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2000 OBW: Ext. HG Leak


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15 replies to this topic

#1 the_bard

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 11:43 AM

My wife's been complaining about a sweet smell whenever she stops at a light during the last week or so. Taking advantage of the 50+ degree weather, I took a look underneath, and saw this:
Posted Image

I managed to point the camera right at the rear of the driver's side head:
Posted Image
Posted Image

I figure that's a pretty good indication of an external headgasket coolant leak.

Plan of attack: Gonna drive down to the Subaru dealership, find out if the original owner ever had SOA throw that coolant conditioner in there, whether that extended warranty would transfer over to a second owner, and see how much the wife is gonna freak out tonight :drunk:.

#2 nickb21

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 12:43 PM

Must be that time of year for these... My sisters 2000 legacy with 75k just started doing the same thing. I bought it at 60k and replaced the coolant and added conditioner then, so I'm not sure how subaru deals with that.

I'd be interested in how things turn out. I planned on giving SOA a call to see what their thoughts are.

How many miles you have on it?

#3 the_bard

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 12:50 PM

99,910. :drunk:

Drove it down to Goldstein Subaru, about five miles away. I told them what I found, in simple terms (wife smelled sweet smell, I saw coolant leak on driver's side rear of head).They looked up the VIN #, and supposedly the coolant conditioner (and the undercarriage rustproofing) recalls were still open.

Service guy asked how many miles were on it, and said to get it in there *now*. We've got it parked 'til the appointment on Tuesday morning. He says they can cover it under warranty, as long as I don't hit 100k.
:banana: :drunk: :banana:

#4 friendly_jacek

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 12:56 PM

I'm glad your dealer cooperated. I don't understand why people ignore recalls!
To be on a cautios side, I'm having coolant changes done by subaru, so there would be no doubt that I'm covered by the 100000 warranty.

#5 the_bard

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 10:47 PM

Figured I'd post an update:

Dropped Kermie (wife's 2000 OBW) off down at the dealer. They dumped the coolant conditioner into it and let it idle for half an hour. The headgasket leak was still present, so under the terms of the recall, they replaced the headgasket on the driver's side only. Stopped the leak, and the other side shows no sign of giving out (yet).

Now the fun part: We didn't get to pick it up at the initially stated pickup time, since the mech. working on it had just finished putting everything back together, and discovered a noise. Not feeling all that comfortable with the noise, they didn't want to "release" Kermie yet.

Ends up that the cold start "piston slap" that I had tentatively diagnosed was evaluated by the dealer as the timing belt tensioner dying. The mech. was kinda flummoxed by it, since it would only show its age/failure when the car was started cold (real cold... like sitting overnight in 20-30 degree whether cold). Or apparently, if it was getting put back together after a headgasket job :rolleyes:.

So for the nice neat price of $270, they replaced the tensioner. Starts up like a champ now, no "piston slap" noise on start, cold or warm. The dealer made a big show out of giving me "half off on labor", but I was too happy that they had found it now rather than me finding it later (darn interference engines) to be concerned about the price.

Got another plus out of it, too... finally convinced the wife that spending money on an automotive stethoscope might actually pay out :brow:

#6 friendly_jacek

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 11:28 AM

Congrats on the dealer. It's a keeper. When I diagnosed my tensioner noise under warranty, it took a lot of my effort to convince the dealer to fix it. They said they did it, but probably lied since the noise came back later.

#7 cookie

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 12:03 PM

If you consider that my car was over the warranty period and I never had a warranty in the first place, plus I did it two years before they put the warranty on.... I think this means Subaru has chose to treat the phase 2 owners better.

#8 nickb21

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 09:16 PM

Glad to hear you're all fixed up. I spoke to Burlington (VT) Subaru about mine (hasn't had the recall done yet), seems like putting in the conditioner and letting it idle 30mins is standard practice.

Did you have them do any other work while they were in there? I plan on doing the t-belt, front cam and crank seals, oil pump reseal, water pump, and driver rocker cover gaskets (since they're leaking). Maybe the tensioner too....

Oddly enough they said they usually don't replace the water pump until it fails.. interesting.

#9 cookie

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 11:20 AM

There are some folks who figure those water pumps last forever. I'm not one of them. Anything that gets that much wear, is that cheap, and can destroy the engine gets replaced on my car. I do expect them to last about 120,000 miles but why take it back apart?

#10 nipper

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 01:31 PM

Figured I'd post an update:

Dropped Kermie (wife's 2000 OBW) off down at the dealer. They dumped the coolant conditioner into it and let it idle for half an hour. The headgasket leak was still present, so under the terms of the recall, they replaced the headgasket on the driver's side only. Stopped the leak, and the other side shows no sign of giving out (yet).

