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1999 Outback limited 30th Anniv.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 1999 OB was bitten by the headgasket bug.


One of my friends with an earlier Subaru had the same issue.


I am now looking at a H4 2008 OB. By the 2008 MY Outback are the head gasket issues finally behind us? The car in question is at 90K on the ODO.


Thanks.
 

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My 1999 OB was bitten by the headgasket bug.


One of my friends with an earlier Subaru had the same issue.


I am now looking at a H4 2008 OB. By the 2008 MY Outback are the head gasket issues finally behind us? The car in question is at 90K on the ODO.


Thanks.
HG can be an issue on any vehicle especially if over heated. A 08 with 90k. Take the vin# to your Subaru dealer have them check for recalls. Air bag etc. Ask them about maintenance history ie dealer visit location, mileage date. I discovered two rolled back ODO cars doing this while looking for a car for my dad.

As for the 08 they can have a weepy HG which involves oil not coolant. They can be driven a long time on a leaky hg as long as oil level is kept up.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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27,165 Posts
2008 may leak oil from its head gaskets, like any 2000-2009 plain H4 outback. but still it is a good year.

08 limiteds had VDC, standard on all 2009.

some people have gone a whole lot past 90,000 on original head gaskets in those, and some are just slow livable oil leaks.

(1996-99 EJ25D were the worst engines the company ever made. = coolant leaks, quick melt downs,.
..quick fix is a EJ22 out of a 1995 automatic = those had EGR and a drop in).

_______

and it is 2 years before the CVT crap. (and their 100,000 warranty,...= not helpful if there is more then 100,000 miles on the ones you are looking at,....= unless the thing was fixed already. = torque converters or whole reman'd transmissions from Japan).
 

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2008 Outback 2.5
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999 Posts
Yup, at 138k mine went. Far more important to get ready to change the timing belt. There is a good chance the HG will fail but the failure mode is a slow, light weep of oil that only leaks to the outside. It can go months or years before it gets noticable on the dipstick between changes. There is also a possibility that it will never happen but a pretty good probability that it will. Just save your pennies for the day it happens and you'll be good for another 8-10 years before the next timing belt job and probably never have to worry about the HG again if you had to replace it once. Just be sure to use an MLS (multi layered steel) gasket.
 

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06 Outback 2.5i
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442 Posts
Yes, but as others had said, it's not as catastrophic as the prior generation HGs. The failure is oil seeping externally. Mine was leaking onto the oil filter around 145k. It would drip on the exhaust. I smelt it at stop lights or when reversing. It was more of annoyance than anything else.

The 2010's saw a MLS (multi layer steel) HG from the factory, which is the generally known as the style of replacement HG you want for the 3rd gen outbacks. Our 3rd gens have a coated single layer. Over time/miles, the coating wears away, starting the leak. That's what happened with mine.

The 2013's saw a semi closed deck design, which, the theory is will reduce vibrations between the cylinder walls and the HG and help reduce failures even more.

EDIT: You might just want to do both the timing belt and HG all as one job. I'm kinda out of the loop on shop prices as I do my own work, but if a shop will do a HG+timing belt job for 2k vs 1k for the timing belt alone, it might be worthwhile. Or might not. You probably have 30-40k before the HG even becomes an issue. However, the timing belt is due now. Timing belt replacement interval is 105k or 7 years whatever comes first and the car is over 7 years old... And you want to replace all the idlers/pulleys.

EDIT2 105 months, not 7 years.
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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You might just want to do both the timing belt and HG all as one job. I'm kinda out of the loop on shop prices as I do my own work, but if a shop will do a HG+timing belt job for 2k vs 1k for the timing belt alone, it might be worthwhile. Or might not. You probably have 30-40k before the HG even becomes an issue. However, the timing belt is due now. Timing belt replacement interval is 105k or 7 years whatever comes first and the car is over 7 years old... And you want to replace all the idlers/pulleys.
Entirely correct, except that it's 105k or 105 months (8 years 9 months), not 7 years. But the point is well made that any 2008 is now certainly overdue by the calendar, if not by mileage.

Note the labor to change the timing belt is almost entirely contained within the head gasket labor, but you may have to ask around and talk to people about this to get such a discount. My indie mechanic offered this without me asking, along with replacing the water pump and a torn CV boot - all I paid for all of these extras was materials.
 

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2018 Subaru Crosstrek Limited w/Eyesight
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193 Posts
On my 2008 Outback Limited, I started to get the dreaded HG oil leak at 130k. Took it to the dealer and had the head gaskets replaced. I laughed when he said we’ll see you at 260k. Well, right at 220k, it started to get the leak again.

Whatever new head gasket they have decided to use as OEM, hasn’t really fixed the issue. And it’s not like you get a break on doing this, say while trying to do the timing belt. They are two separate repairs.


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2018 Subaru Crosstrek Limited w/Eyesight
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193 Posts
If your shop told you the head gasket and timing belt are two separate jobs, they're taking you and your bank account for a ride.


So rather than commenting on what you don’t know, maybe you should read a little better. At 130k miles, the timing belt has already been replaced, being completed at 100k. Hence it would be two separate repairs. At 220k, the timing belt has already been replaced again at 200k, hence another, separate repair. Not sure where you learned to read, but you might want your money back. Game, set, match.


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