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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I have been told by Subaru that my head gasket is blown and it is the fault of the last mechanic for using the wrong coolant when replacing the water pump. Is this possible and if so, why is there not a caution or warning on the radiator cap? I had no idea the coolant was different from any other coolant. There is a warning in the owners manual, who reads the entire owners manual.
I feel Subaru should take some of the blame for not making this clear. It should be posted on the windshield when you buy the car.
Has anyone else had this problem? It's a $2100 repair, and I also now need a new radiator.$425
Thanks.
 

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The coolant Subaru used from my understanding was to stop external seepage from the 2.5 motors from about 1995 thru 2000 or so. If your head gasket leak is from the cylinder to the coolant, it is really not the antifreezes fault. When replacing a head gasket on these engine heads, a mechanic must be extra careful to use the correct torque sequence. I have seen some not use a torque angle meter to guess on the amount the bolt should be turned once it meet it preliminary torque setting.
The wrong antifreeze will not cause the radiator to go bad either.
 

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'good' mechanics are accustomed to looking-up the correct fluids for the many systems in the many makes/models of cars on the road. I believe your owner's manual will also have the proper fluids listed, unless some recall or TSB altering those was issued after the car was built.
 

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*** why was the water pump replaced? the water pumps in those motors rarely fail. one of the reasons a water pump is replaced may be overheating..suggesting this issue may have been present for the first mechanic and the headgaskets were already failing.

the issue isn't "coolant" - that car takes the same generic coolant every other Subaru did for decades prior to that.

the issue probably in question is that his motor required "Subaru Coolant Conditioner".

1. what is currently wrong with the car?
2. when the initial headgasket signs show up - often you can add two bottles of Subaru's coolant conditioner (just two small bottles at $2.50 each) to your coolant and that can stop an external coolant leak at the headgasket. sounds like it's too late for that though...

these motors start with a small headgasket leak externally that gets progressively worse over time. if you don't overheat them you can literally drive them well over 50,000 miles without every repairing the headgaskets sometimes as long as you keep topping off the fluid....they take awhile to get worse.

if the car overheated this bad then that suggests the coolant was allowed to get too low and the signs of external leaking were never seen. that suggests lack of attention to the motor as the headgaskets in these cars never fail immediately and all at once cause an overheat - it is always due to low coolant levels and is immediately remedied by refilling.

if it's an oil leak or you drove the car insanely hot then there's nothing you can do. if the radiator is ruined that suggests the car was severely overheated.....that's not a good thing. if it was overheated...blown radiator suggests it was...then that also means you now have a risk of rod bearing failure down the road.

those motors are prone to blow headgaskets, there is no quantitative way to determine if the prior mechanic or that common issue is to blame. few folks would take the bullet for a common issue, so i would be cautious to blame the other mechanic. it's easy for one mechanic to blame a prior.

when you buy an EJ25 you are saying one of a couple of things:
1. i'm okay with the risk of headgasket issues on this motor
2. i'm okay with the risk of not doing any research on this motor and therefore being clueless about potential issues.

Every manufacturer has good motors and trans and bad motors and trans. So if you don't do any research on the particular motor/trans...or vehicle for that matter, you are at the whims of chance. That's not a consistent way to buy reliability, no matter what manufacturer you go with. . Toyota, Subaru, Honda.....doesn't matter, they all have bad apples.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Gary, Thanks for the info. The water pump was replaced with the timing belt at 102K, the car now has 124k, has never once leaked or overheated. Oil was changed 3k miles ago pan removed no visible indication of a leak.
I am not blaming just hopeful of an intelligent explanation. The independent shop used the conditioner or additive. Subaru said it was the coolant used. It clearly states in the owners manual "Subaru coolant or equivalent".
Thanks
 

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wait - did Subaru say coolant or thermostat?

also, why was the pan removed?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Mr. Lucky,

Subaru said coolant, showed me the lime/yellow stuff. Then showed me the Subaru coolant (very dark green).All of the parts replaced by the independent were Subaru by the way. The pan with the nice padding was not removed I confirmed this. I had this done at 100K, I had 23K trouble free miles.
 

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Mr. Lucky,

Subaru said coolant, showed me the lime/yellow stuff. Then showed me the Subaru coolant (very dark green).All of the parts replaced by the independent were Subaru by the way. The pan with the nice padding was not removed I confirmed this. I had this done at 100K, I had 23K trouble free miles.
OK - undercover?

my mistake - I was thinking oil pan.
 

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Mr. Lucky,

Subaru said coolant, showed me the lime/yellow stuff.
just because Subaru says that does not make it true. i'm fairly certain "yellow" antifreeze is very common and routinely used on Subaru's.

a discussion and some information about Subaru coolant requirement (if it's true):
Subaru Coolant - ScoobyNet

Subaru statement from 04/2005:
"Subaru radiator coolant is a phosphate, non-anime kind made for aluminum radiators and engines and is the only type that should be used."

Pretty sure that comment holds no validity since it states all subaru engines, that's ludicrous.

From Prestones website:

"New Prestone® Extended Life Antifreeze/Coolant is compatible with ANY antifreeze/ coolant – regardless of color – for use in ALL makes and models of cars and light duty trucks. This patented formula provides a high degree of performance durability and carefully balanced protection against temperature extremes and rust corrosion of all cooling system metals, including aluminum. "

how do you determine who is right?

all that being said - if you're moving from here ahead - then sure, why not just use the Subaru if you have any inkling too at all. but looking back on your situation i find it very difficult to "blame" the coolant....particularly on a problematic motor that has vast headgasket issues even with all the proper stuff done to it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you. I have done a lot of research about this in the last 24 hours. Thanks for sending the links and the actual coolant used.
I contacted the dealership that has my car and I contacted Subaru America.
After having information and better understanding of Subaru's problem, I was able to talk to a nice lady who asked that I email her my service info. 30,60,90, and she would contact the dealer and see what they can do for me. I am crossing everything I have.
You knowledge of this is so valuable. Thanks again.
 

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All major oil companies are going to cover their a**es with statements. They do test the chemical compositions, just as they do with oils, to ensure it will meet or exceed manufacturer standards. If they state it meets a manufacturer standard, then it does. Example, GM requires Dexos or equivalent and holds the warranty against usage. Mobil 1 synthetic is Dexos compliant. Subaru does not make the coolant. They buy it from the oil company and slap their name on it.
 
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