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Drained my coolant today, doing the timing belt/pulleys/water pump.

It isn't oily, nor is there any sludge in the radiator. Just the LEFT head gasket was replaced at 93k, under warranty of course. (Only a dealer would do one head, not both) The Subaru coolant conditioner is present, because it looks granulated when you look at the coolant in the light.

In my bucket, the coolant appears black, but is green in thinner amounts if you shine a light through it.

Does the coolant conditioner make the coolant black/dark or am I screwed?
 

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Stupid question I guess, I pulled the heads last night. If they haven't failed already (they probably did) then they will eventually.

Installing the Fel-Pro HG kit using the turbo MLS gaskets and calling it a day! End of story.
 

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I have the conditioner in my car, and I cant say I have ever seen the coolant black. That's certainly strange. GL with the HG job. I have done 2 and they really weren't to bad.
 

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Thanks for the input! My work is worthwhile then. I'm actually having a good time doing it, Subarus are great mechanic's cars.

I see an oily film sitting on top of the coolant in my drain bucket right now, these HGs were beyond gone!

Don't believe the car has ever been overheated, so I think I may skip the head resurfacing step. It ran great prior to popping the heads off.
 

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I'm looking at a potential HG job too. What's the general consensus on skipping the resurfacing if the engine hasn't overheated? Given that it's my only car, skipping that step would make the job a lot easier.
 

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Thanks for the input! My work is worthwhile then. I'm actually having a good time doing it, Subarus are great mechanic's cars.

I see an oily film sitting on top of the coolant in my drain bucket right now, these HGs were beyond gone!

Don't believe the car has ever been overheated, so I think I may skip the head resurfacing step. It ran great prior to popping the heads off.
I'm looking at a potential HG job too. What's the general consensus on skipping the resurfacing if the engine hasn't overheated? Given that it's my only car, skipping that step would make the job a lot easier.
I have done 2 HG jobs on both my Outback and my Girlfriends Baja, hers was first, and it was leaking externally. Because this car never really showed signs of the gasket being bad, and it never overheated or even really lost that much coolant, I decided to leave them alone. I basically tore it apart, and then put it back together with the new gaskets.

But on my outback, It was leaking internally and actually overheating. So bad that It was pushing all the coolant out of the motor and if drove to long it would overheat when not moving. This car I was not going to chance it, and I made it a 2 day job. Tore it down, sent the heads out, and then the next day reassembled the motor. Here is a video of how bad that one got.

2001 Subaru outback 2.5 - head gasket Failure? - YouTube

Now I must say, I liked sending the heads out much better, as they were clean and I knew for sure they were flat. But neither car has had any more issues since then, and I think its really dependent on your situation. If I ever have to do the gaskets on the Baja again, I will be sending them out for sure. Should my car need them again, I may find another car. :) Hers only has 90k on it, mine already has 167k, and I hope this set of gaskets lasts well beyond 200k.
 

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To answer the question about the coolant, it is a dark almost navy blue in color out of the jug. I dont think the additive (which mind you is rediculously expensive.. common Subaru bring the price down!) leaves a film or layer on top of the antifreeze. I had changed the motor as the #1 main bearing got hung up last year during a startup and spun at -46C. The head should be shaved as being aluminum they can warp fairly easily and if not flat they wont match the block and you will end up doing the HG again shortly.

Yes they are fun and very easy to work on as the space is huge with such a tiny engine bay. Pulling the motor (if you have a puller) can be done in less than an hour and its a matter of digging in and start pulling bolts out, just remember where they came from (I will usualy unbolt a part and just hand twist the bolts back where they came from if possible)

Good luck in your repairs!

J.
 

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Drained my coolant today, doing the timing belt/pulleys/water pump.

It isn't oily, nor is there any sludge in the radiator. Just the LEFT head gasket was replaced at 93k, under warranty of course. (Only a dealer would do one head, not both) The Subaru coolant conditioner is present, because it looks granulated when you look at the coolant in the light.

In my bucket, the coolant appears black, but is green in thinner amounts if you shine a light through it.

Does the coolant conditioner make the coolant black/dark or am I screwed?
Any one mix the red and green coolant? Not sure what it does regarding color but one could guess? HG failure is pretty easily tested for with a simple exhaust gas test done on the coolant.
 

