Subaru Impreza with WARPED heads


#1

My 2005 Subaru Impreza has a blown head gasket and warped head. The car has 99000 km. I have never had an overheating problem and I treat the car like gold. The dealer’s giving me a hard time about the warranty because I do my own oil changes (synthetic oil every 6000 kms)and I don’t have the receipts. Any advice how to handle this situation to make sure the repair is covered??


#2

Sadly your likely out of gas. Usually blown head gasket have little to do with oil changes. You may try another dealer and see if they cover it. Lastly try Subaru regional management on this and ask.

Proper care which includes documented service is required. Documentation in your case is receipts for oil/filters and likely a note of mileage on them. Also did you change coolant per Subaru req’ts and other service.

Good luck.


#3

Oil changes have nothing to do with blown head gaskets and warped heads.
What are the symptoms? I ask because blown head gaskets are something that is frequently misdiagnosed.
Is the engine partially disassembled? I ask that because of the warped head comment.


#4

I was losing coolant and they couldn’t find out why. They eventually diagnosed a blown head gasket and when they took the engine apart they noticed the heads were warped. I did a coolant flush and refill as per the manufacturer’s recommendation and the car has never run hot or overheated. Just for the record, Subaru has not declined to honor their warranty yet but I worry they will based solely on my doing my own oil changes and not having receipts to prove it.


#5

JMHO here, but I’ve replaced more Subaru head gaskets than I can even remember and about 98% of the time the heads were warped; overheated or not.
Subaru only allows about .002 maximum warpage and one would think that it would be extremely difficult for a cylinder head that is so short to warp at all but that is not the case.

My feeling here is that you have actually run into someone who has done the right thing and bothered to check them for flatness. I sincerely hope the diagnosis is correct. Coolant loss is either going to be external (visible to the eye), mixing with engine oil (generally causing the oil to become cloudy or milky), or it’s entering the combustion chamber (noticeable by smoke out the tailpipe, rough running at idle, discolored spark plugs, etc).
If the latter has been a chronic problem then it is usually confirmed by the top of the piston and the valves in that cylinder being much cleaner than the others.

Your vehicle has comparatively low miles on it and JMHO again, the oil change schedule, or lack therof, should not have an affect on their decision to warranty this. I’m assuming that SOA (Subaru of America) is the one possibly covering this under a good-will warranty so keep your dealings with them polite and professional and maybe they’ll cover it for you.

It also seems to me that since the engine is down any problem with a head gasket should be apparent. Hope some of that helps and good luck.


#6

The only thing they may ask you to prove is when coolant fill/flush performed with receipts and if subaru coolant conditioner was used(requirement).

Hopefully 2005 does not turn into the norm for head gasket failure in Subaru’s. Rumour had it it quit after 2002 but of course a few engines will experience this.

I am so thankful for my 2.0L Subaru WRX turbo motor that is nearly immune to this type of failure, maybe fortified since a high compression turbo motor.


#7

Thanks for all the help. So far the Subaru dealer has been very helpful and the car has been great (other than this). I’ll let you know how it all turns out.


#8

The Subaru dealer shouldn’t care about your oil change receipts unless there are worn out parts in the engine. The manufacturer is the one paying for the repair. They are just being picky.


#9

Subaru or any car dealer needs to show proof of care with a vehicle especially big dollar repairs(this one) if and when they get audited. The dealer does repair and gets reimbursed by maker(Subaru). They want all their bases covered. In this case I would think receipts proving proper coolant changes and use of Subaru coolant conditioner would likely be what they would focus on.


#10

That’s very interesting that the dealer could have to show Subaru proof of care and not accept a dealer’s judgment; would set up a hoop for a dealer to jump through before the dealer can do what is needed for customer satisfaction. This sounds like a plot to keep Subaru a minor player in the car business.

One more shot: if a Subaru’s cylinder heads will warp if the oil is not changed on time, then they need to do some corrective engineering on their engines.


#11

Regarding warrranty issues (and on any vehicle, not just Subaru) the dealers are required to hold any parts replaced on a warranty repair and to fill out a warranty claim in its entirety.
The regional office has service reps who visit about once a month and one of their jobs is to verify that defective parts are on hold and to clear up any questions on any claim that has been previously submitted.

The regional office is not going to trust the dealer for one second on a claim and if the dealer can’t answer all of the questions and produce the part then the dealer is probably going to wind up eating the entire cost of that warranty repair.
On many major warranty repairs, or repairs that are done under good-will, often there is a consultation with the regional office first to make sure something is not going to be screwed up which leads to the dealer eating a huge chunk of money. (Subaru of America has been notoriously bad for authorizing something in advance and then denying the claim later; the main reason why my opinion of them is so low).

I hope in this case the engine was not torn down in a misguided effort to hunt for a head gasket coolant leak.