Skip's Head Gasket Failure Guestbook

Entries 201-300

Kristin arcata, ca 97 Subaru Outback 2.5 L 101, 500 I am so peeved right now...that I can not say anything about the yuppi car of America/
Ed Lewis South Riding, Va '97 Subaru Legacy Outback Wagon 2.5L 129,000 My Subaru was just recently diagnosed as having a blown head gasket. The first signs was sporattic overheating. Changed the thermostat, but overheating still persisted. Had the compression checked...ok. Checked for carbon in the anti-freeze....failed. Unfortunately, nobody can tell me if the block is cracked or not just that there is exhaust in the cooling system. I plan to do the repair myself with lots of help from someone else who knows alot about BMW's and Subarus. I think with your documentation layed out here, this will make our job a bit easier. I do have one question....I am not changing the transmission, but want to know if there is anything else other than the transmissin that would be a good idea to change since we will have the engine out? Might as well do some other repairs. Thanks for your hard work and effort in getting this information out to other Subaru enthusiasts.
James Rector central IL 1997 Outback 2.5L 87,000 again at 226k
Matt Muoio Mountlake Terrace, WA 1997 Outback 2.5L 97,000 & 151,000 Blown head gasket at 97,000. Repaired with updated head gasket design. Took my car in for service, and mechanic notice high levels of hydrocarbons in the coolant indicating that the gasket(s) are starting to go again. Getting rid of the car, and I won't even consider another 2.5L engine from Subaru. Considering not even purchasing another Subaru.
andy plaine danville CA 1997 Ouback 2.5 112,000 Good article and info - thanks for posting this site. The head gaskets were replaced by the previous owner at 70K - here we are doing it again! Hopefully this car will hold together for a few years until my son is finished with college! Andy
John Payne Sacramento, CA 99 Legacy Outback 2.5L 72058 dealer said I have a blown head gasket and it would cost $1700.00 to fix. So far Subaru America have not answered my emails. Dealer said my car is not covered under the WWP-99 service Program
KC Asheville, NC 97 Ourback   104,000 I bought this car 2 days ago. I only put 98 miles on it. I pulled up in my driveway and white smoke was coming from under the hood. I opened the hood and lifted the overflow coolent cap. there was all this black gunk and it was up to the top of the overflow tank. Coolent had also shot out all over the driver side of the engine. Today is Christmas and nothing is open. I'm calling the dealer I bought it from Monday am! Of course, I bougth it "as is." I'll see what happens. BTW, thanks for the site. I bet I know what the problem is.
Cheryl Hall Morgantown 1998 Subaru Legacy GT 2.5 167000 This model year ,I was told, is the worst. This car was bought new. Since then we have had the head gasket and the transmission. replaced. I feel that there should be a recall. This is apparently a problem for many many owners
FREAK BOY ASHLAND MA 98 FORESTER 2.5 107,000 HG went internal and leaking into cooling system causing havoc with temp gauge. Cheapest repair price at legit suburu specialist is $2000, and the dealer wants $2,600.
Ellie Amsterdam, NY 00 Outback LTD sedan 2.5l 101,250 I have been suffering from the smell of antifreeze for a short period and have noticed the temp guage spike and fall on trips to work. I am headed out to drop in a new thermostat, and have been trying to pinpoint from where the anti freeze smell is coming, but from what I read here, I wonder if just trading her in on something else to let someone else deal with the problems is a better idea. It is a shame I love her to death!
jean marra huntington station, new york 1996 legacy outback 2.5L 113,000 Noticed the temperature gauge elevation off and on for several weeks before ultimate breakdown. Car completely overheated on the New York Thruway Christmas Eve. Had it towed to Country Subaru in Kingston NY. Today they told me the gaskets blew making the care overhead.. It's going to cost me $2400. $800 parts, $1300 labor because the engine needs to be removed ... and extra $$ for transmission work as a precaution because the car overheated. I'm not a happy camper. Hoping Subaru of American will help with cost.
vinny new york 2001 legacy outback 2.5L 40,000 Subaru won't admit it's the head gasket,--still trying to get it fixed.
John Borelli Brookline, NH 1997 Legacy Outback 2.5L 132400 Great web page - Thank you VERY MUCH for having created it! I believe I will also need to replace my head gaskets soon, as my symptoms match too many of those described in this page (coolant overflow tank topping-out & spilling over, sludge developing in overflow tank, recent momentary over-heating, ...). Since this vehicle is a '97, I suspect that it has a "stage 1" type engine, and that the recommended coolant conditioner (band-aid?) will not help. Also, since I've got 132k miles on this vehicle, I'm wondering if Subaru of America will still partially reimburse me for the head gasket replacement cost. I feel for all those folks who have experienced this problem as I, too, bought this vehicle due to its perceived reliabilty at that time. There must be some regulatory agency which investigates these types of issues. Since there are sooooo many similar head gasket cases, I'm sure there is sufficient justification in pursuing some form of legal action. The customer should definitely not have to pay for this kind of design defect!!!
Ezra Cornell Walden ,N.Y. 1998 , forester 2.5 122,000 My wifes car , she has had problems with it for awhile even to subaru, but know one warned her of the head gasket problems . I've found out on the net the motor has inherent head gasket problems .
Dan Conrad 1998 Outback 2.5 108K Overheating as with your post. Was seeing some oil leak, not sure from where -- clutch replaced at 95K. Was stranded in a city 100 mi from my home -- subaru dealer fixed at cost of $1600. The subaru mechanics comment was that they were seeing a lot of these failures due to the faulty gaskets put in these models. Emailed subaru to complain but clearly they are not overly sympathetic. They need to be convinced that this is a systemic failure issue. Perhaps that is not possible, since as above acknowledged, the mechanics are aware of the problem.
John Chambers Sparta NJ 07871 1999 legacy gt wagon 2.5l 95k I loved this car my 4th suburu. My other three I leased and got rid of at 45k miles. I liked this one so much I decided to buy and try to get 200k-300k miles. OK, so I got the screwed for believing to much in a company. Same problem as the rest of you only there was a hole in my radiator (I still have not seen the old parts)now to repair all the problems head gasket, radiator I'm looking at $3200.00. This is a car that is a regular commuter.My problem is that I own a car that has 7k to go with financing and looking at $3200.00in repair bills the whole deal is not worth that much.I've spent over 100k on Suburu.This is the end of the line. I going to Honda. No customer loyalty. Rip off service. Salerno- Duane Newton NJ
Brandon Omaha, NE 1997 Legacy Outback 2.5l 130000 On the way home from work my outback started to overheat. I pulled over and opened the hood. The coolant overflow was spilling over all over the place. I took it in to Subaru of Omaha and they worked to diagnose the problem for three days. They called me back and told me it was either a head gasket or cracked block. So know I am waiting in limbo debating whether or not no put the money into it. Its a funny thing because I loved outbacks and would always tell everyone how great they were to drive. Know I look like a chump. Thanks for letting me vent. B
Therese Silver Spring Md 1998 Subaru Forester 2.5L 130000 Add me to overheated and definetely not the thermostat but a blown Head Gasket and possibly worse club.