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To answer the question about the coolant, it is a dark almost navy blue in color out of the jug. I dont think the additive (which mind you is rediculously expensive.. common Subaru bring the price down!) leaves a film or layer on top of the antifreeze. I had changed the motor as the #1 main bearing got hung up last year during a startup and spun at -46C. The head should be shaved as being aluminum they can warp fairly easily and if not flat they wont match the block and you will end up doing the HG again shortly.

Yes they are fun and very easy to work on as the space is huge with such a tiny engine bay. Pulling the motor (if you have a puller) can be done in less than an hour and its a matter of digging in and start pulling bolts out, just remember where they came from (I will usualy unbolt a part and just hand twist the bolts back where they came from if possible)

Good luck in your repairs!

J.

The subaru heads are famously resistant to warping due to their really compact size by the way. Most of the time dealers that do HG jobs do a simple check to see if they a true and simply clean them up and put them back on with new gaskets. Only reason the head or heads might be out of spec is if the engine was cooked which case chances are you have other issues besides a warped head.

However your correct in strait 4 engines with long some what fragile heads you almost always either need a new head or to machine the old one given they are much longer and not as resistant to warping.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Back again from the garage... both heads removed now, went smoothly! Thanks for all of the input, this thread is a good read.

The coolant is green if you hold it up to a light. The black must be from exhaust fumes contaminating it, is my guess. It looks like junk either way, and I'm excited to finally change these suckers out.

RE: Price. Thank god I don't have to bother with that conditioner anymore! Haven't checked the price at my local dealer but if you guys think it's expensive then I'm glad to pass on it. The MLS gaskets will be quite a relief, knowing they won't fail.

The machine shop is fairly reasonable here, it should only be $60 to deck both heads. No sense not doing it I guess.
 

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Back again from the garage... both heads removed now, went smoothly! Thanks for all of the input, this thread is a good read.

The coolant is green if you hold it up to a light. The black must be from exhaust fumes contaminating it, is my guess. It looks like junk either way, and I'm excited to finally change these suckers out.

RE: Price. Thank god I don't have to bother with that conditioner anymore! Haven't checked the price at my local dealer but if you guys think it's expensive then I'm glad to pass on it. The MLS gaskets will be quite a relief, knowing they won't fail.

The machine shop is fairly reasonable here, it should only be $60 to deck both heads. No sense not doing it I guess.
I'm not sure how much illbreakthat is paying for the coolant conditioner, but at my local Subaru dealership, its only like 4 bucks a bottle. And even though I changed the gaskets on both cars, I still run one bottle per car just as an extra measure.

Shoot, you can buy the conditioner from subaruonlineparts.com for only $2.35 (plus shipping I'm sure). So I really hope illbreakthat isn't getting screwed over. If they are I would raise a stink.

Subaru Online Parts
 

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You should put some used coolant in a plastic bottle (like an empty bottled water bottle), it shouldn't look black in there. It's true it looks dark in the drainpan.

Does Fel-pro have a different HG for the turbo motor? I know the OEM ones have different ones, but I think I looked this up before and for Felpro it's the same part.
 

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You should put some used coolant in a plastic bottle (like an empty bottled water bottle), it shouldn't look black in there. It's true it looks dark in the drainpan.

Does Fel-pro have a different HG for the turbo motor? I know the OEM ones have different ones, but I think I looked this up before and for Felpro it's the same part.
If you look at just the head gasket part numbers from a 2005 Baja they list 3 different numbers.

2.5 SOHC
Old Design - 26170PT
Improved Design - 26415PT

2.5 DOHC (Turbo)
Old Design - 26259PT
Improved Design - 26415PT

If you look at a 2001 Outback, with the SOHC it also has 2 designs

Old Design - 26170PT - PermaTorque
Improved Design - 26415PT PermaTorque MLS

So to answer your question, yes, the OEM gaskets were different between the turbo and non-turbo motors, but if you purchase the new improved design gaskets, they are the same between the motors. They have adapted the MLS(Multi layer steel) as the new standard.

It should also be noted that if your purchase the entire head set from Felpro, you could get either type of head gasket, especially if the kit is older. I just pulled the HS26170PT-1 I had in stock off the shelf, and it does have the improved design MLS head gaskets in the kit, instead of the older design. So if you purchase a headset, just verify that the head gaskets in the box are part number 26415PT.

I hope this information is helpful.
 

