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Old 03-31-2004, 06:18 PM   #1
kbrate
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Unhappy Another Head Gasket Gone!

BH Legacy (2001 Wagon) - 46k Miles - 1 mth. after the "conditioner" was added to the coolant system. Leak seem to have been into the cylinder(s). Overheated big time last night. Got it to the shop today - being torn down tomorrow - then we'll see what the real damage is...

KCB

P.S. Anyone get a good explaination as to what the root problem is - I got something about cracking due to lack of hydration?? Sounded a bit lame to me. I think aluminum blocks + open deck= bad. Anyone else remember the Vega?
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Old 03-31-2004, 06:26 PM   #2
etam
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at least you are under warranty.. but no such luck for us phase 1 owners

keep us informed! good luck!
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Old 03-31-2004, 07:04 PM   #3
Charlie-III
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Vega??, Yup, went through 2 short blocks. Biggest problem there was a cast iron head and an aluminum block. They did not have the different coefficient of expansion down yet.

Suby 2.5L HG leaks, I think a lot is the unsupported cylinder wiggling around a bit causing the HG to pull apart and have a leak.

And etam is right, you get some help. Us phase-1 people got hung out to dry. I, myself have been through this 2 times on 2 different engines.
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Old 03-31-2004, 08:10 PM   #4
kbrate
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Really the big problem with the Vega was it was an open deck design just like the Subaru - Same thing happened - the cylinder walls move around and break the seal. Any decent open deck has a groove in either the head or cylinder face or both and a crush ring so it maintains a seal. Funny Subaru hasn't figured that out yet.
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Old 03-31-2004, 08:49 PM   #5
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I've had the conditioner in for about a month now, and I think its really helping keeping the coolant level solid...before it was eating coolant like none other, now its good..

so...I dunno
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Old 03-31-2004, 09:42 PM   #6
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It appears some sort of "girdle" could take care of the problem, but closing or semi-closing the deck would be preferrable. With the fact you have only 2 cyl per side, with half the structural integrity of an in-line motor, one would think it'd be a no-brainer! Very disappointed in FHI overall. They basically took a shortcut, enlarging the motor to 2.5 with no additional structure, while they continue to sell very reliable 2.0's turbo and non to the rest of the world. U.S. consumer takes the hit once again.

Glenn O
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Old 04-01-2004, 01:41 AM   #7
O1LegacyGT
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Had mine in twice for that wonderful head gasket problem and i am just hitting 38k on it now
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Old 04-01-2004, 09:28 AM   #8
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not to spoil the mood here.. ive got over 150K on my engine.. and no head-gasket or other engine issues.. (knock on the wood)
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Old 04-01-2004, 10:58 AM   #9
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i'm still doing fine at 91,000 on my '99 DOHC EJ25. maybe it's a cleveland thing, right nitron?
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Old 04-01-2004, 02:03 PM   #10
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I've heard that it's possible the head bolts were not tightened properly from the factory on Phase I EJ25's, resulting in a blown gasket...

Nevertheless, the headgasket is ANY Subaru's breaking point, not just EJ25's. EJ22's can blow them, EA82T's are VERY bad about it. It's nothing new, it's just that it's never been this bad
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Old 04-02-2004, 03:16 AM   #11
dugrant153
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apparently not.
but it seems that the coolant DOES work to some extent...? doesn't it?

maybe it's best to be used before the problem shows up?
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Old 04-02-2004, 03:26 PM   #12
fibuz
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as previously stated, the coolant conditioner has worked quite well for me...before I was putting more coolant in//the coolant level was always very very low almost weekly...now it's above the line and not going anywhere and hasn't for over a month...so I think its working
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Old 04-02-2004, 05:24 PM   #13
kbrate
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Default And the answer is...

The damage is in and it's both head gaskets and left side pistons. They claim the Heads and Block are fine. Going to have a look at the parts - it would seem to me that if the pistons are hosed the block would at least need to be honed.

There are pluses and minus to being under warranty - I really can't afford to pay for a rebuild but at least I would have some say as to what was done...

