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Internal HG leak all 4 cyl? No symptoms?


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54 replies to this topic

#1 Scottbaru

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 01:28 PM

My friend just called, we've been trying to diagnose over the phone. His '01 OBW overheated, he figures it's a leaky hose clamp and his not checking the fluid, that caused it. He's had trouble with a misfire when cold, and one gasket was replaced by the dealer a year ago. But no white exhaust smoke, no water in the oil, no bubbles in the coolant. Even after the five-mile drive to the dealership, no symptoms of HG failure. The dealer checked and says internal HG leaks on all four cylinders, possible warped block.

What are the chances of four cylinders leaking and no bubbles in the coolant?

He's taking it to an indy for tear-down, but he's feeling mighty low. He figures $5K-$6k to get it right. He's located an '04 engine, $2k, but we're nervous about that.

#2 grossgary

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 01:48 PM

for those prices he needs to contact CCR - look them up . Colorado Component Rebuilders. get a new engine with warranty, top-notch subaru only rebuilders, they are members here.

a dealer replacing ONE head gasket - i don't know the full story there but if any dealer recommended or offered to do "one head gasket" i would leave immediately and never return until the service department was rid of their stupidity. that's rediculous.

now onto his current situation, i'm wondering if he can even trust the dealer if it's the same one that replaced "one" head gasket. in any event, i highly doubt it's leaking on all 4 cylinders, that is a bit much. but if your friend drove it repeatedly, often or far while overheating it is possible.

"cracked block" is highly unlikely. i've heard of dealers offering this diagnosis and it's more protection than it is truth. really there's no way to gaurantee that the block is not cracked. it rarely does crack and dealers that say this are just protecting themselves. imagine saying "you need new head gaskets" - which is ture 98 percent of the time - and then having an owner come back with a cracked block after spending $1,500 to replace their head gaskets. NOT HAPPY is the result. i think to avoid that many dealers just throw their hands up and say "cracked block". but they are definitely not diagnosing properly because i can't stress enough how odd leaking in all 4 cylinders and having a cracked block would be.

now if your friend drove this thing a lot over heating or hot, then all bets are off.

#3 Scottbaru

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 02:33 PM

Thanks, I have the same suspicions of the dealer. Not that I need a reason to be suspicious of a dealer. I've not had the pleasure of a 2.5 under the hood, so I have no experience with HG failures, but this situation seems unlikely. I'll point him to CCR, that sounds like a good alternative.

#4 nipper

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 02:56 PM

That is unheard of for a subaru unless the engine has been cooked.

How did the dealer determine all 4 cylinders are leaking, usually its just one.

If i was your freind, I would immediatly get a second opinion. Blocks dont warp usually, as they are too massive to do so unless, again, the engine has been cooked or frozen. Usual failure mode (again for a cooked engine) is the cylinder sleeves shift. If this is the case, a connecting rod bearing usually isnt far behind.

Was there a compression test, a cylinder leak down test, a hydrocarbon test, or a vacum gauge hooked up to this engine at all?

Grossgary, if it is all four cylinders low on compression, what you think about a timing issue?

nipper

#5 Scottbaru

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 03:15 PM

An indy suggested an internal coolant leak might've caused hydrolock, possible bent connecting rod. I call bs on that, what says the group?

#6 nipper

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 03:21 PM

An indy suggested an internal coolant leak might've caused hydrolock, possible bent connecting rod. I call bs on that, what says the group?


Is there anything else your not telling us? I may change my mind and assume this engine has been cooked.

Yes its possible. Is it likely, probably not. Only way to really tell anything is to tear the engine apart.

Either way it sounds like this car has MAJOR engine damage of some kind, the kind that you dont normally get from a failed head gasket, without something else majorly going wrong (gee look at all the pretty red lights on the dashbaord, so chrsitmassy - wrong).

You get hydraulic lock more often from driving through deep water.

The dealer may be wrong in his conclusion, but maybe not on the symptons.

nipper

#7 Scottbaru

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 03:34 PM

I just talked to him. He's happy about the CCR recommendation, puts his mind at ease. He says the temp needle pegged in the last block getting home. He opened the radiator and there was no fluid, no steam, and no pressure. He thinks maybe it was totally dry. That might do it. Would the temp even register without coolant flowing? I've had coolant blocked by air in another vehicle, the sensor didn't register heat 'till the bubble passed and hot coolant resumed flow.