Rena Gustafsson Mill Valley,CA 97 Legacy Outback 2.5 99,000 WoW! I can't get over the similarities of all of the reports. The fluctuating temp. gauge, the oil leaks, and finally the head gaskets. I really have enjoyed the practicality of this car, but with this expensive engine repair I can't tell you how disappointed I am with Subaru. I used to brag about how care free the car was and how perfect the car was for my two kids and our lifestyle. Trips up to Tahoe and Yosemite. The $3,000 bill from the dealer repair shop really hurt big time on the heals of the holidays and tax property time. I cried for 24 hours. It took me a while to decide if I should get the repair or not, but like everyone else I need my car. They have also notified me that the all wheel drive system is failing which will cost an additional $1,000. In the mean time they are disconnecting the system making the car a front wheel drive only until I can afford that repair. Anybody know how to put chains on my 4wd? Kind of ironic. All I can say is Subaru I returned my kids Christmas gifts and I hope they enjoy the peanut butter sandwiches they'll be eating a lot of for the next six months. Happy Holidays!
K. Y. Bae Albertson, NY 1997 Legacy Outback 2.5L 103,000 Had radiator, thermostat and water pump replaced starting with the thermostat first. The same overheating problems persisted. The car would drive fine for about 8-10 miles and then the temperature guage would spike to HOT. Coolant from the reservoir tank would fill upto the top and shoot out onto the engine not to recede back down and back into the engine. I bought this car because of the sales pitch that Subaru's are reliable. This will be the first and last Subaru I own. I'll make sure none of my friends and family will ever own a Subaru. The worst part about all this is not the car and it's problems but the attitude of Subaru of America.
Adam Tacoma, WA 1997 2.5L 116K $1500 worth of oil seals and such, then a blown engine, replaced it to the tune of $2500, started overheating really often, replaced t-stat and cap, took it in to a mechanic, still having problems. Let me know about the class action suit.
Muffin Rose Rockville, MD Legacy Outback wagon 2002 ? 41,000 After only two years of owning this car the head gasket broke. Luckily for me I had purchased an extended warranty (the original warranty stopped at 36,000 miles). It only cost me $100 deductible. But still I was shocked that with no warning the temperature gauge was on high.
David Locke Fairfax, VA 1997 Subaru Outback 2.5L 103000 12-31-04: Very sorry to hear there are so many people out there that has the same problems with their Subaru head gaskets blowing for them as I. I noticed our car had a problem around the 99,000-mile mark, which included hard starting. The car would sputter on the first or second start as if Timing was off. Took the car to local Dealer for service on 11-23-04. Since the car was due for its 90 or so mileage checkup I asked them to also perform the service. Found out that cylinders #2 & #4 were misfiring, Had two valve cover gaskets with minute leakage, Tin cover on the exhaust rattling. Was amazed that they had to replace the whole exhaust Y-pipe just to repair the loose Tin heat shield ($375). Had the above service performed for $1647.63. Got the car back and quickly noticed a vibration at idle while sitting at a stop light and several times later noticed it Hard to start once again...just as before. Wrote down a lengthy letter on the dealers evening drop box to include all the symptoms. The dealership kept the car for two days and finally mentioned that the Timing must have slipped a Degree causing Flutter starting and the Motor Mounts are worn causing the Vibration. This was all sounding very strange to me...I could see that a timing problem could be the cause of the starting Flutter, but you would think that the service department would have caught all the problems in the $500 or so service fee. Especially when they mentioned that Cylinders #2 & #4 were initially misfiring ( They must have known of the Known Blown Head Gasket Problems of prior Subaru’s ). We went on vacation after the $1600 service with a clear state of mind. Drove about 400 miles with NO-Problems with the car to visit our parents, Had fun, and opted to bring our Parents to our home for a nice family x-mas. On the way home, late at night, on a secluded highway the car starts to over heat and lose our internal Heat. We were getting cold, but nowhere to had to drive 30 or so miles to a service station. Service station was about to close but asked them to take a look...He mentioned possible Thermostat or Head gasket. There were no signs such as Leaks, water in Oil, Steam out of exhaust indicating head gasket problem. Being late at night, Parents on board, and nearly a hundred miles to go I was not quite sure what to do. We had something to eat while the car was cooling down and the restaurant gave us some water to fill radiator. While the family was eating I took the car for a drive around to see if it would again over heat. IT did not. I purchased a couple gallons of water and took a chance to drive the extra hundred miles to home. Done so with no problems and the haet gage stayed at Normal setting and we had sufficient heat. X-mas eve I spent the day replacing the thermostat and drove around for nearly 60 miles with no overheating. X-mas day drove 10-miles to my Sisters house and halfway the car started overheating. Had a wonderful x-mas and by this time the car was cool and without topping off the radiator I drove the car back home and then let it sit in the driveway Idling for a Half Hour or so. Within this, time the car did-not-overheat (Baffling to me now). The following Monday I drove the car to the Dealership and told them of the Unusual way the car is overheating, By the way.. the car did not overheat on the way to dealership. Today, New-Years Eve, they called back with bad news ( Blown Head gasket estimating $2100. Very Very confused, I got on the Internet and clicked on Skip's website. Skip's is the First and probably the only website that I will need to visit since he has listed in great detail of Subaru's tragedies and it fits my problem to a tee. Thank you for reading my story. I will call the number listed for Subaru’s. PS: Subaru also has a problem with Yellowing Plastic headlight covers. To me, this is a highly safety issue, however the dealership has no recalls and will gladly sell you them both for $250 Each. SOLUTION: Take 340 grit sandpaper and sand the lens, then sand it again with 1000 grit, then finally take a buffing tool with a liquid-fine polishing compound and Buff. The lens will look clear as glass.
Suzanne Carroll Redwood City 1997 Legacy 2.5 92,000 I had a blown head gasket that went undiagnosed for 10 months! It took an independent radiator shop to inform me of the problem. the local Subaru dealer provided horrible service and charged me $2800 to fix the problem. I used to love the car but I don't think the headache and incompetencies of the dealership is worth owning a Subaru. Unless Subaru addresses this problem, this car will be the last Subaru I own.
