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Old 04-20-2013, 01:41 AM   #1
storm-chaser
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Join Date: Apr 2013
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1998 Forester
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Default Head Gasket Replacement Q&A... EJ25D

I just picked up a decent shape 98 Forester. This car was only $100 with no rust, 213,000 miles but needs head gaskets. Decided to change the HGs with the engine in the car. Receipts point to the original gaskets being replaced at 116,000 miles (back in 2007). That included cylinder head resurfacing + all top end gaskets. Don't know if material has been taken off or just a slight, standard resurface. In any case, what's the maximum allowable shave on these heads, if any?

I've heard to replace these with the update Subaru MLS gaskets. Part #: 11044AA610 MLS style, is this correct?

Since the head bolts are not TTY I will NOT be replacing them. Research on the forum seems to support this.

I am thinking about picking up a shop manual but I need to find something cheap. Any online manuals that I can download for this or instructions with torque specs?

Any advice is appreciated... Thanks forum members!
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Old 04-20-2013, 07:51 AM   #2
97Battlewagon
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Those MLS Gaskets are fine but if you really want to nip this pesky issue in the butt, I would suggest something a little more robust.

These things are stout: http://allwheeldriveauto.com/six-sta...d-gasket-kits/

You are correct about the headbolts. I reused mine.

The head shaving, I'm not too sure about but I can tell you be careful as you don't want your timing belt skipping teeth on you.

Try these links: http://home.comcast.net/~skipnospam/

http://www.sl-i.net/FORUM/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=13265

http://www.sl-i.net/FORUM/viewtopic.php?t=6257

You don't have to get a shop manual. A Chilton or Haynes book has the torque steps for the head bolts. There's 8 of them. 8.
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:30 AM   #3
Charlie-III
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Location: 07456, North NJ
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1998 Legacy 2.5GT
Silver Sleeper Wagon

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Quote:
Originally Posted by 97Battlewagon View Post
Those MLS Gaskets are fine but if you really want to nip this pesky issue in the butt, I would suggest something a little more robust.

These things are stout: http://allwheeldriveauto.com/six-sta...d-gasket-kits/

You are correct about the headbolts. I reused mine.

The head shaving, I'm not too sure about but I can tell you be careful as you don't want your timing belt skipping teeth on you.

Try these links: http://home.comcast.net/~skipnospam/

http://www.sl-i.net/FORUM/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=13265

http://www.sl-i.net/FORUM/viewtopic.php?t=6257

You don't have to get a shop manual. A Chilton or Haynes book has the torque steps for the head bolts. There's 8 of them. 8.
Nice post!

As to shaving, I would have to look up the specs. I will say that for all the Subaru HG's I've done, I have never had a reason to deck the block or heads, they were always within limits.

I reuse the head bolts as well.

One thing I do, as do others, is to use the turbo head bolt torque values, they are a little higher.

I would also do the HG's out of the car, much easier (especially if you have an engine hoist).
I also do the front & rear crank seals, check the clutch, check to see which rear oil seperator plate is there and upgrade as needed.
May want to do timing kit, water pump & oil pump.
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Old 04-20-2013, 01:50 PM   #4
storm-chaser
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Thanks guys. Unfortunately I don't have a lot of room to work on the engine. The car can be driven but I have extra constraints on the job that I wouldn't normally have to deal with.

In any event, that is great information I will use the turbo torque values. I would love to do all the other stuff, but time does not permit right now.

I also am curious if the valve shims can be replaced? Or can I flip them over and use the otherside? I take it the cams must be removed to get at the head bolts?

As for the six star gaskets, they look promising but appear only to be designed for the SOHC, phase II. What do you think?
Use this well thought out kit if you want the basic Gasket kit for your Subaru 2.5l SOHC. This kit will fit the 1999 to 2005 Forester, 2000 to 2004 Legacy & Outback as well as the 2000 to 2005 Impreza withy the 2.5l NA.
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Old 04-21-2013, 08:29 PM   #5
97Battlewagon
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Yeah, you have to remove the cams to get to the head bolts. The shims, I'm not sure.

