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The History of Subaru Head Gasket Problem

Subaru is a Japanese automobile manufacturer and one of the largest producers of automobiles across the world. Most of their vehicles are more than 1,500 cc and their cars are known for the use of a boxer engine. There is another reason for which Subaru is known to the automobile enthusiasts though it is rather an infamous one. The Subaru head gasket problem is a stain on the company’s impressive record of manufacturing first-class vehicles.

Subaru Head Gasket Problem: When Did It Start?

The models that have this failed gasket problem are:

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

If you consider the Subaru head gasket years, you can pinpoint the problem to distinct groups of production years.
The Group 1 or first generation models include Impreza, Forrester, Legacy G.T., and Outback between 1996 and 1999. These cars face the problem of an internal leak in the head gasket that causes the engine to overheat.

subaru head gasket years
A damaged head gasket of a Subaru model.

The Group 2 or second generation models are the Legacy and Outbreak from 2000, the Forrester from mid-1998, and the mid-1998 Impreza. These cars develop an external oil leak at the head gasket and coolant leak at the gasket’s left side. Both problems lead to engine overheating recurrently.

Subaru Head Gasket Problem: Why Did It Start?

The problem started when Subaru started using a composite head gasket in some of their car models from 1997 to 1999. The device features a multi-layer steel shim coated with a graphite layer. It was not up-to-the-mark and allowed coolant leak into the exhaust pressure and combustion chamber.

There was no Subaru head gasket recall but the company redesigned the cylinder heads and configurations of the camshaft. However, it only led to the coolant and oil leak at the external head gasket.

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The Symptoms of Subaru Head Gasket Problem

The signs of gasket failure will show in a systematic way, one by one:

  1. You will find oil trickling down between the head and block surfaces. The leak will get bigger with time and possibly lead to a coolant leaking.
  2. The smell of Sulphur or fuel from the coolant reservoir. At this stage, you will also notice higher readings in the coolant temperature gauge.
  3. Recurrent overheating of the engine during a long drive.
subaru head gasket recall
Subaru never recalled any production for this problem.

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Is There Any Solution?

Early detection of the Subaru head gasket problem and repair it will solve the issue altogether. In fact, a properly maintained vehicle after the repair will run for thousands of miles without any hitch.

The things you can do to keep your Subaru in a good health are:

  • Changing the oil on a regular basis.
  • Clean the battery surroundings and its terminals at regular intervals so that there is no accumulation of rust and corrosion.
  • Checking the coolant cylinder and changing the fluid when it’s dirty.
  • Take the maintenance service from a reputed shop or an experienced mechanic who is specialized in Subaru models.

Hopefully the information will be useful for you. If you have any question about this topic, leave a comment in the box below.