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2003 XS MT
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303 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
the dealer is replacing the headgastkets on my 2003 XS under waranty. 45k miles. They suggested paying $240 for 2hrs labor to adjust the valves. What do you think?

At least one bank should have been done at 15K-20k miles. They said they fixed a cold misfire problem with a valve adjustment.

The service procedure I looked at has "remove rocker arms" as part of head removal, which would mean they have to adjust the valves as part of the head replacement. Is that true?

Also, I had always heard that only the 2002 and earlier 2.5l motors had the head gasket problem. My mechanic said otherwise. And now this.

Anyone else blow the headgasket on there MY03+ Forester?

I know the timing belt is a 105k mile item, but I'd like to have 'em put a new one on. It seems worth the part cost to me.
 

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2015 OutBack Ltd
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I haven't heard of any head gasket issues on the SG's.......my 2003 just turned 66000 miles wihout any problems. I do have the antifreeze changed over every 30K but, other than plugs, oil and filters, fluid changeouts and basic tuneup items, I've had no issues.......

Steve
 

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2014 Impreza Ltd CVT
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3,319 Posts
Very early build 2003's were included in the WP99 campaign. When I had MY02, the service manager told me they were handled by VIN number.

You can tell your dealer /service dept that on the side they are replaceing the gasket, the valve adjustment is in the service manual and to be performed as part of the head replacement.

Exception !!!, If they are only doing one head, as I know they many times do, then the other side is up to you. 2hrs and $240 for labor seems steep for one side.

As far as the belt, MY02 had a Tensioner go at 35K, (noisy). Subaru would not replace the belt since it was not damaged according to the service tech. They wanted an add'l $82 to replace the belt. My take, Subaru was doing the repair, their service tech said it was not in need of replacement, normal belt replacement is 105K, If it breaks before then, FIX MY CAR FOR FREE SUBARU !!! I made certain it was noted on the receipt that the 'old' belt was reused.
 

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2015 Subaru Forester 2.5i
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184 Posts
That's not good news. I own a 2002 Forester and haven't gotten around to get the coolant thing checked but I know my seems to eat coolant more than normal and my mom drives it and only local too. How long does it take? do htey just add it to the existing coolant or do a flush for it?

I haven't even gotten around to doing the transmission fix about the putting it in park.
 

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1998 Forester "S" lifted. Bog-o-matic
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2,006 Posts
I have not seen any headgaskets on 03+ yet.

Valve adjustement is not until 105k

Coolant thing takes about 15minutes and it is just added to the system, no flush. However, when you have a flush performed you will need to add another bottle ($1.00 - $2.00)
 

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2003 XS MT
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303 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
mach_six said:
I own a 2002 Forester and haven't gotten around to get the coolant thing checked but I know my seems to eat coolant more than normal and my mom drives it and only local too.
The head gasket is only covered for 60k miles. Hope it's not too late...
 

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#8 Post ho
1999 Subaru Forester
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2,441 Posts
Well.. correct me if I'm wrong, but I remember reading that headgasket warranty was extended to 100k, for the sohc, the dohc was plauged too much apparently
 

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2015 OutBack Ltd
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Any more news on early 2003 headgaskets??? My 03 is just passing thru 67K and I have no symptoms of any impending problems but want to rest easier.....

Should I call SOA and ask about any head gasket recalls for my car? I've had all my maintenance work done by both the Subie dealer and STS, always on time with all oil changes done @ 3000-4000 mile increments.....

I just want to be sure that I haven't missed something. My 03 was built in Dec 2002 and purchased in March of 2003......

Thanks,

Steve
 

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The Sub kit guy
2005 Forester X & XT VF39
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The convert formely known as Lexusfreak
2003 XS
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3,970 Posts
Any more news on early 2003 headgaskets??? My 03 is just passing thru 67K and I have no symptoms of any impending problems but want to rest easier.....

Should I call SOA and ask about any head gasket recalls for my car? I've had all my maintenance work done by both the Subie dealer and STS, always on time with all oil changes done @ 3000-4000 mile increments.....

I just want to be sure that I haven't missed something. My 03 was built in Dec 2002 and purchased in March of 2003......

Thanks,

Steve
Have a look at my thread here...I'm having the head gasket replaced today. I'm not pleased considering the fact that I am so miticulous with my maintenance (as was the previous owner).

http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=14696

Is this considered a 'blown' head gasket or a leaking gasket (or are they pretty much one in the same)? Sorry if that's a dumb question. :shrug: :icon_eek:
 

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Hi Bren:

I saw the post. Are you seeing any oil in your anitfreeze? If not, it's possible that the gasket leak is external only and not related to your cooling system like the other horror stories seem to indicate.

Was your car running hot? My '03 is past 94K miles and running like a champ BUT all of my driving is highway at steady 60-65 MPH. To be safe, I had STS add the Cooling Conditioner to the radiator flush....

What a pain. I asked at the local Subie service desk where I got the car and the service manager said that they hadn't seen ANY headgaskets on '03s and up.

Steve
 

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The convert formely known as Lexusfreak
2003 XS
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3,970 Posts
Hi Bren:

I saw the post. Are you seeing any oil in your anitfreeze? If not, it's possible that the gasket leak is external only and not related to your cooling system like the other horror stories seem to indicate.

