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Old 10-27-2000, 06:17 AM   #1
SteveS
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Post status of my overheating turbo MY98

Head gasket problem. I have a Phase 2 block with the DOHC heads, 24K miles turbo'd (30K total), including autox's and track time. Seems that the stock head gasket isn't up to the higher pressures and temperatures.

I'm hopeful that I haven't caused any worse problems. The engine oil looks good, at least on the dipstick.

Symptoms? Drive around fine as long as I'm not 'boosting'. As soon as I boost, coolant is pushed into the overflow tank and out, temperature gauge reads hot. I think air is literally being pushed into the cooling system, displacing the coolant.

Any ideas on aftermarket head gaskets? I don't think it's reasonable to replace with a stock one. Should I just go copper?

SteveS

PS. Trey, if you read this, any progress on the turbo DOHC heads? I may be interested real soon!
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Old 10-27-2000, 06:34 AM   #2
ColinL
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A PhaseII SOHC definitely uses the head gasket to control coolant-- the water passages in the block are bigger than the gasket is. I would upgrade to copper gaskets and if that doesn't help then you may have a more serious problem.
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Old 10-27-2000, 06:44 AM   #3
ColinL
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Btw, is Rallispec doing the work for you? Pulling the heads is considerable work, and two or three hands helps when actually removing them because the 3 lower head bolts are too long to pull out all the way when the block is between the fenders.
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Old 10-27-2000, 07:15 AM   #4
miksmi
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Wow, good diagnostic work, Steve. Glad you isolated the cause.

..Mike Smith . 00 GT wagon (FATT-enabled)
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Old 10-27-2000, 06:00 PM   #5
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Are you sure it isn't just a stuck thermostat. I am not an expert I have just seen it happen a few times is all. In fact I just saw another one today. It does exactly what you are talking about. Shoves the water into and out of the overflow bottle. Sorry Just trying to help out. A thermostat would be easier to change than a head gasket so I thought I should at least mention it, even though I am probably wrong.
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Old 10-28-2000, 05:19 AM   #6
SteveS
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I was hopeful that it would be a stuck thermostat. I actually have one ordered, too. But, I don't think so. I've had a sporadic problem since June when I was running at Watkins Glen. The car will run fine for hours, but as soon as I get on the boost for a little romp -- that's when I have the problem. I don't see the thermostat sticking in that situation exclusively.

More importantly, I think I can see oil in the coolant. I'm sure I've got a head gasket problem.

Copper seems to be the solution. No reason to stick stock gaskets on there again.
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Old 10-28-2000, 05:59 AM   #7
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I heard www.ctcmotorsports.com has a copper one I think. Give them a email

Turk
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Old 10-28-2000, 07:30 AM   #8
Patrick Olsen
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I don't know if this will work with a Subie, but here's how I verified my head gaskets were bad on my Mustang. With the car cold, remove the radiator cap. Start the car and let it idle, go look into the radiator. If there are air bubbles coming up, you have a head gasket leak.

I had basically the same symptoms you've got - I came back from some "spirited" driving and the hood liner was all wet above the overflow bottle. Hmmmm, not good! I hadn't blown the head gasket (everyone tells me "if you blow the head gasket, you'll know it"), but someone suggested I do the leak check, and sure enough the gaskets were going.

I don't know if there are any available for the Subie, but real graphite gaskets are very good. That's what went into the Mustang, and I haven't had a problem since.

Pat Olsen
'99 Legacy 2.5GT (RIP), '89 Mustang (blown and intercooled)
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Old 10-29-2000, 07:20 AM   #9
SteveS
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I haven't found graphite head gaskets for the Impreza, but I'm sure somebody would be willing to make them if I'm willing to part with the money! How does the graphite gasket form a good seal? I would think that it would be too stiff to be effective.

I saw the copper head gaskets over at CTC Motorsports. Seems a little pricey, but I'm not sure how intricate the gaskets are (and therefore difficult to make).

Wonder if Trey has those DOHC heads done?

SteveS
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Old 10-29-2000, 07:25 AM   #10
SkToBe
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I would recommend the copper... Worth the peace of mind, especially on a boosted car.
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Old 10-30-2000, 04:56 PM   #11
SteveS
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Have a Nice Day?

