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2005 Subaru Forester X
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Discussion Starter #1
Please forgive me if this has been touched upon before, but I don't often get to read this forum. I noticed a problem last night with my 05 Forester that leads me to believe there is a head gasket problem; the antifreeze is foamy and sprayed all over the engine compartment. The vehicle has only 69k miles on the odometer and has been serviced even more often than Subaru recommends. What am I looking at as far as repairs? On average, how long till it happens again?

I love my Forester because it is the perfect vehicle for me - the size, the 5-speed, and the awesome AWD system. But in the five years that I've owned it I've had to replace part of the exhaust system, a rear wheel bearing, ignition wires, and now I'm looking at head gaskets. I expected much better reliability. I expected to keep it "forever" but now I certainly have my doubts.
:icon_frown:
 

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01 Forester "S" (FS)
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Normaly the head gasket problem "should not" happen for a very very very long time. However, not using Subaru approved Coolant and Subar Coolant additive migh add to the issue. Since you have an alluminum engine. Also, Subaru coolant additve acts as sealant, why it is important to add it to the engine.

Price on repair of such a thing is about 1,500 Dollars. Most of it is labor, and parts are about 140 buks. Sorry to hear it man.

If the repair is effected properly, and you use proper coolant and additive you should get many more years of your foz.
 

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2008 2008 2.5i-2018 XT
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13,235 Posts
In the grand scheme of things, Wheel bearing, wires, and exhaust is not out of control. I have no idea why you had to replace wires. I would guess that they were damaged during plug replacement. But statistically some vehicles will have problems. Happens with every carline.

If the gasket job is done right you are good or should be for another 100K (at least) miles.
 

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2005 Subaru Forester X
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Normaly the head gasket problem "should not" happen for a very very very long time. However, not using Subaru approved Coolant and Subar Coolant additive migh add to the issue. Since you have an alluminum engine. Also, Subaru coolant additve acts as sealant, why it is important to add it to the engine.

Price on repair of such a thing is about 1,500 Dollars. Most of it is labor, and parts are about 140 buks. Sorry to hear it man.

If the repair is effected properly, and you use proper coolant and additive you should get many more years of your foz.
What is different about Subaru approved coolant and what the heck is Subaru coolant additive? I'm a little confused. Can I only use stuff purchased at a Subie dealership? :confused:
 

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2005 Subaru Forester X
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Discussion Starter #5
In the grand scheme of things, Wheel bearing, wires, and exhaust is not out of control. I have no idea why you had to replace wires. I would guess that they were damaged during plug replacement. But statistically some vehicles will have problems. Happens with every carline.

If the gasket job is done right you are good or should be for another 100K (at least) miles.
Ignition wires had to be replaced before the first scheduled plug replacement, as they were arcing badly. Sometimes I think this is a Friday afternoon or Monday morning car!
 

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2002 Forester
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293 Posts
It's unclear to me as to why you are assuming that an external antifreeze leak has to be a head gasket.

the antifreeze is foamy and sprayed all over the engine compartment.

Can't this be a hose or loose clamp?
 

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2001 Forester Automatic
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151 Posts
If the gasket fails between the combustion chamber and the coolant passage it can push exhaust gasses into the coolant, pushing coolant into the overflow tank and overflowing out of it, and continue to blow bubbles into the coolant and the tank. I think that is what he is suggesting.
 

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2002 Forester
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If the gasket fails between the combustion chamber and the coolant passage it can push exhaust gasses into the coolant, pushing coolant into the overflow tank and overflowing out of it, and continue to blow bubbles into the coolant and the tank. I think that is what he is suggesting.

Fine, but if that's the case, it should be easy enough to watch it happen and report back (as opposed to assuming).
 

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2001 Forester Automatic
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Point taken, It shouldnt be hard to tell after topping off the coolant and warming it up, either something is spraying or the tank is bubbling.
 

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2005 Subaru Forester X
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Discussion Starter #10
If the gasket fails between the combustion chamber and the coolant passage it can push exhaust gasses into the coolant, pushing coolant into the overflow tank and overflowing out of it, and continue to blow bubbles into the coolant and the tank. I think that is what he is suggesting.

That is exactly what is happening.
 

