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Need Advice on 01 Legacy Head Gasket


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15 replies to this topic

#1 RedRum

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 03:04 PM

I just brought my 2001 Legacy L in for a timing belt change. It is at 102K miles and it is recommended for 105K. I was quoted $400 for the timing belt, water pump, and thermostat. I have never used this place before but they only do subarus and have a pretty nice shop. When I called to ask if they were finished and when I could pick up the car they told me there were other problems they found while working on it. They said the oil pump was leaking and the left cylinder head was leaking. He told me it would be an additional $50 for the oil pump and an additional $1000-$1200 for the head gaskets. I have never see a drop of fluid in my driveway and never had any issues with overheating or anything. Is the fix worth it? Is he taking me for a ride? I thought head gasket issues with the 2.5 were fixed in the SOHC versions after 2000. The guy told me there were issues up to 2003 and that he would use the new material head gasket from subaru that should last the life of the car.

#2 mtsmiths

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 03:23 PM

I just brought my 2001 Legacy L in for a timing belt change. It is at 102K miles and it is recommended for 105K. I was quoted $400 for the timing belt, water pump, and thermostat. I have never used this place before but they only do subarus and have a pretty nice shop. When I called to ask if they were finished and when I could pick up the car they told me there were other problems they found while working on it. They said the oil pump was leaking and the left cylinder head was leaking. He told me it would be an additional $50 for the oil pump and an additional $1000-$1200 for the head gaskets. I have never see a drop of fluid in my driveway and never had any issues with overheating or anything. Is the fix worth it? Is he taking me for a ride? I thought head gasket issues with the 2.5 were fixed in the SOHC versions after 2000. The guy told me there were issues up to 2003 and that he would use the new material head gasket from subaru that should last the life of the car.


Where, exactly is 'the left cylinder head leaking'? External? Get Subaru Goo, Internal, ask to see the compression check that verifies that claim. Sounds bogus to me. Have him fix the oil pump, and thanks but no thanks on the HG. keep your receipts in a safe place for future legal action and find another mechanic. The T-belt was reasonable, buit did he do new seals (at least) and maybe should do tensioners and water pump since you're in there ... although we didn't do eeither and we're at 185,000 in our 2000.

I smell 'boat payment'.

#3 grossgary

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 03:37 PM

that you never had problems before smells of

A: them trying to rip you off
B: they didn't burp the system and overheated your vehicle after installing the new water pump. whoops..we overheated and his gasket is seeping, well good thing these 2.5's are "known" for head gasket issues, we'll blame it on that.

now...i'm making accusations based on your story that it's never overheated or had any signs or issues. if that's the case, i don't trust this story one bit.

they're basically telling you that you won the lottery statistically speaking. the chances that it JUST started leaking the day or two before you took it in, just soon enough that it never had a chance to overheat until the 2 miles THEY happen to drive it....yeah right, come on dudes. or, are you sure it never overheated? could you have missed it?

do a search on this forum. often people don't get all the air out of the system on these EJ motors after having the cooling system apart (and they had yours all apart for the water pump job). the air bubbles cause issues and the car can overheat...again do a search and you'll see numerous cases of this. seems unlikely they'd overheat it and blow the gasket...but i think that's more likely that the "mystical event" that it was leaking and you didn't notice.

there are some examples of post-2000 headgasket issues. i don't know the exact dates.

#4 rweddy

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 04:39 PM

I thought head gasket issues with the 2.5 were fixed in the SOHC versions after 2000. The guy told me there were issues up to 2003 and that he would use the new material head gasket from subaru that should last the life of the car.

There are still HG issues with SOHC 2.5 motor, might be fixed in 03+ but jury is still out. My father-in-laws 02 blew the HG at 35k, covered by warrenty.

#5 msmithmmx

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 04:57 PM

Do not do the HG work. Just add a coolant additive from the dealer.