I've received a couple of emails regarding my problem. Seems that maybe I'm being too optimistic about this only being a head gasket problem. A few people running the DOHC setups have had major block problems. So I may be in for more than a new head gasket.

If the ***** does hit the fan, I'm going to go lower compression pistons and run more boost. I want to stick with the EJ25, so I guess I would go with a MY99 or MY00 engine block. Anybody know if my DOHC setup will positively mate up with these bottom ends?

SteveS
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Old 10-30-2000, 05:06 PM   #12
Greg I
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Local turbo guy with MY98 had overheating problems: initially diagnosed as head gasket. Eventually found the block was cracked.

Good luck... hope it's not too serious.

[edit] My only suggestion is, if you're under warranty, remove everything that isn't stock if you don't want to end up paying for it yourself. The cost of a new (untapped) oil pan and some labor removing and then replacing the parts should still be less than the new block.

Greg.

[This message has been edited by Greg I (edited October 30, 2000).]
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Old 10-31-2000, 07:04 AM   #13
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Steve, I don't remember seeing anything that looked like oil in your coolant - I'm not sure. I'd think we would have noticed it since it was pretty much all over the place. Hmmmm - sorry I can't be more help - if I'd been thinking I probably would have taken a picture, but hey, that woulda been way too easy..

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Old 10-31-2000, 07:47 AM   #14
ColinL
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Greg, besides being dishonest the problem with that is that warrantied items are not free. Every subaru owner out there pays for them through sticker price or replacement parts price. Anyway, off the soapbox.

Steve, IIRC your reply in Trey's hybrid post you already have DOHC heads on a phase II bottom end. At any rate, yes it does work.

How much for the copper head gaskets? I browsed their site a bit and only saw the complete WRX gasket sets.
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Old 10-31-2000, 11:30 AM   #15
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Steve,

Welcome to the club of MY98 Turboed RS problems!
Mike Moffa's car (MY98 Turbo) and I went to the rally of Charlevoix this weekend and on Saturday, the car overheated. Mike found out right away, so he stopped emediately. First diagnosis was that the thermostat was stuck. We added some coolant and right away the car cooled down and we went on with no problems until Monday. This time it took longer for the car to cool down. Anyway, we drove back driving between 2000 and 2500 RPMs and never had any boost since we were driving at low RPM.
Mike is at the dealer right now as we speak and he called me to tell me some updates. They replaced the thermostat for a new one, and the car still overheated.
So the problem was and is the head gasket. The dealer which is a very well informed and professional Subaru dealer who have a Version 5 WRX rally car said that the MY99 or MY00 head gaskets would fit and do the job beter since they are made of metal, elliminating the problems of the MY98 head gasket made out of ???? (not sure what it's made of, but it's weak!)
Mike also was thinking of getting an aftermarket one which is somewhat better I guess from SPO, but he has not decided yet.
I am sure he will reply as soon as he gets the opportunity to go on the internet.
This is just to clarify that the MY99 or higher head gaskets will fit the MY98.

I really feel bad for you guys who have turbos on your MY98s, and have problems which make it harder to enjoy the car and have to always hesitate or add other gizmos to make the damn thing work.

Take care
Jan
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Old 10-31-2000, 01:03 PM   #16
Greg I
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"Greg, besides being dishonest the problem with that is that warrantied items are not free. Every subaru owner out there pays for them through sticker price or replacement parts price. Anyway, off the soapbox."

Colin,

Yeah, that is what my thinking was when a friend of mine went through the same thing. He succeeded in convincing me that the cause of the problem wasn't specifically the turbo, although the turbo did speed the problem along. In this case, he felt it was justifiable to have the cost covered under warranty. I'm kind of torn on this one.

Greg.
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Old 11-01-2000, 04:10 AM   #17
SteveS
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I don't think I'll try to get it covered under warranty (although my wallet sure is complaining). I do think there is a design flaw and that the turbocharging most likely hastened the failure, but didn't necessarily cause it. I've received some emails of some other people running into the same type problem, both turbo and N/A.

I am very hopeful that it's just a head gasket, but I don't want to get my hopes up. I hope Mike M.'s problems turn out to be a head gasket, too. Although his problems sound very similar to mine.

