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I bought a used 1998 2.5L Subaru that had the head gaskets replaced just before I bought it. Now 3,000 k on it since this job. Was done by a Subbie technician. I recently had the Subaru serviced with oil change, new brake and power steering fluid, now less than week after the service have a small leak (looks like oil??)....my fear is the head gaskets....but one would think they should be ok, as only put on 3,000 since replaced. Anyways, bringing it back to placed I serviced to see if they may have not tighten everything right during service. The leak may not even be related to the service so not sure. Before the oil change I did check the oil and dip stick was full through 2,700 miles of driving...so mystery here. Just hope not serious. Wonder if this leak would have shown up if did not have serviced? Any comments welcomed.
By the way, I also own a 2.2 L '98 Legacy, and it HAS NOT had the head gasket
woes...just cam seal replaced......better engine?
 

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I bought a used 1998 2.5L Subaru that had the head gaskets replaced just before I bought it. Now 3,000 k on it since this job. Was done by a Subbie technician. I recently had the Subaru serviced with oil change, new brake and power steering fluid, now less than week after the service have a small leak (looks like oil??)....my fear is the head gaskets....but one would think they should be ok, as only put on 3,000 since replaced. Anyways, bringing it back to placed I serviced to see if they may have not tighten everything right during service. The leak may not even be related to the service so not sure. Before the oil change I did check the oil and dip stick was full through 2,700 miles of driving...so mystery here. Just hope not serious. Wonder if this leak would have shown up if did not have serviced? Any comments welcomed.
By the way, I also own a 2.2 L '98 Legacy, and it HAS NOT had the head gasket
woes...just cam seal replaced......better engine?
They can leak again. It usually takes quite a few miles before it restarts, but it can happen.

The old 2.2L engine never had head gasket troubles. In that regard it is a better engine.
 

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less than week after the service have a small leak (looks like oil??)....my fear is the head gaskets
With the 2.5L DOHC engine, there are multiple common oil leak points on these engines, but it would be unusual for one to leak oil from the head gaskets.

Since you just had an oil change done, I'd look there first. Oil filters and oil filter seals leak. Oil pan drain plugs and crush washers leak. Take the car back to where the oil change was done and have them take a look ... then learn to do oil/filter changes yourself.
 

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i agree with RobLog on this, I am not a mechanic or expert on this but from everything i have read on the Phase I DOHC engine like you have when the head gasket goes coolant goes into the main piston area of the engine and this is all internal you never see a thing.

The later SOHC engine which i think is 2000 on the outback is referred to as Phase II and I think from what I've read external leaks are more the problem with them.

If you bought the car from someone offering a warranty I would bring it back there first.
 

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take the car back to the xhop and see if they can identify the leak point. tell them the it is new and ask if everything is tight.

i was having my tires balanced and an alignment done one day and the guy said i was a qt low, should he ad a qt. i decided to just have the oil change, there was a coupon.

the next day i see oil dripping from my oil pan plug. the plug was ony finger tight. so take your car back and ask.

how do you know it is leaking? do you see the oil dripping off of the engine , or just the the oil stain on the drive way?

these engines will leak oil, but if a competent mechanic just did the head gaskets, i would think most seals were replaced. that's what i would have done. but if the guy was fixing on the cheap to get rid of it, all bets are off. he could have cut a lot of corners. did you buy it from an individual or a car lot?

ask what brand of gaskets was used? where did he buy them.?
if he says EBAY you may be in trouble. there are some really cheap gasket on ebay that are not worth the money it cost to ship them.

on the Phase I DOHC engine like you have when the head gasket goes coolant goes into the main piston area of the engine and this is all internal you never see a thing.
actually, the exhaust from the combustion chamber is ''forced '' into the coolant which eventually cause the engine to overheat once enough coolant is displaced or if a large enough ''exhaust bubble '' collects in the cooling system.

if the leak was going the other way, coolant into the cylinder, you would have white smoke out the exhaust pipe which i hear is common on other cars. not common, almost non-existent, on subarus.
 

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Did you use OEM gaskets - they have 3 layers while after markets do not so they don't seal as well. Since you said a subie tech did the work I'll assume followed the right pattern/sequence frightening the head bolts.

Do you know if the leak is from the same spot? Are ou burning oil too?
 

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If your tech replaced the head gasket without pulling the engine, I think that there is a much greater probability of repeat failure. I have done only one (passenger side) head gasket in-frame, and I was not happy with the technique, particularly I felt that my ability to torque the head bolts properly was compromised.

With that said, I would be surprised if the HG was leaking again so soon. I would have a look at the valve cover gaskets, and around the timing cover. If the guy did cam seals, and he should have, we could see a leak there, or around the oil pump.

I should mention that we did that job on a 'family' car that was getting a newer motor soon, as a deliberate quick and dirty attempt to get some more time out of the engine. We did not do HGs in-frame for our customers.
 

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It's completely possible, but I wouldn't expect it at such low mileage. It's even more probable if someone didn't mill the head properly. My bet (like the rest of these guys) is on a leaky seal somewhere. When the head gaskets were done, its possible that the mechanic didn't properly install the cam seals or caps. I would take it back to the place that did the work and ask them to look at it (check the oil filter / drain plug first).

I'd also like to add that if the tech didn't replace the oil pan gasket, or update/reseal the oil separator plate, the increased compression/oil pressure from HG job could cause you to blow an old seal. I'm currently kicking myself for not re-sealing my oil pan gasket..... :/
 
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