#8 nipper

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 03:38 PM

I just talked to him. He's happy about the CCR recommendation, puts his mind at ease. He says the temp needle pegged in the last block getting home. He opened the radiator and there was no fluid, no steam, and no pressure. He thinks maybe it was totally dry. That might do it. Would the temp even register without coolant flowing? I've had coolant blocked by air in another vehicle, the sensor didn't register heat 'till the bubble passed and hot coolant resumed flow.


Cooked.

He had no radiator fluid, but enough in the block. And it was a block that he noticed. Trust me, it had been pegged for much longer then a block.

nipper

#9 Scottbaru

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 07:15 PM

Ok, probably cooked. He's leaning heavily toward ordering the engine and being done with it. I'm not sure what tests could be run, other than pulling the engine and inspecting it. He said it seems to have lost power, but he drove it to the dealership and back, and apparently no head gasket symptoms. If it's cooked, that's testament to what tough little engines these are.

I sent him a link to this thread, he said he'd log on and participate, maybe shed some more details. I thought maybe it got low enough to have an air bubble block coolant flow, but now he's mentioned no steam came out when he opened the cap, unless he meant the reservoir... It's his wife's car, I suppose it could have lost it's coolant somewhat quickly without her noticing.

The car has 63k on it, it'll be a great car with a rebuilt engine. There are a bunch of PM items that can be done easily while it's out, any suggestions there?

#10 nipper

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 07:18 PM

Ok, probably cooked. He's leaning heavily toward ordering the engine and being done with it. I'm not sure what tests could be run, other than pulling the engine and inspecting it. He said it seems to have lost power, but he drove it to the dealership and back, and apparently no head gasket symptoms. If it's cooked, that's testament to what tough little engines these are.

I sent him a link to this thread, he said he'd log on and participate, maybe shed some more details. I thought maybe it got low enough to have an air bubble block coolant flow, but now he's mentioned no steam came out when he opened the cap, unless he meant the reservoir... It's his wife's car, I suppose it could have lost it's coolant somewhat quickly without her noticing.

The car has 63k on it, it'll be a great car with a rebuilt engine. There are a bunch of PM items that can be done easily while it's out, any suggestions there?


Well with a new engine, the only PM thing would be a clutch if it was a stick, otherwise everything else is new.


You may want to think about replacing the radiator, at the very least have it boiled out. Depending upon why it failed, it may be filled with gunk.

nipper

#11 Scottbaru

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 07:31 PM

Good point about the radiator, a cleaning at least is in order. If there's an oil cooler I'd want to make sure no cooked oil got in there. I was figuring he could get all the hard-to-reach hoses and vacuum lines and such renewed.

#12 Mosaic68

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 07:38 PM

Cooked.

He had no radiator fluid, but enough in the block. And it was a block that he noticed. Trust me, it had been pegged for much longer then a block.

nipper


Ok. at most, 2. but I'm gonna stick by 1. We were just headed out on a road trip and turned around. This motor has seen a rough year and has died quietly.

The longer story is that we started having #3 cyl. cell code much earlier in the year - Mid summer. Driver side HG recall was done 2/06, I'm guessing it started leaking (slowly) soon after the recall, wife was bringing into valvoline for oil changes, valvoline most likely topped it off every visit - if the dealer properly filled it to begin (that is working the air bubbles out)- I question this b/c I had to tighten all the fuel hoses b/c of leakage (puddling) and am fairly confident they DIDN'T machine the head or check it for that matter b4 reassembling. Btw, "one head gasket" was meant to be driver or passenger 'side'.

Back to the motor, my guess is that the #3 cylinder is the worse of the four and was the first cylinder to fail since it produced the cel on startup intermittently about mid summer - I originally thought it was spark plug failure. Tried that, I thought it went away after doing that... (I had no idea there would be a connection between the two).

Went on a lengthy stay in Spain in August/Sept, returned, cel for #3 either was there already or re-appeared, but NO other symptoms. Like Scott said, there are NO outward signs that there are HG issues here, except for rough start up and #3 cel. Earlier this summer through to winter, there were no signs! And even then, the signal was a rough idle on startup and #3 cel. Obviously, the HG was ruined once the cel showed, motor probably fried within a month or so?

