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2001 Subaru Legacy 87kmiles, 1981 Honda Accord in Storage, 2000 Saturn SW (junk - just tightened loose transmission bolt so reverse now works), 2002 Honda Odyssey - great car transmission headaches t
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

Its been awhile since my last post. Since then I sold my '98 outback and got an '01 legacy (hopefully thats okay to post here still).

I bought the 2001 it at 37kmiles used. It now has 87k miles. I started smelling coolant and oil burning smells occasionally. I believe this car is the SOHC EJ25 engine.

When I last changed the brakes I noticed the coolant reservoir was down about halfway (never been low before).

I jacked the car up and went underneath - see attached picture (may need to zoom into see comments on picture.

I see a very small oil leak and then towards the driverside rear crankcase cylinder I see a sort of gupe type stuff. After being confused what this was..I now believe this is the "Subaru Cooling System Conditioner (aka radiator stop leak)" attempting to plug the leaking coolant. This stuff was added by the subaru dealer with the original owner on the campaign recall thing they did.

So it seems like the cooling system conditioner did its job - subaru seemed to warrant cars to 100kmiles maybe for this reason.

My questions are:

1. Probably due to change the timing belt (was going to ride it out awhile longer- is it worth it now to change the timing belt and the head gaskets?

I know quite a few people that have gone 120k, 150k without changing the timing belt with no issue so I am not too worried about a failure there although the car is now 11 years old.

2. How long can I limp along with it like this if I watch coolant levels? I have heard some people say you can go another 30k miles if you keep a jug of coolant in the car.

3. Is there risk of coolant and oil mixing due to a failed head gasket on the SOHC engines? I read on other boards the SOHC EJ25 only leaks externally. I did check the engine oil dipstick no frothing or anything so I am assuming no water in engine oil?

3. I am estimating $2000-$3000 to do waterpump, tensioners, idlers, timing belt and headgaskets; worth it for a car this age? It has definitely been more maintenance than other cars I have (brake anti rattle clips sticking, warped rotors, eating tires, etc).

Thanks everyone for the help. This site has saved me many times on these types of concerns.

I hope my post can help others.

Henry
 

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2003 OBW 2.5L 4EAT
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I bought my 2003 Subaru Outback with about 120K miles on the original timing belt and gears as well as the original headgaskets. I already knew these had to be done when I bought it, and ended paying $2500 for both headgaskets (get Cometic gaskets) and head machining, timing belt, tensioner, idler pulleys, spark plugs, wires, transmission fluid & filter, Differential fluid change.

In my case when I talked to the mechanic after the work he showed me that my old tensioner was leaking and the timing belt had started cracking and the headgaskets had most of the black sealant material gone on the bottom portion. (I was lucky the timing belt or the tensioner hadn't completely failed) I would definetly get the work done as soon as possible if you plan to keep the car in your case.
 

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my 2001 Subaru replaced the driver side gasket which is the one that commonly starts weeping coolant that was done at 65K subaru covered it out of warranty I bet they will share the cost with you.

At 180,000 miles the car was leak free and I needed more space and sadly sold it. Fantastic car and far far more enjoyable to drive then my 2010 OB which is a fat 1970's style floating turd going down the road.
 

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2001 Subaru Legacy 87kmiles, 1981 Honda Accord in Storage, 2000 Saturn SW (junk - just tightened loose transmission bolt so reverse now works), 2002 Honda Odyssey - great car transmission headaches t
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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the input PerformanceSuby and subiesailor!

Good point about the timing belt - I am hearing the tensioner tap a little on the plastic casing when it is cold but goes away once I drive it a little. $2500 seems like a good price for the work.

I checked the coolant level in the overflow and it has gone down about half an inch in 2 weeks - kind of want to throw more "coolant conditioner" in and see how long it will last..

