Subaru Head Gasket Leaks - Do they exist on late models?

No leak on our 97 legacy but we have leak on our 2003 legacy outback. Does this head gasket problem still exist with more recent legacy/outback models? If not, how was it resolved? This will influence our purchase decision.

Subaru say’s it is resolved, but I’m a skeptic. Only time will tell. I think the design of the motor is more prone to head gasket issues. Subaru’s resolution is only to get the motors out of the warranty period before the head gaskets fail.

It remains to be seen in my opinion anyway. Give it a few more years and allow the problem time to catch up with the what-ifs.

You might try having the head bolts retorqued on your '03 if this head gasket problem is due to weepage only. This process is comparatively minor, not recommended, and allegedly not necessary. I disagree with the last two.

The engine is fully redesigned for 2011 and now includes a timing chain. It is no longer called a EJ25 which is the engine Subaru has used for years and tried to patch the gaskets.

Time will only tell.

Subaru is capable of producing engines without the head gasket issue including 2.2L, all turbo motors and H6(6 cyl). Not sure why the EJ25 was such a disaster for them.


Only the 2011 Forester has the new 4-cylinder engine with a timing chain.
It is possible that this engine will be used in the 2012 Outback, but the 2011 Outbacks continue to use the older engine with a timing belt.

Thanks so much for a very informative response. My experience with the 2.2 L on my 97 legacy is good, much better than the head gasket leak on my 03 outback. I was thinking of replacing the 97 soon - I’ve been buying late model subarus for years. But given the ongoing problems with the 2.5 L engine I may be forced to another brand- one with AWD for the new england winters.

I would be leary on other brands AWD and mechanical issues. Only Audi and Subaru have over 30 years experience with AWD and they build cars AWD in the design not as an after thought.

All other car makers post engineer AWD with varying results. Also AWD issues on other brands tend to cost far more than a head gasket problem with a Subaru.

Yes the 2.2L was bullet proof.

I’m looking at a 2001 Outback H6-3.0, but never had a Subaru. I’m kind of scared of the head gasket issues. It sounds from the above responses that an H6 would likely be a good bet. Anyone have any other input about it? Or anything else about the 2001 Outbacks?