Nothing until empty radiator in mid november, then after that, EVERY startup was rough.

I'll admit I'm guilty of just letting it run on auto and hadn't grasped the severity of subaru HG issues or subaru sensitivity to coolant air pockets, I've never had slow coolant leaks on past cars, though, I've never had my cars worked on by anyone but ME. Expensive lesson not to be repeated.

I have no idea how the dealer checked each cylinder, probably should have asked, but since I don't want them to touch anything from here out, I'm bringing it to the indi - which I hadn't found until today. I just wanted a quick sanity check. And yes, I'm sure it sounds strange that if I didn't trust them why have them sanity check it, like I said I hadn't located ANY in G.R. up to today that was the least familiar with subies, besides until late last week, I didn't think the motor was as bad as it was...

I'll probably have him run his own diagnostics to the point of confirmation, most likely ordering a motor from CCR (thanks for the tip!!! seriously!!!!!!:clap:). I'm figuring it will be the quickest, most reliable and cheapest option. How long you guys think a shop could turn this around, an afternoon?

I still don't understand how the other obvious symptoms (oil in fluid, fluid in oil, white nasty exhaust, bubbles in reservoir) are missing here and have been missing for the last 6 months. It has run great through all of this and except for start up, still does!!!:confused:

#13 Mosaic68

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 07:40 PM

Well with a new engine, the only PM thing would be a clutch if it was a stick, otherwise everything else is new.


You may want to think about replacing the radiator, at the very least have it boiled out. Depending upon why it failed, it may be filled with gunk.

nipper


Good suggestion, it's an AT car, only 65k mi.

#14 Mosaic68

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 07:42 PM

One question I'd like to educate myself on with CCR, how do I know which phase 2.5L I'm getting?

Was phase 1 DOHC? or are there 2 different SOHC?

I understand '01-'04 are phase II, is this right?

#15 nipper

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 07:53 PM

One question I'd like to educate myself on with CCR, how do I know which phase 2.5L I'm getting?

Was phase 1 DOHC? or are there 2 different SOHC?

I understand '01-'04 are phase II, is this right?


you can always call Emily (CCR) and ask :)

PHASE 1 (Dual Overhead Cam):
Used in:
1996 to 1999 Legacy Outback
1996 to 1999 Legacy GT
1998 Impreza RS
1998 Forester


PHASE 2 (Single Overhead Cam):
Used in:
2000 to present (non-turbo) Legacy Outback
2000 to 2004 Legacy GT
2000 to present Legacy
1999 to present non-turbo Impreza 2.5 (RS, TS, Outback Sport)
1999 to present non-turbo Forester


nipper

#16 Scottbaru

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 08:16 PM

PHASE 2 (Single Overhead Cam):
Used in:
2000 to present (non-turbo) Legacy Outback
2000 to 2004 Legacy GT
2000 to present Legacy
1999 to present non-turbo Impreza 2.5 (RS, TS, Outback Sport)
1999 to present non-turbo Forester


nipper

Didn't they continue tweaking the phase II block a bit over the years? Are there any years that are better? Are there any years that might have differences that might require more effort to swap into an '01?

#17 nipper

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 08:33 PM

There may have been minor tweaks in the engine as a whole, but i am not sure about the blocks. Nothing breathtaking stands out in my memory. If you are going for a CCR engine, it doesnt really matter as long as you order the proper year engine.

I am sure someone will chime in and give more info.

When in doubt call CCR as they know these engines inside out and can tell you for sure.


nipper

#18 Scottbaru

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 09:05 PM

This is probably opening up a can of worms, but what's involved in switching to a 2.2l?