Gary B Seattle,Wa 1999 Forrester 2.5L 99.960, Now 100,260 Gold warranty coverage. Started overheating real bad. Towed to Carter Subaru on 172nd Aurora. They applied the "Conditioner fix" per the campaign...Refused to replace head gasket. BTW I had to return the car 3 separate times in 3 days to get the check engine lite diagnosed. It still keeps coming on....Duh guys come on!!! All I see so far is a bunch of teens working the shop? Conditioner stopped the leak, but I'm not at all happy with this cheesy "band ad" fix. The head gasket needs to be replaced. I won't be buying any more subarus...Like the subaru corporation cares anyway. I'm interested in any info on class action lawsuit towards SOA if available. PS, to Subaru of America, I MAY reconsider becoming a repeat customer IF you fix this headgasket problem by replacing with NEW gaskets on my current 1999 forrester. UPDATE!!! I kept my KOOL, no yelling, no threats, I remained pleasant but FIRM and persistant. I received good news yesterday! Carter Subaru on Aurora has received authorization from SOA to REPLACE the LEFT side head gasket under the GOLD warranty coverage. I purchased this when I first bought the vehicle. They originally did the campaign fix (Head gasket conditioner) at 99,960 miles. At 99,7XX & 99,8XX & 99,9XX and 100,3XX miles I kept bringing it back to the shop to try and fix the check engine light that keeps coming on after the head gasket conditioner was added. I have kept all the loaner car pink slips as evidence and record of exact dates. I also presented to the dealer IN WRITING that I smelled coolant on this last shop return. Evidently the "conditioner did not work 100%" I noted that the coolant radiator overflow resevoir (sp) was almost empty after driving 350+ miles, It was full when I left the dealership after the conditioner was added. I checked it. I'm somewhat at ease now, but curious if all the problems get addressed. The first time they did replace, The front wheel seals, Some type of vent sensor, An O2 sensor in the emissions package, The resistor for the heater blower motor, (Only worked on high setting). The overhead digital clock that was burnt out. Now finally the left head gasket! I'm now glad I bought the gold warranty. I have to say that Carter Subaru....They at least are working with me and that's a PLUS! Thank you Carter Subaru! I'll re-post later in a few weeks from now with final verdict and outcome of the head gasket replacement. Another update, Got a call today from Carter Subaru service dept. Asked me if I would like to have the timing belt changed while they have the engine apart replacing the head gasket...I asked how much would that cost, I was quoted $88 the price of the belt...I was floored. Interstingly enough I asked about this timing belt job the very first time I brought the car in for warranty repair of the head gasket. To me it seemed to make sense to do the timing belt while they had the engine apart. I was told at that time they would "discount a certain percentage" the timing belt replacement from regular parts and labor cost. The regular part and labor cost was quoted slightly less than $500 if I remember correctly. That got put aside when they did the "Conditioner fix" per SOA campain. Carter Subaru, You have redeemed yourself from my $#!^ list. I don't know what happened with the sudden turn around but I'm really impressed. I'm hoping for another 50K miles without any major repairs then I'll be looking for a new car! Perhaps if the Subaru product line shows improvement I'll buy again! I'll be watching! Thank you. Gary Last update, I hope...I just want to say THANKS to Skip for this website. A lot of good info. (I now have a sneeky suspicion that Subaru MAY be monitoring this site and that MAY have possibly contributed to the replacement of the head gasket on my car) I also want to say Thanks to Carter Subaru on Aurora, I've finally got my 1999 Forrester back! The coolant and hot oil burning smell inside and outside the car is gone! I've inspected the repair job and it appears everything is fine. The sevice adviser folks at Carter overall where very professional and pleasant to deal with. Head Gasket has been replaced! It took quite awhile and 3 loaner cars totaling several weeks and about 800 miles on these but I'm VERY happy now! I truly hope that others with this problem find the same success!
robert butler los lunas, nm 1997 outback 2.5l 149,000 lots of hard miles but in my opinion it shouldn't be a problem. $1600 for a swing engine from japan. i now have a spare to sell or play with.
Steven Petaluma, CA 1999 Outback 2.5 122,000 Started overheating due to coolant loss. No leaks visible. Topping off would give me 100-200 miles before next overheat. Tried stopleak just for fun. No effect, still losing coolant steadily until overheating. Tried a cooling system treatment that supposedly fills cracked blocks and seals leaking gaskets. $10 for a bottle... why not? This seemed to slow down the leak substantially. But now after reading all these posts, I'm concerned the gasket may blow catastrophically. I *was* an avid Subaru enthusiast before this experience... now I'll do a LOT of research before buying one again, if ever. Now I feel like I'm driving a time bomb--and I have three small kids in the car most of the time! At 120k miles, I can't complain too much, but I feel lucky to have made it this far now! If Subaru would replace my gaskets with an improved design, I'll grudgingly stand by them once more. If they don't, I'll caution everyone I know by pointing them to this site. I really feel for the folks out there who had the gasket go at 50-60k!!! Pathetic.
Joe Boardman Boulder, CO 2000 Outback Wagon 2.5L 38,000 Get this! So I was searching on information on how to change the leaking water pump in my 1985 GL sedan, with 196,000 miles. I had Googled in "Subaru coolant leaking". I, of course, found this site. It horrified me since I also own a 2000 Outback. I thought, "well at least I got the goop in my coolant and I've never ever seen any leaks or overheating. "I'd better keep an eye on it". I kid you not, THE VERY NEXT MORNING. I mean THE NEXT MORNING I let the 2000 idle while I scraped off some ice. I backed out of the driveway and there was a large-pizza-size puddle of coolant. No! So I'm all set have them take a look tomorrow. 38k of the easiest-driven miles in Subaru hsitory. 38k in four years! I have over 600k miles in Subarus since my '78 4WD wagon. It by far was the best and it has been downhill ever since. BTW I just got my "free" clutch replacement after I finally found a dealership that didn't try to blame me for thr Service Bulletined clutch judder. ARGHHHH! Class action, count me in. boardman @
Keith Millsap Santa Maria, CA 2000 Legacy Wagon 2.5 82877  
Dan Hart   2000 Outback 2.5L 120,000 External + minimal internal HG leak in cylinder #4. Replaced HG, Gaskets for Intake and Exhaust, Timing Belt, Water Pump, and all valve cover related rubber. 1.5 days take-down, day waiting for parts, 1.5 days re-assembly. What a P.I.A. due to time taken off work. Did the online subaru manual for the torque specs and it saved my ass all over the place. Well worth it even though I didn't get all the pdf's downloaded. I also ordered from 1stsubaruparts...the dealer near me saw my price list and scoffed, said I must have gotten them from some aftermarket place, stupid "stealer". Hope our complaints and testaments of HG repairs forces an engineering fix.
mark marrama oakland CA 97 legacy gt 2.5 78000 fairly classic history of overheating at speed with radiator reservoir filling with boil overs and cool lower radiator hose not remedied with new thermostat and flush. Currently at the dealer with head rebuild pending
Paul Ranges Dayton, Texas 99 Legacy GT 99 2.5 DOHC (99)110,000 I am experiencing the blown head gasket problem on my wife's 99 Legacy GT with around 110,000 miles on it. Went through the same dignostic procedures, flush and fill, new thermostat, new water pump, changed radiator,(had an extra one laying around). Until this, the car has been excellent.
Jim Highlands NJ 97 Outback LTD 2.5 97,000 Took the shop several times to figure it out, at a cost of $1,800 total-and they just replaced one side!
Hugh Thompson Vancouver, BC, CANADA 1998 Legacy Outback 2.5L 120000km  
David Wenzel Penacook, NH 2001 OBW LTD 2.5L 88000 Noticed oil smell at ~50K miles, had dealer check it and they said I had a dirt or something on the exhaust, no faults found. Went back at 55K miles and could also smell anti-freeze, plus loud knocking noise. New timing belt (my dime) warranty replacement of belt tensioner, both head gaskets, water pump & thermostat. 13 months later I can smell oil again, paid for dealer to check complete and no faults found:(. I do not notice any reduction in oil level, so am going to hold out another month to see if it gets worse. Original owner, used Mobil 1 since 10K miles.
Luke Roth Washington, PA 1997 Impreza Outback 2.2 120,000  
John Portland, OR 2002 Outback 2.5L 41,000 Even though I'm outside the warranty service recall program, it's still happening with the newer ones and they just want to plug it without any extended warranty. Dealer points finger at Subaru, Subaru points back at dealer. Doesn't take much to convince me to tell others "Don't Buy Subaru" - I just got done paying off a $23,000 car and they won't cover what is suppose to be under warranty still without me fighting for it all the way obviously. Remember when folks would drive around advertising their lemons - too bad ours isn't yellow. Hope their bandaid holds for the next poor soul who buys this off the Honda dealer's lot.
