damaged Subaru head gasket problems

History Of Subaru Head Gasket Problems(Quick Fix, Cuases & Symptoms)

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Are you looking to find out which Subaru head gasket issues is wrong with your car? or maybe you want to learn how to fix it? if yes is your answer, then this post is your ultimate guide.

Today is Subaru’s day and we are going through some of the common Subaru Head Gasket Problems and symptoms. We are even going to go through the history of the problems, when and how it all began and what Subaru has done to fix issues.

Then we will then show you how to tell if Subaru head gasket is blown and how to fix Subaru head gasket problems.

we also included Subaru head gasket replacement DIY for you.

History of Subaru Head Gasket Problems, causes, Symptoms + Quick fix DIY

Subaru cars are a great car and people love how they handle the snow and the adverse condition.

Though Subaru cars are Awesome cars, yet we see a lot of people, have a lot of Subaru Head Gasket issues, that is why we thought of sharing with you some of the common problems that you can find with Subaru cars.

So let’s get started and we are starting from the basics, which is: what is a head gasket and the importance of the head gasket in a car in case you are not familiar with it.

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What is the Head Gasket and The importance of head gasket?

If you don’t know what head gasket is you can simply see the head gasket as the gasket that serves as sealing between the cylinder head and a car engine block.

The primary function of the head gasket is a solidifying ratio or walls around the cylinder head and engine block that ensures that the engine oil or the coolant stays within the cylinders for the proper functioning of the car.

 The head gasket can effortlessly be recognized with the flat shape, tinny outline and large holes which is where the engine blocks and cylinders are channelled through.

See the image above and the video below gives practical virtual of where the head gasket found in a car.

Go to time:  1:50sec for that.

What Does a Head Gasket Do? | Importance of Head gasket

Basically we can say that the primary, a head gasket is a seal that averts leak amid the engine block and cylinder heads of a car.

Thought the head gasket is a common part of a car engine with come to structure and build, we cannot neglect how vital it is. The thing is if the head gargets have an issue, it could lead to a serious problem that could cause damage to the car engine or even cause a power problem.

So this is the reason why we wanted to explain some of the common head gasket problems and specifically the Subaru Head Gasket Problems or issues then the repair.

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Types of Head Gaskets

Designs of a lot of different kinds of the head gasket have transformed little by little over the past years.

And the production and the material used in manufacturing these gaskets heads have totally evolved.

So this day we have lots of unique individual types of head gaskets depending out the material used in the of production the head gasket.

There is three main head gasket that will talk about here and they are:

Multi-Layer Steel Gaskets head

These are the most current head gaskets made of multi-layer steel. The best for car engines with a higher level compression, for instants diesel engine vehicles.  

The key of MLS head gaskets is the 2 to 5 layers of steel in combination with elastic compounds that make those gaskets sturdy and capable of tolerating high compression and temperatures.

Copper Gasket Head

Copper is one of the elements used to this day in some high-performance cars and applications.

Older types of the head gasket are made with copper and the help ensure the gasket head long-lasting.

Copper is a very durable element and it is very soft steel helps the cylinder head tighten even more to provide a perfect sealing between the head and the blocks. These make it quite head for any form of leak and breaks

Composite Head Gasket

The composite head gasket is hardly seen in the market today and that is because they are made with asbestos or graphite which is highly toxic.

So because the asbestos use in making composite head gasket harmful, these parts are now discontinued today.

If you are looking for those, just bear this in mind too.

The composite head gaskets are not durable gasket and they definitely are not as durable as the Multi-Layer Steel Gaskets and Copper gasket.

You will soon see how this affected Subaru car as they started making use of them in production of some the models of their cars.

So now that we fully understand what head gasket islet then move on to Subaru Head Gasket Problems and when it started and why.

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When did Subaru Head Gasket Problems Start?

Below are mostly the Subaru car models with the Head Gasket Problems that we will talk bout much later. The models are as follows:

  • Baja (from 2003 to 2006)
  • Legacy (from 2000 to 2009)
  • Outback (from 2000 to 2009)
  • Forester (from 1999 to 2010)
  • Impreza (from 1999 to 2011)

If you have followed the Subaru head gasket years, you would have been able to identify the problem that differentiates various groups of Subaru car production over the years.

Subaru group 1 car models regarded as the 1st generation models were first introduced between 1996 to 1999 and they are comprising of:

  • Impreza
  • Forester
  • Outback
  • and Legacy G.T

All the groups’ cars produced between this period were faced with an internal leaking problem in the head gasket thereby causing overheating for the car engines.

damaged Subaru head gasket problems

And then group 2 which considered the second generation models includes:

  • The Legacy and Outbreak which are from 2000.
  • The Forrester from mid-1998,
  •  And the mid-1998 Impreza.