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Looks like I am going to have to have a HEATED discussion with my Subaru dealer here in town! I paid $60.78 for 3 gallons of Subaru coolant (which is a very dark blue color) and thats not so bad but for that little bottle of conditioner they charged me with a dealer discount (cause I work for Chevrolet) $81.34!! Regular pricing is $95.70!! I am going to call around for pricing at other dealers and see whats up with that. I am so $#(%*#$ mad right now. None the less I purchased an engine from these people at the cost of $2700. Someone is going to be licking wounds.

About the mixing of green and orange (standard and dexcool) coolants DONT DO IT!!! The 2 have totally different anifoaming and antirust agents and they mix as good as oil and water. You would be asking for trouble with either.

I will post back with what I find out. (although most would probably not want to hear what I have to say about it)

J.
 

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Looks like I am going to have to have a HEATED discussion with my Subaru dealer here in town! I paid $60.78 for 3 gallons of Subaru coolant (which is a very dark blue color) and thats not so bad but for that little bottle of conditioner they charged me with a dealer discount (cause I work for Chevrolet) $81.34!! Regular pricing is $95.70!! I am going to call around for pricing at other dealers and see whats up with that. I am so $#(%*#$ mad right now. None the less I purchased an engine from these people at the cost of $2700. Someone is going to be licking wounds.

About the mixing of green and orange (standard and dexcool) coolants DONT DO IT!!! The 2 have totally different anifoaming and antirust agents and they mix as good as oil and water. You would be asking for trouble with either.

I will post back with what I find out. (although most would probably not want to hear what I have to say about it)

J.
Wow.. that's down right rape right there. Sorry to hear that you got screwed over so bad. I noticed your in Canada, but I highly doubt they charge that much more for something so simple. Let us know, and I would even be willing to provide you an invoice direct from Subaru for one of those bottles. I think I still have it some where in my office. Sounds like burnout8488 had the OEM coolant in his car, which appeared to be black in color.
 

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Looks like I am going to have to have a HEATED discussion with my Subaru dealer here in town! I paid $60.78 for 3 gallons of Subaru coolant (which is a very dark blue color) and thats not so bad but for that little bottle of conditioner they charged me with a dealer discount (cause I work for Chevrolet) $81.34!! Regular pricing is $95.70!! I am going to call around for pricing at other dealers and see whats up with that. I am so $#(%*#$ mad right now. None the less I purchased an engine from these people at the cost of $2700. Someone is going to be licking wounds.

About the mixing of green and orange (standard and dexcool) coolants DONT DO IT!!! The 2 have totally different anifoaming and antirust agents and they mix as good as oil and water. You would be asking for trouble with either.

I will post back with what I find out. (although most would probably not want to hear what I have to say about it)

J.
The dark blue Subaru coolant is the newer, super long life fluid that was introduced around 2008/9. It, supposedly, has a 5 year life if used exclusively (not mixed with other coolant, even the earlier Subaru coolant).

The original Subaru coolant is a dark green. Many dealers in Canada are now stocking and using only the blue fluid. The new fluid is more expensive, but the $60 for 3 is quite good. I paid almost as much for the original green fluid a couple of years ago.

I too don't understand the conditioner price. I'm in Canada, and it cost me only around $6. I'm sure it hasn't gone up by more than ten times. Double-check that invoice, and perhaps post the part number. Something isn't right.
 

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I THINK I paid around $4 for some conditioner.

Today, out of curiosity, I was pricing Subaru coolant on line - looks like 'regular' is about $20 gallon, 'Blue' is about $28 - before shipping. (US$ prices)

maybe they just hit a wrong button or the computer has something mispriced?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I'm going to take a picture of the bucket tomorrow. It's light green when poured out into a tray, but looks like a gallon of black oil when it's in the bucket. Total 100% black. With engine oil floating on the surface!
 

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It's light green when poured out into a tray, but looks like a gallon of black oil when it's in the bucket.
I've found a similar thing with used ATF and differential gear oil. When it's in a container made of opaque material (metal, plastic) they look very dark when viewed from above. But if put in a clear container, such glass or plastic, one-cup size measuring cup, held up to natural light (e.g. at a window, or out the garage door) and viewed from the side, the color of the fluid is more readily appreciated.

Do photograph it in the bucket, but perhaps also try the clear cup approach for comparison.
 
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