9th Aug 2007, 23:49

After reading page after page of basically the same issue of blown head gaskets on a small range of years of Subaru engines, I think the one that makes the most sense is the one dated July 24th regarding filing a complaint with the NHTSA. Our car is a 97 Subaru Legacy with 80K + miles. We're having the same issue with overheating, blown head gaskets, and the dealer from which we bought the car wanting to charge over $3000 to fix it. This is not the only site listing the same problem with these cars. Please take a minute to submit a complaint to the NHTSA via email or phone call.


Unhappy Subaru owner in SF Bay Area.

17th Aug 2007, 12:35

Thank you people for your comments. I'm glad I found this site. I was about to buy a 1998 Outback for 5300, from a friend of a friend. I was already warned that it would over heat going up the mountains where I live. I'm assuming this is a precursor to a blown head gasket leaving me broke and without transportation.

I've decided to get a used Toyota Camry instead.

30th Aug 2007, 10:35

I own an auto repair shop in Belvidere, NJ. I had a Subaru in my shop with a strange over heating problem, just like many of you described. Doing some research I found this helpful site and determined we had the 2.5 L head gasket failure. Repaired my customers car and added a comment on December 7, 2006. Since then I have had about 6 or 8 calls asking for advice. Two of them were not that far away and came in and had me repair their vehicles. None of them had warped heads or blocks, like I see many of you had. Their cars are running great and I made some new customers. Please see my original post in column 31--45. I can repair your over heating problems at a very reasonable cost.

Marshall'S Garage LLC

635 Water St

Belvidere, NJ 07823

(908) 475-1509.

18th Sep 2007, 14:12

More Head Gasket Problems: Ours is a 2001 Subaru Forester that has been serviced on schedule over its lifetime by the dealership. In spite of them adding the "preventative" special coolant per the recall notice, it started overheating and apparently requires replacement of the head gaskets. Naturally, it has 112,000 miles on it, thus failing to meet the 100,000 extended warranty limitation. Obviously, the "special coolant" is NOT going to prevent the problem in the near term, let along the long run.

19th Sep 2007, 19:20

As I sit here reading hundreds of Subaru head gasket nightmare stories, my 2003 Outback with 65,000 miles is sitting at the dealership leaking coolant on their shop floor via its blown head gasket. I have called SubaruAmerica and started the process to get the company to contribute "in goodwill" toward the repairs. Given all the background on bad head gaskets, I'm not hopeful that the Corp. will give me a penny. Presently I'm driving my 1994 Toyota Corolla wagon with 240,000 miles and original head gasket...

22nd Sep 2007, 12:02

Obviously by reading the complaints on this board, not many of you have owned american made cars. I have a 98 Outback limited that is awesome. If you could make it to 100K in an Astro Van or another all wheel drive american made vehicle, you probably would have spent at least $1500-$2500 on brakes and rotors, and all the other things that go wrong on an american made vehicle with over 30K miles on it. It sucks that the gaskets go, but if you make it to 90K and want to keep the car, be proactive and have them done before it blows. I still love my Subaru even though I know I'll will be replacing the head gaskets some day.

26th Sep 2007, 19:03

1998 Subaru Outback:

All Cam seals blown at about 60k, at the time I was OK with that. Now with only 75k, I notice temp sensor moving way above normal on ride home. I make it out of bumper to bumper traffic and get temp back into normal range. At home immediately check the coolant overflow tank to spot the dreaded black gold--oil mixed with coolant- instantly I knew-- blown head gasket.

Into mechanic tomorrow- 1-2k phone estimate maybe more. I was thinking about buying another Subie until this. Just discovered this site. Big decision whether to fix it or junk it. Misery loves company!

1st Oct 2007, 11:15

Bought a 2000 Outback Limited - beautiful, well-kept car with 96,000. Had it checked by both a Subaru service center and an independent mechanic - checked out. Now sitting in a hotel with 1,600 miles to go before we reach our new home and have two more nights in the hotel before the car is fixed. Blown head gasket. Found this site this morning, days after purchasing the car which was to have taken my pets and me across the country. With the warranty extended to 100,000 miles, the cost of repairs are covered by the company. My question: Will the newly designed head gaskets go bad, too? How long will they be under warranty?

3rd Oct 2007, 17:45

Update on my December 3, 2006 post located in comments 16 thru 30.

The 04 Outback never made it that far, engine failure at 26 thousand miles last month. Scored pistons. The dealer replaced the engine under warranty.

I traded the car in for an 07 domestic SUV a week later.

Bye bye Suby, bye bye.

4th Oct 2007, 02:04

So glad I found this site. I search cars on line on a daily basis. I'm obsessed with diesels, but couldn't find a cheap used AWD diesel. In Texas I had a 2006 Jetta TDI that I sold for a 2004 Jetta TDI because the 06 value went up. I am again ready to sell the 2004 and I don't expect to lose much more than any basic wear and tear I put on the interior.

I understand preventative maintenance - you replace a diesel VW timing belt if you buy it used and you don't know the last time it was done - it's 500-1000 depending if you go to a private specialist or the dealer. You don't replace it because there is a known problem with it. You replace it because it needs to be replaced every 80,000 or so. It's predictable maintenance and the motor is toast if the belt goes.

It doesn't add up though to buy a Subaru and have all the head gaskets replaced because you know there is a problem with them that will happen at some unpredictable time. I moved to Santa Fe and wanted something bigger with AWD that my girlfriend and I could share. I figured Subaru Outback was just what I was looking for. They are everywhere - I'd say it seems one out of five cars I see here are Subaru time bombs apparently.

I don't care what parts and labor cost so long as when you replace them they are fixed. How can Subaru sell a motor from 1996 to 2007 and have people keep buying it when they are known to have head gasket problems? It sounds like they finally got a better head gasket to replace the old ones with, but you're telling me to just throw an extra 2000-3000 onto the price of a car that hasn't already had this taken care of? Who keeps buying a car with known issues like that?

I have a 100,000 mile plus VW, so I'm used to expensive parts and labor. I had a 200,000 plus Mercedes diesel that I know is out there and will be kicking another hundred thousand at least. I have a Ford diesel that I don't even know how many miles it has. I found it odd that people were saying american cars are lucky to go more than 100,000, so I thought I'd throw the Ford in there.

Maybe everybody is just making the mistake of buying gas instead of diesel to save money up front. My mechanic doesn't have an american car gas or diesel with under 100,000 miles.

So glad I know not to get involved with Subaru. I wondered why there were so many of these cars cheap. It's because none of the newer model Subaru owners have faith in their car regardless of how many miles it has. What a joke of a company.

Guess I'll have to wait and see what the diesel Jeep Liberty and Cherokees are doing in 100,000 miles before I bash Subaru anymore. Until then it sounds like Subaru has the market for a fuel efficient AWD vehicle.

If I had to buy a Subaru, it sounds like I'd get the better head gaskets in immediately if the motor had not had previous head gasket problems. If it has previous head gasket problems, and this warping issue people were talking about is as a result of the constant overheating, it sounds like you'd be crazy to not just put an old 2.2L in there.

As for me, I don't think I will have anything to do with Subaru. I feel sorry for the 96-98 folks, but not for anybody after that.

I've also lost respect for Consumer Reports, if they continued to rate a car with the same 2.5L motor as anywhere close to a good buy. An 80s Mercedes G wagon with a 2.5 turbo diesel is sounding better and better. At least that motor is for sure for 200-500 thousand miles.