17th Dec 2007, 13:02


This is for the Subaru owner contemplating a 2.2 L engine in the '98 chassis.

1. Go to www.ultimatesubaru.org

2. Join/Search/EJ25 to EJ22 Conversion.

3. Research this, because with a 98, a 95 2.2L will need a different exhaust manifold (I think); CCR engines as well. All the rest is plug and play. You may be able to use manifold from your existing '98 2.5L. Again, not sure of details.

4. Politely educate your mechanic.

5. Merry Xmas!

24th Dec 2007, 17:20

Have a 97 legacy OB wagon. I think I am going to be in a bit of a bind. bought it Dec 1, 2007. Two days ago it started overheating so I changed the coolant and thermostat. The coolant was dark!!! and there was a dark gritty substance stuck to the sides of the coolant reservoir, I had just chalked it up to someone putting bars stop-leak into it. But since I changed the coolant and thermostat, it has not overheated again, I hope that the head gaskets were done. This web site is great, thank you.

6th Jan 2008, 19:27

I'll join the overheating club, but I guess I'm a little luckier than some. I have a '98 Outback with 164k miles. I was told three years ago that the head gasket was blown.

Got a second opinion and this guy added some kind of sealant and flushed the system etc. (around 400.00) I've gotten three more years until about three weeks ago.

Replaced thermostat, fluids and radiator, but still overheats after 3-4 miles from cold start. I think I'm done, but I still love this car. There just comes a time...

25th Jan 2008, 12:30

2003 Legacy 89K miles. Both gaskets leaking. Maintained by the book. VIN search identified my car as NOT being in the recall yet dealer and SOA insist that the conditioner be added. Had it fixed for $1600 with SOA paying 50%. This problem has NOT been fixed! Just a matter of time until newer model years rack up the miles. Buyer beware. Will never buy a Subaru or boxer type engine again.

26th Jan 2008, 22:56

Just bought a 1997 Subaru Impreza with 75 thousand miles on it, and for the first time driving it home around 15 miles away, I noticed that the temperature dial was at the highest point. I went directly to a local repair shop, who diagnosed and changed a "defective thermostat". A mile and a half later, before reaching home, the dial was at it again. Went back to the repair shop and promptly "removed the air from the system by adding coolant to the radiator". Dial went back to the center and went straight towards home. Before I could even park, the dial is at the top again. It's Saturday today and I have to wait till Monday. HELP! What should I do? Am so scared after reading all the comments from this site!

30th Jan 2008, 16:53

I also join the bad head gasket group. I have a 2002 Forester that I love. I maintained it by the book at the local Subaru dealer. I have 115,000 miles on it and my mechanic advised me that the head gaskets are leaking and need replacing to the tune of $2000. He said he will also replace water pump, thermostat, seals and hoses and other gaskets. I am not mechanically inclined and have to trust him. I think that he knew about the problem and kept an eye on my engine when I would bring it in to be serviced. I have not had any problems with overheating yet. At least I can get it fixed before it blows and causes more damage. I have owned many cars and have driven them over 200,000 without replacing head gaskets. I will not buy another Subaru-Toyota here I come!!

13th Feb 2008, 20:25

We have a 1998 Subaru Outback Legacy 2.5 that blew the head gasket last spring (2007). We replaced it with a 1995 2.2 Subaru engine and now the car runs well, however, we can't pass the Illinois EPA test because the Check Engine light is always on. You can't pass the test if the CE light is on (and you can't get plates renewed in IL if you don't pass the EPA test. We took the car into a Subaru dealership to have work done to pass the test, and nothing was necessary, but because of the replaced engine, the CE light is still on. So we are looking to sell the car because we plan to remain in IL. Any advice on whether we can sell it in WI? And for how much? Any takers?

13th Feb 2008, 21:28

Just bought a 96 outback 2.5l for $4000, really clean second owner, said never a problem, I did not have a garage look at it. 3 weeks later intermittent overheating. Estimate for head gaskets is $2300. That is unless heads or block is warped. Really bummed out, for seven grand could have gotten a much nicer car, shoot!

20th Feb 2008, 17:36

I've owned my 2001 Subaru Outback for less than a year. Thought it was a great car for road-tripping, carrying heavy loads, etc. Right when it got to 110K miles, the car overheated and the head gaskets blew. Car spent 10 days in the shop, the mechanics couldn't figure it out until they talked to some Subaru colleagues. They found out that this is a very common problem. After paying over $3200 and complaining to the Subaru company, they took my comments and then never got back to me. Unfortunately, when friends ask about the Outback I cannot recommend it to them. This is the last one I will buy.

12th Mar 2008, 17:49

I own a 1999 Legacy outback wagon. It has 161k miles on it. I just finished a 4000 mile road trip. Some days after I was home I noticed smoke coming out from under the hood while I was waiting at a light. The temp gage did not go up from its normal position. The next day I noticed that my coolant reservoir was dry. I checked the radiator for coolant level and it was visible, a little under the lip. I topped off the reservoir and continued driving. I also noticed that the hose from the top left of radiator to engine would be very hot and there was evidence of very slight leakage below this hose. I have seen no more smoke. Still when I drive the temp gage remains in its normal range. My concern after reading all these posts is this: is it inevitable that my head gaskets are going bad or have gone bad. Also need to mention that my fans come on, but stay on for maybe 20-30 seconds. Is this normal? I really like this car and have taken many long road trips. Now I am worried that I maybe shouldn't go too far from home.

29th Mar 2008, 14:44

Add me to the list of Subaru owner with a blown head gasket (1997 Outback Legacy Wgn with 125k miles). Same symptoms as everyone else. Over heating, coolant bubbling over the reservoir, changing thermostat did not resolve the problem, upper radiator hose was hot, and lower radiator hose cool. I had two friend who threw away their 1997 subaru over the same problem 3 years ago. I thought both had bad luck and kept my car. I too will not buy a Subaru again.

Former Subaru owner, CT.