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Discussion Starter #1
Little back story: My daily driver is a 2001 Outback Wagon that I picked up last year, nicknamed "Bruce" (a Top Gear Aussie vs UK reference) by my 3 year old son when given a couple of options. It has high miles (bought it with @213k, currently @236k), but has been reliable. I've put a bit of money in to keep it going: (Head Gaskets & Timing Belt were done by previous owners within the last 50k miles) Tie Rods ends, driver's side axle, front brakes, struts & shocks, new tires, oil changes, etc.

So last Wednesday we finally paid off my wife's Outback (an 01, LL Bean) - and sure enough that evening the hydraulic tensioner failed on my car while leaving work (1/2 mile from my office and 16°F + wind). I had it towed to a friend's shop - and ordered up a complete timing kit from RockAuto... praying everything would go well (generally not my luck).

Well - he got back to me last night. He couldn't get a good check on the heads prior to putting the belt on (too much fuel from trying to re-start it previously).... so he popped in the new tensioner and belt, and it fired back up, albeit poorly - as it was only running on the left cylinders. Pressure check still failed on the right head. Must've killed some valves when the belt let go... :mad:

After doing a fair amount of reading and research, I think I'm going to go ahead and replace the head, as I've got an awful lot into this thing to dump it - and it has little value in non-running condition. The problem I'm running into is locating a good replacement for a decent (yep, I'm "cheap") price. There are left-side heads seemingly around every corner... but the right is far more elusive.

Now... the 01 OBW has an EJ-253, right? I'm feeling a bit confused as to what cross references for heads would fit...

Will this head fit? 99 02 Subaru Legacy Impreza Forester Right Side Cylinder Head 2 5L SOHC | eBay they list the same year Legacy, Impreza & Forester.

Would these also fit? 05 2005 Subaru Impreza 2 5L SOHC Cylinder Heads EJ253 | eBay They are listed for a 2005.

Any additional info would be very helpful... trying to get this whole thing sorted quickly!
 

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Neither of those heads show as fitting a 2001 Outback base when you plug that model into their compatability link. I have no idea why. We have a company here in Clearwater Florida that rebuilds heads and also stocks a lot of heads for other manufacturers. They are called Clearwater Head Exchange. Normally, they just exchange heads so you can get up and running quickly, but the counter guy said that they don't exchange Subaru heads because of previous problems with different castings, even when the engine size is the same. He said something about holes for certain accessories or mounting brackets not being tapped in certain castings, and they have run into problems with some of their customers (usually mechanics) over this issue. So now, all they do is rebuild what you bring in and try to get it done in 4-5 days.

BTW, I had a tensioner retaining bolt break and 14 valves were bent on my Subaru. The cost to rebuild each head was $250.00 each which included all the valves, new seals, machining and re-surfacing the head. That might be the way to go if you have a good head rebuilder in your area.
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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Use the forester head right now, that's a great deal and same head. They are the same and that's a great price for having valve stem seals and being resurfaced too - I might buy it if you don't hurry up. (just kidding).

don't forget about: Car-Part.com--Used Auto Parts Market
a machine shop charges roughly $50 to resurface and $150 for a valve job....so as you can see that ebay head is a fantastic deal, i'm surprised actually.

you can use later heads as well - even ones with variable valve train components- your earlier engine/ECU just won't use that system and it'll function like a normal head.

though you can't go the other way around - installing a non variable valve head on a later motor, but that doesn't matter in your case anyway.
 

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oh - and make sure you use the EJ25 turbo headgaskets!! they are not prone to failure like the non-turbo gaskets that Subaru is going to sell you.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the feedback guys... I did check locally, and there are a few available on car-parts.com ~ but figured the reman would be a better deal.

I'm "this close" to pulling the trigger on the "Forester" head (the seller did confirm it's the correct fitment too). I believe the correct part number for the EJ25 Turbo Gasket is 11044AA610?
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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I will tell you like I tell my customers: I know what is best to do for long term life and overall cost savings. You know what you have available to spend.


Here's what I would do and I never go "halfassed".

Pull the engine, remove both heads, get both rebuilt with new seals, springs, refaced, valves and cleaned. Clean the block on a bench. Clean the intake manifold and injectors. Replace all block and head seals/gaskets using multi plate steel HGs.

You'll have an engine that will go another 235k miles.

Cheaper way to go: Pull the one offending head, rebuild it or replace with the correct head, use a single MPS gasket for the head and hope the engine runs even. The reason I say even is because when you have one reconditioned head and one used head with 235k on it, the old head will breath difficult in relation to the new head. Uneven air flow and fuel trim management equals loss of power output and unbalanced engine.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the gasket number and additional feedback/suggestions! I'm still on the fence about fixing this. I love it, but sometimes you just have to let them go...

Listed it as-is on CL for $1000 w/the new timing kit. If I don't get any bites in a day or so, I'm going to go ahead and fix 'er up (sorry, but probably the "cheaper" way per cardoc).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well. I did it. Sold the Outback tonight. Feeling a litte bad about "dumping" it like this... At least I still have my wife's 01 OBW LL.Bean to tide me over.

Thanks again everyone for your feedback & support!
 
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