Aaron Weeks Vancouver WA 1996 Legacy Outback 2.5L 225,000 I have had the car for almost two years. The only problem its given to me is overheating. I have replaced water pump, radiator, tested thermostat, new hoses, etc,,,, and still the car overheats....hmmm I wonder whats left? I know my car has alot of miles but this sucks!!! Before this website I generally heard subarus were good cars. Thanks for the info. From now on I wont buy anything post-1972!
Dave Sidney, ME 1996 Outback 2.5 140,000 Nothing new to add. It all sounds so familiar!
Al LFP, Wa 1999 Forester 2.5L 100K Getting the left head gasket replaced at the dealer,Past warranty and it leaks bad! They say I should get the right head gasket replaced to because of uneven pressure will blow the old right side one if not replaced? Anyone have expert comment on this?
Steve Alexandria, VA 1997 Outback 2.5L 118,000 Had similar problem with timing belt - tensioner pully broke 2 days after replacement of timing belt. Had water pump, valve decarbonization work done too - $2,000. Now I'm wondering if the broken tensioner pulley caused valve damage. Overheating - started couple weeks ago. Sub-cooling fan was dead - replaced that ($168 - thru - nice folks), and still overheating. Next was "burping" air out of the coolant system - still overheats. So it looks like its the head gasket. But I don't see any oily gunk in the coolant. It also happens sporadically - does this mean I'm on the path to total engine failure?
Beth Landreth Willis, VA 1998 Outback 2.5 L 104670 I had trouble with overheating off and on until finally at about 10200 after I hit a deer coincidentaly I began to have progressively worsening symptoms small overhetas that were cured with filling up with water but got progressively worse. I am out 1000.00. The car runs great now even the local Subaru mechanic knew that this seems to be a defect in Subaru. I replaced head gaskets, not the heads, they were salvagable.
Pierre Kaiser Portland OR 97 Outback 2.5 120,000 Drastic Loss of coolant, overheating, warped cylinders, new engine....
Nao Tateishi Toronto, Candada 98 Outback 2.5L 122000 km Overheated on a trip at Christmas. Not much open so we had to rely on little bottles of coolant at the gas stations. Anyways, $1500 (Cdn) to fix head gasket with a whoping 1 year warranty. $200 in hotel bills for being stranded. $100 for rad flush, coolant, rad cap for troubleshooting. While i was at the Subaru dealer, there was another guy in for the same problem. Coincidence? Not!
Maruf Singer Abbottstown, PA 1997 Legacy/Outback 2.2 85,000 Hey all... I feel ya. It just happened to me too. Had the sucker towed 3 times in the last week, on my way to Christmas. I was warned about Subaru's but the evidence said otherwise. Guess I should have listened... No more subaru's for me. I guess that's why Subaru won't own up to this. They realize after this, we don't want another piece of crap... Mine overheated, and did what everyone else said theirs did.
Mike Great Barrington, MA 1999 Legacy GT LE 2.5L 68,000 I went to two different Subaru dealerships and they both told me nothing was wrong with my cooling system. (One replaced the thermostat anyway, at my expense.) Fifteen minutes on the road was enough to tell they were wrong. A call to a mechanic, that advertises that he specializes in Subarus, only needed a few questions over the phone to determine it was the head gasket. 1/11/05
Lara Jorgensen Templeton, CA 99 Outback 2.5L 114k This is absurd! My car overheated on Christmas day in Tahoe. After having it towed and struggling to find someone to look at it during the holiday I get the news that it's probably cracked heads or the block. I take it to the local dealership and they determine it's a cracked block caused by overheating, probably because of the head gasket! $3900 later, my car is fixed. We'll see if it stays together. I'm so upset after finding out that everyone is having the same problem that I'm going to contact a local "Lemon Law" attorney to see what she says. I'll post what I find out.
Neil NJ 98 forester 2.5 117850 Just bought it used, seems to have the same problem after reading all the posted threads on USMB. Hope we get help?? Thanks
Dan Dedrick Berkeley, CA 97 Outback 2.5 134K Head Gaskets blew on our way to Bishop, CA near South Lake Tahoe
Scott Stanger Idaho City, Idaho 1996 Outback 2.5L 198k Well, from reading the other entries in this guest book I guess I can't complain much since I made it to nearly 200k.
Daniel Stromborg Pasadena,CA 1998 Suburu Outback Wagon 2.2 84,000 Just came across your site. My Outback (1998 w/ 84,000 miles) suddenly overheated last night just outside of Mammoth Lakes, CA, 5 hours from home. I looked down the the temp needle was pegged past the top red bars. I had it towed this morning to A-1 Garage here in Mammoth. The owner has seen 10 of these same exact same problems this year. Another garage in town had similiar make/model/year on the rack as we spoke. The first thing both of them said was that it was probably the HG or the thermostat. I've never heard of this sudden overheating occuring prior to this and want to know if there has been any refunds or the like on behalf of Suburu for any of these incidents. The number of incidents seems striking. I'm not completely sure if it is this problem, but am trying to prepare for the worst. Also, any idea of what this should cost me?
Tony Pittston, PA '99 Forester 2.5 80,000 this car is always leaking something. now the head gaskets are leaking anti-freeze fluid. i'm not happy -- once again!
Anonymous Hartford, CT 1999 Legacy Outback 2.5 115,000 Subaru has been reliable overall. However, while keeping my O/B up to date on maintenance, regular oil changes, the whole 9 yards, etc. The O/B just came out of dealer for normal maintenance, including coolant check -- I drove off and O/B overheated. Turned off engine immediately! Head Gasket warped from overheating. I spent shy of $2,000 to have engine rebuilt by Subaru Dealer. Now, the Check Engine light comes on and, stays on! Subaru dealers have told me not to worry about it! Recently, I spoke to a Subaru dealer's technician/mechanic. I'm finally informed that this could be a Head Gasket issue due to rebuilt engine where the sensor is picking up a potential problem. I'm an attorney who is ready to take Subaru to court, if they don't pick up the bill for this potential problem! An Unhappy Subaru Owner!
Dan Cole Sacramento, CA 1999 Outback 2.5L 104,000 System showed signs of random overheating when stopped in traffic. Would not overheat at highway speeds. Compression check indicated blown head gasket. Repaired by independent shop.
Scott R Stantial Deerfield, New Hampshire 98 Legacy GT Limited 2.5 Phase I 89,930 I haven't confirmed it with a repair just yet but after reading your article as well as multiple others the symptoms are exact! I posted at in a forum for maintenance and problems before reading your problems. I commend you highly for completing such a task on your own and also for taking the time to write about it and give so much info out to others like you did! Thank you very very much!!!
