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Old 09-13-2017, 05:55 AM   #1
voodoochylde
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Default Possible external head gasket leak

Hi everyone. I've not owned a Subaru in 6 or 7 years now but I just bought a 2010 Subaru Impreza Premium sedan. It has right at 99k miles. 2.5l, AT. Ru s and drives great.

I got to checking my fluids Monday and noticed my coolant was low, both in the overflow tank and the radiator. To top off the radiator and fill the overflow to halfway between the lines took a little less than 2 quarts.

I started poking around and found a wet spot on the driver's side, near the bottom, where the head meets the block.

My suspicion is a failing head gasket. Can anyone tell anything from the photo I'm attaching?

Also, will Subaru's magical coolant additive buy me any time?
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Old 09-13-2017, 07:04 AM   #2
tmcquinn
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The thing I hate about leaks, whether on your car or your house, is the evidence can land a long way from the problem. I would pull enough parts to get a decent view of the engine and borrow a pressure tester from Autozone.
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Old 09-13-2017, 11:19 AM   #3
Charlie-III
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Looks like the EGR tube at the bottom of the lit area?
Looks like a HG leak, I believe cabin heat hoses are just above there, so I would clean the area up with a hose (as tmcquinn sorta suggested) let it dry, then look some more. A coolant pressure tester may help. Check under hoses as well.

Everything I have heard or read makes it sound like the coolant conditioner is basically stop leak. I'm not fond of them, but have used them. I prefer Barrs Leaks instead of the silver powder stuff.
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:23 PM   #4
voodoochylde
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Not news per se but...

I'm certain it's an external HG leak. The black goo on the head does not smell of oil but does smell like coolant.

I have been referred to a local subaru technician who does work on the side at a reduced rate. He's quoting $650 for HG, associated gaskets, and full timing set change (including water pump), and all labor. I grilled him with questions and seems knowledgeable. I was referred by a shop I trust. I think I'm going to let him do it.
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:29 PM   #5
Subtlet
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That seems way too cheap, ask him also if the heads are going to be machined.
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:38 PM   #6
voodoochylde
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That quote is dirt cheap and doesn't include resurfacing. Resurfacing will be done if inspection requires it but at increased cost.

I will be there to observe the repair. I have done subaru head gaskets before and have a pretty decent idea of how this should go.

Doing the math and assuming 8 hours, his rate works out to be about $40 per hour.
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Old 09-14-2017, 06:56 AM   #7
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There are others here who are far more expert than I am but...

I would be careful about the timing kit. I bought a Gates kit for our 03 WRX a couple years ago and it was all quality parts from Japan. Then last summer I bought a Gates kit for our 2000 Outback and it was full of Chinese parts. I hardly used any of it. You won't have to spend a lot of time on google to find horror stories on idler pulleys and water pumps from China.
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Old 09-14-2017, 10:01 AM   #8
voodoochylde
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Thanks for the insight. I was unaware that Gates may no longer be THE choice for these parts. I will research and, if necessary, provide my own parts.
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Old 09-14-2017, 01:02 PM   #9
Charlie-III
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmcquinn View Post
There are others here who are far more expert than I am but...

I would be careful about the timing kit. I bought a Gates kit for our 03 WRX a couple years ago and it was all quality parts from Japan. Then last summer I bought a Gates kit for our 2000 Outback and it was full of Chinese parts. I hardly used any of it. You won't have to spend a lot of time on google to find horror stories on idler pulleys and water pumps from China.
As an aside, I have used Gates kits with "made in Japan" parts as well as "made in China" parts on mostly NA Subaru of various years.
The only failure I have had thus far was a smooth belt guide made by Koyo in Japan. Fortunately, I had to go back in a year after install to do cam and crank seals and found the guide was stiff and wearing the belt.
I replaced most of the kit and am waiting for a warranty claim determination from Gates.

So while "made in China" may put off peeps, I have only had a "made in Japan" failure to this point.
I have done over 20 Subaru TB's, some even the next replacement.
Last was an 05 Outback at the shop I work at PT (few days ago). Kit must have been old stock, all parts were "made in Japan".

I also now "pull the pin" on the tensioner and then bleed per the newer instructions provided in the kit.
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Old 09-16-2017, 12:31 PM   #10
tmcquinn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie-III View Post
As an aside, I have used Gates kits with "made in Japan" parts as well as "made in China" parts on mostly NA Subaru of various years.
The only failure I have had thus far was a smooth belt guide made by Koyo in Japan. Fortunately, I had to go back in a year after install to do cam and crank seals and found the guide was stiff and wearing the belt.
I replaced most of the kit and am waiting for a warranty claim determination from Gates.

So while "made in China" may put off peeps, I have only had a "made in Japan" failure to this point.
I have done over 20 Subaru TB's, some even the next replacement.
Last was an 05 Outback at the shop I work at PT (few days ago). Kit must have been old stock, all parts were "made in Japan".

I also now "pull the pin" on the tensioner and then bleed per the newer instructions provided in the kit.
I won't argue with success. Any part can fail.

Free to a good home. 2000 Outback. The tensioner actually has a Japanese bearing but I could not find the markings the OEM had on the tensioner.



I just hope that if the day comes when China starts making quality parts that I'm not too jaded to recognize it.

Last edited by tmcquinn; 09-16-2017 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 09-16-2017, 11:15 PM   #11
CosmoTheCat
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$650 is parts and labor?
You can spend nearly that much on timing components and the gasket set alone.
I charge $500 labor plus whatever the parts run on a SOHC motor, $650 + parts for DOHC, and $750 + parts on a turbo, if I'm doing it at home.
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