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1999 Forester automatic
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35 Posts
I finally actually looked at the .PDF:
My total removal and installation time will approach a full week of labor including
garage and tool cleanup.
I have too much time on my hands since I was laid off, definitely more time than money, but a week for a job that takes six hours with the proper tools? The lowest quote on AutoMD was $612 + Tax, so it should be about $650, or one-third the value of the vehicle, but hopefully that goes up once it stops leaking oil terribly, right?

It would only go up a fraction of $650, unless you consider that I would have difficulty selling a car in that shape.
 

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2006 Forester XT 4EAT
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46 Posts
I have too much time on my hands since I was laid off, definitely more time than money, but a week for a job that takes six hours with the proper tools? The lowest quote on AutoMD was $612 + Tax, so it should be about $650, or one-third the value of the vehicle, but hopefully that goes up once it stops leaking oil terribly, right?

It would only go up a fraction of $650, unless you consider that I would have difficulty selling a car in that shape.
A head gasket job on this motor is definitely not a 6hr job, It will take approximately 14 hrs to a quality job.
 

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1999 Forester automatic
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35 Posts
I always try to do my own car repairs because I have had a bad experience with mechanics charging for a diagnosis they got from reading a trouble code and charging exorbitantly for simple repairs.

This is not a simple repair, nor have I ever done anything this complex.

Previously, shops seemed more enthusiastic about taking my money than anything else, but I have had several technicians suggest that I sell the car as-is and move on. Now AutoMD shows a shop estimating $657 before taxes, although the mechanics with whom I spoke said that when I take apart the engine, I will find other problems--heads will need to be machined, etc. I think this shop quoted around $1,500

Is it worth repairing a car that I plan on selling? I have another car that costs much less to drive. Should I just sell it as-is? Thanks for all of your input!
 

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2003 Forester 2.5X Automatic
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115 Posts
I always try to do my own car repairs because I have had a bad experience with mechanics charging for a diagnosis they got from reading a trouble code and charging exorbitantly for simple repairs.

This is not a simple repair, nor have I ever done anything this complex.

Previously, shops seemed more enthusiastic about taking my money than anything else, but I have had several technicians suggest that I sell the car as-is and move on. Now AutoMD shows a shop estimating $657 before taxes, although the mechanics with whom I spoke said that when I take apart the engine, I will find other problems--heads will need to be machined, etc. I think this shop quoted around $1,500

Is it worth repairing a car that I plan on selling? I have another car that costs much less to drive. Should I just sell it as-is? Thanks for all of your input!

If you are going to sell your car anyway, I'd recommend just sell it as it is.

Say... If you can sell your car for $1500 as it is, but $2500 with repair...

Taking it to a mechanic is certainly not a good idea.
You will just end up losing $500.

And, even if you do your own repair, it will costs parts and tools, so you will probably end up paying like $700 for the repair. Then, it's going to be only $300 saving.

Is it worth your time? At least I wouldn't do that...

I replaced my 03 Forester's head gasket 3 weeks ago by myself, and I am proud of myself that I did it, but there were times that I wanted to throw away everything and just give up.

Of course you might be different, but that's just my opinion.


And for that about $657 quote...
If a mechanic just uses whatever the cheapest parts, reuses all the old parts and takes every possible shortcuts, it might be possible, but I wouldn't trust that work...
 

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1998 Forester S 4EAT
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574 Posts
I understand that this is an old thread, but would it be possible to have a list of tools and materials needed? I was just told that my 99 Forester needs a new head gasket. My ex had been driving it and I may just sell as-is. The dealership gave me an estimate for $3,500, saying that it required twenty hours of labor at $120 hourly.
I'll try to be as detailed as possible. Its going to be all of memory.

