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Just got the call - head gasket leak...

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I know there is a ton of info on here and I love it, just looking for some feedback because I am a complete car repair novice.

2005 Subie Outback 2.5i Limited, loved and maintained since the day I brought it home (new). 84,500 miles, in the shop today for rear brake pads and the oil leak that I've had for the last two months. Two months ago, they said it was a coolant leak and replaced a radiator hose. Still leaking, slow, but steady, seems like oil to me but they are still saying it's coolant.

They just called and said it's the cylinder head gasket - $1,950.00. I don't have that money right now, not even close. Do I have any options? I really was hoping to keep my Subie running for quite a while longer...
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1. Contact SOA and see if they can help you out, offer to cover part of the cost, etc.
2. SHOP AROUND. That seems awful high.
What he said - Call Subaru not the dealer. CALL SUBARU directly! Subaru is known for paying for some of or all of these when the case shows that the car has had proper care etc.

Also you will need to take to the dealer for the inspection and for Subaru to decide how much they will pay or do for you.

The price your shop quoted you would be an instant red flag and I would not be going back to that shop ever again for any type of service. WAY WAY OFF THE CHARTS price for that repair.

Good luck
 

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I finally got my response from Subaru today and they have offered to pay for half of my repair costs at my local Subaru dealer! The repair is estimated to cost $1,714 for just the head gaskets or $3,000 if they also do the timing belt, tensioner and idler pulleys, water pump, thermostat, and oil pump. If the heads need machine work, it could be up to $900 more.

While I am thrilled that they have offered to pay half of the repair, I'm going to try for more, so I'll report back on any progress I'm able to make. What's your feedback on doing the additional repairs listed above at 84,000 miles? Is it worth it or not? I definitely plan on keeping the car.

BTW, thank you so much subiesailor, for recommending that I call corporate. Seriously appreciate that!
No problem did the same exact thing many years ago only at 65,000 miles and lucked out subaru covered the whole thing but only did the HG job. Car was great at 180,000 miles when I sold it zero issues with the Subaru dealer work on the HG.
Even did two 2500 mile road trips with over 150,000 miles on the car 100% working Zero issues great trips. Sold it because we needed the larger new Gen4 to fit two kids. So far major improvement on space and comfort over the prior generation models.

Glad Subaru helped out I knew they would after going through that with my car. And the car was trouble free.

Major - Major reason we bought another Subaru was due to Subaru stepping up and fixing the car.
 

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After getting clarification from Subaru today, their offer is for $1500 towards the repair. The rep told me that it is their final offer but she recommended that I talk to the dealer and get them to lower their pricing. She said she thought I have a good shot since I bought the car there and have had it serviced there.

So I still need to know: do I need the additional work quoted for the $3000 job? Timing belt, pulleys, oil and water pump, thermostat?
Water pump is a life time part if the coolant condition has been kept up. Not something you need to do at 85K. A timing belt the very basic just replace the belt type effort a dealer can go as low as $300

I think Mother Subaru is giving you a hint that the dealer is VERY HIGH COST in their suggestion that you talk to the dealer about dropping the price some more. By the way the standard HG job cost to the dealer with labor and such is a little less than $1500 so even at $1500 your dealer is making a decent return on the HG job from Subaru.

At 85K and if the fluids were kept up and the car was serviced on a regular basis really all you need is the timing belt done and the HG fix. Along with fresh coolant in the system. Thermostat shouldn't cost you more than $95 to have the dealer install it.

You really should only be looking at $500 max in what really should be replaced when they do the Head Gasket job.
Some advice I would start looking for a different service shop after you get this fix done. Your dealer sounds like they have adopted the fleece the customer model.
 

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One more thing: the dealer is saying up to $900 if the heads need to be machined. Shouldn't they be machined as a routine matter of doing the heads? Or no? Just part of my upcoming negotiations...
No its actually not very common to machine the heads. Re surface them yes they should do that they are not one in the same regarding cost or whats involved. When people hear machined its more of something we hear with long fragile heads that warp when not seated right or over heated. Which case machining the head on a long I4 engine or V6 or V8 heads is a must do when this type of job takes place. Though I will tell you even Toyota generally replaces these long heads when they have a failure given the long heads are fragile.

