Jump to content
Ultimate Subaru Message Board

Recommended Posts

Well long story short, I don't know if they went bad on their own or if I helped the situation, but I appear to have a blown head gasket in this 96 2.5 DOHC legacy I just got. As soon as I come to a stop for something like a traffic light the temp gauge starts climbing. As soon as I pull out the temp gauge goes right back down to normal. Sitting at idle I poped open the coolant resevoir and saw bubbles coming up. Sounds to me like it's head gasket time. Question is, can I do that with the motor in the car? Also, if I just go into the dealership and get gasket, will they be the latest and greatest gaskets that won't just fail again?

 

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well long story short, I don't know if they went bad on their own or if I helped the situation, but I appear to have a blown head gasket in this 96 2.5 DOHC legacy I just got. As soon as I come to a stop for something like a traffic light the temp gauge starts climbing. As soon as I pull out the temp gauge goes right back down to normal. Sitting at idle I poped open the coolant resevoir and saw bubbles coming up. Sounds to me like it's head gasket time. Question is, can I do that with the motor in the car? Also, if I just go into the dealership and get gasket, will they be the latest and greatest gaskets that won't just fail again?

 

Keith

 

I did it with the motor in the car. I think it's probably easier to remove the engine altogether, but if you don't have a lift doing it in the car isn't too bad.

 

Make sure you get the 11044AA610 gaskets, they are the newest AFAIK.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Turn on your AC and make sure both fans are on! Was a fan on when it was getting hot, could be a lack of air flow through the radiator.

 

You might want to bleed the collant system to make sure air was not introduced by poor maintenance. Keep an eye on the overflow tank and temp gauge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Turn on your AC and make sure both fans are on! Was a fan on when it was getting hot, could be a lack of air flow through the radiator.

 

You might want to bleed the collant system to make sure air was not introduced by poor maintenance. Keep an eye on the overflow tank and temp gauge.

 

Thanks for the advise.... but it's all already been done. Both fans works, and the system was bled (slight incline and used the bleeder screw on the radiator). I had flushed the cooling system when I got the car and there was an issue where by the system was almost half a gallon low after a 1/2 - 3/4 mile test drive which at the end of the temp gauge had moved almost completely to the top. I think I may have made the problem more than anything, but I've had other cars that wouldn't have blown a head gasket from what I did. So, based on how fast the temp goes back down (almost instantly) and the bubbles in the tank I'm just going to accept my fate and do the head gaskets. :(

 

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pulling that motor isn't that much of a pain (I can't believe I edited it because they wouldn't let me use the B word!). I always think the hardest part is if the dowel pins for lining up the block and the tranny are stuck, it makes it more difficult to wiggle the motor loose.

 

Get a cherrypicker from a friend, and invite someone down who knows how to do it... if you lived near me, I'd help you out for free. Also - consider this... buy a clutch kit if your vehicle is a manual. if it's automatic, consider purchasing a new torque converter. If it goes out after you swapped head gaskets by removing the motor, then you've wasted your time and could have done it earlier. lol.

 

Some things to consider.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm just wrapping up a valve job on my '97. Heads came off pretty easily with the engine still in the car. I wouldn't pull it unless you have kingkong hands or arthritis.

 

As long as you're pulling the heads, plan on doing all of the usual seals. $180 gets you a fairly complete OEM gasket set. Also, Sears sells a valve spring compressor for $20. Valve grinding paste and a grinding tool are about $11. Don't forget the anaerobic sealer for $7 and RTV black for $3. Toss a short rack of good beer in for fun, and you'll have it cracked out in a weekend.

 

Oh! You will also need an inch pound torque wrench (on sale for $19 at Harbor Freight right now) and acetone to clean up the gasket mating surfaces.

 

That should do it. May the force be with you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did it with the engine in, not to bad. It is much easier to get to the head bolts if you lift the engine up a little bit. I raised it until the motor mount bolts are almost out of the holes, then put a small piece of wood between the mounts and the crossmember to hold it there.

The dealers only stock the newest head gasket, they should not have anything else. Got that from the Subaru help line. 1-800-SUBARU4

Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, as Blitz says you need to check for pressure.

 

You can do a simple test from the comfort of your driving seat: Engine at normal temp. Switch off. Wait a second, turn the key back to ON, but don't start the engine. Watch the temp needle, if it moves all the way back up to normal operating temp, you have a problem.

 

If the system is air pocket free and at the correct pressure the needle will move up to a point just below normal operating temp.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yeah, as Blitz says you need to check for pressure.

 

 

Nope, that was done as well. I'm extremely confident that I don't have a problem with the cooling system and in fact have a head gasket issue. How is this for even more proof. The overflow resevoir had gone from being on the full line (which is only about 1/4 full) to about 3/4 full along with bubbles. I'd say that's even more proof that there is a head gasket leak that is putting air into the system.

 

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The dealers only stock the newest head gasket, they should not have anything else. Got that from the Subaru help line. 1-800-SUBARU4

Good luck!

 

Yeah, should! With the number of times I've gone in and asked about a TSB that my dealer never heard of, I think I'll ask for the specific part number.

 

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The overflow resevoir had gone from being on the full line (which is only about 1/4 full) to about 3/4 full along with bubbles

My phase II 2.5 was doing this from time to time to various degrees.

 

Sometimes it was a light continual bubbling with system pressure feeling normal in the top hose, other times it was a massive bubbling/frothing in the o-flow accompianied by a rise the level and no system pressure being built up.

 

I chased this problem for two years always thinking it was a head gasket, but it was the rad-cap. :banghead:

 

Sometimes the cap would almost seal, other times it wouldn't seal at al.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I chased this problem for two years always thinking it was a head gasket, but it was the rad-cap. :banghead:

 

Sometimes the cap would almost seal, other times it wouldn't seal at al.

 

 

Intersting... I hadn't thought of that. I'll stop and pick up a cap tonight and give it a try. The entire radiator is in sad shape, so this could be a posibility. I might have gotten a bit of dirt stuck where the cap seals or something as well. I guess I'll give that a quick try.

 

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Did you have any oil in the overflow tank?

 

Not that I can tell, but if the leak is solely between the cyliner and the waterjacket I wouldn't expect much if any.

 

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, got home today and looked at the coolant resivoir and it looked like there was oil in the antifreeze. Guess at this point I won't waste anymore time and just start tearing apart the engine.

 

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×