Believe the origin of the 2.5 came from the 2.2, so when an increase in cylinder diameter came with the 2.5, so the gasket area decreased, think the valves got a little bigger as well. So, less gasket , earlier failure. That said, all head gaskets go sometime. With subarus, it is best to remove the engine to do the head gaskets. And the most important part of doing these head gaskets is to do the tightening procedure correctly. Some guys go thru the whole job, and it is a big one, and they do not follow the procedure, the car comes back in under 5k with them leaking again. Did my 2000 outback 100 k ago and the gaskets are bone dry still, also, change your oil and anti freeze at proper intervals. If you do not, this is what eats the gaskets.
All that said, I like them, to me they are the most economical awd choice, despite the head gasket situation. I wash/spray them off before I go in the house, if they have been out in salt. With hot water from the coal boiler.
Was riding a 97 legacy 2.2liter with 135 k miles, was getting to a , lets look for another one this past summer, and after looking at several over a few weeks, scored a 98 legacy gt trim package 2.5, (no turbos), do not want them any way. Get this, it had 43,000 miles, single owner, all 4 tires new, all 4 new pads and top end rotors. $3000
Now , here is a tip, that has worked for me, sometimes subarus have a valve tick, crank bearing noise, on start up , and kind of goes away after warm up. A friend who hauls coal from NY harbor to Bow, NH power plant told me. He saves big money on his diesel motor rebuilds, by extending the miles from 200k to 300k, and swears by it. Lucas engine oil additive, I use Mobil 1 extended and lucas, either 3 parts to 1 part, or 2 parts to 2 parts. The noise disappeared when The lucas was used. Really.
And on the 2008 to 2009 Subaru lineartronic drive train, its a snowmobile clutch, with a woven metal belt. They are breaking and there is no fix but to replace the entire unit. To the tune of $6 to $8k, ouch. The older drive trains were the same situation of hard to repair , just replace, but at least they did not malfunction. be careful.
One more, PB Blaster corrosion stop, oil and wax with heptane in a spray can, 5 or 6 cans and your good on the underneath. Spray it and find a nice dusty dirt road to drive it on, the dirt locks it in for life. Even when sprayed with very hot water, it does not come off. Big fan.
Oh, and the timing belt every 110k miles, and while your in there, do the water pump... and sundries.
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- 2000 2.5L headgasket leak