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2000 Outback Limited Wagon Headgasket


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12 replies to this topic

#1 dfeck

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 10:35 AM

I have a 2000 Outback wagon with 104K miles on it. I took it in yesterday for an oil change and an oil leak from passenger side engine area. Yes, the dreaded head gasket leak problem. First, let me say that the car has NEVER overheated and there's no radiator fluid smell or leak on the ground. There's also no visable oil leaking on the floor of my garage. Just that the oil is wet on the engine and looking underneath the car I notice oil "wetness" under the engine but not enough to leak on the ground. I also noticed oil on the spark plug wires a few months ago from that side of the engine so I believe the oil has been seeping for some time. I will probably have the HG repaired but how long do I have before total failure of the HG? The dealer cost of the repair is $1400. They say it's 12 hours labor which is what the "book" says. I know that MANY repairs are done well under the "book" times. Will this job from a certified Subaru repair shop really require 12 hours??

Thanks,
Doug

#2 mwatt

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 10:41 AM

I have a 2000 Outback wagon with 104K miles on it. I took it in yesterday for an oil change and an oil leak from passenger side engine area. Yes, the dreaded head gasket leak problem. First, let me say that the car has NEVER overheated and there's no radiator fluid smell or leak on the ground. There's also no visable oil leaking on the floor of my garage. Just that the oil is wet on the engine and looking underneath the car I notice oil "wetness" under the engine but not enough to leak on the ground. I also noticed oil on the spark plug wires a few months ago from that side of the engine so I believe the oil has been seeping for some time. I will probably have the HG repaired but how long do I have before total failure of the HG? The dealer cost of the repair is $1400. They say it's 12 hours labor which is what the "book" says. I know that MANY repairs are done well under the "book" times. Will this job from a certified Subaru repair shop really require 12 hours??

Thanks,
Doug


You should consider getting a second opinion. I thought head gaskets tended to leak antifreeze, not motor oil. Another technician should look carefully at the cam cover gasket (the cam covers bolt onto the cylinder head--they're also called "valve covers" on older cars) and the little seals that go under each cam cover bolt. Those items tend to leak oil more often than a head gasket.........

#3 mwatt

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 10:42 AM

I have a 2000 Outback wagon with 104K miles on it. I took it in yesterday for an oil change and an oil leak from passenger side engine area. Yes, the dreaded head gasket leak problem. First, let me say that the car has NEVER overheated and there's no radiator fluid smell or leak on the ground. There's also no visable oil leaking on the floor of my garage. Just that the oil is wet on the engine and looking underneath the car I notice oil "wetness" under the engine but not enough to leak on the ground. I also noticed oil on the spark plug wires a few months ago from that side of the engine so I believe the oil has been seeping for some time. I will probably have the HG repaired but how long do I have before total failure of the HG? The dealer cost of the repair is $1400. They say it's 12 hours labor which is what the "book" says. I know that MANY repairs are done well under the "book" times. Will this job from a certified Subaru repair shop really require 12 hours??

Thanks,
Doug


(posted twice by mistake)

#4 nipper

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 10:52 AM

I have a 2000 Outback wagon with 104K miles on it. I took it in yesterday for an oil change and an oil leak from passenger side engine area. Yes, the dreaded head gasket leak problem. First, let me say that the car has NEVER overheated and there's no radiator fluid smell or leak on the ground. There's also no visable oil leaking on the floor of my garage. Just that the oil is wet on the engine and looking underneath the car I notice oil "wetness" under the engine but not enough to leak on the ground. I also noticed oil on the spark plug wires a few months ago from that side of the engine so I believe the oil has been seeping for some time. I will probably have the HG repaired but how long do I have before total failure of the HG? The dealer cost of the repair is $1400. They say it's 12 hours labor which is what the "book" says. I know that MANY repairs are done well under the "book" times. Will this job from a certified Subaru repair shop really require 12 hours??


Thanks,
Doug

HG leak antifreeze, not oil. The oil galleys arent close to the edge of the block. You have a leaking seal or a loose valve cover gasket. 1400 is a good dealer price, but i feel you dont have HG issue.
Oil on the sparkplug... you have a loose or leaking valve cover gasket. Check to make sure its tight. Worse case is you need a VC gasket, which means you live with it untill it gets bad, or the next tune up.
Keep an eye on your oil, but i think you have nothing to fear aside from an overly hungry stealership.

nipper

#5 mtsmiths

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 10:58 AM

Total agreement, that's why we call 'em 'stealerships' ... someone has a boat payment due.

Have you done the 'Subaru Goo' recall, did they even TELL you about?

#6 hohieu

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 11:06 AM

You're getting good advice. The spark plug well seals also tend to leak -- 3 of the 4 on my engine (the same 2.5 SOHC that is in your car) were leaking a little bit of oil when I changed my spark plugs so I just tightened the valve covers down a bit.

