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leaking head gasket on 2000 2.5RS with 60k -cause for alarm?

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Looking to get a subaru impreza, found a nice one used . Just got the inspection back from AAA and they noted hydrocarbons in the radiator (89hcs), and suspect a leaking head gasket.


Is this a normal wear item, and something to be expected on a car with 60k on it? Everything else on the car (with the exception of a valve cover theat 'appears' to be leaking) passed very well. Passed CA smog even with the head gasket issue.


Saw in a couple other threads that the head gasket was an issue on older (pre 98?) engines, but for this year not so much. I'm wondering if just taking it to the dealer and having it repaired before I buy the car is a smart move, or if this is a sign of things to come.


I'd love to hear anyone's 2c on the matter.



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i'm starting to see it more often on the phase II

2.5L engines as well as the Phase I


looks like we're going to have head gasket issues

on the Phase II as well.


that is an expensive fix.....

and if this is a dealer car

MAKE THEM FIX IT... dont touch it until it's been repaired.



my pal has an 00 impreza with about 80k miles on it.

same issue :(


hope that doesnt happen to my 01 RS (65k miles)

anytime soon!!! :-\


good luck to you


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go buy a lottery ticket, because you just got real lucky! hopefully you haven't bought the car yet, but this is something you definately want the seller to fix. like subiegal said, repairs are expensive, probably at least $700 and can easily go much higher, depending if the heads have warped. you want the seller to change both head gaskets, too. if one has blown it is definately justified to change the other.


imho, head gaskets shouldn't be an issue on a car with 60k, but that's a different issue...

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first, thanks for the replies.


The car is from a private seller. And he's taking the car in to the dealer next week to get it looked at.


If my memory serves me correct, when I saw this in the past on other cars, it was usually due to overheating of the engine. I skimmed the other posts about the head gaskets on the site, but I don't remember seeing that as the cause listed. So, two more questions for you all:


What seems to be the cause of this for the othe's who have had this happen? Overheating/shoddy manufacturing/Owner abuse?


And most importantly, if the seller has the dealer fix all of the issues that they find, be it both side gaskets up to and including new head, is it ok to puchase vehicle that has had this work done? Or is this a danger sign of things to come?

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the vote seems to be out on whether or not the problem will reoccur. it seems to be too soon to know. i've heard of a few with multiple failures, but those were ones that went real early (within 20k miles), so they were replaced with the original head gasket. i can't recall reading of anyone who has had one of the newer ones fail, but that doesn't mean it hasn't happened.


as for causes, it seems to be that it will just happen, regardless of how the car is driven/maintained. i bought my car at 60k, and got all the maintenance records for it when i bought it. i can't speak for how it was driven before (other than knowing it was driven by a woman, so it probably wasn't beaten), but i've not been hard on it, and have kept up with the maintenance. other people's stories i have read include high milage drivers, who mainly drive high speed highway miles, and local drivers. basically, there doesn't seem to be a link between abuse, driving styles, or maintenance (or lack thereof), though overheating and ignoring it can lead to warping the heads. my only symptom was a very quick overheat the morning after a long drive, where it ran at normal temperature for the whole time.


its your gamble on whether or not to buy it. if you are set on buying a subaru, i would probably get this one, since you know it has been (or will be) fixed, and you have the benefit of the newest head gaskets. you could just as easily buy another had have it go in 6 months and be out the money for the repair...

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