All Wheel Drive Auto: Independent Seattle Subaru Service


Six Star Subaru Head Gasket Kits

Six Star Subaru Head Gasket
Six Star Subaru Head Gasket
Six Star Subaru Head Gasket

A little about the Six Star Head Gaskets for your Subaru 

If you want to replace your Head gaskets once and once only the Six Star Head Gasket is the one for you!

The SIX STAR MLS “STOPPER” HEAD GASKET for Subaru is ideal for both aluminum heads and aluminum blocks. A better alternative compared to other gaskets made of bonded materials that fail prematurely due to load and heat dissipation problems! By design, the MLS (multi layer steel) STOPPER head gasket has a folded bore bead that encompasses the entire combustion area. This allows for a concentrated seal along a pin-pointed surface area encompassing the combustion chamber. The gasket promotes an even torque load across a wider area and requires less clamp force resulting in less bore distortion conforming load across the sealing area! No re-torque necessary. Gaskets are made of Stainless Steel for:

Increased strength
Ability to rebound
Corrosion resistance
Outer layers of the gasket are embossed and coated on both sides with a flouroelastomer rubber based material [Viton]:
Meets the demands of a variety of harsh environments

Load conditions/ less bore distortion
surface finishes/ better ring seal
The Viton coating is heat resistant to 250C or 453F. Center shim layer of the gasket is comprised of an uncoated stainless steel layer, which can be varied to accommodate multiple thickness requirements.


Use this well thought out kit if you want the basic Gasket kit for your Subaru 2.5l SOHC.  This kit will fit the 1999 to 2005 Forester, 2000 to 2004 Legacy & Outback as well as the 2000 to 2005 Impreza withy the 2.5l NA.

Shop All Subaru Head Gasket Kits Here

If all you want is the Head gaskets you can by them below.

Subaru Six Star SOHC 2.5l Head Gasket

Dont see what your looking for?  Fill out the form below and we will be happy to help you order the right parts for your Subaru Repair project.


Can't Find It? Request a Part Here:

Please fill out the form below and we will get right back to you with prices.

  • Please tell us what year your Subaru is
  • Please tell us which Subaru Model you have
  • Please tell us your trim level here GT-WRX-L-etc
  • Your VIN # is located on the drivers door or jamb

  • Please enter you VIN # here


41 Responses

  1. I went to order head bolts for my 2004 EJ259 from the dealer and was surprised to learn that there are 2 different bolts used. When I inquired as to the difference, it seems that the 2 in the center of the head (position A & B) had bigger washers.

    I’ve done 2 head gasket jobs prior with after market kits and the bolts were all the same. I’m wondering if this was why they didn’t last (besides not using 6 star gaskets!).

    Is this true?



    1. Hi Wayne,

      Yes the Bolts are different for all SOHC Subaru 2.5l, have been since the 1999 Subaru Forester. The aftermarket bolts typically use all smaller washers which doesn’t clamp the head as well and can lead to premature failure. We do not suggest aftermarket Head bolts at all whatsoever.

      Hope that helps


  2. Hi there.

    I recently installed a six star gasket set in my MY03 Forester. The heads were machined.

    I noticed a small amount of oil on the underside after installation which I put down to bleeding from oiling the head bolts. I washed it off before starting to stop it burning on.

    I have noticed a very small film of oil along the edge since that time. Do you ever find a small amount can continue to weep out around the edge that has dripped off the bolts after the install?

    Thank you.

    1. Hello Ben,

      If the heads were not torqued properly that could be an issue, did you buy the kit from us and follow our guide?


  3. Hello Justin,
    I am doing a full restore on my 98 Legacy GT. But with a 2000 Outback EJ25 engine, only 100k miles. Just for the time being till I can afford a better engine, probably a EJ20R in the future. But back to the point, I heard the port is pretty much bolt-on except intake and wiring. Is this true? I am also looking to do head gasket change, would the Six-Star MLS be my best route for this style engine? or just going with OEM Subaru be better?

    1. P.S. With dismantling the engine of it’s components, I found a new water pump and timing belt. Seals look very good condition. but can’t come to a conclusion to if the tensions or pulleys have been replaced. Should I do a new timing to be on the safe side anyways?

    2. Hi Jeff,

      The Six Star kit we sell is the best option for the 2000, EJ2.5l SOHC engine.


  4. Hey Justin, great work on this blog/site.

    I’m looking at purchasing a 98 Legacy Outback, 4cyl (so I guess that’s the 2.2 right?). Very low miles (115k) at a very low price ($2700). Looks extremely clean….CarFax shows no timing belt or gasket work done. I know I need to plan on doing the timing/water pump/tensioners/etc. work immediately, but I’m not sure about gaskets. By the time I buy it, do the timing belt work, and travel out to get it I really don’t want to spend the additional grand or whatever on the gaskets. About what should that basic timing work cost me (without gaskets)?

