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September 19, 2010

My Subaru Outback Head Gasket Repair


Don't try this at home.

This could be your Subaru (parts).

I have a 1997 Subaru Outback with about 280,000km on it. It began showing the head gasket failure symptoms so typical of the Subaru boxer 2.5L engine of this series of cars: foaming/bubbling in the coolant (the reservoir actually looked like a boiling kettle when the engine was running), brief random apparent spikes of the temperature gauge, and coolant loss. Much has been written elsewhere about this issue, and there are a few references about the problem and some repair examples at the end of this blog. Known model years affected by this problem are at least 1996-2002, so be aware of it if you are looking at a used Subaru of that age. I decided to do the repair myself, being very inclined to tinkering, foolish enough to attempt it, and also being unwilling to spend about $2500+ for a shop mechanic to do the job.

Edit Oct. 2011: A few people have asked me about the “head gasket sealer in a can” products. There are a few on the market. I actually had tried one of these, Bar’s Leaks, before I did the real repair, with no success. What I’ve seen in other reports is that they simply don’t work on “internal” head gasket leaks such as what this series of Outbacks gets. Furthermore, given how severe the gasket damage tends to be, I don’t have much confidence in them. The gasket replacement job looks to be the only option, if you want to keep the engine. The good news, though, is that you don’t need to remove the engine from the car to do this repair.

Here are some details of the head gasket repair that I did, in case it helps anyone else trying to do the same thing. Note that this is a big job,

and what started out looking like this:

The engine, pre-repair.

The engine, pre-repair.

was looking like this mid-way through the job:

The engine, pre-repair.

parts out, mid-repair

Usual safety and competence caveats apply: this is on the more advanced and complex extreme of car repairs that one could undertake. You might irreparably damage your car, and injury might result, if you get it wrong. If you aren’t reasonably mechanically competent or if you have no experience working on engines or related things, this isn’t a job that you should undertake.

Special tools needed:
1. The Haynes manual for this series of car. It has pictures, all the details about torque specs, procedures for the HG removal and timing belt replacement (a job that you would be foolish to not do while you have this engine apart), and so on. It’s great – just get it. I found with the Haynes manual, I had no need for the official Subaru shop manual. YMMV. Here are Amazon links for the manuals for 1990-1999 and 2000-2006 Subaru’s:

Note that if you buy either manual by clicking on the links at left, I get a small commission. Even better, if you really want to help support a starving author, you can buy my new book Dog Friends. Dogs often ride in Subaru’s :-) .

2. A really good socket set (see also item 3). I actually have 2 sets, a Stanley “Mechanic’s” tool set, which is my “high end” precision set for jobs that really matter, and a cheaper set, one of the low end Mastercraft ones, for less critical work to save wear and tear on the precision set. Both were purchased at Canadian Tire. I used both on this job, the lesser set mainly for all the many fasteners that have to come off, and when I needed extra extensions and so on. (However, I shattered a 10mm socket in the cheap set quite spectacularly trying to remove a camshaft clamp bolt; fortunately the precision set was up to that task, and on inspection, the socket wall thickness is significantly higher on it for the same small sockets. Probably better metal too. Not a big criticism of the cheap set; it was a lot of torque on a small socket, enough to need a breaker bar.)

3. a 14mm 12-point socket. This is needed for the cylinder head attachment “stretch bolts”.  These sockets are somewhat rare but the Stanley set has them.

4. (a) A torque wrench. I have one that is nothing special but you need to be able to measure torque  to about 60 ft-lbs for the cylinder head bolts, and also enough precision and sensitivity to measure 130 in-lbs for the valve cover seal bolts.  I made do with one big Mastercraft torque wrench but the low torque measurements were a bit sketchy with it.

4.  (b)Optional: Some people have said that you also need a torque angle meter. That is for the intermediate and last stages of the cylinder head bolt torquing sequence, wherein you need to be able to accurately do 180 and 90 degree untightening and tightening steps.  I got by without one by carefully watching the angular displacement of the socket handle during the critical rotations and thence estimating the angle, and the job result was fine, but this tool might have helped.

5. Lots of time and patience. Seriously, this is a big job and takes a lot of time.

Minimal parts you’ll need:

1. Subaru or valid OEM multi-layer steel replacement head gaskets. The advice I read was “Don’t use the cheap single layer graphite gaskets that you can get on ebay or elsewhere.”  Nothing at all against e-bay, and I found a good deal on the real gaskets there, just be careful to get the real ones. The genuine ones look like this
Subaru multi-layer steel head gasket
2.  a replacement engine gasket set.  Not the head gaskets; see item 1 about those. You’ll want to replace many of the “soft” gaskets for the valve covers, the intake manifold etc.  I mainly pulled gaskets as needed out of an “Eristic” set I found on ebay, but I didn’t trust the head gaskets or the intake manifold port gaskets that came with it. They looked like they were made from cardboard. Fortunately the original IM gaskets looked OK and I just reused them with no apparent problems afterward. Also, from what I’ve seen elsewhere, the Eristic head gaskets that typically come in such a set will apparently not last even 15,000km in a Subaru boxer, so avoid those. For the work you will be putting into this repair, it’s not worth it to use cheap head gaskets.

3. Anaerobic sealant. You need a small amount of this to seal the 2 outer camshaft cap clamps per head on the aluminum-to-aluminum mating surfaces so that they seal against oil.  NAPA and other parts places carry this stuff.

4. A replacement timing belt. The timing belt is crucial to the operation of the DOHC EJ25 Subaru engine series. If it breaks, catastrophic damage to valves and the engine is likely so get a good name brand timing belt and follow the Haynes instructions exactly for putting it in, after the HG replacement is done and the valve covers are back on. Youtube also hosts many good videos about the procedure. I used a Mitsuboshi belt from http://autopartsway.ca.

5. (maybe) A replacement timing belt tension adjuster. If you have a 1996 or 1997 you will likely have the old hydraulic tension adjuster. Late in the repair, I noticed the old one had no “spring” to it and the tensioning plunger would not extend much out of its casing, so I had to buy a replacement. It was $233 from a Subaru dealer, the most expensive part in the whole repair. This part is also crucial to the engine, so check it and replace if needed.

6. All the rad hoses. The high temperature from overheating, plus exhaust gases getting into the coolant because of the leak may have deteriorated your hoses and soft gaskets, and you have to take the old ones out for this job anyway, so just replace them; for the cost involved, don’t risk reusing the old ones.

Job details and sequence:

0. Park the car in a good covered space with lots of room to work and to place parts that you’ve removed.  Understand that you aren’t going to be able to move the vehicle once you get started, until the job is done (days, if you’re fast and lucky).

1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.

