD ANY PROBLEMS!!! & most have over a 100k some nearing 200k!!! around here there are 2 garage's that specialize in Subarus as well as a dealer... maybe Subaru owners use knowledgable mechanics... & us diy-ers tend to read up one repairs & replacements prior to the job (this board has become one big bunch of wisdom for me!!!!
SO: No I didn't bash the Subaru owners of the Phase I engine... I actually applaud their taste in vehicles:clap: .
I was only pointing out the vocalized fear that I see on these pages towards the Phase I & I don't subscribe.
Later,
Peter

#15 sregor13

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Posted 01 May 2005 - 12:37 AM

For the price of the Outback, I dont think owners should have to be shadetree mechanics to keep the head gasket from blowing.

I have a 92 Acura Integra with 210,000 Miles on it and it still passes Colorado emissions with flying colors.. It runs like a champion. I paid $500 for it and its truly my most reliable car. My wife drives it.

We had a Phase 1 Outback one upon a time. 97 Outback Legacy Wagon. It was doomed from the get go. Your 01 should run fine though. I think it is Phase 2, and I trust the problems with the Phase 1 were corrected. YES There were problems with the Phase 1. True story. There are worse thing to go then the Head Gasket.

I have said it before and I will say it again. Subaru makes the greatest cars on the road.

With that being said, I am not convinced that they make the most reliable.\ Thanks

#16 MDW25gt

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Posted 01 May 2005 - 10:16 AM

So what is the difference between the Phase I and II?

I have a 99 gt EJ 25. Is it I or II? Been through the HG failure. My impression is the HG can fail in a I or II. I thought there was a problem with the Head gasket it self. What gives?

#17 Setright

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Posted 01 May 2005 - 10:50 AM

My advice would be to always refill coolant through the upper hose, and replace the rad cap at every other coolant change. Might even want to consider a higher pressure rad cap.

#18 Commuter

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Posted 01 May 2005 - 05:34 PM

So what is the difference between the Phase I and II?

I have a 99 gt EJ 25. Is it I or II? Been through the HG failure. My impression is the HG can fail in a I or II. I thought there was a problem with the Head gasket it self. What gives?

I take it that it is a Legacy GT? Then it would be a Phase I. In North Americal the USA made Legacys got the Phase II engine in 2000. The Japanese Impreza platform vehicles got the Phase II a year earlier in 1999.

See my posts in this thread http://www.ultimates...=thrust bearing and this thread http://www.ultimates...=thrust bearing for the differences.

We really need a sticky on this.

Commuter

#19 blitz

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Posted 01 May 2005 - 05:39 PM

Might even want to consider a higher pressure rad cap.


Y'know, I actually planned trying that this summer to see what effect it had on the incessant bubbling in my 'o-flow. I'll report back.

#20 wendybradley

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 12:44 AM

Thanks everybody for all the great answers. I feel a lot better after reading them. Of course a person never really knows but my car seems to be in OK shape. I guess after owning all those non-soobie cars I'm just paranoid! LOL. However it still might not be a bad idea to start putting pennies in the piggybank toward a brand new soobie someday.... :D :D

#21 NOMAD327

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 06:03 AM

The most obvious difference between the phase 1 and phase 2 engines is the DOHC heads on the phase 1, SOHC heads on the phase 2. Foresters and Imprezzas got the SOHC heads in 99 and Legacy models which include the larger outback models got the SOHC heads in 2000. The weakness on all non turbo 2.5 models is the open deck design, which I believe came to be so the two halves of the block could be die cast. If you look at half of a Subaru block, it’s an extremely complex piece and the older sand castings were more difficult to construct. The open deck design combined with the big bore & short stroke puts a lot of up and down force on the cylinders and they move slightly at the head gasket interface, creating the weak spot in the design. It’s worth noting that 99 Legacy models have a phase 2 block and phase 1 cylinder heads. The newer block is strengthened in a couple of ways, but more at the bottom end I think. Cylinder design is still pretty much the same from the pictures I have seen. Both designs have the same weakness and both get head gasket leaks, although it is combustion gasses into the water jacket on DOHC, and coolant to driveway on SOHC, usually the drivers side rear by most reports. The new design heads may provide a bit more clamping force, or it may just be four years of head gasket development that makes the newer models appear better. I have not read of any vehicles that have failed once the latest design head gasket has been installed, but time will tell. I have a 99 DOHC, and am quite satisfied. I think more about the ways I like the vehicle than ways it may cause trouble. If I was shopping for a new vehicle, I would buy the older model which I like better in any case, and put aside some of the thousands saved to cover any possible future failure. If I already had one model or the other, I wouldn’t dwell on it. I have talked to a couple of dealers and they have done head gasket replacements, but none acted like it was a regular occurrence to do one.






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