Tools:
  • 3/8" ratchet
  • 1/2" ratchet
  • Torque wrench, either 3/8" or 1/2"
  • 3/8" and 1/2" ratchet extensions
  • Complete set of metric sockets
  • complete metric wrench set
  • 12 point 12mm socket for head bolts
  • 22mm? for the crank bolt
  • flat head and Phillips head screw drivers
  • pliers
  • set of feeler gauges to adjust your valves
  • pry bar about 12" or 14" to help unseat the torque converter
  • 1/2" pneumatic impact gun isn't necessary but will help
Material/ Parts:
  • Head Gasket kit, which should include; head gaskets, cam seals, intake gaskets, exhaust gaskets, various of other seals and gaskets.
    or
  • head gaskets
  • intake gaskets
  • exhaust gaskets
  • cam seals
  • timing belt
  • timing belt idlers and pulleys
  • timing belt tensioner
  • water pump
  • thermostat
  • water pump gasket
  • thermostat gasket
  • front main seal (if its leaking)
  • spark plugs (NGK only)
  • 5 quarts of oil
  • oil filter
  • 2+ gallons of coolant
  • silicone or gasket maker for those stubborn surfaces/gaskets
  • air filter
    If your rear AOS plate is plastic;
  • updated metal plate
  • 8 new flywheel/flex plate bolts
It is not necessary to replace the head bolts but do inspect them.
 

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1999 Forester automatic
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35 Posts
Ryan! My goodness! Thank you so much! That is amazingly helpful! :)

Did everyone but me know that the belt tensioner bolts are reverse-threaded?

That went poorly...

Thank again, Ryan! :)
 

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1999 Forester automatic
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35 Posts
I have lost confidence in the video that I was following. The mechanic forgot to drain the oil before removing the valve cover. He did not mention doing anything to keep the camshaft pulley from rotating so that you can remove it, he just did it without a chain wrench, and I did not see a big screwdriver inserted anywhere. Most importantly, he shows how to remove the valve covers, but skips everything between that and the head gasket. My Haynes manual shows sixteen bolts that I need to remove and I am not even sure that is everything.

I am having difficulty tracking down the correct sizes. I have some torx bits, but they did not fit. I bought a torx set and it fit two types, but not a third.
 

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2003 Forester XS auto
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640 Posts
I have lost confidence in the video that I was following. The mechanic forgot to drain the oil before removing the valve cover. He did not mention doing anything to keep the camshaft pulley from rotating so that you can remove it, he just did it without a chain wrench, and I did not see a big screwdriver inserted anywhere. Most importantly, he shows how to remove the valve covers, but skips everything between that and the head gasket. My Haynes manual shows sixteen bolts that I need to remove and I am not even sure that is everything.

I am having difficulty tracking down the correct sizes. I have some torx bits, but they did not fit. I bought a torx set and it fit two types, but not a third.

This video shows how to pull the motor, Brian shows in other clips of his how to replace head gaskets. I strongly recommend pulling the engine out of the car.


http://youtu.be/ns4CuxUHQas

The head bolts are under the valve covers, the torx bolts you can see are the bolts holding on the camshaft bearing caps, they are torx plus. No need to touch these.

My record is 10 hrs from start to finish pulling engine out, last year I did quite a few for family and friends. In a workshop with a car hoist, and practise, say being the hg dude at a dealer, I'd think 6 hrs would be achievable. My first engine pull/hg job I still recall hours spent wondering " *** did this part come from"
 

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2003 Forester XS auto
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640 Posts
I'll try to be as detailed as possible. Its going to be all of memory.

Tools:
  • 3/8" ratchet
  • 1/2" ratchet
  • Torque wrench, either 3/8" or 1/2"
  • 3/8" and 1/2" ratchet extensions
  • Complete set of metric sockets
  • complete metric wrench set
  • 12 point 12mm socket for head bolts
  • 22mm? for the crank bolt
  • flat head and Phillips head screw drivers
  • pliers
  • set of feeler gauges to adjust your valves
  • pry bar about 12" or 14" to help unseat the torque converter
  • 1/2" pneumatic impact gun isn't necessary but will help
Material/ Parts:
  • Head Gasket kit, which should include; head gaskets, cam seals, intake gaskets, exhaust gaskets, various of other seals and gaskets.
    or
  • head gaskets
  • intake gaskets
  • exhaust gaskets
  • cam seals
  • timing belt
  • timing belt idlers and pulleys
  • timing belt tensioner
  • water pump
  • thermostat
  • water pump gasket
  • thermostat gasket
  • front main seal (if its leaking)
  • spark plugs (NGK only)
  • 5 quarts of oil
  • oil filter
  • 2+ gallons of coolant
  • silicone or gasket maker for those stubborn surfaces/gaskets
  • air filter
    If your rear AOS plate is plastic;
  • updated metal plate
  • 8 new flywheel/flex plate bolts
It is not necessary to replace the head bolts but do inspect them.
Apart from the headbolts, everything else is 6 point. I strongly recommend 6 point sockets. 6 point open/ring spanner too if you can
 

