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99 Sub - blown HG - What to do?


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15 replies to this topic

#1 cbrightb

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 03:12 PM

I have a 99 Subaru Outback Wagon with 77 K and a blown head gasket. This came as quite a surprise as I have driven Toyotas or Hondas for over 20 years to high mileage with minimal problems.

What to do? Take it to my normal repair folks whom I trust but have never been down deep into a subaru engine. A mechanic there is willing to work on it and estimated about 1450 to replace both including machining the heads. A subaru dealer (who obviously has done lots of these) wanted 1900-2000 to replace both also sending them out for machining. Two other dealers gave variiations, saying usually all they require is cleaning not machining, also they were willing to do one for around 800.

I don't know whom to trust and how many more problems I am looking at down the road for this vehicle.....Thanks

#2 zyewdall

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 03:24 PM

Search for threads on head gaskets -- there are tons of them. I think you've got one of the infamous phase I 2.5 liter engines -- roughly 10-15% have head gasket problems. It's actually a problem with the head gasket itself, so once you have a new improved gasket put in, it shouldn't happen again. Unless it's been overheated because of the blown head gasket, I should think that machining the head is not needed, just a new gasket, but you should see what other people here think.

#3 rweddy

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 03:35 PM

Search for threads on head gaskets -- there are tons of them. I think you've got one of the infamous phase I 2.5 liter engines -- roughly 10-15% have head gasket problems. It's actually a problem with the head gasket itself, so once you have a new improved gasket put in, it shouldn't happen again. Unless it's been overheated because of the blown head gasket, I should think that machining the head is not needed, just a new gasket, but you should see what other people here think.

I agree, change them out and you should be fine without machine work.

FYI many Hondas are notorious for blowing them at 150k, and Toyota has had major issues with both 3.0 and current 3.4 blowing them too. Welcome to the world of Aluminum motors.

#4 nipper

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 04:44 PM

Just for giggles, talk to the dealer. There is some sort of extented warrenty on some years for head gaskets up to 100K miles. it couldnt hurt.

look at this .. i realize its a year newer but may still apply
http://www.ultimates...ead.php?t=50753


nipper

#5 OB99W

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 05:36 PM

I have a 99 Subaru Outback Wagon with 77 K and a blown head gasket. This came as quite a surprise as I have driven Toyotas or Hondas for over 20 years to high mileage with minimal problems.
[...]
I don't know whom to trust and how many more problems I am looking at down the road for this vehicle.....Thanks

I suspect it's less important who does it then how they do it. The heads can be cleaned, checked for flatness, and if out of spec, machined. Do make sure that whomever does the job uses the latest gaskets, and precisely follows the current head bolt tightening recommendations.

#6 outback_97

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 06:17 PM

Just for giggles, talk to the dealer. There is some sort of extented warrenty on some years for head gaskets up to 100K miles. it couldnt hurt.

look at this .. i realize its a year newer but may still apply
http://www.ultimates...ead.php?t=50753

nipper


I agree it couldn't hurt to talk to the dealer, but the MY2000 vehicle in that thread has a different engine (Phase 2) and is apparently covered by the WWP-99 coolant conditioner service bulletin that Subaru initiated. Totally different scenario just between 1999 and 2000: Phase 1 vs. Phase 2, DOHC vs. SOHC, internal HG failure vs. external. These questions come up so often but a lot of people are confused about the distinctions between the two phases and which is covered by what, etc.

So... this link (which still needs some work but is mostly done) explains the differences in HG problems between the two phases of the 2.5l engine:
http://users.sisna.c.../subaru/hg.html

There is a thread suggesting making this type of information into a sticky, I think that's a great idea (and have posted the above link there) but it hasn't gotten much feedback. Josh (Legacy777) did create a general sticky for New Gen threads, if people feel the above link is useful then maybe we should add it to the sticky thread.

Steve

#7 nipper

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 06:25 PM

I agree it couldn't hurt to talk to the dealer, but the MY2000 vehicle in that thread has a different engine (Phase 2) and is apparently covered by the WWP-99 coolant conditioner service bulletin that Subaru initiated. Totally different scenario just between 1999 and 2000: Phase 1 vs. Phase 2, DOHC vs. SOHC, internal HG failure vs. external. These questions come up so often but a lot of people are confused about the distinctions between the two phases and which is covered by what, etc.

So... this link (which still needs some work but is mostly done) explains the differences in HG problems between the two phases of the 2.5l engine:
http://users.sisna.c.../subaru/hg.html

There is a thread suggesting making this type of information into a sticky, I think that's a great idea (and have posted the above link there) but it hasn't gotten much feedback. Josh (Legacy777) did create a general sticky for New Gen threads, if people feel the above link is useful then maybe we should add it to the sticky thread.

