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Discussion Starter #1
I picked up this 2009 Outback 2.5i limited from a good dealer in my area about two weeks ago.

I noticed some spotting on the driveway...



so i got out the ramps and went underneath and find some hoses leaking....
Drivers Side:




any idea what that could be?

Then i also see a very clean drivers side head gasket! this is good, unless it was replaced and i was not told...



but, on the passenger side its not so clean:




I called the dealership service manager who inspected the car and sent him these photos... his answer is not sure what the hoses are, maybe power steering and it started leaking after driving the car seeing as it sat on lot for about 45 days. And he said the head gasket issue is just seepage that is normal to occur, but i questioned why on one side and not both, got no answer...

The hoses should be an easy fix but what about the HG? Is it bad head gasket? Or just normal seepage that won't ever be an issue as he assured me. (I don't believe him one bit) One more thing, when they sent me home with the car I noticed the next morning when looking over everything closely that the coolant in radiator was a few cups low and the reservoir was empty too! The service manager thinks that was just an oversight and will not be a problem.... but where did that coolant go??? i have a hard time to believe it just evaporated while sitting.
 

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Those hoses are the AT cooler lines. What is dripping on them I cannot tell from the photos. The HG seepage does occur, I wouldn't necessarily call it normal, but apparently they do like to seep oil eventually on this era.
 

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Known proof of some level of proper oil change history would help understand more about this car. 57K with very poor oil change history would contribute to HG issues. Clean it up good and keep an eye on it see if the leak is more obvious once you have a chance to see a clean surface and watch how the mess develops etc.

That hose pict looks like the top back of the fire wall near the valve that controls the hot coolant flow to the heater core? Could be a simple hose leak. Hard to say. But coolant leaks generally do not leave oily type spots on the garage floor.

As for one side vs the other? These engines have two sides two stand alone heads and gaskets one can leak while the other can be just fine.
 

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I agree with subiesailor, clean the area really well and track it from there. You might try putting some white paper under the car overnight to see what color or smell the fluid is. Red=PS, Green=Cooling, Black=oil, etc. You might also have some drip down from the valve cover gaskets. That was one of my problems on my Gen 2, H4. Do the plugs have oil on them?

With a good light and some contortion you might be able to trace the hoses to one end or the other, using the component where they came from or where they are going as an indicator of their purpose.

The 2nd generation boxers (not sure about 3rd) have a history of head gasket leaks. Not as scary as it may sound. Most of them are external and can be as small as some cooling fluid dripping out near the firewall end on the driver's side.

Good luck, and let us know what you find.
 

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Hey mserke,

sorry to hear about these issues :( what area do you live so that ALL of us to never go to the dealer who told you not to worry about oil leaks.

Ridiculous......good luck my fellow subaru owner
 

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Discussion Starter #7
i got it from a Valenti dealer (not Subaru) in CT... will be taking it to a Subaru dealer for check up and complete look over. Once i get there opinion it will give me more leverage to get the issues fixed too.
 

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i got it from a Valenti dealer (not Subaru) in CT... will be taking it to a Subaru dealer for check up and complete look over. Once i get there opinion it will give me more leverage to get the issues fixed too.
Leverage is good. Especially if they sold you the car with the understanding that everything was checked and found to be functional without issues. Oil leaks are an issue.

Document everything you can. Hopefully they either fix it or find you a replacement vehicle with the same mileage and options in a condition that was dictated at the time you purchased this one.

Good Luck
 

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Pictures aren't really clear...i'd like to see a good pic of the other head mating surface, like you got of the clean one. Hard to say but first glance I see lots of room for this being a couple things, not really definitive on the HG or not.

BUT in case it is HG's, here is what you need to know:

It is completely normal for one gasket to leak and the other not to. both should be replaced.

**** USE THE EJ25 TURBO headgasket to repair this motor. Do not install the same failure prone head gasket that came in the vehicle. that is completely silly since there's a better gasket that's already proven (the EJ25 Turbo engines have *no* headgasket issues). "the headgasket failed after 57,000 miles....let's install that same headgasket". don't buy it when there's a known better alternative.

resurface the heads, they will not be warped but will have high and low spots and you get a proper finish and bite/seating of the new gasket with proper resurfacing. Most, but not all, Subaru dealers skip this step, so you have to check. They only need the engine to last past their warranty period - you want it to last 150,000 miles.

