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Guest Message by DevFuse

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'91 Subaru Legacy Head Gasket Advice

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4 replies to this topic

#1 saw


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Posted 06 June 2007 - 10:57 AM

Pretty sure one of my gaskets is shot. Doesn't show any of the classical symptoms - other than occasional overheating - , but have detected carbon monoxide in cooling system.
The car has 196K on it, so the only way I can justify repairing it is if I do it myself.
I'm soliciting advice from those who have done the job.
What am I getting myself into? What are things I should keep an eye out for? What's the worst part of the job?
My Haynes manual says to remove the rocker arm assembly before removing the head. Is this necessary?


#2 outbackusjunkus


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Posted 06 June 2007 - 03:05 PM

If it's a 2.2 you don't have to pull the rockers. They are pretty easy, clean the surfaces well (I use a 3m disk designed to clean gasket surfaces, it goes in a drill and really speeds things up) and follow the torque sequence carefully.

#3 northgeorgiaroo


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Posted 08 June 2007 - 11:23 AM


Replace ALL the timing components at the same time, including water pump. Oil pump, too, if it shows signs of wear. And reseal everything on the front end, if you are doing this with engine in car. (It can be done, I have been told by folks on this board.)

If you take out engine, replace the rear main oil seal, too.

No point in doing a major disassembly job, then having to do it again in 6 months.

Good Luck!

#4 idosubaru


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Posted 08 June 2007 - 12:00 PM

price everything out and do the job right. don't try to do the minimum, do it right and it'll last another 100,000 miles. skip something and you'll be kicking yourself later for wasting the time and money. well i should ask first, what kind of shape is the car in and how long do you want to keep it. if you want another few years out of it, it will make it if you do a complete job now.

take the heads to a shop - $40-$80 to mill and test them. replace both gasket, not just one. replace any and every seal you can while yo'ur ein there. specifically replace - cam seals, oil pump seals (tighten the oil pump screws on the back of the oil pump), and the water pump, and the timing belt. also, check all of your timing belt pulleys. most likely one or more will need replacing, they will be noisey and spin way too freely because they lack grease. for a 1991 non-interference engine like you have i would get a cheap aftermarket Ebay kit and install that, they come with all new pulleys and bearings. yo'ure not likely going to want to spend $400 just on pulleys, so $80 for all new pulleys is still better than your 17 year old stock pulleys with no grease. or...you can regrease them yourself for a few dollars in grease, i have a thread posted on how to do that.

replace the thermostat, radiator hoses and radiator caps and any hose you can find....at least check them thoroughly.

use Subaru only on the headgaskets, intake manifold gaskets and exhaust manifold gaskets and i'm starting to lean towards Subaru only on seals as well.
a head set will include everything you need, including valve stem seals, fuel injector seals, exhaust, intake..etc for a head job. probably really expensive from subaru unfortunately.

for the headgasket, make sure everything is perfectly clean and clean the head bolts and the head bolt holes. air tools are a huge plug you can just run a head bolt in and out of each hole a bunch of times to clean it out. cleaning them by hand is annoying. you can reuse headbolts on soob motors.

#5 nipper


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Posted 08 June 2007 - 03:50 PM

In addition, clean out the radiator before you take the car apart. The reason for this is that everything is still liquid. If you do it after, everything is exposde to air, and that gunk turns to glue. get a new radiator cap.

The sweet thing is that you are doing it before the car cooks. That should make the job really straight forward as far as the odds of the car being 100% when your all done.

Also dont forget to clean the overflow tank, and do an oil change.


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