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Rebuild Recommendations - ‘06 Subaru Impreza

Hi all, so I have a 2006 Subie Impreza with that wonderful headgasket issue (although mine hasn’t hit it yet). I’m looking to prevent it and replace the head gasket, piston rings, and timing belt. but I wanted to ask if there was anything else I should include at the same time?

Also, do you know if its better to go for a OEM style headgasket kit or a “rebuilder’s” head gasket kit? I would hope the rebuilder’s kit would be more in depth, but I dont have experience with it yet.

Which engine is in yours? The 2.5 L has the most problems, some Imprezas have a different engine (2.2 L?) with fewer problems. Are you burning oil?

Had a friend with a 2010, they recommended the turbo headgasket as an upgrade, timing belt is in the manual I assume, why go into piston rings?

The aftermarket head gaskets will have improvements designed into them that the OEM gaskets lacked. Thereby reducing the chance of failure.

If you’re going to do the piston rings, you might as well rebuild the entire engine.


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Ive got the 2.5 that has the issues. It is burning oil (about a qt every 2,000 miles). It has some blowback as well when i take the oil cap off, which is why im looking at the piston rings too.

Besides what you already have plans to replace, I would include the timing belt, water pump and the idler pulley and tensioner.
Why have to remove 1/2 of what you just installed in another 5000 miles because the water pump went out.


The rings can be done without splitting the engine block. It can be a bit of a wrestling match to remove the wrist pins. There’s a special tool for this but even with it some of the pins do not want to come out.

You also have to be VERY careful when honing the cylinders as it easy to hit the top of the connecting rod with the hone; especially a bottle brush type hone.

You will also need a 17 MM Allen socket to remove the hex block plugs so the wrist pins can be accessed. These can sometimes be a bear to remove.

Make sure there is plenty of clearance on the oil wiper rings. Almost every Subaru I’ve been into had stuck wiper rings.

1 quart / 2,000 miles doesn’t sound like engine rebuild time, to me. And if your head gaskets aren’t leaking, I’d just do the timing belt/water pump/idler pulley, if its time/miles are up.


The main thing is that this engine tends to have issues around 120K miles, which is where it’s at. I’m also a college student and don’t want to have to squeeze a major engine repair into a semester, especially when winter hits. I also suspect there may be an oil leak on the passenger side head. I need to get it up on some stands before I can actually be sure, but I did find some sort of an oil residue on the underbody shield below it. I’m not sure if it came from the engine though or from a different area.

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Along with timing belt, water pump, tensioner pulley, etc. you might replace the crankshaft seal that’s behind the harmonic balancer. It may be a source of a leak now or in the future, and doing it along with the rest of it makes sense to me. I did replace it on my 1999 Civic recently. It had been leaking a little.