Author Topic: Head gaskets blown  (Read 996 times)

June 26, 2017, 04:16:53 PM
Read 996 times

Homer

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Hi Forester fans

I have a 1999 spec Forester S-Turbo Manual which has blown head gaskets. An estimation on the repairs is R38K, as it would include the 200 000 km service.

I have thought about disposing of it, but some offers I have are in the range of R5K to R15K for it, in its present state.

I have therefore decided to repair it myself, so I wanted to hear some opinions on that idea. If the major portion of the estimated cost of repair is labour based, surely it makes sense that i do the work myself and maybe even consider some improvements along the way.

I really cannot see myself driving any other brand.

If anyone has any words of wisdom, or have personal experience in this area, please feel free to comment.

June 26, 2017, 05:03:16 PM
Reply #1

FozzieDriver

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Hello Homer
What area are you based in?
Is the rest of the car in good nick?
If you are wanting to remove the engine and strip it, clean and send the heads into the engineers yourself you can save quite a bit.
Getting the engine back together again can be a bit daunting and without the correct tools will be difficult to guarantee it will not suffer from a failure or oil starvation due to a blockage. Having pulled and replaced my engine twice, I can tell you there are some tricks to the reassembly.
Perhaps give a known mechanic in your area a shout for some advice? And revert?
Forester XT 2008 MT
VF48, STi IC, 76mm Bell mouth TNT Free flow, GFB EBC, Coolboost WMI, WHP built and Chett Tuned. Blue Wasabi V3.0

June 27, 2017, 08:04:29 AM
Reply #2

LoopSoosStroop

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You can have it fixed for way less than that, as low as R8k if you do it yourself, including new cambelt kit and waterpump.

Provided not much else is wrong.

Where are you based?
2007 XT AT
Midrand - Gauteng

June 27, 2017, 08:27:04 AM
Reply #3

Homer

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Thank you for the replies.

I am based in Pretoria. I have asked a mechanic to take a look, and all they can tell me is that there is no way of knowing if the valves are bent, crankshaft is damaged, con-rods, etc etc etc.

I guess i will only know once it is opened up. The rest of the car is in a reasonable state considering it is 17 years old, with wheel bearings and brake pads needing replacement.

The trouble is that it used 5 litres of water for every 15 kms travelled, until it just refused to start again. I can see know as I am taking it apart how much damage I may have caused in terms of corrosion. Q20 is my friend at the moment, lol.

Anyhow, maybe I should post on progress? Seems that a DIY job is do-able.

June 27, 2017, 08:32:56 AM
Reply #4

Homer

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Oh, another thing maybe someone knows. Is it possible to just swap out a 2.5 for the 2 litre unit in the car? Can it be that simple or will the ECU have a hernia?

Also if that is not possible, does anyone know if one could put in an Impreza 2.0 GT engine, turbo and intercooler, as a total replacement? Would this be possible and actually work?

June 27, 2017, 01:38:39 PM
Reply #5

berndp

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Not knowing, but just thinking, I'm sure you could fit a 2.5 instead of a 2.0, but that would need to be the engine with all the manifolds, intake stuff etc, and I would think the ECU as well. I think the bocks are the same, so space & mountings should be same.

There is a good guy in Jhb for fozzies: Wayne.......
Subaru Forester 2005 2.5 Xsel
Always looking for a tar free "road"
Brackenfell, W'Cape

July 10, 2017, 01:32:06 PM
Reply #6

Homer

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So I have started stripping the car and finished the toughest challenge so far.... Removing the crankshaft pulley bolt.

Had to make a tool to keep the pulley from turning, as the local spares shop didn't have the appropriate part.

So far, stripping everything is going well and I am taking the opportunity to check all the other parts too. Several pipes simply snapped off as they were old and hardened, so this has been a good learning exercise.

I can see the head gaskets from the top and the bottom and they look just fine to me. No leaks are visible in line with the head gaskets, but the outer housing on the driver's side is showing signs that it may be leaking and not the head gasket. When I get some more space in the engine bay I will take a closer look.

