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Old 02-22-2013, 05:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Labor Costs

OK, so I'm about to give the green light for a local mechanic (that came highly recommended by a friend) to go ahead and replace my head gasket on my 109k, 2003 Outback Limited Sedan.

He said he would replace the water pump, timing belt and head gasket for "around" $1400.

Question is..am I getting a good deal on this bundle or should I shop around for a cheaper price for the same amount of work?


The one Subaru dealer quoted the work at $1500 but I don't remember if they mentioned the added water pump and timing belt. I probably should call them back.
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Old 02-22-2013, 07:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Thats a very good price. I would make sure your mechanic uses Subaru parts......trust me .....its worth the extra money, and they fit perfectly...Sometimes aftermarket parts do not fit.......
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Yes - that's a decent price for headgasket/timing belt.
First:
1. If it's an external coolant leak - those subside almost %100 of the time with the addition of a bottle or two of Subaru's required Coolant Conditioner ($2.47 each at Subaru an it's required for that engine). Best to do a coolant change at the same time.

*** Which also means this conditioner should be added after a headgasket job.

2. Make certain, and not many people know this so you know to make sure it happens - to install Subaru EJ25 TURBO headgakets - if you install the headgasket the dealer gives you you'll get the same failure prone headgasket installed on problematic EJ25 engines, that makes no sense for such an expensive job. The turbo engines have zero headgasket issues.

3. Make sure they resurface the heads, there's no worries about them being cracked or warped but they always have high and low spots and should be resurfaced due to the existing EJ25 headgasket issues.

If all of that is properly done then it doesn't matter who does it. I'd certainly favor a highly recommended mechanic if they do the above which are specific to this exact engine.

The ebay (or other) kits for this engine are about $200 for the timing belt, all the pulleys, and the tensioner. Best to knock that all out while yo'ure in there.

$1,500 Subaru price is probably the headgasket only - and many dealers don't resurface the heads. I would avoid the dealer simply because if you replace the timing belt tensioner and pulleys the cost will be insane. Go with an independent shop you have a recommendation from and they'll install a more reasonably priced kit.

There are online Subaru vendors that are about %20 cheaper than the local dealers. Subarugenuineparts.com, Subarupartsforyou.com, liberty Subaru...and others. Some local dealers will match their prices if you ask.
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grossgary View Post
Yes - that's a decent price for headgasket/timing belt.
First:
1. If it's an external coolant leak - those subside almost %100 of the time with the addition of a bottle or two of Subaru's required Coolant Conditioner ($2.47 each at Subaru an it's required for that engine). Best to do a coolant change at the same time.

*** Which also means this conditioner should be added after a headgasket job.

2. Make certain, and not many people know this so you know to make sure it happens - to install Subaru EJ25 TURBO headgakets - if you install the headgasket the dealer gives you you'll get the same failure prone headgasket installed on problematic EJ25 engines, that makes no sense for such an expensive job. The turbo engines have zero headgasket issues.

3. Make sure they resurface the heads, there's no worries about them being cracked or warped but they always have high and low spots and should be resurfaced due to the existing EJ25 headgasket issues.

If all of that is properly done then it doesn't matter who does it. I'd certainly favor a highly recommended mechanic if they do the above which are specific to this exact engine.

The ebay (or other) kits for this engine are about $200 for the timing belt, all the pulleys, and the tensioner. Best to knock that all out while yo'ure in there.

$1,500 Subaru price is probably the headgasket only - and many dealers don't resurface the heads. I would avoid the dealer simply because if you replace the timing belt tensioner and pulleys the cost will be insane. Go with an independent shop you have a recommendation from and they'll install a more reasonably priced kit.

There are online Subaru vendors that are about %20 cheaper than the local dealers. Subarugenuineparts.com, Subarupartsforyou.com, liberty Subaru...and others. Some local dealers will match their prices if you ask.
EXCELLENT advice! Thanks. I will print out this info and show it to the mechanic. Hopefully he won't take it personally like I'm trying to tell him how to do his job! LOL
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