Now the fun part: We didn't get to pick it up at the initially stated pickup time, since the mech. working on it had just finished putting everything back together, and discovered a noise. Not feeling all that comfortable with the noise, they didn't want to "release" Kermie yet.

Ends up that the cold start "piston slap" that I had tentatively diagnosed was evaluated by the dealer as the timing belt tensioner dying. The mech. was kinda flummoxed by it, since it would only show its age/failure when the car was started cold (real cold... like sitting overnight in 20-30 degree whether cold). Or apparently, if it was getting put back together after a headgasket job :rolleyes:.

So for the nice neat price of $270, they replaced the tensioner. Starts up like a champ now, no "piston slap" noise on start, cold or warm. The dealer made a big show out of giving me "half off on labor", but I was too happy that they had found it now rather than me finding it later (darn interference engines) to be concerned about the price.

Got another plus out of it, too... finally convinced the wife that spending money on an automotive stethoscope might actually pay out :brow:


Its nice to see a GOOD dealer story for a change.

nipper

#11 the_bard

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 09:53 PM

Its nice to see a GOOD dealer story for a change.

nipper

Tell me about it. As a general rule, I don't trust dealers, garages, or anybody else that works on my car. These guys seem to be fairly honest and upfront. They've backed me up every time the wife has talked to them, trying to get a second opinion, so I guess they can't be too bad ;). What really matters is that the wife has dealt with them on her own (asking questions regarding OEM brake pads), and they didn't talk down to her... made her feel very comfortable and helped her understand what was goin' on. Overall, we're pretty happy with these folks.

Did you have them do any other work while they were in there?

I was tempted, but cash was tight. The only other work I had them do was changing the fluid in the diff's... the only other portion of a tune-up ('cept plugs & wires... oh yeah, and fuel filter...) that hasn't been done yet. As it was, I ended up using the money I had set aside for a employee accomodation deal straight through Intel, preventing me from getting said deal. ($800 or so worth of hardware & software for $215).

The way I look at it, I might just be heading back to this dealer (Goldstein Subaru, Albany NY, in case anyone was wondering) for my next Subie, which means a lot.

#12 wirelessenabled

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 06:03 PM

My 2000 OBW w/84500 miles started smelling sweet around Xmas. I had already dumped the coolant conditioner into the car when the recall first came out. Didn't take it in to the dealer though. So I changed the coolant and put another bottle of conditioner in. Stopped the leak instantly! But then last week back to the sweet smell of coolant frying on the exhaust.

Talked to dealer about it and made appt for them to put conditioner in. Changed the coolant again so as to not have 2 cans of the conditioner in it and took the car to the appt. Sweet smell of coolant wafting up as the writer checked the car in. They put conditioner in it and it still leaked. By the time I got back a hour later they were already taking the car apart.

Replaced both sides head gaskets and all rubber parts near there under warranty.:cool:

Had them replace water pump, timing belt, cam seals, all other belts etc. They nicked me $400 for my share of repair.

Now if they did it right I should be good to go for another 100K miles:)

The dealer stepped up even though I had not complied with the letter of the recall. If you smell coolant leaks before 100K take it in. You should have a good chance of getting work done under warranty. If your dealer won't, check around or call the zone rep.

#13 nipper

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 06:48 PM

See not all dealers are evil :)


nipper

#14 cookie

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 06:49 PM

And it does seem that Subaru is stepping up to the plate this time.

#15 unibrook

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Posted 10 January 2007 - 12:17 PM

THis brings up a good point. One car got both HG's replaced under warranty...even tho only one HG was leaking. The other car only got the leaky HG replaced. Any consensus on: 1) Whether the car SHOULD get both HGs replaced at same time no matter what? 2) Whether dealers will make you pay for the replacement of the ok HG if you ask them to do it at the same time? thx.

#16 jon38iowa

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Posted 10 January 2007 - 02:02 PM

THis brings up a good point. One car got both HG's replaced under warranty...even tho only one HG was leaking. The other car only got the leaky HG replaced. Any consensus on: 1) Whether the car SHOULD get both HGs replaced at same time no matter what? 2) Whether dealers will make you pay for the replacement of the ok HG if you ask them to do it at the same time? thx.

I say: Both should be replaced at the same time. Short of that,then I would want the dealer to at least agree to replace the original HG if were ever to leak,
regardless of mileage.
My'99 Forester has now had its second rebuild. Ironically it has never had the HG issue, nor the wheel bearing problems so much associated with it.




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