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Old 07-11-2010, 12:42 PM   #1
outbackkid
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Default 2001 Outback heads leaking

I love my 01 Flat Four Outback. It has 150,000miles. How common is the heads leaking? I keep telling people that once it's fixed it should go another 150000mi! Why can't you just put a new gasket on it like most cars? Why do you have to mill the heads? It's just a bad gasket, right?
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Old 07-11-2010, 01:03 PM   #2
afviper
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I am assuming you are talking about the Legacy Outback with a 2.5. Nearly all Subaru 2.5 non turbo engines develop head gasket problems at one point in their lives.

These two shops in the Seattle area have done some detailed write ups about the head gasket problem: http://allwheeldriveauto.com/subaru-...ems-explained/ http://www.smart-service.com/mikesco...eadgasket.html. Read through these before fixing. I am sure they can answer the milling question if it is not mentioned on those pages.

You should also try the Outback forum: www.subaruoutback.org since they have a lot of info about this problem.
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Old 07-11-2010, 03:10 PM   #3
flightwatch
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I don't know what other cars you are referring to, but on any car that I know of, the head/heads have to be machined anytime the head gasket is replaced. This is also assuming that the head gasket was blown. Also, I pretty sure that Subaru fixed the head gasket issue some time ago (06-07?)
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Old 07-11-2010, 06:39 PM   #4
Patrick Olsen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outbackkid View Post
I love my 01 Flat Four Outback. It has 150,000miles. How common is the heads leaking?
Leaking what from where?

Quote:
Originally Posted by outbackkid View Post
I keep telling people that once it's fixed it should go another 150000mi! Why can't you just put a new gasket on it like most cars? Why do you have to mill the heads? It's just a bad gasket, right?
You don't have to mill the heads. The only time you should need to mill the heads is if you've overheated them so much that you warped them, or perhaps if the sealing surface was damaged somehow by a bad head gasket. I've had blown head gaskets fixed a couple of times on a couple EJ25s and have never needed to have the heads milled.

Quote:
Originally Posted by afviper View Post
Nearly all Subaru 2.5 non turbo engines develop head gasket problems at one point in their lives.
I think that's a just a weeeee bit of an exaggeration. Is it a problem? Yes. A problem for "nearly all Subaru 2.5 non turbo engines"? Not even close. The Phase I DOHC engines definitely had issues, but those haven't been sold in over 10 years, and even with those I think it's safe to say the substantial majority of cars don't blow the head gaskets. On the Phase II SOHC engines the external HG leaks were only a problem until '02. I'd be willing to bet Subaru has sold more non-turbo EJ25s since 2002 than they had prior to that, and the HG problem essentially doesn't exist anymore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by flightwatch View Post
I don't know what other cars you are referring to, but on any car that I know of, the head/heads have to be machined anytime the head gasket is replaced.
In addition to having HG repairs on my Subaru, I also blew the HGs on my 5.0L Mustang many years ago. No need to mill those heads, either. There's no reason I can think of that one would automatically mill the heads every time you replace a HG.

Pat Olsen
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Old 07-11-2010, 10:24 PM   #5
afviper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Olsen View Post

I think that's a just a weeeee bit of an exaggeration. Is it a problem? Yes. A problem for "nearly all Subaru 2.5 non turbo engines"? Not even close. The Phase I DOHC engines definitely had issues, but those haven't been sold in over 10 years, and even with those I think it's safe to say the substantial majority of cars don't blow the head gaskets. On the Phase II SOHC engines the external HG leaks were only a problem until '02. I'd be willing to bet Subaru has sold more non-turbo EJ25s since 2002 than they had prior to that, and the HG problem essentially doesn't exist anymore.
It may have been a slight exaggeration, but the problem exists even in relatively new engines. Take a look at the log of HG problems here: http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/...-log-only.html. Although most of the cars listed are older that is mostly a result of them having more miles. There is one 2007 listed on there, and plenty of SOHC engines. I agree that Subaru has improved their head gaskets in newer cars, but the problem is definitely still there on models newer than '02.
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Old 07-11-2010, 10:46 PM   #6
outbackkid
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afviper View Post
I am assuming you are talking about the Legacy Outback with a 2.5. Nearly all Subaru 2.5 non turbo engines develop head gasket problems at one point in their lives.

These two shops in the Seattle area have done some detailed write ups about the head gasket problem: http://allwheeldriveauto.com/subaru-...ems-explained/ http://www.smart-service.com/mikesco...eadgasket.html. Read through these before fixing. I am sure they can answer the milling question if it is not mentioned on those pages.

You should also try the Outback forum: www.subaruoutback.org since they have a lot of info about this problem.
********
Thank you very much for the info!!
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Old 07-11-2010, 10:48 PM   #7
Patrick Olsen
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Which is why I said it "essentially doesn't exist anymore". Cars aren't perfect, there are always going to be some that have issues.
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Old 07-13-2010, 10:51 AM   #8
Volksaholic
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Default

I just did the HGs on a 2001 EJ251 (Forester). The Subaru procedure specifies careful cleaning/scraping of the old gasket material, but as Patrick said; it doesn't require milling/machining. Just make sure you don't knick/scratch/damage the HG sealing surfaces; the HGs want clean, smooth, flat surfaces to seal against. It's a good time to check out the cylinder heads and on some cars it's worth pulling the valves and checking the guides and seats, but I'm not aware of any Subie valve problems and everything was clean so I left it alone. I've only put 250 miles on the engine since the HGs & timing belt & such, but it seems to be doing well so far.

My 2003 Outback with about 138k miles has oil & coolant seeping from the HGs as well. When I was shopping for that car I read lots of reviews and it sounded like the SOHC HG problems were resolved in 2002 or thereabouts. I guess it's a moving target: the problem is resolved every model year by selling new vehicles with near 0 miles.

One thing to note: if you're doing the HGs, folks are split about 50/50 on whether you should replace your head bolts. I've even had the local Subie dealership mechanics give me both answers. I'm not a pro mechanic or engineer. The conclusion I came to, after a lot of reading, is that it's probably safe to reuse the head bolts for the first HG replacement, especially if it's relatively low miles. The stretching of the bolt during the torquing process will change it's properties enough that I wouldn't use them for a second head removal/replacement (3rd torquing), but even at that I figured it was enough work to tear the engine down that I replaced the head bolts anyway. That was my conclusion, but my only recommendation is that you read up on Torque To Yield and Torque To Angle and decide for yourself.

Paul
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