#6 RedRum

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 05:29 PM

He said the compression was OK and it was an external leak. He had originally said it would be $400 for the timing belt including new water pump, thermostat, and seals. Then he added $50 for the oil pump seal. He had said it would be $1000 extra for the head gasket:eek:. I told him never mind the head gasket and just to the Tbelt and stuff for $450. He said since he already had it half apart and in there he would do the head gaskets for $550 to make it an even $1000. I am soft and I told him to do it. In the end it was $1012 for head gaskets, timing belt, water pump, oil pump gasket, valve cover gaskets, coolant, oil, thermostat, and a couple other seals. :-\
I guess if the head gasket was on the way out I got a damned good deal. If not, I spent $1K on a timing belt job. :mad:

#7 cookie

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 05:46 PM

it's kind of hard to say. I bet it did weep a bit, mine did. They did not have the additive at the time my car weeped so I had new head gaskets fitted. then when the additive came out i used that too. to Subaru's credit they stepped up to the plate for the ehad gaskets and I bout the car used and out of warranty.
I feel better with the post 03 gaskets, but if it happened again I'd try the sealer first.

#8 svxpert

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 05:51 PM

<<He said since he already had it half apart and in there he would do the head gaskets for $550 to make it an even $1000.>>

he probably put the $20 conditioner in charged you $550!:mad:

#9 rweddy

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 06:00 PM

<<He said since he already had it half apart and in there he would do the head gaskets for $550 to make it an even $1000.>>

he probably put the $20 conditioner in charged you $550!:mad:

Be sure to ask for the old parts, including old gaskets.
Keeps them honest.

#10 RedRum

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 06:08 PM

Thanks for the advice guys. I am going to pick it up now. I wish I had have been better prepared. Does that additive conditioner stuff really work? I have an 05 with the same 2.5 engine so I may come accross this issue again. Starting to envy my brother with is 2.2 in his old legacy.

#11 grossgary

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 06:19 PM

i think you're out of range with the '05, so you should be okay.

for only $1,000 you made out good if he really did replace the head gaskets. that is awesome if he did it right. for that price, you're best just to get it done. most mechanics would never give you that kind of deal for doing the entire front end work (t belt, water pump, seals) and the gaskets/covers, etc. that's normally a $1,500 - $2,000 job for all of that.

my cousin got quoted $699 just for the timing belt/water pump stuff you just mentioned (same 2.5 motor). i did it for cost of parts (WAY less!)

#12 cookie

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 06:23 PM

I think that's a pretty good deal too. I have not heard of any real late models leaking myself but it will happen in Canada first as the cold seem to do it. I'm not use I'd add goop to one of those until I heard of some leaking.

#13 mtsmiths

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 06:47 PM

I think that's a pretty good deal too. I have not heard of any real late models leaking myself but it will happen in Canada first as the cold seem to do it. I'm not use I'd add goop to one of those until I heard of some leaking.


Well, our 2000 has endured winter temps of down to -27 deg F, and we're at 185,000 miles with nor leaks internal OR external. We DID do the Subagoo 'fix'.

#14 msmithmmx

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 08:35 PM

My 2.2 had a bad external leak. I added the 2 dollar Subaru additive and it was gone, its been 10K miles. Head gaskets for 550 is a great deal, just ask for the old gaskets.

#15 RedRum

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 01:12 PM

I got the reciept and it includes 2 genuine subaru head gaskets, oil pump seal, water pump and gasket, thermostat and gasket, timing belt, valve cover gaskets, accessory belt, coolant, synthetic oil, oil filter, and a some other stuff.

#16 mtsmiths

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 01:45 PM

I got the reciept and it includes 2 genuine subaru head gaskets, oil pump seal, water pump and gasket, thermostat and gasket, timing belt, valve cover gaskets, accessory belt, coolant, synthetic oil, oil filter, and a some other stuff.


Well, at $550 for a full headgasketectomy and replacement, even if you didn't 'really' need it, it's worth it for the peace of mind. You'll never have to worry about THAT one again!




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