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  #1  
Old 02-27-2014, 07:57 PM
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Blown Subaru head-gasket replacement cost

It's on my sister's car, 2002 Outback LTD 2.5L with 100k miles. Leaking coolant from the left cylinder bank, oil is clean, no mayonnaise, slightly rough idle sometimes. She was quoted $2100 to pull the motor, replace both head gaskets, water pump, and timing belt/tensioner. Up to $800 additionally if the heads need to be machined.

Is this a reasonable price for the work?

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  #2  
Old 02-27-2014, 08:11 PM
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Sounds about right to me.
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  #3  
Old 02-27-2014, 08:23 PM
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Sounds about right to me too. Paid $1500 for a head gasket job on my Landcruiser a few years ago. Straight 6, one head, engine in the truck.
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  #4  
Old 02-27-2014, 08:23 PM
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Yup. More than the car is worth, or nearly. That's pretty low miles for a Subaru.
Subies tend to leak to the outside, you can drive one a long time without your oil turning to Hershey's syrup. I don't know how many I've looked at that had slightly leaking HG's. No indication other than the telltale burnt coolant aroma.
My boy drove his for two years with a slight leak, long distances. He used to routinely add an additive that Subaru makes and it would stop it up for a while, and checked his coolant levels faithfully.
Wanna have sticker shock? Wait till her automatic takes a shlt.
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Old 02-27-2014, 08:25 PM
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Forgot to mention, there was a recall on those from that time period, early 2000's. Might be worth a dealer inquiry. I don't know if they're still honoring those or not.
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  #6  
Old 02-27-2014, 08:26 PM
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Is it green? Is there a Labrador Retriever involved?
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84 Euro 240D 4spd. 220.5k sold
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  #7  
Old 02-27-2014, 08:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elchivito View Post
Yup. More than the car is worth, or nearly.
Not even close -- didn't see a Legacy/Outback in the same condition locally for much under $7000. And the new Outbacks are bloated, obese PoS's.
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  #8  
Old 02-27-2014, 08:51 PM
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Ultimate Subaru Message Board

This was my favorite subaru forum when I was driving subarus.

I would use that forum to read about the job and maybe you can use it to find a mechanic to fix it.

I avoided the 2.5 engine for this very reason. That and it is an interference engine. There are a lot of details involved. Many seals, oil pump, water pump, tensioner, etc. Then you are good for another 120K miles.
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  #9  
Old 02-27-2014, 11:58 PM
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I have an '01 - just went through this last year. Engine had 160k on it.

It DID start leaking internally...after I was consuming and replacing coolant every 50 miles (every commute) after a few weeks of this (hearty motor) I'd get a cylinder misfire on startup..when I took it apart I could see where it was leaking.


I'd forget the dealer. If the car is more than 10 years old and over 100k they probably arent going to help you. Subaru's factory fix was to add 'coolant conditioner' - but new gaskets are better construction, reputed to last longer - after seeing the after and before I believe this.

my favorite indy wrench didnt even want the job. local $tealership quoted $1800. A friend with a subie dealer in Dayton OH said they'll do it for $1400 but that probably didnt include new timing belt stuff. the Dayton place wont pull the motor (it *can* be done in the car, but is a bit trickier, and you'd probably want a good lift, which I dont have)

I disagree with Elchivito - Outbacks with less than 150k are hard to find. And those that are cheap...need new headgaskets.

I did the job myself for $600 in parts and new tools (new lift, load leveler etc), but it took me most of a week and I shopped out the machining (not sure they were warped, I sent it out because I found a decent nick in mating surface...). I pulled the motor, took my time, cleaned things up, replaced a bunch of stuff....

a few people make gasket kits and timing belt kits and waterpump kits for this motor (so many of them fail...) - its kinda nice to get every gasket you'd want in a kit like that. These kits are commonly available at McParts or FCP Groton if you like them better.

Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums - also a great forum, AND has a whole subforum devoted to headgasket issues(!). the concensus was that subaru had the problem fixed by MY2003, but I'm seeing 2005's and 2006's with failed gaskets at the 150k mark.

Id say its not worth it, but the rest of the car just keeps going, and recent winter snows have not slowed me down a bit.

