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Old 04-24-2015, 12:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
Not Doug
Xist's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Show Low, AZ
Posts: 11,740

Chorizo - '00 Honda Civic HX, baby! :D
90 day: 35.35 mpg (US)

Mid-Life Crisis Fighter - '99 Honda Accord LX
90 day: 34.2 mpg (US)

Gramps - '04 Toyota Camry LE
90 day: 35.39 mpg (US)

Don't hit me bro - '05 Toyota Camry LE
90 day: 33.21 mpg (US)
Thanks: 7,148
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How to replace 99 Forester head gasket

At least for right now, this is mostly for my own benefit. I thought that I had good instructions, but it turns out that some mechanic on YouTube neglected to include some vital steps. I have the Haynes and the official service manuals, but those send you back and forth, and I was not able to consolidate them. Now that I have my car all torn apart, I will start with the Haynes manual, page 2A-27, for the Legacy and Forester (2,000-6, which is fun, since mine is 1,999!). This is a giant Choose Your Own Adventure. The index is not very large. I did not see "Head Gasket," so I looked on-line, while "Cylinder heads - removal and installation" has directions. I typed those and added the various references until I got to where I am in the project. I will add the rest of the references, finish the repair, and add photographs and illustrations.

For the record, once you have it together, I much prefer the Haynes instructions to the video that I was watching. For example, Haynes said to use a chain wrench to remove the camshaft pulley. The YouTube mechanic magically removed it without a chain wrench or anything else. He did not drain the oil and made a mess. I made sure that step was included! Haynes used italics, but I used those to indicate parts that I added, and I will include more later. I tried to organize by underlining the beginning of different sections.

The following is thanks to RyanLarue of SubaruForester.org:
3/8" ratchet
1/2" ratchet
Torque wrench, either 3/8" or 1/2"
3/8" and 1/2" ratchet extensions
Complete set of metric sockets
complete metric wrench set
12 point 12mm socket for head bolts
22mm for the crank bolt
flat head and Phillips head screw drivers
set of feeler gauges to adjust your valves
pry bar about 12" or 14" to help unseat the torque converter
1/2" pneumatic impact gun isn't necessary but will help
chain wrench
hose removal picks

Material/ Parts:
Head Gasket kit, which should include; head gaskets, cam seals, intake gaskets, exhaust gaskets, various of other seals and gaskets.
head gaskets
intake gaskets
exhaust gaskets
cam seals
timing belt
timing belt idlers and pulleys
timing belt tensioner
water pump
water pump gasket
thermostat gasket
front main seal (if its leaking)
spark plugs (NGK only)
5 quarts of oil
oil filter
2+ gallons of coolant
silicone or gasket maker for those stubborn surfaces/gaskets
air filter
If your rear AOS plate is plastic;
updated metal plate
8 new flywheel/flex plate bolts
two drain pans
PB Blaster

