2008 Subaru Forester Head Gasket

I just finished reading all the posts about head gasket problems in Subaru Foresters - just had mine replaced at 105,000 miles, so clearly Subaru has not yet figured out what is going wrong here. I have had too many electrical problems to count: heated seats failed at 40,000 miles (needs control module, did not repair it), bulb underneath the “P R D 1 2 3” light-up panel next to the gear shift burned out, console would have to be pulled to replace it, skipped that, and it’s best if I do not even get started on the tire pressure sensors. This thing is now tied with the worst vehicle I ever owned for repair costs. I’m not “feeling the love”. If you have a later model Subaru, what problems have you experienced ? This one will be rolling on down the road this summer, not sure that its replacement will be another Subaru.

I’m betting your Subaru is a 4 cylinder. And I agree that the head gasket issue seems to remain a problem yet to be fully resolved. If you get another Subaru get a 6 cylinder. That motor has had few to no problems.

If you are not locked into Subaru you have lots of other good choices in other makes and models.

It needs to be a very dependable car; and I have two dogs, so the ability to put up a dog gate and keep them in the hatchback area is what sold the Subaru Forester in the first place. But the mileage is disappointing, and the repair costs have been much higher than anticipated. Suggestions for other very dependable makes and models would be welcome.

I think it is a 4-cylinder. Is the 6-cylinder Forester a good choice ? Although after what I’ve been through with this one, I’m leaning toward something else. Thanks !

Just replaced head gaskets on an '06 Subaru this week. I thought that by '07 the weren’t as much of a problem, maybe I just haven’t seen them yet. As for the other items, don’t blame them on Subaru. All makes have trouble with tire sensors, you can thank the federal government for mandating a system that makes more things that can go wrong. Light bulbs burn out, shouldn’t be more than $60 or so to fix that. And heated seats? That also is a system prone to trouble on many makes, and it’s a luxury–not a requirement.

If you are otherwise happy with your Subaru see if they still make the Tribeca. Good for dogs, a reliable 6 cylinder engine, and comfortable.

There have been issues with head gaskets dating back to the early 70s with service bulletins issued in every decade.

As to a bulb burning out and tire pressure sensors, I would not necessarily condemn the car brand over that. The heated seat failure is a bit premature but on the other hand, electric blankets go on the fritz with regularity also… :slight_smile:

Thanks - I’ll check the Tribeca. I did check - no 6-cylinder Subaru Outbacks etc. since the early 2000’s. I think I am disappointed with the car also because it was “pay the sticker price” or you don’t get the car - dealer just raved about how wonderful these vehicles were. That has not been my experience. I had a Buick Riviera with 255,000 miles on it - never had any of these problems. All four tire pressure sensors were bad, lots of grief getting the dealer to replace them. I was accused of trying to remove them myself. Really ? I’m a 65-year old, it’s been 10 years since I even changed a tire.

What would you suggest other than Subaru ? Has to be reliable, has to accomodate the dogs easily. I’m not a fan of Hondas.

Mazda CX-5 is worth a look, as is the new Rav4 and Ford Escape.

My Subaru source said the new Forester has the “FB25” engine, which, in addition to a timing chain instead of a belt, should no longer suffer from coolant-related head gasket issues, because the coolant flows to the head through a separate passage, not through the head gasket. You can identify the FB25 by the location of the oil filter (on top, viewable when you open the hood).

No guarantees, of course…

Have you been including the Subaru additive with each collant change? I understand this makes a difference.
My next car will be a RAV4. I, too am disappointed with many aspects of Subaru, not the least of which are the dealerships.

I’m curious, Texases, do you (or any of you) know if the engine used in the new Scion FRS design is based on the FB25 engine?

I understand that’s it’s related to the 2.0 in the sports car, but with lots of differences.

Lots of good cars to hold your dogs! I would look at the Mazda CX5, Toyota RAV4, Honda CRV, Toyota Matrix, to name a few. All are more reliable than the Subaru and cost less to run.

“I did check - no 6-cylinder Subaru Outbacks etc. since the early 2000’s”

Do you mean that this particular dealership had no used 6-cylinder Outbacks, or did they tell you (erroneously) that there haven’t been any six-cylinder models “since the early 2000s”?

I ask because the six cylinder engine first became available in Outbacks in 2001, and has been continously available since then. I owned a 2002 Outback 3.0 six-cylinder, and it was the most reliable car that I ever owned. In 10 years, 120k miles, the only repair was the replacement of a purge valve in the evaporative emissions system, and that was taken care of under warranty. My total outlay for repairs on that car was…zero dollars.

That car was so reliable that I purchased my current 2011 six-cylinder Outback in 2010, and so far–admittedly only 32k miles–it has been flawless.

The cost of the six cylinder option may well have kept some folks from buying those models, but they have been made since 2001. More than likely there is a shortage of them on the used car market, due to people not being willing to part with them as a result of their great reliabilty.

Thanks for all the great advice ! I’ll check out the Mazda, and there is a Ford dealership very close to me. All service has been done at a great Subaru dealership I found after becoming disgusted with the one that sold me the car, so I’m hoping they know what they are doing when it comes to the coolant changes. I’ll check out the Rav4 too. I had originally looked at one but wanted a vehicle where the hatch opens up and away, not like a door on the car, which was what the Rav4 was like in 2008. But I have heard that the hatch on the Rav4 has changed, worth checking out.

And I’ll double-check on the six cylinder Outbacks ! The salesman said that “he had not seen any in a number of years”. Perhaps I misunderstood what he was telling me. Cost could be a factor too. I did look at the Tribecas, but the mileage is not great. I’ve gotten alot of good suggestions, thanks.

Headgaskets wear out. I had been an ASE Master Auto Tech for several decades, worked on many different makes and types of cars, and, depending on the metalurgic make up of the block and heads, the gaskets will eventually wear out. Not so much with the old totally castiron engines, but definitely with aluminum. I recently replaced the headgaskets on my 2004 Forester at about 190,000 miles due to oil leaks. If you ever let an engine overheat or contiually run hot, you’re asking for headgasket failure. By the way, the only “failure” I’ve had on my Forester has been the A/C clutch electro-magnet. Twice. Maybe I’m lucky, but cars of the past 10-15 years are generally better than ANY previously built.