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silentguy 09-07-2012 04:21 PM

1998 Legacy GT 2.5L Head Gasket Replacement
This is not a how to.
Just some pics of my job, and some tips for what I had to do.
I dont really have time to do a complete write up, and there are some better links on this and other forums.
I thought I'd just post some pics and thoughts.

I used a how to for a Forrester here :

Hope its ok to post that link

silentguy 09-07-2012 04:28 PM

Well, I guess I cant upload photos, as you have to do it with a link....
Ill see if I can figure out some way to do it.

Kennyfvholla 09-07-2012 05:02 PM or will work wonders

silentguy 09-07-2012 05:12 PM is what the Engine Block and Head gasket looked like when I pulled the Cylinder head off.
The brown/copper stuff is permatex, which the shop who did the head gaskets last time sprayed on.
Obviously they didnt do a good job, or used bad gaskets as there are all kinds of leaks, and this is only after 3 years and less than 50k miles.

The heads and block were flat within spec, so I can only conclude that the gaskets were bad ....

silentguy 09-07-2012 05:12 PM


Originally Posted by Kennyfvholla (Post 4061003) or will work wonders

Thanks, I used

silentguy 09-07-2012 05:23 PM

Here's a pic of the Engine Block, with the head gasket removed
Notice how dirty it is, and the carbon on the piston heads.

silentguy 09-07-2012 05:27 PM

This is a pic of the head gasket Engine Block Side.
You can see lots of leaks.
Not sure who the manufacturer of this MLS gasket was, but whoever put it on also used Copper Permatex spray, which has degraded everywhere.

silentguy 09-07-2012 05:29 PM

This is pic of the Cylinder head removed from the Engine Block.
You can see all kinds of leaks here.
Also notice the copper traces of Permatex left on the head.

silentguy 09-07-2012 05:30 PM

The Cam Cap bolt on the bottom right of the photo, is the one that was stuck and needed to be
chiseled out. Its the one closes to the indentation, lower right of this photo, Far left when looking at the head as installed.

The bolts are not in the pic, you just look at the bolt holes to know which one I am talking about.

I used a dremel and a diamond coated cut off wheel, to cut a slot in the bolt head ( which was too rounded to remove),
then a cold chisel to punch it counter clockwise, and it came out easily.

I had tried all kinds of bolt removers, which did not work, also vice grips wouldnt budge the bolt.

This is cylinder head on the camshaft side.

silentguy 09-07-2012 05:32 PM

This is the Fel Pro MLS PermaTorque gasket I will be using

I saw a press release from May 2012, about Fel Pro MLS Permatorque gaskets.
Here's the link.

New Fel-Pro PermaTorque MLS Head Gaskets Designed to Solve Sealing Issues Encountered in Many 2.5L Subaru 'Boxer' Engines: aftermarket News

Here's the link to a PDF with info, and torque specs, which are the same as the Factory Service Manual

THese are the ones I bought, they seem very high quality, but we shall see if they last...

silentguy 09-07-2012 05:33 PM

This is head cleaned up with Brake Cleaner, WD 40 and 600 grit silicon carbide sand paper.

I also used a feeler gauge and straight edge to check for flatness spec of .05mm

Not sure how to accurately check surface roughness value Ra of 30 which the Fel Pro MLS requires.
You need some fancy lab equipment which is not practical.
You cant really tell by feeling or touch.
Im just going to assume that 600 grit sandpaper done lightly will give me at least 30 Ra,
as its supposed to be good for 2-3 Ra on molds. See pic below for the Ra values vs Sandpaper grits

silentguy 09-07-2012 05:35 PM
This is Engine Block, cylinders all cleaned up and new gasket on.

Fel Pro says not to spray anything on the gaskets, so I left them the way they are.
After seeing that the Permatex copper gasket spray didnt work on the last gaskets, I chose not to do that.

silentguy 09-07-2012 05:37 PM

Some thoughts :

I ran into a few problems.

I had to use 2 vice grips, and old timing belt as strap wrench to get the Cam Sprockets off.

I couldnt get one of the Cam Cap bolts off, as it rounded.
I had to dremel a slot, and use a Cold chisel to loosen it.

Make sure you use a high quality 12 point 14MM socket for the heads.
Cheap ones don't have good tolerance and slip.
I ended up using a Kobalt socket from Lowes.

Also, I damaged the Timing Belt Covers, as they are plastic, so be careful.
Timing Belt Pulley was hard to get off too...

silentguy 09-07-2012 05:38 PM

I am about half way through this job.
So will post more pics when done.

I need to do the other head now.

Adding some more photos :

Driver side Cylinder head from the front.

Cams from the side

Timing Belt Right/passenger side

Timing Belt middle

Timing Belt Left Side/Driver Side


Loosen the cam sprocket bolts, BEFORE you take off the timing belt and jack up the engine.
I didn't do this, and the bolts were extremely hard to remove.
You can use the homemade Crank Shaft Pulley tool (see photo in a page 2 later post) to hold the crankshaft while removing the 4 camshaft sprockets.

This is one of the more difficult things about this head gasket job, and seems many people have problems with it.
For one of cam sprocket bolts, I had to use 2 vice grips on the camshaft and the old timing belt as a strap wrench to hold the crankshaft gear, while I removed the cam sprocket bolt.
I also used a couple of 2X4 pieces of wood to jam the vice grips against the frame of the car, and not let them move.

For another of the bolts, I used a 1" open ended wrench on the hex portion of the cam shaft.
You need to remove the rocker cover to do this.

I used a 25 inch breaker bar, and short impulse movements to break the bolts free.
So dont push on the bolts with a long type of push, it has to be a short jerky impact force.
Hard to describe. But almost like you are wacking the bolt with a quick sharp punch, not pushing the bolt smoothly.

The space is very tight, so it's not easy

Also I ended up using 2 bottle hydraulic jacks to jack up the engine and a stack of 2X4 wood to support the transmission.
I also used jack stands to support car at support points on the side of the car.
Safety : dont rely on the jacks to support the car only.

Also, count the teeth on the belt, dont just rely on the marked lines on the belt.

On the EJ25, the teeth numbers, starting from the passenger side lower Exhaust Cam sprocket line:

28, 54.5, 51, 28

silentguy 09-07-2012 05:41 PM

Some safety thoughts.

Use PVC heavy duty oil and chemical resistant gloves when spraying solvents such as Brake Cleaner or Carb Cleaner.
Those are nasty chemicals that can cause nerve damage through inhalation or skin absorption.
Maybe also a filtered gas mask, so you dont inhale the fumes.

I am trying to use Biodegradable Oil Degreaser now, and Simple Green.
I know these are water based, but they are better for the environment.
Ill make sure to use WD 40 to blast out the water when done.
WD 40 is bad too, but mostly petroleum based, just dont want to get it on your skin or breathe it in.
I think its a little bit less toxic than Brake Cleaner or Carb Cleaner.

Both these cleaners are available at Costco for very cheap.
They are full strength and can be diluted for household use.

I used them full strength, and also used the degreaser to clean my driveway of oil stains after.

I also used puppy training absorbent pads on the ground to soak up oil.
They are similar to diaper material and can hold a lot of liquid.

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