Subaru Forester 2001 Leaking Coolant

Hi! I have a 2001 Subaru Forester with 143,000 mi. It is now leaking coolant…I have already had the “Subaru Recommended Special Coolant” added by a dealer. When my engine is running (say I am at a light, there is smoke coming from under the hood, and it stinks. When I turn the car off and look under the hood, the smoking is not terrible, and stops rather quickly, but the smell lingers for quite a while. I placed a large sheet of white paper under the car to catch the drips and they seem to be coming from the middle to left side (passenger) and there is a little oil mixed in. What could this be? I am hoping not the doomed head gasket fiasco…

I have an 01 Outback and have had similar experiences, although not to the extreme of smoke coming off the engine at a light. I’d say you have a bad head gasket issue and need to get it fixed pronto. I never had any overheating that bad and my head gasket(s) still went, causing the engine to seize. Spend a $1000 now and get that taken care of, along with the timing belt and water pump, or you’ll eventually need a $3000+ new engine.

Should I take it to the dealer (I really despise dealers and would like to avoid this)? I have a really great local mechanic, and if they are willing, would this be a good idea? Thanks-