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2009 Outback 2.5i manual. 103,000 miles. My very first!
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all! I took my 09 OB to the local "Subaru Only" repair shop to inquire about a timing belt replacement and was told that my HGs are leaky. The mechanic showed me where they were leaking and recommends replacing them both to the tune of $1600.
Then I take my OB back to the Subaru dealership where I purchased it used just two weeks ago. At the time of purchase, my salesperson said that this vehicle underwent an exhaustive inspection and passed so a leaky HG is impossible. Then we get it on a rack so we can see what the other mechanic was refering to. The Subaru guys say that it's normal Subaru HG weeping, nothing to worry about. In fact it's within Subarus acceptable guide lines.
The leak isn't all that bad, really. It's not pouring oil all over the cross members or even dripping. The "leak" spans across the head and motor by about 3/8". It doesn't even appear to be wet, just a small amount of oil and some dirt. But will it get worse? Will I be stuck with the bill down the road if I don't have these guys help me out? (Yes I will)
So here's my question, should I pursue this with the dealership for a repair, OR believe them that there isn't an issue. I'm thinking I'll take their word for it for now under the contingency that if this develops into a real issue (like real leaking) that they take care of it.
Thought?
 

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06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
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I would demand a future subsidized head-gasket replacement if it becomes necessary or an immediate full to-the-penny refund.

If they believe it is not an issue they'll sign up to a dealer-subsidized future HG change.
 

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You bought it from a dealer two weeks ago and another shop is telling you HG's need to be done? I would take it back to the dealer indicate to them you are not pleased with the 3rd party report of leaky HG and tell them they better do a proper inspection. Regardless of any of this I would file an online ticket with Subaru via the subaru website so that Mother Subaru has you on record along with the Subaru dealer's report ie inspection that the vehicle was proper when they sold it to you.

Also keep in mind that no doubt there are lots of mechanics out there who take advantage of Subaru owners claiming HG leak because its an issue the 2000-2002's had. I wouldn't put much weight on your small shop and consider it about as trust worthy as the Dealer's inspection.

Where you force proper inspection and truthful results is by filing a ticket with Subaru which will then ask the dealer what the story is. At that point the Dealer has a light being shown on its activity regarding that car. Also Subaru is known for stepping up and fixing this for people when its clear that there really is an issue and it shouldn't be happening.

Keep in mind that replacing the HG's doesn't mean its fixed! The skill of the person doing the job is actually more important than the physical gasket given done correctly you will never have an issue again. Done poorly you might be back sooner than later with the very same issue.
 

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2009 Outback 2.5i manual. 103,000 miles. My very first!
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Discussion Starter #4
I like what subiesailor has to say. Now, where do I go to file this report, the official Subaru web site? Thanks!
 

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subaru.com bottom of the page "Contact Us"
Fill it out with all the details they respond pretty fast so don't be surprised when they contact you.
Tell them your getting conflicting inspection reports on the 2009 you just purchased from a Subaru Dealer and 3rd party shop regarding the car needing HG replacement. And you want them to follow up with the dealer to find out what the real story is given you have no idea who to trust at this point.

Good luck! 09 shouldn't have HG issues by the way unless the car was just beat to **** by the prior owners.
 

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I dont believe head gaskets 'weep' ...

Oil pans, trans pans, valve covers and differentials weep, eventually weeping turns to full on leaking.

A head gasket is under pressure, weeping is not acceptable, if there is a weak spot where liquid can escape bet your azz air under pressure can, and it will blow the gasket.

Unless there is something special about these motors which makes them magic...:confused:
 

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06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
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Part of the head gasket seals coolant from the exterior, and in other areas it seals oil.

My wife's 2005 had oil leaking from the head gaskets, we caught it just in time to have the warranty cover it.
 

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2009 Outback 2.5i manual. 103,000 miles. My very first!
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Discussion Starter #8
Subarus Reply.

So here's what Subaru had to say about it............


