Last post on Jul 22, 2012 at 1:17 PM
You are in the Subaru Forester
What is this discussion about?
Subaru Forester, Wagon
#1 of 20 Head Gasket oil leak at 60,000 miles - second engine
May 23, 2012 (3:52 pm)
My 2003 Forester must be the worst one Subaru ever made. I had some repairs under warranty (faulty hose clamps, axle boot replacement, axle replacement, rebuilt engine due to piston slap). Now, at just 60,000 miles, of which about half is on the "new engine", my Subaru mechanic (not a dealer) told me today that I have a slight oil leakage on the passenger side head gasket. Last fall he noticed a bit of coolant leakage which was odd because I always had the "Subaru Superglue" - or coolant conditioner added to the coolant.
I'm not putting any money into this car. The catalytic converter has also kicked the can (and sounds about the same). So my decision is just to run this car until it quits.
Will I get a warning or will the engine suddenly die?
#2 of 20 Re: Head Gasket oil leak at 60,000 miles - second engine [joybell]
May 23, 2012 (9:13 pm)
It depends on how thoroughly you neglect it. If you want it to go down in a blaze of glory, it sounds like you're on the right path.
I suspect that if your cat isn't working properly at that low mileage, you might have a slight internal coolant leak that has fouled the cat. If that's the case, ignoring it might mean you don't have too many more miles left.
#3 of 20 Re: Head Gasket oil leak at 60,000 miles - second engine [xwesx]
May 23, 2012 (10:52 pm)
I really don't want to deal with this engine anymore. So two choices, put another engine in from a higher mileage car, and replace the c.convertor or get what I can for it now, being honest of course, and look for a second hand Forester. There are lots of these around for sale so it's probably my best option. I have been keeping an eye out for a used Honda CRV but they are rare. So many used Foresters and no CRVs makes me a bit worried though. It used to be the other way around back when I bought my 2003 Forester new.
#4 of 20 Quotes for Repair and Warranty
May 24, 2012 (9:10 am)
Just out of curiousity, I called the Subaru dealer. $1,600 and they do both gaskets (even though only one is leaking) and give a one year warranty. An large independant garage that services only Subaru's will do just the one gasket, for $800, but give only 3 months warranty - with the added warning "that if you don't want problems then don't pick the 2.5L engine". As if there is a choice?
#5 of 20 Re: Quotes for Repair and Warranty [joybell]
May 24, 2012 (9:27 am)
I'm getting both gaskets done + plugs and wires for about $1600 on our 2001 Outback with 200K miles. So your price seems reasonable. My mechanic told me I should do both gaskets. If I remember correctly its the driver side gasket that used to fail the most. The timing belt, front cam seal, and water pump were done a few months ago, so they get skipped this time.
The Subie dealer will change about another $1000 for a cat. converter if I remeber that repare estimate. A non-subaru cat will be cheaper.
Ask yourself this, "Can you find a semi-reliable car for under $3000?"
If we get another 2 to 3 years from it it will be worth it.
#6 of 20 Reliable Forester / Impreza non turbo?
May 24, 2012 (9:46 am)
I don't really want a semi-reliable car for under $3000. I would like a brand new Forester with a reliable engine - non turbo. Doesn't exist. I tried to trade in the Forester 4 years ago after the first engine replacement (rebuilt engine), for a brand new Impreza thinking that they had the 2.0L engine, but it also had 2.5L engine. So it made no sense to trade.
There really is no choice. The dealer tells me that as of the 2011 models the engine design has changed. But I heard all this before, when I purchased the 2003 Forester new.
I'm walking away this time.
#7 of 20 Re: Reliable Forester / Impreza non turbo? [joybell]
May 25, 2012 (5:12 am)
"... The dealer tells me that as of the 2011 models the engine design has changed. But I heard all this before, when I purchased the 2003 Forester new. ..."
There was no engine change in 2003. The EJ belt-driven SOHC engine was used in naturally aspirated Foresters essentially unchanged from 1999 to 2010.
But it is true that in 2011 naturally aspirated Foresters were given the new FB chain-driven DOHC engine. This a completely new design.
http://www.caranddriver.com/news/subaru-fb-series-engine-subaru-flat-four-engine- - - s
One interesting change is that the heads of the FB engine have their own separate coolant supply, that does not come from the block through the head gaskets. This will eliminate the head gasket leaks that were possible with the EJ design, and were especially common in your 2003 year.
#8 of 20 Re: Reliable Forester / Impreza non turbo? [joybell]
May 25, 2012 (5:58 am)
Sorry to hear you're still having problems with your car. As has been mentioned, Subaru is moving away from the older SOHC belt-driven EJ 4-cylinder engine to all-new FA and FB 4-cylinder engines, which are DOHC chain-driven engines.
The FA is a performance-oriented engine, first to be found in their new BRZ sports car (FA20).
The FB is more a mainstream engine, aimed at getting high gas mileage, especially so when combined with the new CVT transmission.
The FB20 engine is in the new Impreza; and the soon-to-be-released XV Crosstrek, an Outback-like version of the Impreza (see links), with a jacked up suspension and larger tires. The Impreza is rated for up to 36 mpg on the highway, the best of any AWD car; the XV Crosstrek a little lower.
The larger FB25 is in the Legacy, Outback and Forester models. It too gets improved gas mileage over the older EJ engine.
One especially nice feature of the new FA/FB-based engines is that the oil filter is now on the top of the engine, in the front, thus making oil changes a breeze.
I haven't heard of any problems with the new FB engines; but they are new, so only time will tell.
#9 of 20 Re: Reliable Forester / Impreza non turbo? [rsholland]
May 25, 2012 (6:17 am)
The larger FB25 is in the Legacy, Outback and Forester models.
Legacy/Outback does not get the FB25 'til MY2013.
#10 of 20 What's this? Crosstrek with a 2.0L engine
May 25, 2012 (6:41 am)
From the article on the Crosstrek:
"Power comes from the same 2.0-liter boxer four that's found in the standard Impreza, putting out 148 horsepower and mated to either a five-speed manual or Continuously Variable Transmission."
I know that when I wanted to trade in my Forester, there was no such thing as an Impreza with a 2.0L engine. In fact, when I checked, I found that the 2.0L engine was discontinued in the Impreza back in 2000.
I do know that in Europe they have different engines - lower hp but the good reliable ones. Not as power crazy over there I guess. So maybe the article is referencing the Japanese and European model Imprezas.
On another note, I found a really nice 2004 WRX Turbo that I am thinking about, although it's not really my style my research has found that the turbos do not have HG problems. A little old but probably better than sticking my neck out with new untried engine. Once burned........
I did try out a new Honda CRV - didn't like the drive too much. So it's off to an independant garage for a HG fix for $600 (for one only) that will gain me some search time.