Steve


*nipper gets the glue*

It should be a sticky, and Torque Bind

nipper

#8 color-blind

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 06:33 PM

Find yourself a local Subaru specialist, and have them take care of it for you. The heads normally only need to be surfaced, be sure the shop uses factory gaskets. In addition make sure the shop pulls the engine. This way you can have the rear seperator plate replaced at the same time. Also the rear crankshaft oil seal and the o-ring. In addition be sure to replace all 4 cam seals, front crank seal, oil pump o-ring, water pump, thermostat and timing belt. This is not a job for someone that does not specialize in Subaru vehicles. If they use aftermarket gaskets or make a mistake with the torque procedure you'll get to have it done over. Also make sure the shop is capable of adjusting the valves, this should be done when the heads are installed. Good luck.

#9 cookie

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 07:41 PM

This is a job for a Subaru shop. If you follow his reccomendations you are good to go for years.

#10 Gnuman

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 07:53 PM

cbrightb, where are you? I do exactly thjis service on every DOHC 2.5 L engine we get in the shop. along with the timing belt (yours should have 30K left on it though). Once this is done the car should be good for years of minimal service (oil changes, rotate the tires, etc)

#11 cbrightb

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 11:16 AM

I am in PA and it appears as though you are in CA so that doesn't look to be a very good option.

Based on what I have seen and read on this site, I guess I just bite the bullet and get it fixed. I have found a repair shop that works on foreign cars and has done 4 of them in the last couple of months. He said having the coolant changed frequently seems to be a critical key and that the coolant breaks down and affects the gaskets over time. Hope he is giving me good info. I thought I was seeing recommendations for an coolant additive, which I think they were using on the newer engines.

Just hoping it won't occur again once I get it fixed.

cbrightb, where are you? I do exactly thjis service on every DOHC 2.5 L engine we get in the shop. along with the timing belt (yours should have 30K left on it though). Once this is done the car should be good for years of minimal service (oil changes, rotate the tires, etc)



#12 rweddy

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 12:04 PM

I am in PA and it appears as though you are in CA so that doesn't look to be a very good option.

Based on what I have seen and read on this site, I guess I just bite the bullet and get it fixed. I have found a repair shop that works on foreign cars and has done 4 of them in the last couple of months. He said having the coolant changed frequently seems to be a critical key and that the coolant breaks down and affects the gaskets over time. Hope he is giving me good info. I thought I was seeing recommendations for an coolant additive, which I think they were using on the newer engines.

Just hoping it won't occur again once I get it fixed.

If they use the re-designed HG you should be fine. And for safety change your coolant every 24 months, or really anal every 12 months.

#13 Downbound

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 03:52 PM

I am in PA and it appears as though you are in CA so that doesn't look to be a very good option.

Based on what I have seen and read on this site, I guess I just bite the bullet and get it fixed. I have found a repair shop that works on foreign cars and has done 4 of them in the last couple of months. He said having the coolant changed frequently seems to be a critical key and that the coolant breaks down and affects the gaskets over time. Hope he is giving me good info. I thought I was seeing recommendations for an coolant additive, which I think they were using on the newer engines.

Just hoping it won't occur again once I get it fixed.



Here is the service note from subaru regarding the hg and coolant addititve. Once you get this issue resolved you should get thousands and thousands of miles of superior driving from your roo. Good luck
Service Program WWP-99

February 2004

Dear Subaru Owner:

This email is sent to you in the interest of continued customer satisfaction. Subaru of America recently announced a campaign on certain model year vehicles starting in 1999 through 2002. Official Owner Notification Letters will be mailed to all affected customers starting in late February through May of 2004. The timing of the mailings is based on the vehicle model year, starting with oldest affected model year in February through the newest affected model years in May. The following text is similar to that contained in the Official Owner Notification Letter that will be sent to you during the mailing phase affecting your vehicle. Therefore, this email is most likely arriving before most owners will receive their official Owner Notification Letter in the mail. Please do not schedule your vehicle for an appointment for this campaign until after you have received your Official Owner Notification Letter, unless you are experiencing vehicle problems. You can contact your local Subaru dealer for any questions related to this or e-mail us at Subaru.com, contact us.


CAMPAIGN MESSAGE
As a precautionary measure, SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC. is recommending that a special conditioner be added to the engine cooling system of certain 1999 through 2002 model year Subaru vehicles equipped with 2.5 liter engines. This recommendation, which applies to your Subaru vehicle, is made to prevent a possible external coolant leak at your vehicle’s engine cylinder head gaskets.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO
Once you receive your official Owner Notification Letter in the mail, you should contact your Subaru Dealer as soon as possible for an appointment to have the Subaru Cooling System Conditioner added at no cost to you. The approximate time to perform this operation is 15 minutes. However, it may be necessary to leave your vehicle the full day of your scheduled appointment to allow your dealer flexibility in scheduling. Please present the official notification letter to your Subaru Dealer at the time this repair procedure is performed.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Your vehicle’s engine cooling system contains liquid coolant/anti-freeze. Over time, it is possible for small external coolant leaks to develop at the engine cylinder head gaskets. This is the result of normal expansion and contraction of engine components caused by the heating and cooling of these parts. To prevent coolant leaks from developing or to correct existing leaks at the head gaskets, a special Subaru Cooling System Conditioner should be added to your vehicle’s cooling system.

