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2010 Forester X Premium
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all

New here and looking for reccos.

Short story - bought a 2010 Forester Premium (150K) from a Mom & Pop used car lot without really knowing what I was doing.

Surprise surprise. Blown head gasket when I got it home and dealer wouldn't take it back after promising me he would with a major problem... (yes I'm stupid and no I didn't get it in writing.)

So - faced with trying to dump it at auction or fix it myself I decided to do the latter.

Triage.

Driver's head has been replaced with a reman head
Passenger's head is definitely leaking and coolant system is overpressurizing.
Corrosion isn't too bad overall but ALL of the ground straps are rotted or missing.
Exhaust after the second CAT is suspect. Probably will need new mufflers at a minimum.

I've already pulled the engine, removed the heads and sent them off to be decked.

Getting ready to order parts to put it back together and am looking for thoughts. Here is my SubyOnlineParts basket
  • Head gaskets - 11044AA642 (MLS Turbo gaskets.)
  • Converter/Pipe gasket - 44616AA030
  • Exhaust Mani Gasket x2 - 44011AC030
  • Intake Mani Gaskets x2 - 14035AA383
  • Front cam oil seals x2 - 806732150
  • Rear cam plugs x2 - 807045040
  • VVT Control Valve holder gasket x2 - 10924AA011
  • Thermostat - 21210AA080
  • All timing cover gaskets and seals (won't list all)
  • Rear main crank seal - 806786040
  • Front main crank seal - 806733030
  • Oil filter, drain plug gasket
  • Diff drain plug gasket
From RockAuto:
  • Front O2 sensor - Denso
  • NGK Laser Iridium plugs
  • NGK Spark Plug Wires
  • Gates Alternator/PS belt
  • Gates A/C Belt
  • Beck/Arney Spark Plug boots
  • Mahle Valve Cover Gasket set (includes spark plug tube seals)
  • Aisin TKF006 timing belt & water pump kit
I bought valve seals when I dropped the heads off. Machinist told me my exhaust valve were not burnt but the seats/lands were bad enough that he couldn't just lap them and had to grind seats and valves.

Going to change the tranny fluid (drain & fill) as well as diff fluid.

Have watched a million YT vids and read a ton of posts here.

What am I missing while I have the engine out? I'm basically thinking of doing everything that could be done short of cracking the short block since the engine is out already. I have an upstream O2 sensor on the list because I figure if it has had 2 head gasket leaks the upstream is only a matter of time...


Pics below of status.

Yes - I forgot to unbolt the torque converter. I am pretty sure I got it back on without damaging anything after getting it unbolted from the flex plate. It is back sitting only about 1/4" proud of the bell housing and it took a lot of finesse to get it it engage properly.

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Before doing anything to block deck:
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After working on surfaces with blue kitchen 3M sponge/pad and WD40. I've got a carbine scraper and 0.001" straight edge on the way to clean/check the block deck. Not done with 3M pad on the second piston - just where I took the pic.


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2008 LL Bean (4EAT)
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... looking for thoughts... After working on surfaces with blue kitchen 3M sponge/pad and WD40. I've got a carbine scraper and 0.001" straight edge on the way to clean/check the block deck...
Thoughts on head and block prep...

"Justin at Allwheeldrive Auto recommends block sanding your cylinder heads to create a good gasket surface IF they do not need to be machined. He recommends a process of sanding using 220 grit, then 400, then 600. He says that as long as you hold constant pressure on the head surface you will not remove significantly more material in one spot than in another. He says the same process should be used for the block surfaces."

"... the surfaces for both the Cylinder heads and engine block must be clean, smooth and free of any residue such as brake cleaner. But most importantly need to be at a refinishing average of RA 50 or better."

