Subaru Head Gasket Repair In Bellingham, WA

Do you own a Subaru between the years of 1996 to 2010? If so, you probably have had head gasket problems or have heard of them. We will explain below what the problem(s) are and our remedy to the problem.

First of all, the first generation of the 2.2 liter engine in the Subaru Legacy had very little problems with Subaru head gaskets from 1990 when the Legacy was introduced- till 1995. In 1996, when Subaru introduced their first generation of the 2.5 liter engine, it was a double over head camshaft design and was used in the 1996-1999 Legacy and Outback- the head gasket was made of a multi layer metal gasket with a black coating on the surface. Over time, and during the constant expansion and contraction of the cylinder head and engine block, it wears on the gasket coating thus leaving voids in the gasket between the head and block, which causes compression from the engine gets into the cooling system.

This problem on the first generation on the 2.5 liter engine in very commonly misdiagnosed as a bad thermostat or a plugged radiator or water pump. We see many wasted dollars from people trying to fix the overheating problem. We can diagnose this problem in a few minutes by checking for exhaust gas in the cooling system and in the over flow bottle. The head gaskets usually fail between 100,000 to 150,000 miles.

The second generation of the 2.5 liter engine was a single overhead cam engine containing a single layer head gasket with a Teflon type coating- I'm not sure why they call this an improved design, but we can call it a design change. It also has design flaws, as this head gasket does not commonly blow into the cooling system, it leaks oil and coolant externally. After driving a distance and parking the car you might smell burning smell (oil dripping onto the exhaust), or a sweet smell (coolant leaking onto the exhaust) or both. This engine was produced from 1999 in the Forester and 2000-2009 in the Legacys and Outbacks. To this date, we have replaced failing head gaskets up to 2009 models, but we do have some GREAT news. We have a fix for both the first and second generations of the 2.5 liter engine!!


So what is the process of replacing the head gaskets on your Subaru' The first thing we do is remove the engine; We remove the engine for many reasons - to do the work properly, and replace or reseal the oil baffle on the rear of the engine. This is another common leak on most years.

We then remove the cylinder heads from the engine block and inspect them for flatness. We clean all mating surfaces and re-inspect all surfaces for any imperfections. We make sure the head and block have a 50RA finish or finer (the texture of the service) (We have seen other shops wizzy wheel the head and block that DESTROYS the surface and will cause oil and or coolant leaks prematurely. We then install the new "SIX STAR" UPDATED multi-layer cylinder head gasket, which is a huge improvement over the original Subaru head gaskets. The gaskets are comprised of multiple layers of stainless steel which provide increased resiliency and corrosion resistance. The outer layers of this gasket are embossed and coated on both sides with FKM a Flouroelastomer rubber based material. This FKM material is heat resistant to 250 degrees Celsius / 482 degrees Fahrenheit. The center layer is an un-coated embossed stainless steel layer. The updated head gasket is not available everywhere.

We then install the new gaskets in between the cylinder heads and the engine block and torque to the updated torque sequence. Then we install UPDATED spark plug seal and valve cover gaskets. At this time we replace the spark plugs if needed (it's much easier to replace now while the engine is out) Then install a new timing belt, timing belt idlers, water pump and thermostat, a/c and alternator belts as needed. If the car is a 5-speed we highly recommend in replacing the clutch while it is out of the car. It will save about $600 in labor than if it was done at a later date. Also, there is an UPDATED clutch and clutch release bearing that we have in stock. We then re-install the engine adding new oil and antifreeze. We then test drive the car for 10 miles and bring it back into the shop and recheck all fluid levels and inspect service performed. After the customer has driven the car about 500, miles we like to have the car back for complementary oil and filter change, we do this to re-inspect the work done and to adjust the new belts as needed.

All of our Subaru head gasket repairs are now covered by a Limited LIFETIME WARRANTY. This is unheard of in the industry. Come to Rod's Japanese Auto Care for the real deal and repairs that will last a lifetime.

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