Our latest featured repair is head gasket replacement on a 2006 Subaru Outback, brought to us by a client from Port Moody.
This is not our first Subaru head gasket post, nor is it likely to be our last. On every Subaru vehicle with a 2.5 Liter H4 engine this service is inevitable at some point in time. If you own one of these vehicles you will likely be faced with this repair. A frequent question that we get asked at our shop is how much does the service cost?
Before we get into that let’s look at what a head gasket is. The cylinder head gasket is far and away the most complex gasket on an internal combustion engine. It provides several functions all while dealing with different fluids and the high temperatures and pressures of the engine’s combustion process. The head gasket seals the oil pressure galleries, the oil drain passages, the engine coolant passages and the combustion chambers. On a Subaru H4 engine there are two head gaskets and each gasket seals two cylinders.
Getting back to costs: the simplest answer is that the minimum is just under $2000 with all taxes included. There are however many factors that go into this service that can and often increase this price substantially.
On Subarus there are two types of head gasket leaks that we typically see, the most common being oil leaking from the gaskets. This occurs on the single overhead cam models. The less frequent cause of leakage are combustion gas leaks into the cooling system and these seem to only occur on the dual overhead cam engines.
Vehicle mileage factors into the repair costs along with whether the timing belt has been replaced or is due for replacement. While the timing belt is a minimally expensive part and requires no additional labour at the time of head gasket service there are a number of other associated parts that should be replaced when the belt is due (usually at 168,000 kilometers). These include the belt tensioner and idler pulleys, water pump and front crankshaft oil seal.
Combustion gas leaks always require additional machine shop work to pressure test and resurface the cylinder heads. As mentioned previously this happens mostly on the dual cam engine. Labour to remove and reinstall the cylinder heads on the dual cam motor is also more labour intensive. Adding it all up, the dual cam is always more expensive than the single cam.
As you can see there are a many factors that come into play with each different head gasket replacement. Fortunately for the owner of our featured 2006 Subaru Outback this job came in at the minimal cost as the vehicle had low mileage, the heads were not warped and the timing belt was not due for replacement for a long time.
For more about the Subaru Outback click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subaru_Outback
For more about cylinder head gaskets click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Head_gasket