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Registered
2009 Forester
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57 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone. I was underneath my wifes car this weekend trying to figure out how to get her exhaust sheilds to quit rattling. I noticed a drop of coolant on the bottom side of the steering rack on the drivers side. I looked to see what was directly above it and the head is there, or just forward of there. Looking at the head, it looks like the gasket is leaking and building up gunk on the bottom side of it. I know head gaskets are notorious on Subarus, but I thought I read Subaru got it figured out by 2009. She's got 186,000 miles on her 2009 naturally aspirated, been a good car. Couldn't really see any other spots for coolant leaks, but there is a lot of crap crammed into a small space that's in the way for seeing anything above the rack. Are we going to have a head gasket failure soon? And, I know the oil pan is a bit greasy too.

P.S. found the shield that was rattling, but not sure there's much I can do about it, the bolts are tight that hold it on.
drivers side coolant leak.jpg Drivers side head.jpg
 

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Registered
2019 Sport CVT
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799 Posts
The FB motor was the solution to the HG issue. The Forester got the FB25 motor starting in MY 2011. The FB had some other issues which they’ve since ironed out, but common HG issues seem to be a thing of the past.
 

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Super Moderator
2001 Forester S, 4EAT
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2,961 Posts
That "crud" in your 2nd picture is leak of some sort right there at the HG seam.
 

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2008 LL Bean (4EAT)
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5,005 Posts
It needs head gaskets.
You could sell it as is, disclosed or not.
If keeping for not too long, you could let a dealer do the job. They must use Subaru gaskets which are plain composite, with a dealer's one year warranty, and they will do it with the engine in the car.
If you are keeping the car for the long term, you should use an experienced indy Subaru shop that will use aftermarket multi-layer steel gaskets and remove the engine to properly prepare the surfaces and allow the complex torquing procedure. That is what I did, before my gaskets leaked.
 

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Premium Member
2019 Crosstrek 2018 Forester XT
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14,802 Posts
You can not wait. ...its leaking coolant!
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i Limited CVT
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1,500 Posts
Use only MLS Subaru oem Head gaskets. The part used on the Turbo model is multi layered steel. The other coated Teflon gasket will leak again. Felpro is sketchy. So is 6 star. All others for that matter.
 

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2008 LL Bean (4EAT)
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5,005 Posts
Use only MLS Subaru oem Head gaskets... Felpro is sketchy. So is 6 star. All others for that matter.
I have the opposite opinion. OE Turbo, 6-Star and Fel-Pro are all good MLS gaskets.
I waited over a year to schedule a vacation trip from Louisville through the Rockies to the Pacific Northwest, where I could get 6-Stars put in with the engine out, at:
 

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2004 FXT 4EAT
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981 Posts
I've had good experiences with Fel-Pro (FEL-PRO HS26415PT1 $141 on rockauto, and that's the full set incl valve covers etc) as well. Stay away from the cheap (usually EngineTech) gaskets on ebay!

According to Subaru Mike (a Subaru master tech) you do NOT need to replace the headbolts. Unless there is a sign that there's something wrong with it. Just skip the pre-stretch step when you're torqueing them.

 

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2015 Forester 2.5i Limited CVT
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1,500 Posts
According to one Subaru Master Tech that I know, he has seen all other non oem HGs fail except the oem MLS HG. Even the well touted Six Star has come to his shop with failed HGs.

Personally, I would only use the oe MLS.
Everyone is entitled to their preferences.
I go by my research. Thanks
 

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2009 Forester
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57 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the replies everyone. I'm pretty mechanically inclined when it comes to working on cars. That said, I've never pulled an engine but have watched countless videos on rebuilding the ej25 as well as my pickup engine and it doesn't look very hard. Time consuming and tedious, yes. MLS head gaskets I've heard are a must. Theoretically, I could pull the engine and work on the heads from there. Take the heads to get decked and slap them back on? Or would the block need surface work too? We do plan on keeping the car, my wife is too cheap to want another car payment lol
 

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2012 Subaru Forester Manual 5 Speed Dual Range
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307 Posts
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2004 2.5L XT
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23 Posts
... my wife is too cheap to want another car payment lol
With that being said (Typed, rather), I am curious if another motivator for the repair is that you are kind of excited to jump into your first engine removal for your first head job? ;)

I personally think of car repairs/modifications/tuning as Legos for adults... playtime!
 

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Premium Member
2019 Crosstrek 2018 Forester XT
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14,802 Posts
According to Subaru Mike (a Subaru master tech) you do NOT need to replace the headbolts. Unless there is a sign that there's something wrong with it. Just skip the pre-stretch step when you're torqueing them.
I realized that but I elected to replace them even though my tech said its not necessary. 100K miles later they are still dry as a bone
 

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2004 FXT 4EAT
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981 Posts
I realized that but I elected to replace them even though my tech said its not necessary. 100K miles later they are still dry as a bone
Doesn't bother me that you did. They are not cheap. So...
 
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