My beast will rumble again! Right now I'm driving around an '84 Cavalier convertible. Probably 90hp max. But at least it's a 5 speed.
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Old 11-01-2000, 06:15 AM   #18
Trey
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Different head gaskets were used and there's one Subaru made that's pretty nice. It's a thick, multi-layer metal gasket which, thus far, has proven reliable. The SOHC head gaskets are puny and weak in comparison. I don't have the part number in front of me but I'll try and find it. It looks to me to be very similiar to the STi gaskets I get when building EJ20 motors, besides bore differences of course. I'd be curious to see if anyone has copper gaskets with the proper bore. Of course, if you want to really do it right, lets o-ring and/or close deck that sucker and get it over with. I have a closed deck P2 EJ25 in stock, ready to ship.

One thing I've seen with a few blocks has been cylinder walls shifting and causing uneven deck surfaces. When you pull the heads, carefully check this before you put it all back together just to find out you have the same problem.

As for turbo DOHC heads, I'm ready when you are. Just tell me how much boost you're looking to run and we can get a set built up for you, no problem.

And Colin is right about having help when swapping heads. I've done it a few times by myself and it's not much fun.

Good luck,
Trey
CobbTuning.com
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Old 11-01-2000, 07:04 AM   #19
ColinL
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I wonder what the compressed thickness is of the metallic gasket versus the standard one? The gaskets I got from QSubaru were standard and identical to the original equipment.

Even though I don't currently make enough horsepower to worry, I would have rather had the metallic ones assuming they weren't significantly different thickness. (Well, maybe thinner. ) I'm in no mood to pull the heads again!
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Old 11-01-2000, 08:28 AM   #20
SteveS
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Trey ~~ If you can post that part number I'd really appreciate it. I'm really hoping that it's a head gasket and not something worse. If it's just a head gasket then I probably won't do anything but replace them.

BUT, if it is something worse, then I'm open to suggestions. You have a closed deck EJ25 ready to ship? Am I going to be able to afford it? Same with the DOHC heads -- I'm wondering how much all this is going to set me back. I haven't budgeted for all this, you know? hehe

If the cylinder walls are shifting, can anything be done about this? Or is the block just bad?

Thanks again for all the input and comments.

SteveS
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Old 11-01-2000, 11:50 AM   #21
Mike Moffa
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Ok guys, here I am .. but not for long, I am really in a hurry, I will try to get back later..

Like Jan said, I am in the same shi*.. hehe.. We open the engine today, and yep, the gasket was **** up, and I was having the normal gasket.. So, we will ex-change it today fot the better one of subaru (all metal), we will put back everything in place today, and the car should be ready tomorrow..
So, I will let you know about the update..

Good luck Steve, hope for you (and for me) that its only the gasket.. but the thing, I have need to get my head machine, because the older gasket has make a mark in it.. so, machined head = higher compression. grrr. I dont really like that.. I think that I will set my boost to 5psi for the moment, I will stay there until I upgrade all the block.. (probably for a ej22 from a legacy turbo)

Later guys
Mike M

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Old 11-01-2000, 04:18 PM   #22
SteveS
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Mike ~~ Glad to hear that it was "only" a head gasket failure. Does the dealership think the head warped after the gasket failed (and your car overheated)? Or did a slight head warpage problem end up causing the head gasket failure? They may not be able to tell, but just curious.

More importantly, which side failed (driver or passenger)? I'll attack that side first since I have no idea which side I might be having problems on.

Good luck to you, too, Mike. Us MY98's need to stick together...

SteveS
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Old 11-01-2000, 04:23 PM   #23
Mike Moffa
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I have no idee Steve, I will try to call later (in a break) or I will call or see by my self tomorrow and I will let you know.

Like you said, we need to stick together.. we are not many M98 turbo (I also have a phase 2 block)

Later Steve..
Mike
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Old 11-01-2000, 05:07 PM   #24
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It's not just the Turbo'd 98's a number of NA phase 1 motors have done the same thing and had the blocks replaced

Richard
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Old 11-01-2000, 06:11 PM   #25
SteveS
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Richard ~~ Yeah, I know. I have a Phase II bottom end, as does Mike. That's why I hope I'm suffering from a failed gasket, and not something worse.
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