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Complications Related to Subaru Head Gasket-Things You Should Know

Avatar Adie Tinkle -
Subaru Head Gasket

Subaru is widely known for being a highly reliable manufacturer of vehicles that are simultaneously safe and stylish. Because of Subaru Models‘ performance and reliability, these vehicles have a loyal fanbase that swears by them. However, there are some limitations with their boxer engine, and one of the faults in some Subaru vehicles is the head gasket problem. Some 2.6-liter four-cylinder motors are known for their blown head gaskets, leading to costly repairs.

So, which of the models are affected by the Subaru head gasket leak, and what might be signs or blown Subaru Head Gasket?

Let’s find out:

What is a Head Gasket?

This part of your engine is made of steel and assists in managing the overall operations of your internal combustion engine. It creates a seal between the cylinder head and the engine block. The head gasket’s primary purpose is to ensure that fluids, including coolants and oils, are kept out of the cylinder and that those fluids do not mix or leak.  

Because of the horizontal configuration of the boxer engine, two head gaskets are required in Subaru. 

How do Head Gasket Problems Occur?

The head gasket must be placed precisely and securely to ensure that everything is sealed correctly. In the majority of engines, the head gasket lasts about a lifetime unless there are major engine repairs performed on the car, in which case it might need replacement. 

A faulty head gasket can create multiple problems. The gasket moves slightly as the engine heats up and cools down. With each operating cycle, the head gasket must absorb and dissipate the heat. When the head gasket has issues, the coolant and oil start to mix, resulting in a costly situation. 

Do Subarus Have Head Gasket Issues?

Some of Subaru’s earlier models used a unique rigid shim steel gasket. Under high pressure and temperatures, this rigidity is likely to fail, resulting in a blown gasket. Because of reasons such as excessive temperature increment, extreme wear and tear, or because of faulty components, Subaru head gaskets end up with multiple problems. 

Models that are Affected by Subaru Head Gasket Problems 

Because of engine problems, the following models seem to be affected:

  • 1999 – 2010 Forester 
  • 1999 – 2011 Impreza 
  • 2000 – 2009 Outback 
  • 2000 – 2009 Legacy 
  • 2003 – 2005 Baja 

Instead of perched up like most models, the engine lays flat with a Subaru boxer motor. The piston moves from side to side in these engines. Even with the engine’s fabulous weight and balance properties, the fluid fills up next to the head gasket instead of draining normally. Even after upgrading the parts, the acid from the fluid starts to eat away at the seal. All such unfortunate events can lead to critical issues in the engine. 

Blown Subaru Head Gasket Symptoms

A blown gasket can cause coolant and oil to leak into the combustion chamber, where they will catch flame immediately and it will be expelled through the exhaust system. White smoke coming from the tailpipe indicates a coolant leak, while blue smoke indicates an oil leak. 

Let’s discuss the common symptoms indicating Subaru engine problems in detail:

Overheated Engine 

Not only can a gasket fail as a result of an overheated engine, but it can also result in various other problems. When the head gasket is not sealed correctly, the hot gases move through dispersion and end up in the cooling system. Another instance could be that the coolant can leak into the cylinder. Whatever the case is, you can end up with an overheating engine, close to catching flame. 

The cylinder head can be deformed if you continue to drive with the overheated engine. The catalytic converter can also face damage due to the steam, resulting in much more costly repairs.

Oil Contamination

When the head gasket blows, you might observe military sludge dripping on the dipstick or under the oil filler cap. This substance is caused as a result of coolant mixing with the oil. 

If you continue to drive with coolant in the oil, it will cause more damage to the bearing of the engine. Not only will the head gasket need repair, but you will also have to flush the engine and add a new filter to avoid this issue. 

Power Loss 

A vehicle’s performance can be affected badly by any leakage in the engine blocks. The compression in the engine is reduced when fuel or compressed air escapes. This lack of compression causes the engine to run roughly. The sounds produced in this case can be similar to an exhaust leak. 

External Leaks 

When the gasket separating the oil or water passages from the engine’s exterior fails, it results in either an oil or coolant leak. Though this condition is serious, it’s the least troublesome manner of a gasket to blow. 

White Smoke 

Among other signs related to Subaru’s problems, one is white smoke. If the white smoke is coming out of the exhaust, it can be a sign of a blown head gasket. The smoke will smell sweet because of the antifreeze that leaked into the cylinders. 

The coolant turns into steam as part of the combustion engine; however, the smoke will turn blue if the leak comes from the oil past, though the chances of this happening are less frequent. 

How Can I Fix a Subaru Blown Gasket?

The best thing you can do is leave your Subaru to a certified mechanic who knows how to manage the issue. This is because specific tools and experience are required to repair this specific vehicle properly, and it can be quite costly, too.

This is because just replacing the head gasket will not solve the problem’s original cause, rather it can blow the new gasket too. Therefore, let a professional with experience handle the Subaru engine. A good technician will thoroughly dismantle the motor to ensure everything is fixed properly so that you do not have to spend so much money in the future. 

How Can I Prevent Subaru Head Gasket Failure?

Here are some of the things you can do to prevent head gasket failure 

  • Change the oil of your car regularly. 
  • Check the coolant cylinder and change the fluid when it gets dirty. 
  • Clean the surroundings of the car battery and the terminals regularly to prevent dust accumulation, which can lead to rust and corrosion.
  • Get regular car maintenance service from a reputed or experienced mechanic who is an expert on Subaru car models. 

Figuring out your car’s mechanics and internal workings may seem challenging at first look, but it is highly recommended to stay informed on any potential faults your vehicle can face. Being well-educated in auto-anatomy can save you expensive trips to the mechanic when the issue can be resolved on your own. Especially in cases like having a Head Gasket leak, preventative maintenance is required regularly to keep your car’s health in check. Hence, this information available at SAT Japan helps you diagnose and solve any issue with your vehicle’s Head Gasket health immediately to avoid more serious damage to the engine.

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