2. Jack up the engine about 2 inches via the following procedure:  (Although one guy has a great video of doing this job without lifting the engine, this is such an easy thing to do and makes the cylinder head removal so much easier that my advice is to just do it.  You can actually only need to do this step when you get to the cylinder head removal stage, but I’m tall and having the engine that little bit higher also was easier on my back for removing the IM and other stuff beforehand.)  Follow what the Haynes manual says. Essentially you need to remove the 2 front engine mount nuts. Note that each of these also has a companion washer between it and the frame. Those are easy to miss (I nearly lost them) because of all the grease and grime that will inevitably be down there, so watch for them. They’ll probably fall off after you take the nuts off.  Also remove the exhaust manifold header bolts (3 on each side).  For lifting,  I found I could just use the tire jack that comes with the car (it can hold 800Kg, which is far more than the weight I estimated was being lifted. Put a square piece of wood under the oil pan at least covering the pan, and a 2×4 between that and the jack just in case the plywood fails (thanks Keith, for that advice).  Centre the jack so that the engine lifts equally on each side. Careful here:  If you cause uneven lifting, the engine and hence the engine mount bolts can move out of alignment with the mounting holes and it will be hard to get the engine back down into place. Also, I wouldn’t lift by more than about 2 inches;  any more than that looked like it might put potentially damaging strain on suspension and drive train components.  Back up the lifting parts with blocks of wood in case the jack or anything else fails. After lifting, my setup looked roughly like this except that I leveled out the blocks and jack with shims a bit.
.

3. Drain the coolant and remove the radiator. Other online examples show this job being done with the rad in place, but it’s so easy to remove the rad (just 2 easily accessed bolts need to be loosened above the rad) and it gives you so much more working space in front of the engine that I recommend that you remove it. Follow what the Haynes manual says and put a short hose onto the spout off the radiator drain plug so the coolant flows into whatever you are collecting it in, otherwise you’ll have coolant dribbling all over the place.  Remove the radiator hold-down bolts, and all the hoses attached to the rad.  Pull out the rad and put it aside. Note that you don’t need to unbolt the cooling fans. They come out with the rad; just disconnect the electrical cables to them. Finally, tape some protective cardboard or thin plywood in place temporarily at the A/C radiative fins assembly to protect it from e.g. wrench damage during the rest of the repair.

By the way, when you drain the rad, don’t just let the old fluid run into the street or a storm drain. Collect what comes out in a drain pan and take it to a legit disposal/recycling depot. Same for any used oil. The automotive service dept. at my local Canadian Tire store is nice enough to accept the used fluids, so they get my repeat business, but also check e.g. with your local municipal or environmental authorities if you don’t have a similarly helpful business nearby.

Next, the real work begins. You’ll need to remove a lot of parts, so use some masking tape to label everything, especially bolts and hoses, as you take them off. Use a digital camera to record any details that might be significant. See also my detailed pictures of the job. Follow the Haynes manual.

4. Start by removing the generator, and remove its drive belt. Also unbolt the power steering and the A/C compressor and carefully move them aside with their respective hoses in place. DO NOT disconnect the hoses for these.

5. Remove the intake manifold. This is a lot of work. There are many connected hoses and cable connectors, so photo and label them all. Remove the air cleaner too. This will leave your engine exposed looking roughly like this

engine with intake manifold removed

engine with intake manifold removed

Note that I removed the IM and associated parts completely from the engine, per some of my pictures. In hindsight I could have just folded it back towards the dashboard; that might have saved me disconnecting the throttle and cruise control cables and some other stuff, but removal does make for a clearer work area at the engine, and saves potential kinking and wear and tear on some of the hoses and cables. So despite the extra work, maybe the full removal is worth it. Cover the IM ports with cardboard or something else per the photo, to prevent anything from falling in to the engine.

6. Remove the crankshaft bolt and pulley. You’ll need e.g. the “starter trick” to get the crankshaft bolt free. Google on it, but basically you need to disconnect the fuel pump and spark plugs, put a 22mm socket on the bolt and trap the socket wrench with a breaker bar against the floor, then very briefly crank the starter. That will free the bolt, but do it carefully. Just turn the ignition key to “start” very briefly and turn it off. If that fails to break the bolt free, try again, still hitting “start” very briefly. This took me 2 tries on the starter, but after that, the crankshaft bolt was loosened enough that it could be removed with finger strength alone. I repeat: make sure that you have disconnected the fuel pump (access port is behind the back seat) before you try the starter trick.

7. Follow the Haynes instructions and remove the timing belt outer covers, and then the timing belt. You’ll probably need to loosen the timing belt tension adjuster mounting bolts and maybe also remove the pulley on the passenger side to get the belt off. Make sure you take photos of the “before” state. carefully.

8. Now you are ready to head toward the heads. I suggest working on one head at a time, through to completion of the HG replacement and close up, so that critical parts are not exposed to damage for long, and to have the smallest pile of parts on your garage floor :-) . Put a drain pan under the cylinder head area because oil and coolant will seep out when you get the valve cover off. Use a good 10mm socket to remove the valve cover bolts and pull off the valve cover.  Be careful to keep track of the gaskets as this assembly comes off. I replaced many of the rubber (probably viton) gaskets.

9. Take pictures of the camshafts in position so you can reference them for the re-assembly, then remove the camshaft caps. The bolts on these are in tight, and you will need a good quality 10mm socket; a cheap one I used first actually shattered.

10. Carefully remove the intake and exhaust camshafts. Take care to keep each cap with the appropriate camshaft in the original position.

11. Now you are ready to remove the head gasket bolts. Rest up. This is hard work, lots of torque, and you’ll likely want a breaker bar. Use the 14mm 12-point socket.  Follow the reverse of the assembly torque sequence per e.g. the Haynes manual.

12.  At this point, the head will probably pull off sideways. If not, gently tap it sideways with e.g. a rubber mallet.  This should expose the head gaskets, which will likely pull away easily. Clean all the mating engine and head surfaces before putting the new gasket in. I used a hardwood shim to scrape the surfaces clean rather than use something that might scratch the aluminum.

13.  Once the surfaces are clean, place the new gasket in place on the dowels on the engine. Be very careful with the gasket orientation; the upper oil inflow port and lower oil out-take ports must line up with the corresponding gasketing surfaces.  Check this; I got it wrong once. Oil the cylinder head bolts lightly with engine oil before you put them back in. This really helps the re-torquing go more smoothly and precisely.

Before I put the heads back on, I also replaced the spark plugs while I had the heads on my garage floor. That makes getting the plugs in a whole lot easier. Also, this is a stage at which you can check if the head sealing surfaces are still flat. In my case, I just laid a big steel reference straight edge across each head surface corner to corner  for both diagonals, and also side to side in a few places. The surfaces for both heads seemed flat.  Maybe I was lucky to catch the HG problem before severe overheating and warping happened. If you have warped heads, you’ll need to visit a machinist to get them machined flat, or maybe get new heads.

14. Proceed with carefully putting the head in place and torquing the bolts. Follow the Haynes manual exactly; I don’t have anything to add here.

