Engine collant and oil leak


I have a Subaru Legacy Outback 1997, 234000km with 2.5L engine. The motor has only 170 000 km as it was replaced by Subaru Canada 3 months after I bought the car (used at 52 000 km).

Recently, I noticed overheat temp on the dashboard around 3 times within 1 month. I am adding collant liquide and oil regularely at a point where I am getting nervous of burning down the engine.

I had the car checked at a garage. They did not noticed any apparent leakage. A light white smoke is getting out the exhaust. And when the radiator lib is open to be filled, I notice brownish color in the collant liquide upon activating gaz trottle.

The diagnosis had been engine head gaskets leaks. Recommended to have them redone for around 1500$ can.

However, I have had 2 different opinion.
1) don't have them redone. Change for a used engine completely instead as the rest of the engine would not stand the higher compression rate and something else would break. Cost of new engine. Between 1000 - 2000$ used at 120 000 km.

2) Have gasket redone. Change engine only if heads are cracked.

Can you hlep me clarify what I should do with this issue?

NOTE: The car body, transmission, oberall is in excellent shape.


Do you
have the same problem?
Tuesday, November 13th, 2007 AT 4:03 PM

1 Reply


Hi there,

This is a common problem faced by many concerned people. If you do O/Haul the cylinder heads, yes you will increase the load on the bottom end, if your car was not an oil user this may not be a real issue, often this is a problem with cars that have a lot of miles on the clock, with the heads off, a good mechanic can determine any potential lower end problems, by checking piston slop, measure bore diameters, I would ask for a wet compression test, this is where a comp test is done with a little oil in the bore, the oil will temporally seal up the rings and any increase in compression will indicate a potential issue down the track. A good mechanic will be able to advise you better after this has been done. If you go down the road of having the heads O/hauled, make sure that the mechanic fully understands the importance of the finish on the head & block mating surfaces, as Subaru use a metal gasket these surfaces must be near mirror finish as any blemish can and will cause leakage, this is very important. As for a used engine, well you get what you pay for these days, I am not a great fan of second hand engines, you have no idea as to the history and you may end up with someones discarded problem, be cautious, think long and hard about what your needs are, and I feel it is often better to spend a little more for piece of mind.

Mark (mhpautos)

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Tuesday, November 13th, 2007 AT 4:37 PM

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