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01 Forester "S" (FS)
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The Coolant has to be specifically designed to work in alluminum engines. Not all coolants are made equal, so to speak. And SUBARU collant additive can be bought at any Subaru Dealership for about $2.00 it is a small blue bottle abut 6 ounces that you add to your radiator when doing a flush.

Normally I always use Subaru Coolant it is not much more than any regular coolant and I know I am buying stuff that would work in my car 100%.

Once you get the problem fixed with the gasket - I would use SUBARU coolant and SUBARU coolant additive when refilling the radiator. This way you starting on a right foot, and there are no questions if the correct coolant or not was added and whether it contributed to the gasket leak in the future.

What is different about Subaru approved coolant and what the heck is Subaru coolant additive? I'm a little confused. Can I only use stuff purchased at a Subie dealership? :confused:
 

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2001 Forester Automatic
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From what I can gather from looking into this issue the last few weeks, the additive is just one of the many stop leak type solutions out there, and they are designed to prevent exterior HG leaks, like the ones that give a little drip under the head and let the coolant escape to the exterior of the head/block mating area or possibly leak coolant into the oil return passage. The key being that the coolant is what is at the higher pressure and trying to push itself out. The additive/goop fills that tight gap and plugs the leak. I doubt that it has any effect on a failure between the combustion chamber and the coolant passage as it the force coming from the combustion chamber that likely causes those gasket failures and the goop/additive will have no chance of helping in that case. The only thing I can guess will help to prevent that type of failure is to use a quality gasket, install it right AND MOST IMPORTANTLY not drive the car before it is completely warmed up. I would bet that driving the engine cold and putting strain on that part of the gasket while the head and block are not at uniform temp is what makes the job of that particular gasket area to much for it to handle. But I have not owned one of these long enough to verify that theory yet, so it will have to remain my "theory" for now. If I can only convince my son to not do that once I give him his car back lol. To put a positive spin on this issue, the subaru engine was about the easiest engine I have had to perform semi major work to, everything came apart easily and it was actually pretty fun showing my son what the parts did, it was also pretty cool to see him and my wife being suprised when it started right up when I was finished :icon_cool:
 

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my 03x developed an internal leak between the coolant ports and exhaust port. I thought the 03 had the HG issue solved and I therefore never added the Conditioner after doing a flush.

It was blowing coolant into the overflow res and out into the engine compartment. After changing the cap, t-stat and hose I added the conditioner and have NOT had the overheating again.
 

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01 Forester "S" (FS)
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From what I can gather from looking into this issue the last few weeks, the additive is just one of the many stop leak type solutions out there, and they are designed to prevent exterior HG leaks, like the ones that give a little drip under the head and let the coolant escape to the exterior of the head/block mating area or possibly leak coolant into the oil return passage. The key being that the coolant is what is at the higher pressure and trying to push itself out. The additive/goop fills that tight gap and plugs the leak. I doubt that it has any effect on a failure between the combustion chamber and the coolant passage as it the force coming from the combustion chamber that likely causes those gasket failures and the goop/additive will have no chance of helping in that case. The only thing I can guess will help to prevent that type of failure is to use a quality gasket, install it right AND MOST IMPORTANTLY not drive the car before it is completely warmed up. I would bet that driving the engine cold and putting strain on that part of the gasket while the head and block are not at uniform temp is what makes the job of that particular gasket area to much for it to handle. But I have not owned one of these long enough to verify that theory yet, so it will have to remain my "theory" for now. If I can only convince my son to not do that once I give him his car back lol. To put a positive spin on this issue, the subaru engine was about the easiest engine I have had to perform semi major work to, everything came apart easily and it was actually pretty fun showing my son what the parts did, it was also pretty cool to see him and my wife being suprised when it started right up when I was finished :icon_cool:
Do you want to adopt me? I wish I had someone who could teach to take **** apart and put back together. :cool:
 

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2002 Forester
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293 Posts
From what I can gather from looking into this issue the last few weeks, the additive is just one of the many stop leak type solutions out there, and they are designed to prevent exterior HG leaks, like the ones that give a little drip under the head and let the coolant escape to the exterior of the head/block mating area or possibly leak coolant into the oil return passage. The key being that the coolant is what is at the higher pressure and trying to push itself out. The additive/goop fills that tight gap and plugs the leak. I doubt that it has any effect on a failure between the combustion chamber and the coolant passage as it the force coming from the combustion chamber that likely causes those gasket failures and the goop/additive will have no chance of helping in that case.
I thought that those interior type stop leaks exist as well, you just have to look for them and maybe mail order it. I'm specifically referring to stuff to delay a LIMG gasket on a bunch of GM cars where they used a combination Dex-Cool and crapply plastic gaskets though.
 

