Low miles '06 Forester Gasket

At 56,000+ miles on my 2006 Forester, I was horribly shocked to learn while having 60,000 maintenance done that my head gasket was leaking. Price quote, $2,800 inclusive of timing belt replacement. I have read some discussions in this vein, but none regarding a car with this few miles on it. It does not seem right. I have had other issues with this car, my 2nd forester, and I am not pleased. I do not know what I should do.

Get a second opinion from a reputable shop that works on Subarus, and find out where it is leaking. If it is through the cylinders a compression test will confirm it. If it is only a fluid leak to the outside of the engine there may be a band aid solution if you are cash strapped.

Barkydog is right on here. That’s the way to go!

Wow. They are tight. They will remove heads but not change timing belt? So they will reinstall old timing belt?

Keep calling around.

My local Subaru independent(NH) states this job is typically $1000 if all goes well. I think he does it with motor still in car but not sure. I think most places remove the motor which makes timing belt replacement easier.

$1000 to replace the head gasket and timing belt would be a very, very good deal it seems to me. Just replacing the timing belt is close to that, or even more. Look at this week’s Tom and Ray column for example.

FYI, Consumer Reports used car guide shows problems requiring major engine repairs (much worse than average) on this model, from at least 2003 through 2007. After 2008 the major engine repair situation at least as reported by CR readers for the Forester looks much improved.

I wonder if Subaru would give an assist on this? For customer relations. No harm asking.

A compression test will not show an external weepage problem though and that’s what most Subaru head gasket problems boil down to.
The price sounds a bit high but could be in line for a dealer in certain areas with higher labor rates and so on.

It’s not recommended by anyone, but you could try having the head bolts retorqued although there may be some balking and/or claims of “it ain’t needed”. It can work though if someone is willing to attempt it.

Back up the clock half a dozen years and the claim then was that Subaru head gasket leaks are a thing of the past. Half a dozen years from now the same statement will be repeated…

Seems like this problem takes about 5 years to develop. It was showing up in the 2004 survey results back in 2009. I’m now worried about the 2007 we bought then.

@GeorgeSanJose my Subie mechanic did the timing belt, tensioner and pulley’s for $500. It is a cake job on a Subaru for him(20yrs wrenching them) and he billed me two hours($120 labor) but called me back in a 1.25 hrs. Experience coupled to the fact that timing belt is front of motor makes the car easy to change out timing belt. Something is amiss at $1000+++ except labor rate is higher and some double dipping is going on.

And yes he left water pump as it was not leaking and now at 151k is not either.

My Subaru(2005 Legacy GT) has the same motor as mentioned STI in Tom/Ray column just detuned/civilized/less peaky from 300HP down to 250HP.

Point was TB needs to come off to remove heads. You do not need to change WP or tensioner during this job so not replacing those parts could lower overall cost of head gasket repair.

Subaru has introduced new gaskets around 02 that have been said to take care of the dreaded HG problem. Those guys have probably been saving up for a boat or a house on the lake and want you to sponsor it.
I’d get a second opinion.

The 2002 fix didn’t work. Every year 2002-2005 is “much worse than average” for “engine major”.

Thank you all for your comments–helps me a lot. I’ll find an indie service; will I be replacing a substandard part with a substandard part though? I’ve heard that Subaru made this out of a soft aluminum to save $ and it can’t take what its given.
I’m thinking this is a design fault which should have been recalled & redesigned replaced by Subaru. I will be writing letters.