    This car is in another state. I’ve contacted a local imports shop to go inspect it for me, and will likely have them just do the work before I come get it. I’ll ask them to look for oil/coolant leaks…but is this the motor prone to the gasket problem?

    What else should I have them look for?

    1. Hello Boyd,

      The 1998 Legacy Outback is a 2.5l. Which are prone to internal failures. At 115k, they may still have life left, be just ready to fail or already have been done.

      So that should be looked into, other than that the entire care should have an inspection.


  5. Do they make a sixstar head gasket kit for the 2.0 ??
    I’ve got an 02 wrx, I’m about to do the head gaskets and from what I read six star is the way to go… All I can find is 2.5 gasket kits… Nothing for the 2.0
    Thanks for any info

    1. Hello Wade,

      No Sorry because the 2.0 and 2.5 turbo engines don’t have as many HG failures as the N/A engines do there has not been to much demand for them.

      I would just stick with the OEM.


  6. Hi Justin, and anyone else with Subaru knowledge. I am considering purchasing a 2014 Outback 2.5i. I am hesitant to buy this due to all of the historic problems with head gasket replacement (went through it on my old 2004 Forester). Has Subaru made any engine changes to reduce the likelihood of these issues in the new (as of 2013) Outback boxer engine? Thank You!

  7. I have a 01 Forester w/2.5 sohc that the bottom end went out. The only engine I have been able to find local is a 99 2.5 dohc from a outback w/110k on it. I would do a
    6 star head gasket set before I install it.

    My questions are: Will my 01 intake fit on the 99 motor?

    Would this be a wise swap or should I continue to search for a newer 2.5 sohc?

    Thanks in advance, Bernie

  8. Hi Justin,

    first I wanted to thank you for this blog post and being so receptive to questions. With that said here are mine.

    I have a 2008 Outback base with 85k miles on it. The head gaskets seem fine for now but I did notice some stains (not puddles) on my driveway this morning. They could possibly be from my last oil change but I am a bit paranoid about this issue. My research has concluded that Subaru did not resolve this issue with my model year.

    1. Has Subaru finally started using MLS replacement gaskets for their NA EJ25 engines yet? So far I’ve seen conflicting documentation but I’m leaning towards yes.

    2. For logistical reasons I believe a dealer would be my best option for repair. Since my car is out of warranty and I’ll be paying out of pocket, can I request that they use Six Star head gaskets when the time comes? In your experience are most dealers resistant to using aftermarket parts, even if they are superior to OEM?

    Again I appreciate your willingness to share your knowledge.

    1. Hello Jon,

      Subaru started using a MLS gasket in the N/A 2.5l in 2010 with the Outback and Legacy, but never offered in the Forester or Impreza, knowing they were changing to the FB series in 2011 with the Forester and 2012 with the Impreza.

      Id suggest you at least let someone have a look to put your mind at ease or to plan out a Repair.

      The franchise agreement between Subaru of America and a franchised Dealer prevents the use of aftermarket parts, much in the Same way the a McDonald’s franchise has to buy food product through the corporation, as such the dealer cant use the Six Star gaskets.

      Hope that helps


  9. Our mechanic is insistent on changing the head bolts when replacing the head gaskets on our 2003 Subaru Legacy. What head bolts do you recommend.

  10. I bought 6 star gasket from you for my 00 RS to replace it at 183K miles. After 6 months and 10K miles added to the odometer, I went under to car to look for any oil leak or seep out HG. Bone dry!!!

    Do it right, do it with 6 star HG.

  11. HI, Im looking for a MLS gasket to use on my 2,2 Subaru legacy (MY93) Do Six Star offer one like that? I can find only 2,5…

  12. Hi Justin, I’m looking to buy a SixStar Head Gasket Kit for my 2003 Subaru Forester 2.5L. The kit above says it fits up to 2004. I don’t want to assume it fits a 2003 Forester (automatic & non-turbo) without asking. What’s your advice, is it the best gasket for the job? May I have it shipped to MI by Thursday, 2-3 day shipping?

    Thanks for the help.


  13. Justin,

    We are installing a six star head gasket set on a 05 outback. There is a slight difference in the torque procedures and specifications from our ShopKey/Mitchell system compared to the instructions supplied with the gaskets. I assume we should use the six star procedures but wanted to verify with you. Also what do you use to lubricate to head bolt threads and washers to prevent that awfull popping noise when torquing? I have used both motor oil and 80w 90 in the past and it seems to work ok.

    Thanks in advance!

  14. I have been told that it is necessary to replace the head bolts. But i have also been told it isnt. Do i NEED to replace the head bolts when doing a head gasket on a 01new forrester?

    1. Hello Jeff

      This comes up a lot

      Here is the answer I can give.

      The head bolts need to be done when or if after an inspection for thread stretch its reveled they need to be replaced, this may be one or two or all 12, most cars don’t need them to be replaced, but I don’t know without seeing yours if they do, that’s the reason you will never get a straight answer there is not a 100% rule to follow.

