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Hello everyone! This is my first post where I'm in the process of prepping the block and cylinder heads for the new HG install (felpro head gaskets to be exact) and would love to get some feedback being this is my first major engine overhaul/HG install.

Anyways, I have one side of the block which looks almost complete, used a razor blade to get the majority of the crud off and used one of those 3M discs (the dark red ones) to get the rest of the fire rings off with some WD40 at very low speeds making light passes over the remaining crud that was on there, also checked everything with a straight edge and a feeler gauge, the entire surface is square but is the surface too glossy? Or does this side of the block look 100% ready for install (ofc after I throughly rinse everything off with brake cleaner)

IMG_20190623_181955.jpg


Now take a look at the heads, there is some pitting, the pitting isn't deep enough to where I can catch my fingernail on it but am I going to have to get these heads resurfaced and machined? I also checked clearance with a feeler gauge and they don't appear to be warped, just wanted to get your feedback on this as well so I can decide on where to go from here!

IMG_20190623_182143.jpg

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Since you have the gone this far, if it was me, I would send the heads off to a machine shop. It's only a few hundred dollars vs your time getting yourself this far in the process. I just recently had the head gasket done on my 2001 Forester at a shop and they sent the heads to a machine shop not just because the surface was not up to snuff, but also to have the valve stem seals replaced due to oil leaks.

It would be a shame to not have the heads looked at and then later down the road to have it come back and bite you. Just too me it is critical to have everything perfect while you have it apart before putting it back together.
 

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Since you have the gone this far, if it was me, I would send the heads off to a machine shop. It's only a few hundred dollars vs your time getting yourself this far in the process. I just recently had the head gasket done on my 2001 Forester at a shop and they sent the heads to a machine shop not just because the surface was not up to snuff, but also to have the valve stem seals replaced due to oil leaks.

It would be a shame to not have the heads looked at and then later down the road to have it come back and bite you. Just too me it is critical to have everything perfect while you have it apart before putting it back together.
Yeah, you're right. If anything I'll just get the heads resurfaced and could always replace the valve stem seals if need be myself.
 

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1999 Forester S
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Hello everyone! This is my first post...
Hi, this is a pretty simple repair and should last you a good long time if done properly.

(felpro head gaskets to be exact) and would love to get some feedback being this is my first major engine overhaul/HG install...
See if you can return the Felpro gaskets. You want head gaskets for a 2004 STI, take my word for it. Do some research and you can find the part number. DO NOT use the OEM gasket that comes up with your VIN, you want the STI gasket.

...one side of the block which looks almost complete, used a razor blade to get the majority of the crud off and used one of those 3M discs (the dark red ones)...
You should not have used the red pad, you likely took too much material off in several spots. There is a white, fingered 3M pad that Subaru specifies for this repair that is almost impossible to misuse. Again, a search will turn up the part number.

Now take a look at the heads, there is some pitting, the pitting isn't deep enough to where I can catch my fingernail on it but am I going to have to get these heads resurfaced and machined?...
The pitting on those heads needs to be removed or you'll be doing this repair again. I suggest you stop working on the car and start reading threads that other people have written about this subject. I sense a lot of enthusiasm but not a lot of experience with Subaru head gasket repairs. Read first, then buy parts and start working.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi, this is a pretty simple repair and should last you a good long time if done properly.



See if you can return the Felpro gaskets. You want head gaskets for a 2004 STI, take my word for it. Do some research and you can find the part number. DO NOT use the OEM gasket that comes up with your VIN, you want the STI gasket.
Will do!



You should not have used the red pad, you likely took too much material off in several spots. There is a white, fingered 3M pad that Subaru specifies for this repair that is almost impossible to misuse. Again, a search will turn up the part number.
I went ahead and checked the surface with a feeler gauge and a straight edge, couldn't find any dips where the feeler gauge could pass though, but I'll take the block to the machine shop to get the surface decked, you think possibly the block might be trashed now? Decking the block surface would even out any of the spots if there was some extra material taken off, no? A couple of light passes with the disc would be enough to trash the block? Sure hope thats not the case where now I have to go to the junkyard for another block. :|



The pitting on those heads needs to be removed or you'll be doing this repair again. I suggest you stop working on the car and start reading threads that other people have written about this subject. I sense a lot of enthusiasm but not a lot of experience with Subaru head gasket repairs. Read first, then buy parts and start working.
Dropped the heads off at the machine shop today to get resurfaced, I think a couple of the exhaust valves need to be replaced and or the stems and seals, is that a doable job for a shade tree mechanic? Everything other than that from the springs to the rockers look almost in new condition, nothing really looked worn out other than replacing a few leaky valves.
 

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You probably are OK with regards to the block, but what sort of straight edge are you using?

You can see me using one that is accurate to .001" in this video:

And, the feeler gauge -- what thickness are you using? .0015 is the thinnest most set have and that's what you should be using. There are numbers out there of "up to .003", but I would NEVER trust those, having seen my HG fail with damage less than that.

Now, I have done this ONCE too, so a neophyte as well. But I read and read and read. And looked at videos too. This blog by Justin Stoob is a great starting point:

https://allwheeldriveauto.com/subaru-head-gaskets-problems-explained-part-ii/
 

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Will do!





Dropped the heads off at the machine shop today to get resurfaced, I think a couple of the exhaust valves need to be replaced and or the stems and seals, is that a doable job for a shade tree mechanic? Everything other than that from the springs to the rockers look almost in new condition, nothing really looked worn out other than replacing a few leaky valves.
Let the shop take care of those valves stems and seals. You are not saving that much more money by trying to do this work yourself. They need to pull the head apart anyways to do their work, so why not let them take care of worn out valve stems and seals while its apart.

Your focus should be on make sure the block surface is prepped properly and the heads when they come back from the shop are ready for installation. I myself have never done this, but based on what I have seen and read, preparation, preparation preparation. Otherwise you'll be looking at pulling it apart again.
 

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Take your block to the shop and have them measure it. The block being flat is less important than the heads, but they can measure it for you. Let them measure your valves too.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Let the shop take care of those valves stems and seals. You are not saving that much more money by trying to do this work yourself. They need to pull the head apart anyways to do their work, so why not let them take care of worn out valve stems and seals while its apart.

Your focus should be on make sure the block surface is prepped properly and the heads when they come back from the shop are ready for installation. I myself have never done this, but based on what I have seen and read, preparation, preparation preparation. Otherwise you'll be looking at pulling it apart again.
Thanks for the info!
 
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