Step 0: Never purchase a Forester!
  1. Relieve the fuel pressure by removing the fuel filler cap to release any pressure that has built up in the tank.
  2. Remove the fuel pump relay from the fuel pump circuit:
  3. Start the engine and allow it to run until it stops.
  4. Disconnect the cable from the negative terminal of the battery by loosening the negative cable clamp nut and detaching the cable from the negative battery terminal. Isolate the cable to prevent it from coming into accidental contact with the battery post.
  5. Drain the cooling system by putting the transmission in neutral, applying the parking brake, blocking the wheels, raising the vehicle, and supporting it securely on jackstands.
  6. Remove the engine splash shield (see illustration). Warning: If the vehicle has just been driven, wait several hours to allow the engine to cool down before beginning this procedure.
  7. Move a large container under the radiator drain to catch the coolant. The radiator drain plug is located at the lower right corner of the radiator (see illustration). Attach a hose to the drain fitting (if possible) to direct the coolant into the container, then unscrew the drain fitting.
  8. Remove the radiator cap and allow the radiator to drain, then move the container under the engine block. Remove the engine block drain plugs and allow the coolant in the block to drain (see illustration).
  9. While the coolant is draining, check the condition of the radiator hoses, heater hoses, and clamps.
  10. Replace any damaged clamps or hoses.
  11. Once the system is completely drained, flush the radiator with fresh water from a garden hose until it runs clear at the drain. The flushing action of the water will remove sediments from the radiator, but will not remove rust and scale from the engine and cooling tube surfaces.
  12. Remove the spark plugs by allowing the engine to cool completely before attempting to remove any of the plugs. These engines are equipped with aluminum cylinder heads, which can be damaged if the spark plugs are removed when the engine is hot.
  13. Remove the battery and battery tray.
  14. If equipped, remove the engine cover, then remove the air intake duct and, on models where it would interfere with access to the spark plugs, the resonator and\or the air filter housing (see Chapter 4).
  15. Remove the spark plug wire from one spark plug. Twist the boot at the end of the wire from side to side and--do not pull on the wire.
  16. If compressed air is available, use it to blow any dirt or foreign material away from the spark plug hole. The idea here is to eliminate the possibility of debris falling into the cylinder as the spark plug is removed.
  17. Place the spark plug socket over the plug and remove it from the engine by turning it in a counterclockwise direction (see illustration).
  18. Remove the timing belt by putting a 17mm wrench on both camshaft sprocket bolts and carefully and evenly rotating both wrenches until the marks on the sprockets line up perfectly with the marks on the engine (the manual says to rotate the crankshaft with a compression gauge in the number one cylinder).
  19. Remove the camshaft sprockets by locating the slider bolt for the air conditioning drivebelt tensioner adjuster. Please note that it is reverse-threaded. Loosen the belt by rotating the bolt clockwise and then remove the assembly mounting bolts and the tensioner. Loosen the main drivebelt slider bolt by rotating it counterclockwise and removing those mounting bolts and the asembly. Remove the belts and mark them if necessary. Please note that the passenger’s side belt and pulleys are wider, which helps distinguish them.
  20. Remove the air filter housing by removing the two bolts that attach the duct to the radiator crossmember [B](see illustration), then pull it off the rear intake duct.
  21. To remove the rear air intake duct, remove the single bolt that attaches it to the right strut tower (see illustrations), then pull it off the air filter housing. Note the two resonators attached to the underside of the duct. These resonators are not removable (even though they look like they might be). If either of them is damaged, replace the rear duct assembly.
  22. There is a third, larger, resonator (see illustration) that is a separate component from the air intake duct assembly. To detach it, remove the mounting bolt and pull the grommet out of its mounting hole in the right fender wall. Note: Depending on the year and model of the vehicle, the air filter housing may not need to be removed.
  23. Remove the inner timing belt covers by removing the three drivebelt cover bolts and both drivebelt covers.
  24. Disconnect the upper and lower radiator hoses from the radiator by loosening the hose clamps (see illustrations).
  25. On automatic transaxle models, disconnect the fluid cooler lines from the radiator (see illustration). Note: Plug the ends of the transaxle cooling lines to minimize fluid loss and contamination.
  26. Disconnect the fan electrical connectors (see illustration).
  27. Remove the radiator mounting brackets (see illustration). Remove any clipis, brackets, harnesses, or hoses that may be attached to the radiator or fan shroud.
