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2007 Outback 2.5i
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Discussion Starter #1
2007 Subaru outback 2.5i potential engine failure 119,000 miles

I just bought 3.5 months ago with 114,500 miles on it.

This past weekend I was on a trip in southern VT, as I was climbing a hill out of Manchester I suddenly lost power, I pulled off to the side of the road and stalled out. Check engine light came on briefly too.

Got it towed (AAA) to where I was staying, then home (Chicopee, MA) the next day. OBD2 reader has error code P0302, cyl 2 misfire.

Monday I have work, so my dad installs new spark plug (ngk platinum) in cylinder 2, no change.

The dealer (Balise Hyundai) where I bought it from so far has actually told me to take the car elsewhere as it's not under warranty. Literally doesn't even want to look at the car they sold me. Though they did offer a bit of financial compensation, no matter where I get the car fixed.

The car just barely runs and will stall quickly at idle.

I get it to a local shop, they diagnose and find that cyl 2 has zero compression. My shops guess is anything from a bent/broken valve to broken camshaft/drive shaft.
They figure at least a head disassemble/replacement ($2,000) if not a full engine replacement ($3,000+).

My dad thinks it could be a burnt/stuck valve or that the timing belt skipped/jumped, thus resulting in bent/broken valve.

What are your ideas?

What other info can I provide/do you need?

I've opened a claim with SOA but so far am having no luck in getting a good service history. thus they likely won't be able to help (if they were able to at all).

Please HELP!

Thanks,
Zack
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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Timing belt is due at 105,000 miles. Was it replaced?

Sounds like timing slipped and bent valves. I would think the timing belt needs looked into.

If it is bent valves - buy a set of used head (or head if you just need one) and install that. You can get a used head for only $100 or so (i bought complete sets for the last two valve bent jobs i did - $100 for one set and $175 for another including shipping...both would have worked on your engine).

Headgasket replacement is about $1,200 at a dealer, independents can be less if you can find one familiar with Subaru's. So you should be able to come in around $1,000 - $1,500 tops even if you have to replace the heads with used ones. Valve/heads have almost no issues so there's really no worries about getting a good used head with low miles.

The headgaskets are where the issues lie. Your engine has headgasket issues - so rather than installing the same problematic headgasket it has - you want to install the EJ25 TURBO headgaskets, a far better product all around than the original headgaskets on your vehicle that are prone to leak.
 

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2003 Outback, 5 MT, 134K, HG changed.
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Sorry to hear of your ordeal and the bad service you're getting from the dealership. My guess is that Hyundai dealer got your Outback as a trade in and was more than happy to dump it on you, without knowing any history on it.

Your car is well passed the timing belt interval of 105k miles on it, so it could very well have skipped a few teeth under the load of going up a mountain, and perhaps caused some valves to hit cylinder 2. This could possibly explain the absence of compression in cyl 2 now. But that's just a guess. It's hard to ascertain without more poking and prodding.

Also, how was your car towed? Flatbed, all 4 wheels on the ground, two wheels trailered? What transmission do you have? There's a certain way a Sube and its AWD needs to be towed.

edit - grossgary beat me to it; what he said :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I'm aware of the towing needs of my subie, my wife has a 98 forester. Always towed on a flatbed.

I thought that the 04-05 and newer engines were supposed to be less prone to head gasket issues? My wife's forester needed the headgasket @155,000 miles and has been great since. But it cost us 1600 from a small local subie shop to get it done, and that was 3 years ago.
 

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I'm not sure head gaskets are what caused the jumped belt and bent valves (if that's what the actual problems are), but since they will be taking the head off anyways, might as well take the other head off too and put better gaskets in (either the OEM turbo gasket or a 3rd party steel multi-layer one). The service center might be tempted to put another OEM single layer + graphite gasket in again. Don't let them!
 

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I'm not sure head gaskets are what caused the jumped belt and bent valves (if that's what the actual problems are), but since they will be taking the head off anyways, might as well take the other head off too and put better gaskets in (either the OEM turbo gasket or a 3rd party steel multi-layer one). The service center might be tempted to put another OEM single layer + graphite gasket in again. Don't let them!
Unknown history Subaru won't touch it regarding any sort of help or assistance on the repair cost.

As for the gaskets just use the proper OEM gaskets the old problematic gaskets were fixed years ago and haven't posed any sort of major issue.

My guess is that the car was overheated by the prior owner driving it hard in hot temps with bad oil etc and you have internal engine damage which surfaced during your trip.

Buying used cars from dealers is like playing Russian Rullet you have zero idea what you might get and one out of 6 could be a shot to the head. My rule for used cars are only purchase from private owners - original owners or second owners with full car maint history records from the dealer etc.

If a dealer can't or wont give you the maint history on a car sitting on their lot don't even bother getting your check book out keep looking!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yeah I don't think its the head gasket either I just figure since they'll be in that far they may as well replace the one in there
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Its looking less and less likely that there is any sort if service history on this car.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
If the timing belt slipped a few teeth wouldn't cyl 4 be affected too?
 

