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Jerry, Master Mechanic
Category: Subaru
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Experience:  ASE Master tech, 30 years experience
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got to replace a head gasket on my subaru forester(01), just

Resolved Question:

got to replace a head gasket on my subaru forester(01), just trying not to get screwed on the price.
What does it usually run. And also, how long can you run with it blown, without doing major damage to the car?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Subaru
Expert:  Jerry replied 6 years ago.

Hello and welcome to Just, Super mechanic here. About your vehicle.


It would be hard to say how long before any further damage can occur on it. If there is any coolant getting into the oil, that is very bad for the bearings and you wouldn't want to drive it at all if that is the case.



The gaskets themselves are about $40, and one side, labor is close to 7 hours. here are the labor times. You will want to add a little for coolant, oil and filter and of course taxes and shop fees, (figure about $75)


There is also a campaign on some of them in which the dealer will fix for free for 8 years and 100K miles.



PartOEM PartPrice
Cylinder Head Gasket
2 - Head Gasket11044AA633$40.95Notes
Cylinder Head Gasket
One BankB5.46.7Notes
Includes: Remove Carbon & Make All Necessary Adjustments.
Both BanksB7.310.2Notes
Includes: Remove Carbon & Make All Necessary Adjustments.



Campaign - Engine Cylinder Head Coolant Leaks


DATE: 02/2004

2000-2002MY Subaru Legacy and Outback;
1999-2002MY Impreza; 1999-2002MY Forester


Engine Cooling System Conditioner



Subaru of America, Inc. (SOA) has determined that over time, affected vehicles may develop small external coolant leaks at engine cylinder head gaskets. This is the result of normal expansion and contraction of engine components caused by the heating and cooling of these parts. To prevent cylinder head gasket leaks from developing or to correct existing leaks, a special Subaru Cooling System Conditioner should be added to affected vehicle cooling systems.

This Service Program will involve adding one bottle of Genuine Subaru Cooling System Conditioner to the engine cooling system.


2000-2002 MY Subaru Legacy and Outback with 2.5L engine.

1999-2002 MY Impreza with 2.5L engine.

1999-2002 MY Forester with 2.5L engine.

Affected vehicles are identified in the VIN range chart below. Only vehicles with a 2.5L engine are affected.

NOTE :Prior to performing repairs, confirm coverage for potentially affected vehicles by using the Vehicle Coverage Inquiry in the Dealer Communication System (DCS).





ehicles identified in the preceding chart may include VINs that were not distributed in the U.S. market. Dealers will be provided a list of VINs that include the owner name and address. This information will enable dealers follow-up with owners of potentially affected vehicles. These listings contain owners names and addresses obtained from State Motor Vehicle Registration Records. The use of such motor vehicle registration data for any other purpose is unlawful. Accordingly dealers are urged to limit the use of this listing only for the purpose of completion of this service program.


SOA prepare and mail an Owner Notification Letter to owners of the affected vehicles. Because of the number of vehicles affected and parts availability, owner notification will occur on or about the dates listed in the following four stages.

1999 MY - February 16, 2004
2000 MY - March 1, 2004
2001 MY - April 1, 2004
2002 MY - May 3, 2004


A copy of the owner notification letter is included at the end of this bulletin.


Owners are being advised in the owner notification letter, found at the end of this bulletin, that if they have previously paid an authorized Subaru dealer for repairs related to this Service Program, they may be entitled to reimbursement. The owners are further advised, to qualify for any reimbursement they must submit the original repair invoice to Subaru of America, Inc. Please review the owner notification letter, which explains this procedure so that you are familiar with it, and can assist owners with any questions.


In the future, it will be necessary to add Genuine Subaru Coding System Conditioner to the coding system of affected vehicles whenever the engine coolant is replaced. As a reminder, owners will be sent update pages with their notification letter that instructs them to add the pages to their Owner's Manual and Warranty and Maintenance Booklet Except for the initial application associated with this campaign, the cost of adding the conditioner is the owner's responsibility.


For owners of affected vehicles that have this Service Program performed promptly, SOA is extending coverage under the Subaru Limited Warranty for cylinder head gasket external coolant leaks to a period of 8 years or 100,000 miles, whichever occurs first Warranty coverage begins on the date the vehicle was delivered to the first retail purchaser. If the vehicle was used as a demonstrator or company vehicle before being sold at retail, warranty coverage begins on the date the vehicle was first placed in such service.

As a further condition for this extended warranty coverage to apply, the owner must properly maintain the vehicle's cooling system in accordance with the recommended maintenance schedule and Genuine Subaru Cooling System Conditioner must be added each time the engine coolant is replaced. Resulting damage caused by a lack of maintenance or low coolant level will not be covered. Replacement of the Cooling System Conditioner during inspection and maintenance services is not covered under warranty.


Dealers are to promptly service vehicles subject to this Service Program at no charge to the vehicle owner regardless of mileage, age of the vehicle, or ownership.

For affected vehicles sold after the date on the dealer's computer list, dealers are to contact those owners and provide them with a copy of the owner notification letter. They should also arrange to make the required correction according to the instructions in the service procedure section of this bulletin.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
So roughly how much? 1000$-1200$?
Expert:  Jerry replied 6 years ago.

Well, the average labor rate here, (east coast US) is about $75 per hour. So for one head gasket that would be $502 labor and for both $765. THe parts will be about $125.


$627 for one


$890 for two

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
i'm in mass, also, would it be better to get it done at the dealership?
Expert:  Jerry replied 6 years ago.

I thought you had an accent, (lol) I'm originally from NYC myself.


Any reputable independent repair shop should have no problem doing that job. The dealership, (stealership) is normally more expensive for the same quality of work and it may take longer to get it completed.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
My normal mechanic is swamped, so i have to find someone else. The first place i went quoted 1175$ wich sounded to high. I need the work done, so if you think the dealer would charge less i go with them. Otherwise i'll search elsewhere. I have been driving for about 2 weeks with said problem. What would be the symptom/s that it was getting to the point where i shouldn't drive it or it might DIE!
Last question. Thanks for all your help...Benjamin.
Expert:  Jerry replied 6 years ago.

It is always good to get a couple of estimates in anycase. It will normally cost close to that when it's all said and done. (depending on what machine work needs to be done, resurfacing and checking the head(s)


The problem with driving it is that it may overheat and crack one of the heads. You don't want to let it get too hot if at all possible.

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