It's about $750 - $1,800 to repair....figure high end if you're working with dealers.

Dealer may be playing dumb, google has unbelieavable amounts of information about EJ25 headgaskets. I've done tons of EJ25 headgasket repairs, tear downs, etc and have been in touch with multiple independent Subaru shop owners and dealers - believe me Subaru dealers and Independents are generally doing a few EJ25 headgaskets a week and have all the parts in stock - they are very familiar with this. In his defense...It may be that you're talking to a service manager and maybe he isn't familiar with the intricacies of different generations of EJ25's. Earlier EJ25's can seep and take a very long time to get worse. But not so for you - the 05-09 models usually get worse more quickly. He may not honestly know those intricate details, the mechanics probably do...those of us actually doing them a lot know all this - it's common knowledge.

2009 and prior EJ25's - have headgasket issues. mileage and maintenance are not the cause. (google it, this is all well known)

2005-2009's typically leak oil and it usually gets worse quickly (as already mentioned) - much faster than the older generation 2000-2004 era EJ25's.

Make sure you listen to people that do this stuff all the time and have extensive (i.e. not anecdotal "i read it" or have done it one time) experience.

If you can get it properly repaired under warranty with the turbo headgaskets - you might call it a good thing.

Might even spring for $59 timing belt (and tensioner/pulleys if you like) and have a new one installed since that has to come off for this job too. Then you're 105,000 mile ($450 (cheaper/rural areas) - $750 (urban/expensive areas) job at a dealer) service is done.
 

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Subaru is using the latest release head gasket kit on all SOHC and DOHC engines when they come in for HG repair. The dealer parts departments do not stock the older style gaskets.

I know because I have good standing with my local dealer parts and have had discussion with a few techs in their service department. If another Subaru dealer is holding on to the older gaskets, I wouldn't know. Just check to make sure its the latest version that is being installed or purchased for home repair.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Both head gaskets look clean and well and the top sides, just the passenger side along the bottom as in the picture.

Was just looking at the hoses and they are the AT cooler lines. checked the fluid level and it is clean (it was changed as part of the service prior to selling the car) however it is high... is it being pushed out of the hoses because it is high and has to go somewhere as it heats up and expands?
 

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I doubt the ATF is being "pushed out" through the hoses because of a slight overfill.

The same two rubber ATF coupler hoses on my 07 started to appear "wet", but there was no dripping; they just accumulated dirt on them making it look worse than it was. The hoses were replaced under the extended, power train warranty.

The drops on the driveway appear to clustered in a row -- can you tell if they're under the left or right side of the engine? Can the location of a "new" drop help locate the source?

The photos of the lower side HG areas appear to be toward the front. If it's anything like my 07, the rear is difficult to examine, and especially the left side. I use an extendable 2-inch round inspection mirror with a flashlight to look at the back of the head/block joint, and around the bottom for a short distance (the engine mount prevents a full view). The drops might be from the back of the head/block area.
 

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Subaru is using the latest release head gasket kit on all SOHC and DOHC engines when they come in for HG repair. The dealer parts departments do not stock the older style gaskets.

I know because I have good standing with my local dealer parts and have had discussion with a few techs in their service department. If another Subaru dealer is holding on to the older gaskets, I wouldn't know. Just check to make sure its the latest version that is being installed or purchased for home repair.
what's the part number? is it different than what came in the 2009 EJ25's from the factory? I think it is...but I haven't checked since
i will keep using the EJ25 turbo gaskets.

aren't they still providing the 610 gasket for the older DOHC's?
 

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I'll have to remember to get with Subaru parts in Georgetown for the part number, but last week I had a customer in with a leaking HG, oil and coolant on an 07 Forester. I was putting together his options for repair dealing with cost and I specifically asked if the gaskets were the most up to date and he said yes. At the point I called, the part numbers weren't and issue, only cost and availability.

As it turned out, the cost for the repair worked out to be less with a replacement short block over rebuilding. He had a rod knocking. No, it wasn't a piston or pin knock. It was a rod. After giving him the total costs, he decided he needed to mull it over to see if he wanted it repaired or just take it and trade it in. I gave him a couple names at the dealer to speak with.

I also found out during the conversation with parts that a new engine only carries a 12/12 warranty while the rebuilt carries a 3/36. I thought this odd, but its true.
 
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