I am having some issues with the cooling system in my catless stage 2 2002 wrx wagon with an XPT Open Source Tune and 100k miles.
-About a month ago, my AC belt gave out. I have been lazy about replacing this as May/June in San Diego is foggy and cold by the coast where I live. My assumption is that not having this ONLY means, no AC. Not sure if this could cause other problems?
-About 10 days ago I noticed some steam coming from under the hood. Noticed some pooled coolant around radiator. Engine temps stayed normal. Decided at this point I would keep coolant topped off until I had time to find the leak source.
-This past Friday morning I notice my temp gauge creeping up (70% of the way to red, 40% is normal). My thinking is that i diluted coolant to much with water top offs. I stop at store and get prestone universal coolant (realizing now upon further reading this may be bad). Top off with coolant. At this time I finally notice the infamous radiator crack at the top, about 3 inches. I make it the next mile to work ok.
-Friday going home, my engine temp would get even closer to red. I had my heat on high to dump heat from the engine. Heater air blows cold while in neutral or driving slow speeds and this is when engine temp got highest. While driving at higher speeds and rpms (not in neutral) the heater air blew hot and the engine temp came under control.
-On Friday night I ordered A gimmick aluminum radiator, thermostat and hoses. Now the waiting game... I put JB weld over the crack to see if that would get me by. Drove ok for 10 min saturday mid day with JB, then JB weld failed resulting in same issues as friday, limped 1 mile home.
-Saturday I cut out a 3" long piece of aluminum sheet and used JB weld to glue that over the crack.
-Driving to work this morning, Everything seemed fine for first 15 minutes (slow stop and go on way to highway). Then engine temp started to sky rocket, right as I was getting into a hilly no emergency lane section (heater air blowing cold). Stopping here not an option for safety reasons. Going up the hill the engine actually starts to cool down and heater air begins blowing super hot. Get to the top of the hill and the engine temp is back down to normal. I check my aluminum patch over the radiator, which has held up and is not leaking!!!????? So confused! At this point I can get on the freeway, at freeway speed and 3k rpm the engine temp stays normal, heater air blows hot.
Anyways long winded story short.... Yes I know I need a new radiator. But what the hell is going on if the crack is not leaking? Why the odd heater air behavior? Should I get a rental until the new parts come? Also I have some "aluminum radiator leak weld" stuff to pour in the radiator as an emergency in my car. I have read some bad things on these radiator leak fixes... should I avoid this at all costs?