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Hi, gang. I just bought a very nice '01 Outback from my aunt for a great price. It has the 2.5 motor with barely over 100k miles on it, and the entire car has been meticulously maintained.

Now, it's no secret that these motors are prone to blowing head gaskets, and this was my number one concern when I bought this car. I'm going to be taking it to a dealership to replace the timing belt and the front brakes/rotors. My thought was (although the car runs great) that perhaps I could prematurely replace the head gasket, and in doing so, save myself from a hellacious hassle with the motor down the road.

What's the general consensus on this? How long do the gaskets last before their typical failure point? Is it worth the money to change it now, or is there a chance the gasket could model itself after Superman, and run for 250,000 miles with NO work?

Thanks in advance for any advice!
 

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The correct term is - the gasket which was used in 2000 - 2002 was prone to leaking externally. Before you go all crazy - have your local dealer run the vin and see if the Gasket was replaced already.

The early detection is driver side bottom corner of the engine block right after driving it. Any coolant weeping out of the gasket will drip off the bottom corner of the block and hit the hot exhaust after a few minutes all evidence is evaporated which is why many people never notice till they cook the engine ie get air in the cooling system. I never added any coolant to my 01 till this gasket started leaking at 65,000 miles. Subaru replaced the gasket - all they did was pull the head - clean it up and put the updated gasket on it. At 180,000 miles it was leak free and just fine when we replaced the car.

I would not replace the HG if it is not leaking! Key thing to understand the hands that do this replacement need to be skilled and know what they are doing or you'll have another leaky gasket possibly worse than the first one in a short period of time.
 

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As for brakes they generally run 60,000 miles or more and the rotors if they are smooth do not spend any money replacing them!! My original rotors were smooth up till 144K at which point they developed a very slight shudder. Local machine shop checked them and simply cleaned them up they had slight build up causing the shudder. At 180,000 the original rotors were fine. The stock pads were replaced by me every 65K or so never had any issues with it.
 

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unless it was leaking or been replaced, i wouldn't worry about the head gasket... had my replace around 85k,did the timing belt and water pump as well.... just replaced my timing belt and water pump at 195k in feb... the head gasket was still dry...just make sure you use that coolant additive every time you change your coolant...
 

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01 Outback H6 VDC, 97 GT wgn w/ ej22, 98 OBW w/ej22
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the 00 - 04 head gasket problem is rarely a sudden one. you will have plenty of notice if they start to fail. and if you were pulling the engine for whatever i would say go ahead and do it. but every mile you drive the car ''as is'' lowers the per mile cost of the car. doing the gaskets now just increases the price of the car.

about the timing belt, the dealer would not be my first choice for this. they will do good work, but the cost for doing a ''COMPLETE'' job is going to be high. parts are expensive. ($250 just for the idlers. plus the water pump, cam / crank seals and timing belt.)

a good independent shop and a quality timing kit from ''theimportexperts'' on ebay will be lots cheaper.

there is nothing magical about the brakes. as long as you use QUALITY parts they can also be done by a good shop.

back to the head gaskets, if they are seeping i might go ahead and pull the engine and do them now, along with everything else. but again, the dealer is going to be way high. i would find a quality shop that works on subarus and make a plan. but i would definitely use ''subaru'' head gaskets for the job.

FYI geusstimate for costs.
complete timing belt job = $750 - $1000
complete head gasket job = $1200 - $1800
brakes ???????

i suspect the dealer will be 25% - 50% higher.

IMHO
 
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