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#119 of 152 Subaru Forester Head Gasket Leak at 55,000 miles
Jan 27, 2010 (9:36 am)
The head gasket on my 2003 Forester is leaking at only 55,000 miles which is ridiculous. I have the oil changed every 3,000 miles which is above and beyond what is recommended, but I wanted to take extra care of the engine and then this happens. Just found out this is a known defect on Subarus, though only the 1999-2002 models were recalled. Clearly, the problem was not resolved. I am trying to get Subaru to pitch in for the repair as though it's been over 5 years, it is still within the 60,000 mile warranty period. Clearly, if a head gasket goes at only 55,000 miles, there is a defect. I hope Subaru resolves this as if they don't this will be my last Subaru. Just wanted to post this so others are aware of the problem and don't assume that it's only on the 1999-2002 models.
#120 of 152 Re: Subaru Forester Head Gasket Leak at 55,000 miles [dk11]
Jan 27, 2010 (10:51 am)
Count us as another head gasket failure and repair (mostly out of our pocket) for the 03 Forester 60,000 miles.
There was a previous post regarding the correlation between head gasket failure and the type of coolant used. Recommending only Subaru brand coolant? Can't find that post but it might help prevent further problems.
#121 of 152 Re: Subaru Forester Head Gasket Leak at 55,000 miles [dk11]
Jan 27, 2010 (10:56 am)
I hear you. I also have a 2003 Forester and have started losing coolant. I don't understand why SOA does not expand its coverage when the problem still exists on later models. See my recent post with pics at Losing Coolant.
#122 of 152 Re: Subaru Forester Head Gasket Leak at 55,000 miles [jbur1]
Jan 28, 2010 (9:06 am)
Thanks for your reply. I am going to request that they do extend the warranty for the 2003 to 100,000 miles / 8 years as they did for the recalled 1999-2002 models since the 2003 still clearly has the same problem. May I ask at what mileage mark yours started to lose coolant?
#123 of 152 Re: Subaru Forester Head Gasket Leak at 55,000 miles [dk11]
Jan 28, 2010 (9:57 am)
Call 800-SUBARU3 for help if your dealer doesn't seem helpful to you.
Good luck and please keep us posted.
#124 of 152 Re: Subaru Forester Head Gasket Leak at 55,000 miles [goldengal]
Jan 28, 2010 (6:48 pm)
"There was a previous post regarding the correlation between head gasket failure and the type of coolant used. Recommending only Subaru brand coolant? Can't find that post but it might help prevent further problems."
There is no correlation between head gasket leaks and coolant. The proper coolant is used to assure no corrosion in the system. The proper sealant additive is what Subaru believes helps seal head gasket leaks. The actual cause of the gasket leaks is movement of the unsupported tops of the cylinders in the "open deck" cylinder blocks, which the gaskets cannot endure.
Subaru has given the DOHC turbo and diesel engines "semi-open deck" cylinder blocks which brace the cylinder tops and avoids the problem.
The open deck is die cast, where the metal die is reusable. The semi-closed deck has bridges (braces) between the cylinder tops and the block, requiring a single-use sand casting for each block, which is much more expensive.
#125 of 152 Re: Subaru Forester Head Gasket Leak at 55,000 miles [dk11]
Jan 29, 2010 (11:20 am)
I first noticed a little leakage last winter on the extreme cold days (around 70,000 miles). At that time I didn't attribute it to the head gasket because it went away as soon as the engine warmed up so I thought it was a loose hose clamp somewhere. Then the problem went away during spring, summer, and autumn. Now it has returned this winter (around 81,000 miles). I changed the coolant myself at 30,000 and 60,000 miles. I also added the Subaru conditioner to be on the safe side. I did not use Subaru coolant but I spoke to an engineer at the coolant manufacturer and he said that their coolant met the Subaru recommendation to use a phosphate non-amine formula. In fact he also said that amines were banned years ago because they were deemed to be a carcinogen.
#126 of 152 Re: Subaru Forester Head Gasket Leak at 55,000 miles [dk11]
Feb 15, 2010 (12:10 pm)
UPDATE: Subaru has decided to pitch in with the repair cost. My co-payment will be around $300. The dealer of course called me this morning with about a dozen other things they said needed to be done, including changing the transmission fluid which I had just had done last spring, so no thanks on that. I am having them replace the timing belt while they are in the engine ($100) Asked them to change the coolant as well, for which they wanted to charge $140. I then realized they would have to do that as part of the gasket replacement, so questioned them on that charge and they removed it. They also suggested replacing the power steering and alternator drive belts for $50 (OK), changing the cabin air filter for $125 (OK), doing a "small tuneup" (PCV valve, air filter, fuel filter and spark plugs) for $225 (OK, even though seems high), and fuel induction service (additive) for $140 which I passed on as I understand I can buy a bottle and add myself for a heck of a lot less. Can't believe they were going to charge me for the coolant when they had to do that anyway as part of the gasket replacement. Subaru wondered why I didn't get all my service done at the dealer. Subaru - if you're listening - this is why. But I am pleased Subary stepped up to the plate. I love my Forester and hope to get at least another 6 years out of it. Thanks for all the posts. Hope mine were helpful to some one.
#127 of 152 Re: Subaru Forester Head Gasket Leak at 55,000 miles [dk11]
Feb 15, 2010 (12:16 pm)
Great news! Thank you for updating us - it just goes to show that you won't know unless you ask....
#128 of 152 Re: Subaru Forester Head Gasket Leak at 55,000 miles [dk11]
Feb 17, 2010 (10:28 am)
I would probably have ordered the same services you did. Good call.
A new timing belt for $100, heck yeah!