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02 Forester 4EAT Phase II
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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone,

I'm replacing my head gaskets in a few weeks and had a couple questions for the experts. First off, am I better off purchasing an HG kit form Subaru, or is there a better quality after market kit?

Second, before I put the new gaskets on, should I have the heads machined down to correct any warps, or is this only necessary to do after excessive over heating?

Just for clarification, the HG's have not gone yet, I'm doing this as preventative maintenance. I have 142,000 miles on the motor and it is an 02. The heads have never been done before. I am also replacing the timing belt, tensioners, idlers, water pump.....anything else? I was thinking valve cover gaskets, TB gasket....???

also, does [email protected] make a CAI for an 02 forester?

Thanks to anyone who replies.

-Dan
 

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2008 Forester X Premium 5MT
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8,071 Posts
Seeing as you are doing this as a preventive measure I am going to assume you plan on keeping it for some time.

As for gaskets, pick a quality set(OEM, Cometic, Fel-Pro, name brands). Thats about it. In my opinion it has to do more with the proper torque, cleanliness, prep.... then it does set A vs. set B. Some say the STI/turbo HG is the answer(a MLS gasket). Some say Cometics are(also a MLS gasket). In my opinion the stock single layer gasket does just fine. They all will fail if the job is done 1/2 heartedly.

Bring the heads to a engine machine shop that can fully check them out. I would have them milled regardless, and have the valves(seals, guides and make sure they seal) checked out, possibly have a valve job done. You'll need to set valve lash unless the shop does it for you.

Valve cover and spark plug tube gaskets are highly recommended, along with crank/cam seals, t-stat, reseal the oil pump(check backing plate, screws like to come loose). If the engine is being pulled I would also check/reseal the oil separator plate and rear main seal.

Check the block deck for flatness too.

Head bolts reusable?? Many opinions on this, search form your own.

If the heads are being machined Cometic is a nice choice as you can specify the thickness of the gaskets. Stock single layer is .024" thick, you can take about .020" off the heads, block(each side combined) safely. More then that I would add the removed thickness back via a thicker HG. As you remove material you actually change the cam timing as the are moved closer together and you must also watch piston to valve, piston to head clearance.

Hope that helps
 

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Do whatever your budget can afford. I have done a few Subarus with Subaru Head Gaskets, and a few with Fel Pro gaskets. I have not seen or heard any difference. I now prefer to use Fel Pro because they are a lot cheaper.

If it were me, under your circumstances I would not get the heads machined. It would more then likely be a waste of money if your car has never overheated.

The torque procedure is really the only hard part of the job and is the one where your utmost attention must be paid. Have fun, the first one is the hardest!
 
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