6th Jun 2011, 02:54

I'm on my 7th Subaru, all NA 2.2's and 2.5's... Just got an SVX 3.3, and did have a 1.8 briefly in a Impreza until a neighbor bought it... but the water pump issue has little to do with a head gasket going bad... all Subaru's except maybe the 1.8 and the 3.3 will eventually have a bad H-G. Big deal, after figuring out how to do the 1st one it's a 4 hour job thereafter... (it takes longer to get a machine shop to resurface the heads than it takes to do the whole job)... and... they seem to stay fixed forever if the head was resurfaced.

H-G jobs are just no big deal.

Except on the DOHC... the H-G job can be a bit of as problem on the DOHC. Nice engine, but the head removal is filled with booby traps, and it's a crap shoot to get it out without hurting the cam tower 10mm bolts. So complicated to get at the head bolts.


So simple to get at the head bolts on all the SOHC engines.

I much prefer the SOHC 1.8, 2.2, 2.5's... as long as the head bolts are out in the open, it's an awful easy group of engines to remove heads.

But to act as if only some will need a head gasket job is disingenuous: they will ALL need it done at one point or another. 170k is quite normal for the point at which the 2.5 seems to pop head gaskets. It's very normal and totally predictable.

And it's very rare for the water pump to have caused the problem. The gaskets just go, and it's not from overheating: heck: it's what CAUSED the overheating. It takes months for a Subaru HG to fully go bad once the first weird symptoms start, months... and... A lot of $ is wasted changing radiators, w-p's, thermostats... all for nothing: It's always the H-G! Always.

At least with the SOHC engines, the fix is straightforward and easy to do. Subarus rock... and they stay on the road for years at very low cost. Glad the Legacy-Outback is made with American parts in Indiana. More American than a Chevy or Ford pickup. Hard to believe, but true... check out the official "domestic content" figures. Funny stuff, you want a red-white-and blue car? ...better buy a Legacy or Outback. Funny stuff!

7th Jun 2011, 20:02

"It's always the H-G! Always"

Not true. Having owned a '95 Legacy with the SOHC 2.2L, I had an overheating issue, the problem? The water pump failed. It never needed a head gasket.

7th Feb 2012, 02:19

I agree, pay attention to the water pump for sure! Because it's not the timing belt that goes 1st. Subaru water pumps all fail in the same way, and they all fail at 125k miles. Believe it or not, they FREEZE up... hard to believe, but I've seen 3 do this (bought all 3 of them for 4 or 5 hundred each... and all three are still running strong... no problems at all since they were fixed... and given to my kids). Hey, just change the timing belt, water pump, belt tensioner and pulleys (and the oil pump o-ring) at 105k... and you will keep the darned things going indefinitely...

If the water pump is ignored on the 2.2 (pre 97 when they were non-interference), nothing bad will happen except a MELTED timing belt, since they skid across the water pump until they smoke like the car is ready to blow up... then they melt... and fail.

Just stick with pre-1996 2.2's and you've got the best of the best. Just keep the oil level on the stick... low oil = rod bearing damage... and bad bearings are the one thing that cannot be quickly fixed on a Subaru engine. Everything else is quite simple.