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Old 06-17-2018, 03:24 AM   #1
masonroese
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Default Head Gaskets as a preventative maintenance 08 2.5i

In the next month or two I am going to be changing the timing belt on my 2008 OBS. I was going to do so without taking out the engine. However, I see a lot about head gaskets notoriously failing on Imprezas around my mileage (150k). The job seems difficult and time intensive, but I can't see myself ever paying 1500 dollars to have a shop fix it on such an old car. Is it something that people change as preventative maintenance? I have no signs of any head gasket issues, but if the failure rate is as high as people seem to make it out to be...

P.S. I could take the engine out if need be

P.P.S. Is putting head gasket sealant as a preventative measure stupid?
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Old 06-17-2018, 10:52 AM   #2
Elbert Bass
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If you have no signs of problem - no oil or coolant seeps/leaks/drips - then leave it alone. Not all engines develop leaks.
Ever hear the old adage "If it ain't broke don't fix it"? That applies here. Besides, if you have never done that type of repair before you are bound to mess something up - it happens. Then you end up spending more money trying to save money on a repair that is not needed.

If you are talking about replacing your coolant and using Subaru coolant conditioner you can, Subaru recommends it. Just be sure the car has never had any other type of product added besides coolant - some chemicals don't play well with each other.
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Old 06-18-2018, 12:00 PM   #3
GEE-OTTO
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I would replace them now if you have the tools/space/means/knowledge/able to handle downtime/can take the engine out and do it on the stand . Skip the Subaru coolant conditioner when you refill the system, just use any good quality 50/50 all model coolant mix.( I used OEM 50/50 but I have used PEAK with no issue)

On a EJ the HGs are going to fail. When? Could be as soon as you do all that other maintenance and button it back up could be 80K miles mile from now. On my 08 2.5i my HGs were slightly starting to weep around 140K miles and at 181K miles they were still the same, I had planned to pull the engine at 200K clean up the heads and new HGs, but it spun a bearing

The job is not that bad on the bench, its gets annoying when you leave the engine in and have to crane into the bay to clean the block surfaces and inspect/replace the little pieces. The only part of the job that is perilous is setting the timing correctly, you can do everything right but mix that up and youll be doing it all over again.
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Old 06-18-2018, 02:01 PM   #4
masonroese
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Thanks for both of your input. I will probably end up leaving them as mine don't even appear to be weeping at this point. Knowing my luck, they will probably fail about 1k miles after I do the timing belt. For now I will simply replace the coolant and water pump with the timing belt.

Folow up question: what is wrong with the Subaru conditioner?
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Old 06-19-2018, 12:10 AM   #5
CosmoTheCat
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It's stop leak. Someone here said they came out with a bulletin saying don't use it anymore, but didn't share the bulletin number. I haven't verified it yet.

If they're not leaking, leave well enough alone. You can usually go QUITE a long time on leaking head gaskets before they become a serious issue. If you see coolant leaking though, I'd move it up the priority list.
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Old 06-19-2018, 09:54 AM   #6
GEE-OTTO
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Yeah I don't like adding any substance to a cooling systems that clogs leaks as it can clog other passages also.
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