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AU 2013 Subaru XV (CVT)
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2 Posts
@broadbean, long story, I did have the '07 Forester back in 2014 and I joined the forum out of interest but I guess I didn't have a lot to say!
I've had five Subarus dating back to a '91 Liberty (Legacy) GX wagon, currently have a '13 XV (Crosstrek). The Forester was the only 2.5L one that I've had, I would probably say it has been my favourite out of the five.
 

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AU MY06 XS Luxury Auto
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808 Posts
I've had five Subarus dating back to a '91 Liberty (Legacy) GX wagon
My first Subaru was the facelifted 1st Gen Liberty in Mica Ruby. Think I had it for 13.5 years but in the last couple, had this rather annoying habit of the engine cutting out when it went up an incline. Was scary at times as I'd have the option of braking, or putting it into neutral then hoping I could restart the engine while coasting...

555889


The Forester was the only 2.5L one that I've had, I would probably say it has been my favourite out of the five.
At the time I got my facelifted SG, I thought it was interesting the Forester seemed to be a specific design that wasn't a wagon version of a sedan - like a Liberty wagon, nor a beefed up version of a wagon - like the Outback that came afterwards. I like it too, which is why I decided against sound financial decisions to get the head gaskets done.

I suppose both my Subarus had some engine related problem. And my Mitsubishi Magna before that had a porous engine... 馃槴

currently have a '13 XV (Crosstrek)
Better update your info then, else Kevin will come knocking! 馃槣
 

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2003 Forester XS
Joined
62 Posts
If you were to ask because you wanted to buy one, I'd suggest you budget for it as likely. Doesn't mean it will, of course, but I wouldn't risk it buying another EJ Forester myself.

My 2005 MY06 was almost 11 years old at the end of 2016, having done just under 106,000 km (~66,000 miles) when my mechanic told me I had a small leak. Fast forward another four and half years of procrastination, a pandemic, and another 5,500 km (~3,400 miles) later, I finally decided to get the head gaskets fixed.

My XS is otherwise in pretty good shape everywhere else, apart from some wear and tear bits. I intend to keep it going for another 10+ years, barring any unfortunate accidents... At this point, fixing it is not solely a financial decision. In fact, I'm spending even more money on it that does not make any sound financial sense - a bit of garnish here and there...



I don't think it will be a big issue as it's usually a slow leak, and I was advised to just drive it till I'm ready and get the whole engine rebuilt (by one mob), or wait and get the timing belt done at the same time by my mechanic. Even if it started leaking tomorrow, my understanding is you could easily go 1,000s of kilometres without any issue - unless of course if your engine started overheating... You wouldn't be able to get it registered without a little bit of "help" tho.
My 2003 XS had developed a mystery tendency to overheat in hot weather. Later on we found a small HG leak. We did the HG, timing belt, water pump, and the overheating (knock on wood) disappeared. We had our very good local mechanic's place do it. OEM parts (not sure if he substituted a better HG), all done at about half what the dealer would charge (we've noticed that dealers for any car on Long Island have been known to charge for full labor each for the HG, for the water pump, for the timing belt like each was a completely separate piece of work). Only other problem we've had is my daughter's tendency (hopefully former) to crash the car! :)
 

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AU MY06 XS Luxury Auto
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808 Posts
OEM parts (not sure if he substituted a better HG), all done at about half what the dealer would charge
From what I've read and understand, if a dealer were to perform this, they would need to use the original single layer head gaskets, not the MLS from the Turbos. Even then, it's only less likely to reoccur, not 100% guaranteed. Still, I opted to pay a bit more with my mechanic to use Subaru's MLS gaskets. Otherwise they were going to use Fel-Pro, which I understand is ok as well.

At the end of the day, it's a risk it would all be for nought. You could be an innocent bystander and still get your car totalled, so I am aware you just have to hope for the best...
 

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2007 Forester Sport XT 5MT
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740 Posts
Had my 鈥07 XT since new. 130,000 miles and the head gaskets seem fine.
I did replace the valve cover gaskets that were leaking oil on the exhaust last year.
 

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AU MY06 XS Luxury Auto
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808 Posts
Had my 鈥07 XT since new. 130,000 miles and the head gaskets seem fine.
A testament for the Turbo's MLS head gaskets? I'm hoping so as I've got that in my NA now.
 

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2005 Forester XT
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21 Posts
Here is why the head gaskets fain in a Subaru engine. The cylinders float causing vibrations and wear on the coating of the gasket.

555908


In every HG job I did problem was the surfaces between the lower cylinder wall and where the coolant passages meet. This is where the coating wears off and exhaust gases make it into the cooling system.

555909


Look at the lower gasket surface between the cylinder and cooling. Compare that to the same on the top of the gasket. The black coating has worn away due to years of vibrations induced by the floating cylinder walls.

This engine had > 250K miles on it. Did the same on a Legacy GT with 110K on it.

The mileage debate is hit or miss. It is a defect, one that should have been fixed early on. I am shocked to hear this problem still exists to some extent on models less that 10 years old.

The tell tale symptoms are exhaust gas or small in the coolant overflow bottle and after driving on the highway for a period of time, you get off the ramp and stop at the light, that's when you see the temp tick up.
 

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2004 Forester 2.5XS 4EAT
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34 Posts
I have a 2004 that is coming up on 162K miles and have been lucky so far (knock wood). Timing belt was replaced right before I bought it (5 years ago) but as far as I know I'm still on the original HG. I am hoping to get a couple more years out of it before having to buy another car ... probably a Crosstrek as the current Foresters are too large for my needs and taste.
 

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2006 Forester
Joined
85 Posts
When you replace the HGs use the upgraded gaskets, ARP studs for more clamping force, and Subaru's water wetter in the coolant mix. Also add an air oil separator in your PCV circuit.

Not saying this will solve the issue. It's what I did at 192K mi and is AOK at 197K Mi.:) I will let you know at 300K mi how it has worked!
 
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