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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everybody just got a new winter beater and I figured this would be a good place to ask some experts about it. Picked up a 1998 outback 2.5l with 172k miles for $600 last week from an old lady. Drives great I’ve already put about 400 miles on it with zero problems, doesn’t smoke, tick, not a drop of oil under it, etc. Didn’t come with any service history but the sticker by the radiator cap says timing belt was done at 154k in 2016. My question is, I hear the ej25d’s had internal head gasket leaks, Is there a pretty good chance they’ve already been changed since it’s made it to 174k? It’s not my only car and even if it blows up next month I only paid $600 so it’s not gonna break my heart or anything, I’m just curious how long I should expect it to last. Really just bought it to save some miles on my truck.

P.s - Feels good to be back in a subie, I had a bugeye Wrx back in Highschool and I missed how well they track in the snow.
 

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When a Subaru head gasket starts to fail you typically get a small coolant or oil weep from the rear of the engine on the drivers side.

Subaru’s do not typically have a catastrophic failure from a head gasket leak. If a head gasket leak does develop simply keep the coolant and oil topped up and drive the car.

Please remember this is a 20 year old vehicle AND it will require regular routine maintenance AND regular (probably monthly) oil and coolant checks to ensure its reliability.

Seagrass
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ok I’ll keep an eye on the coolant and oil levels. My Wrx was only 5 years old when I had it and it drank oil like an alcoholic so I’m well aware of subies and oil lol, I think that was more the turbo seals tho.
 

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HI, as you noted, this has the INTERNAL leak not the external leak of the Phase 2, SOHC EJ251/3 engines.
  • You won't get an external leak to tell you. But you will get a fluctuating temp gauge - it SHOULD ALWAYS be just below 1/2, and check your coolant overflow/reservoir bottle for oil and 'bubbles'. Also, look where the block and heads mate and you can sometimes tell if the gasket is new or been changed....read up on 'how to' as I'm not the expert.
  • Go to mycarfax . com and setup a free account. Add your VIN and under 'Service History' you'll see all the maintenance that was submitted by dealers, mechs, etc. It doesn't give you any owner or accident history like a $$ carfax, but it might tell you about HG and other maintenance items.
  • Speaking of which, if the shop that did the Tbelt is on there, I'd call 'em up and see what kit they used. The pulleys can fail regardless of the belt. If they didn't replace all the pulleys, 'idler', and belt, I'd be concerned. It's an interference engine.
  • The Phase 1 EJ25D/ 2.5 has a pretty poor reputation in the Subie community - mostly due to the HG. I treat them like a maintenance item. By 125K you're on borrowed time, IMHO. Usually they go, overheat the engine, coolant gets into the crankcase, which causes the rod-end bearings to wear prematurely and then you get rod knock or a rod thru the block.
  • My .02 is that due to extended maintenance intervals the HG go prematurely. If owners changed their coolant more often and did regular oil changes it would help reduce (not eliminate) HG failure. The flat-4 design just doesn't do the HG any favors.

GL,
Td
 
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