The very short and small compact heads Subarus have make them crazy strong and its not common to need to machine them. Resurfacing or surface prepping the mating surface yes but thats not a big deal and they should be doing that anyway.

When Subaru did my car - never over heated basically spotted the leak and said hey whats the deal. Subaru said yep well fix it. Dropped the car off at 10am picked it up the next day at Noon. All the dealer did was pull the head clean it up and reinstall it with a new gasket. If the engine was fine and never over heated prior to the HG job then thats basically all your car should need.
 

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Also keep all your records!!!!!!!!!!!! I learned that the skill the hands have that do the HG is a direct impact on if the job actually lasts. My toyota blew three head gaskets in three years - Toyota finally flew a specialty engine guy to the dealer to make sure it was done right. However after a combined 9 weeks in a rental in three years I was done with it and traded it for a Subaru :) By the way each time Toyota did the job on the V6 they put new heads on they never bothered trying to machine them given they are long and fairly fragile and once the HG fails the head becomes a major source of issues and not worth machining. Subaru heads are not like that given they are crazy robust and compact. Major reason why Subaru HG jobs are only $1500. Toyota cost was $8000 the first time due to tearing down the engine to a bare block and doing machine work on the block plus new heads. Second time new heads were the only major replacement cost them $6000. Third time was $5000 guessing due to faster work and fewer man hours.

The Subaru is crazy simple and super strong which is why it shouldn't be hard to fix correctly.
 

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Ha! I learned by fire too. Sounds like as long as the dealer does a quality gasket job then yes you should be in great shape. Where the subaru really becomes an issue is when people over heat them due to lost fluids. Then you have various damages caused by the overheat along with the HG problem. So the HG fix might be good but there could be many issues left caused by the overheat. So always much better to simply get it fixed before you have an overheat issue.
 

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Your dealer is beyond screwing you.

There is ABSOLUTELY no reason why adding the timing belt and water pump and oil pump should drive up the cost $1300. The timing belt has to come off and on for the head gasket job. The extra parts will be no more than $500 even at dealer marked up prices. The idlers are one bolt a piece. It will take them 5 minutes to do it. The water pump? Six bolts. Oil pump? Easy. Everything else is already off because of the head job.

I'm being dead serious about the next part. Call your dealer, tell him to go fck himself, and take your car to the dealer up the road.
Make sure Subaru is OK with you choosing another dealer. They should be totally fine and might even have a suggestion as to who you should use. Dealers are 3rd party companies most people don't realize this. Thats why you always call Subaru directly when you have an odd failure like this. If the dealer were good from the start they would have made the call for you. The call would have been something like this "Hi this is Joe over at dealer ID XXX I have a very nice customer who has done all the proper care and services original owner and they have a failed Gasket out of warranty. Can Subaru help cover the cost? It does not sound like they did this nor had any interest in doing it given they saw high profit shop time attached to your pocket.
 

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Just wanted to let all you price watchers know that I called the three other Subaru dealers in San Diego County and they were all at least a thousand dollars higher than my current dealer! So much for that strategy. The morale to this story is don't buy a Subaru in San Diego, right? I'm going to put my $700 into this repair and drive off into the sunset - with many thanks to SOA for stepping up on this head gasket repair.
Yep all the more reason I want Tesla's direct sales and maint from the company to happen. Dealers in CA are owned by massive Auto groups which are more or less price fixing car sales new and used along with repairs. I fully expect to see some price fixing lawsuits crop up against the massive Auto Groups in CA in the next year or two. CA LAW prevents us from going out of state to by a new car so seems fair that we should come down on the Massive Auto groups like a Pile of bricks for their regional price fixing.
 

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Both sides of HG blown on my 08 Outback limited. Don't bother calling Subaru
because they are full of you know what. They tell you to take it to the dealer so you can pay the dealer a diagnostic fee only to be told it will be 2500.00 dollars to repair and Subaru HQ basically told me to pound salt, in so many words.

