Subaru Forester Owners Forum banner

1 - 20 of 49 Posts

·
Administrator
2018 2.5i Premium CVT
Joined
·
18,451 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
I’’ve posted a set of polls regarding head gasket problems. We all know that they were more frequent in the SF (pre-2003) models (especially the earlier ones) than in the 2003+ SGs, but it would be interesting to see exactly what the membership’s experience has been, both positive and negative, as a function of model year and engine type.

There are two polls in the Turbo forum and a similar pair in the NA forum. I had to split the poll in two for each engine type due to limits imposed by the forum software. So, click the right link below and cast your vote.

NA Engine - No HG problems
NA Engine - HG problems

Turbo Engine - No HG problems
Turbo Engine - HG problems

If you feel a need to vote twice or more because you’ve had two or more Foresters of the same engine type with the same problem or lack thereof, you'll find that the software limits you to one vote. So just vote once in the appropriate thread and then describe your situation in a new post there. It would also be useful if you added a comment identifying your transmission type or anything else that might help categorize your Forester or your driving habits.
 

·
Administrator
2018 2.5i Premium CVT
Joined
·
18,451 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Results

Here are the results of the headgasket polls that ran for the past week. I've modified some of the posted totals due to amplifying information provided in the individual posts.

Some of the numbers are pretty small, but the trends are clear:
  • SFs had problems
  • 2003 (first year of SG) was a transitional year, though generally pretty good at 73% with 11 owners reporting
  • 2004+ are solid, both NA and Turbo!
There wasn't enough information to draw conclusions regarding possible effects of transmission type. There was no information provided regarding the one 2004 XT with problems, just that one vote.

My apologies to those outside of North America who drive SF Turbos. I wasn't aware of these when I set up the poll, and it didn't appear from the comments that there were many of them still out there anyway.

Does anybody have any suggestions for pursuing more info about the problems with the 2003s? Is there any information on the nameplate or in the VIN that could help localize their manufacture date or anything else that might be relevant? My interest is more than academic, since I drive a 2003 that's still OK at over 120k miles!

Thanks to all who participated!


 

·
Registered
03 2.5 X
Joined
·
769 Posts
You say 2004+ is solid, but as these cars get older (more mileage) problems may show up. So, I wouldn't call it conclusive yet. Hopefully 2003 was a transitional year and the rest are fine--we'll see.

Thanks for doing this poll. I think this is something we are all interested/concerned about.
 

·
Administrator
2018 2.5i Premium CVT
Joined
·
18,451 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Agreed. These problems do tend to show up as a sign of age, but I think that the stunning performance of the 2004s is a very good omen. Some of them probably have quite a few hard-driven miles on the clock by now, easily enough to overlap into the mileage of lesser-driven 2003s.
 

·
Registered
2000 Forester
Joined
·
16 Posts
so limited it's practically meaningless

Why was the poll open for only one week? Some of us don't check the board that often. The resulting data is so limited that the results are almost meaningless. I have a 2000 NA AT that has HG problems. My one vote would have changed that category completely. Oh well, it wouldn't have replaced my HG anyway. :icon_sad:
 

·
Registered
2002 Forester
Joined
·
428 Posts
Aw, I didn't vote :(

I would have keep the polls open indefinately...

+1 for 2002 with HG problem if it's worth anything, just a minor external leak on one side, dealer fixed at around 50k miles. I have over 70k miles now, no new leaks.
 

·
Administrator
2018 2.5i Premium CVT
Joined
·
18,451 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I just intended the poll to get a snapshot of the trends. I suspected that the reports we have seen here in the past might have come in greater proportion from members with problems than from ones writing about how happy they were with their head gaskets. So I was interested in seeing the general mix between good and bad results and in confirming the generally held view that the problems got fixed with the SG models.

I think the trends came out pretty clearly. So far, anyway, SFs have problems, 2004+ are solid, and 2003s appear to be a transition year.

The threads are still open for comments, and I'll check to see if the mods can reopen the poll so we can keep a running tally, but I won't be crunching the numbers again.
 

·
Registered
03 2.5 X
Joined
·
769 Posts
I wonder what changes were made to head gaskets between 03 and 04+? Could 03 have intermittant problems based on date of manufacture and possibly a switch over of materials on a certain date? Or is it possible somewhere during the 03 first year of use they recommended the coolant conditioner? I am really hoping I don't have a problem with my 03 (61K so far).
 

·
Administrator
2018 2.5i Premium CVT
Joined
·
18,451 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I wonder what changes were made to head gaskets between 03 and 04+? Could 03 have intermittant problems based on date of manufacture and possibly a swith over of materials on a certain date? Or is it possible somewhere during the 03 first year of use they recommended the coolant conditioner? I am really hoping I don't have a problem with my 03 (61K so far).
Wish I knew too. I'd welcome any more specific data on 2003s from anybody who could contribute.
 

·
Administrator
2018 2.5i Premium CVT
Joined
·
18,451 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Polls are open again and will stay open forever. I don't expect to crunch the numbers any more, but I'll be watching the results from time to time.
 

·
Registered
2003 Forester
Joined
·
15 Posts
I carefully researched the HG problem before buying my '03 used about 18 months ago. Unfortunately, I'm included in the bad HG column. The "smell" started at about 60K and by 77K I was using a lot of coolant and the smell was overpowering ... external leak, hitting the exhaust headers, so the car ran fine. I'm pretty disgusted, but s*** happens. I poured in a bottle of the Subaru "conditioner" and the symptoms stopped long enough for me to trade it. I certainly didn't trust the car after that ... hard to believe that would be a permanent fix. BTW, I got over Edmund's wholesale for it. I got a very boring but quite refined maxed out CR-V. So I went from lesbian car to soccer mom vehicle. I'm beginning to question my manhood. I really liked the Forester better but I was gun-shy of any more Subarus. At least I can hear my stereo now.