 These groups of Subaru cars developed an external oil leak at the head gasket and coolant leak at left-hand side the head gasket.

In all both groups leakage problems created an engine overheating issue regularly.

Not a good thing right?

So Why Did the Head Gasket Problems on Subaru Start?

WELL, Subaru head gasket issues began when Subaru started making use a composite head gasket in some of their car models produced from 1997 to 1999.

This heads gasket in the car within these periods were designed a multi-layer steel shim that was coated or covered with a graphite layer.

 Remember we talked about how Graphite layer where not durable materials and yet it used here.

So this paved way for a coolant oil leak into the combustion chamber and the exhaust pressure resulting in overheating.

Was There a Subaru Head Gasket Recall?

Well from the first group. No!!

Subaru had no head gasket recall in their plan starting off, but they did try to reform the car configurations of the cam-shaft and cylinder heads when producing subsequent models.

This is what led to the external head gasket coolant and oil leak.

 I see people asking what year did Subaru fix head gasket problems?

Well up until date, this issue has not been fully addressed to the best of my knowledge because people still have head gasket issues using Subaru cars.

Like is said above Subaru tried to redesign the configurations of the camshaft and the cylinder head, but this only lead to an external head gasket coolant leak.

And a lot of Subaru car users still are experiencing the issues which means they never did.

Here are what people are still saying about Subaru Head Gasket Issues in their vehicles.

Let’s now to about the symptoms of Symptoms of Subaru Head Gasket Issues and subaru head gasket fix.

Symptoms of Subaru Head Gasket Issues + Subaru Head Gasket Fix

Normally the symptoms of the Subaru head gasket problems and gasket failure will display in a very organized structure, that is one after the other.

Here is how it goes:

  • First, you will find or notice an oil dropping down in-between the head and the engine block surface.

These leak gets even heavier with time and probably will result in a coolant leaking issue as well.

  • Option two is that you might perceive a Sulphur or fuel smell from the coolant tank or reservoir.

And you will also notice at this point, a high reading in temperature gauge of the coolant.

  •  And finally, there definitely will be a frequent and regularly overheating of the car engine while on a long-distance drive.

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Here are more Subaru Head Gasket Leak Symptoms

  • Overheating: If a head gasket is cracked or malfunctioning, coolant can leak. Without the proper level of coolant, the engine will quickly overheat. If an engine overheats as a result of another problem, such as a radiator leak, it can warp the heads, causing the gasket to malfunction, crack or leak.
  • White Smoke: White smoke coming from the exhaust is a sign that the head gasket is not functioning properly. This indicates that coolant is entering the cylinder, and the heat from the piston firing is creating steam, which exits through the exhaust.
  • Beige-colored Oil: The head gasket creates a barrier that allows the oil to move above the gasket and coolant to flow below. When the gasket is cracked or has a hole in it, the oil can mix with the coolant. The oil in the system will turn to a light brown, viscous substance. Over time this will become more pronounced and thicker, causing the engine to work harder. Eventually, the sludge will be too thick to be pumped up into the engine, and the engine will seize.

Subaru 2.5 head gasket problem years

Watch this for Subaru 2.5 head gasket problem years.

Subaru 3.6 head gasket problems

This video right here did a good job at showing you what to expect with the Subaru 3.6 detailing and for Subaru 3.5 head gasket problems please see “ Subaru Head Gasket Leak Symptoms” Above,  for more Subaru Head Gasket Problems signs

Subaru Head Gasket Fix | How to fix head gasket problems on Subaru

Normally an early recognition of Subaru head gasket problem and imitate repair action on the part will go long way to preserving your car engine.

If you constantly maintain your car properly, after the repair your Subaru car can run for thousands and more miles without hitching or bad signs.

So let’s first look maintaining your Subaru car, what you can do to keep them running smoothly good health. And to prevent Subaru head gasket failure.

How to Prevent Head Gasket Failure Subaru (Subaru Hard Gasket Maintenance)

Here we go:

  • Change the car oil regularly. See our recommended here on Amazon  
  •  Try to clean the surroundings of the car battery plus the terminals on a regular basis to accumulated dust leading to corrosion or rust.
  • Checking the coolant cylinder and changing the fluid when it’s dirty.
  • You should have your Subaru car maintenance service done by a reputed car shop or an experienced mechanic, dedicated in Subaru car models.

How to Fix Subaru Head Gasket Problem?

Well sad to this, fixing a broken head gasket is a difficult job. It will require you to disassemble the top part of the car engine. When it comes to conventional V and inline engines.

Though this doesn’t require pulling out the car engine from the car in most case scenario, but if you have a flat/boxer powered car (like Subaru cars), it is best you pull out the engine and place it on a bench or table while working on it.

This not to say that cannot still work on it without removing the engine, it just best to do remove.

