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Is this engine done?
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duderanchero
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 7:11 pm    Post subject: Is this engine done? Reply with quote

I noticed a very slight coolant leak and went to inspect. Found green liquid beading underneath passenger side and removed cover from bottom of engine. The metal along the seam (pictured--the line that the green liquid is running across) is soft and could be pulled off in chunks if I tried. It's not bad all the way along the seam, just towards the front, and it's a relatively narrow (<1 cm) patch of corroded metal. Can this damage be staved off with JB Weld or some other trick? Gosh, I sure hope so.

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Thanks again,
James
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Glenn Premium Member
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JB Weld is like a finger in a dike.

It's only time.
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syncrodoka
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's your head gasket. Do a search, it's a popular subject.
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duderanchero
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, time is the material from which I create all experience, so I'll give ol' JB a shot. The best anything can give me is time, and the finger in the bleep's just icing on the cake.

I was wondering if that wasn't the notorious head gasket I'd heard so much about. I'm learning as I go.

Thanks,
James
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your head gaskets need to be replaced. JB weld won't do anything for that.
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Captain Pike
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once the heads are off then the JB Weld discussion begins. Very Happy

We will have a "pitty" party for you.
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tpassat
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

syncrodoka wrote:
That's your head gasket. Do a search, it's a popular subject.

I agree, That's your head gasket. I am in the process of doing the head gasket repair. Your's is the type that leaks past the head seal. In the replacement kit those will be the big black ones. Mine has the leak on the cylinder..bypassing antifreeze into the cylinder. You'll find your heads pitted and allowing the antifreeze to leak on the ground. You may be able to patch the head with JB weld. You have to get them off to do that. It hasn't been too bad so far. I'm going to pull the cylinders and replace the rings. Good Luck with your new project.
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shadetreemech
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dude,

Check out this link pertaining to Vanagon's ubiquitous head gasket problem:

http://vanagon.com/

Click on Problems, click on Head Gasket.

You can replace head gaskets without dropping the engine. You cannot fix a leaky head gasket with JB Weld. As advised do a "Search" and you'll find a wealth of knowledge.

Good luck with that.

Cool
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How many miles are on your engine? If your engine is a 2.1 and the mileage is in the 140-180,000 range, you might as well plan on a complete overhaul as your rod bolts will soon be letting go.
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duderanchero
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now, what I thought was corroded metal was actually the loose rubber seal coated with particulate matter and grease, which I cleaned up with some 91% isopropyl. The coolant runs along the seal, so I assume it's weeping from there, though I really can't be sure. My daily coolant loss is much too slight to measure.

Yes, this engine's getting up there in miles, so I'm not quite sure what I'll do. Sucks to be in El Paso--not many Subarus, living or dead.

I'm more than a little confused as to what's going on inside the engine. Are my heads likely pitted, or is the gasket faulty, or both?

On the plus side, my head's all shiny now.

James
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dobryan Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd recommend doing a search on 'head gasket' and you'll get a lot of info.

You can also go to Ben's 'benplace.com' site and get a lot of info. Here is a video.
http://www.benplace.com/vanagon_engine3.htm

This subject is well documented. If after looking at the information you have questions I'm sure they'd be answered.
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kshbaja
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only way to resolve this problem for the long term (I almost said permanently) is to buy and install new heads. Yes, its tough to accept this, seeing they will set you back $1k for the heads alone. Anything short of this will only be a patch and you will have another headache in the near future. Even buying reman'd heads is a crap shoot. When you factor in the time it takes to remove/install a set of heads, as soon as you have to do it a 2nd time you lost any savings you might have gained by going for a cheap fix.