15. Now put all those many parts back in, in sequence.  Watch your labels, and refer to your pictures as needed, plus mine  if they are any help. Good luck!

Many more pictures taken during my head gasket replacement job are here.

References:
1. A great summary of the Subaru head gasket problems for various engine model years.
2. A HowTo for the same job on a Subaru Forester, with pictures.

3. Edit 2011 03 23: a user on subaruoutback.org noted that the following video links are no longer accessible on Youtube. If you know of working links or other good references, please let me know and I’ll post them.
A great youtube video series that will really show you the extent of what is needed to do this big repair job
Part 1.
Part 2.

Thanks to Keith, Vince, Garth, and Hugh for help and moral support along the way, and also to various other people who wandered by my backyard garage while I was doing the work to offer encouragement. And special thanks to Dee for putting up with me while I was working on this job.

Epilogue
Sept. 23, 2010   Several days after the repair, after some highway driving followed by stop and start low speed city driving tests, none of the original symptoms are present. No more foaming or bubbles in the coolant, and no overheating. No detectable oil or coolant loss. Engine is running great. This was an apparently successful head gasket replacement job.

March 23, 2011  6 months and several thousand km later, engine is running fine. No overheating and no coolant loss. As an added bonus, I’ve found that the engine now loses no discernible amount of oil over thousands of km of driving. Maybe that is the result of replacing a lot of the “soft” gaskets and seals during the repair too. Pretty good for 285,000 km on the car.

October 5, 2011 > 1 year later, the engine is still running fine. No coolant leaks and no oil loss.

October 9, 2014 Well, 4 years later, I am happy to report that the ole ’97 Subaru Outback is still running great. No oil loss between oil changes, and no overheating.

251 Comments »

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  1. Shown it to friends.

    Comment by subarukitchen — November 14, 2010 @ 8:33 am

  2. Such clever work! My kind regards, Joel.

    Comment by Joel Valladores — November 14, 2010 @ 6:00 pm

  3. This is valuable information ,

    Thanks

    Comment by weird scholar — November 14, 2010 @ 11:33 pm

  4. wonderful job! Just what I had to have.

    Comment by wonderful job — November 16, 2010 @ 4:30 pm

  5. I wondered how to do this :P

    Warm regards
    Bradley

    Comment by Bradley — November 19, 2010 @ 8:42 am

  6. nice and thanks.

    Comment by pedro — November 19, 2010 @ 9:40 am

  7. Wow! amazing work..

    Comment by Igneri — November 19, 2010 @ 10:53 am

  8. This is valuable information , thanks!

    Comment by egghead — November 21, 2010 @ 1:58 am

  9. your post is superb
    really thank your very much

    Comment by t365 — November 21, 2010 @ 11:08 pm

  10. Man, talk about a fantastic post!

    Comment by potenzmittel — November 22, 2010 @ 12:41 am

  11. Hello. Terrific details. I did not expect this. This is really helpful. Thanks!

    Comment by Branchenbuch — November 27, 2010 @ 3:22 am

  12. hi! This was really outstanding repair blog.
    I come from rome, I was lucky find it in google
    Also thanks very much.

    Comment by benoit — December 1, 2010 @ 10:06 am

  13. Good evening

    Definitely gonna recommend this post to a few friends

    Comment by Motorcycle Fairing — December 2, 2010 @ 2:38 am

  14. Now my’s subaru problem became clear to me, Many thanks for the information.

    Comment by panerai uhren — December 4, 2010 @ 9:29 pm

  15. Hi, very interesting post, greetings from Greece!

    Comment by maippicheese — December 5, 2010 @ 3:59 am

  16. thanks for to help me

    Comment by blancmind — December 5, 2010 @ 4:37 am

  17. It was necessary.

    Comment by blancmind — December 5, 2010 @ 8:01 am

  18. YES, it is exactly what I needed

    Comment by Brie — December 5, 2010 @ 8:16 pm

  19. I thank you

    Comment by Mulberry Whine — December 6, 2010 @ 1:57 am

  20. Wow I didn’t know all of this, thanks for the great share.

    Comment by Cleo Cars — December 6, 2010 @ 4:44 pm

  21. nice work. thx

    Comment by riesmann — December 7, 2010 @ 11:00 am

  22. I consider this a great howto example.

    Comment by Needless — December 7, 2010 @ 2:39 pm

  23. super

    Comment by terry — December 7, 2010 @ 5:55 pm

  24. Merci. Excellent. More than enough information.

    Comment by baume mercier — December 8, 2010 @ 5:47 am

  25. great repair. before, I despair.

    Comment by tagger — December 8, 2010 @ 8:08 am

  26. up up up

    Comment by uhren cars — December 8, 2010 @ 11:52 am

  27. I so got schooled from this.

    Comment by Christian Audigier — December 8, 2010 @ 12:57 pm

  28. super, a brilliant work

    Comment by swiss frank — December 8, 2010 @ 6:21 pm

  29. You are exact

    Comment by Hardy — December 8, 2010 @ 7:06 pm

  30. Damn, paid a lot to have my subaru fized for this.

    Comment by Jane Malington — December 8, 2010 @ 10:38 pm

  31. Certainly my car had this problem. Wish I’d seen your blog sooner.

    Comment by Ted Hardy — December 9, 2010 @ 2:15 am

  32. nice work

    Comment by philippe — December 9, 2010 @ 11:08 pm

  33. quite the project

    Comment by Nothing Is Impossible — December 10, 2010 @ 2:57 am

  34. great post. thanks for it.

    Comment by AffelryBall — December 10, 2010 @ 11:57 am

  35. Subarus are greaaaat except for the HG issue. Nice repair.

    Comment by rain coming — December 10, 2010 @ 12:35 pm

  36. It is remarkable, very useful blog

    Comment by girard girard — December 10, 2010 @ 4:55 pm

  37. As well as possible!

    Comment by glashutte — December 10, 2010 @ 11:35 pm

  38. I resemble this repair.
    All four of my thumbs up.

    Comment by graham — December 11, 2010 @ 6:21 am

  39. In my opinion, you rock.

    Comment by hamilton — December 11, 2010 @ 9:38 am

  40. super, a brilliant post

    Comment by bell ross — December 13, 2010 @ 1:04 am

  41. Useful.

    Comment by Mr. Fitch — December 18, 2010 @ 6:42 am

  42. Way to go!

    Comment by Lonnie Trela — December 18, 2010 @ 11:06 am

  43. Many thanks for the help.

    Comment by crombie — December 18, 2010 @ 5:48 pm

  44. these were the good outbacks, too bad new Subarus is so big

    Comment by philippe — December 19, 2010 @ 6:47 am

  45. Thank you!!!! 1000 times!!!

    Comment by carnips — December 19, 2010 @ 6:12 pm

  46. That was a informative post. Not a repair I would tackle myself, but great to be informed about it. Thanks!

    Comment by Lone Carl — December 20, 2010 @ 6:53 pm

  47. I love reading your blog. So interesting.

    Comment by Suzann Mcdearman — December 21, 2010 @ 10:16 pm

  48. yeah!

