This is likely something you can do yourself if you have worked on engines before. Be very careful of the Haines book. Some of their instructions are just plain WRONG. I assume your 2001 is a non-turbo SOHC. If that is the case, you do not remove the camshafts to get the head off. The bolts are readily accessible. Forget about that TDC instruction. If you set the #1 piston to TDC, you could bend a couple of valves. You will be setting the crankshaft mark to the vertical position and aligning both cam marks as if you were setting it up for a timing belt replacement job. That sets all 4 pistons half way down in the cylinders. At that location, with the timing belt off, you can safely move the camshaft sprockets without fear of piston/valve collision.Hi everyone,
Yes, I'm new to posting on this forum, but trust me, I have poured over the threads and used this site on several occasions to fix my 2001 Subaru Outback, standard transmission, 2.5L SOHC 4 cylinder engine. Finally, at over 160K, my subie has developed the famous external head gasket leak. Yes, drivers side, rear. I have oil weeping from the seam, coolant in the back. Yes, I have strange odor. The coolant in my reservoir is still green but seems to be leaking more than the oil in my engine (which is not milky). I know what I need to do, the question is whether or not I can do it myself. I'm strongly inclined to try, but this would be the biggest automotive repair project I've ever tried. I've been studying these forums and reading and rereading my Haynes guide. My Haynes is going to be the step-by-step for my actions, specifically Chapter 2, Section 12 (Cylinder heads - removal and installation). Most of the instructions on this refer you to other manual sections, which I've spent the last two weekends just reading, looking and planning, and I think now is a good time to ask a couple of questions.
1) TDC vs. camshaft sprockets. Haynes instructs me to find Top Dead Center of the #1 cylinder by adjusting the camshaft pulley with a breaker bar while a compression gauge is in the sparkplug hole. I have a pretty good idea where this is already (the marks are still on the pulley from an earlier timing belt change), but I will run through the procedure anyways. I'm not really sure what to look for on the compression gauge though. Are there any play-by-plays out there for what to do exactly? Next I take off my drivebelts, then after a few other removals, Haynes recommends using a chain wrench to hold the pulley while loosening the crankshaft pulley bolt. I'm not sure about using a chain wrench here. Does anyone have any comments or alternatives? I feel like I'm going to have to wrench the heck out of the crankshaft pulley bolt. Correct me if I'm wrong, but if I get even ONE tick off of TDC I'm screwed here correct? Last question on this point, and I feel like I have a big knowledge gap here, but after removing the pulley and the covers and the timing belt guide, the next step is to "Turn the crankshaft and align the marks on the crankshaft sprocket, the left camshaft sprocket and the right camshaft sprocket with etc., " Won't this throw off my TDC? I'm hugely concerned about this, if you respond to nothing else, please advise on this.
2) Camshaft removal - after removing sprockets, valve covers, CMP, rocker arm assembly, tb tensioner/bracket, and dipstick Haynes says to remove the "camshaft end cap assembly" then "remove the camshaft carefully from the cylinder head so that the lobes do not nick the journal bores. Remove the camshaft oil seal and the end plug from the camshaft end cap assembly." Is this it? There are no diagrams, no photos. I'm just really vague on what to expect when I get in there, what it will look like.
3) Unforeseen difficulties - I'm planning on being methodical. In fact, I will be photographing EVERYTHING, labeling EVERYTHING with tags and I writing EVERYTHING down. When I'm done, it will be posted. Promise. I'm planning on having to buy some tools. Of course I'll need a torque wrench, spark plug remover, compressor gauge, chain wrench, and pin wrench. I have a wrench set, socket set, hammer (just kidding). I also plan on replacing the left/right valve cover gaskets, spark plugs and, of course, cylinder gaskets. I guess I'll need new cam seals too. I have some money for unforeseen expenses, I have a little time, a place to work. Is there anything else that I'll need that you can think of? Has anyone who has followed the Haynes (or Chilton. . .it's about the same) done this before and found out that something just wasn't covered properly? I want to get everything I need, then do this all at once. I want to keep this car running a while longer, I also want to learn about what is under my hood. Thanks for all your help.
The big problem with this job is the tight clearances. You can remove the nuts for the engine mounts and remove the dog bone mount under the airbox (top center at firewall area), and with a block of wood protecting your oil pan, raise the engine and move it left or right about 1-2 inches. That gets you some badly needed clearance to R&R the heads. The head bolts will have to stay in the head as you remove it since there is not enough clearance to get all of them to fully slide out. The same goes for re-installing them and you may need a 2nd person to help lift and guid the head back up into place. Doing it by yourself may cause you to scrape the heagasket with a bolt. It is not real straightforward. Spend a lot of time cleaning up the block and head mating surfaces using a very fine wire wheel and 400 grit paper. It might be worth having a machine shop check the heads and smoothing the surface.
It is also not necessary to completely remove the intake manifold. Once the intake manifold bolts are off, each side can be lifted high enough, either by a helper or a couple of heavy black rubber bungy cords. There are locating pins on the head that stick up (to locate the intake manifold gaskets), so you must lift to clear those when re-installing the heads.
Be sure to have a 14 mm 12 point 1/2" socket with 1/2" breaker bar for removal, and a 3/8" 14 mm 12 point socket along with various adapters and a torque wrench. The Haines loosening/tightning sequence is correct, but if you are doing valve lash adjustment, Haines is wrong (use your underhood label).
I just completed one on a 2001 that required a lot more work (i.e. bent valves), so if I am online, I'll try to answer your question. There are also many other knowledgeable folks here to give you good advice.