      This is what I tell people, we don’t replace very many, if its been done twice by someone else and is at our shop to be fixed right it will get a set, if they came out weird they will get a set or at least the ones that came out weird, we may help the customer out and out in a known good one or two. If the threads are stretched and we worry they wont hold we will replace them, but its never an automatic, were not here to replace things that don’t need to be done.

      Hope that helps, well at least as much as it can.


  15. I am doing teardown while awaiting a head gasket kit from you. I am running into trouble with removal of the crankshaft pulley bolt on the 2003 2.5 XS Forrester that I am working on. Is the torque to remove that bolt normally very high, and what is the best way to remove it with the engine out of the car. Thanks for your comments, Bob Burton

    1. this is an old question but well worth an answer imho:

      alot of us subaru owners use a large breaker bar placed on the bolt and laid on the frame rail. you then bump the starter(crank it)shortly…. like less than 1 second. it should be loose at that point. JUST DONT LET YOUR CAR START.

  16. When you state “No re-torque necessary” in the description are you talking about the bolt pattern specified by Subaru when installing the head bolts? It specifies a specific pattern which re-quires tightening the bolts to a specific torque, then loosening the bolts, and then re-torquing.

    1. No, Retorque means you dont have to go back in and retorque the head gaskets once you have ran the car for a bit.

      I am well aware of the torque procedure for the Subaru Head Gaskets, ive done one or a thousand.

      The first step in the procedure is to establish the “crush” of the gasket in an even manner to a value of torque, the second part is to establish clamping force partially with torque to a value, then with stages of angle in an even manner to exert the clamping force evenly.

      So the use of a torque wrench in the first step is to control rate of crush while using the cylinder head as the tool to crush the Head Gasket to the Engine block, not torque the heads down, the second step is what torques or clamps the heads, the heads are only torqued once in the procedure to clarify.


  17. Hi Justin:
    I have a 2001 Forester with 226K miles and head gasket problems. My mechanic is reluctant to just replace the gaskets (plus timing belt, water pump, etc.) because of a concern that the new top end , plus slightly increased compression because of the milled heads, would overpower the worn bottom end, causing a catastrophic failure.
    I am sure his concern is based upon years of experience, but probably not experience with this make and model. Are the odds better with my car? It has had regular oil changes every 3,000 miles and has been completely reliable other than needing, in the first 120k miles, a couple of wheel bearings replaced. The leaks are external (dripping coolant and oil) and apparently also internal (occasional missing setting the “check engine” light, reduced gas milage).
    Thanks for considering my question and thanks also for your very informative blogs.


    1. Hi Norm,

      In some cases a Subaru can use oil in between oil changes post Head Gasket repair. As long as its kept up on it shouldn’t be an issue. There should not be any reason to suspect lower engine catastrophic failure.

      However you can spend $2400.00 or so on a Subaru Shortblock in addition to the head gasket repairs and have piece of mind and an engine ready to go another 220k.


    1. Hi Eric,

      We Offer the Six Star Head Gaskets for the SOHC, and the Updated Subaru Gaskets for the DOHC 1st gen NA 2.5l.

      There has never been a good gasket offered by Subaru for the SOHC so we use as well as had input with the Current design of the Six Star Gasket.

      The Updated Gasket for the DOHC has never let us down, as such we see no need to change what we use here at the shop or Sell online.



  18. Great info,wished your shop was closer, you should start franchises. I have a question regarding the six star gaskets; why will they not work on the 05+ Forester/Imprezas. Bryan

    1. Hi Bryan,

      The 6 Star gaskets work up to 2009, the different between the up to 2004, and the 2005 and newer is the Valve cover gaskets and the intake manifold gaskets require us to break down the Vin number to know what to use, which is why we don’t have a kit for the 2005 and newer as there are a few variables, where every 1999 to 2004 SOHC used the sames parts for the HG repair.

      We can put together a kit based on the Vin number and ship it out however.


      1. Justin,

        I bought your Star Head gaskets from you and during installation I was having trouble getting the bolts to turn smoothly. After trying several different lubricants to achieve a smooth tightening process I noticed that some oil worked its way through the gasket along the seem of the head (from the oil on the bolts). Is this going to be a problem since the gaskets are supposed to be dry at installation? They were dry when I placed them onto the block.

  19. Justin,

    I’ve owned a 1996 Subaru Impreza Brighton since 1998 and have racked up 210,000 miles without any major problems. Still has the same clutch! Even though it runs great the fading paint and rust in the rear quarters have me longing for a new car. I figure that I’ll keep on rolling with what has worked for me for the last 14 years and try to buy a low mileage Subie from the late 1990s in good condition. I’ve found a 1999 Subaru Legacy Brighton with low miles. I was wondering if it had the faulty head gasket since your article lists them as:

    “The second group is the 2nd generation Subaru 2.2l and 2.5l engines found in the Forrester from mid year 1998, Impreza from mid year 1998, the Outback and Legacy from 2000.”

    This would seem to suggest that it had the old(good) gasket. Is this correct? Thanks for all your help.


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