My local dealer service department is notoriously a rip off here in a NYC suburb, so I took it to local mechanics for basic maintenance. So now what do I do? I have 94k and was told this car has been leaking oil for the past 20k miles. It is burning through coolant from the overflow container or somewhere.

This happened to my 98 OB limited, in addition to the transmission. Also, both cat converters went bad as well on both my 98 and 08.

I am done with Subaru, I think I will try a Honda.
GF -- I get your miffed but you really think Subaru is just going to cut you a check without a licensed Subaru dealer actually looking at the car? LOL hey you can walk away from Subaru support possibly even covering all of the repair costs if you like which case it won't matter what type of car you have your still going to have issue with that approach to life.

If your the original owner and subaru has records on the car for maint history pretty good chance Subaru will cover all the repair costs and give you a warranty. No indi shop is going to do that.

By the way my co-worker just dropped $4000 on his Honda its the biggest piece of crap I've ever seen. And Honda the company thinks its cr-p doesn't stink.
 

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Subaru has looked at the car and told me this should not have happened, but fat chance Subaru is going to help since it happened just past warranty, though the rep I spoke to sounded very encouraging since this is my second Outback with headgasket failure. So you really shouldnt make comments about me personally without all the facts bro.

Anyone reading this forum should go to the NHTSA and file a complaint on their Subaru head gasket failure. This company needs to be held accountable for all of the financial losses they have caused their customers and all of the millions of dollars they are making in repair rip offs to faulty engines they designed in the first place.

Home | National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
GF subaru replaced mine zero cost to me 24hr turn around at 65,000 miles. Warranty ran out at 35K.

You need to cool your jets and play nice with subaru I bet you get a fixed car at little or no cost to you. By the way at 180K the car was perfectly fine zero issues I still see it today last summer I ran into the kid that had it he said 230,000 miles and all he had replaced was the stock stereo.

Regarding HG's - my toyota blew up three times in three years the bill was $8000 each time to toyota. They finally flew an engine builder out for the third ground up rebuild to make sure it was done right. I didn't keep it long enough to find out after the third failure
 

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I wish they would. Is this a dance I have to continue? I opened an SR number but it was rudely dismissed, so I don't know what you mean they will help me. The service guy at dealer in NY said this should not have happened.

I should have traded it in before the warranty for the new models which I would hope have the new triple layer gaskets in them.
Not only are the gaskets different but the head and decks have been changed to help address this issue. Having said that even the old 2000 2.5's which were all suffering from a bad gasket - when done correctly do not have an issue again. The problem is that the skilled hands that do HG replacement are not all created equal and many are very poorly done and leak again in short order due to poor workmanship and skill not due to the car or the gasket etc.


Regardless of the make any HG failure and repair job I will never EVER accept a repair job unless it comes with a 3-5yr warranty on the work and parts. A poorly done HG repair job might last 13months and fail or it might last 2yrs and fail again. I've had blown HG's in two Toyota,s - my cousin blew up the 1.8T Head in his VW that was a costly failure, we have had two chryslers with failed HG - and a GM. In all the cases the Domestic auto makers more or less told us to go F-uck off - all the brands that were not domestic stepped up and nearly every case paid for the full rebuild.

Buying an Auto today isn't just about the car its buying from a company that steps up and does make efforts to make things right. Something Domestic auto hasn't learned
 

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My huge thanks to SubieSailor and the others who pointed me towards Subaru of America. My car was at the dealer for a week and a half and I just picked him up today. My final bill was $171. I cannot for the life of me figure this out but I am not complaining. Subaru covered over $4,000 in repairs for me: both head gaskets, timing belt, oil pump, water pump, all the idlers, pulleys, etc., plus two new catalytic convertors, some bad sensor and on and on. I feel like I have a brand new car! As a single Mom counting pennies, I cannot tell you how much this means to me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! :rahrah:
Subaru knows when to do the right thing. I bought another one and have had other family members buy because of what Subaru has done beyond warranty. IE the right thing..... Lots of car companies could learn a thing or two from Subaru.
 
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