Anyway, thanks to you guys on the board. You were quite helpful on a number of questions and I appreciate it. I guess I'm outa here.
 

·
Registered
2002 Forester
Joined
·
39 Posts
Bad head gaskets at 71K on our 2002 Forester. No other symptoms than coolant disappearing from the reservoir every 2K miles or so.
First, Subaru put the infamous conditioner in. After a week I brought it back for a check up and they said it needs new gaskets. They covered the bill and this time I lucked out because I brought the car there every 15K for service.
I am still a bit nervous about it, but after 2K miles no coolant has been used up so far. The engine pulls strong and mileage is at the advertised numbers.
Gresham Subaru has done many very sloppy jobs for me though they always rectified them without hesitation.
I am keeping this car for now, but this is my last Subaru due to the high cost of service, parts and gas thirsty engine. For example, Toyota charges half for labor and about a third for parts. Also, I am doing all service on it on everything I can manage without car specific tools.
 

·
Registered
2004 Forester
Joined
·
2 Posts
100,000km on the clock. 2004 basic model forester. SHAT itself. :shake:

Australian location, $2500 quote to drop engine and replace paper gaskets.

Any idea's on how to avoid having to pay them to drop it?

Perhaps liquid gaskets?


Alex :bananapowerslide::banana::bananapowerslide:
 

·
Registered
98 forester
Joined
·
5 Posts
I posted this on another thread about head gaskets before I found this thread. I hope it is OK to post it here also:

I have a 98 2.5L. automatic tranny Forester with 124K miles. I have gone though 3 head gaskets (all on the driver side rear cylinder). At about 85K miles car over heated a couple of time. It blow the coolant out the overflow tank a little at a time. (I never smelled any coolant or saw any steam.) After the third time I strapped a 5 gallon water jug in the passenger seat and ran a tube from the radiator overflow pipe through a hole in the fire wall into the jug. I figured I would catch the coolant. Strange thing though: after the engine warms up and some coolant comes out (that get sucked back in when the engine cools down) mostly exhaust gas bubbled out the hose when the head gasket leaked. I think this happened because the hole in the fire wall (where the tube goes through) is lower than overflow port on the radiator. I added a tee in the heater hose (Prestone back-flush kit), connect a washer machine hose to the tee with a valve at the other end. After a head gasket bubbling there seem to be gases trapped in the back of the motor. It will also not suck all the coolant back into the motor as it cools. (This is why is would slowly blow coolant out the overflow tank.) When it is cold the radiator look full. If I open the valve, on the washer machine hose, gases come out and the level of coolant in the radiator drops. I find it best to open the valve and hold it at the level of the radiator filler hole and add coolant to the radiator until I see coolant at the valve. The engine seems to have a problem with trapping air in the upper back part of the engine. (This problem can also happen when you change the coolant.) It seems that the head gasket only leaks under heavy load. With the jug in the car I can tell when the head gasket leaks and when I need to move the coolant back into the cooling system. (I was concerned that coolant was leaking into the cylinder and ruining the O2 sensor but that does not seem to happen.) So if I don't mind sitting next to a water bottle and don't put a heavy load on the engine I can drive the car until I have the time to replace the head gasket. (Drove a few thousand miles with it like that.)
The three leak have never been in the same place on the head gasket. The head and the block always measure up flat. The first leak happened in the summer time at around 85K miles. The second leak happened in the winter and at about 102K miles. The last leak happened at 124K miles during the summer. I have the motor apart and just can't get fired up enough to put it back together. Maybe I should have just driven it with my water bottle fix!
Now I drive my old Plymouth van the train station and take the train to work. I just have to hope the automatic tranny holds up. (that already broke once).
I was driving 110 miles round trip to work a day. And they were paying me to use my car for work stuff every now and then. I would usually have about 500 pounds of equipment in the car on work trips. I sometimes get caught in rush hour traffic. My sister has a 98 2.5L. 5MT Forester with about 180K miles. Her car is still on the original set of head gaskets. She has been carries around three kids (now teenagers) doing mostly local trips. Three times a year she takes a 2200 mile round trip to our parents house. I wonder if the automatic tranny Foresters are harder on head gaskets.

P.S. I got this car from my mother (for cheap) after it floated away in a flood. It got kind of banged up (small dents) but it makes a good car to drive into New York City, where it gets banged into all the time anyway.

Member in good standing - SFAEL - (Society Four the Aboose of the English Langauge)
 

·
Registered
2004 Forester XS
Joined
·
14 Posts
If anyone is still fallowing this post

For everyone who's had issues with their Head gaskets in pre-03 cars, after you got them replaced, did the problem come up again?
How long will the replacement be good for?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
2007 forester oil leak

i'm the proud owner of an '07 forester, but recently i've come across some troubling issues. Every time i check the dip stick the oil level is always low. My local dealer has told me that subaru allows one quart of oil to be "burnt" every 900 miles. THAT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. Please help
 

·
Registered
2005 Impreza RS Wagon Auto
Joined
·
3,682 Posts
i'm the proud owner of an '07 forester, but recently i've come across some troubling issues. Every time i check the dip stick the oil level is always low. My local dealer has told me that subaru allows one quart of oil to be "burnt" every 900 miles. THAT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. Please help
Well actually for once the dealer is about right. The tolerance is about ~1 quart per 1k miles and it is common for Subarus to eat thinner oil (ie Mobil). I would suggest Castrol high mileage or a true synth like Amsoil and go from there with an oil analysis. Mine eats ~1 quart every 3k miles, even with thicker oils but my engine is otherwise very healthy.
 
1 - 20 of 49 Posts
Top