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Old 01-21-2004, 11:03 AM   #1
subyfanatic
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Post Phase II EJ25 Head Gasket Leak

WWP-99 Service Campaign - Cooling System Conditioner

Subaru has determined that certain 1999 through 2002 model year 2.5L equipped Subaru vehicles may experience an external coolant leak from the cylinder head gaskets. This is the result of normal relative thermal expansion and contraction variations of engine parts. As a precautionary measure, SOA is recommending that a special conditioner be added to the engine cooling system to prevent leaks from occurring or to correct existing leaks.

Only early Phase II 2.5 liter engines are affected by this campaign. Phase I 2.5 liter engines (some 1999 model year and prior years) are not affected. Countermeasures applied to the manufacturing process for those 2002 and later VINS not affected by this campaign have eliminated the need for this campaign to be performed on those vehicles.

In the future, it will be necessary to add Genuine Subaru Cooling System Conditioner to the SUBARU vehicle cooling system whenever the engine coolant is replaced. The updated recommended service procedure as well as intervals for coolant replacement will be added to all applicable service manuals. As a reminder, we will include an update page in the owner notification letters that should be added to the Owner’s Manual and Warranty and Maintenance Booklet. We ask you to keep in mind that replacement of fluids (including Subaru Cooling System Conditioner) during inspection and maintenance services are not covered under warranty.

If the vehicle owner has this Service Program repair performed promptly, Subaru will extend coverage under the Subaru Limited Warranty on the vehicle for cylinder head gasket external coolant leaks to a period of 8 years or 100,000 miles, whichever occurs first. Warranty coverage begins on the date the vehicle was delivered to the first retail purchaser. If the vehicle was used as a demonstrator or company vehicle before being sold at retail, warranty coverage begins on the date the vehicle was first placed in such service. As a further condition for this extended warranty coverage to apply, the vehicle owner must have Genuine Subaru Cooling System Conditioner added to the vehicle at any subsequent cooling system services at the interval specified in the Warranty and Maintenance Booklet under the heading “Schedule of Inspection and Maintenance Services”.

Dealers will automatically be sent an initial quantity of Genuine Subaru Cooling System Conditioner. Dealer bulletins and affected VIN lists will be mailed to dealers in early February 2004. Owner notification letters are scheduled for mailing in stages.
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Last edited by subyfanatic; 01-23-2004 at 04:49 PM.
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Old 01-21-2004, 04:18 PM   #2
HondaH8er
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Guess I'll have to keep my eye out for that letter, I don't want to miss out on my Genuine Subaru Cooling System Conditioner.
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Old 01-21-2004, 04:35 PM   #3
C-daleRidr
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This is interesting. My car's been losing coolant and showing some signs of a headgasket. It's on its way to the shop right now. I'll see what they know. I guess this is a service bulletin?
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Old 01-21-2004, 05:15 PM   #4
subyfanatic
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You will get a letter since your VIN is in the SOA database. It's not a TSB, it's closer to being something of a voluntary service recall on the manufacturer's behalf. Bring the car in with your notification letter, the coolant system gets serviced, and you shouldn't pay a dime.

My only hope is that they have supply ready for the demand.

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Old 01-21-2004, 07:02 PM   #5
adj789
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sounds like what happend to my car but mine's a '98
read my earlier post "Fianlly my Subaru is back in action"
see what has to be done to fix the bad moter
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Old 01-22-2004, 09:29 AM   #6
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That's great, really helps all of the DOHC who blew gaskets on *every* 2.5 Legacy.

Oh, but those fail *internally* so it must be different

heh.

Mine held on for 120k before it went, leavign me with $2500 in bills o_0.

Nice to know that on newer cars, the problem required fixing to the extent that my car would *still* be under warranty.....
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Old 01-22-2004, 11:46 AM   #7
tweakling
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i have a 2001 RS with this exact problem. i've been anticipating having to eventually pay out the a$$ for a head gasket replacement, so this is fantastic news!
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Old 01-23-2004, 03:47 PM   #8
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My dealer called and said "$1,900" to fix the head gasket!

I nearly fell off my chair. But mine has 77,000 miles and is 4 and half years old. I don't think it falls within the 6 year or 60,000 mile warranty. Who drives 10,000 a year anyway?

