Subaru Forester Owners Forum banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
2005 Subaru Forester X
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone I just purchased 05 Subaru Forester X SOHC non turbo. On my way home from purchasing, it over heated, but didn’t leak anything. Had it towed to my house and replaced the radiator and thermostat (oem) filled it with coolant and drove it for about 25 min then overheated when I came to a stop. Waited about 10 mins then car was cooled off and I was able to drive the vehicle fine without over heating until I came to a stop, again started over heating. Starting asking around and someone told me I hadn’t bled the air out of system so I purchased one of those spill free radiator bleeders and bled the system. Car idled fine, again drove fine but started over heating again, this time while I was driving after 20 mins without stopping. Pulled over waited about 20 mins and was able to drive it home. I noticed the expansion tank was full and was bubbling but not for very long. Waited till the car cooled down, checked the expansion tank and it had dropped back to the fill line. Could it be that I didn’t properly bleed the system correctly, or is it the dreaded HG. I mean if it was the head gasket wouldn’t the car completely over heat and you wouldn’t be able to start it after 20 mins?

Also, the radiator fluid inside the expansion tank smells like exhaust/gasoline.
 

·
Registered
2012 Forester 4 speed auto
Joined
·
1,108 Posts
Before you start dismantling things have a compression check done on the engine. If a cylinder is low have the cylinder leak down tested to determine if its the valves or pistons. Also have the cooling system pressure checked. It's most likely is a bad head gasket, however, if you're going to fix it you need to protect your investment for other possible failures.
 

·
Registered
2005 Subaru Forester X
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hey guys thanks for the info so I took it to a local shop and got quoted $2800 turns out it’s a bad head gasket. They said that’s the price assuming there’s no damage to the heads or block. I paid $3000 for this car and another $2800 would put me at $5800. This car has 194k on it. Is it worth paying that extra money for the head gasket or should I just take my L on this purchase, and try and sell it as is or part out? Has anyone had theirs done, if so how was your experience? Did it last? Was it worth it? Was car still over heating?
 

·
Registered
2017 Forester XT Touring
Joined
·
395 Posts
Is that "local shop" a Subaru dealer or a shop that specializes in Subarus? Personally, for something like head gasket work, I wouldn't take it anywhere but one of those. There's a local Subaru specialty shop near me that did the head gaskets on one of my previous Foresters for about $1500. That included machining the heads. Car ran fine until my son rolled it. Well, it still ran fine after that. But it didn't get driven any more. 😢
 

·
Registered
2008 LL Bean (4EAT)
Joined
·
4,930 Posts
... turns out it’s a bad head gasket... another $2800... car has 194k on it. Is it worth paying that extra money for the head gasket... Has anyone had theirs done, if so how was your experience? Did it last? Was it worth it? Was car still over heating?
I had my HGs replaced at in 2016 at 50,000 miles for no reason, preemptively. The shop that replaced them confirmed that they were not leaking. I also drove from KY to Seattle to that shop, and directed that they replace the HGs. Was I crazy?
No. I planned that work for a year. The car was built in July 2007 and was 110 months old, so the timing belt was due according to Subaru. The head gaskets were not likely to last "forever", which how long I planned to keep the car. The dealer and none of the shops for hundreds of miles around removed the engine or used MLS gaskets. And the Rocky Mountain passes and the Pacific Northwest were on my bucket list.
So in 2016 I checked that off my bucket list, taking a week to drive to Seattle via Chief Joseph, Beartooth and Lolo Passes. Dropped the car at AWD Auto for my appointment, walked to see all the Seattle attractions, and took a ferry to the Butchart Gardens in Canada. With the engine out of the car, the timing belt, all accessories, and the head gaskets were replaced (with MLS).
The engine has been fine since 2016, and should last for my "forever".
 

·
Premium Member
2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
Joined
·
14,717 Posts
You should go to a subaru specialist. That is too high. If the timing belt, tensioner, water pump and 3 idlers have not been replaced it needs go be done. Obviously you were taken when you bought the v ehicle. At 194K miles I would junk it. My 08 has 230K miles on it and my granddaughter has it. It is on its third set of Timing belt and idlers and tensioner. The car has always been well maintained. Yours may not have been.
 

·
Registered
2003 Forester 2.5X 5MT & 2008 Impreza WRX 5MT & 2009 Impreza 2.5i 5MT
Joined
·
174 Posts
You said you just bought the car. Can you take it back and get your money back? They may have sold it as is, but the reason they sold it is because of the head gasket problems and overheating issues. Did they tell you before you bought it that it was overheating?? Seams like they failed to disclose this information before you bought it.
 

·
Registered
2012 Forester 4 speed auto
Joined
·
1,108 Posts
If the opportunity happens when you can locate an inexpensive used engine or new engine (very unlikely) then go for it. Do not rebuilt an overheated engine. Once they are overheated an engine is too risk to rebuild.
 

·
Registered
2008 2.5X 4 speed automatic
Joined
·
403 Posts
If you can find a friend who knows Subarus you can do the job including head machining for about $300. Timing belt, pulleys etc will obviously run more, maybe another $250.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
I have done the HG job 3 times on my N/A Subies, one was 220K miles. It lasted up to 280K when the tranny went. High mileage cars are always a worry because something else can go but you take your chances when you buy any car anyway.

The 2.0 SOHC does not need the CamShafts removed so the job is a 10X easier then the 2.5's. Plenty of videos on how to do it.