FUTURE MAINTENANCE
In the future, it will be necessary to add Genuine Subaru Cooling System Conditioner to your vehicle’s cooling system whenever the engine coolant is replaced. The recommended service interval for coolant replacement can be found in your Warranty and Maintenance Booklet under the heading "Schedule of Inspection and Maintenance Services". As a reminder, with the official owner notification mailing, we will include an update page that should be added to your Owner’s Manual and Warranty and Maintenance Booklet. We ask you to keep in mind that replacement of fluids (including Subaru Cooling System Conditioner) during inspection and maintenance services is not covered under warranty.

WARRANTY EXTENSION
Once you receive your notification letter, you should have this Service Program repair performed promptly. If so, Subaru will extend coverage under the Subaru Limited Warranty on your vehicle for cylinder head gasket external coolant leaks to a period of 8 years or 100,000 miles, whichever occurs first. Warranty coverage begins on the date the vehicle was delivered to the first retail purchaser. If the vehicle was used as a demonstrator or company vehicle before being sold at retail, warranty coverage begins on the date the vehicle was first placed in such service. As a further condition for this extended warranty coverage to apply, you must have Genuine Subaru Cooling System Conditioner added to your vehicle at any subsequent cooling system services at the interval specified in the Warranty and Maintenance Booklet under the heading "Schedule of Inspection and Maintenance Services". Resulting damage caused by a lack of maintenance or low coolant level will not be covered.

CHANGED YOUR ADDRESS OR SOLD YOUR SUBARU?
If you have moved or sold your vehicle, please reply to this message with your Vehicle Identification Number and your updated information.

IF YOU HAVE PREVIOUSLY PAID FOR A RELATED REPAIR
In the event that you have already paid an authorized Subaru Dealer for repairs to remedy an external coolant leak in an engine cylinder head gasket at less than 100,000 miles and your Subaru’s cooling system has been properly maintained, you may be entitled to reimbursement forthe head gasket replacement costs. Any reimbursement by Subaru will be based on our suggested retail parts pricing and suggested labor time multiplied by the dealer’s hourly labor rate at the time of repair. Because Subaru Dealers are independently owned and operated, Subaru of America has no control over the actual charges. The actual repair cost may be higher or lower than the rate used by Subaru of America to calculate reimbursement. If lower, reimbursement will be limited to the amount you actually paid. Please send the ORIGINAL service repair order, which has complete information including the name of the repair facility, date of repair, mileage at the time of repair, complete vehicle identification number (17 digits), and your name, with correct mailing address and telephone number to the address listed below.

Subaru of America, Inc.
Customer Dealer Service Department
Attention: Service Program WWP-99
P.O. Box 6000
Cherry Hill, NJ 08034-6000

Please send original receipts only and retain a photocopy for your records. Please be assured that we will attempt to process your reimbursement request as quickly as possible, but may take up to 120 days for this process to be completed.

IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM
Should you have any questions regarding this customer service program, please contact your nearest Subaru Dealer. To locate the nearest Subaru Dealer you can access our Website at

and select "Find a Dealer". Or, you may call us at 1-800-SUBARU3 (1-800-782-2783) during normal business hours for assistance. Please call us immediately if the dealer fails or is unable to make the necessary repairs free of charge or write to the address listed in this email.

Again, this email is possibly being sent before you will receive your official owner notification. Therefore, we would appreciate it if you would wait until that time to have the service campaign completed. Your continued satisfaction with your Subaru is important to us. Please understand that we have taken this action in the interest of your vehicle’s proper operation and we have staged the owner letters in phases so that Subaru dealers can perform this service within a reasonable time frame. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this matter may cause you.

Sincerely,

SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC.


#14 Yussi

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 03:38 PM

Greetings,

Would anyone know an independent mechanic on Oahu in Hawaii who would have experience in doing the Legacy head gasket job? I bought a 97 Legacy Outback Ltd with an overheating problem and all signs point to a head gasket issue. The problem is that dealers quote $3000+ for the job.

Thanks for any help!

#15 Slegacy96

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 12:05 AM

FYI many Hondas are notorious for blowing them at 150k....



Oh Ive seen sooner than that. Especially in the Legend. Everybody who has those now is facing this problem.

#16 nipper

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 08:26 PM

Oh Ive seen sooner than that. Especially in the Legend. Everybody who has those now is facing this problem.


my civic blew it at 149,950 miles :(... loved that car too, that was before i discovered subarus. That was a 79 civic, so they never really fixed the issue. My best freind had a civic with 130K on the cartold him about it, so he bought a new car (a sooby)

nipper




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