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#1 2020-01-26 13:55:57

tinman
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From: Easton, PA
Registered: 2010-10-11
User Number: 4902
Posts: 314

Need advice - potential head gasket

My '06 has 92k mi, and I think the head gasket needs replacement. I'm having temperature spikes when stationary, thermostat has been replaced twice, and it's not smelling healthy (the driver's side front diff seal was leaking after the trans work, and leaked trans fluid onto the exhaust. So that's the other smell culprit). No other evidence, and it passed the coolant system pressure test when a shop performed it troubleshooting the temperature issues a month ago. It has a Mishi radiator and fan kit. If it ends up being a HG, what would you guys do? I just had a half-case replacement done a couple months ago, and did a clutch, bearing kit, and front diff at the same time. The car is quite solid, otherwise, and would be something that is worth saving, but I'm trying to find the best plan. Is it to get the HG replaced and pay the ton of labor? Or is there something that I should look to replace (engine, internals, etc) instead of just the HG. The car is a STG II, but it's a daily that doesn't need anything more in terms of mod growth. Just looking for advice on how to proceed from you smarties.

L8

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#2 2020-01-26 15:05:15

snowphun
Member
From: Central CT
Registered: 2005-11-09
User Number: 890
Posts: 594

Re: Need advice - potential head gasket

A random used engine isn't any less of a gamble than what you have. ej205's rarely have head gasket issues, I wouldn't focus on that being the issue. Was the coolant system properly bled after the work was done?

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#3 2020-01-26 15:34:41

tinman
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From: Easton, PA
Registered: 2010-10-11
User Number: 4902
Posts: 314

Re: Need advice - potential head gasket

snowphun wrote:

A random used engine isn't any less of a gamble than what you have. ej205's rarely have head gasket issues, I wouldn't focus on that being the issue. Was the coolant system properly bled after the work was done?

Yeah, the idea of a used engine concerns me moreso than repairing the one I have. I believe the systems was properly bled. There was an air bubble that supposedly in the in the line that took a few days to work through. That caused the temp gauge to rise, and then abruptly plummet back to where it belongs. It's been sitting for about a month at the transmission shop getting buttoned up and whatnot. I've only had it back for about 2 weeks (400mi), and it runs at the normal temperature when on the highway. When I get off the highway and drive along normal roads and through neighborhoods, the aux fans turn on. When I come to a stop for a while (sitting in a drive through, for example), the temp climbs. Once I'm moving again, it goes back to normal. Any advice on how I should proceed with the troubleshooting if you're not leaning towards HG?

L8

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#4 2020-01-26 16:11:01

racerjim
Headroom is overrated...
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From: Kennesaw, GA
Registered: 2005-06-16
User Number: 247
Posts: 3307

Re: Need advice - potential head gasket

Coolant smell is pretty distinctive, kind of sweet in an industrial sort of way.  Don't know what trans fluid smells like, but I'm betting more like oil.  In any case, good luck.  I agree that the engine you know is a better basis for investment than the engine you don't.


My Car:  2009 Mercedes Benz SLK55 AMG
SOLD August 2016:  2005 Saab 9-2x Aero 5-Speed, Cold, Premium, Arctic Silver
Her Car:  2013 Chevrolet Equinox LTZ

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#5 2020-01-26 17:54:04

itsnotmeitsyou
Potato, Patreason...
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From: San Antonio, Texas
Registered: 2011-07-31
User Number: 5779
Posts: 2587

Re: Need advice - potential head gasket

Check both radiator caps.  The little gasket they use can get torn or worn over time and it's not always checked when testing as part of the test it replacing the cap(s) with one from their testing kit smile


2005 Saab 9-2x Aero:  More than you've had done to your car.
2015 Forester XT 'TS' clone

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#6 2020-01-26 17:56:26

lizzardo
Sooper Genius
Supporter
From: SF Bay Area, CA.
Registered: 2005-06-04
User Number: 158
Posts: 4529

Re: Need advice - potential head gasket

You can do a combustion leak test.  That tests the cooling system for combustion gasses and is pretty simple.  There's a rig that draws air from the coolant expansion tank and bubble it through a special fluid.  The fluid changes color if combustion gas is present.  The temperature spike doesn't sound head gasket-ish to me though.  Not sure if there's anything special about the Subaru engine, and all my head gasket experience (extensive) is from Saab B and H engines.  It really does sound like a thermostat or air in the cooling system, although because you're getting it when stationary it could be the fan.  I can't remember if the fan is triggered by a thermoswitch or through the ECU.  For some cars, turning the A/C on will force the fan on as well, so that might be useful for diagnosis.


A Real Saab and a LeMONS Saab - 1978 99 Turbo and 1979 900 Turbo
A non-SAAB - MV F4 312R - Once, the most mental bike ever made
Jaguar F-Type V6s w/6MT - commuter | 1991 Miata w/Hard top - toy
2005 9-2X Linear --> sold | Volvo C30 R-Design 6MT --> sold

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#7 2020-01-29 11:56:21

slowautoxr
Member
From: Decatur, AL
Registered: 2019-07-26
User Number: 46537
Posts: 25
Website

Re: Need advice - potential head gasket

The '05 Aero I bought in the middle of last year had a blown head gasket at 66k miles.  The car would not overheat on the highway but a short highway drive followed by some city driving would cause the temperature to rise.  I tried multiple ways to diagnose it.  The block check method where you look for the test fluid to change colors did not work for me.  The radiator pressure test was kinda mixed as the pressure would drop a little and then it would hold.  The reservoir tank did have bubbles coming out of it though when it was running.  The compression check was the test that revealed the culprit.  When #1 was pressurized, bubbles would come the cooling system.  None of the the other cylinders would do that.


Charles
2005 Aero

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