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Old 04-09-2015, 02:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Forester and the dreaded bad head gasket

My ex claimed that the Quikvalve was leaking, according to someone, and insisted that it was installed correctly. When I repossessed the car, three different shops said that it was leaking onto the Quikvalve, but each place listed a different fault, with the last sending me to the dealership, which told me I had a bad head gasket.

The car does not overheat. There is not white smoke. It just leaks oil terribly. I had an estimate for $610 through AutoMD.com, but that shop was out of business! After checking periodically, another shop showed up at $657 before tax, but when I called, he said it would be sixteen hundred!

AutoMD apparently only estimates for one head gasket, 6.4 hours of labor. He said that it was 10.1 for both, $90 hourly; I can only guess that he marks up the $73.61 Beck Arnley Engine Cylinder Head Gasket, and a mechanic said that parts are marked up twice compared to ordering on-line, at the retail store, and by the repair shop.

I have found DIYs and people tell me this is a fourteen-hour job. Meanwhile, I am going through job listings, and the only openings for which I seem qualified pay $9 an hourly.

I am bilingual and have two Bachelor's!

So far, every shop has recommended selling it as-is; if I can take a week and fix it, I should recover more than I could make at any job that I am finding.

Is there anything I need to know before starting this, or is everyone going to tell me to dump it on someone else?

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Old 04-09-2015, 02:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Is there anything I need to know before starting this
Yes, stop "rescuing" and fixing crap for the ex.
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Where does it leak oil. That is, where are the exact leak locations? To much oil residue to tell? Clean off the engine and then you can maybe tell. Head gaskets don't usually leak oil. But rocker arm seals, and oil pan seals do. Try checking those. Also a loose or cross threaded oil pan drain plug could be the culprit or no seal on the drain plug. Do a LOT of inspecting and analysis before doing a head gasket job. And then you need to check for secret recalls or secret "warranty" coverage. Don't expect the dealer to look out or you.
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Old 04-09-2015, 05:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It's probably the head gasket as this is a known problem for all model years of the 2.5L engine. Just plan to replace the gasket about every 100,000 miles. As my friend who has gone through 4 head gaskets in 2 Outbacks told me, "I consider the head gasket to be a known expense and factor that into the cost of ownership of a Subaru, but to me it's worth it."

If you can get the work done for ~$700, then consider yourself lucky. Price isn't the only consideration though, because proper head gasket repair is an art, unlike the replacement of most any other component on your car. The head has to be checked for flatness, and the bolts very carefully torqued. You want your repair to last more than 20,000 miles.

Quote:
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Yes, stop "rescuing" and fixing crap for the ex.
Agreed. Take that one step further and cut off all communication with her; not to be mean, but to allow room and emotional energy for future relationships.

Xist, you're a nice guy and that's a good quality, but you also need to be nice to yourself. A healthy relationship has both partners contributing roughly equally, in their own way.
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Old 04-09-2015, 06:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Where does it leak oil. That is, where are the exact leak locations? To much oil residue to tell? Clean off the engine and then you can maybe tell. Head gaskets don't usually leak oil. But rocker arm seals, and oil pan seals do. Try checking those. Also a loose or cross threaded oil pan drain plug could be the culprit or no seal on the drain plug. Do a LOT of inspecting and analysis before doing a head gasket job. And then you need to check for secret recalls or secret "warranty" coverage. Don't expect the dealer to look out or you.

Early Subaru 2.5L engines are notorious for an external HG leak that spews oil.

A little clean up of the head / block area should tell the tale.

I prefer to just pull the engine when doing headgaskets on these. It's really not that hard and makes the act of pulling the heads so much easier.
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Old 04-09-2015, 08:11 PM   #6 (permalink)
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11/25, 8:00am
[Xist]
Quote:
[Ex], I alerted the [local] Police that I repossessed the car, and the Officer made sure that I understood my liability if you drove without insurance. If you want the title and registration, you must pay in full. You have paid $1135 to date, correct? You specified that twenty dollars were for insurance, right? That leaves $1365 on the car, $631.11 for insurance, totaling $1,996.11. If you cannot get a bank loan, I will sell the car to someone who can afford to drive.
She called the police and sued for refusing to work with her, voiding our contract (which the judge said was hardly worth anything), and illegally repossessing the car--wait, I talked to the police about it! Illegal how?!

There was a flaming war over this. Forget about it. I declined to counter-sue, although I am confident I could have recovered what I paid to insure her, damage to my car, etc., but I did not feel she would benefit from it, and I did not want her money. However, since I did not counter-sue, the judge simply awarded her the payments back, so I set up my bank to send her checks.

This is my car. The title and registration have been in my name for almost three years. I have not communicated with her since November 25th. We did not even speak to each other in court in February. If she ever offered to purchase the car, I would take her money, but I would not talk to her under any other circumstances.
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Old 04-09-2015, 09:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Yikes! Sounds like an interesting Judge Judy episode. You know the party that looses on that show gets reimbursed for the judgement.
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Old 04-09-2015, 10:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Yes, someone mentioned Judge Judy. Does the winner get paid more, or just the judgment?
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Old 04-18-2015, 06:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I sprayed oven cleaner on the underside of the engine and wiped it down. there was some oil seepage on the driver's side, but far more on the other. I made sure the oil was topped off and I have been running the car for about fifteen minutes.

I have not seen any drips.
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Old 04-18-2015, 07:25 PM   #10 (permalink)
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[image heavy]

Here are pictures after I sprayed oven cleaner. There was some oil seepage after I ran the engine for a while, with the fan kicking on a couple of times, but I do not feel the slightest bit closer to locating the origin.

















No oil on the radiator cap, although I used that paper towel to wipe the dipstick.

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Last edited by Xist; 04-20-2015 at 07:09 AM..
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