"Roughness Average (Ra) is the average micro-inch measurement of peak-to-valley roughness height of a flat surface. The lower the Ra number, the smoother the surface. Fel-Pro recommends a finish of 60 to 80 Ra for cast iron cylinder heads and blocks and 50 to 60 Ra for aluminum.
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Fel-Pro uses proprietary head gasket coatings and facing materials designed to fill in minor surface imperfections and allow for improved sealing on imperfect surfaces found in the repair environment. OEM MLS gaskets work well on new, flat, clean castings, since they require a very smooth surface finish, usually 20-30 Ra or less."

AWD's video on head and block prep:
 

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2004 FXT 4EAT
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I would have gone with the Head-gasket set from FelPro, which comes with all the exhaust, cam-seals, intake and valve-cover gaskets. I've used the FelPro MLS headgaskets with success previously, but if you want to use the Subaru gaskets, no-one is going to stop you. (as long as you don't use the EngineTech headgaskets)

Good luck!

P.S. If the oil-pan isn't leaking, I'd leave it alone.
 

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I would be concerned about the front transmission seal
Did you check it carefully before reinstalling the torque converter.

I would drop the oil pan and check the oil pump screen and make sure everything was clean.

Check the heater hoses etc, its easy to change them now if needed.
 

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2010 Forester X Premium
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I would be concerned about the front transmission seal Did you check it carefully before reinstalling the torque converter.
No... :-(

Obviously I can pull the TC back off at this point. Will do a little reading before reinstalling engine. /sigh/ - now I have another thing to worry about! ;-)

I haven't actually ordered anything - so I COULD change to FelPro MLS but why is FelPro better than OEM MLS? The price for all the gaskets OEM vs aftermarket doesn't seem to be much different.
 

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2001 Forester S, 4EAT
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@flynmoose There are varying opinions on the choice of HG gaskets. Some swear the FELPRO is the way to go, other will say six star is the way to go and others will say OEM/Turbo MLS is the way to go. The most important thing is MLS. Choose whatever you feel comfortable with. The place that did the work on my 2001, uses OEM/Turbo MLS and they do head gaskets on almost a daily basis here in DFW, TX.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I assume this gasket (red) and this O-ring (yellow) should be inspected for damage and replaced if suspect? Or perhaps just replaced for good measure since it is easy enough to slide the TC back off.

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@flynmoose If they are similar in price, by all means... No one is going to stop you! (just please don't buy the EngineTech head gaskets)
I was expecting the FelPro to be cheaper. Especially as a set (vs separate gaskets).
 

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I assume this gasket (red) and this O-ring (yellow) should be inspected for damage and replaced if suspect? Or perhaps just replaced for good measure since it is easy enough to slide the TC back off.

View attachment 571833

Yes especially the main seal the one in red
Check the bottom area (toward the ground) for tears or split

Nothing worse than doing everything and have a torn seal and get to take it back out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
@stroker ace
Yeah - just watched a video of someone who made the same mistake and it was not obvious that they had torn that shaft seal until they removed the old one and you could see the loose rubber.

For $8 in parts - I'm just going to change the seal and the o-ring. Take 5 min while the engine is out. All the fluid already drained from the TC - so it won't even be messy(this time.)

Thanks for the advice.
 

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2010 Forester X Limited
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Since you're getting the NGK wire set there is no need to order the Beck/Arney Spark Plug boots too...the boots are for coil on plug, which you do not have.
Also, I'm assuming you have an air compressor...if you have the time and the heads aren't being machined; consider a diy walnut shell blasting the valves & intake manifold...just my 2cents. You can get what you need from harbor freight, northern tool, amazon, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
@tad_07 - thanks! I had figured that out as I was working through my parts. That was a dumb RockAuto "You need this too" recommendation.

I had the heads machined and a valve job done. Exhaust valves had to be ground. Intake were just honed.

What is the advantage to blasting the intake manifold? Does it get fouled? I actually haven't looked at it yet.
 

