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I'm replacing my head gaskets; should I go with authentic Subaru gaskets (the original ones were not up to snuff!), or with after market replacements? One blog recommended Six-Star® Head gaskets Are they really top notch or is someone just trying to sell me something? In general when is it best to go with "authentic" manufacturers' parts, and when is it better to go with after market parts?
 

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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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657 Posts
I really can't give you an authoritative answer, BUT I did buy 6 star gaskets to be installed in my car next week [$104 from AWD].

I think that the installation mechanics skill is just if not more important then the HG.
 

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01 Outback H6 VDC, 97 GT wgn w/ ej22, 98 OBW w/ej22
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there may be, probably are, SOME after market head gaskets that are good and will work . some may even be better than subaru. but there are lots more that are not good enough.

so stick with subaru to be sure. i hear you want the gasket with the part number ending in .....610
 

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2000 Limited Wagon 5MT
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Both our cars run SixStar MLS gaskets. I'm sure they would be fine with the OE Subaru turbo gaskets as well. Using and trusting the single layer gasket Subaru recommends seems extremely foolish to me. Especially considering they had there head up their ass for a good ten years with headgasket issues.
 

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2003 Outback, 5 MT, 134K, HG changed.
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Just thought I'd report in that I've done 500 miles so far with a set of Six Star gaskets, and no leaks have occurred yet. I know that's not a whole lot of miles yet, so I'll report back as more miles pile on. The Six Star ones are multi layer steel gaskets, as is the OEM turbo gaskets. I second cmill1154's sentiment about using the OEM single layer that Subaru is obliged to recommend for a naturally aspirated car. If one were to use a single layer OEM gasket for the job, I'm sure it will hold up just fine for another 100k or so, but will risk breaking down and causing another HG leak.
 

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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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657 Posts
Both of the dealerships that I talked to said that they would not use the turbo head gaskets in the my turbo 2.5. They would only install the subaru 633 gasket.
 

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2003 Outback, 5 MT, 134K, HG changed.
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Well, I haven't been active on this forum in a long time, but figured I'd come and give an update on my experience with the Six Star gaskets. I've put 30,000 miles on the car since I put them on (126k - 156k), and I haven't lost a drop of coolant in that time.

Back when I installed them, I didn't use any gasket paste or anything. All I did was take the heads into a machine shop to get them faced. I kept the block in the car, and made sure the face was as clean as possible so the new gasket had a good mating surface against the block.

Not much else to day. Well, I think my crank seal is starting to go, but that's a different story.

Also been test driving some new 2014 Outbacks. Really considering one...
 

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Six Star Gaskets are what the serious Independent Shops in the Seattle area use. If you are facing an entire rebuild, or replacement, consider a long block from this Subaru shop in Michigan: Rebuilt Subaru Engines -- SSI Subie Specialists SSI Subie Specialists
I don't have a vested interest in them, and they are providing my replacement. It is a much better option than getting one from a salvage yard, as the engine will still need new head gaskets. You can potentially save as much as $2,000 to have an engine that is better than factory.
 
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