Peter Chicago 2003 Impreza RS 2.5L 42,000 My problem with the 2.5L started in December 04, as I noticed a few oil leaks on the driveway. I thought they were from my daughter's 91 Volvo 240, and did not think much about them. A few weeks later a sizeable oil leak under the Subaru forced me to lift the hood. I spotted a splash of coolant on the right side, and could not trace the oil leak on the left side. I even used a mirror under the engine to look for its source. I found this web site and started to pursue the problem further. The dealer claims the coolant leak was from leaky hose clamp, although I tried every clamp myself beforehand and found none to need tightening. They added seal conditioner as you all predicted. The dealer could not find source of oil leak, so they added a dye to help stain the engine when it leaks again. Service writer told me that in '03 Subaru upgraded its metal specs on key engine components. Interesting that they did not charge for any of this work, even though my original warranty expired, and my extended warranty has a $100 deductible. I expect to go through what many Subaru owners on this site have already gone through. Time to trade the car in. As a scientist, I spend time analyzing failure modes of plastic and metal parts. After reading through the massive complaint log in this site on the 2.5L engine, I suspect that there are fundamental errors in the expansion and contraction coefficients used for both metal and non-metal components of the engine. Subaru owners need a consumer group to support the cost of analytical work for evaluating the physical properties of select raw materials in this engine. We need to collect data from various years and models, and focus on differences in their composition as compared to other Japanese and American models. A metal composition that has difficulty retaining its dimensional stability with normal use and/or environmental conditions would explain why the problem with the 2.5L engine persists. Who owns the mill(s) that makes this metal components of this engine? What other applications for these metals that may be driving "one spec for all thought process at Subaru's parent company". Have lean manufacturing principles derived from the Toyota Production System gone awry at Subaru? Subaru appears to be creating muda (waste) for consumers. Our engines are certainly not failing due to karoshi (death from overwork). My question to the there an alternative engine on the open market that can be used to replace this 2.5L in the $2000-2500 range, without other significant modifications. It may be worth such an investment to have peace of mind when you've got your family with you on a driving vacation. Hate to think how many people have had this happen to them.
Daniel Estep   98 Forester 2.5L 120k antifreeze leaking into block; needs short block at $3400 dealer estimate. We could not believe our ears that this Subaru - our first- which we loved for its get-around in the winter capapbilities with AWD, virtually died after only 120K! We thought Subaru had a reputation for 200K +. An incredibly poorly designedmanufactured short block - the dealer said they had 8 instances of short block leakage within about 2 months! I'm wondering, where's the quality control? No one seems to care , its put to you like, well , we're sorry but these things happen... A great dissapointment and I'm looking for recourse...I thought the Japanese were supposed to have great quality... After the initial leakage and I did nothing, the car started running fine for a month, then it blew the hose off the radiator and burned up the engine- my wife was coming home at night on a 5 below snowy condition and did not know what was happening. we have not decided what we're going to do..
Kevin Bogue Meriden, CT 98 Legacy GT 2.5L 60,000 (3) After 60,000 - 1st head gasket leak - subaru changed. 1 year later - 2nd head gasket leak - Subaru changed. 2 years after that (January 05) - another head gasket leak. No help from Subaru.
Albert Seattle, Washington 1999 Forester 2.5L 100,866 Head gasket leaked @99K but got it fixed under warranty. It appears the dealership did a good job. Overall I'm really dissappointed in the quality of the subaru vehicle. Subaru of America, Perhaps you should do a customer satisfaction survey after the customer has owned your vehicle a few years! Betcha the results of that won't be printed in your fabulous car magazines! Even the exterior sheet metal in my opinion is really crappy. I've noticed a bunch of shallow dents around the hatch back door handle and also the hood. Yeah, it's from my palm. But I don't strike the vehicle. I've owned many cars and this is the first dent problem. I have a 94 Mazda B2300 with 170K on it with original clutch disk, NO HEAD GASKET PROBLEMS and it still is going STRONG! That is the kind of quality I was expecting with your subaru vehicle! NO MORE SUBARU'S FOR ME! Seen a very nice Volvo XC90 yesterday and WOW! My next vehicle will either be a Vovlo XC70 or XC90. BYE BYE Subaru, You lost another customer!
Mitch Naumann Carol Stream, IL 98 Impreza 2.5L 92k i have a 1998 subaru impreza with 92,000 miles and just got word from my local subaru dealership that both my head gasket are blown.
Waren edmonton, ab 1997 Legacy GT 2.5l 100,000 km One of the head gaskets on the sub got loose about 2 years ago. Driving on the HWY -45 C out side I pulled over quickly and dropped the revs. Almost immediately the head gasket lifted. I think that it was the rapid temp change as the engine probably suddenly cooled off. It got us home with no problems but started to heat up when driving on freeways a few days later. Compression test was fine, but I found a little oil in the coolant. If it had been summer I would have changed the gaskets myself but it was way too cold and my garage doesnt hold heat. So I took it to the dealer. The dealers in edmonton have to be the worst in the world there are two dealerships owned by the same guy. Parts are over 20% more here that anywhere else in the country and they are freaking slow. 4 count them FOUR weeks later I get my car back with a $2600 bill. I changed the clutch too, but that price includes SUBARU of Canada "goodwill" covering the HEADGASKET parts! 20,000 KM later the head gasket is fine, but the "new" release bearing they put in with the clutch is squeaking. KNOCK on wood the heads should hold. If you change the head gaskets make sure that you have a GOOD machine shop mill the heads. They should also rough the block a bit. This helps the gasket grab and hold, and ensure both surfaces are straight and true. My gasket looked like it delaminated as it was stuck well to the head and the block when it let go. Part of the expense was having the valve guides repalced on the exhaust side and a 5 angle valve grind. The Damn thing still burns a bit of oil tho. 0.5-1L/6000 km Couple of things about this engine you should know. First it is an open block design. This is pretty common in new cars ( honda etc. ) it makes the engine nice and light and improves cylinder cooling etc. but it leaves much less sealing surface. An old closed deck block has WAY more grip on the head gasket. But the turbo's hold 2.0 and 2.5 seem to hold the cylinder pressure OK so the gaskets must be getting better. Second, they used very short pistons in order to get the stroke the EJ20 to 2.5l EJ25 this is what I attribut to the oil loss. Third, there is some talk about metal expansion rates. I am sure this is what killed my head gasket. But the only way to fix this is to go back to the closed deck block. Three sides of every cylinder are exposed, these engines are practically air cooled even without fins. There was a question about using another engine. This will be nearly impossible. The flat four is very short. An inline four would be way too long. you might be able to fit a very small V6 but I doubt it would clear the hood. It would also really mess up the weight distribution as the engine would be too far in front of the wheels. I still think that subies are good cars, many cars these days have flaws. Head gaskets are VERY expensive to change on these cars because the engine needs to be pulled to do it right. Unlike a typical inline four, or V8. Subie gaskets are also STUPID expensive.
Dan Cole Sacramento, CA 1999 Outback 2.5L 107K Car started overheating when stopped in traffic. Replaced radiator cap, thermostat and radiator. Ran smooth for a month or so. Returned to shop and the said loose hose clamp was problem. Overheated immediately after leaving shop. Pressure tested heads and determined that head gasket was leaking. Total cost for all repairs $2200...
Garrett Crawshaw Portland, Or 1998 Outback 2.5 104,000 Head gasket blew, also needed to get the radiator replaced as a result. A fun experience when you are in the mountains on a cold cold night!