    Comment by Nicholas Luke — December 22, 2010 @ 8:51 pm

  49. Great blog post, I have been looking for this info!

    Comment by Jessie Turner — December 24, 2010 @ 8:57 pm

  50. Bravo, your work it is brilliant

    Comment by Louis — December 25, 2010 @ 11:31 am

  51. FTW! good car, bad head gasket, nice job, thanks for pics and text.

    Comment by HarveyMech — December 25, 2010 @ 10:59 pm

  52. Bravo!

    Comment by Ed H — December 26, 2010 @ 1:13 am

  53. I congratulate, it seems remarkable to me is

    Comment by T Stone — December 27, 2010 @ 6:49 am

  54. very good and cool,thank you for your sharing.

    Comment by car tips — December 27, 2010 @ 7:26 am

  55. I am seriously considering hg repair so very timely post.

    Comment by Rock and roll haul of train — December 27, 2010 @ 8:51 am

  56. The GREATEST read that I read today!!!

    Comment by TishaTisha — December 27, 2010 @ 12:22 pm

  57. a lot I do not know, that is here. Now I know that gasket replace is possible by self

    Comment by italia — December 27, 2010 @ 1:30 pm

  58. Nice information, many thanks to the author.

    Comment by tunedin — December 29, 2010 @ 3:26 am

  59. Thank you! Fabulous resource – now I don’t have to keep searching :)

    Comment by Ipllive — December 31, 2010 @ 2:49 pm

  60. We’ve learned quite a lot of things on this blog A happy new year!

    Comment by Cam — January 1, 2011 @ 10:57 am

  61. the autohaus gang says thanks for the subie engine pics

    Comment by OilPanMan — January 2, 2011 @ 7:17 pm

  62. a great deal of valuable subaru engine information.

    Comment by Google maps guy — January 3, 2011 @ 1:21 am

  63. Great post!

    Comment by D. Peck — January 4, 2011 @ 12:56 am

  64. Great piece of subaru head gasket repair details that you’ve put here thanks

    Comment by Dexter Mechster — January 5, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

  65. Great post! Useful Subaru engine info

    Comment by Jake Lo — January 6, 2011 @ 1:39 pm

  66. your subaru repair was better than my own mechanic did!

    Comment by long beach — January 6, 2011 @ 4:29 pm

  67. We aren’t surprised by the head gasket repair. Subaru should hire you.

    Comment by Fletcher — January 7, 2011 @ 8:46 am

  68. This is the best subaru fix read ever.

    Comment by Noel — January 7, 2011 @ 10:59 am

  69. Great subaru engine head gasket information and pictures too. I have been looking for that :) . thanks thanks thanks.

    Comment by R Carr — January 8, 2011 @ 12:53 am

  70. I’m glad I found your post. This probably explains my 1999 subaru imprezza 2.5 random overheating problems. Not fixing this one myself but at least I can go to my mechanic informed.

    Comment by R. Ziegler — January 9, 2011 @ 4:00 pm

  71. I need to hear exactly what my Subaru mechanic will change for this!?!

    Comment by Edwin E — January 10, 2011 @ 11:22 am

  72. Great subaru engine head gasket repair blog

    Comment by Joaqim in Colorado — January 10, 2011 @ 8:02 pm

  73. Hey, cool. Thanks for the head gasket repair details. If you don’t mind me asking, who was the Vancouver Subaru dealer you got the t belt tensioner from?

    Comment by Bob Romero — January 11, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

  74. Thanks for the very informative blog. Any garage/mechanic recommendations for a southwestern Ontario 2002 subaru engine head gasket repair?

    Comment by Ryan Holman — January 11, 2011 @ 11:32 pm

  75. I still think subaru rocks despite the head gasket problem. thanks for the repair blog.

    Comment by morebki — January 11, 2011 @ 11:59 pm

  76. This is a fabulous subaru repair resource. Many thanks for the post!

    Comment by down to earth — January 12, 2011 @ 9:30 am

  77. Possibly the BEST subaru engine repair post that I read ever.

    Comment by Robby — January 12, 2011 @ 9:56 am

  78. Got here googling on subaru muffler. good stuff though.

    Comment by Jake Mayer — January 13, 2011 @ 11:01 am

  79. Thanks for the tools info. Just what I needed to know for my job.

    Comment by Kevin — January 13, 2011 @ 11:28 am

  80. You should put this on facebook Subaru page.

    Comment by RidgeWalker — January 13, 2011 @ 11:51 am

  81. informative blog. thanks.

    Did you have the Subaru coolant treatment conditioner additive in for the years before the head gasket failed?

    Comment by G. Mays — January 13, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

  82. thanks. I used your jack method. Made some engine stuff much more accessible without a complete pull.

    Comment by Rothling — January 13, 2011 @ 12:59 pm

  83. what the last guy said. thanks for the subaru head gasket information.

    Comment by Curt — January 13, 2011 @ 11:52 pm

  84. nice repair job.

    Comment by Wodwick — January 14, 2011 @ 2:09 am

  85. I refered to your subaru head gasket information a lot.

    Comment by Chad — January 14, 2011 @ 10:16 am

  86. Great subaru repair information and pictures. Puck thanks you. May your skates ever be sharp and keep your stick on the ice.

    Comment by Puck Rogers — January 15, 2011 @ 12:02 pm

  87. Thanks. My car is rolling again!

    Comment by carvider — January 16, 2011 @ 5:44 pm

  88. Wish I’d read it before getting my 1999 subaru outback engine fixed

    Comment by InaOnline — January 18, 2011 @ 2:19 pm

  89. Great post

    Comment by Graham — January 19, 2011 @ 5:48 pm

  90. very useful thanks.

    Comment by Joel Pettit — January 20, 2011 @ 5:07 am

  91. Great post. Needed subaru engine pictures. Many thanx

    Comment by nondenon — January 20, 2011 @ 5:39 am

  92. Thank you for the knowledge. My subaru forester works like a dream after mechanic did the gasket repair.

    Comment by martel giardia — January 20, 2011 @ 1:05 pm

  93. my subaru wagons and their head gaskets all thank you.

    Comment by stationwagonmaster — January 20, 2011 @ 3:16 pm

  94. This is the best subaru engine repair blog I have read.

    Comment by Darnell — January 21, 2011 @ 2:54 am

  95. Thanks for writing about this hard subaru repair

    Comment by googleEarthling — January 22, 2011 @ 8:07 am

  96. I was just looking for alternator repair info on my subaru and found this. One of your pictures helped me put stuff back in the right place!

    So, Thanks! Great blog, Dude!