Keep the car - offer $2000 for the job and if they balk write them a check. I've done some work before, but this is not a small job if you take the motor out.

oh also, my car is an automagic - the 5-speeds are a bit more finicky to take apart (and I already know your opinion about automatic transmissions)

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  #10  
Old 02-28-2014, 02:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spdrun View Post
It's on my sister's car, 2002 Outback LTD 2.5L with 100k miles. Leaking coolant from the left cylinder bank, oil is clean, no mayonnaise, slightly rough idle sometimes. She was quoted $2100 to pull the motor, replace both head gaskets, water pump, and timing belt/tensioner. Up to $800 additionally if the heads need to be machined.

Is this a reasonable price for the work?
Yes
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  #11  
Old 02-28-2014, 03:57 AM
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Smile Just fix it!

I would have it fixed at a good independent. Those Subaru Outbacks sure are excellent cars.

I have owned 3 - a 1995 with the 2.2 motor (considered more bulletproof than the 2.5 at that time), a 2008 2.5i Premium, and a 2011 2.5i Premium. I am waiting to see what the new 2015 models restyling is like, it will be revealed in April. If I like what I see, then I may actually go and order one. I drive to Nevada a lot, and if you drive sensibly, you can make it through snowstorms, even bad ones. without tire chains. The AWD on them is simply wonderful.

ALL were wonderfully versatile, reliable, and economical, and I never had problems with any of them. Nothing.

And yes, used Outbacks are scarce, the nearby Subaru dealer where I bought the new '08 was amazed I was trading in my 1995, there was nothing the matter with it, save a small dent on the back fender where my dad accidentally backed up the '95 into a cement wall at the dentist's office.

He said they rarely get Outback trades, because the Outbacks are so good that most of them are not traded in, just handed down to other family members to use.
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  #12  
Old 02-28-2014, 07:36 AM
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99-2002s are routinely available around here for between 2500 and 5K. If the work is competently done and she plans to keep it long term it'd be worth it. If not she'll never see the money again. I always figure a mechanic's 2K dollar quote is going to turn into at least a 3K dollar check when all's said and done.
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  #13  
Old 02-28-2014, 09:21 AM
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I had a brief relationship with a '99 Outback last summer after I played Nascar with the 190D. Had bad wheel bearings (real bad) on right side when I got it. Also had a transmission slowly going bad. Had already had timing belt replaced and head gasket done.Thought I was good. Unfortunately somebody failed to replace water pump while they were in there so after a couple of months, water pump lunched and took head gasket with it. Sold it to somebody who had parts to fix it and I never looked back. And I will never buy another one as long as I live. I could not believe the rust on suspension parts. Somebody had cracked the steering knuckle on the right and there was a ton of rust on it. Enough that knocking off the loose rust it lost a good 1/16th to 1/8th of thickness of the metal and it really didn't have that must to lose.
We were trying to come up with a name for the car. Tried a couple of names but the one that stuck for me was the Knot, as in NOT a Mercedes. Every time I drove it it reminded me it was not an MB. No MB handling, no MB brakes, no MB ride, no MB engine...the list just went on and on.
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  #14  
Old 02-28-2014, 09:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elchivito View Post
99-2002s are routinely available around here for between 2500 and 5K. If the work is competently done and she plans to keep it long term it'd be worth it. If not she'll never see the money again. I always figure a mechanic's 2K dollar quote is going to turn into at least a 3K dollar check when all's said and done.
Not around here. NE US car prices are much higher than what you guys deal with, especially when dealing with desirable vehicles such as Subarus.
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Originally Posted by BobK View Post
I had a brief relationship with a '99 Outback last summer... ...the list just went on and on.
OK, so wait... your main issues were:

1) Some mechanic blew it by not replacing the WP, which is common-sense procedure.
2) The car was rusty (Ever seen a rusty MB? They just rust in different places, that's all.)
3) A 13-year-old Subaru with bad wheel bearings and a dying tranny doesn't drive as well as an MB.

Is that right? Doesn't necessarily look like the best set of reasons to hate Subies.
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  #15  
Old 02-28-2014, 10:09 AM
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Compare a '99 Subie with my one year newer C230. Well, ya really can't. Night and day difference. My '86 MBs don't have rust like that . Heck, my '76 that I just got rid of last year didn't have rust on suspension parts like that. What kind of iron are those guys using. Scary to think about 20 year old Subies running around ready to have the steering fall apart on the highway

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