2005 Subaru Legacy - What now?

What to do about the curse of the blown headgasket? The mechanic says $2300 to remove head and replace with newer headgasket. There is no remanufactured engine option that would be cheaper. Car has 130,000 on it. Just replaced rear wheel bearing and struts. Feel sort of betrayed by Subaru. Belts, alternator, p/s pump, water pump has been replaced. The only concern I have is the fuel pump. What if the transmission goes next? Would you do it or get rid of car? Other than this, Legacy has been the best car ever had.

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Where else are you going to get a car that’s in as good of shape as your’s for $2300.

Now if I had to borrow money to fix it, I’d probably get a newer car.

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$2300 repair bill on a 14 year old car with 140K miles? Perfectly normal, for a Subaru anyway.

Cars with mileage in the 100’s require repairs. They just do. Subaru’s need head gaskets, Hondas need transmissions, Kias need engines.

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As a four-time Subaru owner, I like to think of them as the best car you can own for five years. You got 14! Bonus!

If you still like the car then I suggest you fix it. Make sure the tranny fluid is in good condition or replace it. If you don’t trust the fuel pump you could replace it also for not too much cost.

Subaru and a blown head gasket?

That’s why I tell people, “Don’t buy a Subaru!”


I hate to hear the term “blown”. That infers that something disentegrated in some way.

You also refer to gasket in the singular. With Subarus you never replace one; always do both.

If the gasket is “blown” due to severe overheating and so on then it may be time to throw in the towel. If the gasket is simply leaking or weeping then that is fixable. The 2300 sounds a bit high to me but that could be about right for you area.

I have stopped some leaking/weeping gaskets by bending a wrench or two and yanking down the head bolts a bit tighter. Whether your guy will do this I do not know.

Subaru has had head gasket problems since the mid 70s. The only period in which they were pretty much trouble free was from 1977 through 1985ish or so.

Thanks for the reality slap. This car has been great for the 14 years I’ve owned it. I was just hoping to get at least 200,000 before trading it in. I was fishing for what other major repairs to expect if I spend the money to replace the headgaskets. Other than the large oil stain I’ve been trying to ignore in the driveway, no other major problems. There’s a time that I would have pulled the engine and repaired it myself. I’m 100% disabled so regretfully I have to now help a mechanic make his boat payments. Oh, well. Everyone’s got to make a living, and you can’t take it with you when you go. Based on your opinions, sounds like I have to put on my big boy pants and make a decision. I just don’t want to hear the Mrs. say “I told you so,” if I make the wrong one. ARRRGH!

You might do some calling around for estimates on this. I’ve replaced countless Subaru head gaskets and as I said the 2300 sounds high to me. That could be due to my area which is OK and has a lower cost of living. Some places such as the East and West coasts are generally higher.

The reason the 77-85ish models did not have HG problems was because Subaru would have a 1000 miles head bolt retightening performed. The bean counters ended this and voila; a proliferation of HG issues ever since.

To prove my point about the above paragraph I will say this. At one point Subaru said the auto trans cars did not need a head bolt retightening but the manual trans ones did. Same heads, same bolts, same gaskets, same specs.
So what happened? The auto trans cars began leaking and the manual trans ones did not. Subaru then stepped in again and said my bad; start retightening the auto trans cars. Problem solved. Hope that helps and post back if me and others can be of assistance in some way.