Last post on Dec 06, 2011 at 12:51 PM
You are in the Subaru Legacy & Outback
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Subaru Legacy, Subaru Outback, Wagon
#11123 of 11746 2002 Outback Coolant Leak/Head Gasket
Mar 28, 2006 (8:25 pm)
We have a 2002 OB Wagon 2.5Ltr 4Cyl. It has 32K on it. It went today for new head gaskets. It started as a coolant leak and started overheating, etc. There seems to be a lot of information on the internet about it. Mostly from other owners who have had problems, not from Subaru. They are covering the repairs, and we appreciate they easily corrected the problem. But we thought this car was reliable, we bought it because CU recommended it and it fit our needs. Our questions is now do we keep it. Has anyone had this problem with the coolant leak? Has there been anyone who has had a recurring head gasket issue, after the repair. We would appreciate any insight.
#11124 of 11746 Re: 2002 Outback Coolant Leak/Head Gasket [suebahroo2]
Mar 28, 2006 (9:10 pm)
In the book "the world according to Garp" they are looking a new home and at that moment a plane crashes into it.
They buy the house on the spot.
Why? Cuz "what are the odds of that happening again".
Consider yourself lucky it happened under warranty.
The new gasket is a better version and you should have many years of service.
Its not chronic, but its a weakness that you will have taken care of.
If I were looking at buying used one, yours would be at the top of my list BECAUSE you had the new "better" gasket installed.
#11125 of 11746 Re: 2002 Outback Coolant Leak/Head Gasket [suebahroo2]
Mar 29, 2006 (9:00 am)
CR does note about average engine problems for that year, though it improves dramatically after that, which is when Subaru started using a new gasket material.
You should be OK unless it overheated very badly and warped the heads. Did you drive it long after you noticed it was overheating?
#11126 of 11746 Re: 2002 Outback Coolant Leak/Head Gasket [ateixeira]
Mar 29, 2006 (7:58 pm)
I don't drive too far so I was be able to turn it off when the temp went up. It needed water a lot. I kept on top of it. But we thought we needed a hose or a clamp tightened. It took a while for us to figure out it was serious. I'm curious about the gasket. What makes the new one so much better. The dealership told me they are still using the same one, which baffled me. From the research I've been doing, head gaskets are a problem that has been a thorn in Subarus side for years. And I really think that the "conditioner" they recommend is not the way to fix a recurring head gasket issue. We took the CR survey, at that time we weren't having this problem. We were advised today by someone to get rid of it before the warranty expires. Still not sure what to do, we get it back tomarrow. Also need to find out what warranty extension applies.
#11127 of 11746 Extended warranty On the head gasket
Mar 29, 2006 (9:31 pm)
I am in the process of getting a used 02' 2.5 4cyl manual with 49k on it.
I understand the warranty for drive train (and head gasket) is until 60k.
Have they extended all the 02's to warranty the gaskets until 100k?
Thank you in advance.
#11128 of 11746 Re: Extended warranty On the head gasket [bargamon]
Mar 30, 2006 (5:52 am)
The drive train warranty is 5 yr 60K. The repair we just had done is covered under that warranty. But there is conflicting info available about the warranty that applies if your car has been affected by the "campaign". We never received the letter from Subaru dated 2/04 to add the Conditioner. So the first we knew of it was last week when we were trying to figure out what was wrong, overheatng, bad smell, etc. If he conditioner was added and they still had to replace the HG's the warranty is 8yr 100K. We were beyond the conditioner helping the problem by the time we got it to the dealer, which is 2 hours from here. We'll talk to the dealer this afternon to clarify coverage.
Mar 30, 2006 (8:35 am)
It's odd because some were, some were not. Our 02 Legacy did not fall under the campaign, but we have a Gold 7/100 warranty anyway.
I looked again last night, in 02 the CR rating for engine is below average, but for 03 it jumps to above average. Again, this data tends to agree with what we have observed here.
The gasket material was supposedly revised. That was their claim at the time. CR's data and our empirical data from observations here at Edmunds tend to confirm that hypothesis.
That's all we know.
#11130 of 11746 Re: 02 [ateixeira]
Mar 30, 2006 (1:20 pm)
When I replaced the gaskets on my '96, the construction of the gaskets were indeed different between the ones that were on there (and terribly deteriorated!) and the ones I put on there. I purchased the replacements in March of 2003 and it was part of a complete gasket/seal kit (from Subaru), so I do not know if it is different from your '02s originals or not.
#11131 of 11746 Re: Extended warranty On the head gasket [suebahroo2]
Mar 30, 2006 (7:36 pm)
To begin with, the HG problem that affects the pre '00 DOHC engine, and the post '99 SOHC engines (there was overlap depending on the model) is not the same.
From what I was told, the DOHC gasket is now on either rev 3 or rev 4. This engine most often failed for internal passageway leaks, and the head bolts are found to be loose, as though the gasket were compressing excessively, then delaminating.
In the case of the SOHC engine, the open deck design has excessive creep, resulting in external leaks first, but now were are hearing more and more of internal leaks and overheating. At the time my very early '02 went (mid '03 with 15k miles), I was told that the gasket series had not changed. The conditioner was announced about a year later, and is a leak-stop type and possibly a gasket sweller, meant to rebuild the wall as creap damages it.
My source - a former regional rep that now makes a robust business out of repairing Subaru failed HG's as a private garage. BTW, a certain other birdie eluded to much the same when I asked on the phone to confirm what I had heard....
Now why many '02's (including mine) are not covered by the extended coverage campaign is a question I could never get answered by either source. I forced the issue on my own and had my dealer change the coolant and add the conditioner last year, but I have no way of knowing if it will help, or if SoA will assist me if mine then blows at high mileage. I too have a SoA Gold plan, but only to 6 yr / 80k miles.
And so far, the data for '03 and beyond engines looks better, but nobody will say why. I cannot help but wonder if some very minor change in molds or casting technique of either the block of head somehow changed the dynamics of deck creep.
I'm not sure that we are ever going to know the 'real' story on all of this. Yet I love the car anyhow!
#11132 of 11746 Re: Extended warranty On the head gasket [fibber2]
Mar 30, 2006 (9:23 pm)
Seems to not be all of them. I suppose I need to just think that a 900-1600 repair is in the future.
I got such a good deal on this car I have room to pay down the road if its an issue not covered under warranty.
I won't see the car for few weeks and maybe the records are available. At worst, when the 60k service comes up I have the coolent flushed and the conditioner put in.