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2009 Subaru Forester XT
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

I have recently purchased a Subaru Forester XT 2009. Car has 153xxx Kms

Shortly owning the vehicle, I have diagnosed a few issues.

After a long drive back home from South Coast (3 hour drive) the car started to overheat when I left the highway and started in the traffic.

I immediately pulled over and let the engine cool down.

Once the engine was cool I carefully drove home and let it sit. I then checked the water levels that were low, lost about a litre, then proceeded to fill it back up. When the car is running hot I can see tiny bubbles in the radiator neck and in overflow reservoir. seems to me like leaking head gasket... I am doing a radiator pressure test this afternoon to see if I can spot any leaks in the cooling system. Since the overheat I have driven the car everyday for about a week and checked the water levels after each drive, seems like it is holding the water and no overheating, but again I am going to do a radiator pressure test to see what it comes back with. reason for this is I am not sure if coolant was filled correctly last service, and by driving it I should be able to tell if it overheated due to not enough water in the system.

my question is, what are my options here? A Subaru specialist advised me that once the turbo ej255 engine blows a head gasket, usually it indicates an engine swap. I don't really mind changing the headgasket if it will hold it's value, has anyone here been down the same road as me and changed the headgasket on the turbo ej255?

Is it possible to salvage an STI engine and drop it straight in or would that be more trouble than it's worth? Should I salvage a similar ej255 WRX engine and drop it in?

Just purchased the car for 12k so as you can imagine I'm devastated. Happy to spend 3 - 4k for longevity guarantee of the car. but swapping a wrecked engine looks like it would be a more reliable option - from what I have been told

Any advice on Head Gasket replacement on this model is appreciated.
 

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2009 Subaru Forester XT
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Discussion Starter #2
I will also add that I have not found any water in my oil, everything looks normal car runs and performs fine.

Cheers :)
 

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If you are seeing tiny bubbles then most likely a head-gasket issue and as it still runs fine most of the time, and has only done 153K klm, I would get the head gasket replaced (along with the usual things like timing belt, water pump etc).

If you do an engine swap then you'll want a re-manufactured engine such as those available from https://www.alldrivesubaroo.com.au/ rather than taking a risk with a wrecker.

Was there a service history available with the car?

Perhaps weigh up the cost of repair versus exchange then decide which is best.

I expect turbo models will hold their value since no more are being produced.
 

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2009 Subaru Forester XT
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Discussion Starter #4
Hi Kevin,

Thanks for taking the time to get back to me.

Yes, I was thinking the same thing but have heard horror stories about replacing head gasket on the turbo models. I am new to subies so not really sure, just what I have gathered from internet forums.

Seems to me that it is generally a case by case basis, and it depends on the history of the issue - and what damage has occurred since the issue first arose.

I guess I will just get the gasket and relevant parts replaced and hope for the best.. My mechanic could probably shed some light once the engine has been dropped. unless someone else else has had a similar experience and is able to provide some input about these turbo models and gaskets because from what I understand, the gasket is a lot stronger than the N/A models so I'm thinking it blowing is very bad for me.

Thanks again.
 

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2009 Forester XT
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I'd say repair vs replace. Gasket kit and oem timing belt kit if no record of being done.

STI conversion is an option, but will probably require tuning and that leads to spending even more on mods. Then you will spend more for more power. Then you will spend more on mods. Then you will spend..........this car is fun!

Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
 

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2009 Subaru Forester XT
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Discussion Starter #6
Hi Kevin,

There is a service history and all original log books and manuals but it is a little patchy. the exterior and interior are in good condition for it's age.

Yes I guess you're right... I'm praying I can fix head gasket and be done with it... otherwise the obvious... engine swap... cut my losses and sell it...
 

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If you were to do a re-man'ed engine I'd keep it for sure! I had a re-man'ed engine installed by the supplier I mentioned above back in 2010 and now nearly 9 years later it's just as strong as ever, in fact I reckon it's much better than the original engine when new!
 

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Hey did you ever resolve this issue? Just bought a 2010XT with 120k miles and overall it’s really great. On the way home (2+hr drive) I noticed the outside temp reading was fluctuating by 5°F when I would floor it up hills but the second the car would level out it the temp would return to the accurate readings. Hoping this isn’t anything major leading to HG failure. Will see on Monday how it does in traffic.
 
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