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Discussion Starter #1
OK let me start by saying I am not a car person and know very little. With that said yesterday while getting my oil changed the dealer told me my HG was leaking oil and it was dripping on to the exhaust. Looking back I can say I did notice a smell off and on for a week or so.

The thing is when I talk to some people who know cars better they question how the HG is leaking oil and it’s not the value covers. They are telling me a HG issue would leak coolant and I would lose compression not oil.

So how can it be a HG issue and not a value cover issue?

Right now I plan on checking the oil often and budgeting for the $1600 they said it would take to replace the HG and timing belt.

2007 Outback Sedan, 2.5L, 72,000 miles
 

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97 obw 2.5, 98 obw 2.2, 06 impreza 2.5
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The easy answer to your question is most people don't have an engine like you have in your Outback.... To clarify this for you.. you have a horizontally opposed engine, also know as an H motor, or flat-4.. The reason that your head gaskets would leak oil on to the exhaust is due to their location above the exhaust. The reason this kind of thing doesn't happen with a V-8, V-6, Inline-4 Ect... is they are upright and not hanging out in midair like your engine..
As for your engine leaking a little oil out the bottom of your head gasket... I would not worry about it unless it gets excessive.. My 2001 OB does the same thing and I drove it over 2300 highway miles on my last trip, and even though it was leaking a little, it never changed on the dipstick.. :)
 

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2004 Outback Wagon, Mystic Blue Pearl
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Subaru's are famous for head gasket leaks. A head gasket does a lot of things, it keeps cylinder gases and coolant apart, it seals between the coolant jacket and the outside air, it seals between the coolant jacket and oil passages, it seals between the oil passages and the outside air, it seals between the cylinder and the outside air, I could go on.

Subaru HG failures come in a variety of flavors. In the 1996-1999 models, the leaks were typically between the exhaust port and the coolant jacket, in a failure hot exhaust gases were forced from the port, into the coolant passages, past the coolant temp sensor (causing a "phatom" temperature spike that most people throught was overheating), and then the exhaust bubbled out of the coolant overflow tank. In 2000-2002 models, the leaks were typically external coolant (and some times oil) leaks. Subaru actually recognized the problem in these models and extended the warranty to 10y/100k miles for anyone who used their coolant conditioner. In the 2003+ models the leaks are typically relatively mild external oil leaks (with the occasional coolant leak). These are only really dangerous for the car if you don't keep an eye on the oil level and it gets too low.

Many people think the HG issue was "fixed" in 2003 with a HG redesign, but this isn't the case. The nature of the issue just changed (to the oil leak problem) and will probably persist until the new engine redesign hits the Outback in the 2013 model year (and who knows, that engine may have the same problems, but one would hope in a total re-design Subaru would have worked hard to fix the problem).

My 2004 got it oil leak at almost the EXACT same mileage as yours, and most of them do. So, this is pretty common, and you are just one of the unlucky ones.
 

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Silver 06 2.5i
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Just had my 06 outback HG repaired . Luckly I was still under the powertrain warranty . You should call SOA start a case and see if can get some help on the repair.

Mike k
 

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I own 4 Subarus. A 95,97,02 and a 14. The first two are 2.2 and the last two 2.5.
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rockhopjohn is quite correct except for one detail. Subaru changed the head gasket for the '10 models to a multi layer steel [MLS] which may have solved the problem. See Subaru Head Gasket Change. - Seattle Subaru Repair

Incidently, the dealership replacement gasket for the 00-09 NA model lagacy's and OB's is the 11044AA633 gasket which is the same one that failed on jacksfan 07 subaru! It doesn't give one much feeling of confidence that the dealership repair will last does it?
 

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I simply cannot abide useless people.
2006 2.5i and 2002 3.0 wagons.
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I'm fairly certain that one of the gasket redesigns between 2003 and now has been to a MLS design.
 

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rockhopjohn I'm glad to hear your take on the 2003 HG issues being minor...

I hope to agree.
My slight external HG coolant leak was fixed with the Coolant Conditioner, about 60K miles ago.

I do have the slight oil leak as well. Between the actual headgasket, valve cover gaskets, and the other gaskets in between, there is quite a bit of oil there. I just put in some oil stop leak to see if it will help. If it works as good as the Subaru Coolant Conditioner, I am golden! (I DID replace the valve cover gaskets when doing the 105K service and valve adjustment)
 

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I own 4 Subarus. A 95,97,02 and a 14. The first two are 2.2 and the last two 2.5.
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AWDFTW

The replacement 633 gasket for 00-09 model NA engines is a single metal sheet with a thin black coating on each side. It definitely is not a MLS. The replacement gasket for the DOHC 96-99 is a MLS but not the NA engines after that.

I wish someone could explain the changes in the original HG's from 00 onward because the 633 looks exactly like the OE gasket in my '02 [which I can see a little bit exposed]!
 
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