  28. Carefully lift out the radiator along with the cooling lines. Don’t spill coolant on the vehicle or scratch the paint.
  29. Inspect the radiator for leaks and damage. If it needs repair, have a radiator shop or dealer service department perform the work as special techniques are required.
  30. Bugs and dirt can be removed from the radiator by spraying it with a garden hose nozzle from the back side.
  31. Use a breaker bar and socket to remove the bolt from the crankshaft pulley. Use a chain wrench to hold the pulley while loosening the bolt (see illustration). Caution: Do not use power tools to remove the crankshaft pulley bolt. The pulley and\or crankshaft bolt may become damaged. If you know where to put a large flathead screwdriver, you can forgo the chain wrench.
  32. Remove the crankshaft pulley. The crankshaft pulley should come off by hand (see illustration), if not, use a screwdriver on either side of it to lever it off evenly.
  33. Remove the outer belt covers (see illustrations). There are two covers; one larger cover that extends over the camshaft and the crankshaft sprocket and another smaller cover.
  34. On manual transaxles, remove the timing belt guide (see illustration 7.21a).
  35. Turn the crankshaft and align the marks on the crankshaft sprocket, the left camshaft sprocket, and the right camshaft sprocket with the notches on the oil pump, the inner timing belt cover, and the cylinder head seam (see illustrations). Note: The right camshaft sprocket alignment notch must align with the mark on the cylinder head seam. Only the left camshaft sprocket uses the rear timing belt cover for the alignment mark.
  36. Use white paint to clearly mark these alignment marks in relation to the engine block (center) and the inner belt cover (left) or the cylinder head (right) (see illustration 7.11a, 7.11b, and 7.11c).
  37. Use paint to mark the direction of belt rotation if the arrow has faded (see illustration). If the original timing belt marks (yellow diagonal lines) have faded, paint new marks across the belt at the exact points of the alignment notches.
  38. Remove the idler pulley number 1 to release the timing belt tension (see illustration). Remove idler sprocket number 2 to make clearance for the timing belt (see illustration 7.9a).
  39. Caution: On turbocharged models, remove the rocker arm assemblies before the timing belt is removed.
  40. Remove the timing belt Caution: Do not rotate the camshaft sprockets with the timing belt removed or the valve heads may contact the piston crowns, resulting in bent valves.
  41. Remove the crankshaft pulley sprocket from the crankshaft. If it doesn’t slip off, use two screwdrivers behind it to evenly lever it off (see illustration).
  42. Remove the bolt(s) and the timing belt tensioner (see illustration 7.9a).
  43. While keeping the camshaft sprocket timing marks aligned with the mark on the inner cover, remove the sprocket bolt, while holding the sprocket with a pin wrench or similar tool. Remove both camshaft sprockets and mark them left and right. Do not interchange the left and right camshaft sprockets.
  44. Remove the camshafts by removing the valve covers (see Section 4).
  45. Remove the camshaft position sensor (CMP) (see Chapter 6).
  46. Working in the reverse order of the tightening sequence (see illustration 11.30c), gradually loosen the rocker arm assembly.
  47. Store all the components in an organized manner (see illustration 11.22).
  48. Remove the timing belt tensioner and the tensioner bracket (see Section 7).
  49. (Left only) Unbolt the oil dipstick tube from the left cylinder head.
  50. Remove the camshaft end cap assembly. Follow the reverse of the tightening sequence (see illustration 11.30a). Caution: Remove the camshaft carefully from the cylinder head. Remove the camshaft oil seal and the end plug from the camshaft end cap assembly.
  51. Disconnect the exhaust manifold from the cylinder heads (see Section 6). Note: Apply penetrating oil to the fasteners before beginning the procedure, and allow it to soak-in for a while.
  52. Remove the intake manifold (see Section 5). Remove any hoses or brackets bolted to the cylinder heads, and on models equipped with air conditioning, remove the air conditioning compressor bracket from the left cylinder head.
  53. Loosen the cylinder head bolts in the reverse of the tightening sequence (see illustration 12.13).
  54. Remove the old cylinder head gaskets. Note: The block and cylinder heads are aluminum. Do not pry between the cylinder heads and the crankcase, as damage to the gasket sealing surfaces may result. Instead, use a soft-faced hammer to tap the cylinder heads and break the gasket seal.
  55. Cylinder head disassembly and inspection

Last edited by Xist; 07-25-2015 at 02:22 PM..
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Old 04-24-2015, 12:27 AM   #2 (permalink)
Not Doug
Xist's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Show Low, AZ
Posts: 11,740

Chorizo - '00 Honda Civic HX, baby! :D
90 day: 35.35 mpg (US)

Mid-Life Crisis Fighter - '99 Honda Accord LX
90 day: 34.2 mpg (US)

Gramps - '04 Toyota Camry LE
90 day: 35.39 mpg (US)

Don't hit me bro - '05 Toyota Camry LE
90 day: 33.21 mpg (US)
Thanks: 7,148
Thanked 2,158 Times in 1,654 Posts
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