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Discussion Starter #1
I'm afraid my head gasket is going to go. I can smell the sweet aroma of anti-freeze cooking on the hot motor. It appears that anti-freeze is lightly spraying out from the overflow res. I've topped off the radiator once since I've owned it. I bought it 5 years ago with 135K on it, I'm at 190k now. The previous owner said the head gaskets had been done. What are the earliest of early signs that gasket is about to fail?
 

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Sahuarita, Arizona USA 2018 Forester Limited
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It appears that anti-freeze is lightly spraying out from the overflow res.
If coolant is discharging from the plastic coolant reservoir, it could be your engine overheating from something as simple as a faulty radiator cap (that won't hold pressure) or a thermostat that is stuck closed.
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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@Fishernut if you have an external head gasket leak or seeping, you will see it on the bottom of the engine, between the heads & the block... the case where the gasket usually fails. Have you looked there? :confused:

Looking at your previous thread: Strange transmission incident Was there any damage to the radiator?

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Bobby...

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Discussion Starter #5
Sorry for the delay in response. No transmission issues, CV was broken.
About the coolant issue, I stopped at a shop to get a hydrocarbon test, the owner sniffed the coolant reservoir and said "yup, head gasket". Now I'm looking for a gasket kit that is a step above OE.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
1999 head gasket set

1999 Forester with 185k on the ticker. Runs great but is diagnosed with a bad head gasket. I'm looking at a head gasket set from "Six-Star", they talk highly of their product. Has anyone used them? Is there a better recommendation? I see some sets include head bolts and some do not, and then some do not but state that new head bolts are required. I watched a video that re-used the head bolts. Any suggestions? Thanks.
 

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2005 Forester Automatic
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If you can do the work yourself and the rest of the vehicle is sound, then HG on a 20 year old Foz makes sense I suppose. Although at 190k miles, the next problems will occur soon. Does it use oil? Have piston slap? Transmission sound, maintained with some fluid exchanges or flushes?

The cost to have a shop "fix" your HG is likely money thrown away. If you doing it yourself out of principle or cause you have time and knowledge (and less money) then go for it.

I extensively looked over HG options for my NA 2005. Six Star are very well regarded. So are the Turbo MLS Subaru gaskets. And, I think the lastest Felpro MLS are also OK.

But the caveat to all these recommendations is what the BLOCK looks like. If the heads are off, you need to have them looked at by a good machine shop that does heads. I think every metropolitan city has one or more. Find it. But the block gets overlooked. If you look at Subaru specs carefully, the block needs to be true to like .0015. Well the block is made of aluminum! And the last guys that did the last HG repair might have butchered the block.

Your story, with the latest HG lasting at least 55k miles, argues that the block is NOT toast. But make sure you check with a quality straight edge nonetheless.

Finally, re bolts. They are not that expensive. Get some OEM Subaru ones, and find the proper torque sequence. They ARE re-usable. They are NOT torque to stretch as some posts will maintain. I think if you can say positively that your head bolts are Subaru original, then I'd re-use them. Otherwise, I'd replace with subaru OEM. Read too many stories about the bolts from china....
 

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2003 Forester X 5 MT
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522 Posts
Subaru MLS or MLS Turbo gasket installed correctly is best option.

11044AA642 or 11044AA770

Some have used FelPro but I have no experience with those.

Six Star is just a rebranded Cometic gasket so no real benefit with those unless you need a thicker gasket due to piston area.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the input. I am looking at turbo HG since the subie shop owner says of all subaru HG's,, use the XT. minor compression difference since material is thicker. Local shop wants 2-3000 to do the whole job "the right way". I won't put that kind of money into it, especially when I feel the job isn't that hard, and I have experienced resources to help me if I need it. My other projects will be waiting for me while I do this. A local shop will vacuum test, pressure test, clean and inspect, resurface the heads for 210. Seems reasonable. I'll have that block looked at as well, motor has not overheated and is parked until I get my new parts gathered up. Thanks again.
 
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