Gordon Fowlds Port Orchard WA 1998 Outback 2.5 L 126,000 Just got through with a 120,000 checkup dropping $1400 on parts and labor. Figured I was good to go after a timing belt replaced and headed on a long ski trip. 3,000 miles later started experiencing overheating and coolant loss and oil burning. Engine check light on and gave and indication of cylinder 3 and 4 misfire. Limped back home and had it checked and it was determined to be head gasket failure bill expected to be $2600. After reading web site and finding this a common problem it sounds like I need to get a different engine or better yet a different car! Ouch!! Thanks for having this post. I doubt I will ever buy a Subaru again. I still have a 1987 Honda runnning at 275,000 miles with very few engine problems. This is unsat.
Bryan Woody Charlotte 2000 Legacy GT Limited 2.5L 98,000 Had to periodically add coolant. Now I've been told I have to replace my water pump and head gasket.
R. Gurushankar King of Prussia, PA 1997 Outback 2.5L 85859 My car which has less than 86000 miles devleoped overheating problems. I checked the coolant level which was kind of low and filled in more. I then took it to Rafferty Subaru who told me that they found combustion gasses inside the cooling system and that was because of bad head gaskets. Cost to fix: $1500(fifteen hundred dollars!) I talked to Subaru Customer service and they told me that they could not be of any assistance as the car was not covered under warranty. I have been let down by Subaru. However, it is comforting to know that I am not the only one. But, I need to pay now and get the car fixed(That is my primary mode of transportation) This problem seems to be a very common one and deserves a class-action lawsuit. I hope Subaru acknowledges the problem and atleast re-imburses the cost of the repair. R. Gurushankar
Katherine Morong Camden ME 2002 Outback Ltd 2.5 49200 Unbeleivable. What a disappointment in a car we had planned to run to 200,00 miles. We are definitely out of the Subaru game. Another good link to check out is
Beth Highley Atlanta GA 1998 Forester 2.5 112,000 My car ran perfectly, the fluids always maintained their level, although it did make a bit of a racket when it was cold, which seems to be common in Foresters. Until one day I got out of my car one day after driving about 40 miles, stopping once along for five minutes, and could smell antifreeze. The car was running and I noticed the thermometer gauge was up, not in the red but above normal. I was overly careful and had it towed to a mechanic. It would not overheat at the shop, and the radiator checked out under pressure. I thought I was imagining the incident. I was headed home for the holidays 300 miles away, and decided, poorly, in hindsight, to continue with my trip. I drove 90 miles at 80+ mph with no symptoms before I decided to stop to get something to eat. Ten-minute stop, ten minutes on the road, and my sanity was confirmed, my car really was over heating. I pulled off immediately, but the thermometer was in the red. Five hours later, I was in another tow truck headed back at the apartment I had left 12 hours earlier planning to be away for a few days with my poor cat and dog. I was hoping it was just a stuck thermostat, but the end diagnosis is a blown head gasket. I'm not sure how it all played out. I really did not think that the engine overheated severely or often enough to do this type of damage. From what I have read online, including in the Consumer Reports "Ask the expert" Forum, Subaru engines of this type do not do well when they overheat. My advice is to watch you cooling system carefully, make sure you have competent technicians service it when it needs it, and do not let your car overheat ever (if you can). Good Luck
paul tracy raymond me 2004 ob 2.5 18000 have coolant leak! odd engine noise (valve popping noise?)had cat replaced at 10,000 at dealer cost.
Silverman albuquerque 1996 2.5L 122,000 Started going through oil for a few months, then one day it just overheated. Now we have a potential pile of junk and still owe the majority of what we paid for it. We bought the car with longevity hopes and recommended the car to everyone, now we will think twice about ever buying one again. Feel like chumps. We thought we had made a wise purchase!!
Laura Chang Sacramento, CA 98, Outback   117600 Head gasket blew a couple of days ago. Waiting for the mechanic to call with the repair estimate. Looks like a lot of people have had this problem. Don't understand why there isn't a recall.
carey walker cumberland, md 98 subaru outback 2.5 116,000 overheated about 4 months ago, replaced thermostat, flushed cooling system, and no trouble now--overheated and blown head gasket.
Art Torrance Tucson, Arizona '97 Legacy Outback Wagon 2.5 L 139,500 Had been driving our '97 Outback wagon (2.5 liter engine) from Tucson to Philadelphia with a small trailer (4'X6' U-Haul, about 1000 lbs), had been checking Temp gauge pretty regularly, and it had never varied at all from the normal warm point, not even crossing through mountains out west. In Philly, on the first day of driving in below-freezing weather, saw steam in the mirror, checked gauge, was all the way up past Hot. No shoulder, couldn't pull over for a few miles, drove slow a few minutes. Turned up heat all the way, but after about two minutes it started blowing cool air. When we stopped, we could see that lots of coolant had sprayed out, all along the side and bottom of the car. Couldn't see any leaking point, but the overflow reservoir was all the way full. After it had cooled down a bit, we could see that the lower radiator hose was collapsed as from vacuum pressure. After about 20 minutes, some coolant had drained back in from the reservoir. We opened the radiator and added about a half gallon of water to fill. Tried to keep driving, got a couple miles with no overheating, then the needle climbed suddenly to Hot as soon as we started up a slight hill. Pulled over, let it cool again. Opened the radiator cap and warm coolant spewed out, as if pushed by air pressure; closed it and let cool more. Pulled radiator cap off and heard whoosh of vacuum pressure, added another quart of water. Drove a few more miles to a safe place to call for help, needle again stayed steady a couple miles, then suddenly rose. Towed to local garage, they first tested the radiator, found a leak along lower seam, and said that the thermostat seemed hard to push open. Replaced radiator and thermostat ($600) and sent us on our way. We got 20 miles before temp gauge suddenly rose, then fell again, despite no changes in acceleration or incline. Then needle rose again and stayed hot. We limped back, pulling over to cool every few miles. Needle sometimes rose and fell, sometimes just went up to hot. The mechanic noted that the coolant didn't seem to be circulating. I saw them do a block test with the blue chemical, it stayed blue, as they said it had before, so they again ruled out head gasket. Opened up access to water pump, said that it had crept back about a sixteenth of an inch, enough to make it ineffective. Replaced water pump (and timing belt while in there) $600. Garage road tested, reported still overheating, temp needle rising and falling sometimes. Said he was able to see a little bit of color change in the block test now. Reported bubbles coming up in the radiator. I noticed that both radiator hoses were collapsed. Mechanic couldn't explain this, but a Subaru service tech said "yep, that's a head gasket. . . when there is exhaust gas in the cooling system, it contracts so much while cooling down that the overflow reservoir can't keep up fast enough to even out the vacuum pressure." This may also explain why the cooling system had vacuum pressure even though it supposedly had a leak in the radiator (they did say it was a slow leak- about a six-inch puddle after ten minutes of pressure test). Replacing the head gasket, cost $1400, plus another $100 as we asked to have the timing belt tensioner replaced. Total about $2800 In hindsight, there were indications of a blown head gasket as soon as the first time we pulled over: the extreme amount of leakage from the reservoir overflow, the lack of hot water in the heater core, and the vacuum pressure shown in the radiator hose all suggest gases in the cooling system. From the suddenness of such extreme overheating, I have to wonder if the head gasket failure caused the overheating, rather than the other way around. It seems unlikely that the gasket, and the radiator, thermostat, and water pump would all fail at once. I could see how sudden overheating and pressure could blow out the radiator, but how could it affect the water pump or the thermostat? So- Questions: - What is the most likely order for all these components to fail, and how does one failure lead to another? - I couldn't find any play in the shaft of the water pump- how sensitive is it to a little drift in the impeller? Is it likely that I wouldn't see any problem in the pump but that it might not perform at high speed or temp? - Is there any other reason the water would not seem to be circulating if the pump and thermostat were good? - Why did the block test not pick up the exhaust gas in the cooling system the first two times they tried it? - Why does the temp needle rise and fall? Gas bubbles passing sensor?
