Head Gaskets are probably one of the most talked about issues with Subarus at this time. If you want to burn up literally hours, just Google "Subaru Head gaskets", & be prepared to get barraged by blogs, web sites, & a bunch of stuff, some good & some not so good.
Bottom line is this. It's not a cheap repair if done right, but left ignored it can cost you an engine. That being said NOT ALL Subarus need this repair. Of the ones that do, not all need it done right away, some can wait. The need for this repair is due to an external leakage of either oil or coolant. Coolant loss has more potential to be an engine killer due to overheating. Overheating is the most common root cause of Subaru engine failure. Oil leaks from head gaskets happen slow enough that in most cases it's not enough for the engine to fail due to loss of oil pressure. Neither one of these leaks usually leave big puddles under the car, but the coolant leak is the one to worry most about. The coolant loss doesn't have to be very much to create an "air lock" within the cooling system. This "air lock" doesn't allow what coolant that is left in the system to circulate, hence the overheating issue. The location of the temp sender is in an area that is the first to go without coolant when the system is low and it usually happens so slow, the customer never sees a puddle, and doesn't notice the gauge rising on the dash until it's too late.
THE GOOD NEWS
Not every Subaru has this issue. Of the ones that do, it's something that if monitored can be planned for & then done right. Subaru has done a couple of updates to their gasket, but some still have problems. Alternative AutoWorx has found a aftermarket gasket that was designed by a company that builds these type of parts for NASCAR. The original gasket is a single layer gasket & the replacement we use is what is know as a MLS (Multi-layer-steel) gasket. This enables the gasket to withstand the expansion & contraction of the extreme temperature variations an engine goes through. We believe this is the secret to doing this job ONCE in the engine's lifetime.
If you've had this diagnosis given to your Subie, let us check it out at no charge. We'll inspect your car, and explain how we would approach this issue, & then you can make an informed decision on how to proceed.
Joel & the crew
This is a picture of the "Six Star" head gasket we use. It's known in the industry as a "MLS gasket" (Multi-Layer-Steel). Its multiple layers aid in the Expansion & Contraction characteristics that happen when an engine goes through extreme temperature differences in its day to day life. Its coating is superior to that of the factory's & is just one more reason to upgrade
This is a factory Subaru head gasket. Notice the black coating & its deteriorating condition. This coatings job is to seal the oil & coolant from leaking & / or mixing together. This coatings failure is the main reason for head gasket failure in the 2000 & later model cars.
Photos of cylinder head and resurfacing
This a cylinder head undergoing resurfacing. The need for having this surface COMPLETELY flat & clean is key to doing the repair just ONCE in an engines life.
This is the mill used to resurface the cylinder head before reinstalling. It can remove as little as the thickness of a sheet of paper. We do our own machining in house to minimize down time of your car & to control the quality of the machining done.
This is what the engine block looks like after the cylinder head has been removed. This surface needs to be thoroughly cleaned & checked for warpage &/or damage before cylinder head is reinstalled.