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Old 08-23-2010, 11:22 PM   #1
monovich
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Default yeah! head gasket noob question - mine finally blew (?)

So, Its time for a major noob question even though I've been here forever.
I think I FINALLY blew my head gasket on my '98 GT. I started smelling anti-freeze today when I parked the car then when I drove home I noticed my temperature gauge spiked and I noticed the antifreeze smell again.

When I got home (I drove VERY slowly) I popped the hood and looked in the coolant reservoir and I don't see any oil in there (yet?). The reservoir is average full, neither overflowing or empty.

I don't see anything dripping below the car besides the usual 1qt/month oil leak.

So... this sounds like its blown right? What should I do?
I have 150k on the engine and it does have an active oil leak.
I love the car, its modded, etc. Do I just have the gasket repaired? Do I tow it to a shop or can I drive it?

Any advice is appreciated. I can't believe it finally blew!
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Old 08-24-2010, 12:11 AM   #2
Patrick Olsen
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What's the level of coolant in the radiator?
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Old 08-25-2010, 01:10 PM   #3
styng88
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I drove mine for weeks with a blown HG. Make sure you keep the radiator full and you'll be fine, especially if you're on the highway. Keep extra coolant in the back, you'll need it.
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Old 08-27-2010, 01:11 AM   #4
monovich
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just got back from vacation (in another car). I'll check the coolant and probably take it in to have it looked at tomorrow. Good to know I can drive there. (its 10 minutes away). I'll bring extra coolant.

-sf
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Old 08-30-2010, 04:39 PM   #5
monovich
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what other repairs would I be smart to do when I do the head gasket?
I think I'm due for a timing belt...
I'm @ 150k
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Old 08-30-2010, 05:47 PM   #6
snowone
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Legacy

You're fine driving it that short distance to the shop, just don't let 'er overheat, be gentle.

shooting from the hip to-do's:

- seals
- timing belt + tensioners
- water pump "o" ring

will pull my records and see what else, good time to get everything cleaned and tightened up. I had a new radiator and hoses put in on my 2nd round hg replacement at 150k.

might be worth reading this

good luck... the mule lives!

can't believe i'll be letting go of the The Raven this week after 10 years
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Old 08-30-2010, 06:06 PM   #7
monovich
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thanks for the info. Bummer that you are getting rid of yours. Sometimes my wife nags me to get rid of mine, but I have so much history with the car and it still looks and drives great... I can't let 'er go yet!

did you get the gasket you linked to? It looks interesting! If my gasket were to blow again I don't think I'd be able to justify doing it again
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Old 08-31-2010, 02:13 AM   #8
snowone
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yeah, Smart Service has done all major maint and service/repairs on my 99 2.5GT... Mike and team know their stuff and do quality work. I debated options second time around, but kept it "stock" and it runs strong as ever and doesn't leak. Still and awesome Legacy and is fun as ever... having a hard time letting it go Silly having three vehicles after falling for the new girl

you should have many miles ahead following a quality hg repair, enjoy!
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Old 08-31-2010, 09:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowone View Post

might be worth reading this
Glad I read this thread. Looks like I'll be adding a new Subaru thermostat, and radiator cap to my list of parts to still get while I'm doing my head gaskets.

http://www.smart-service.com/blog/20...u-head-gaskets

I was also reading about some of the prices people pay to have their head gaskets done by the dealership stealerships charging up to 3 grand to do them!
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Old 08-31-2010, 10:37 AM   #10
monovich
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I was quoted around $1800 to do the gaskets, water pump, timing belts, and maybe a few other obvious things I'm forgetting. Does this sound about right?

I wonder if I should tell them to replace the radiator cap and use the higher quality water pump like the Smart Service blog recommends...
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Old 08-31-2010, 11:00 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monovich View Post
I was quoted around $1800 to do the gaskets, water pump, timing belts, and maybe a few other obvious things I'm forgetting. Does this sound about right?