Dear Jeff Suchland:
Thank you for taking the time to contact Subaru of America, Inc. I regret to learn of the concerns with your 2009 Outback that prompted your message to us.
I have updated our records to show you as the owner of your Outback. It is affected by one open recall WQD40 for the Front Catalytic Converter Replacement & Engine Control Module Reprogramming. You can review details of this campaign at http://www.wqd40.service-campaign.com. This campaign can be completed at an authorized Subaru dealerhip at no cost.
I conatcted Tacoma Subaru and spoke with Darryl, the Service Advisor. He advised that your Outback was inspected on 2/13 to be sold as a used vehicle. They found no leaking of the head gaskets. They serviced your Outback on 2/26 with the replacement of the timing belt, water pump, etc. The technician noted minor seeping and that a replacement of the head gaskets was not recommended. There are no specific specifications for leaking head gaskets. We rely on the technical expertise of Subaru dealers to provide technical assistance and diagnosis for vehicle concerns. They have the advantage and opportunity to physically inspect vehicles whereas we cannot.
Your message has been documented in our Customer/Dealer Services database. Such feedback is documented to continually track, review and consider the performance of Subaru dealers, always with the intentions of improving as an organization. This documentation is reported throughout Subaru, including to regional and district representatives for Tacoma Subaru.
Thank you, Jeff, for your time and efforts in communicating with us.

Sincerely,

John J. Mergen
Subaru of America, Inc.
Customer/Dealer Services Department
1-800-SUBARU3 (1-800-782-2783)
Service Request #1-3423765883
 

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2006 Outback 2.5i Limited 5MT, 1984 Porsche 944
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It's interesting that he said the dealer replaced your timing belt, etc, even though you took the vehicle to an independent shop.
 

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2009 Outback 2.5i manual. 103,000 miles. My very first!
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Discussion Starter #10
It's interesting that he said the dealer replaced your timing belt, etc, even though you took the vehicle to an independent shop.

Yes, the dealer replaced the timing belt at my expense. This was agreed upon at the time of purchase that I would assume this maintenance item. I initially took the OB to the local "Subie Only" shop for the timing belt, and that's when they pointed out the leaky, weepy, seepy HG. Within minutes I was back at the dealership with questions about the HG. They made me an offer I couldn't refuse (not Godfather style:17:) to replace the timing belt and they could do it that day.
 

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Yes, the dealer replaced the timing belt at my expense. This was agreed upon at the time of purchase that I would assume this maintenance item. I initially took the OB to the local "Subie Only" shop for the timing belt, and that's when they pointed out the leaky, weepy, seepy HG. Within minutes I was back at the dealership with questions about the HG. They made me an offer I couldn't refuse (not Godfather style:17:) to replace the timing belt and they could do it that day.
The open deck design on the Heads make them more prone to HG's that can seep. The 2.5 can be driven for years and years with very very minor HG seeping. Given the car is new to you regardless of the HG notes - keep a close eye on all your fluids once a week check in the same parking spot etc. So you can get a sense of how much oil it might burn or if any coolant leaks might exist or if the HG is leaking more than just a very minor seeping. etc

I wouldn't go back to the Indy shop.
 

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2009 Outback 2.5i manual. 103,000 miles. My very first!
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Discussion Starter #12
Indy Shop.

An interesting thing about the Indy shop.......... I called them prior to buying my OB to see what I was looking at for a timing belt replacement. They quoted me $800 to $900 on the phone. Then when I got there, they said it would be between $1000 and $1100. When I got back to the Subaru shop, I was offered a deal by Subarus shop manager for the timing belt. So I called the Indy shop back to get a more acurate figure to compare against. I was then quoted a solid figure of $1100. I can't imagine what the total would have been if they had actually done the work!
 

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An interesting thing about the Indy shop.......... I called them prior to buying my OB to see what I was looking at for a timing belt replacement. They quoted me $800 to $900 on the phone. Then when I got there, they said it would be between $1000 and $1100. When I got back to the Subaru shop, I was offered a deal by Subarus shop manager for the timing belt. So I called the Indy shop back to get a more acurate figure to compare against. I was then quoted a solid figure of $1100. I can't imagine what the total would have been if they had actually done the work!
Dealers will do timing belts for between $300 and $900 depending on how many things they are told to replace. Just the belt nothing else $300 isn't a stretch for the dealer
 

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2009 Outback 2.5i manual. 103,000 miles. My very first!
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Discussion Starter #14
After reading the posted (#8) reply from Subaru, I replied back questioning the difference between leaking, weeping, and seeping. They're looking into it and I will hear back from them before Tuesday.
 

