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2000 Subaru Outback Limited Sedan, 2.5L
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162 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Replacing blown head gaskets on my 2000 Legacy Outback Limited. Took the heads to my local machine shop. I had two options; plane the heads and call it good for about $200, or plane the heads and do a pressure check for $375. At first I went the cheap route and told the shop to just shave the heads. A friend convinced my I should "buy reassurance" and pay the $375 for the pressure check, which is what I did. Heads pressure checked ok. Machine shop estimated 1 in 8 Subaru heads fail the pressure check. Just wondering what most folks are opting to do...pressure check or not?
 

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Super Moderator
2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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6,759 Posts
When I had a shop repair my head gaskets, the machine shop that they used didn't even offer to do a pressure check - but then again, I used a Subaru specialist that does this kind of repair all the time, and they had plenty of spare heads around that they could have sold me should they have needed another head. And mine didn't need to be planed; it was merely resurfaced.

I would suppose if the one-in-eight number holds out, then they must occasionally do this, and it wouldn't necessarily have to involve pulling the engine again as long as they do it as a leakdown test on the bench. That might not cover all situations, but probably most of them.

For the price differential involved ($175, I presume for both heads?) they could have easily bought a good condition used head.

Maybe your engine overheated? That would greatly increase the probability of the need to re-machine the head.
 

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2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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26,491 Posts
$200 seems good. :smile2: (edit: and such machining is typically done as the insurance to a leak free job,...along with some hand scrubbing of the block surfaces).




no need for them to load on ANY other crap, these EJ251/EJ252 head rarely have problems. (cracks etc come from being torqued wrong).

catch a rare bad one, pick up another.
 

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2001 Outback 5 speed, 2000 Outback Automatic, 2002 Legacy Wagon Automatic. All 2.5L
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271 Posts
Last time I did head gaskets, I checked the heads with a straight edge & feeler gauges and skipped having the heads milled. It was running fine when I got rid of it 80K+ miles later.
 

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2000 Subaru Outback Limited Sedan, 2.5L
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162 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
The heads I had planed & pressure checked indeed were removed from an overheated engine. I checked with a straight edge and found they were slightly warped. I did some shopping around and found I generally paid about the same to have both heads milled/pressure checked for the same price of one rebuilt head (~$320). My instinct told me the heads were probably NOT cracked, but I would have been wondering with each bolt I reinstalled whether I was wasting my time by installing a cracked head. Entirely too much work and $ involved to do the job twice. Of course I'm bummed I spent the extra cash now that I know the heads are ok, but without a fully functional crystal ball, I'm stuck paying for the reassurance! For what it's worth, the owner of the machine shop didn't force the pressure check down my throat. As he put it, "I leave it up to the owner". There's really no other way to confirm the head is 100% serviceable without a pressure check. I'm surprised more people don't have it done, unless the "1 in 8" failure rate was a bit exaggerated.
 
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