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1999 Forester automatic
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35 Posts
Link, thank you very much for your response. I have been feeling very frustrated by the lack of feedback in this and other forums. I imagine that everyone has their own lives to live, but this can be very confusing.

The car is at a friend's house. My ex never returned the duplicate keys that she made and I would not trust her to give me all of the keys anyway, but I am pretty sure that she would not steal a car that she could not drive, this is far too much effort!

I did not bring home the manual this time, but this is what I typed up from it:
Remove the camshafts by removing the valve covers (see Section 4).
Remove the camshaft position sensor (CMP) (see Chapter 6).
Working in the reverse order of the tightening sequence (see illustration 11.30c), gradually loosen the rocker arm assembly.
Store all the components in an organized manner (see illustration 11.22).
Remove the timing belt tensioner and the tensioner bracket (see Section 7).
(Left only) Unbolt the oil dipstick tube from the left cylinder head.
Remove the camshaft end cap assembly. Follow the reverse of the tightening sequence (see illustration 11.30a). Caution: Remove the camshaft carefully from the cylinder head. Remove the camshaft oil seal and the end plug from the camshaft end cap assembly.
Disconnect the exhaust manifold from the cylinder heads (see Section 6). Note: Apply penetrating oil to the fasteners before beginning the procedure, and allow it to soak-in for a while.
Remove the intake manifold (see Section 5). Remove any hoses or brackets bolted to the cylinder heads, and on models equipped with air conditioning, remove the air conditioning compressor bracket from the left cylinder head.
Loosen the cylinder head bolts in the reverse of the tightening sequence (see illustration 12.13).
However, there are not instructions specifically for the head gasket, those are for the heads, so I guess that I am worried about irrelevant steps. Once I pulled the valve cover, I went to remove the head bolts, and after one good turn, they screeched alarmingly, and it was not like they were stuck and needed to break free, I worried, so I pulled out the manual, and apparently over-thought everything.

I watched the 1.5 videos for South Main Auto Repair (I had been watching Brian's video, I actually downloaded it and viewed it many times) and unless he edited it out, yes, he pulled the head bolts, and then pulled the heads, but once he removed the cylinder head, he removed those sixteen bolts, the rocker arms, and everything, and said he was putting the head in a box to take to a machine shop.

So, I guess that I go back and just wrench as hard as I can. That always worries me. I have stripped and broken too many bolts!

PB Blaster, eh?

Thanks again for your help!
 

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Registered
1998 Forester S 4EAT
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574 Posts
Apart from the headbolts, everything else is 6 point. I strongly recommend 6 point sockets. 6 point open/ring spanner too if you can
I agree! 12 sicks on everything no 12 point.

Ryan! My goodness! Thank you so much! That is amazingly helpful! :)

Did everyone but me know that the belt tensioner bolts are reverse-threaded?

That went poorly...

Thank again, Ryan! :)
You are welcome :) Anytime for a forum member :D
 

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Registered
2003 Forester XS auto
Joined
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640 Posts
Link, thank you very much for your response. I have been feeling very frustrated by the lack of feedback in this and other forums. I imagine that everyone has their own lives to live, but this can be very confusing.

The car is at a friend's house. My ex never returned the duplicate keys that she made and I would not trust her to give me all of the keys anyway, but I am pretty sure that she would not steal a car that she could not drive, this is far too much effort!