I wonder if I should tell them to replace the radiator cap and use the higher quality water pump like the Smart Service blog recommends...
That doesn't sound horrible. Whats the breakdown between parts and labor? Considering most shops are $60/hr labor, that's not horrible. MAKE SURE THEY REPLACE THE TENSIONER along with the timing belt. I learned that one the hard way.....
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Old 08-31-2010, 12:53 PM   #12
snowone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monovich View Post
I was quoted around $1800...Does this sound about right?

I wonder if I should tell them to replace the radiator cap and use the higher quality water pump like the Smart Service blog recommends...
Price is definitely in the ballpark, depending on misc and xtra's. Doesn't hurt to ask for the good stuff.
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Old 08-31-2010, 03:12 PM   #13
monovich
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I'm going to put in a call to them today and mention the improved head gaskets and water pump.

edit:

My local shop uses the Paraut pump so thats cool. I'm going to order the improved gasket myself and bring it in instead of having them use the standard improved gasket.

Last edited by monovich; 08-31-2010 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 09-01-2010, 07:39 AM   #14
Patrick Olsen
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What is a Paraut pump, and what is the "improved gasket" vs. the "standard improved gasket"?

Oh, and I need to move to wherever the labor is only $60/hr. I think that's about 2/3 of any place I've lived in the past decade.

Last edited by Patrick Olsen; 09-01-2010 at 07:49 AM.
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Old 09-01-2010, 07:52 AM   #15
jonklein611
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Olsen View Post
What is a Paraut pump, and what is the "improved gasket" vs. the "standard improved gasket"?

Oh, and I need to move to wherever the labor is only $60/hr. I think that's about 2/3 of any place I've lived in the past decade.
Are you talking labor rates at a dealer or a local mechanic?
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Old 09-01-2010, 08:54 AM   #16
grzydj
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Went to the dealership last night to get a Subaru radiator cap, thermostat and some exhaust manifold studs. It always amazes me, and scares me how little any of these parts managers know about maintaining these engines, or anything about these engines for that matter.

They didn't have the parts in stock, so he had to order them and thinks they will be here some time this week. Guess I'm going without my Subie for a few more days.
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Old 09-01-2010, 02:00 PM   #17
monovich
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Olsen View Post
What is a Paraut pump, and what is the "improved gasket" vs. the "standard improved gasket"?

Oh, and I need to move to wherever the labor is only $60/hr. I think that's about 2/3 of any place I've lived in the past decade.
The Paraut pump is mentioned here (although not by name) as a better than OEM water pump.
It is for sale here

The improved head gasket is mentioned here and apparently lasts longer than the Subaru ones.

I just ordered the gaskets and they should be here shortly (around $100). After they get here The Mule will go in for repairs and a new lease on life. Aside from the bill, I'm kinda excited. She's been leaking oil over the last few years at a faster and faster pace but its never been worth repairing but now I can just have that done while everything else is taken apart. woot.
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Old 09-01-2010, 02:14 PM   #18
Patrick Olsen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monovich View Post
The Paraut pump is mentioned here (although not by name) as a better than OEM water pump.
It is for sale here
Interesting. I guess my original engine had the old style water pump, because mine had a "real" impeller rather than the stamped steel crappy kind. I wonder what's on the current engine in the car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by monovich View Post
The improved head gasket is mentioned here and apparently lasts longer than the Subaru ones.
I wasn't clear from their explanation - do they use the same gasket for the SOHC and DOHC engines? If so, one or the other is getting a suboptimal gasket thickness.
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Old 09-01-2010, 02:39 PM   #19
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The OEM MLS gaskets are very good. For an SOHC 2.5 you can use the 04-06 STi gasket. 11044AA642
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Old 09-01-2010, 04:38 PM   #20
monovich
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Olsen View Post
I wasn't clear from their explanation - do they use the same gasket for the SOHC and DOHC engines? If so, one or the other is getting a suboptimal gasket thickness.
he did ask me year/make/model, so I'd guess the gasket is specific to the application.
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