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Old 02-12-2002, 08:02 PM   #1
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 15285
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: St. Paul
1997 Legacy 2.5GT

Angry 97 2.5 GT Misfire cylinder 2 nightmare?!!

After 4 trips to the shop for a "Check Engine"
light…(Code for misfire in cylinder 2)
after new plugs, wires ect… Still there is a
loss of power and a rough idle! I have been
told my car needs a new head gasket. There is
86K miles on the car and it has been
fastidiously maintained.
I did not believe it!
I have taken the car to 2 different Techs…
same conclusion. I have been looking through
chat rooms and have come to the conclusion
that this is a common problem with
this year and engine. What can be done?
My Tech called Subaru and conveniently
they are unaware of the problem. Funny they
changed the gasket design a year later?? I
have to invest $1850 into a head gasket and
seals on a faulty design? Will the car be
reliable? I planed to be one of those Subaru
owners who take pride in high miles!
Should I sell the car and cut my losses?
Has anybody heard if Subaru has done anything about

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Old 02-12-2002, 11:26 PM   #2
Legacy GTR
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 9316
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Litchfield Park, AZ
1997 Legacy GT
[email protected]


I just changed out my head gasket with 62,000 Miles on the odometer. Yeah, design flaw that nothing's being done about. It's because the headgasket is the 3 layers, not 1. You can have copper headgaskets made and put in, but I've head a couple people (turboed) have blown those too. If your even in Ann Arbor Michigan give me a call, I changed mine myself.
Good Luck,
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Old 02-13-2002, 12:05 AM   #3
Patrick Olsen
NASIOC Supporter
Member#: 120
Join Date: Jul 1999
Chapter/Region: AKIC
Location: Where the Navy sends me...
1997 Legacy 2.5GT
1996 Impreza coupe


I'm having the exact same problem right now - cylinder #2 misfire - but I haven't been told it could be a bad head gasket. Actually, I haven't been told much of anything, other than, "It could be a whole range of things." Basically, the dealership wants to take the engine apart and check the heads themselves - possibly a cracked head, or maybe bad valve seals. What has the dealer done to prove it's a bad head gasket? Have they done compression and leak down tests and shown you the results?

To be honest, it wouldn't surprise me if it is head gasket related, as I'm on my 3rd set. The gaskets were replaced for the first time at 59,750 miles, and were then replaced again about 6 months later at around 77,000 miles. The bad head gasket indications I had on both occasions were overheating problems and coolant spewing out of the overflow bottle - I never had a misfire code. Anyway, in your case, since you don't have a prior history of head gasket problems, I would make damn sure the dealership knows you want proof that the head gaskets are bad before you have them do $1800+ worth of work.

Take a look here http://i-club.com/forums/showthread....light=cylinder for some advice on things to look for. As I said in my most recent reply to that thread, I'm going to try some Magnecor wires to see if they fix the problem. When I installed new Subaru OEM wires at around 60k miles I noticed they were pretty chintzy, and the resistance values varied wildly between the 4 wires. So now I'm going to try higher quality wires and see what happens.

I would also recommend that you call SOA yourself (1800-SUBARU3) and talk to them about the head gasket problem. Explain that you've done some searching around on the internet, specifically this site, and have found numerous cases of blown head gaskets with the Phase I DOHC 2.5L engines. Such as:

Etc etc etc. I did a search for "blown head gasket*", you can check out the threads at http://i-club.com/forums/search.php?...der=descending (which includes all of the above listed threads). Anyway, explain that yes the car is beyond the powertrain warranty, but that there seems to be a well-established history of head gasket problems with the Phase I DOHC 2.5L engine, and that you think a company renowned for cars that last forever should help you out with the cost of repairs.

Is that enough babbling for now?

Pat Olsen
'97 Legacy 2.5GT sedan
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Old 02-13-2002, 08:39 AM   #4
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 2697
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Olney, MD. Work in McLean, VA
2000 Celica GT-S
Spectra Blue

Default Here's what I decided to do!

Instead of changing the headgaskets, which would have cost an arm and a leg if I paid for the work to be done by the dealer, I decided to swap engines for a newer SOHC 2.5L engine.

Do a search for this particular thread:
Project Frankensubie almost complete - RE: SOHC swap

The whole swap using an independent mechanic ended up cheaper than paying the dealer to install new headgaskets (which I would've done for warranty reasons just in case they blew again).

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Old 02-13-2002, 03:19 PM   #5
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 343
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Bellevue, Wa. US
1998 Legacy GT
Granite Pearl


oooh geeeze. This is starting to scare me. I have a 98 GT running at 83K. I haven't had any problems yet... I think Subiegal had the same problem too. But I think for her, she had some problems with a craked engine block. I am a pretty conservative driver, but seems to me, regardless of the type of driver, it's pretty random within MY97 - MY98.
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Old 02-14-2002, 11:55 PM   #6
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 439
Join Date: Oct 1999
Chapter/Region: E. Canada
Location: yyz


Here is my story:
brought the MY97 car new back in Sept 1997 and around Dec 1998, I could hear loud clicking noise when started in cold. Brought the car in service and then later learned that I needed a new short block! Here is the details of my warranty claim:

Diag. engine major noise cold:
replaced 10103AA810R1 short block C$1570 with 30% discount from C$2042

replaced 1015AA240 gasket/seal kit C$282 with 30% discount from C$367.

Can someone tell me if I have the new gasket kit or not? If not, I will go to dealer to buy extended warranty (now 83000km or less than 52000mile) or think of selling the car before too late.



edit: I think I don't have CEL and didn't ask for the real reason because it was covered under warranty.
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Old 02-15-2002, 09:09 AM   #7
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 15285
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: St. Paul
1997 Legacy 2.5GT


I will find out the part number from my Tech. I made some calls to dealerships asking about head gaskets and seal kits. Some dealer parts departments are not up to date. The original part number I was told was an old part number. My Tech has a hold of the "new" seal and gasket kit. I will find out the number ASAP.
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Old 02-15-2002, 10:04 AM   #8
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 7006
Join Date: May 2001
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: Clifton Park, NY
2007 SpecB

Talking engine swap

Put in a WRX engine while you're at it, maybe even a tranny.
If your current car's got around 80k you'll now have a new car. Sweet.

That's pretty much the plan on my car. As soon as I have engine problems, bam a

WRX Legacy Outback

..say that again, don't that sound so sweeeeeeet.

Last edited by rallysquirrel; 02-15-2002 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 02-15-2002, 10:32 AM   #9
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 15285
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: St. Paul
1997 Legacy 2.5GT


I would bet you could find a 16-20 year old's WRX that has been crunched with little effort. Make any offer on the engine!
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