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#4778287 - 06/05/18 03:25 PM 2005 Legacy GT: Head Gasket
funkymonkey1111 Online   content

Registered: 02/07/18
Posts: 105
Loc: Englewood, CO
I have an intermittent head gasket failure on a 2005 Legacy GT Wagon. Sometimes it heats up, sometimes it doesn't--it never gets into the red on the temp gauge, but is right under it when it heats up. Shop that I trust was able to replicate the problem (after 3 tries).

128,000 miles. Estimate is $3026, and that's without any machining. If machining is necessary, they said it would be approximately $200.

I really like the car. It's reasonably quick, pulls up the mountains without any hiccups, and had excellent snow performance when equipped with snow tires. Plus, it doesn't have any of the nanny safety [censored] that's on new cars.

Fix or no fix? One hears things--e.g., "once you have a HG fixed, the car is never the same...", etc. Obviously this repair approaches, if not exceeds the value of the car. But, if I can spend $3K and get another 80-100K miles out of it, I'd be happy.

Thoughts? Any experience with 2005 Legacy GT head gasket failures and repair? Shop says the turbo models fail far less frequently than the NA models (estimated 1 in 10).

#4778293 - 06/05/18 03:32 PM Re: 2005 Legacy GT: Head Gasket [Re: funkymonkey1111]
nap Online   content

Registered: 04/27/18
Posts: 368
Loc: Canada
Are you sure it's not the thermostat?

#4778298 - 06/05/18 03:33 PM Re: 2005 Legacy GT: Head Gasket [Re: funkymonkey1111]
JC1 Online   content

Registered: 11/29/08
Posts: 3019
Loc: Oshawa, Ontario Canada
What's the cost of a used engine installed?

You sound like you want to repair it. What's the condition of everything else? Any possibility of this car becoming a money pit shortly after fixing the motor?

Personally I think I'd get rid of the car.
2015 Grand Caravan SXT Plus 5w-20 PPPP/Wix Filter
1997 Honda Civic CX 5w-30 PPPP/Mahle Filter

#4778304 - 06/05/18 03:37 PM Re: 2005 Legacy GT: Head Gasket [Re: funkymonkey1111]
WhyMe Offline

Registered: 12/18/12
Posts: 515
Loc: Washington for now
are they doing both head gaskets for that price? in the seattle area it about 2k to 2500 for new head gaskets. this also includes new timing belt and water pump and pulleys as they usually want to do it while they are in there.

when my 99 went i did it myself. took me a day (13 hrs) and $200 for the felpro parts parts.

before you do it have them put a emmision sniffer on there and see if there is exhaust gas in the coolant. if not you could just have a bubble sitting where the thermostat is. you will need to burp the system if you do. get one of the vacuum coolant tool or a funnel

Edited by WhyMe (06/05/18 03:41 PM)

#4778305 - 06/05/18 03:38 PM Re: 2005 Legacy GT: Head Gasket [Re: funkymonkey1111]
SatinSilver Offline

Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 10182
Loc: OH
Here's a recent UOA for the OP's car.,_Cast#Post4689283

Maybe use some of the GM coolant tabs or some Bars Leak Head Gasket Repair. No way I'd spend $3k on an 05 that may have other issues going on. Like the turbo, clogged oil ports, etc....

#4778313 - 06/05/18 03:45 PM Re: 2005 Legacy GT: Head Gasket [Re: funkymonkey1111]
skyactiv Offline

Registered: 03/02/13
Posts: 4405
Loc: The Midwest
Are they replacing both head gaskets for that price? I hope so. Me? I would drive it till it dies. Guess how much you'll get if someone smashes into you 5 minutes after you pull out of the shop and your Subaru is totaled?
Wife: 15' Audi A4 quattro 6 speed manual
Me: 13' VW GTI 3 door 6 speed manual

#4778320 - 06/05/18 03:53 PM Re: 2005 Legacy GT: Head Gasket [Re: funkymonkey1111]
Trav Offline

Registered: 11/20/06
Posts: 18908
Loc: MA,
GM tabs and trade it in. Don't put over 3K into a 13 yr old car. It will end up at an auction for short money and someone will swap the engine and flip it.
I was offered an 08 Legacy in mint shape with leather and roof, good tire, brakes, etc with an engine that had been overheated 3 times with coolant in the oil. It needed an engine, no takers it went to the scrap.
ASE L1, Master. Deutsch Meisterbrief.

