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Discussion Starter #1
Have done head gaskets with several friends on there n/a Subarus and we bought OEM gaskets for them. I just bought a 2004 XT for myself and I wondered if the members here had a preference for any particular head gasket for the turbo cars. Bought the car with a dead miss at idle. #2 cylinder low compression and when I put compressor air in the cylinder, it comes out the tail pipe. None out the intake or oil filler. Appears I will be doing a valve job, so I will need head gaskets. Thanks for any suggestions
 

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2001 Forester
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1,892 Posts
Turbo models not successible to HG issues. Subaru shop that did my HG always uses HG for the XT turbo models as the gasket is more reliable.
 

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2003 Forester 2.5X 5MT & 2008 Impreza WRX 5MT & 2009 Impreza 2.5i 5MT
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116 Posts
bman400 can you post a link or more information on the head gaskets that your Subaru shop used?
 

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2001 Forester
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1,892 Posts
bman400 can you post a link or more information on the head gaskets that your Subaru shop used?
See the 2 different gaskets below. I paid for the Turbo HG, as well as the Engine Gasket SET(Intake, Exhaust, Head Gasket), etc. for the N/A engine.

Copied from my invoice for work done:

Engine Gasket Set
10105 AA860

Cylinder Head Gasket
11044 AA 633 - HD
 

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2004 Forester XT Auto
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247 Posts
As bman400 said, OEM HG's are best, the factory MLS turbo gaskets never had issues like the NA gaskets and will work great.
 

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MY05 Forester 2.5 XT 5MT
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2,807 Posts
When I get to that point on my engine build, I will be going with Tomei head gaskets.

OEM gaskets aren't reliable enough for my liking and common enough failure points on turbo engines. (Google EJ255 head gasket failure to see what I mean) The extra 50 on expenditure is a drop in the bucket vs the cost of doing a head gasket job again sooner. I've struggled to find many/any threads on here or NASIOC where Tomei head gaskets have failed on engines under 500 horses.

Are you sticking with OEM style head bolts or upgrading to ARP head studs?

While you're in there, so to speak, it might be worth looking over your pistons and piston rings, since ringland failure isn't unheard of on these turbo engines.
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i Limited CVT
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926 Posts
Subaru oem mls gaskets.
See Mr. Subaru’s YT videos on MLS oem gaskets and head bolts. One and done?? Great info.
 

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2004 FXT 4EAT
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837 Posts
I've used Fel-pro MLS gaskets without issue. Stay away from engine-tech or other cheap ebay gaskets. ($100 + shipping for the head gasket set at rockauto)

According to a Subaru master-tech (subaru-mike) you also don't need to replace the head-bolts. As long as you properly lubricate them and skip the pre-stress step when torqing them
 

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Discussion Starter #9
No plans for anything other than a stock rebuild other than a few of the longevity mods like the #4 cylinder cooling mod. I like the "do everything" personality of the car as it is. Thanks for all the replies
 

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2007 subaru forester
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I'm curious. Mine is not a turbo model and had the HG issue at about 98,000miles. Now have about 123,000miles(it's a 2007 forester). I now noticed leaking at rear of passenger side head, Is this another HG problem or is this something else? any idea what it's leaking from ( something attached to rear of pass. head). I'm lost as to what else it could be but whatever is attached to back of the head is where leak is. wish I could be more specific but not that familiar with subaru engine.:mad:
 

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2003 Forester 2.5X 5MT & 2008 Impreza WRX 5MT & 2009 Impreza 2.5i 5MT
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Yep I saw that video on YouTube from subaru-mike. I re-used the original head bolts and did the torque sequence exactly the way he shows you in the video. LOL but I did use a budget MLS head gasket kit from eBay. So far I have had no issues.
I've used Fel-pro MLS gaskets without issue. Stay away from engine-tech or other cheap ebay gaskets. ($100 + shipping for the head gasket set at rockauto)

According to a Subaru master-tech (subaru-mike) you also don't need to replace the head-bolts. As long as you properly lubricate them and skip the pre-stress step when torqing them
 

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2004 FXT 4EAT
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Yep I saw that video on YouTube from subaru-mike. I re-used the original head bolts and did the torque sequence exactly the way he shows you in the video. LOL but I did use a budget MLS head gasket kit from eBay. So far I have had no issues.
I had purchased the cheap enginetech head gasket set, initially intending to use all of the gaskets (except for the headgaskets themselves) on an engine-swap. But I ended up having to rebuild the engine. Because of Mike's comments I decided to not take the risk and bought some Fel-Pro headgaskets, just in case. (so I still have the engine-tech ones in my garage. I might as well throw them away. I won't be using them)
 

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2001 Forester
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I'm curious. Mine is not a turbo model and had the HG issue at about 98,000miles. Now have about 123,000miles(it's a 2007 forester). I now noticed leaking at rear of passenger side head, Is this another HG problem or is this something else? any idea what it's leaking from ( something attached to rear of pass. head). I'm lost as to what else it could be but whatever is attached to back of the head is where leak is. wish I could be more specific but not that familiar with subaru engine.:mad:
What's leaking oil and/or coolant? Who did your HG work at 98,000 miles? Dealer or yourself? What kind of HG was used at 98,000 miles. On my 2001, I had the dealer do the HG at around 120,000 miles and it started leaking again probably around 160,000-180,000 miles!!! So it's not uncommon to have them go again. The mechanic I took it into for its 2nd HG, said he has seen plenty of poor HG jobs from dealers.
 

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1998 forester
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I have got to vote for the Fel Pro gaskets. That is their specialty. Finding the problems of the OEM parts and solving them. I have installed dozens of them and never had a repeat problem. I recommend replacing the bolts with any HG job, and be sure the heads are flat. I also get gaskets and bolts from Rock Auto
 

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2004 Forester XT Auto
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247 Posts
I have got to vote for the Fel Pro gaskets. That is their specialty. Finding the problems of the OEM parts and solving them. I have installed dozens of them and never had a repeat problem. I recommend replacing the bolts with any HG job, and be sure the heads are flat. I also get gaskets and bolts from Rock Auto
You say that, but there's nothing wrong with the OEM turbo MLS gaskets. Of course, they want to sell products as much as the next guy, so marketing is a thing.
 

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1998 forester
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You say that, but there's nothing wrong with the OEM turbo MLS gaskets. Of course, they want to sell products as much as the next guy, so marketing is a thing.
I have minimal experience with OEM gaskets other than taking them off. I have not compared prices, but have never had a Fel-Pro fail, so continue to go with what works. I have seen other auto manufacturers design issues solved or compensated for well with Fel-Pro products. Marketing is a thing as is brand loyalty. My response is due to experience with the products, not with their advertising. Subaru's parts advertising is more pictures of happy cars and dogs, and Fel-Pro shows technical details and differences. In the end, I try to choose by overall long term cost.
 
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