And if you want to see how to replace Subaru Head Gasket without removing the engine, please also watch the video below to see what we are talking about.

How to change a Subaru Head Gasket without removing the engine?

Steps to Fixing a Broken Head Gasket

There are some methods I like to introduce to you for fixing Subaru Head Gasket Problem. One is to replace the head gasket and the other is to seal it to prevent further leakage.  So we start with the replacing the head gasket.

Subaru Head Gasket Replacement DIY (Do It Yourself)

This is not our recommendations if you’re not experienced. But if you meticulously follow the steps below and watch the video above you should be just fine.

Let’s then get into then steps but before that, here is Subaru head gasket replacement kit you might want to get  if you don’t have one.

Subaru Head Gasket Replacement Kit

See price here

Back to Subaru Head Gasket Replacement DIY Steps

  • Step 1

 Remove the intake system and all hoses and wires to get to the cylinder heads.

Be careful while removing the car engine intake system in other not damages anything doing this. When you have successfully removed the intake manifold, hoses, wires, and fuel lines, you should now see the cylinder heads.

  • Step 2

Now you won’t take the cylinder heads. And to heads properly take out the cylinder, make sure you refer to car a shop manual for your particular car engine model or type. Various engines require different processes.

 To preserve your Subaru car cylinder heads, bolts, plus other vital components, be sure to follow the instructions provided in the manual.

After you have removed the cylinder heads then you will now see the damaged Subaru head gaskets and the state of the gaskets, cylinders and engine block.

This will get give you an idea of how much damage has occurred.

  • Step 3

You have to now replace the head gasket with a new one which not expensive, you can make your choice here on Amazon

Please watch the video above to complete this process.

So what if is just a minor subaru head gasket issues and does not require a replacement? Is this case you will have to use a subaru head gasket sealer.

I recommend you get this one on Amazon. Here it is below, you might want to check the price out.

Subaru head gasket sealer Repair Approach

Then follow the steps in this video below to seal the head gasket problem caused due to leak.

See current price here.

FAQS on Subaru Head Gasket Issues:

Head Gasket Repair Estimate: How much Does Subaru Forester Head Gasket Replacement Cost?

Wellhead gasket repair cost estimate

The answer to this question not straight forward.  The cost for a Head Gasket Repair, is hugely dependent on 2 things.

  • If you will be the one to replace the Subaru head gasket yourself.
  • Or If you have to hire an expert mechanic.

Average cost of head gasket repair if you do it yourself

If you are fixing or replacing the head gasket yourself, it will cost you about $100 to $200, depending on whether you already have some items at home or not. Items like the screwdriver and other items you will need to loosen the cylinder and then finally, you need to buy the head gasket. See this Subaru head gasket replacement kit on Amazon if you need them.   

If you are only fixing a minor leakage then this should cost no more than $40 to buy a Subaru head gasket sealer the follow the video tutorial below to seal the leak.

Head Gasket Repair Estimate to Hire an Expert Mechanic.

The average cost of head gasket repair if you are hiring a mechanic or you are taking your car to a car shop ranges from $1000 to $3000. This is highly dependent on the mechanic or the car shop you took your car to. You should look for a shop or mechanic that charges fair price and yet delivers a great job.

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Blown Head Gasket: What happens when subaru head gasket fails?

So do your know If your Subaru head gasket is blown and broken, and what should you do?

How to tell if Subaru head gasket is blown?

#1.  Loss of Power and Compression

Well, the first symptom it exhibits is a loss of power and compression. Normally the closure in-between then car engine block and the car cylinder head will no longer be as tight and firmly sealed as it was or should be.

So this makes the engine not to able to exert and produce the needed compression to supply declared power and torque to the car.

#2.  Overheating

The next sign your car will display if the head gasket is blown is overheating.

And like I stated above on symptoms bad Subaru head gasket, this happens because the exhaust is forcing gas into the cooling system or the coolant.

On rear cases, if your car head gasket is blown, it allows the coolant to enter the car combustion chambers resulting in a hydro-lock which leads to very much extensive engine damage for the car.

Mind you, this can only occur if a huge chunk of the coolant gets the car engine.


Subaru cars are great and very affordable cars to buy but the hard gaskets of some models are just pain in the ass, but with proper Subaru Hard Gasket Maintenance, you can get value for your buy.

So I hope this post help address your Subaru head gasket concern.

We have discussed a length on the Subaru Head Gasket issues, the Subaru 3.6 head gasket problems and even how to tell if Subaru head gasket is blown.

Then we also talked about how to fix Subaru head gasket problem, the Subaru head gasket replacement DIY and then the estimated cost or an average cost of head gasket repair if you take your Subaru Head Gasket issues to a shop or to a mechanic.

So, if this article has helped you in any way, please feel free to share it.

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