Cooling System Problems Cause Head Gasket Failure on Subaru Legacy

Problem Description and Possible Solution

The head gasket has a high failure rate due to cooling system problems. Subaru is aware of the problem and has extended the warranty to 8 years/100k miles on many vehicles.

Problem Data
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Average mileage: 106,848 (36,000–183,000)
Engines affected: 2.2L 4 Cylinder, 2.5L 4 Cylinder, 2.5L 4 Cylinder Turbo, 3.0L 6 Cylinder, 3.6L 6 Cylinder
12 model years affected: 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, more2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012
52 people reported this problem
Viewing 1 - 20 of 29 comments
coolant pressure blows off res. cap and shoots coolant all over engine. does it spuratically.
First time, it was a slow oil leak. The second time, the A/C went out while driving and, 10 min later, the check engine light went on. The tow truck guy found a large puddle of liquid under the car when he picked it up. The mechanic that did the work the first time couldn't believe it happened again since he thought Subaru fixed the issue. It is mind blowing to me that, regardless of who does the repair or how many miles are on the, that they won't stand behind their product on a known issue. They are happy to help me buy a new car (of course). I have been a loyal Subaru owner since 1984. My solution will probably be to not buy another Subaru, not because they aren't good cars (most of the time) but because they aren't the company they used to be. Customer service, to me, can right any wrong.
Subaru told me that the warranty is only for 60,000 and it has not been extended for the 2011 legacy.... Less than 4 years only and the repair cost about 3000...
I saw small amounts of oil on driveway. Took it to the dealership, got an estimate of 2000 oe so to fix. Called Subaru Customer Service , a week later I got a call that it was covered. Subaru covered the entire cost of replacing both head gaskets. Made me happy.
Has been overheating weeks apart and coolant pressure blows off res. cap and shoots "Subaru super" coolant all over engine. Hoses are good, heater core fine. Had the radiator, thermostat, radiator cap and fan switch replaced. Still the blinking red light persist (2 days after the repairs). It was Tested for HG leak and mechanic says head gasket is not blown and compression is good. Going back to the shop again!!! First and likely last Subaru.
My engine originally overheated while driving up a mountain highway. The first shop I took it too diagnosed it as a bad thermostat. They replaced it and the car went another 200 miles, then overheated again at the end of a long highway trip. This time another shop found a cracked radiator and another bad thermostat. A month later (couple hundred miles), it overheated once again just driving around town. Finally took it to the Subaru dealer and they say now the head gaskets have gone. Repair: $2600. Subaru's take on it is that the radiator was cracked all along, allowing air into the system. Subaru also said to me that if the engine overheats at all, your head gaskets have to be replaced. A rather dire warning considering the car has no temperature gauge, so you don't even have the opportunity to stop it from happening.
Head gaskets began to leak at 139,835 miles...have had issues with the cooling systemsince the head gasket recall.
2011 Subaru Legacy- The cars temp gage would turn red here and there, loss of coolant thru overflow here and there, only overheated one time, filled with water to take to Subaru of Bedford, told me it was wire harness 800 bucks, changed thermostat, told me it was then my fuse box and wanted 1100 for that which I knew was not the cause of heating and cooling so I sent car back to where I got it and they couldn't find the problem either but told me was not the fuse box. They sent it to another Subaru dealer in Brunswick and they said heads are blown. 58 thousand miles so lucky for me it's still under warranty and won't cost me another 2000 bucks! I got it used in Nov 2015 and it still has temp plate on it because it has been in the shop more than we have been able to drive it. Never another sub!!! Bad choice!! I'll stick with Chevy or Ford next time around.
Overheats in weather over 90 degrees after highway driving. Usually 5 to 10 minutes after getting off hwy.
The local Subaru dealer- Spurr in Brockport NY- the head gasket was leaking and my repair costs would by $1000 plus so I took it to a local mechanic who researched the issue and told me Subaru had issued a large number of repair bulletins on this issue and although they did not do a recall often fixed it at no cost. He suggested I call the Subaru regional rep and I did. Twenty minutes later I got a call from Spurr offering to fix it and no cost, which they did.

I will buy my next car from Van Bortel Subarun in Victor.
Burning smell, puddles under car, losing mpgs, and draining resevoir. Found oil in the spark plug tubes as well. Replaced all engine gaskets at the dealership. Had them also replace water pump, timing belt, thermostat as a 'while you're in there'. The repair cost $1370 and the total work done was $2075 after tax. Doing the maintenance items at the same time saved $500 in labor for dropping the engine. Subaru of America reimbursed me for $1000 of work done at a Subaru dealer.
Currently in process of being stripped down and head to be sent out to be pressure tested. Head gasket failure resulting in massive coolant leak. If my heads are not warped my best case scenario is $2,831.00 - pretax. Replacement heads are $692 per side. Worst case, I'm looking around $4,500.00 for a vehicle I bought, certified pre-owned in August on 2015. That's 7 months. I'm going to be calling subaru customer service and see what, if anything they will help me cover. It has been in for standard service two (2) times at a certified Subaru Dealer (John Howard Subaru in Morgantown, WV) and no weeping was ever found, no oil leaks, no coolant leaks. Thank goodness that the failure occurred 1 mile away from the dealership.

hopefully, Subaru reads this and decides to extend my warranty to 8 years/100k miles like previous models with the same engine.
Mechanic stated that there was a head gasket leak and needs to be replaced. Work hasn't been done yet. Cost: $2,995.00.
Oil keeps going down but no drips on garage floor. Just had the oil service and was told that it needed a reseal and coolant getting into the engine.
On 11/19/15, I purchased A 2007 Subaru Legacy 2.5, 4 cylinder Sedan. The prior day I smelled a funny mist that I thought was antifreeze...They said it was corrected....2 my heater wouldn't work for 5 minutes....the dealer's mechanics said it may be a heater core....next day car ran hot....it was discovered to be the head gasket....They still trying to fix car....I've been out of a car for 20 days....
Well-maintained Subaru Legacy had both head gaskets fail. Cannot afford a $3,000.00 fix. Would never recommend a Subaru to anyone and will never buy another one. Subaru knew of faulty head gaskets and never rectified the problem.
I have a 2000 Subaru Legacy and its overheating I was told it could be a head gasket I put coolant in and it must burn it off or going somewhere keeps overheating right away after I put coolant in its un drivable
Dealership said that the head gasket needs to be repaired/replaced?
Had to replace head gaskets on my Outback,I complained about something smelling hot around 20,000 miles. Will never buy another Subaru. Something always neeeds to be fixed.
I had the same issue with the car leaking oil and found that you cant use aftermarket oil filters. Everyone that i tried would leak. I ended up taking my car into a subaru dealership to have an oil change and i havent had a leak since.