So now I am wondering if it wasn't just the water pump. A replacement will cost R 750 (from Midas) and it seems like a good idea to consider replacing it anyway, while I have access to it. I have removed the timing belt and pulleys and they appear as if they have not had any excess wear. So I plan to simply re-use them on re-assembly. Midas sells timing belt kits for 2011 up only, so OEM seems the only choice here for anyone who needs to replace older units.

I will keep updating as I get further.

BTW, an OEM head gasket for this car is less than R 1000 per side. I was shocked by that news as I was expecting way more cost.

July 10, 2017, 05:47:18 PM
Reply #7

Homer

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I have the water pump out :o

[attachment deleted by admin]

July 10, 2017, 05:50:42 PM
Reply #8

Homer

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I would say it should be replaced.

Below is the view from underneath the engine with visible signs of damage on the outer side of the heads. The head gasket shows no damage.

I have yet to gain access to the driver's side (after removing the exhaust pieces). Maybe the damage is there, but time will tell

[attachment deleted by admin]

July 11, 2017, 09:29:39 AM
Reply #9

LoopSoosStroop

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You wont be able to see a head gasket failure from outside. I could not even see where mine leaked/failed after I took the heads off. The sleeves are very thin on the 2.5 motor, so not much support for the gaskets, not sure how the 2.0 looks inside.
2007 XT AT
Midrand - Gauteng

July 11, 2017, 09:56:17 AM
Reply #10

Homer

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Thanks for the feedback Loop. I was afraid of that, or at least hoping that I could tell from the outside without having to disassemble.

I assume I will have to replace the gaskets anyway, if I remove the heads, but at least machining may not be necessary then?

Need to check that part too.

July 11, 2017, 10:31:35 AM
Reply #11

LoopSoosStroop

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Yes, if they come off the gaskets need to be replaced, as well as the head bolts.

You can run a straight edge across the block and heads to see if they are warped. In my limited experience Subaru head gaskets do not always fail from overheating, but many times from age and corrosion form the coolant and oil.
2007 XT AT
Midrand - Gauteng

July 11, 2017, 11:22:41 AM
Reply #12

thebus

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Maybe someone can back my statement but get OEM waterpump. They are bulletproof supposedly.
Cape Town

July 12, 2017, 04:38:58 PM
Reply #13

berndp

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Yes, OEM pumps aparently have Stainless steel impellors, so they don't wear away.
Mine is on 361k km already. :)
Because of difficulty in replacing the water pump, I would stick with OEM.

Homer, that "wetness" you see in the one photo (20170710_172910.jpg) is not at the head gasket, but the valve cover gasket. The HG is on the other side of the manifold.

That pump housing looks dirty on inside.
Maybe the rest of the water channels look similar, wich can contribute to overheating.
That's due to bad coolant maintanence/ bad water/ lack of antifreeze (with corrosion inhbitors...), maybe even leakstop... >:( >:( >:( >:( >:(

Don't re-use the timing belt @ idlers/tensioner, it's not worth it.
Get new from Masterparts......

Machining of heads: maybe just have them polished (or faced). Caution: check the compression ratio afterwards, before assembly. It is a bit of a task, but rather safe than sorry. Mine were "faced" when the HG's were done, and I believe my CR is high, that's why I have this pinging problem, which can't be solved with timing.....
Never re-use gaskets, never re-use headbolts. These are "stretch" bolts, AFAIK, and only work once. I learned that the hard way on my Camry years ago.

Make sure you know how to torque which bolts. The whole engine casing... is aluminium, and it's easy to strip a bolt.

Good luck
Subaru Forester 2005 2.5 Xsel
Always looking for a tar free "road"
Brackenfell, W'Cape

July 13, 2017, 02:56:35 PM
Reply #14

Homer

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Thanks to everyone for the feedback again.