@subiesailor - you inspired me to inquire with my local subaru dealer to see how much for the work and I included my VIN with the hope they may offer to share the costs? I think it maybe too late though because the warranty was extended 10 years or 100k miles and I am here at 11 years on the car at 87k, Will keep you posted.

The 2010s are definitely are much bigger and the styling is slowly growing on me but I could see how the large size could affect performance. Although I was eyeing the 2012 "previous daily rental" on sale for $20k. I just can't believe how expensive Japanese cars (used or new are now)
 

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01 Outback H6 VDC, 97 GT wgn w/ ej22, 98 OBW w/ej22
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i would fix repair and drive it. you know the history of this car / engine and trans. and if the fix is $2500 what quality of used car could get for that money.

regarding the timing belt, replace it and everything it touches. the interval 105k miles or MONTHS. it was due at 9 years. you are past due.

i wish the underside of my engine, any of them, looked that clean.

fix it.

or sell it to me for $500.
 

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2001 Subaru Legacy 87kmiles, 1981 Honda Accord in Storage, 2000 Saturn SW (junk - just tightened loose transmission bolt so reverse now works), 2002 Honda Odyssey - great car transmission headaches t
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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks canubaru - Appreciate that you thought the engine was clean - really love the car and do as much maintenance as I can myself. Just did rotors and pads on he front. Had to revisit a sticking brake rattle clip that scraped a nice groove in one of my new discs - strange things like that unnerve me :(

Hey I notice you have a lot of Subarus (I am jealous, wife would never allow it), do you find thats cheaper than keeping one relatively new one?

if I do the HG/timing belt work, you think the engine/transmission will last for 30k+ or do more issues pop up?

I know $2500 is cheap compared to a new/used car but I am concerned about more issues down the road (from the internet, the common issues on these seem to be check engine lights/sensors, catalytic converters, wheel bearings, bushings, and I already replaced alternator).

It seems these don't wear as well as the '80s/early '90s models. and I got a bit spoiled from my old Honda which all I ever did was oil changes, brakes and transmission fluid.

I must admit I saw a 2005 camry with 55k miles for $11k and was thinking I could just sell the subie and get that. Kind of a boring car but seems headache free. With kids/family, just not much time for working on the car at the level these need.

I got some snake oil salesman type from the dealer looking to contact me about HG service tomorrow- will see how that goes.
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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If it's only leaking a tiny amount of coolant, add a bottle of conditioner immediately. Three paths you can take:

1. (easy) Add one bottle of Subaru conditioner right now and see what happens.
2. Best to drain the coolant and add two bottles, but that's more work and you might not be able to do it yourself.
3. Best of both worlds - add a bottle now and if it works, then replace the coolant and add two bottles of conditioner.

**** This is not true of all EJ25's but it is true of your particular generation - you could drive that car another 50,000 - 100,000 miles without doing any headgasket work if you keep adding coolant and oil. 2000-2004 (and some 99's) EJ25's tend to get worse very slowly and they *do not* overheat unless they are run low on coolant, and oil/coolant mixing is never an issue on any EJ25's unless the thing is just flat abused.

If you keep them from running low on oil and overheating they easily make 200,000 miles, so yes this car is worth it. Make sure you change the transmission fluid/oil before 200,000 miles though!

If you do have the headgaskets replaced install Subaru's EJ25 Turbo headgaskets. If you let Subaru replace your headgaskets now you're simply installing the same failure-prone headgaskets that failed in the first place.
 

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2001 Subaru Legacy 87kmiles, 1981 Honda Accord in Storage, 2000 Saturn SW (junk - just tightened loose transmission bolt so reverse now works), 2002 Honda Odyssey - great car transmission headaches t
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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks grosgary!

Thats sort of what I thought, the leak is so minor but I was worried about coolant and oil mixing. Just not sure about the nature of this failure.

I have a "Scan Gauge II" installed in the car that tells me coolant temp. It sticks around 182-186degF and goes as high as 202-206degF going up hills and when the fans kick on.