KCB
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Old 04-03-2004, 02:04 AM   #14
dugrant153
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My friend just bought a used Phase II engine to replace his blown 98 RS headgasket engine. It seems to be doing okay for him, but yeah... he had to shell out some cash.

Glad to hear the conditioner is working for people. kbrate, I wonder why it didn't work for you?
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Old 04-04-2004, 01:54 PM   #15
kbrate
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Angry The Saga goes on...

Well they called me yesterday to come pickup the car. As I'm driving down I'm wondering if this is to keep me away from the rest of the customers as they know I won't just take what they tell me at face value. Message say's thay are open till 5pm, I get there at 3 and it looks like everyone is bailing. Sure enough only two people in service and one is the cashier the other is a service writer that doesn't know anything about my car except it's done. Parts are locked up and if I want to see them I'll have to come back. I take the car against my better judgement and sure enough there is a wicked shudder at low speed while turning that wasn't there before. Don't think this is engine but it feels like a diff or steering rack problem. Haven't driven the car enough to sort it out. Sent my wife out with the car today to see if she notices and she calls on the mobil and wants to know if she should drive it home or park it.... Going back first thing tomorrow morning

KCB
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Old 04-04-2004, 03:12 PM   #16
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Just got my 98 BD5 GT back from the shop. Both HGs blown at 61K and now four months past warranty (Down since 1/16/04) while I worked with SOA. The tech rep said, "since I owned so many Subes, that they would pay for the parts", which was substantial with all the gasket sets, fluids, coolant, etc. but it still ran me $950 for labor. Dealer threw in a 15% discount on the labor. SOA also added $1K of customer loyalty cash that I fully intend to use on the the new BP when it gets here.

I'm definitely becoming quickly disenfranchised with the "Open Deck" reliability issues. Fortunately, the other Subes are covered by the seven-year, $0 deductible, 100K warranty and I expect that this will be Subaru's $cost problem as they age, particularly the BDA GT which is at 60K now.

Br, Dale
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Old 04-06-2004, 04:48 PM   #17
O1LegacyGT
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Yeah i failed to say i had the car in the first time and they replaced the head gasket, then about a month later i smelled the antifreeze again and took it in they used the conditioner again... So far so good, i hear a small knock when i start my car up in the morning but goes away after it warms up... i hope this wasnt due to the head gaskets issues... I am going to hold on for a little longer and see if it gets any worse if it does, back to subaru...

-Raini
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Old 04-06-2004, 08:23 PM   #18
dugrant153
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Quote:
Originally posted by O1LegacyGT
Yeah i failed to say i had the car in the first time and they replaced the head gasket, then about a month later i smelled the antifreeze again and took it in they used the conditioner again... So far so good, i hear a small knock when i start my car up in the morning but goes away after it warms up... i hope this wasnt due to the head gaskets issues... I am going to hold on for a little longer and see if it gets any worse if it does, back to subaru...

-Raini
Keep us posted.
I wanna see if that conditioner stuff actually works.
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Old 04-06-2004, 10:16 PM   #19
etam
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which phase II engine does it come from? I remember it is not 100% direct swap..

Quote:
Originally posted by dugrant153
My friend just bought a used Phase II engine to replace his blown 98 RS headgasket engine. It seems to be doing okay for him, but yeah... he had to shell out some cash.

Glad to hear the conditioner is working for people. kbrate, I wonder why it didn't work for you?
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Old 04-06-2004, 10:22 PM   #20
dugrant153
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umm... I'm actually not too sure which Phase II.
Not too sure of the details. Alls I know is that he got a different motor instead of fixing the headgaskets on his Phase I.
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Old 04-07-2004, 06:29 PM   #21
kbrate
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News

Quote:
Originally posted by O1LegacyGT
Yeah i failed to say i had the car in the first time and they replaced the head gasket, then about a month later i smelled the antifreeze again and took it in they used the conditioner again... So far so good, i hear a small knock when i start my car up in the morning but goes away after it warms up... i hope this wasnt due to the head gaskets issues... I am going to hold on for a little longer and see if it gets any worse if it does, back to subaru...

-Raini
Well I've now seen the parts and had a long talk with the service manager and here is what I saw/was told.