    Comment by toolbench — January 23, 2011 @ 10:51 am

  97. Wow – this is the best subaru engine repair article i’ve read in ages!

    Comment by polarfleece — January 24, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

  98. I really enjoyed the subaru repair article.

    Comment by avenue a — January 24, 2011 @ 7:33 pm

  99. Hi i am so pleased I found your blog. I searched on subaru head gasket repair re an engine with an overheating problem in our shop and voila. Thanks for very helpful info.

    Comment by evans motors — January 25, 2011 @ 8:00 am

  100. That was an awesome read. Now I understand my subaru problem.

    Comment by Under The Same Old Management — January 25, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

  101. Cool post, thanks. Never thought that subaru EJ25 head gasket replacement was a simple repair and I had spent time looking for details from someone who had been there and done that. Kudos to you!

    Comment by sam s. — January 28, 2011 @ 7:35 am

  102. Excellent article and easy to understand explanation.

    Comment by polar f — January 28, 2011 @ 11:55 pm

  103. Pretty insightful post. Never thought that subaru head gasket replacement was simple after all. I had spent a good deal of my time looking for someone to explain this subject clearly and you’re the only one that ever did that. Kudos to you! Keep it up

    Comment by weather chaser — January 29, 2011 @ 4:00 pm

  104. I love this! SO happy i found this! Just what i was looking for!

    Comment by Kercy — January 29, 2011 @ 5:57 pm

  105. This is a good Subie engine article.Very helpful.

    Comment by in the same universe — January 29, 2011 @ 11:06 pm

  106. Great article, lots of smart Subaru repair tips.

    Comment by just another earthling — February 1, 2011 @ 12:22 am

  107. That is very helpful for my own subaru outback. Maybe now I can talk the same language as my subaru mechanic.

    Comment by live-laugh-learn — February 1, 2011 @ 6:19 am

  108. Awesome post! You did awesome Subaru engine work!

    Comment by googulator — February 1, 2011 @ 12:33 pm

  109. Vrrooom! The sound of a happy Subaru boxer engine with new head gaskets. Nice work, thanks for the blog.

    Comment by Allan Katz — February 1, 2011 @ 2:33 pm

  110. Yeah, those damn subaru head gaskets. You nailed them tho. Very good post.

    Comment by gggrease mmmonkey — February 1, 2011 @ 6:03 pm

  111. [...] it out and let me know what you think. I already have the intake manifold off based on this link. My Subaru Outback Head Gasket Repair Flounderings Can’t do anything else because of the storm for the next two [...]

    Pingback by Head Gasket Getting done in the Snow! - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums — March 22, 2011 @ 6:48 pm

  112. Between me and my dad we’ve owned 4 subaru’s inculding one outback and one forrester. Head gaskets were the only big problem. Cool blog. Wow you fixed it yourself.

    Comment by Transporter John — March 24, 2011 @ 10:00 pm

  113. Great repair pictures. This Subaru owner thanks you from Denver.

    Comment by Colorado High — March 25, 2011 @ 5:01 pm

  114. Thanks for sharing, it’s jolly subie beneficial

    Comment by Guido Baggins — March 26, 2011 @ 6:35 pm

  115. my engine was damaged from overheating and it was good to learn about subaru engine repair

    Comment by not so far right — March 27, 2011 @ 6:59 am

  116. Thanks. Now I know whats wrong with my Outback.

    Comment by pontiac is history — April 4, 2011 @ 4:34 am

  117. Thank you for your blog post. My son and I are looking at fixing the family Subaru wagon and it almost certainly has the head gasket problem.

    Comment by tom knobel — April 4, 2011 @ 1:20 pm

  118. Great subaru boxer engine info and pictures! Thanks!

    Comment by down on the car farm — April 6, 2011 @ 12:06 pm

  119. I would like to use the opportunity of saying thanks to you for your Subaru repair advice. So, thanks.

    Comment by skalbania — April 6, 2011 @ 2:52 pm

  120. Thanks. you are great DIY mechanic.

    Comment by janush — April 7, 2011 @ 6:33 am

  121. Great subaru repair blog. The boxers of the world thank you. Boxer engines, that is.

    Comment by BigRon — April 7, 2011 @ 8:44 am

  122. great subaru website.
    thx

    Comment by florida auto man — April 7, 2011 @ 5:56 pm

  123. Good Subaru Repair Article. Thanks.

    Comment by Zack — April 7, 2011 @ 10:05 pm

  124. keen repair.

    Comment by freesurfer — April 8, 2011 @ 2:01 am

  125. Good Article. Good Repair.

    Comment by ForTold — April 8, 2011 @ 8:41 am

  126. Great piece of work, Great post.

    Comment by Mark Lowe — April 8, 2011 @ 11:17 am

  127. Great Outback repair information. Merci.

    Comment by Remy — April 9, 2011 @ 5:10 am

  128. very useful. Subaru recalled some of these.

    Comment by cantgetnorelease — April 9, 2011 @ 4:42 pm

  129. Many many many thanks. Fantastic subaru info.

    Comment by born to ski — April 10, 2011 @ 10:09 am

  130. Great subaru head gasket repair info. Love these cars otherwise.

    Comment by Lee — April 12, 2011 @ 12:58 am

  131. Just what I was looking for, thanks for posting .

    Comment by Joe Snow — April 12, 2011 @ 9:00 am

  132. thanks for a good car repair blog!

    Comment by live wire — April 13, 2011 @ 2:13 am

  133. I had a subaru repair panic attack when my engine started overheating. Then read your blog. At least now I know what the problem is. Knowledge is power.

    Thanks for the public service.

    Comment by AlphaDog — April 13, 2011 @ 7:28 am

  134. Nicely repaired mate.

    Comment by Mr. Book — April 20, 2011 @ 8:25 am

  135. Hey, awesome subaru engine repair

    Comment by los outback — April 21, 2011 @ 8:39 am

  136. Incredibly useful blog. My forester with boxer engine broke down with overheat. Now I get what caused it. Thanks.

    Comment by car breakdown — April 22, 2011 @ 12:48 pm

  137. Nice work. I just passed this onto a friend who was doing a head gasket repair.

    Comment by go canucks go — April 23, 2011 @ 5:11 am

  138. Just what I was looking up “subaru head gasket leak”, appreciate it.

    Comment by Freeway — April 24, 2011 @ 6:49 am

  139. Thank you. Maybe I’ll actually try to fix my own subaru boxer now. I suppose all head gaskets die some day.

    Comment by Cornell Injuneer — April 24, 2011 @ 9:40 pm

  140. Good article. Thank you.

    Comment by non prius guy — April 26, 2011 @ 3:53 am

  141. My Subaru boxer engine was feeling queasy and then I read this. Thanks for the good info.

    Comment by old crochety — April 26, 2011 @ 7:00 am

  142. Great info on how to do head gasket replace on the subie boxer. Too bad people keep trying the liquid head gasket sealer products. They have their uses, but not for internal leaks on this series of EJ25.

