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Just took the second head off the 98 Subaru Outback I'm working on and I found one of the alignment dowels was badly crimped over the gasket for about 1/3 of its circumference. I have no idea how it got that way, but unless I do something about it, it's going to be very hard to get the new gasket on it without damaging it, and even if I do it's probably not going to seal right.

What's the best way to deal with this? Is there a decent way to remove and replace the dowel (even a damaged one like this)? Can I just dremel off the crimped part (taking care to shield the block)?

Edit: Here's a photo showing the good one (on the upper left) and the crimped one (on the upper right):

enter image description here

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Can you not pull the dowel out and replace with a new one? –  Zaid Apr 28 at 18:06
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A picture's worth a thousand words. If it is a conventional dowel then I expect you should be able to coax it out with a pair of pliers. Take a look at the replacement dowel to understand whether it is threaded or not –  Zaid Apr 28 at 18:20
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The part you are looking for is called a "straight pin". It should not be threaded (press fit). I found pn 804014060, but I believe it is for newer engines, like 2006+, so check with the a Subaru dealer before you order. From your description, yours absolutely will need replaced, but should be able to be pulled out by grabbing with a pair of Vice-Grips and a gentle wiggle. Use a brass drift to gently install a new one. –  Paulster2 Apr 28 at 19:17
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@Paulster2, ok, now it's time to phrase your comment in the form of an answer to the question.... –  Bob Cross Apr 29 at 16:22
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@BobCross We need a convert comment to an answer button –  Larry Apr 29 at 17:36

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

At Bob Cross's request, I'll throw an answer out here for you. The information given is with the assumption your engine is an EJ25 series engine, which the 98 Legacy (assumed) Outback had, which is most likely the EJ25D (please correct me if not).

While many people call this a "dowel pin", Subaru calls it a straight pin. It should not be threaded (should be press fit). I found pn 804010070 which I believe is the right part number, but check with your Subaru dealer before you order. From your description, yours absolutely will need replaced, but should be able to be pulled out by grabbing with a pair of Vice-Grips and a gentle wiggle (maybe even a firm wiggle). Use a brass drift to gently install a new one. You do not want to damage the deck surface (where the head mounts to the engine) when installing the new straight pin.

Something else to look at here is whether there is damage to the head where the old straight pin may have dug into it. If damaged the head may require repair or replacement. You'd have to take it to a machinist to see which route it may need to go.

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Thanks. I just got back from the Subaru dealership with a replacement part (for free, even) and the technician who helped me there basically confirmed what you said, and also that the new part can be hammered in with a block of wood. As for the head, I don't think it's damaged from the pin, but I suspect it may be a bit warped and I'm going to get it checked out and possibly machined. –  R.. Apr 29 at 19:15
    
@R.. Good choice to get the head checked. And he's right, wood will work just fine. Just ensure you have the completely square to the deck before you start smacking on it. I would bet it will go in pretty easily, though. –  Paulster2 Apr 29 at 21:46
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It came out easily with vise grips and some gentle turning back and forth. Got the heads machined and almost ready to put it back together. :-) –  R.. May 1 at 2:17
    
@R.. Good deal. Glad it wasn't as big of an issue as it seemed for you at first. –  Paulster2 May 1 at 10:27

If it is a conventional dowel pin then I expect you should be able to coax it out with a pair of pliers.

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I think dowel may be the wrong word. It's hollow. Paulster2 suggested the right word might be "straight pin". –  R.. Apr 29 at 17:12
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@R.. : I've seen people refer to them as "dowel pins" –  Zaid Apr 29 at 17:14

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