2000 Subaru Forester head gasket problem

I have a 2000 Subaru Forester with approximately 120,000 miles on it. It’s in great condition and I have been taking it in for regular maintenance for the life of the car.

A few days ago, I took my car to the dealer for maintenance, and they said that they found the head gaskets leaking coolant and oil, and recommended head gasket repair. They also found the throttle body dirty, and recommends performing fuel service, including fuel injection and throttle body service. They estimate that it would cost about $3000.

I have never had any repair on this car that cost this much! Is this reasonable? D I tried calling an independent mechanic to get an estimate but they said they do not handle this type of repair. I’m in LA, and I can’t find any other Subaru independent dealers that do repairs. Am I stuck paying this at the dealer (does this estimate sound reasonable)? I want to keep this car for as long as possible, but how much longer do you think it has?

With such a high cost for repair, I am thinking of getting a new car soon… Any comments or suggestions would be very much appreciated!

Well, if a head gasket failed, the fuel system service is the absolute least of your worries (and probably not that important anyway.) To replace the head gasket requires dismantling quite a bit of the engine, and while that price seems a little high, it’s not out of line.

In addition to what josh stated, I want to remind the OP that the Subaru H-engine has two head gaskets, just like a V-engine. If one has failed, it really makes sense to replace both of them. And, of course, replacing two head gaskets involves literally twice as much work, thus adding to the labor cost.

However, that being said, the total still seems high to me. How much would it be without the throttle body/fuel injection service?

First, why are you at a dealer? Dealers are generally as good as independents, but not better, They almost always cost more. Try to find a good independent mechanic and save.

I am going to guess the head gasket is needed. I suspect you can have it done for less. As for the fuel flush, it is more likely a profit center for the dealer than any real need.

Get a second opinion on the head gasket by an independent mechanic. I am going to guess they will agree it is needed but will give you a far smaller estimate.

Get more information about why it needs a fuel service before having it done.

Well, they said that the throttle/fuel injection service would be $225, and the head gasket repair: $2700.

Good point, I always forget about the little boxer 4, I always think of the 4 as being inline and the 6 as being horizontally opposed, for some reason.

There are other independent repair shops who will do this type of repair. Ask around, call around. At 120,000 miles, your Subaru is past due a timing belt change. It’s cheaper to combine the jobs, since the timing belt has to be removed, anyway for removal of a cylinder head.

Thanks for the advice. I looked up more mechanics in the area (thanks to this website), and called a few more places. One repair shop quoted much less (almost 1/2!). Plus, he said that he has seen two other Subarus in the past two months with this same type of problem. So I will probably end up taking it there. Anyway, I will call a couple of more places that were closed today, and see what their advice is. Thanks!

Just last month, I brought my 2002 Outback with 151,000 miles in for a steering problem and a suspected clutch problem. I never did find out what was up with the steering because the dealer service guy came out looking pale and asked me to sit down. He said I had the same kind of gasket leakage issue that you describe. Well, five hours later, I drove out of the dealership in a new - used Toyota Rav 4. I miss the Subaru, I had since it was 1,000 miles old, and I am very disappointed that I did not reach the 200,000 mark but what can you do?

Wow. I am so saddened that I may end up having to give up my Forester soon as well :frowning: I am very attached to it, and now I don’t know if I will end up with a Forester again. My sister followed in my footsteps and bought a 2003 Forester, but I don’t like the newer models as much as mine. It may be time to move on to something else soon…Oh well. I hope you’re happy with your Toyota.

Alot of them Subaru engines got that head gasket leaks, many are on recalls, and many are not. It can be costly because they have to check and test the cylinder heads before reassemble. I have 2002 WRX my wife has 2004 WRX, her is A/T. We love it.