    Comment by Amir — April 27, 2011 @ 12:39 am

  143. Good deep engine repair article. Thank you.

    Comment by dapper don peugeot — May 2, 2011 @ 4:23 am

  144. I used your blog while doing head gasket replacement in my ’99 Subaru Forester. Thanks!

    Comment by T. Wrigner — May 2, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

  145. Nicely done mate. I don’t have the guts to attempt hg replacement on my own boxer.

    Comment by Carstruck in Interlaken — May 12, 2011 @ 11:43 pm

  146. exactly what I was searching for, thank you for putting it up.

    Comment by wally — May 16, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

  147. woah! I was so glad to find this subaru head gasket website through google.

    Comment by Art The Smart — May 21, 2011 @ 3:49 am

  148. Hey – I am really delighted to discover this. great job!

    Comment by Aswan Darn — May 23, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

  149. This subaru repair is far harder than I thought but it looks like I’ve come to the right site.

    Comment by Anton C. — May 25, 2011 @ 7:37 pm

  150. Thanks for the subaru head gasket repair blog loaded with so much information. FYI I found your site in yahoo search. Tthank you for taking the trouble to write up what you did.

    Comment by Barry — May 29, 2011 @ 10:03 am

  151. My 205K original 1998 Subie Outback is in great shape, many new suspension, brake and steering parts — everything works perfectly, auto-tranny is tight, engine burns no oil, zero rust, paint is shiny, interior looks like new — but once I priced the head gasket replacement job cost from several local mechanics, began to consider selling the car for parts, or to someone who could repair the head gasket problem themselves. Noticed when getting out of car, was picking up a faint whiff of hot anti-freeze smell coming up from the inner fender panel on the driver’s side motor compartment area. Had the system tested, and bubble tester showed bunches of very small bubbles in the cooling system, likely from cylinder pressure leaking through from head gasket on driver’s side and into the cooling system. Car has not overheated, yet, and starts and runs just fine — but, only a matter of time before the problem becomes worse.

    What the heck — now you’ve done it — gonna give it a whirl, as I have owned the car since new, and it is in (otherwise) such good shape. Look out, headgaskets! The-Man-With-The-Plan is IN the house! Any good sources for ready-to-go rebuilt replacement heads? National Cylinder Head in Kentucky has some, but not sure if correct for my Subie until I can locate P/Ns on heads.

    Comment by SubieDo — June 8, 2011 @ 11:55 am

  152. 151, as for ready-to-go replacement heads, I’ve never seen them. I don’t think you’d save much if any labour with them. The bulk of the work in an HG replacement is all the parts unrelated to the heads that you have to take off to get at the heads and then put back afterward. If you decide to proceed DIY, post again here or on subaruoutback.org, or e-mail me per the addresses on this site. Happy to help with any questions.

    Cheers,
    Dave

    Comment by admin — June 8, 2011 @ 7:48 pm

  153. Great subaru article, may your tools never rust!

    Comment by Brad Schelton — June 28, 2011 @ 8:38 pm

  154. many thanks. Subaru should thank you too.

    Comment by gerald — June 29, 2011 @ 8:20 am

  155. This is fantastic. Thank you from my Subaru boxer.

    Comment by Gary Levin — July 4, 2011 @ 5:25 am

  156. Thanks. Now I can row row row my Subaru with confidence.

    Comment by Rower — July 4, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

  157. Wow. Good job. This is out of reach of what I’d try on my own RubyRoo.

    Comment by Carl West — July 4, 2011 @ 6:16 pm

  158. In my opinion this is the best Subaru engine repair post that I’ve found. Not just the big head gasket repair, but the pictures and the description of how to do it all and some neat tricks. Thanks, dude.

    Comment by Stewart L — July 6, 2011 @ 7:48 am

  159. good engine work. Still like subaru despite this one problem. The head gaskets seem to be the only big issue the 96-2002′s have.

    Comment by Subanaut — July 7, 2011 @ 2:08 am

  160. Many thanks for providing really useful subaru head gasket repair information.

    Comment by carmom — July 8, 2011 @ 2:37 pm

  161. cool repair project.

    Comment by Carlos — July 9, 2011 @ 2:41 am

  162. Thanks, man. I am excited to get to work on fixing my own subaru boxer head gaskets now.

    Comment by mcMac — July 11, 2011 @ 7:38 pm

  163. alas, the subaru head gasket problem. Nice repair.

    Comment by snoqualmie joe — July 16, 2011 @ 5:29 pm

  164. great repair. thanks for the subaru engine pictures. big help.

    Comment by hummers are for wimps — July 16, 2011 @ 7:34 pm

  165. thanks for all the repair details. Time well spent for me here.

    Comment by Paul R. — July 16, 2011 @ 9:32 pm

  166. Thank you for the subaru outback repair writeup.

    Comment by Don Kaminski — July 19, 2011 @ 3:25 pm

  167. Getting my subie fixed after an accident. Wanted front and engine area pictures. Thanks.

    Comment by Foggy Rain — July 22, 2011 @ 1:46 am

  168. great repair on an otherwise great car. Thanks for the subaru info and pics.

    Comment by xtman — July 22, 2011 @ 5:35 pm

  169. this explains what must be wrong with our 2002 subaru boxie. Thanks.

    Comment by married job kids dogs and all that — July 22, 2011 @ 6:02 pm

  170. Thanks a lot for this.

    Comment by Charles Buchan — July 25, 2011 @ 3:40 am

  171. I want to convey my thanks for kindly writing up what you did in your car repair.

    Comment by karjava — July 25, 2011 @ 8:57 am

  172. In my opinion, this is the best subaru repair blog that I’ve found.

    Comment by brown family — July 25, 2011 @ 12:45 pm

  173. great subaru head gasket repair info. wish I could have done that.

    Comment by doby — July 26, 2011 @ 5:51 pm

  174. I’ve been coming here for a roughly a week now and have decided to make my first post to say thank you.

    Comment by Brian Polacco — July 26, 2011 @ 9:24 pm

  175. Great.Useful information. Keep up the good work.

    Comment by Kalyn Mcelheny — July 26, 2011 @ 11:58 pm

  176. I am glad to visit this outstanding website .

    Comment by great pictures — July 28, 2011 @ 7:33 am

  177. Hi. I have leaking subaru head gasket in 2001 Outback. Any recommended repair shops in northern New York, near Rochester, NY?

    Comment by William — July 28, 2011 @ 5:46 pm

  178. great subie repair blog.

    Comment by ted caldwell — July 29, 2011 @ 10:13 am

  179. good work on the subaru

    Comment by rami — July 30, 2011 @ 2:54 am

  180. Wow. Quite the job. Thanks.I understand now what the problem with my Subaru Forester overheating and losing coolant has to be but this one is going to my mechanic. Your repair is way out of my league. Many thanks for the information anyway.