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What is the advantage to blasting the intake manifold? Does it get fouled? I actually haven't looked at it yet.
With the heads at the shop I wouldn't worry about the intake much, if any, unless there is a lot of build up in the runners for some reason. Walnut is just enough to remove fouling from Al, but not hurt it. There are plenty of solvent that can be used, but not something I would recommend and scrubbing is envolved and you could mess up your valves or valve seats....not an issue with the intake mani though so if you want to clean it there's no issue, it can only help flow.
 

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2001 Forester S, 4EAT
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@tad_07 - thanks! I had figured that out as I was working through my parts. That was a dumb RockAuto "You need this too" recommendation.

I had the heads machined and a valve job done. Exhaust valves had to be ground. Intake were just honed.

What is the advantage to blasting the intake manifold? Does it get fouled? I actually haven't looked at it yet.
I would not bother or worry about the walnut blasting the intake manifold. You're not driving the newer FB25D engine which has Gasoline Direct Injection technology which is notorious for carbon buildup on the intake valves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Feeling a little sick...

Got my heads back from the machine shop. All seemed to be good. Then got to looking closely at the decking and saw what is highlighted below.

This is the driver's side head which I'm pretty sure is a reman head.

I didn't measure the height of the head before sending it to the shop but the average of the 4 corners is now 97.1mm and from the FSM it looks like OEM is 97.5 mm with max grind of 0.1mm or a height of 97.4 mm. That would put me 0.3mm shy which seems huge.

I just (carefully) put my machinist rule on the OEM head and measured a deck-to-exhaust valve clearance of about 0.11mm and the same measurement on the reman head is more like 0.08mm (valve is closer to deck on the reman head.)

So now I'm freaking out that this head is trash. Exhaust valve may hit the piston. Doesn't seem to be such thing as a thicker gasket.

Am I screwed? I've literally driven this car less than 100 miles and it is going to turn into a money pit after I've spent all this money (and time) and now have to buy a new head too. :-(

Is there any simple way to check the piston-to-valve clearance? Can the valve seats be cut to compensate or will the whole timing train and compression be off if the deck is too low?
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Even if you cut the valve seats for clearance and that helps the valve clear the piston, you've now increased the compression ratio, ie reduced the size of the combustion chamber. And no as you mentioned no "thicker" head gaskets. Are the other heads the same? :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I asked the machinist who says he does Suby heads all the time. He says they are in spec. But I'm concerned because he says that there are cutouts on the heads that tell you when you can't deck them anymore and I think he is talking about the notches made for separating heads. I don't think those are to "witness" a deck that is too low... but what do I know - my first Suby.

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
@bman400 - they are the same casting (T25) but the passenger side appears to have been original and never off the car. The driver side is painted silver and appears to be a reman head. So - now they are not the same "thickness." Guess I better start looking for a matched set of remans... FORK!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
OK. So decided to start with valve clearance check.

Did the following:
1) Reassembled rocker arms and adjusted all valves to zero lash to simulate hot engine.
2) Applied modeling clay to all relief areas on pistons.
3) Reassembled heads to block using old already compressed gaskets. I did not torque heads to torque specs but very firm (since gaskets had already been compressed.)
4) Reassembled timing belt according to instructions. All witness marks were properly aligned and teeth of belt fell right into place. (Used old tensioner but compressed piston and installed grenade pin and removed after belt was in place.)
5) Cycled crank a t total of 8 rotations to ensure multiple valve cycles on each valve.
6) Disassembled and took these photos.

Yes - the pistons are disgusting. Hadn't gotten that far on my prep but did mostly clean the relief areas.

There is MASSIVE clearance between valves and pistons based on these clay impressions. Like on the order of 3mm at closest point of approach depth.

I'm thinking I must have done something wrong. Going to do it all over again (PITA) and see if I can engage the AVLS pins this time as the FSM indicates that the variable valve opens at 14deg BTDC at high speed - so maybe that is the point of minimum clearance.

Obviously this doesn't account for compression ratio change - this was just to satisfy my curiosity on how close the valves get to the piston.

Interestingly - there are relief areas for the exhaust valves but they didn't even dent the clay.

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