Was your car running hot? My '03 is past 94K miles and running like a champ BUT all of my driving is highway at steady 60-65 MPH. To be safe, I had STS add the Cooling Conditioner to the radiator flush....

What a pain. I asked at the local Subie service desk where I got the car and the service manager said that they hadn't seen ANY headgaskets on '03s and up.

Steve
Hey Steve,

The car was running at it's normal operating temp (I'd say about 35% up the temp guage & fluid level was perfect). Up to this day, ALL cooling flushes have been done on time (time & mileage...totalling 3 thus far) using only Subi coolant & conditioner ......I think that's the reason I'm a bit peeved with this whole thing......if the repair needed was caused by owner neglect or lack of maintenance......I'd be the first to own up to it, but I can't. I'm asking myself, what could I have done different? :confused: I have OCD when it comes to my vehicle maintenance.

The Subi service manager (fantastic guy) brought me in the shop with the car on the hoist to show me exactly what was what....he assured me it was only an external leak & no coolant in the oil....and there has been no loss of coolant.

The weird thing is.......about this time last week doing my regular fluid & tire pressure check, I noticed some small black chunks of something in the recovery tank.....never saw that before so I thought it was best to have it checked soon......and 'Bob's your uncle'...here we are. :shrug:

I hope it's smooth sailing from here on.......spend a grand on her in the last month with a complete front brake job, new battery & now this......were tapped out. :icon_cry:
 

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2000 Forester
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17 Posts
When I had the gaskets replaced on my 2000 Forester, the tech told me that Subaru introduced a redesigned headgasket in 2004 that used "significantly better materials" than the previous ones, and thus no issues with MY04 or later. So now if they are replaced, you're getting the new gaskets. If it's done fro free, then go and do it now. It cost me $1,200...but it's not like I had a choice. Oh, and they also changed the cam seal (included) to the new metal one, whereas the old plastic one was known to leak.
 

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The convert formely known as Lexusfreak
2003 XS
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3,970 Posts
I'd say overall, Subaru Canada is covering about 2/3 of the cost of this repair. :icon_cool:
 

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Premium Member
2015 OutBack Ltd
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Since I have 94K on mine, I think I'll be a bit more forceful and ask the local dealer about any extended warranty on the 03s...........they may not think that there's an issue but I don't want to wait until the engine does need some work.

Possible that the Svc. Mgr. was playing fast and looose with me as far as his comment that they haven't done any gaskets. That can't be correct. In fact, I think I'll call SOA in NJ and see what they have to say.

Man, I hope they get this right.....

Steve
 

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The convert formely known as Lexusfreak
2003 XS
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3,970 Posts
Since I have 94K on mine, I think I'll be a bit more forceful and ask the local dealer about any extended warranty on the 03s...........they may not think that there's an issue but I don't want to wait until the engine does need some work.

Possible that the Svc. Mgr. was playing fast and looose with me as far as his comment that they haven't done any gaskets. That can't be correct. In fact, I think I'll call SOA in NJ and see what they have to say.

Man, I hope they get this right.....

Steve
It won't hurt Steve to call SOA to see what they have to say. Having said that, this issue with the 03's does not seem to be wide spread (some of us are just the lucky ones I guess) :icon_rolleyes: :icon_eek:

As I mentioned, Subaru Canada picked up the bill for the parts related to the head gaskets....I added a new thermostat & a new timing belt.....thought that was a wise idea considering everything was right there) & half the labour...(anybody want to guess how much labour was involved?) :huh:

This little bugger better be good for the next 500k miles! :shake: :chair:
 

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2015 OutBack Ltd
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Hi Bren:

Yeah, I know that it isn't widespread but I am neurotic about this kind of stuff and want to be sure that SOA doesn't have an un-announced warranty on early 03s like mine. It was a Nov. 2002 build which should make it a very early 03 production car.....

I'll let you all know what SOA's response is.....

Steve
 

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The convert formely known as Lexusfreak
2003 XS
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3,970 Posts
Hi Bren:

Yeah, I know that it isn't widespread but I am neurotic about this kind of stuff and want to be sure that SOA doesn't have an un-announced warranty on early 03s like mine. It was a Nov. 2002 build which should make it a very early 03 production car.....

I'll let you all know what SOA's response is.....

Steve
You & me both bud lol....I'm proud to have OCD when it come to my maintenance. :icon_cool:

Actually.......spring of 02 (late April) was when the 2nd gen Forester started production.....so it's not that early of production.

Keep us posted......I'm curious to what SOA says.......the service manager for my dealer did not hesitate & said he would push for the automaker to be on the hook for all parts & half the labour.......needless to say, this gent has gained 2 new customers......this job would have cost over $1,300 (Canadian) if he did not do that for us. :icon_eek:
 

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The convert formely known as Lexusfreak
2003 XS
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3,970 Posts
One important thing I should stress here with regards to my specific head gasket repair (I just got off the phone with the service manager) is the fact that this was an 'oil' related leak......not a coolant problem.....that can be overlooked when talking about the head gaskets as it seems many earlier models that had problems was the result of coolant related problems.

All the Subi coolant changes in the world would not have prevented this from happening.......I am satisfied with that answer. :icon_cool:
 
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