However, if time is plentiful and you enjoy the work, go for it!
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tschroeder0
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If your engine is up there in miles as you said, but is running well otherwise, my advice is do nothing.
My 1.9 leaked small amounts of coolant from the head the entire time I owned it. I finally replaced it with a 2.1 that had very low miles, but yes, started weeping a small amount shortly after I installed it.
I've put 50,000 miles on it since I discovered it. I have a habit of jumping under every van I see to check out if they weep coolant. I can tell you that of every van I've check on the Boulder/denver area I've only found one that didn't.
I will probably get an earful for this but I think everyone worries about this waaay too much, fix it if you want but otherwise I would drive it and not worry...like I've been doing for a long time, when you have the $ do swap or get a rebuilt wbx'r. Just my 2cents. Todd
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duderanchero
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Time is plentiful, but cash is scarce. Replacing the heads would have to wait a couple months. If the engine's approaching its breaking point, I don't know that I want to invest so much just to see another major issue pop up 20K down the road. I was actually kind of excited about the project till I started looking for parts.

Todd, I may indeed be leaning in the direction of no-action. Funny mental picture, you dropping down below the rear bumper of every van you come across to check for the weep.

I'm tempted (oh, I know it's bad) to pour in some Subie additive. The idea makes me nauseous. I've read horror stories about Bars, and I've heard the Subie stuff is pretty much the same. But at $2 vs. $1K+, it's a mighty cheap fix. Unless that $2 foams up and consumes my engine whole.

Here's where having lots of money regains its allure. Resist the beast!

Thanks for all the advice thus far,
James
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jdrudge
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tried the Bars Head Stop Leak- it worked for about 2 days (was about $30 for a small bottle)

Ended up pulling the heads to change the gasket and found that at some point the end of a plug had lodged into a piston and wore a deep groove in a cylinder wall.

The Bars made a heck of mess to flush out once this was going back together- I believe that the previous owner had dumped his fair share of this stuff in as well. Its like thick mud when you're trying to get it out.

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duderanchero
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, by all accounts, Bars is the absolute last resort. I had wondered if the Subaru additive was any better, given that it is what Subie prescribes to protect its poorly designed heads. And it's required to keep the vehicle under warranty. What a scam--they make a faulty product, then force their customers to jerry-rig it.
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tencentlife
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the Suby additive (which is just an English product, relabelled; can't remember the name) is pretty safe to use. I used two bottles of it awhile back and it had no negative effects on the cooling system as a whole. Also, when I got it, the Suby dealership parts counter was handing them out for free. Even so, I think the retail cost was less than $2 each (you need two to treat the double-volume of the wbx system).

That said, your leaks look to me to be past the point where such treatments might help, but you never know. I wouldn't be afraid of trying the Suby stuff, though.
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess for me, if I had the time, was short on funds and time didn't matter, I would replace the head gaskets and see how far it got me. It's possible you could get another 20-30k miles on the engine with new gaskets alone. That would last me a couple years of driving during which time I could be saving money for more extensive repairs or a new engine. If you had the money now to afford new heads, I would consider that as well. You can always transfer them to the next engine and your money wouldn't be wasted.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't catch the year. I'd keep an eye on it, wouldn't make any cross country trips and add a $4 bottle of bars leaks every fall--if it's bothering you.
I had same seepage 8 years ago with my 90. I bought a new engine (you could get them back then) and never installed it. I'm at 195,000 miles on the original heads. Any damage is done. Ride it out. I've been doing it for 60,000 miles. Still going.... Many are not so lucky.
you can have my dirty, leaking water boxer when you pry it out of my cold dead Vanagon.
Good Luck,
Chris C
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PDXWesty wrote:
I guess for me, if I had the time, was short on funds and time didn't matter, I would replace the head gaskets and see how far it got me. It's possible you could get another 20-30k miles on the engine with new gaskets alone. That would last me a couple years of driving during which time I could be saving money for more extensive repairs or a new engine. If you had the money now to afford new heads, I would consider that as well. You can always transfer them to the next engine and your money wouldn't be wasted.


Put two bottles of the Subaru conditioner in there and drive. You have nothing to lose and if it fails to work, the Subaru conditioner won't clog up your system like Bars leak. Easy to remove with a coolant flush.
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