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Old 12-11-2008, 04:45 PM   #1
RoadTrippin
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Default Head Gasket....

So, I have a small leak from my head gasket, no overheating, and its not a huge loss (only about 1/4 cup and only when the AC/Defrost is running). I didnt use the subaru coolant conditioner last time I had the system flushed someone was telling me that flushing and refill using the conditioner may help either stop of slow a small head gasket leak. This sound right? Id really prefer to spend the smaller amt to flush and fill than the $1500 for a head gasket job.

Edit: After reading the service bulletin WP-99, I think Ill just try the conditioner as this sounds pretty normal.

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 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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Old 12-11-2008, 06:58 PM   #2
Uncle Scotty
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoadTrippin View Post
So, I have a small leak from my head gasket, no overheating, and its not a huge loss (only about 1/4 cup and only when the AC/Defrost is running
are you SURE it is coolant and not just condensation coming out of the evaporator???
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Old 12-11-2008, 08:30 PM   #3
RoadTrippin
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yes...multiple reasons. One of which is the overflow bottle. I made sure the radiator was topped off, filled the overflow bottle to the full line when cold, marked it with a sharpie, drove it around for about 15-20 mins with ac/defrost running and lost couple tablespoons possibly 1/8th cup. Ran again, this time no ac/defrost. Was fine no loss. Took it to a subbie shop, they are the ones who diagnosed the head gasket. I know for a fact that the coolant conditioner was not added to the coolant when it was last flushed and filled and I never had a problem until then; hence why Im thinking it may be related.
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Old 12-11-2008, 09:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoadTrippin View Post
yes...multiple reasons. One of which is the overflow bottle. I made sure the radiator was topped off, filled the overflow bottle to the full line when cold, marked it with a sharpie, drove it around for about 15-20 mins with ac/defrost running and lost couple tablespoons possibly 1/8th cup. Ran again, this time no ac/defrost. Was fine no loss. Took it to a subbie shop, they are the ones who diagnosed the head gasket. I know for a fact that the coolant conditioner was not added to the coolant when it was last flushed and filled and I never had a problem until then; hence why Im thinking it may be related.
That isn't a head gasket, that sounds like a heater core is much more likely.
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Old 12-12-2008, 01:15 AM   #5
RoadTrippin
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even after a pressure test and there was a visual of coolant coming out of the block? I dunno..... My experience with heater cores is when they go bad the inside of the windshield will fog up and you can usually smell the coolant. neither of which is happening, also there is no overheating issues at all.

Im going to flush and fill then add some coolant conditioner sometime this week and see what that does.
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Old 12-12-2008, 03:24 AM   #6
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it could be a cracked block...rare but has happened
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Old 12-12-2008, 12:35 PM   #7
Samurai Jack
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Doesn't sound like a heater core issue.

One thing you didn't mention is specifically where you actually see the coolant leaking?

Are you saying it is a head gasket leak because the subie shop says it's a head gasket leak or because you have visably seen it leak?

Could very well be the head gasket, but after reading the whole post, I too was thinking cracked block.

One way to check to see if it is a leaky head gasket, is to sniff the coolant in the radiator while the car is running w/an exhaust gas sniffer, *like the ones they used to use in the days of old* when you took your car in for it's annual inspection.

If the head gasket is leaking, the exhaust gas will be detectable in the radiator fluid.
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Old 12-12-2008, 05:11 PM   #8
RoadTrippin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai Jack View Post
Doesn't sound like a heater core issue.

One thing you didn't mention is specifically where you actually see the coolant leaking?

Are you saying it is a head gasket leak because the subie shop says it's a head gasket leak or because you have visably seen it leak?

Could very well be the head gasket, but after reading the whole post, I too was thinking cracked block.

One way to check to see if it is a leaky head gasket, is to sniff the coolant in the radiator while the car is running w/an exhaust gas sniffer, *like the ones they used to use in the days of old* when you took your car in for it's annual inspection.

If the head gasket is leaking, the exhaust gas will be detectable in the radiator fluid.

Honestly I havent had a chance to look at it b/c along with snow being on the ground and not having a clear work space I also really havent had the time which is why I had the subie shop look at it. Im going off of what they said, that it was an external leak at the gasket itself. Ill do the sniffer test when I get a chance but as posted in my original post I see that this fits the description of a somewhat common problem that the Subaru coolant conditioner supposedly takes care of. Hence why I want to try that before spending $$$$ on a head gasket.
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