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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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I don't know how typical my experience was, but from the time that I noticed some oil stains on the motor to obvious spotting on the driveway was about a year. I have an 02 and it had 90K miles when I changed the HG.
 

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2009 Outback 2.5i manual. 103,000 miles. My very first!
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Discussion Starter #16
Leaky HG Test.

So here's the most recent reply from Subaru, a leaky HG test........

The following test procedure applies to all 2.5L naturally-aspirated engines used in 2005 & later Forester, Impreza and Legacy/Outback models.
This is the required confirmation procedure to use when diagnosing oil and/or coolant leakage or seepage from the cylinder head gaskets.
1) Degrease & clean the affected area of oil and/or coolant leakage at head gasket area.
2) Warm up the engine until the radiator fan operates.
3) Increase the engine speed and hold it at 3000 rpm for 1 minute.
4) Shut the engine off then allow it to cool down for 3 hours. Keep the hood open to help the engine cool down faster.
5) Re-inspect for head gasket leak.
6) Replace the head gasket only if oil/coolant leak is confirmed.
Note: If no leak is found, do not attempt to repair.
 

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Was that text provided in the form of a Subaru document (e.g. a service bulletin), or was it just wording sent to you in an e-mail or equivalent?

The one time warm-up and one minute rev test seems rather short, but I guess they're using that to distinguish between a slow "seepage" or "weeping" (which is less likely to show up in the prescribed test), and a real leak.

Then again, after cleaning and running the test, what would constitute a "head gasket leak", as in "5) Re-inspect for head gasket leak." Would any sign of oil or coolant qualify, a drop, a flow?

I wonder if the many reports here of dealers telling owners the HGs have to be replaced were based on this test, or just observation of staining, which might have been over tens of thousands of miles and at least several years.
 

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2009 Outback 2.5i manual. 103,000 miles. My very first!
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Discussion Starter #18
Plain, it was sent in regular text in an email. I was wondering the same thing, it seems rather short. I really hope that someone didn't just make this simple "easy to pass" test up, with hopes that I would just go away. If there's a leak (fluid of any amount passing through the gasket), I will not "go away".

The gentleman who sent me this message also suggest, if a leak is discovered, that I go directly to the local Subaru dealership where I bought it and speak to the General Manager for remedy.

Also, when I had the timing belt changed, I had the tech clean the oil and dirt from the leaky area over the HG. Since then, I've put about 500 miles on the car. When I get a chance, I will inspect that area as well. And, as always, I'll report to you good people what I found! Cheers!
 

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Subaru Canada had/has a warranty-related service bulletin on HG seepage/weepage/leakage for MY2000 - MY2004 2.5 engines. A technician showed it to me a while back, but I didn't get a copy.

As far as I can recall, it didn't involve any cleaning/testing. What I distinctly remember is a dimensional criterion; namely, the extent of staining across the gasket. It was something like 3/8-inch across the joint (or it could have been up to 3/8-inch on both sides). If the staining was greater, then the gasket was bad and eligible for warranty repair; if the stain is less or equal to 3/8-inch, it was acceptable.

I'm going to try to get a copy . . . .
 

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2009 Outback 2.5i manual. 103,000 miles. My very first!
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Discussion Starter #20
Subaru Canada had/has a warranty-related service bulletin on HG seepage/weepage/leakage for MY2000 - MY2004 2.5 engines. A technician showed it to me a while back, but I didn't get a copy.

As far as I can recall, it didn't involve any cleaning/testing. What I distinctly remember is a dimensional criterion; namely, the extent of staining across the gasket. It was something like 3/8-inch across the joint (or it could have been up to 3/8-inch on both sides). If the staining was greater, then the gasket was bad and eligible for warranty repair; if the stain is less or equal to 3/8-inch, it was acceptable.

I'm going to try to get a copy . . . .

That would be awesome! That's about the extent of my leak/weep/seep. Perhaps if I had that document, I could get a little further at the dealership. Thanks!
 
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