I did not bring home the manual this time, but this is what I typed up from it:


However, there are not instructions specifically for the head gasket, those are for the heads, so I guess that I am worried about irrelevant steps. Once I pulled the valve cover, I went to remove the head bolts, and after one good turn, they screeched alarmingly, and it was not like they were stuck and needed to break free, I worried, so I pulled out the manual, and apparently over-thought everything.

I watched the 1.5 videos for South Main Auto Repair (I had been watching Brian's video, I actually downloaded it and viewed it many times) and unless he edited it out, yes, he pulled the head bolts, and then pulled the heads, but once he removed the cylinder head, he removed those sixteen bolts, the rocker arms, and everything, and said he was putting the head in a box to take to a machine shop.

So, I guess that I go back and just wrench as hard as I can. That always worries me. I have stripped and broken too many bolts!

PB Blaster, eh?

Thanks again for your help!
Starting out on this type of repair can be daunting. Brian's videos are very comprehensive, from memory he does not skip any steps. Are you going to pull the engine out?

What manual are you using?

The head bolts will often make terrible noises, and won't turn smoothly, making creaking or cracking noises. You must follow the correct sequence to undo the head bolts. A big breaker bar is your friend here.
 

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Registered
1999 Forester automatic
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35 Posts
I have a Haynes repair manual. I kind of panicked when I heard the terrible creaking cracking noise, did a Google search, read posts, watched videos, and tried to straighten out my Haynes instructions, always referring me to different sections and chapters, and saw the bolt removal instructions in order to pull the cylinders. Brian shows the six head bolts and then talks about washing the engine inside and out. Pull the EGR, rotate the head, and remove it.

Then he says it would have been faster to remove the engine.

He mentions he explains how to install the head gasket in another video and all that I found was one where he repeatedly gives the bolt instructions, while the mechanic from South Main Auto Repair pulled the head bolts, the heads, and then the cylinder head, those sixteen bolts, the rocker arms, and everything, and said he was putting the head in a box to take to a machine shop. Are there seals in there to replace? Do machine shops charge more if they need to remove all of that?

After all of this, I am quite content to finally pay someone to do the work!

Thanks again for your responses! Please take care!
 

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Registered
1998 Forester S 4EAT
Joined
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574 Posts
I have a Haynes repair manual. I kind of panicked when I heard the terrible creaking cracking noise, did a Google search, read posts, watched videos, and tried to straighten out my Haynes instructions, always referring me to different sections and chapters, and saw the bolt removal instructions in order to pull the cylinders. Brian shows the six head bolts and then talks about washing the engine inside and out. Pull the EGR, rotate the head, and remove it.

Then he says it would have been faster to remove the engine.

He mentions he explains how to install the head gasket in another video and all that I found was one where he repeatedly gives the bolt instructions, while the mechanic from South Main Auto Repair pulled the head bolts, the heads, and then the cylinder head, those sixteen bolts, the rocker arms, and everything, and said he was putting the head in a box to take to a machine shop. Are there seals in there to replace? Do machine shops charge more if they need to remove all of that?

After all of this, I am quite content to finally pay someone to do the work!

Thanks again for your responses! Please take care!
By seals do you mean seals in the head itself? Well there are valve stem seals. They don't always go bad but they can. It's one of those calls you make when you have the entire engine torn apart. To replace the valve stem seals, you have to pull the valves out, I'd recommend a machine shop to replace your stem seals personally.
 

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1999 Forester automatic
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35 Posts
Ryan, I bought this kit:
. If that contains valve stem seals, I will give them to the machine shop.

Brian did not say anything, but I know that some loosen the motor mounts and move the engine an inch or two. Should I do that? What about replacing the other head, which does not seem to be leaking--yet?

Thanks for all of your help!
 

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Registered
1998 Forester S 4EAT
Joined
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574 Posts
Ryan, I bought this kit: Amazon.com: Fel-Pro Hs26170Pt1 Head Gasket Set: Automotive. If that contains valve stem seals, I will give them to the machine shop.

Brian did not say anything, but I know that some loosen the motor mounts and move the engine an inch or two. Should I do that? What about replacing the other head, which does not seem to be leaking--yet?

Thanks for all of your help!
It sure does!
 
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