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2010 outback. base 2.5
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Discussion Starter #1
Being a new Subie owner I get a little nervous looking at the HG issues. It looks like the majority of HG failures occured from around 1996 through 1999. But some have reported issues all the way up until 2007. Does anbody know if Subaru has change the gasket and/or the head to prevent this from occuring in the newer models. I have a 10 OB with a 2.5i and my son has a 10 Impreza with the 2.5i
 

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2010 OBW limited 2.5 CVT
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Ther have been several updates to the gaskets over the years that have reduced the failure rate. The big question is if they updated the engine block to allow more support for the gaskets.
 

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05' OB 2.5i
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pgh said:
Being a new Subie owner I get a little nervous looking at the HG issues. It looks like the majority of HG failures occured from around 1996 through 1999. But some have reported issues all the way up until 2007. Does anbody know if Subaru has change the gasket and/or the head to prevent this from occuring in the newer models. I have a 10 OB with a 2.5i and my son has a 10 Impreza with the 2.5i
I havent seen a HG failure after 2004 on many suby forums. There are a few here and there, probably due to overheating or lack of proper maintenance.
 

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2009 2.5i, H4, Auto.
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842 Posts
For a 2010, all indications are that the only way you'll have a head gasket issue is if you do something to your car to cause it to blow. It won't do it on it's own.
 

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I simply cannot abide useless people.
2006 2.5i and 2002 3.0 wagons.
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awd-gg said:
is the HG issues only on the 2.5 H4 engine? the H6 (3.0 or 3.6) affected?
I think I've heard of 2 H6's that had HG issues. Ever.

So they are a good bet if the slight MPG loss is fine with you.
 

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'09 Outback SE, '20 Chevy Bolt EV
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325 Posts
AWDFTW said:


I think I've heard of 2 H6's that had HG issues. Ever.

So they are a good bet if the slight MPG loss is fine with you.
Similarly, HG issues are pretty rare for any 2.5L newer than 2002 or so. (While 2004 is a generational barrier, a fix went in for HG issues in 2002.)

As I understand it, the HG failure mode was different in 1999 and earlier than it was from 2000-2002. 2003+ vehicles are OK.

Obviously any vehicle can have a headgasket failure, so yeah, I'm sure 2003+ vehicles have had the occasional failure, but with statistical probability similar to that of any other "non-problematic" vehicle. The problem was that 2000-2002 and 1999-earlier were almost guaranteed to fail eventually.
 

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2010 Forester 2.5i Premium 4AT
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Entropy said:

Similarly, HG issues are pretty rare for any 2.5L newer than 2002 or so. (While 2004 is a generational barrier, a fix went in for HG issues in 2002.)

As I understand it, the HG failure mode was different in 1999 and earlier than it was from 2000-2002. 2003+ vehicles are OK.

Obviously any vehicle can have a headgasket failure, so yeah, I'm sure 2003+ vehicles have had the occasional failure, but with statistical probability similar to that of any other "non-problematic" vehicle. The problem was that 2000-2002 and 1999-earlier were almost guaranteed to fail eventually.

There are reports coming in that 2005-2007 are still blowing HG. As well there is recent report that HG been updated for 2010.
 

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2014 2.5 Outback Premium CVT 72,000 mi (previous: 2012 OB 2.5 base 6-MT, totaled at 73,532mi)
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A dealer told me he's starting to see 2010's over 100k at auction with blown HG's. He also had an 06 he wanted to sell me, so I'm ready to ignore his statement. Probably some Toyotas in there too with blown HG's, you never know the cause.

Anyway, I decided to get a brand new OB, in part to get the most miles possible before a HG blows, and partly because the used Gen 4's are so crazy expensive. If it holds on to 100k, I'll be happy. I'm budgeting now for the repair; if I save $250 a year for 6 years, that should cover it at the rate we rack up miles. I'll save twice that much in repairs just getting rid of my old cars.
 

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I own 4 Subarus. A 95,97,02 and a 14. The first two are 2.2 and the last two 2.5.
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I've seen a lot of comments like this on various forums. I'm convinced.

i work on subaru's all day everyday and i dont think the hg problem has been solved at all, maybe the newer subies are a little better but they do still leak. i've seen plenty of 06' and 07' with accumulated miles come in with external leaks already. from my experience, most suby with about 90k will start to show leaks.
 

