2001 Subaru Outback – Head Gasket Educational Blog

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It wasn’t until about the end of the entire process when I had realized I hadn’t taken a picture of the actual car we were working on. We’ve been hard at work this tax season, and I guess I had mixed up a few of the pictures of other jobs into this post! I really wanted to talk about this job because I feel like the mass majority looking for information on this job could use it. The pictures are just too descriptive!

This car came into the shop the other day needing head gasket work. Not only that, but the car was reportedly spewing all of its oil out from the bottom side of the motor. A peek on the bottom side of the engine shows a few different signs of head gasket wear.

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See the grey matter between the block and cylinder head? That is a mixture of wet coolant and exhaust fumes escaping from the exhaust headers. When looking for a head gasket leak, the most obvious thing you can track down is coolant on the bottom side of the right and left cylinder heads. In the last picture, the white milky droplets are formed when the oil (spewing out from the bottom side of the motor) mixed with coolant escaping from the head gaskets.

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It looks like we found the culprit for the massive oil leak. Looks like maybe the guys at Jiffy Lube might have mis-installed an oil filter and caused the gasket to slip! Good thing it wasn’t coming out of the crank case!

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So the tear down begins! Here is our motor completely out of the car. Heads are out to the machine shop to get resurfaced and tested.

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Back from the shop like straight from the Subaru factory. Now we will prime the cylinder heads and adjust the valve timing.

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Theres a great deal of cleaning and scraping when preparing the block for a new set of head gaskets. The old head gasket will be scraped off, and the sides of the block need to be polished.

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If I ever suggest buying a new radiator with your head gasket job, and you find it a little excessive, this is the reason why. Not saying everyone does it, but majority of people cross their fingers and dump in head gasket sealer into the cooling system before having the professionals solve their problem. A $35 dollar bottle of “blue devil” will not solve your head gasket problems. It will in fact, create more damage and create more work for the mechanic who in the long run will have to clean it out. The problem is this stuff rarely ever comes complete out of your radiator because of all the bends and turns. Over time, this copper sediment will clog your radiator- hence, new radiator.

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Fresh head gaskets in! Love that Fel-Pro Blue.

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Torquing the head gaskets. All of the bolts need to be tightened in a specific order, and then tightened back down to factory inch pound specs.

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Before

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And after!

Keep in mind this is maybe half of the job! Here at Columbia Autoworks, we do things complete (we may fudge on the picture taking). On this job, we installed a timing kit including water pump, tensioner, idler pulleys, both cam seals, front crank seal, rear main seal, valve cover gaskets, intake manifold gaskets, exhaust manifold gaskets, radiator, upper and lower radiator hoses, thermostat, and radiator cap. Im sure theres more that went into it as well, but- its 7:20 pm. Im signing out.

 

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