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What else should I do when replacing my head gaskets?

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Hello guys, I have a 3rd gen 2004 Subaru Legacy 35th anniversary 2.5 SOHC. I plan on pulling the engine in the spring and replacing the head gaskets and fixing the water pump leak while it's out. Is there anything else that I should fix that doesn't cost a lot while the engine is out? I have never had the engine out before so I have no idea what could be hiding. I will be using the Fel-Pro head gasket set unless there is a better option for the EJ251. I'm not looking to spend a fortune. It is currently my daily driver until the summer when I plan on buying an LGT wagon 5MT and keeping this one for the winter/backup car. Any help is appreciated.
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If you are around there also replace the timing belt and all pulleys. The added work is small even though it adds cost a bit.



A general check of other items like alternator belt and pulleys too is in place.



PCV valve is a piece that can cause seals to pop, so make sure it's clean and works as it should. Also check all hoses to make sure they are OK and in place.




Replace spark plugs, cleaning MAF and throttle body, replace air filter. Pretty generic stuff.

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No fel-pro! OEM Master engine gasket kit is about 250$. WRX kit is less than 300$

Your heads need to be sent to the machine shop. At least re lap your valves and get new seals put on with your resurface.


If it is auto there's not much to do transmission wise.

Motor mounts should be checked

Separator plate

Timing belt every 100k or 10 years with water pump.

Any power steering lines or rack components are 100x easy to work out without the engine in the way.

New head studs are cheap insurance

Take off oil pan and clean it out/ inspect.


When you have the head off make sure you check cylinders walls. You might find out your engine is not worth it.

Edited by RumbleRumble
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