I'll swap the seals when I have time to adjust the valve clearance. If you decide to replace your valve cover gaskets, you may as well have the valve clearance checked and adjusted at the same time. They are the screw adjuster type and shouldn't take more than 2 hours of labor.

#7 dfeck

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 12:22 PM

Thank's for all the feedback! Is it NOT possible for a Subaru HG to leak oil instead of antifreeze? I've talked to a few friends and they tell me that it may leak oil if the oil chamber is closest to the outside of the head. They don't own Subaru's so I'm not sure if they're correct in their statements.

Doug

#8 nipper

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 04:10 PM

Thank's for all the feedback! Is it NOT possible for a Subaru HG to leak oil instead of antifreeze? I've talked to a few friends and they tell me that it may leak oil if the oil chamber is closest to the outside of the head. They don't own Subaru's so I'm not sure if they're correct in their statements.

Doug


The typical thing is oil in the antifreeze, but that would show up along with over heating, lack of heat, and exhaust gasses in the coolant.
They are making correct statements, but that statement doesnt apply to subaru.
Also one of the first step in finding an oil leak (if it is not massive or obvious) is to clean the engine. If they did not clean your engine then send you on your way for a week, they dont know what they are doing.
I think your are just fine. You have a good solid car.

nipper

#9 shiplombo

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 05:42 PM

dfeck , I'd be interested in hearing how you have proceeded with this issue. I am in a similar situation. Took our 2001 Outback 2.5l to the dealership to have the 60k service done. I took it there because we had a relatively good experience with this particular dealership after needing extensive suspension/front end work done after an accident a few months ago which luckily was covered by insurance. So we go through the 60k service and the come and tell us that we have "major" oil leaks from both HG's, oil has leaked on spark plug wires, etc. Say we need them replaced, for the low price of ... $2700 what a deal. They offer up little to NO information on the issue, I have to ask repeated questions to get any kind of info whatsoever. Oh we need a new clutch, too (at only 67,000 miles...)
So they say they tested the leak with a dye and determined it was the HG's but oil in the spark plugs/wires would mean a Valve Cover leak, no? I was very skeptical of the dealership after the horrible customer service I received in this case -- failed to explain what they found, made NO mention of the coolant additive (which they put in when the flushed the cooling system), made no mention of the WP-99, etc.

Currently waiting to take it into an independent shop who seems to be reputable with Suba service as well as other Japanese cars. Keeping an eye on the oil level, engine temp, etc.

I'm just glad we havent had an issue (so far) with the coolant leakage. I mean, cars in general, but especially Japanese cars, leak oil to some extent. Hopefully we dont end up finding out something else, or something worse is going on down there from the other mechanic....

#10 cookie

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 06:12 PM

Valve covers leak oil, so do seals. Dealerships can be a pain in the butt. even if you had a leaking head gasket, which you probably don't both engine should fallinto the ones that are warrnateed by the recall no? My 1999 Forester did and if I recall myself correctly that was for up to 2001.
the recall meant that if you install Subaru goop you are covered for 100,000 miles.
Install the goop to be sure and get the new valve cover gaskets and seals you actually need.

#11 shiplombo

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 06:32 PM

"goop" ... meaning the coolant additive?

and Ive spoken with Subaru USA and they only cover coolant leaking from the HG's. They were willing to cover $800 of the cost to replace the HG's as a "goodwill gesture." laff. What a half-assed explanation they give of the "issue" with the HG's. "what we have found is that the heat transfer issue involved with the headgaskets occurs only on the coolant side of the seal." I'm waiting to hear a second opinion (next week), then I will proceed with griping to Subaru if I get confirmation I need the HG's replaced.

#12 nipper

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 06:47 PM

Valve covers leak oil, so do seals. Dealerships can be a pain in the butt. even if you had a leaking head gasket, which you probably don't both engine should fallinto the ones that are warrnateed by the recall no? My 1999 Forester did and if I recall myself correctly that was for up to 2001.
the recall meant that if you install Subaru goop you are covered for 100,000 miles.
Install the goop to be sure and get the new valve cover gaskets and seals you actually need.


valve cover gaskets .... make sure the covers are tight first.

nipper

#13 cookie

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 10:20 AM

I'm leaking a little oil down there myself in spite of new seals and head gaskets 30,000 miles ago. I would not have noticed other than when I changed my oil I could see evidence of seepage and one drip ready to drop from the timing belt cover.
I'm just leaving my underpan off for a few days while I watch it to see if I should go in and deal with seals.
Any of you guys ever just leave the under pan off? It takes me longer to remove it than change the oil. I'm thinking of cutting a big hole in it for the filter so I don't have to pull it.




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