Crikey. SOA....please do a recall and save me $$$!
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Old 01-24-2004, 01:12 AM   #9
Halforc
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So if you have a car with the VIN that this affects you WILL receive something in the mail about it?
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Old 01-24-2004, 09:32 PM   #10
subyfanatic
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Quote:
Originally posted by Halforc
So if you have a car with the VIN that this affects you WILL receive something in the mail about it?
Yes, SOA will automatically send owner notification letters in starting sometime in mid to late February.
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Old 01-25-2004, 08:26 PM   #11
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Snoopy,

It cost me $1,500 but included tune-up and head resurfacing. I hope that your car holds up until then. I wonder if they'll(SOA) refund me some of that.
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Old 01-25-2004, 08:42 PM   #12
mike270
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So is my early 02 model possibly part of this list? I am confused about what it is saying here.
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Old 01-25-2004, 09:35 PM   #13
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great news, even I got mine left side HG replaced under waranty at 56K, but I am still kinda afraid that it'll happen some day....now at least I won't have to worry about it til 100k! yeah!!!
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Old 01-26-2004, 04:51 PM   #14
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W00T!! wow...I cant wait for this one
83,000 miles and still ticking







*my car is sooooooooo blowing up now*
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Old 01-26-2004, 08:12 PM   #15
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Guys, don't get too excited... all it amounts to is a can of stop leak . The only thing to get excited about is Subaru extending the head gasket warranty if the service gets done. I am curious as to what happens if the heater core goes from being plugged up, which radiator stop leak is famous for doing...


Brian

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Old 01-26-2004, 09:17 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by North Ursalia
[b]Guys, don't get too excited... all it amounts to is a can of stop leak . The only thing to get excited about is Subaru extending the head gasket warranty if the service gets done. I am curious as to what happens if the heater core goes from being plugged up, which radiator stop leak is famous for doing...
I wouldn't get excited anyways:

Quote:
Only early Phase II 2.5 liter engines are affected by this campaign
not affected my arrrsss!!! The 98 (phase 1, DOHC) to post 98 ratio of blown headgaskets has to be like 2:1. I'm assuming by not affected, they mean not willing to acklowledge? Stupid SOA.

jonathan
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Old 01-27-2004, 03:32 AM   #17
HndaTch627
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phase 1 headgaskets were defective, nothing more, phase 2's are obviously showing signs of cylinder head issues, not a blown gasket
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Old 01-27-2004, 10:40 AM   #18
C-daleRidr
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Quote:
Originally posted by HndaTch627
phase 1 headgaskets were defective, nothing more, phase 2's are obviously showing signs of cylinder head issues, not a blown gasket
I have a blown HG that would argue that. The phase II is starting to show signs of HG issues now that they're getting to 60k-80k miles on them.
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Old 01-27-2004, 10:43 AM   #19
SubaruFan
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Default Add another one to the list

I have a 2001 GT, with 82,000 miles I noticed a coolant smell a while back now and then and could never figure out where it was comming from. I didn't worry to much since I never really needed to add coolant.

But a few weeks ago it was smelling really strong took the car in and the dealer replaced the thermostat saying it was getting stuck now and then backing up the system and causing the overflow can to spillover. This made sense based on the spill I noticed the day before. The car never got hot nor did I drive it far enough after noticing the problem to make the stuck thermostat a major temp issue.

However after the fix and a short trip to visit family for Christmas I noticed the coolant level was down a little and added some coolant. Yesterday I had a really strong coolant smell. After poking around I could see coolant dripping from the back driverside cyclinder which was hitting the hot exahust. The hot exhaust would explain the lack of coolant puddles or obvious signs of leakage.

The car has been great! It has been our main car for road trips and my daily commuter mainly freeway miles. I really like the car and want to buy another one, but if I get stuck with repair bills for such a screwy problem I'll probably have doubts about buying another subaru dispite the fact that they claim to have fixed this and I really like their cars.

Hopfully it will all work out OK. Thanks for posting your experiences on this Forum. I would have never known about the issue other wise.
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Old 01-27-2004, 11:16 AM   #20
macroman
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Default Re: Add another one to the list

Quote:
Originally posted by SubaruFan
The car has been great! It has been our main car for road trips and my daily commuter mainly freeway miles. I really like the car and want to buy another one, but if I get stuck with repair bills for such a screwy problem I'll probably have doubts about buying another subaru dispite the fact that they claim to have fixed this and I really like their cars.

Hopfully it will all work out OK. Thanks for posting your experiences on this Forum. I would have never known about the issue other wise.
my wagon has the same symptons as your sedan! mine started leaking at 72k on the driver side headgasket and i was quoted $1500 to fix it whattt? $1500 to fix it, i rather plunk $1500 as down payment towards a new 2004 saturn vue v6 awd! (no, i haven't gone mad cause i'm considering a vue, it's because that specific model comes with a honda engine )

hmmmrph..a can of subaru special coolant conditioner will prevent/fix the leak?..seems to me subaru knows about the headgasket problem but is trying to fix it with the cheapest way possible..with a can of radiator sealer..

my feelings are the same, my subaru so far has been reliable but i don't think i'll be buying another subaru until SOA resolves the headgasket problem with a real solution....

will wait a couple of months or so to get the letter before making up my mind about the vue..
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Old 01-27-2004, 12:01 PM   #21
SubaruFan
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I hear you, I unfortunatly went through a similar headgasket design issue with my 91 Toyota. Only as a second owner Toyota spent $16,000 between two complete engine rebuilds on a 91 4Runner with 100K on it. Toyota really impressed me they went beyond all expectations to make things right. Unfortunatly I was pretty gun shy of getting another Toyota. Though I must say that Toyota would be my choice if I had to switch brands. They are expensive, but Toyota goes the distance for their customers I can say that with $16,000 of Toyota money to back me up.

