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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I was checking today a 1999 outback a friend wants to buy. The car was cold and when I inspected the coolant I saw some small (1mm) static bubbles in it, that were slightly lighter colored than the coolant. I didn't look at the coolant while it was running :S

How do the bubbles in the coolant look when the HGs are leaking? Do they stay in the coolant a long time? The owners said HGs were done in 2007, but they could easily be gone again.

Thanks!
 

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2007 Outback XT Ltd
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847 Posts
Most likely a head gasket has gone. If your buddy really wants the car, take it to a mechanic and have him check for combustion gasses in the coolant using an emissions sniffer, while the engine is running at full operating temperature.

If the test is positive, forget that car, or work the cost of a double head gasket repair, and possibly head replacement, into the deal.

Bubbles aren't necessarily a deal breaker, but they sure are a danger signal! Unless it was an especially cherry car and I was prepared for the hassles, downtime and expense of major repairs, I would look at other vehicles.

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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Could be something else but man the EJ25D in that car is not only a headgasket eater - is the most grievous EJ25D of all the 3 headgasket eating varieties to own. you want to do all you can to avoid not just the headgasket but a previously overheated engine - which replaced headgaskets suggests a high probability of overheating. when the EJ25D overheats - the first sign is immediate and random overheating, regardless of coolant level...so they are often run hot before it's ever caught...causing future lower end bearing issues. the later EJ25's give lots of warning with external leaks, etc and don't overheat until you run out of coolant and then are fine as long as they are filled.

if you're worried they do sell kits to test for exhaust gases in the coolant - the proper, and only, consistent headgasket test for that motor. though i've seen them pass that test even on ocassion.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies.

My buddy went back to check it today and bubbles could only be seen when looking with a torchlight. He's going ahead and checking it at a dealership.

Let's see what happens!

ricardo
 

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"checking it at a dealership"....i wouldn't put any faith or value in that unless they test for exhaust gases in the coolant. they must do that test, at the very least. find a mechanic that will do that test.

i also wouldn't want the car until you verify Subaru headgaskets were installed when the work was done. you don't want aftermarket gaskets on that engine.
 
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