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2006 Outback Wagon 2.5i 5spd MT Atlantic Blue Pearl
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When I bought my 06 OBW used, the previous/original owner had the head gaskets replaced...I think it was at 90k miles? It was one of the few instances I had heard of for a gen 3 OB to have the HG replaced.
 

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07 2.5i
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The 2.5 headgaskets are definiteley different for 2010 & later. On a Subie, they are easy to see and there are small tabs of HG that stick out.

The HGs on my '07 are single layer.

The HGs on my brother's 2011 Legacy appear to be multi-layer.

I don't know if there are any differences in the block or head design.
 

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The multi layer gaskets were used as early as late 2001 the difference lies in the head vs block mating which a couple of people have dug into the physical engine and head design of the 2010's and newer and note that the block and head design has been tweeked a bit and resemble a similar mating set up seen in the WRX turbo engine which is known for being pretty good regarding no HG failures.

It's important to know that the 2.5 engine has seen lots of little tweaks over the years to improve it everything from larger exhaust porting- little changes in the block design and head design - different tuning for a flatter torque curve - even the technology regarding treating of the internal parts for added durability and heat resistance auto industry wide has changed in the past couple of years.

If you have some time to do some reading and find things like metal treatments interesting - go do some digging. Recent years discoveries have been made and are in use today regarding high temp metal resistance and super cool discoveries regarding the use of various elements and treatment processes that have greatly improved engine components regarding durability and heat tolerance.

So comparing the 2.5 to past years especially the early days 99-2006 can't really be done to the 2.5 currently sold in the OB and legacy. The improvements in manufacturing the little tweaks to block and head design and the advanced metal treatment ability used now makes it a very different engine than just a few years back. Does that mean we won't see any HG failures? No it doesn't but it does mean that a properly used and cared for car will probably have a far far lower chance of having a HG failure compared to older 2.5 versions of the engine.

HG failures happen for all sorts of reasons the most important thing to know about very short very stiff and compact heads which the flat engine designs have - is that they are far far more resistant to bending or warping compared to your standard strait 4 type engine. Which means that #1 the flat horizontal engine design by its nature is simply stiffer and there for less prone to failures like HG failures than a less rigid more bendy and flexible strait 4 type engine. Aircraft engines are not flat horizontal designs by mistake - durability and strength are critical in 100% reliable strong engines for planes of course they are over built beyond what we have in the Subaru engines but the concept remains the same. Shorter more compact heads and blocks plus crank shafts supported in multiple locations create a far far stronger engine with less flex and wear than much cheaper easier to build strait inline engine designs.
 

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HG failures happen for all sorts of reasons the most important thing to know about very short very stiff and compact heads which the flat engine designs have - is that they are far far more resistant to bending or warping compared to your standard strait 4 type engine. Which means that #1 the flat horizontal engine design by its nature is simply stiffer and there for less prone to failures like HG failures than a less rigid more bendy and flexible strait 4 type engine.
Sounds good in theory, but doesn't hold up in practice.

In my own personal experience, 2 out of 2 Subaru H4s had leaky head gaskets before 100K miles: my old '99 Outback just prior to 100K (internal leak) and my current '07 Outback at 71.5K (seeping oil).

I have owned 10 vehicles from various other manufacturers that went over 200K miles each. Only 1 of those had a head gasket leak, and that was at at 172K miles.

Subaru has problems with head gaskets. There is no question about it, read all the stories right here and in other Subaru owner's forums. This is the 21st century, we should never have to pull a head off of an engine with less than 100K miles on it.

Our minivan is due for replacement next year. My wife wants another Outback. The '07 was Subaru's second chance after a series of major engine problems with the '99. It is going to be a lot harder for Subaru to convince me to buy a third one.
 

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2004 Subaru Legacy sedan, 5 speed, 35th anniversary, 129,000 miles. Mobil 1 every 5000 miles!
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My '04 Legacy with 130,000 miles on it, had a head gasket failure last month. It was leaking about a pint of coolant onto the pavement overnight. Fortunately for me, since I work in an auto shop as a detailer, I was able to get the whole job done for $1800, including all new engine gaskets, spark plugs, and a clutch. Since they pulled the engine, I saved all the labor on the additional items.
 

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Update on my brother's 2011 Legacy (2.5, non-turbo engine) that I mentioned above: head gaskets are seeping oil at 28,000 miles! He will bring to to the dealer for the 30,000 mile service to have them look at it and at least document it.

Why can't Subaru get this right?

That's 3 for 3 for myself and immediate family. Only way I will buy another one is if Subaru gives me a free extended warranty to at least 150K miles.
 
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