    Comment by Clyde Townsley — July 30, 2011 @ 2:17 pm

  181. Wow, amazing engine repair! Now I have to get mine done. Thanks.

    Comment by hender — July 31, 2011 @ 10:20 pm

  182. thankyou for the subaru repair post.

    Comment by linuxfan — August 1, 2011 @ 6:40 am

  183. Amazing subaru repair dude.

    Comment by AweShucksJoe — August 1, 2011 @ 3:09 pm

  184. Had a look at your blog. Would not have attempted hg replacement myself but you showed it can be done.

    Comment by hightest — August 2, 2011 @ 7:02 pm

  185. Wonderful job!

    Comment by Red Guy — August 2, 2011 @ 10:03 pm

  186. damn good repair.

    Comment by angus — August 3, 2011 @ 10:17 am

  187. Thanks for the head gasket repair info. You don’t happen to know any good Subaru mechanics in Toronto, do you?

    Comment by Gio — August 6, 2011 @ 5:13 am

  188. Thank you much for this DIY repair post.

    Comment by james — August 8, 2011 @ 1:49 am

  189. Nice head gasket job. Ever done any work on a subaru transmission?

    Comment by replicant — August 9, 2011 @ 10:35 pm

  190. Thank you! Know any good Subaru garages in Denver?

    Comment by Stott — August 9, 2011 @ 10:35 pm

  191. Know any Subaru dealers or shops in Maple Grove that you would trust to do a head gasket repair?

    Comment by Andrews — August 14, 2011 @ 8:44 pm

  192. manyyyyy thankssss for sharing this valuable information! It helped me fix my car!

    Comment by Nota Bowler — August 18, 2011 @ 9:27 pm

  193. The subaru engine hed gasket fix article you wrote is very good. I thank to you.

    Comment by kompressor — August 18, 2011 @ 11:59 pm

  194. Thank you for a great post.

    Comment by straight — August 22, 2011 @ 8:36 am

  195. Thanks. At least now I know what is wrong with my overheating Subaru Outback.

    Comment by my car is in pain — August 24, 2011 @ 2:24 pm

  196. I was recommended to this blog by my friend who is a subaru expert. Very helpful this is what is wrong with my car, a head gasket leak Thanks!

    Comment by gordo — August 28, 2011 @ 1:33 am

  197. favorite subaru repair post ever. mucho gracias

    Comment by photon — August 31, 2011 @ 7:03 pm

  198. Good blog! Nice additions to what is in the Haynes manual. The extra details were really helpful. And the pictures.

    Many thanks.

    Comment by Ramirez in Texas — September 22, 2011 @ 6:59 am

  199. I have been studying your blog site every time I work on my subaru…and I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate it!

    Comment by camsaunders — September 22, 2011 @ 6:57 pm

  200. Great EJ25 engine repair details.

    Mucho Thanks!

    Comment by subie-roo — September 26, 2011 @ 3:16 am

  201. From one repair guy to another, thanks a million. Maybe I know just enough to try to tackle my Subaru myself now.

    Comment by appliance repair — September 26, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

  202. Thanks. Tried all the Bars Leaks, Steel Seal etc. remedies, and none of them worked, so now I’m on to the real head gasket job like you did. Thanks for all the details.

    Comment by max cubits — September 29, 2011 @ 10:50 am

  203. great subaru blog.

    Comment by Charles M. — September 30, 2011 @ 2:32 am

  204. How did you get the timing marks to line up? Is it OK to rotate the pulleys a little?

    Comment by Marvin — September 30, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

  205. Thanks for the subaru engine pics and the info. Good supplement to Haynes book.

    Comment by car-penter — October 3, 2011 @ 9:36 pm

  206. definitely hit the nail of the problem. Gracias.

    Comment by swissfranc — October 4, 2011 @ 9:22 am

  207. Hey, thanks for this info. So do you know is there a good way to tell if the head gasket replacement has been done when buying a used Subaru?

    Comment by A Balrog Has Come and Eaten My Car — October 6, 2011 @ 5:19 pm

  208. Nice work. Did you replace those long bolts that hold the head on or did you reuse them?

    Comment by Paul B — October 7, 2011 @ 12:40 pm

  209. real instructive!

    Comment by googlenerd — October 7, 2011 @ 6:51 pm

  210. thanks for the most useful subaru repair info I’ve found.

    Comment by chester — October 15, 2011 @ 9:17 am

  211. Awseome

    Comment by M Frost — October 15, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

  212. You are welcome to tackle my subaru engine anytime.

    Comment by tedger — October 16, 2011 @ 11:13 am

  213. This is the perfect blog for anybody trying to fix the infamous subaru leaky head gaskets.

    May you run on all 5 cylinders.

    Comment by five cylinder — October 16, 2011 @ 6:51 pm

  214. Hi,
    Your post is very informative.
    Thanks

    Comment by Casey — October 20, 2011 @ 4:48 pm

  215. That takes some big cylinders to do that job DIY. Thanks for the Outback boxer engine pictures.

    Trackback by Cerberus the Subaru — October 24, 2011 @ 3:22 am

  216. good repair blog -thanx

    Comment by william — October 27, 2011 @ 6:53 pm

  217. I learned a lot from looking at your blog. Thanks.

    Comment by maple leaf — November 7, 2011 @ 3:00 am

  218. Particularly illuminating thanks.

    Comment by eggscellent — November 9, 2011 @ 3:32 pm

  219. Great Subaru engine repair site. Your pictures saved the day for me. Thanks.

    Comment by Jerrold Wright — November 19, 2011 @ 5:37 am

  220. great information thanks

    Comment by doerr — November 19, 2011 @ 9:49 pm

  221. Wow. Lots of details to take into consideration for that job. good blog.

    Comment by mark etting — November 21, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

  222. In soviet Russia you never saw new subaru. Always the leak in headgasket.

    Comment by Askassir — November 22, 2011 @ 12:41 am

  223. Subaru should give you a free car for this.

    Comment by megastat — December 8, 2011 @ 7:39 am

  224. Fantastic repair details. Many thanks.

    Comment by jack t — December 9, 2011 @ 3:35 am

  225. Awesome subaru outback repair blog.

    Comment by buzzsaw — December 9, 2011 @ 1:18 pm

  226. Brilliant blog!

    Comment by Earl Y. — December 10, 2011 @ 12:23 am

  227. It’s perfect information I needed

    Comment by car bro — December 12, 2011 @ 9:15 am

  228. [...] seen do, I decided to use 2 scissor jacks, one that came with the van, and the other borrowed from my trusty Subaru. Comments [...]

    Pingback by How To Change The Fuel Pump In A Dodge Caravan « Flounderings — December 24, 2011 @ 11:53 am

  229. Great repair post.

    Trackback by Narellan — January 25, 2012 @ 10:18 am

  230. Great post.

    Trackback by DW Gold Coast — January 26, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

  231. [...] did find this site: My Subaru Outback Head Gasket Repair Flounderings Looks pretty good. The only thing I should need is a new torque wrench. Now to shop for the best [...]