The Subaru is my first and the result of bad car design experiences with my last car. I and my better half love the car, our 2001 1.8t Jetta has 23,000 miles on it and hardly leaves the garage! All because the Legacy is our favorite car to take on trips and has been a great 40mile per day commuter. I really like the car and the new 2005 wagon is very high on my list of cars to check out when it's time to up the space.

I don't like to say bad things about former employers, but I was a part time Customer assistant for Saturn in the earlier years. I would never own a Saturn, even the guys in the shop commented that they wouldn't buy one. The number of things that were fixed by the dealer with out charging the customer was astounding. Not to mention the very poor quality issues with things ranging from fuel pump design which were famous for simply stopping after the owner ran low on fuel requiring a $200 repair, to bad door panel fasteners, to engines that burned oil from day one. I was completely blown away at how bad the cars were constructed and how many problems they had. We even had adjustable seat back ratchet replacments on a regular basis. I just felt bad for the people whom purchased a car without haggling over price and had to deal with problems that I would never even think you would have with a new car. I'm sure that Saturn has addressed many of the problems, but car's are a huge cost and buying one prone to problems is just plain painful.

Good luck, I hope that you find an alternative to the Saturn.
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Old 01-27-2004, 12:35 PM   #22
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This kindof sucks, since I went out of my way to NOT buy a WRX because I kinda thought that the bigger, non-turbo 2.5 motor would be more reliable. So much for that...

And as others said, a can of Stop-Leak isn't exactly the sort of support I would hope for. It's also true that Toyota, allegedly the most reliable car brand, went through a huge head gasket recall issue in the early 90's, so I guess it can happen to anyone.

That said, if mine goes, I'll sadly have to give some serious thought to keeping the Subaru I have, or replacing it with a (gasp) Honda product.
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Old 01-27-2004, 12:38 PM   #23
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Saturn's are rather crappy cars but i have go to hand it to them, when my moms cylinder head ate itself alive(this was at 59k) they had no quarrels rebuilding the motor and putting an entire new head on the car for free. the car has a lot of stupidly designed parts and probably the worst fit and finish i have seen(doors leak when it rains because they are sagging after 7 years). Anyhow, i think i am suffering the headgasket leak, my car never lost coolant and last week i had to top the resivior off because it was 4" down from where it was at the time of my last oil change.

Jeremy
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Old 01-27-2004, 05:21 PM   #24
SubaruFan
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Default Question regarding this SOA coolant notice?

So I'm taking the 2001 GT in tomorrow for the coolant leak. I had the same dealer work on it in Dec for a stuck thermostat. They are going to look at it and let me know what they can do.

I'll let you guys know how it goes. I can't afford to drop a $1000 into my car right now so I'm going to go for the cheapest fix or best deal with the dealer or subaru to get the problem resolved.
If their is no deal and fix other than $1500, my answer will basically be to ride my motorcycle use the VW and eventually sell the subaru. Which means a big loss on the car and I will probably be looking at Honda, lexus and Toyota hybrids in August 2004.
Maybe I'll even look for a used Diesel Mercedes Wagon (a tank with a tractor engine that will go 300,000 mi) handling doesn't mean much if you end up pushing it flintstone style.

But, here are my thoughts, I'm sure I would have noticed this leak if it was leaking before the thermostat problem given that it drips on the exhaust and stinks to high heaven more so than any other time I smelled coolant. Is it possible that when they replaced the coolant that they used a coolant that may have instigated the problem?
I'm also going to guess that this leak fix was not available to the dealer at the time or they probably would have done it without mentioning it to me.


I notice that Subaru uses the term service program in the notice above. I take it that isn't the same as a warranty?I also remember reading some place that the cars come with a parts warrantythat would cover this?

I'm just worried about my milege and the fact that I didn't spend the additional $1000+ bucks for the extended program. Seems like a known design problem should be handled no matter if the car is in warranty or not especially if abuse is not a factor.

Wish me luck
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Old 01-27-2004, 07:56 PM   #25
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Like the rest of us, I'm pretty disappointed that our cars/motors are subject to this whole issue. But on the bright side, I did a little investigating at my local Subaru dealership today and discovered that at least they have an updated head gasket design, so if any of us DO need a head gasket replacement, and it now seems pretty likely that most 2.5 motors will, they'll be replacing a faulty part with a better one, which in theory at least will last a lot longer. If they planned to put the same lame gasket in, I'd be very, very displeased.

That said, it's too bad they don't go the Toyota route and simply replace all of them, and own up to what appears to be a gross engineering blunder.
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