I know I need to do the timing belt too; I have changed timing belts on a few Front Wheel Drive cars before and it was a pain but the belt always looked new when I pulled them off and with this car at 87k miles I kind of want to wait till 100k and do it all (HG and timing belt).

I am pretty good with the basic maintenance so a cooling system change and the conditioner is pretty easy. Can I use standard coolant or is it some special stuff?

I figure I can get the Subaru cooling system conditioner off amazon or somewhere?

By the way, here is ALL I got from my local california/bay area Subaru dealer for the work:


On 10/2/2012 9:23 AM, C******** G***** wrote:
> into touch in regards to your email sent got a timing belt etc repair est is $2751.00 plus tax, without water pump est $2500.00. I checked on line, all warranties have expired for this vehiclehave eneded. hope the est helps
>
 

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If it's only leaking a tiny amount of coolant, add a bottle of conditioner immediately. Three paths you can take:

1. (easy) Add one bottle of Subaru conditioner right now and see what happens.
2. Best to drain the coolant and add two bottles, but that's more work and you might not be able to do it yourself.
3. Best of both worlds - add a bottle now and if it works, then replace the coolant and add two bottles of conditioner.

**** This is not true of all EJ25's but it is true of your particular generation - you could drive that car another 50,000 - 100,000 miles without doing any headgasket work if you keep adding coolant and oil. 2000-2004 (and some 99's) EJ25's tend to get worse very slowly and they *do not* overheat unless they are run low on coolant, and oil/coolant mixing is never an issue on any EJ25's unless the thing is just flat abused.

If you keep them from running low on oil and overheating they easily make 200,000 miles, so yes this car is worth it. Make sure you change the transmission fluid/oil before 200,000 miles though!

If you do have the headgaskets replaced install Subaru's EJ25 Turbo headgaskets. If you let Subaru replace your headgaskets now you're simply installing the same failure-prone headgaskets that failed in the first place.
Actually Goss the gaskets subaru used as replacements were not the same type of gasket that caused the leaky issues so your a little off there. The gaskets subaru used on these were the multi layer metal gaskets pretty much the same deal used on the turbo engines. They were not replacing the faulty gasket design with the same faulty gasket - I know because I was one of the many who had it done and the car never had any issues again 180,000 miles when I sold the car with no HG issues.
 

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I think the WWP-99 "recall" (I think that's the right number) only covered for 8 or 10 years and 100k. However, my '02 was not included in the recall and after some conversations with SOA - they agreed to help pay for 1/2 the price. (I ended up not going this route though.)

Just as another data point for you - my driver HG started to weep lightly around the same mileage as yours, i waited until about 120/125k (oops) to pull the engine and and do both HG's and all the timing belt goodies (seals, etc).

By that mileage the coolant weep had turned into an oil weep, but I kept the fluids topped off and there weren't any issues.

Someone figured out what 'stop leak' product Subaru was re-labeling and using, but you might as well just get it from the dealer, I believe it's only a few bucks.
 

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Actually Goss the gaskets subaru used as replacements were not the same type of gasket that caused the leaky issues so your a little off there. .
you'll have to prove that with some pic's, links, part numbers, i think you're just guessing. got part numbers, links, pic's, how many of these have you personally worked on? it's not something to guess on or make anecdotal comments about.

*** Key issue - the headgaskets are failing all the way up until 2009 (at least) - so you can't possibly say the newer headgaskets are fine, google and every subaru website proves that incorrect.

for instance - this place shows some pictures about the SOHC EJ25 headagaskets which are subpar:
Subaru Repair Seattle, Subaru Service Seattle - Seattle Subaru Repair

subiesailor;464550 I know because I was one of the many who had it done and the car never had any issues again 180 said:
plenty of folks that have never had issues or have had multiple gasket failures, one experience is nearly meaningless. i'd have to write a book to relay all the different EJ25 experiences i've had...some with original headgaskets at 285,000 miles and some that have failed multiple times.
 
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