#19 grossgary

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 09:12 PM

man, i missed all the fun. craziness. get on the phone with emily, from CCR, now and she'll help you with EJ25's. realistically speaking you could use a bunch of different EJ25's and you're not going to notice a lick of difference if you just bolt your intake manifold on top of the block. but there's no reason not to get the same year/style EJ25. again you can ask emily but the DOHC i believe has a few more horses, maybe she could comment on extended reliability?

yes, no problem with CCR, they are great i am glad you are going that route.

as far as what happened to this motor, i don't think the initial problems were HG related. you keep saying cylinder 3 CEL - so that was probably a "Cylinder #3 misfire" code. if that's the case, that is almost always related to the ignition. in my experience it is usually the spark plug wires and could be the plugs or ignition coil itself. on EJ engines only, the wires must be Subaru only and the plugs should definitely be NGK only. i've seen brand new ones cause cylinder misfire codes on EJ engines and it's well known amongst Subaru boards and wire manufacturers like Magnecor that the EJ motors are not very forgiving when it comes to plugs and wires. so i think your CEL was something ignition related, not the head gasket.

head gasket failures get worse rather quickly, except the "typical" failures that you 01 year sees, they leak externally and can be driven for extended periods of time with no overheating unless it gets low on coolant. another interesting tid-bit is that your 01 style EJ25 does not typically leak internally, they leak externally down the back side of the head to block mating area. the 1996-1999 EJ25's leak internally, later years leak externally. those earlier years also overheat immediately and get worse very quickly. so that even makes me think more that this wasn't a head gasket, at least not in the past.

now what happened recently, the loss of coolant, i have no idea what happened there but you're positive there was no external leaking?

#20 Mosaic68

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 09:38 PM

now what happened recently, the loss of coolant, i have no idea what happened there but you're positive there was no external leaking?


no puddles under the car... if that's what you mean. nothing obvious, no.

Guess I learned something with HG failures here, didn't know they go bad so quickly. Either way, I will be monitoring both of our subies MUCH more frequently and regularly...

I'll have to say, ya gotta love forums.

#21 grossgary

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 09:56 PM

HEY - is this vehicle still qualified for Subaru's extended head gasket replacement campaign - that's up to 100,000 miles on some 2000-2002 EJ25's...sounds like his may be???

Just for giggles you might want to check the backside of your engine assembly. The external leaks like your 2001 have are very obvious but do not necessarily cause puddles on the ground. They actually leak very slow at the rear of the engine and run down the back of the engine. It can run down the engine, motor mounts, cross member and burn off before really hitting the ground.

My guess is the old stuff is ignition related and the newest stuff is a different problem - loss of coolant was an external leak that was slow and went unnoticed until the coolant level dropped too much. hard to say over the internet without seeing anything, but based on EJ's and 2001...and what i'm reading i think that's the most likely scenario .

Your 2001 is a candidate for the Subaru coolant additive, it should have had the coolant additive added to it (that is for 2000 - 2002 EJ25's, not earlier ones).

#22 nipper

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 09:56 PM

no puddles under the car... if that's what you mean. nothing obvious, no.

Guess I learned something with HG failures here, didn't know they go bad so quickly. Either way, I will be monitoring both of our subies MUCH more frequently and regularly...

I'll have to say, ya gotta love forums.


Actually its any modern engine, overheating can go so terribly wrong so very fast. Learn to scan the dash board regularly, thats what the temp gauge is for.

nipper

#23 grossgary

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 09:58 PM

I'll have to say, ya gotta love forums.

no joke, that is literally how i learned just about everything. no family or friends here worked on cars, it was learn as you go for me. certainly made it fun, lots of learning the hard way too.

as for a few posts ago about swapping to an EJ22 - that is an option.

#24 nipper

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 10:02 PM

no joke, that is literally how i learned just about everything. no family or friends here worked on cars, it was learn as you go for me. certainly made it fun, lots of learning the hard way too.

as for a few posts ago about swapping to an EJ22 - that is an option.


What no pictures?


hehehehehehe

nipper

#25 Scottbaru

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 07:10 AM

Excellent info so far, thanks. This is kind of what these forums are best at: helping an enthusiast make the best of an odd circumstance. Most of us will never need to change an engine, so those who do usually have to figure it out as they go, no previous experience. It'd be a bummer to find out a month from now he could've spent a little more and gotten a much better engine, had he only known.

Is there a front tranny seal that might be wise to spend a couple bucks and a few minutes changing? How about an inner CV boot, do these fail within 100k? Are they significantly easier to change with the engine out? If so he should take a close look at their condition. Where would be a good place to price out a complete set of coolant hoses front and back?




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