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Old 02-01-2012, 10:39 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Head Gasket Oil Leak/Replacement Cost

Hi All,

About 3 months ago my mom's 2006 2.5 Outback with 102K miles on it began leaking oil. Not a lot, but enough that you could smell it burning off of the exhaust. Having had the oil filter leak in the past at around 60k, my dad performed an oil change using OEM subaru parts thinking it may remedy the problem.

After the oil change the car has continued to leak oil. Since the car is approaching 105K, my mom took the car in to have the timing belt replaced and also asked them if they could locate the leak.

The shop just called us and said that the car is leaking oil from the head gaskets, rear main seal, and oil pan. To replace the timing belt/waterpump, front cam & crank seals, head gaskets, and rear main seal, we were quoted $4200!.

First off, does it seem reasonable that the car could be leaking from all of these places? It only has 102K miles, and has never been overheated. I know the older 2.5's like the one in my 2000 Outback had weak headgaskets, but I haven't found much information about the 2005+ models leaking.

Second, does $4200 sound reasonable? We brought it into a reputable shop who has been servicing all of our cars for some time and they have always seemed very fairly priced at $70/labor hour. It only cost me $700 parts included to change the timing belt on my Jetta 1.8 last year.

Thanks in advance for your wisdom!
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Old 02-01-2012, 11:11 AM   #2 (permalink)
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It seems oil leaking from the HG's is not uncommon on that era. That price does seem a bit high but it depends what it includes to a degree.

It should get timing belt, water pump, tensioner and all idlers. Yes all of those if you want it to make it another 100k. Do not neglect the idlers!

It should get new genuine head gaskets, and for that price it should include valve clearance check+adjust (they pretty much need to do that anyway if replacing HG's), valve cover gaskets, front cam seals and crank seal.

Could ask for a quote showing the breakdown of parts vs labor cost to see how much they are figuring for each in that $4200. Still sounds high though.
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Old 02-01-2012, 11:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the advice,

I am going to go in and ask for a parts/labor breakdown and drive it over to the dealership for a 2nd opinion.
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Old 02-01-2012, 11:55 AM   #4 (permalink)
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$4200 is way high for repairs on a car only 8 years old . And 100000 miles to boot . I'd take else where. For prices I have seen for belt redo and head gasket fix about half that.

You see more Subarus being sold cheap (and in the scrap yard than ever before) because of this issues and the related cost . Who wants to pay almost Half the value of car ? I would trade it .
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Old 02-01-2012, 12:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The 2003+ models leak oil, the reason you haven't heard much about it, is because they are just getting to the age/mileage where its a problem. I would be money that in 5-6 years we're going to start getting reports of the 2010s leaking something too, its the nature of the beast, until they redesign the block, these cars are going to have HG failures.

The likelihood of your car having all of those issues is not impossible, but its pretty slim. Time for a second opinion. I was quoted $1200 to have the HG, oil pump re-sealed and timing belt done back in 2009 (I end up getting it done under warranty). And this was by the dealer, sound more likely that you have a dishonest shop than a bunch of problems.
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Old 02-01-2012, 12:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Where do you live? But regardless, $4,200 is very high for that job. You should be looking at around $3,000 at most. For this job, it would probably be best to have the engine removed. You might also want to consider changing the idlers, tensioner and pulley, fuel lines, etc. Still should be around $3,000.

Shop around and come back with questions. Most important, though, is to make sure the repairs are done correctly. Then choose the cheaper place, if you want to.

Good luck!
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Old 02-01-2012, 12:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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HG leak- possible.

Rear main- unlikely, but possible. These rarely leak on our cars.

Oil pan- very, VERY rare to be leaking.

Get another opinion.

But for a timing belt with needed parts (tensioner, pulleys, water pump, seals, etc) plus a HG job should run $3000 or under for my experience. I was quoted $2500 for a used car I was looking at, by a dealer, 3 years ago for the same repairs.
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Old 02-01-2012, 01:05 PM   #8 (permalink)
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What is almost sounds like is they quoted book rate labor for each job individually then added them up to get a high labor rate.

I.e. head gaskets let's say, 11 hours or something like that, (engine R&R)
Rear main seal, 7 hours, (another engine R&R)

But a lot of this labor overlaps, like engine is already out, shouldn't be charging you anything really for the timing belt labor since that comes off to do the head gaskets anyway, etc)
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Old 02-01-2012, 02:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AWDFTW View Post
Get another opinion.


^^^^^wisdom here
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Old 02-01-2012, 02:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thank you for all of the advice, it is on the way to the dealer for a 2nd opinion. Any suggestions for a good reliable shop that is familiar with Subarus in the southwest Michigan area?
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