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Old 01-21-2014, 08:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Friends,

I have a 2007 Legacy base model, 70k miles with NA engine, 5MT.

Never missed a dealer service, not driven hard, completely stock, 70% highway miles. ¬*

I'm trying to trade it in for another Subie, a WRX.¬*



So the dealer disappears with my car into their shop and comes back 5-10 minutes later saying they can't give me much as the headgasket is "about to go".

How do they determine this just by looking?

Either the headgasket is leaking or it isn't n'est ce pas? ¬*



Some quick googling suggests I check the coolant for proper level and oil for foaming.¬*

Coolant and oil seem OK, so is there something else a layman can check for signs of imminent headgasket failure?



Thanks
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Old 01-22-2014, 01:50 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Dude is pulling the wool over your eyes.¬* First of all, she's a Subaru, so it has TWO head gaskets, not one.¬* Second, a good subaru shop should be able to do the head gaskets pretty inexpensively in house.¬* Third, I thought that the head gasket issues that Subaru's are noted for were resoved long before your 2007 came along.

And finallly, there are two modes of head gasket operation.¬* Broken, or working.¬* They don't show signs of "about to go out."¬* The indications of a headgasket problem are signs of FAILURE, not impending failure.

I'd tell the guy he just cost himself a sale and move on to the next dealer.
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Old 01-22-2014, 02:13 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'd venture to guess either they don't want your car or they are just trying to get it cheap.

As troy just mentioned, yes, head gasket issues have not been common with 2005+ Legacies. Common signs are just what you mentioned. Check under the oil fill cap and see if it looks milky. If it does, your head gasket is gone, not going. If not it's fine.

If you're concerned about it I'd suggest either taking it to another shop and get a pre-sale inspection (not mentioning the head gasket) and selling it yourself or if you don't want to bother, and there is a CarMax near you, take it there as you'll likely get about what a dealer would pay in trade for yours.

Either way, I'd avoid that dealer.
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Old 01-22-2014, 03:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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A hydrocarbon test of the coolant would reveal the presence of - hydrocarbons and would indicate the potential of a failed (not failing) head gasket. The test is very easy to do and very cheap. If you've ever watched COPS, it is very similar to the test they do to potential drugs on the side of the road. Take some of your coolant, add a chemical, the more yellow it turns, the higher level of hydrocarbons. Look at a chart, at some point the presence means problem. But hydrocarbons in the coolant are only an indicator of head gasket problems. Loss of compression, clouds of white smoke, exploding coolant out of the low pressure tank that is all foamed up, those are signs of a failed head gasket.

I agree with the above posters - head gaskets have two states, intact, and failed. There isn't, almost failed. You aren't almost pregnant.¬*You aren't almost hired.¬*I would say there is a 99.99% chance the dealer was trying to get your car cheap for trade to pad the deal, or feels they will have issues selling your car for some reason (beyond a bad head gasket).

If you're now worried that they may not have been lying to you, almost any independent mechanic can run a coolant hydrocarbon test for free or a few bucks. If the Subbie fails next step would be a compression test (more bucks). If the coolant is not foamy or smells of oil/exhaust, and there isn't "snot" in the crank and on the oil fill cap on the engine (kind of looks like buttery snot), and you pass a hydrocarbon test,¬*the dealer was trying to scam you. Move on.
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Old 01-22-2014, 03:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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You can get the test for HC in your coolant from Napa for about $35 bux

http://www.napaonline.com/Catalog/CatalogItemDetail.aspx/Leak-Detector-Kit-Engine-Block-Test-Tools-Inc-/_/R-BK_7001006_0361165456
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Old 01-23-2014, 01:15 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks all! Will try the hydrocarbon test and report back.

I've babied this car to the point of OCD, so for it to lose a headgasket at 70k miles would spell the end of Subarus for me.
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Old 01-23-2014, 02:33 AM   #7 (permalink)
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How you drive doesn't necessarily impact the life of your head gasket. Of course, if you red line every shift or generally drive like you live in New Jersey or Maryland, yes, it can cause lots of bad things to happen. Especially if you don't keep up with coolant changes. Head gaskets generally fail over time due to imperfections in the manufacturing process (be that poor materials, small cracks or gaps, or the wrong material for the type of coolant) and neglect. If you don't change your coolant at the recommended intervals or if you drive without enough coolant and overheat the engine - even if it just runs hotter than normal for a while, you're causing damage. Eventually it will fail if you let it go long enough. So you can baby it, without maintaining the coolant, and it can go even before 70k.

So if it turns out nothing is wrong with your car, I would never return to that dealer and warn others.
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Old 01-08-2015, 11:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I have the title, but it is an Oregon salvage due to Theft. I am selling as is, title included if you want it, but I don't know what it would take to get a NC title. My loss............!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 10-05-2015, 08:38 AM   #9 (permalink)
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^
Fat plus to this guys
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