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#19271 of 19336 03-07 Forester Head Gasket Failures
Apr 30, 2013 (2:31 pm)
CR has posted a story today, apparently based on updated results of their annual consumer survey, of various used cars, foreign and domestic, to avoid because of problems. The Subaru Forester, 03-07, is on that list because of HG failures.
I'm disappointed to see that CR readers are reporting HG failures in their Foresters. Subaru had led me to believe that it had solved the HG failure problem a few years back with a different gasket material and the required use of some sort of radiator stop-leak. Subaru has to have known that the HG leak problems were continuing and only changed engine design recently.
I suspect this means that anyone who owns a Forester of that vintage, or perhaps even an Outback or an Imprezza (similar engines) is going to find that their vehicle is going to be valued less at resale or trade-in because even a vehicle without a failure now is at greater risk for needing an expensive repair sooner than later.
I sure hope that Subaru redeems itself by extending the warranty on HG repairs to at least 125,000 miles. A modern engine that is properly maintained should not need an expensive HG repair even at 125,000 imo. The article doesn't tell us at what mileage HG failures are occurring.
We've owned five Subarus since 2000, and so far have been lucky. Or it may just be that three of those Subarus are H6's, which appear to be pretty much immune from the HG failure problem.
#19272 of 19336 Re: 03-07 Forester Head Gasket Failures [snowbelter]
Apr 30, 2013 (2:55 pm)
I have 3 Subaru's under my care. 94, 97 and 03. The two older units as of now have had HG jobs. 250K, 94 and 97, 289K which that engine was lost due to a high speed failure only to have the replacement 98 engine fail at an approximate 80-100K miles of service. This is a very old problem for Subaru.
Like I tell people, if it can not make 200K historically without major maintenance, it is junk on the lot brand new. Needless to say Subaru is not on our replacement vehicle supplier list anymore unless it is needed for 4 wheel service applications! Shame for Subaru.
As for the H6 engine, it shares the same design flaws, but keep your oil changed and try to operate each car at least 10K or more miles per year. Check out the following website to read why these gaskets fail and use those preventive measures. You may be all right. Several of us agree these guys may have this figured out. http://allwheeldriveauto.com/subaru-head-gasket-problems-explained/ As you may have already noted we pull a lot of miles out of Subies as well. Oh, I failed to mention, the 03 is in failure mode at 280K currently.
#19273 of 19336 Re: 03-07 Forester Head Gasket Failures [girlcarbuilder]
by Stever@Edmunds HOST
Apr 30, 2013 (3:31 pm)
I checked with my mechanic the other day and he loves Subarus - makes a lot of money doing head gasket jobs on them. He pulled a recent ticket and the bill was around $1,300. He typically doesn't see them until 160,000 miles or so though.
Mine is at 92,000 miles after a ~16 hour RT cruise to Chicago and I've decided to try to get one more winter out of it.
#19274 of 19336 Re: 03-07 Forester Head Gasket Failures [steve_]
Apr 30, 2013 (5:55 pm)
My '99 just flew north of 210k. Had the HGs, timing belt, etc. done at 124K, about 20K before I bought it. Nice timing, huh?
#19275 of 19336 Re: 03-07 Forester Head Gasket Failures [girlcarbuilder]
Apr 30, 2013 (7:50 pm)
So, do you think the "new" foresters will have the HG problem as well? Has the engine design been changed enough yet to avoid that problem?
#19276 of 19336 Re: 03-07 Forester Head Gasket Failures [hammerhead]
by Stever@Edmunds HOST
Apr 30, 2013 (7:58 pm)
Better sell it Pauly- the timing belt will be coming due again soon .
#19277 of 19336 Re: 03-07 Forester Head Gasket Failures [steve_]
May 01, 2013 (6:56 am)
I did the math - not til 129K, 19K from now. Heck, that's maybe 2 years around here! Plus, we've got the '95 for the kids to share, so that will keep the miles down on the mom & dad fleet. And I'd much rather drive this one than one with too many gadgets... although financially, I should think about getting something a bit fresher & getting it paid for before I retire.
#19278 of 19336 Re: 03-07 Forester Head Gasket Failures [sgloon]
May 01, 2013 (7:08 am)
Well, we won't see any coolant leaks, because now the coolant no longer flows through the gaskets. The heads have separate cooling lines.
That also means the gaskets have far fewer holes and seams, so certainly the odds of failure are much lower.
Don't worry, we still have front and rear main seals to worry about.
Just teasing, no car is perfect. I'm sure Dodge and Honda owners would be delighted to get 160k miles out of their transmissions. $1300 repair bill they wish!
He pulled a recent ticket and the bill was around $1,300. He typically doesn't see them until 160,000 miles or so though.
#19279 of 19336 Re: 03-07 Forester Head Gasket Failures [sgloon]
May 01, 2013 (7:26 am)
Very good question......if you read that website link I sent, the answer could very well be no. Most of the units here have been hit with high usage until later in age. There is a lot on that link about oil changes and usage, not to mention other issues. Open road units here seem to pull 250K+ regardless of year which leads me to think their comments on that website have a lot of bearing. These issues come down to the H design and the materials of the HG itself. Basic nature of the beast! Time....will be the only indicator. It takes 20 years for an auto maker to get a good rep. Only a few bad years to get a bad rap! Ford for example would have to put out 20 years worth of good cars for me to even consider one of them. By then I may not even care about cars given my age!
#19280 of 19336 Re: 03-07 Forester Head Gasket Failures [ateixeira]
May 01, 2013 (7:35 am)
So with this newer design we got rid of the possibility of sucking coolant, but now the only indicator of trouble will be increased oil consumption and blowby! Goodbye seals! Blow them all out so now we have to pull the engine to do a HG and replace all seals......not to mention the notorious oil galley! We now have no early warning feature! They must have hired some Detroit engineers!
Maybe we need to wait 20 years for Subaru! Then again, my new Toyotas are all plastic! I wonder if that plastic can be used to buy the next car! Charge it! Fake money for fake cars?