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Lawn ornament XT
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If the timing belt slipped a few teeth wouldn't cyl 4 be affected too?
That's been on my mind since I started reading your other thread about this incident. Belt slips usually affect the crank pulley, putting the crank out of time with all cams. It *could* have gone the other way, putting one cam out of time with the rest of the engine, but that feels a lot less likely.

I'm not sold on the idea of a blown head gasket yet. My own experience is that when an HG goes there will still be some compression- maybe not much, not enough for stable idle, but at least measurable on a meter.

The newer engines don't seem to toss HGs as often as the older ones, but then they are only starting to get old enough to really prove this either way.

On the other hand, maybe it's "just" a burnt exhaust valve or a broken cam.

You need to open up the timing gallery and see if everything is still in sync, and pay close attention to the tensioner & idler pulleys. After that I'd get the valve cover off and see what's up with the valves on #2.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I might try to open the valve cover tonight, the mechanic stopped there because he was having trouble with two of the bolts. And I will take a look at the timing belt too. Either way it looks like its going to one of the two local shops that usually specialize in subies.
 

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I thought that the 04-05 and newer engines were supposed to be less prone to head gasket issues?
All EJ25's have headgasket issues. Failure modes, headgaskets, and repairs vary depending on which of the three main variety EJ25's you have.

05+ are more prone to external *oil* leaks at the headgasket and get worse much quicker than 00-04 SOHC EJ25's.

As for the gaskets just use the proper OEM gaskets the old problematic gaskets were fixed years ago and haven't posed any sort of major issue.
don't think that's true, do you have some part numbers, pictures, etc?

if Subaru fixed the headgaskets years ago then 2009+ EJ25's wouldn't have leaking headgaskets - but they do. pretty sure the gasket he buys will be the same gasket that's currently failing on his car.

*earlier* EJ25's do have an updated headgasket part number (ending in 610) that is notably more robust, i have bought many of them. But his 2007 does not have an updated gasket.

conclusion and what many folks (even Subaru engine rebuilders) are doing that do this job all the time: use the EJ25 Turbo headgaskets on all SOHC EJ25's.
 

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2008 Subaru Outback 2.5XT, DDM HID 5000K, K&N, Yokohama Avid TRZ, Curt Hitch, Subaru All Weather Mats, Sirius
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Discussion Starter #14
no thermal issues, or any any other issues were noticed before or during this issue.

i do have one torn CV axle boot, passenger side, recent looking but the axle is still engaged and intact.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
allright so, been busy getting called into work and having to stay extra double secret late to work on stuff so i haven't had a chance to look at the car. so tomorrow it's going down to People's Auto in Somers, CT. they did my wife's 98 Forester headgasket 2.75-ish years ago and did a great job (the car is still running!) and at a decent price ($1600-ish.)

hopefully there is a loyalty discount....

but either way i at least trust my car is about to be in better hands then my own for a hopefully brief period of time.

i'll update this thread as i get more/better info.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Update!

so finally got an update yesterday.

bad valve guide. it appears as though the engine got pretty hot at some point (i'm guessing before i bought it, i watch the temp gauge) and the valve guide finally let go, so far it sounds like the valve didn't slip far enough to actually hit the piston, but i know that it's a possibility.

part of the reason the update took so long: mechanic nicked his finger pretty bad (like lost a chunk) doing something, not likely while working on my car.

i should have the car back the middle of next week.

estimated cost: $2100
 

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sounds like the valve didn't slip far enough to actually hit the piston
probably doesn't matter if it did actually. valves are $20 and it has to all come apart for the valve guide replacement anyway, so no extra work. piston damage is highly unlikely based on your description so far.

estimated cost: $2100
used engines can be had for $1,500 Car-Part.com--Used Auto Parts Market
(then sell your engine for $500 to recoupe some costs)
or
you can buy a used low mileage head for $150.

those are two other options that would be less expensive.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
So I can spend $1000 more on a used engine or just let what's being done happen and get an engine that's being returned to like new?

The machine shop is checking both heads since they're out of the car, how is this different then buying a used head and getting that checked over?
 

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...
The machine shop is checking both heads since they're out of the car, how is this different then buying a used head and getting that checked over?
The only reason I could see for getting used heads would be if your car had previously overheated enough to warp the heads, but since your car didn't have a head gasket failure, this may not be a concern. Other than that, I don't see something like replacing valve guides as a big deal.

It's probably better peace of mind if you just let them rebuild the heads you have already, and know that they have been revitalized when they're finished. Otherwise, you can stick on some used heads with unknown history and keep wondering if they too will let go without notice.
 

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Not trying to speak for Gary, but I think his comments make a lot of sense in the context of doing the work yourself. As you are paying a shop, I think you are on the right track with your current plan.

Obviously not cheap, but the car you'll get out of it should be grand.
 
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