#4778322 - 06/05/18 03:54 PM Re: 2005 Legacy GT: Head Gasket [Re: funkymonkey1111]
Eddie Offline

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 9578
Loc: Florida, Cape Coral
Go to the Subaru website to get other owners input. I can't believe that head gasket replacement should cost that much. I've replaced both HG on a 2.5 1970 Suby in a day and I'm not a Suby mechanic with special tools. Ed
CX5 Touring 2.5L :-)

#4778342 - 06/05/18 04:18 PM Re: 2005 Legacy GT: Head Gasket [Re: funkymonkey1111]
eljefino Offline

Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 32668
Loc: ME
Someone here runs a special doing them for $850.

#4778346 - 06/05/18 04:21 PM Re: 2005 Legacy GT: Head Gasket [Re: funkymonkey1111]
maxdustington Offline

Registered: 01/21/17
Posts: 683
Loc: Toronna
You have to DIY it if you want it fixed, that would be the only cost effective way. You have to pull the motor right?

In this situation Subarus are still quirky to work on. It is only the older ones that have HG issues, yes?
03 Jetta AWP/09A 200k kms
Edge 0W40 + Mann 719/30

#4778368 - 06/05/18 04:55 PM Re: 2005 Legacy GT: Head Gasket [Re: funkymonkey1111]
sxg6 Offline

Registered: 05/23/04
Posts: 2472
Loc: ME
I have a 4th gen non-turbo legacy, but the turbos are a different animal. I'd make a post over at if I were you, I post there a lot as well. People might be able to offer advice on what to replace while they're in there as well.

#4778374 - 06/05/18 05:04 PM Re: 2005 Legacy GT: Head Gasket [Re: funkymonkey1111]
Wheel Online   content

Registered: 12/22/11
Posts: 570
Loc: Upstate NY
I suppose it depends where you live as to the cost, but that seems about 1000 bucks more than I'd expect.

What did the shop do to verify it was the head gasket ?

I don't think stop leak will help if it is leaking from the combustion side into the coolant jacket.
2009 Subaru Legacy (N/A)
Castrol Edge and Subie (Fram) filter

#4778388 - 06/05/18 05:21 PM Re: 2005 Legacy GT: Head Gasket [Re: funkymonkey1111]
madRiver Online   content

Registered: 07/11/15
Posts: 3545
Loc: New England
Our former 2005 Legacy GT wagon burned a valve at 169k. So it required valve job and in process got a head gasket.

Your price seems a tad steep given no valve job. I did $3100 for valve job with about $450 extra in maintenance and parts accessible which head gasket obviously got changed because of removal. My labor rate though was $65/hr.

Burning valves is more common then head gaskets for Legacy GT. We sold at 230k as wife finally had Last straws and lost confidence.

#4778390 - 06/05/18 05:24 PM Re: 2005 Legacy GT: Head Gasket [Re: funkymonkey1111]
NormanBuntz Online   content

Registered: 07/27/13
Posts: 2132
Loc: Outer Banks, NC
If this helps, the Napa Autocare Repair Estimator tool says the repair in your city should be between $1,181 and $1,626 including parts and labor. Now if you need TWO head gaskets???
2017 Honda Odyssey SE, 14K
2013 Honda Accord LX, 58K
2007 Honda Ridgeline RTS, 86K
2007 Infiniti M35, 104K

#4778408 - 06/05/18 05:48 PM Re: 2005 Legacy GT: Head Gasket [Re: nap]
funkymonkey1111 Online   content

Registered: 02/07/18
Posts: 105
Loc: Englewood, CO
Originally Posted By: nap
Are you sure it's not the thermostat?

Thermostat was replaced when they couldn't replicate the problem with the head gasket.

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