1) The head gaskets really didn't look all that bad. Nothing like I thought they would look like. Most of the time when I've seen a blown head gasket it was pretty obvious something was wrong. These had a couple of areas that looked suspect and some discoloration on the ring near the piston but all in all nothing catastrophic was evident. A bit strange???

2) Raini - you might want to keep an ear out if you have a knock. The service manager told me he had pulled my left side pistons because they (Subaru) have had problems with that side knocking. Sure enough there were big skuff marks on both piston skirts where they had been rubbing the bores even tho I hadn't heard anything. What I was told was that there is a Service Bulletin out and that Subaru has come out with a new slightly larger piston for the left side. What they are telling the dealers is that the two half's of the block are made by different people and that the bores are slightly different. Sounds wild but ......

3) The shudder is probably air in hydraulic lines of the the rack (I had pretty much settled on the rack as the source of the problem on my way in). They (the service dept.) have found that if you work the steering with the power off like up on a lift (or less engine) air can get into the system and it is a bitch to bleed. They bled the system again and it's better but again there is a service bulletin out that they are to replace air lines if a customer complains of a steering shudder. The new lines are on order and will go on as soon as they come in.

4) The conditioner is in fact a "stop leak". From what Subaru has told the dealer they routinely sent cars out with this in the cooling fluid up to 3 - 4 years ago, when they stopped. Since then they have gotten so many complaints of leaks that they have reinstituted the practice. I'm not sure if it will help their head gasket problem but.....

Sorry for being so longwinded but I thought some of you would be interested. Remember this is what I was told, not necessarily the whole truth. Do I buy it all, no; do I think they (the Service Manager) lied to me, no ; Do I think Subaru isn't being completely honest, probably.....

KCB
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Old 04-15-2004, 01:43 PM   #22
O1LegacyGT
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The more i think about this knock the more i worry, I think I may just take it in, This should be covered under the 60k warantee am i correct? I would hate to see me go over 60k and then clunk there goes the piston locked in the sleeve. I really think i should of taken it right back to subaru to get that knock fixed, i am almost positive it wasnt there before the head gasket issue.

I dont know if anyone else agrees with me but many have said this is not just a quick fix with this conditioner but i fail to agree. It is deffently a quick fix, in my book if subaru made a mistake, and i have had my car in there twice, for the same issue and each time they say it is fixed... UMmmm where i come from if the problem is fixed it is not reoccuring. Another thing is too, are the going to cover the next issue, when my motor needs to be rebuilt or are they just going to say oh the block doesnt need to be rehoned, we just need to replace the pistons. I am not a engine builder but i have had my fair break down of motors, and from the two engines that i rebuilt my mustang and my dirtbike i had the cylinder rehoned


Thanks for all the info Kbrate

-Raini
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Old 08-29-2004, 10:52 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O1LegacyGT
Yeah i failed to say i had the car in the first time and they replaced the head gasket, then about a month later i smelled the antifreeze again and took it in they used the conditioner again... So far so good, i hear a small knock when i start my car up in the morning but goes away after it warms up... i hope this wasnt due to the head gaskets issues... I am going to hold on for a little longer and see if it gets any worse if it does, back to subaru...

-Raini
Hey guys i just wanted to bring this up... so yeah everyone would know, so i dont hear the knock anymore but the check engine light came on.. I went to the autozone by my house to have the codes pulled and yeah, well it is on cause a knock sensor sensed a knock. Taking it into subaru to see what is goign to happen next i sure hope this will be covered under the 60k warantee
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Old 08-29-2004, 11:25 PM   #24
Vern!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subyluvr2212
Nevertheless, the headgasket is ANY Subaru's breaking point, not just EJ25's. EJ22's can blow them, EA82T's are VERY bad about it. It's nothing new, it's just that it's never been this bad
My Subaru with the EG33 had near 250K miles when I sold it, and who knows how many more miles the second owner would have put on it before he rolled it.

The SVX had a couple of weak spots-- the head gaskets were not one of them.
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Old 08-30-2004, 11:59 AM   #25
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You guys have me completely spooked about getting an 00 GT-L with 90k, recently replaced radiator and head gaskets.

Is this as much of a problem on the Japanese-built Impreza, or is it a US-built problem?
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