You can get Six Stars for dual cam cars. I have them on my EJ25D.
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Old 04-22-2013, 01:02 AM   #6
storm-chaser
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it looks like I am taking possession of the car tomorrow. And some parts are already on the way.

I've decided to go with the OEM Subaru gaskets they are proven and I doubt I'll go more than 315,000 on this car, so they should get me through... I can find them for about $100 shipped. I am also going to purchase new intake manifold gaskets and additional gaskets as needed. The water pump may be new(er) so I am waiting until I get in there to make a determination. Same with the timing belt and tensioners. Wait and see how they look.

I am going with new platinum spark plugs and wires (does anyone know where I can get decent wires?), as well as fuel and air filter to complete the refresh. What do you guys recommend for suspension parts. If the engine holds up, I will want to get the suspension squared up with new struts and springs. Im getting ahead of myself, but are there any brake upgrades I can do without too much effort/cost?
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Old 04-22-2013, 06:35 AM   #7
97Battlewagon
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Rusty Ruby Red

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Yeah, I think the new OEM gaskets are all good now. To be honest, that's a bit step of OEMs though as those Six Stars cost me about the same albeit 3 years ago. Is there a Subaru specialty shop around you? If so, give them a call and ask what they use, get a price and see. It doesn't hurt.

Good call on the gaskets. These engines sound awesome and rev high but they leak like a freaking pig. Replace the cam seals and reseal the oil pump while you're in there. Also, depending on year engine - the rear separator plate.

For suspension, you can never go wrong with a simple set of KYB GR2s matched to a set of springs. It all depends on what you want - stock ride height, lower, taller or built for a dump truck (King Springs). As far as brakes go, Subarus are legos so any more robust model - H6 Outback, WRX, Legacy GT, etc. - can supply its unsprung equipment.
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Old 04-22-2013, 10:29 PM   #8
storm-chaser
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That's awesome these things are built like Legos. I'm sure now I'll run into a wheel problem since the stockers are probably 15 inch and the upgraded brakes wont fit. The stock rims are ugly as hell. Anyway that's for a future discussion if everything goes according to plan. Seems as though its a toss up between six star and Subaru gaskets. I can find the six star DOHC for $160 including tstat and other gaskets as well. Might just have to go for it. I still have a little time.

Today I went around and started spraying the bolts under the hood with PB blaster in preparation. Including the motor mounts and exhaust. I am going to leave the motor in so the job will present some extra challenges I'm sure. I always grow concerned about removing the exhaust manifolds they seem to break off so easily...
Anyway, I cannot do the oil separator plate since I'm leaving the engine connected to the transmission. But the other seals I will definitely replace, thank you. Since the car is white, I am going to paint most of the upper engine components black combined with a silver-metallic color for the intake. Kind of an oreo color scheme. This is just the final step for sure, and only if I have time.
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Old 05-04-2013, 08:33 PM   #9
storm-chaser
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Okay, I made some progress over the last week and have the whole engine stripped down to the heads. I had to make a 27mm wrench to fit onto the camshafts to lock them, while I break the bolt free on the sprocket. I cut the wrench down to 4.5 inches and used it on the car frame to lock the camshaft. Then I used a breaker bar and the 17mm 6 pt socket to break the sprocket bolt free. It took a hammer on the left side, they were definitely over torqued. I think they should only be about 57lb-ft but these were definitely way over that. What a pain, but I can see now that I've done it once or twice, its not so bad.

I noticed the tensioner is leaking and a couple of the idler pullies are worn out. It was definitely due for a service. I am going to replace most of the pullies and bearings while I'm in there. And the H20 pump + timing belt. I don't want to go back again

In any event its coming along well now. Tomorrow I will pull the remaining two sprockets and take the heads off. I need to go to autozone to get the head bolt socket... does anyone know what size... looks like an external torx head... in the 10mm range im guessing?

Thanks again guys
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Old 05-04-2013, 10:06 PM   #10
Cefaln452
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12 point 14mm
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