29th Mar 2007, 09:57

Fellow head gasket victims: Please, BOMBARD Subaru of America with your personal horror stories. Something needs to be done about this problem. My Subie doctor was able to diagnose my Outback's illness over the phone. Said it is so common, that it keeps him in business. 63% of all the cars registered in my county are Subarus (Jackson Hole, Wy), and I hear of these problems all the time.

29th Mar 2007, 17:09

We have a 1999 Subaru Outback with 100,000 miles on it. About 500 miles back I noticed the temp gauge hit the red zone. I checked the coolant reservoir and it was empty. I thought it was my fault for not checking it very often. Soon we started smelling coolant. We didn't see any leaking on the floor on any vapor out the exhaust. Two days ago at 100,400 miles we brought it to the dealer. They believe it is the head gasket, but can't prove it. $4000 to repair it. We read on the internet about Subaru upping the warranty for this trouble to 8 years or 100,000 miles. We don't know what were going to just yet. If the dealer can't prove it Subaru might just say "tough". Until this we had almost no trouble with our car.

5th Apr 2007, 19:11


Another 1997 Outback, same story, mysterious overheating problems, no obvious cause, and absolutely no satisfaction from the dealer. We bought the car new, always babied it and had maintenance done, never abused it, barely ever drove it hard or fast. But we've had more little problems over the years, rear bearing replaced, alternator recall, dash lights out, and now 2500 for a head gasket job that may, or may not, solve the slow disappearance of our coolant problem.

6th Apr 2007, 13:35

I repaired this car (98 Outback) after an accident and then the head gaskets blew a month after getting it on the road. Don't think it is worth the repair, but it only has 95000 on it and is otherwise in good shape... should I have it done???

6th Apr 2007, 13:36

Oh boy!!

I've just found this. I have a 98 Outback that I bought a couple years ago. It now has 122K miles and has overheated twice in the past week. Lower hose is cold so I was sure of thermostat until I just got home and found this page. I'm going to change the thermostat anyway this eve and will report back in what I find. Will check on the reserve tank. I notice it is always full and coolant everywhere around the front of the car/radiator.

This is my fourth Subaru, this being the newest and only with 2.5.

10th Apr 2007, 19:21

2000 Outback- leaking oil from head gasket at 108,000 miles. Bad rotors too. Not such a good car.

14th Apr 2007, 16:43

I own two Subaru's and for 7 years I've been telling anyone who would hold still how great they are; baloney! Our 1997 Legacy Outback has been impeccably maintained, but head gasket failure has struck anyway. The car is not drivable and repair estimates are from $2000 to $3000, and that's only if the aluminum heads and block have not warped; no way to tell until the engine is disassembled. Potential repairs could exceed the market value of the car. The head gasket failure on Generation 1 EJ25 Subaru engines is a problem of epidemic proportions, for which Subaru of America refuses to accept responsibility, adding insult to injury. I vow never to buy another Subaru product.

26th Apr 2007, 09:15

Our '98 Outback had its first (hydraulic) clutch master cylinder replaced at 36,824 miles (dealer covered cost because I insisted they document complaints about weird noises on previous work orders starting back at 22,700 miles). Then on 4/24/07, the clutch pedal went to floor, indicating repeat of cylinder failure? Towed to shop where dealership replaced cylinder, test drove, then called to say clutch was shot, around $1800 for both repairs. Husband says this is the LAST Subaru for us.

Also in Feb 2003 noticed oil leak at 45,000 miles -- they replaced front crankshaft oil seal (around $335) but it turned out to be covered under 5 yr/50,000 mile warranty. Took until June to get reimbursement. However in April 2004 the cam seals were leaking and that was OUT of warranty (~$500). Next car will be Honda or Toyota.

1st May 2007, 09:44

I sure wish I would have done this research BEFORE purchasing my '99 Legacy Outback - seemed like a good buy with only 84K on it in July of '06. Well, it almost stranded us on a long trip to a family member's funeral last week. We thought it was the thermostat when it began to overheat - after a long and frustrating limp to our destination, and 2 unsuccessful thermostat changes, a Subie dealership very quickly diagnosed it (over the phone) as blown head gaskets - now I know why he was so quickly able to tell me what the problem was - we only made it home by gutting the original thermostat so that the water would flow freely through, and by frequently stopping and using a turkey baster to remove the water from the overflow tub and put it back into the radiator. It was a very long 650 miles to say the least. I was feeling bad that I had done something wrong to create this problem, but after finding this site I see I'm just one more sucker that bought into the previous Subaru good name. I don't feel there's any use in getting the expensive repair done because its apparent that the chances of it happening again are pretty good.

I asked about the repair history on the car and the gal had the water pump and oil pump replaced at 57K and master brake cylinder at 76K - seems to me that she dumped it off at 84K just be safe cause she likely knew what was ahead for her - smart gal! Pretty pathetic craftsmanship when you can't even make it 100k without major repairs.

Last Subaru for me and I'll be warning others!!!

15th May 2007, 03:06

99 Outback. Have done the thermostat, radiator and water pump deal, it overheated again today and I left it parked. My mechanic said the next step was the head gasket and they would have to pull the engine etc to the tune of $2000 or so.

Would it be better to buy a new engine? Or get the work done and try to sell the thing?

23rd May 2007, 23:26

2002 Outback Wagon, 96K miles.

Noticed the coolant was slowly getting low over the past few months, but never had the temp. gauge go above normal. I just kept checking and refilling as needed (which wasn't all that often since I only drive about 300-500 miles per month).

This past weekend finally noticed coolant leaking on the ground after smelling the distant smell of burning coolant. Sure enough, the dreaded head gasket problem... minimum of $1,000... maybe more once he gets a better look inside.

I talked to two other Suby owners at work, and both also had the problem. Are there any owners who have NOT had this?...I wonder... my story is the same as the others... This was my first Suby and had planned to be a Subaru owner for life... after seeing this page, I will reconsider.