Big Al LFP Wa 1999 Forrester 2.5L 99,800 Blew the head gasket, Caused by leaking lower radiator hose at the radiator connection. Loose clamp. Engine over heated due to lack of coolant and excess pressure blew out the gasket. LOTS OF STEAM form under hood. On the good side subaru dealership replace the head gasket under the extended warranty no extra charge. Thanks subaru!
Jeff W. Charlestown,IN 1996 Legacy Outback 2.5L 140,000 Just wanted to say that I am the latest victim of a head gasket gone bad. I have had a few subaru's and I think this may be my last one. I always talked Subaru's up to other people now I am not. I hope that Subaru will do something since it is not a cheap fix. Approx $1200.00+ to fix both head gaskets.
Tim Gilmor Ottawa, Ontario 2002, 2003 Impreza Outback 2.5L 13,500; 45,000 Kms. Head gasket problems on both models, bought brand new from Mississauga Suburu. Was assured that the 2003 model would be free and clear of the problem encountered with the 2002 model. Would advise consumer beware.
Thomas Hawley Hollis, Maine 1996 Outback 2.5L 192,000 Head gasket failed at 192,000 miles when it was 17 degrees below zero a year ago this month. I had oil in the radiator. The engine was ruined. I had the Subaru dealer install a used engine with 88,000 miles on it at a cost of $2,800. I don't know what year the used engine was or if it was the 2.2 or 2.5 liter engine. That engine had a head gasket failure this month with 112,000 miles on it. The engine was not ruined and I had the Subaru dealer install new head gaskets at a cost of $1,400.
Kevin Blackmore Madison, WI 1999 Outback 2.5 75000 I have always spoke very highly of Subaru and had every intention to be a repeat customer. Not anymore!!!!
John Matheos Akron, Ohio 1998 Legacy GT 2.5 L 85,000 Original owner and having problems with overheating must rev engine or wait it out in park. Have replace radiator cap,radiator, and thermostat. Coolant checked for co2 and no sign of oil? Compression tests are positive. Sounds like our first sign of internal engine gasket. I will probaly be trading this in on a non-subaru vehicle. An ex-subaru owner.
Nick S Pittsburgh, Pa 1997 Legacy GT EJ25 210,000 Headgasket failure as well. Seems like mine made it more miles than most so i guess i shouldnt be too upset, but i still am.
Kathryn Johnson Seattle, WA '99 Outback Ltd. 2.5L 89,500 I loved my Subaru until I was told both heads were blown & I need $4800 in repairs. It's now being looked over by another mechanic friend of the family & I will decide how soon to trade it in for a non-Subaru once I get a second opinion. I truly expected to get another Subaru until I discovered the websites devoted to this problem!
Debra Madsen Maine 96 Legacy GT 2.5L 179,000 Bought Subaru in April 2004. Nice clean car, we bought the car knowing the head gasket and the timing belt had already been changed recently thinking it would be awhile before we had those problems again. Timing belt tensioner broke and had to fix that in June-that was fun. Now in January, the head gasket has gone again. I am not going to be putting any more into the car, so I am taking a loss at this time. Can't gamble on fixing it or putting in another engine as the same problem could happen. Machine shop says it is not a good design having aluminum head with a steel block. My cousin has a 99 Subaru with a 2.5 L and after hearing my story and what I have learned through research, he is going to sell his before he starts having problems.
Yaw Asare Blacksburg, VA 1998, legacy outback 205L 99620 Well I blew my HG on my 1998 legacy outback. Well as I write it is still at the garage being repaired.I know I'll never trust this car again;I'll be watching the temperature gauge everytime i drive this car. well I know I'll loose a lot by trading it in but as it stands now,I'm begining to think that's my only choice. Then the question is which car or wagon I"m i going to get?? Well, if this is a widely known subaru design defect why is nobody doing anything about it? I'll support fully any legal action agains SOA
Karen Grant Glen Burnie, MD 97 Legacy GT 2.5L 75,443 Car overheated for no reason. Thought it was a thermostat problem. My brother replaced with a new Subaru thermostat. It was fine for two weeks and then it overheated again. He checked for combustion in the cooling system,and sure enough there was. After tearing the engine down he found a blown headgasket. I am having both headgaskets and the water pump replaced. The timing belt was replaced 2 years ago when the leaking oil pump was fixed at 56,000.
Chris Beverly, WV outback ltd wag 2.5L DOHC 99,300 Same problem as everyone else. I've prepared a letter for head of SofA telling him I hope he spends eternity tossing and turning in shame....they refuse to honor service program on my type engine. Dirty, dirty, dirty.
Teresa Wilmette, IL 2002 Legacy Outback Wagon 2.5 41,500 Took my car in to a mechanic (not Subaru dealer) because I smelled something funny, and guy at Jiffy Lube had mentioned that my coolant was low. Mechanic found head gasket leak and found out about recall of cars that stopped 100 VIN #s before mine. Mechanic called dealer for me, and gave them my VIN #. They knew who I was, and the age of the car, and told him not covered under recall. What they neglected to say was that because it was only an '02 with only 40K miles the head gasket is covered under the power train warranty of 5 years and 60K miles. Because I didn't realize it really was still under warranty I had mechanic do what Subaru's recall suggested as a possible solution - which is add stop leak to the system. By the way the Subaru Special Engine Conditioner is just another name for stop leak. A month later I took the car back to the mechanic and he showed me that it was still leaking. By now I had researched the issue and I realized that the repair should be covered under the power train warranty, and after a small amount of discussion with the dealer, including them telling me that stop leak was a very bad thing to have done, and me telling them that when my mechanic called them they should have advised him that the problem was covered by the power train warranty and then I would have brought it to Subaru in the first place, and that special engine conditioner that Subaru was using as their fix in the recall was just another name for stop leak etc...Anyways I just had the left side head gasket replaced for free, but I am now concerned that the other side as well as the new one are at risk of leaking, and I want to ditch the car. I can't believe that I bought a lemon from Subaru, and that Subaru sold so MANY lemons and isn't standing behind them. The other main problem prior to the head gasket leak was a very bad O2 sensor that caused the car to backfire and die 200 miles from home.
Jon P Denver, CO 1998 Legacy Outback 2.5L 134000 head gaskets blown; same symptoms as most - bad odor, bubbling overflow, overheating, lots of cursing... Warnings from the repair shop we use to others who may be considering DIY repairs on this issue - 1) depending on severity of overheating, cylinders can be damaged and will result in heavy oil loss/burn within 10K after HG fix; 2) plastic parts in radiators may be softened by hydro-carbons resulting in sudden radiator failure, overheating, and additional HG failure. If your shop is fixing HGs for you, have them check these items as well. Symptoms started just after we put car up for sale. Ended selling to repair shop "as is". We're upset it occurred, but very glad not to have sold to private party and burdened them with a lemon of an engine. I will be telling every party that calls on the for sale ad I posted about the 2.5L engine and about this website. If nothing else, buyers should ask seller if the HG has been replaced and when. Maybe others can be saved the expense and anguish this engine has caused for so many others. Major Unexpected Maint - 53K brake master-cylinder recall; 65K alternator (1 yr before Subaru recall of alternator); 85K clutch and tranny (never blew a clutch on any other car prior w/ over 250K miles driven); 134K HG blows; next?!!!... First and last Subaru I will purchase. Thanks for the site Skip.
