Ongoing polls regarding head gasket problems - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-01-2008, 08:50 AM Thread Starter
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Ongoing polls regarding head gasket problems

I’’ve posted a set of polls regarding head gasket problems. We all know that they were more frequent in the SF (pre-2003) models (especially the earlier ones) than in the 2003+ SGs, but it would be interesting to see exactly what the membership’s experience has been, both positive and negative, as a function of model year and engine type.

There are two polls in the Turbo forum and a similar pair in the NA forum. I had to split the poll in two for each engine type due to limits imposed by the forum software. So, click the right link below and cast your vote.

NA Engine - No HG problems
NA Engine - HG problems

Turbo Engine - No HG problems
Turbo Engine - HG problems

If you feel a need to vote twice or more because you’ve had two or more Foresters of the same engine type with the same problem or lack thereof, you'll find that the software limits you to one vote. So just vote once in the appropriate thread and then describe your situation in a new post there. It would also be useful if you added a comment identifying your transmission type or anything else that might help categorize your Forester or your driving habits.

2003 XS Premium MT >200k miles! ● 2005 Impreza 2.5 RS MT ● Robin-Subaru Powered Generator

Last edited by pleiad7; 02-15-2008 at 07:35 PM.
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post #2 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-09-2008, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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Results

Here are the results of the headgasket polls that ran for the past week. I've modified some of the posted totals due to amplifying information provided in the individual posts.

Some of the numbers are pretty small, but the trends are clear:
  • SFs had problems
  • 2003 (first year of SG) was a transitional year, though generally pretty good at 73% with 11 owners reporting
  • 2004+ are solid, both NA and Turbo!
There wasn't enough information to draw conclusions regarding possible effects of transmission type. There was no information provided regarding the one 2004 XT with problems, just that one vote.

My apologies to those outside of North America who drive SF Turbos. I wasn't aware of these when I set up the poll, and it didn't appear from the comments that there were many of them still out there anyway.

Does anybody have any suggestions for pursuing more info about the problems with the 2003s? Is there any information on the nameplate or in the VIN that could help localize their manufacture date or anything else that might be relevant? My interest is more than academic, since I drive a 2003 that's still OK at over 120k miles!

Thanks to all who participated!



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post #3 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-09-2008, 07:09 PM
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You say 2004+ is solid, but as these cars get older (more mileage) problems may show up. So, I wouldn't call it conclusive yet. Hopefully 2003 was a transitional year and the rest are fine--we'll see.

Thanks for doing this poll. I think this is something we are all interested/concerned about.

03 2.5x AT
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post #4 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-10-2008, 05:19 AM Thread Starter
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Agreed. These problems do tend to show up as a sign of age, but I think that the stunning performance of the 2004s is a very good omen. Some of them probably have quite a few hard-driven miles on the clock by now, easily enough to overlap into the mileage of lesser-driven 2003s.

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post #5 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 12:02 PM
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so limited it's practically meaningless

Why was the poll open for only one week? Some of us don't check the board that often. The resulting data is so limited that the results are almost meaningless. I have a 2000 NA AT that has HG problems. My one vote would have changed that category completely. Oh well, it wouldn't have replaced my HG anyway.
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post #6 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 12:40 PM
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I agree. The poll should be open until everyone who visits the site votes. It would definitely be more conclusive.
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post #7 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 01:33 PM
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Hmmm.. Statistics.. Skewed so easily. The best way to get solid stats is to get a ton of responses.

Whatever you do, do it right.


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post #8 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 10:53 PM
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Aw, I didn't vote :(

I would have keep the polls open indefinately...

+1 for 2002 with HG problem if it's worth anything, just a minor external leak on one side, dealer fixed at around 50k miles. I have over 70k miles now, no new leaks.
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post #9 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-15-2008, 06:54 PM Thread Starter
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I just intended the poll to get a snapshot of the trends. I suspected that the reports we have seen here in the past might have come in greater proportion from members with problems than from ones writing about how happy they were with their head gaskets. So I was interested in seeing the general mix between good and bad results and in confirming the generally held view that the problems got fixed with the SG models.

I think the trends came out pretty clearly. So far, anyway, SFs have problems, 2004+ are solid, and 2003s appear to be a transition year.

The threads are still open for comments, and I'll check to see if the mods can reopen the poll so we can keep a running tally, but I won't be crunching the numbers again.

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post #10 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-15-2008, 07:41 PM
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I wonder what changes were made to head gaskets between 03 and 04+? Could 03 have intermittant problems based on date of manufacture and possibly a switch over of materials on a certain date? Or is it possible somewhere during the 03 first year of use they recommended the coolant conditioner? I am really hoping I don't have a problem with my 03 (61K so far).

03 2.5x AT

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post #11 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-15-2008, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chillyc View Post
I wonder what changes were made to head gaskets between 03 and 04+? Could 03 have intermittant problems based on date of manufacture and possibly a swith over of materials on a certain date? Or is it possible somewhere during the 03 first year of use they recommended the coolant conditioner? I am really hoping I don't have a problem with my 03 (61K so far).
Wish I knew too. I'd welcome any more specific data on 2003s from anybody who could contribute.

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post #12 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-15-2008, 07:54 PM Thread Starter
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Polls are open again and will stay open forever. I don't expect to crunch the numbers any more, but I'll be watching the results from time to time.

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post #13 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-15-2008, 08:19 PM
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I carefully researched the HG problem before buying my '03 used about 18 months ago. Unfortunately, I'm included in the bad HG column. The "smell" started at about 60K and by 77K I was using a lot of coolant and the smell was overpowering ... external leak, hitting the exhaust headers, so the car ran fine. I'm pretty disgusted, but s*** happens. I poured in a bottle of the Subaru "conditioner" and the symptoms stopped long enough for me to trade it. I certainly didn't trust the car after that ... hard to believe that would be a permanent fix. BTW, I got over Edmund's wholesale for it. I got a very boring but quite refined maxed out CR-V. So I went from lesbian car to soccer mom vehicle. I'm beginning to question my manhood. I really liked the Forester better but I was gun-shy of any more Subarus. At least I can hear my stereo now.

Anyway, thanks to you guys on the board. You were quite helpful on a number of questions and I appreciate it. I guess I'm outa here.

Last edited by basswinn; 02-15-2008 at 08:25 PM.
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post #14 of 46 (permalink) Old 03-30-2008, 06:01 PM
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Bad head gaskets at 71K on our 2002 Forester. No other symptoms than coolant disappearing from the reservoir every 2K miles or so.
First, Subaru put the infamous conditioner in. After a week I brought it back for a check up and they said it needs new gaskets. They covered the bill and this time I lucked out because I brought the car there every 15K for service.
I am still a bit nervous about it, but after 2K miles no coolant has been used up so far. The engine pulls strong and mileage is at the advertised numbers.
Gresham Subaru has done many very sloppy jobs for me though they always rectified them without hesitation.
I am keeping this car for now, but this is my last Subaru due to the high cost of service, parts and gas thirsty engine. For example, Toyota charges half for labor and about a third for parts. Also, I am doing all service on it on everything I can manage without car specific tools.
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post #15 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-21-2008, 08:28 PM
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100,000km on the clock. 2004 basic model forester. SHAT itself.

Australian location, $2500 quote to drop engine and replace paper gaskets.

Any idea's on how to avoid having to pay them to drop it?

Perhaps liquid gaskets?


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