Did they fix the old head gasket problem in the 2010+ model? New problems? Honda CRV? - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #1 of 48 (permalink) Old 12-08-2011, 12:17 AM Thread Starter
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Did they fix the old head gasket problem in the 2010+ model? New problems? Honda CRV?

Thinking of trading my '03 Outback 2.5 4spd auto with 115k miles. The head gaskets are starting to leak oil AGAIN and I am getting the all too familiar whiff of coolant that the dealer continually denied for the last 6 years or so. Other than the leaks, half shafts and some really cheesy rotors I've been happy with the car.

What can I expect with the new model? Did it retain the home mechanic servicability? New problems? I'm also considering a Honda CRV based on Subaru's refusal to admit any head gasket problems in the previous models but I'm sure they have their own issues too.

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post #2 of 48 (permalink) Old 12-08-2011, 12:29 AM
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Thinking of trading my '03 Outback 2.5 4spd auto with 115k miles. The head gaskets are starting to leak oil AGAIN and I am getting the all too familiar whiff of coolant that the dealer continually denied for the last 6 years or so. Other than the leaks, half shafts and some really cheesy rotors I've been happy with the car.

What can I expect with the new model? Did it retain the home mechanic servicability? New problems? I'm also considering a Honda CRV based on Subaru's refusal to admit any head gasket problems in the previous models but I'm sure they have their own issues too.
The 2.5 your talking about has seen lots of little tweaks over the years. 2000-2002 subaru had a bad gasket design which leaked externally just coolant. 2003's saw some updates better exhaust porting and slight changes to the HG and heads. The new 2010 and newer 2.5's are based on the original design done in the 90's with several generations of tweaks. Far FAR superior exhaust porting and no doubt the HG deal has been sorted out as much as any engine is going to see regarding HG. My 01 ran hard for 180K and was sold with zero leaks and running great even with the hard life it had towing boats etc. The new 2.5 seems just as good and far superior regarding cooling capacity a flatter torque band and better exhaust porting. The 2.5 isn't going to get any better than it is now given the replacement engine has been designed all new ground up design unproven and probably shows up in the OB in 2013 time frame. Then we get to see if the new totally different engine design has any quirks.

Very happy with the new ob 2.5 with the CVT is fantastic my last 2.5 was with the 5spd MT given the old 4spd AT was lousy. CVT is the best thing Subaru has done for the 2.5 hands down. Tows great - keeps the engine in the sweet spot at all times etc.

As for Honda vs Subaru I'll take a $1500 head job on the subaru any day over a $6000 engine rebuild in the strait 4 in the CRV - not to mention a part time partial AWD system which is only slightly better than FWD doesn't really seem worth it which case you might as well look at the New Ford Escape and the direct injection engine given your getting a very respected platform which sold in Europe for several years under the name of Ford Kuga. Fun cut Ute and makes the CRV look really REALLY boring.

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post #3 of 48 (permalink) Old 12-08-2011, 07:47 AM
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like he said they have fixed the "old headgasket" problems, but i wouldn't call them "perfect" or up to the standards of old 80's EA/ER platforms and early 90's EJ/EG stuff.

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and no doubt the HG deal has been sorted out as much as any engine is going to see regarding HG.
i don't think this matters or is significant (definitions of that vary) but headgasket leaks are occurring in 08's and 09's, so what qualitatively happened in 10? i think it's probably very rare, but i don't know that 10's will be completely problem free. probably really low percentage and probably not statistically significant when compared with any other platform that will have some kind of low percentage failures. i doubt it's statistically significant, but only time will tell.

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post #4 of 48 (permalink) Old 12-08-2011, 11:53 AM
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Since 2010 in the OB/Legacy, not the forester or impreza, they switched to a Multi Layer head gasket. This is the type of head gasket that had been used in the turbos and H-6's for years and they had minimal problems. In fact the part number for the head gasket now is the part number for the STI head gasket a couple years ago which brings up a second improvement. The old 2.5 blocks were open decks which had minimal engine block reinforcement and under hard conditions the cylinder walls could flex or move which put extra wear on the gasket. The STI gasket is not designed for an open deck but a semi closed deck which has extra reinforcement. So now we have a better head gasket and better cylinder head. If that cylinder head and gasket can survive 305hp I don't think we'll see hardly any problems at 170hp and no excess turbo heat and pressure.

In 2011 the Forester got the new 2.5 and the impreza was changed for 2012 with the new motor as well. Frankly I'm happier with the old 2.5 design since its proven to be reliable and we have the best head gasket setup to date for it.
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post #5 of 48 (permalink) Old 12-08-2011, 12:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for replies. The updated gasket and cylinder bracing are what I was mainly looking for. If I can at least get over 100k before the gaskets start to weep I won't complain. I always chuckle when people mention the so called improvements they made in the 2003 model because mine has pretty much leaked coolant and or oil since about 15k and has been babied by my wife. The head gaskets were replaced under warranty, a so called head "fitting" was tightened and it's on the 5th round of coolant with "conditioner" (aka stop leak to the old timers). The first time they told me about "conditioner" I thought it was a joke. "Stop leak?! Really?! Thats your best solution?" That was my biggest complaint about the car. Other than that it's been smooth sailing. I always rave about the ease of maintenance. Now hopefully the cvt will hold up...

I only mentioned the Honda because they have always had great fit and finish and I haven't heard many complaints. The Ford sounds intriguing but frankly it's tough to beat Subarus package of size, awd, mpg, price, reliability and safety.
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post #6 of 48 (permalink) Old 12-08-2011, 01:19 PM
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I only mentioned the Honda because they have always had great fit and finish and I haven't heard many complaints. The Ford sounds intriguing but frankly it's tough to beat Subarus package of size, awd, mpg, price, reliability and safety.
Being a long time Honda owners Myself, You can never go wrong with Honda when it comes to reliability. The only complain I have on Hondas in general, cabin noise, High Rev engine, and they last forever(you end up driving an old car forever!!!!)
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post #7 of 48 (permalink) Old 12-08-2011, 01:48 PM
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Being a long time Honda owners Myself, You can never go wrong with Honda when it comes to reliability. The only complain I have on Hondas in general, cabin noise, High Rev engine, and they last forever(you end up driving an old car forever!!!!)
I drove an 81 Civic wagon for almost 19 years. Except for needing a waterpump every 35-45K, it was very reliable.

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post #8 of 48 (permalink) Old 12-08-2011, 01:56 PM
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Just so everyone is on the same page the hondas and toyotas of the past very simple over built light weight vehicles are things of the past. A good family friend just spent $4500 having his CRV engine being reworked and he's a motor head type synthetic everything etc the basics of it Honda is no different than Subaru or Toyota or even Nissan when it comes to these sort of things now. However Honda has a very poor attitude and very expensive parts when it comes to people saying their car broke given Honda still likes to think their cars don't break ie stink etc. LOL

Toyota went through this same attitude adjustment in just the past couple of years and seems to have become a little more humble about stuff not being handled right.
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post #9 of 48 (permalink) Old 12-08-2011, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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I concur about the Toyotas. Notice I didn't mention a rav4. Listen to the piston slap in my tundra on a cool morning or look at the frame rust and you might agree. My 98 s-10 zr2 was holding up as well or better than the tundra at the same age. I was hoping that Honda was one of the last extended reliability holdouts.
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post #10 of 48 (permalink) Old 12-08-2011, 06:32 PM
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CRV is fine but styling is polarizing. The newest '12 model defines the popular term "junk in the trunk".
The '11 and earlier models look like a whale with an under bite.
May not matter to most but I only see females driving CRV.


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