Mary Seibel Mount Horeb, WI Forrester, 1999 2.5L 113,000 I understand this to be a very costly repair. I had anticipated purchasing a new Forrester and passing this one on to my son. If Subaru stood by their product I would not reconsider a future Subara product purchase.
Sum Hong Sacramento, CA 1998 2.5RS EJ25 Phase 1 142,000 Dealer only offered to pour in the 'radiator coolant additive'as a recall notice. I had the option to buy a bottle of the liquid for 5.99 but if i poured it in, it wouldnt be covering the head gasket leak fauilure issue. I scheduled an appointment, wanted to test if I could pass California's smog check. TOTAL FAILURE, 36 PPM is a max readout for certain gases I was at 108 PPM. No good, I called the dealer, they wanted 1500 per side of the engine with downtime of atleast 2 weeks. Automatic failure gave thought of skipping out on the additive appointment. I decided to take it upon myself and do the headgasket job, 200 bucks total with machining heads and headgaskets later, the car ran like a champ again. I read on the net of the head gasket failures but didnt know it'd actually leak like crazy. The O-Ring'ed portions of where the block and the heads meet had the worst case of leakage, you can peel the ring impressions off like a cookie cutter would do to the dough it was pressed into. I bought a spare EJ25 Phase 1 block for backup, but seriously Subaru should do the headgaskets over and not charge labor if it's such a seriously flawed design in the manufacture process. It took me 2 days with disassembly, cleaning, machining, reassembly, and normal maintenance. 2 days compared to 2 weeks, big differences in time frames. Well good luck to all that have had problems with the EJ series engines.
Allen Winn Harrisburg, PA 1997 Outback 2.5 140,000 Water pump and timing belt at 90,000, blew the first head gasket @ 95,000 and $2500.00 later back on the road. 140,000 getting on freeway must have blown the second set because car suddenly started to overheat. I bought a Chevrolet Austro Van AWD “all wheel drive”. I will never buy Subaru again and I have owned four. I still have a 95 Legacy @ 180,000 with a 2.2 it’s twice the car the 97 Outback is. I will have to put drop $3,000.00 in this junk just to unload it…….“SUBARU THE SUN IS SETTING” It’s a real shame.
Wayne Dodge Easton, PA 2000 Outback 2.5L 107,154 On 1/20/04 Subaru dealership informed me that both headgaskets were leaking and needed replaced. I authorized the work and paid $1040 for the repair. Now it is one year (1/26/05) and 23K miles later and the same dealership claims the headgaskets need replaced again for an estimated $1,200. They also informed me that both catalytic converters need replaced. I suspected the leaking headgaskets caused a reaction in the catalytic converters which resulted in premature failure. The Subaru Service Manager agreed this could have added to the failure of the converters. I've made several calls to Subaru Customer Service and the dealership seeking resolution. Neither the dealership or Subaru of North America will provide any ownership of the problem or financial assistance.
Megan Siler Berkeley, CA 1998 Forester 2.5 71000 I had just had 1500 dollars worth of work done replacing water pump, thermostat, timing belt a bunch of valves oil pump leaks etc. The mechanic used all new subaru parts and put the recommended conditioner in the cooling system that is supposed to ward off blown head gaskets. Anyway two weeks later the car blew the head gaskets, Now with just over 70000 miles I will have to spend anohter 1500- 2500 dollars on repairs (I don't know yet if the heads are cracked). My mechanic is very reputable and it was pressure tested and inspected by another mechanic to make sure none of his work was at fault for the blown head gasket.
Justin Zandri Westfield, NJ 1997 Legacy Outback 2.5L 140K Blew gasket. Cracked both heads. Staring down a $2500+ repair job. I'm sure that my complaints will go unheeded but I'm planning on contacting Dateline NBC or another investigative news organization.
Alan Jacobs Aguanga, CA multiple years both 2.2 and 2.5 from 120 K to 180K I am hoping that Skip will be fair enough to leave in my brief comments. By now he has most certainly achieved whatever goals he had in the beginning. I qualify for this website because we have had both 2.2 and 2.5 engine headgasket failures. HOWEVER, I am also a decent mechanic and I now specialize in Subarus and there is another side to this whole picture, so please hear me out! (I am NOT looking for business and will not accept anyone from this site.) But in ALL FAIRNESS: Subaru head gasket failures can be virtually cured by a competent mechanic and for less (about $1,500) than a few months of new car payments!! There is no rational reason to dump the Subaru you have loved. Not ALL will suffer head gasket failures, obviously. And with the redesigned head gasket and higher torque of head bolts, etc., this is NOT the reason to leave your Subaru by itself. Do you REALLY think other cars out there don't have their own weaknesses?!
Sharon Coney West Milford, NJ Outback 2000 2.5L 104,800 I had a recall on the coolant system last year. I took it in and assumed everything had been fixed. This past 2 weeks the car has been in the shop for the 105,000 maintenance timing belt replacement and tune-up, I had the catalytic converter replaced and there was a problem with my spark plugs mis-firing. All together I spent 2 thousand dollars. The next day took it out on the road and the coolant boiled over and the car was completely disabled. Head Gasket needs replaced. Yes. there is DEFINITELY a problem with this car! I have maintained it regularly with all major tune-ups, oil changes every 3500 miles, anything that is required to keep a car in good working order and THIS happens?
Helmut Samland Halifax NS Canada 2000 Legacy Wagon 2.5 55K Started in cold Wx. as coolant loss. Last week belched my antifreez on the driveway. Started engine cold with rad cap off and observed tell tale exhaust gas bubbling out of rad filler hole. Dealer to do work under warranty. Normaly driven car with 90% city use. Very happy with car otherwise.
Tony P Vernon, NJ 97 Legacy GT 2.5 140000 Got the car in August 04 and after a few weeks noticed a coolant loss. Within a month, it overheated. My mechanic sid it was the head gasket and he won't work on a Subaru. So far I've been unable to find a mechanic who would replace the gasket. All recommend a used or rebuilt engine.
Philippe Binder Hilo, Hawaii 1999 Forrester 2.5L 68,000 miles approx.  
Rich Hodgkins Hamden, CT 97 Outback 2.5 120,000 Approx  
Rob Avsharian Denton, TX '98 Lecacy GT wagon 2.5 135K blew a cylinder recently after a couple of years of subtle mis-firings and spark plug replacements...My check engine light would periodically come on, but after I felt the car idle like a jackhammer, I knew something was seriously wrong. Thankfully I have a mechanic friend who was very reasonable with the repair charges-I see people have spent well into the thousands to have this fixed. I was lucky and managed to spend only $900 that included a clutch replacement(since he had already pulled the engine and it was starting go get mushy). This has been the only major problem besides replacing the starter at around 110K.


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