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2008 Outback 2.5
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8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I had my recently acquired 2.5 in to the dealer to have them bleed out the power steering after replacing the gasket; the power steering is doing great now. They indicated that the head gasket is an issue and not knowing the interval or when the most recent TB was replaced I got a quote for that.

They wanted $600 for the TB and $2500 for the head gasket.

These seem rather high to me... what are your thoughts on the pricing from a dealer standpoint and a trusted 3rd party price that I should expect? I don't really have the time nor desire to do this, though I feel comfortable enough. I am thinking $300-350 for the TB and $800-1200 for the head gasket. Is that unreasonable? Also, it has been quite a while since I have dealt with a head gasket... I don't have to deal with the TB just to do that, anyhow, do I?
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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12,385 Posts
Price depends what they're doing. As listed timing belt *only* and headgasket *only* the prices are too high.

The timing belt has to be removed in order to replace the headgasket. So if they are upcharging $600 to replace the timing belt while doing the headgasket they are literally making $550 (belt costs them $50) for absolutely zero work.

The $2,500 should include the new timing belt.

Headgaskets are usually $1,800 give or take $500 and depending what all they're doing - are they resurfacing, new timing belt, cam seals, valve cover gaskets?

1. ask your dealer if that includes resurfacing the heads, the timing belt, pulleys, and tensioner?
then it would be a good price.

Headgasket job for me would include:
Subaru headgaskets, resurface the heads, valve cover gaskets, new timing belt pulleys and tensioner, cam seals, reseal the oil pump.

Dealers often don't resurface the heads (which is a very poor choice) and they don't typically replace the timing belt pulleys, which fail just as often, if not more, than the belt itself.

A well versed Subaru specialist would resurface the heads and replace all the timing components, not just the belt. This is the norm with someone that knows that engine well.
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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12,385 Posts
*** Also you should not replace the headgasket just because they said something.

You have ZERO symptoms and they're quoting you $2,500 = this doesn't sound right.

1. check your oil level after 1,000 miles and 3,000 miles and let us know how much you're using. very often slow leaks aren't even perceptible - it's just a drop here or there and benign.

2. Get pictures of the underside of the heads and post them here - we can tell what's going on.

A very small weep/seeping of oil is nominal and not a big deal. These headgaskets, if they start to leak, slowly get worse. They don't catastrophically fail and leave you stranded.
 

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2006 Outback 2.5i Auto
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418 Posts
My dealer told me the headgaskets needed doing when I took it in with a brake caliper that froze on the way to work (dealer was close to the point where it became undriveable, and on a bus route to work). They quoted me $2750 for the job (just after I'd done time timing belt and pulleys myself). Two years and 12k miles later, I'm still not losing any oil or coolant.

They also quoted me $2500 to replace the struts. Again, haven't done it yet, although that's getting towards necessary.
 

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2008 Outback 2.5
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8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I didn't indicate zero symptoms (I just omitted it). There is a bit of oil consumption and I get a hard start (like doesn't start on several attempts although everything turns over and sounds like it should) occasionally; it happened twice yesterday and once a couple of days ago and my daughter has had it happen once. There are some other things to check out, but there is something going on.
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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12,385 Posts
Starting issues are not related to headgaskets.
Oil consumption is not related to headgaskets.

Oil "leaks" - could be, but not consumption. Valve cover gaskets are the most common oil leak points, so check those first and then investigate that "drip" in the photo - is that not oil, or residual from cleaning, or oil...?

The valve cover gaskets in those engines almost always need replaced at some point, as do the spark plug tube seals, they get replaced early and before 100,000 miles all the time, very common.

Starting issue:
Read check engine codes
Check spark plug tubes for oil on the spark plugs due to spark plug tube seal leaks (very common)
Plugs (OEM/NGK only) and wires (OEM, NGK, high quality only) would be first check.
Vacuum leak
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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26,859 Posts
swapping in a brand new OEM PCV valve solves many a oil consumption problem.
 

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2008 Subaru Outback 2.5i
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17 Posts
Hi there, fellow 2008 Outback 2.5i owner here. I actually had to do this way early, even by 3rd gen standards, at only 80,500 miles!

Its true that this will EVENTUALLY become an issue, typically close to or at 100k. Since mine started going earlier than expected, I had the full 100k maintenance done. Heads re-surfaced, timing belt itself, valve seals, pullies, tensioner, the complete package.

My mechanic is also a buddy of mine, and it so happens his shop specializes in ONLY Subaru vehicles. With that said, the complete and total overhaul was quoted to me at $1879.00. Now, is that what I paid for the work? No, not even close, but again, he's a friend of mine. That's what you might call "street price". And even then, the quote he gave me on paper for that dollar amount is WAY lower than what you're being given for just the heads and timing belt only.

It seems like a bit of a ripoff, if I'm honest. Especially if the heads themselves aren't leaking yet.

EDIT: Its also worth noting that I didn't have ANY of this work done until I had fairly blatent symptoms, including low coolant levels, accompanied with a "sloshing" noise behind the firewall in the cabin. Sure enough, I burped the coolant, and the oil started dripping fairly quick from the driver side head. Then (and ONLY THEN) did I decide it was time to get the big service done.
 

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2008 Outback 2.5
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985 Posts
You have to remove the timing belt and valve covers off anyway when doing a head gasket job so you should only be paying for the parts. The pulleys, tensioner and (optionally the water pump and thermostat) takes a few more minutes of labor so if a shop charges you the sum total of the individual jobs, you are being taken advantage of. If you know your prices and costs, $1879 is a pretty reasonable cost with the understanding that the shop will have to guarantee the installed parts and the labor to replace anything that fails, although that's unlikely.

Again, you shouldn't have to do the headgaskets on a 3rd gen 2.5i unless the oil loss is significant enough to measure between oil changes or if the oil leakage is annoying enough to make you want to have it done (like having it get on the exhaust and smelling up the car). The typical symptom is a slow external drip of oil, not an exhaust leak into the coolant or coolant into the oil. If that is happening, you need to replace it soon.
 
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