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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 2007 Outback 134K miles (2.5 SOHC manual) had dead cylinder with dropped valve guides. So it was either donate or try to fix myself. Everything went pretty smoothly more or less. Had heads machined, valves cleaned up and new valve guides installed. Bought Fel-Pro MLS Gaskets. After putting all back together, the engine runs nicely but coolant is leaking out of drivers side around the exhaust manifold gasket. Pretty clear that there must be an interior leak of coolant into the cylinder. This has been a big undertaking and I'm very discouraged. Spoke to Fel-Pro tech support and the guy said the surfaces need to look like glass for MLS gaskets. It may be that I didn't clean the block side well enough. (Also saw something about not using scotch-brite pads which I did). He also said I will need to purchase another set of head bolts as once the bolts are stretched, they're done. Seems I've heard lots of people reusing bolts but OK. Any advise here would be much appreciated. I assume I need to pull the head and see whats up. It's possible I damaged the gasket as it's not easy putting the heads back on with the engine in the car. I'll check the block surface for flatness which I didn't do either. Just cleaned it with lacquer thinner and yes, scotch-brite pad.
Thanks for any thoughts/advice you might have!
 

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2019 Outback Wagon 2.5i limited
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334 Posts
When I did mine, I did reuse my head bolts, but with some trepidation. A YouTube video that used as a guide helped me make that decision. I was following videos by Carey Holzman on YouTube and he really seemed to know his stuff. I used a razor blade to clean the heads and block, not scraping, but back dragging with the edge. That way, there should be no dragging. The other thing Carey mentioned was preoiling the bolt holes to help them turn in with no excessive drag. With the engine in the car, I don't think you'll be able to properly do that, but maybe you will figure something out. Pulling the engine seemed a whole lot easier to ensure a successful repair. I did have the redo the timing belt with the engine in the car (due to a bad idler pulley from Autozone) but that wasn't too bad at all.
 

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2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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26,859 Posts
I have read here of people putting gaskets on backwards, or bolts not tight / cross threaded.

engine is coming back out of the car.
 

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2005 OBXT Limited, VF37, STI intake, 5MT
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1,607 Posts
Try hard to visually ID the location of the coolant weeping. You can borrow a cooling system pressure tester to pressurize the system without running the car.

If it's not coming from the head-block interface, it's possible that an exhaust manifold stud has been run up into the cooling jacket.

Or the head was not torqued correctly for the second pass.

About the head bolts, the argument is "do not reused if stretched". The way it's intended is "do not reuse if stretched beyond service limits", but nearly no one has access to a bolt stretch checker, so they recommend replacement to be safe.

I've only had to use new head bolts less than 1% of the SOHC motor jobs I've done. As long as you stick to the rules while torquing, you're ok.
 
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