Back in late spring a neighbour gave me a 2006 Subaru Tribeca .Mileage not too bad ,in great overall shape but with a blown head gasket .The estimate to repair it was $4500 and he didn’t want to spend the money .I took it for a couple of reasons ,I needed a new daily driver and it was a chance to work on a modern engine .Over the last couple of years I’ve been wanting to build a new hot rod and several of my friends have been pushing me to try a Chevy LS motor .I’ve resisted mainly because to me it would be foreign territory .The Tribeca would be an opportunity to get greasy on something new and that might encourage me to go the LS route . The engine is a Z30 ,3 litres ,all aluminum ,H6 ,with overhead cams , 4 valves per cylinder ,variable cam timing ,variable valve lift ,cam packs ,computer fired and all that sort of modern stuff .Quite honestly ,it’s a pig .I can pull a head off the Caddy 500 in my Ventura in about 2 hours and stop for dinner and a dump at the same time .To get the head off the H6 took me at least 25 hours .Drain the oil and coolant ,pull the rad ,strip off the serpentine belt ,power steering ,alternator ,ac compressor ,rad saddle etc just to get to the timing chain cover .But here’s the stupid part ,to pull the outer timing chain cover there are 59 bolts and 12 of them wont undo .Either cut the head of the bolt off or drill them out .Then remove the timing chains and guides and gears .That allows you to get at the inner timing chain cover and its 46 bolts .Plus remove the oil pump and the water pump .Three of the oil pump bolts had to be drilled out .There are 12 bolts to hold the oil pump cover in place . Now I have to remove the valve cover ,10 bolts and 2 of them are impossible to get out unless you jack the motor removing the motor mount first .Coil packs have to come out too and they’re a bitch .Then remove the cam extension housing and oil line that controls the variable cam timing .Remove the two cams because they cover the head bolts .Now the head bolts can be removed and then the head .Be careful .The exhaust lifters want to fall on the ground and they must go back in the right hole . What a load of dog shit . Oh yeah .You’re a dumb ass if you don’t remove the other head and do that gasket too .Seems boxer engines have a reputation for blowing head gaskets so do it while you’re there .More work . Anyways I’m kinda proud of myself for getting it all apart but I’m a bit perplexed because I don’t see any obvious damage to the head gasket .So I order parts and begin cleaning things up to get ready for reassemble . I should point out that #2 son is a Director for Subaru Canada and I get a deal on the parts .Still bloody expensive though ,over $300 .I should also point out that he showed up one day with a new lap top computer filled with all the tech info I’ll need on this engine .He took pity on me and paid for it all, gaskets too .Damn but I have good sons . Now I start cleaning the “bad” head and I find a crack running from between an intake and an exhaust valve over to a water jacket .This sucker doesn’t have a blown gasket ,it has a cracked head .Actually that makes me smile ,I have a reason for all that steam out the tail pipe and I can see it .It’s a Eureka moment . The search is on .Find a head .Subaru can’t help .They don’t stock replacement heads for this engine .A bare casting is over $600 .I go on the internet junk yard search .Chicago calls back in 5 minutes ,a used head $580 US ,give us your credit card number and we’ll ship it now .Gotta love the Americans ,they do business .However that will put the cost at over $700 CDN at my door .Not good .The next day I get a call from Surrey BC .$200 plus tax and shipping .Yippee, I’ll take it .Well they must be on crack out there because it takes 3 weeks to get them to ship it ,confirm that it’s the right head ,check it for cracks and play silly bugger with all the nonsense over my credit card ,like I stole the damn card or something .Then the stupid buggers shipped it by bus .It took 10 days to get it here .They can get people here in 3 days but a parcel takes 10.I want to shit on someone so bad but cant ,it’s too good a deal on something that is very hard to find . The problem with all this is I’m doing it outside .No room in the garage and the weather is starting to cool . Forge ahead though but next comes the hard part .These bloody engines are literally glued together ,virtually no gaskets ,I have to use Fuji bond for gaskets .I hate that kind of shit ,never had good luck with it and what in hell is Fuji bond anyways .Subaru wants $300 for a tube of it .More research ,it’s actually Permatex Ultra Grey ,$10 at the local parts store .Carry on .But it’s getting cold and Permatex Ultra grey is an RTV meaning room temperature vulcanization so I switch to Permartex Right stuff .Its anaerobic . Bolt on the heads ,torque to yield head bolts and that’s a load of crap going through all the steps to torque them ,install the cams ,install the cam extensions ,and then the dreaded inner cover .Not only are there about 10 feet of glue to lay out ,there are 8 o rings too . But Subaru ‘s tech info doesn’t agree with the count ,sort that out ,install the inner cover ,46 bolts ,oil pump 12 bolts ,search everywhere for replacement bolts ,flat head metric ,Jesus . Install the cams .info is a bit hazy on how to do it .I try real hard and get it done but something feels wrong .Check and double check .Something sucks but what do I know with this modern crap . Keep going ,59 bolts and glue for the outer cover .Then it’s easy ,put it all together . Ready to fire it up . Spin the starter ,no fire and doesn’t sound right .I go around to look and there’s a coolant leak ,big deal ,and a massive oil leak .It’s just pissing on the ground . So ,coolant leak ,oil leak and wont fire .Bin there before on any number of engines over the years ,Always something . The next day I fix the coolant leak ,only a stupid spring clamp . Oil leak is more work ,the rocker gasket hooked around a cam bolt leaving a 2 inch gap for the oil to leak .it takes a couple of hours to fix that . And while I’m there I pull a coil pack and a plug to do a compression test . Zero compression .Nothing .Shit .No wonder it sounded wrong . I have closed the hood and walked away .It’s too damn cold now .I’ll fix it in the spring .I must have timed the cams wrong . Ask me if I want to do an LS engine in my next hot rod .