    Pingback by DIY head Gaskets 1999 2.5 OBW - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums — March 2, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

  232. Thanks for the great write up!

    What was the price for all of the parts?
    How long did this take?

    Comment by Josh — October 14, 2012 @ 6:35 pm

  233. You’re welcome. I think this job took me about 2 days working quite leisurely. A pro could probably have done it in <8 hours and I probably could do it a lot faster if I had to do it again. I found it really helped and speeded up re-assembly that I photographed the parts in place just as I took them out and labelled some of the hoses and other parts with tape.

    I think I paid about $70 for a pair of OEM headgaskets -that was a good deal but like I said in the blog, watch out for cheap non-MLS imitations. The total parts bill (other than the $230 timing belt tensioner I mentioned that most people probably won't need) was under $200, I think, and that included timing belt, hoses, and new spark plugs that I didn't absolutely have to replace. 2 years after that job, the car is still running great with nothing other than an oil change since.

    Comment by admin — October 15, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

  234. Great Subie engine repair and especially those pictures. We look at it a lot.

    Trackback by ace service — November 4, 2012 @ 5:11 am

  235. Nice HG work. Cool blog.

    My Subaru Outback Head Gasket Repair « Flounderings…

    Trackback by SubieRoo — November 9, 2012 @ 11:35 am

  236. Subaru engine mastery

    [...]My Subaru Outback Head Gasket Repair « Flounderings[...]…

    Trackback by Komodo — November 29, 2012 @ 12:40 am

  237. appliance repair…

    My Subaru Outback Head Gasket Repair « Flounderings…

    Trackback by appliance repair — December 6, 2012 @ 8:14 pm

  238. Thank You very much for these instruction!

    Comment by Marcin — January 3, 2013 @ 6:00 am

  239. awesome Subyrubyroo repair blog

    My Subaru Outback Head Gasket Repair « Flounderings…

    Trackback by computer repair guy — January 27, 2013 @ 1:55 pm

  240. subaru head gasket repair pics yeah

    My Subaru Outback Head Gasket Repair « Flounderings…

    Trackback by Drive this car — March 19, 2013 @ 1:06 pm

  241. great post

    My Subaru Outback Head Gasket Repair « Flounderings…

    Trackback by GS — April 2, 2013 @ 12:39 am

  242. [...] I don't know if anyone has done a DIY thread for either one. I did find this for the HGs: My Subaru Outback Head Gasket Repair Flounderings __________________ 2008 Subaru Outback 3.0R L.L. Bean Edition (No Nav, Harvest Gold) Factory [...]

    Pingback by Looking to buy '99 Outback tonight - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums — April 6, 2013 @ 11:48 am

  243. Thanks for sharing this! I’m ‘taking the challenge’ after spending too much already on a 1998 Outback; I can’t afford the $2000 mechanic’s quote but I’m not willing to scrap it for $300. “I have a handful of tools, a manual, and an unwilling volunteer” (son applies muscle as I supervise). I have to remove the cylinder heads after PREVIOUS OWNER’S tensioner bolt snapped and I found out it was poor quality bolt (sigh, bolt snapped in engine, too, had to buy a kit to remove it and ‘the coil thing’). Engine died at a stop light, so hoping damage is minimal and the P-OWNER didn’t screw anything else up! (Having replaced several other parts already, about $800 worth.) I do have $200 on loan to a friend who’s cousin is a mechanic who can help me set the valves and gaskets to rights… now if I had a garage… (50+ granny, was hoping to retire my tools when I bought the Subaru, sigh!)Very helpful info, thank you much – I was already ‘taping and taking pics’ before I read this!

    Comment by Elaine — September 16, 2014 @ 8:15 pm

  244. Elaine, I hope your repair goes well. Let me know in case of any questions that I might be able to help with.

    Comment by admin — September 23, 2014 @ 2:51 pm

  245. This looks like it should get me through the job. I was trying to do this without jacking the engine, but it is not going well. I have a nut on the drivers side valve cover that I can’t get a socket on, and it is not in good shape. Can’t get the egr pipe out of the intake either… frustrating, but it is a pretty old car.

    Comment by John B. — January 2, 2015 @ 2:28 pm

  246. Hi, John. I think those valve cover bolts will need a 10mm or 12mm socket. Likely 10mm, but I can’t remember for sure. That is probably what you are using. They are only compressing soft rubber seals there and have rubber washers at the head too, so you should not need much torque to get them free unless rusted where the threads meet the head. I think there are 6 of those bolts per cover, on each side. Hard to get penetrating oil in to where the bolt might be binding, but one trick you might be able to use to take some pressure off that stuck bolt is to tighten its nearest neighbour bolts to take the load off the stuck one. Not sure that will be any help, & you risk damaging the soft gasket there a bit that way, but those cover gaskets are cheap to replace and I’d replace them anyway if the engine has overheated. You could also try gently tapping the bolt head with a steel hammer in case that is just enough to break the rust, but be pretty careful with that.

    Comment by admin — January 3, 2015 @ 11:27 am

  247. Awesome info.

    I’m in the middle of doing this head gasket repair now, but I’m having problems with the left hand side cam caps, there isn’t enough clearance to fit in a 3/8 drive wrench. Did you use a 1/4 drive wrench do undo the cam caps? Or did you lift the engine high enough to so the cam cap bolts cleared the chassis enough so that you can use a 3/8 drive wrench?

    Thanks.

    Comment by Omar — January 26, 2015 @ 12:34 am

  248. I used a 1/4″ drive from a Stanley socket set, but at first I used with it a socket from a cheaper socket set than the Stanley, and that socket was thinner metal. The socket actually shattered. I switched over to the Stanley socket, which was thicker metal, and that did the job in combination with the Stanley 1/4″ drive and a pipe that I used as an extender on the drive shaft to get some more torque.

    Hope that helps.
    Dave

    Comment by admin — January 31, 2015 @ 1:12 pm

  249. Hey, this was an interesting post to read as I just did the same on my 2003 forester. And yep, big job for an ammy hahah but car seems to be purring. Just wondering why you said to disconnect fuel pump as I loosened my harmonic balancer via the starter motor trick & I just had the Spark plug leads off. I have an issue with my fuel sender now tho. Related possibly?

    Comment by Virginia fay — February 9, 2015 @ 10:23 pm

  250. Good detailed description. This job is such a PITA, and I’ve got the turbo shit to deal with too! I’ve been meddling with this all week with available time…..just finally pulled the heads tonight. Dealership bound tomorrow to have them checked! Oh, YouTube links aren’t working again! Lol

    Comment by Sean — November 15, 2015 @ 6:05 pm

  251. Thanks a lot for the best repair post ever. I was able to try a repair even though I am stupid, incompetent, and clumsy.

    Comment by ERIC Pentecost — August 16, 2017 @ 7:47 am

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