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2011 Forester X AT
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4,235 Posts
From what I can gather from looking into this issue the last few weeks, the additive is just one of the many stop leak type solutions out there, and they are designed to prevent exterior HG leaks, like the ones that give a little drip under the head and let the coolant escape to the exterior of the head/block mating area or possibly leak coolant into the oil return passage. The key being that the coolant is what is at the higher pressure and trying to push itself out. The additive/goop fills that tight gap and plugs the leak. I doubt that it has any effect on a failure between the combustion chamber and the coolant passage as it the force coming from the combustion chamber that likely causes those gasket failures and the goop/additive will have no chance of helping in that case. The only thing I can guess will help to prevent that type of failure is to use a quality gasket, install it right AND MOST IMPORTANTLY not drive the car before it is completely warmed up. I would bet that driving the engine cold and putting strain on that part of the gasket while the head and block are not at uniform temp is what makes the job of that particular gasket area to much for it to handle. But I have not owned one of these long enough to verify that theory yet, so it will have to remain my "theory" for now. If I can only convince my son to not do that once I give him his car back lol. To put a positive spin on this issue, the subaru engine was about the easiest engine I have had to perform semi major work to, everything came apart easily and it was actually pretty fun showing my son what the parts did, it was also pretty cool to see him and my wife being suprised when it started right up when I was finished :icon_cool:

Actually, the gasket as far as thermal movement is concerned, the gasket should be under its greatest shear stress when the engine is at operating temperature or at far below operating temperature. Since the gasket is likely installed at about room temperature, it should experience the least shear stress at that temp.
 

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2001 Forester Automatic
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Actually, the gasket as far as thermal movement is concerned, the gasket should be under its greatest shear stress when the engine is at operating temperature or at far below operating temperature. Since the gasket is likely installed at about room temperature, it should experience the least shear stress at that temp.
I am not thinking thermal movement in regards to the gasket, but the gap it is trying to fill and the force squeezing the sides of that gap together.

My guess is that when the block and the head are at different temps is when the gasket might have to fill/hold a larger gap and the force squeezing it together may be less, if both the head and the block are cold or hot, I would guess the gap is consistent as is the force from the head bolts. The only time the engine would be running when the temps of those 2 items are different would be when it is not warmed up fully, ie a hot block and luke warm heads.
Once again, purely a guess or theory on my part, but one thing we all do know, some early models had failures and the gasket was improved, but there are still some failures out there that seem to happen earlier than they should.

The reason why is the holy grail that eludes us hence all the possible "theorys" that get tossed back and forth here.
 

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2001 Forester Automatic
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my 03x developed an internal leak between the coolant ports and exhaust port. I thought the 03 had the HG issue solved and I therefore never added the Conditioner after doing a flush.

It was blowing coolant into the overflow res and out into the engine compartment. After changing the cap, t-stat and hose I added the conditioner and have NOT had the overheating again.
Thats interesting because I cant see how goop on the lower pressure side (coolant) of that failed gasket area could stop the force from the combustion chamber from continuing to push exhaust into the coolant passage. I could see how it could prevent coolant from getting sucked into the combustion chamber on the intake stroke when there is a vacuum in the combustion chamber.

Maybe it sucked the goop into the failed area/gap of the gasket on the intake stroke enough that the force of the power stroke in the combustion chamber couldnt push it back out. hmmmm .....

We need a holy grail smiley to post on these threads lol
 

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2001 Forester Automatic
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Do you want to adopt me? I wish I had someone who could teach to take **** apart and put back together. :cool:
Thanks but my 2 boys keep me broke/busy enough lol.

I grew up on a farm and had to learn how to fix allmost everything we used there, breaking a few dirt bikes and pickup trucks growing up and having to fix them didnt hurt either.
 
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