One symptom of a HG failure is to take the cap off the coolant recovery talk, You will see oil deposits and even smell oil/exhaust if it is really bad. Not a bad way to see how long it has been driven like this to make a judgement call on the repair.

This is how it fails, on the drivers side the #4 cylinder is notorious. In the Pic below look at the lower right where the cylinder and coolant passages are. The black coating wears down because of the floating design of the cylinders. On this car it left a ridge on the cylinder and head surfaces. Lightly sanded them clean. This car is still on the road today. For the record this engine had 105K when I did the job.
DriverSideHeadGasketFailure.jpg
Exhaust gasses pressurize the cooling system pushing the cooland out of the lower part of the engine. All those coolant additives cannot fix this, do not waste money on them.

Think about doing it yourself and save thousands.

For a high mileage car I would do this, buy a "timing belt, bearing, tensioner, water pump kit" and a upper gasket kit from Ebay. New plugs (consider the wires too). For the gaskets buy the Felpro they work fine, cheaper then the OEM subaru.

Borrow a breaker bar and torque wrench from the auto parts stores or a friend.

Don't bother decking the heads but you will need to lightly sand the gasket surfaces, do not go crazy.

Plan about 20 hours for a first timer.

You can DIY the job for under $500.
 

·
Registered
2003 Forester 2.5X 5MT & 2008 Impreza WRX 5MT & 2009 Impreza 2.5i 5MT
Joined
·
174 Posts
A few questions about this method...

1. Do you use a sanding block or just hold the sand paper in your hand while you are sanding?

2. What oil do you use on the sand paper?

3. What about the valves? While the heads are off do you have the valves checked for leaks or just sand the heads and install new MLS head gaskets?

Start with a 400 and then follow that up with a 800 then 1000.

Use wet sanding paper, they type you use for body repair. Use oil on the paper.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
A few questions about this method...

1. Do you use a sanding block or just hold the sand paper in your hand while you are sanding?

2. What oil do you use on the sand paper?

3. What about the valves? While the heads are off do you have the valves checked for leaks or just sand the heads and install new MLS head gaskets?
- You will use your index finger for pressure. The idea here is just to smooth the gasket surface and not deck the head. Check the cylinder surface and head with a steel yard stick for severe warpage. A sanding block is not a bad idea.

- motor oil or 3in1 nothing fancy, purpose of the oil is to keep the surface cool during the sanding and keep the sandpaper from clogging. Keeping in mind this is not the kind of sandpaper you would use on wood. This is sandpaper you would use on auto body filler. You can buy a pack with all the grits instead of each separately.

- I did not do any valve work on either of the 3 jobs. A visual inspection of the valves was good enough for me. Look at them from the cylinder side and if you have a inspection camera in the ports themselves. Bottom line is if you plan on sending the heads out for inspection and work then you are taking about a engine rebuild not a back yard mechanic repair.

This is all shortcuts and DIY yourself. Many hard core mechanics would not recommend this, especially pro mechanics that will guarantee their work and do not want this job coming back.. When you DIY you can make these choices but success is proportional to the severity of the damage and condition of the engine. If the previous owner beat the crap or drive it for 10's of thousand of miles overheating then this may not be the best approach. Put another way you take your changes but when you have nothing to loose or a limited budget this will work.

Here you can still see the crosshatch pattern on the cylinder walls, obvious wear would show up here. Note the surface where the cylinder meats the gasket. that is where you are sanding the most. Sending out just the heads without the block for decking is pointless since you would only be doing one side.
IMG_0818.JPG
Gasket surface on the head is not bad, the wear is on the engine side of the gasket. This is just standard cleanup which you would have to do anyway.
IMG_0802.JPG
This is the passenger side, I must have misplaced the drivers side but just to illustrate the engine side is where you need the most attention. A block is not a bad idea for the final sanding with 1000 grit.
IMG_0811.JPG
The new felpro gasket will have a lip on it that helps the sealing.
NewFelProGasket.jpg
This engine is in a 98 Legacy GT and had 110K on it when I did the job. Car now has 140K and going strong.

I have to say the Subaru engine is pretty well built despite its nuances.
 

·
Registered
2008 2.5X 4 speed automatic
Joined
·
403 Posts
If you measure the flatness of the heads you will likely find them.004-.005” out of flat, especially if the engine overheated. You cannot see .004”, it has to be measured with a quality straight edge and feeler gauges. I definitely recommend getting them professionally machined. No offense to the previous poster but fine sandpaper will do nothing to fix that. You’ll end up with brand new leaking head gaskets. Spend $175 and make them flat. Otherwise you just wasted a lot of money and will have to pay to do the job again.
 

·
Registered
2003 Forester 2.5X 5MT & 2008 Impreza WRX 5MT & 2009 Impreza 2.5i 5MT
Joined
·
174 Posts
When I did my head gasket replacement the machine shop got me for $400.00... Upon tearing them down and inspecting them they said the valves needed to be replaced and If I just wanted them resurfaced they would not put my heads back together and I could just come pick them up completely disassembled.
 

·
Registered
2006 Forester 5-speed manual
Joined
·
329 Posts
Lazy!

It would be very rare that valves would need replacing on a first tear-down, which I assume is what it was. But facing valves and seats once you have the heads off is a wise idea. I would also prefer to do the job with the engine out. It's not a big drama to remove the engine, especially if you're removing the heads anyway. It also gives you a chance to check the clutch.
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top