Weird Cooling System behavior
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 23

This is a discussion on Weird Cooling System behavior within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; I am having some issues with the cooling system in my catless stage 2 2002 wrx wagon with an XPT ...

  1. #1
    Registered User sdlocsrf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    La Jolla, CA
    Posts
    141

    Weird Cooling System behavior

    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?

  2. Remove Advertisements
    ClubWRX.net
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Registered User teflon_jones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    8000' up in Colorado
    Posts
    6,753
    Sounds to me like a coolant control valve has failed, which controls the flow of coolant to different parts of the engine/etc. The thermostat is only in one place so the hot/cold readings you're seeing may not be accurate to the actual temp of the engine and coolant.

    Why do you say it's bad to put in the coolant you bought? I don't understand.
    Scott
    Past Subies - '11 STI Limited stage 1+ and '04 STi stage 2+
    '13 Wrangler Rubicon - custom front bumper w/12k lb winch & off-road lights, skid plates, diff guards, etc.
    '04 Porsche 911 Turbo GT2 clone 600 HP/TQ
    '77 F-150 heavily modded for off-roading

  4. #3
    Registered User sdlocsrf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    La Jolla, CA
    Posts
    141
    While researching I read that some people mentioned that the cooling system is very sensitive and should only use Subaru oem coolant. I imagine this could just be some people being overly anal though?

    I was thinking something similar that maybe the thermostat had failed leading to odd readings. If the valve that you mentioned is broken do you think that could have led to a buildup in pressure in the radiator causing a crack? I will look into details for replacing the coolant control valve in the meantime. Thanks!

  5. #4
    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    CA, US
    Posts
    22,984
    I Support ClubWRX
    Quote Originally Posted by sdlocsrf View Post
    Should I get a rental until the new parts come?
    Yes.

    More answers will come when the radiator is replaced; at this point you have at least one leak and possibly air in the system too.

    Replace the rad. Make sure you burp the system.
    WRX Info Links, Courtesy TheJ
    Man is a brute.... If you're cruel to him, he respects and fears you. If you're kind to him, he plucks your eyes out. Alexis Zorbas
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
    DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are the author's alone and are inherently worthless.

  6. #5
    Registered User sdlocsrf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    La Jolla, CA
    Posts
    141
    Quote Originally Posted by SD_GR View Post
    Yes.
    Will do, probably not a good time to be cheap about paying for a rental.

  7. #6
    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    CA, US
    Posts
    22,984
    I Support ClubWRX
    I'd park the car and carpool or rent personally too.
    WRX Info Links, Courtesy TheJ
    Man is a brute.... If you're cruel to him, he respects and fears you. If you're kind to him, he plucks your eyes out. Alexis Zorbas
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
    DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are the author's alone and are inherently worthless.

  8. #7
    Registered User sdlocsrf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    La Jolla, CA
    Posts
    141
    Quote Originally Posted by SD_GR View Post
    I'd park the car and carpool or rent personally too.
    Yea, I'm going to see about finding a rental at lunch with a co-worker then leaving the wrx in the work lot until parts come, I may even bring parts/tools to work to do the job so I dont risk driving it again.

  9. #8
    Registered User teflon_jones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    8000' up in Colorado
    Posts
    6,753
    Quote Originally Posted by sdlocsrf View Post
    While researching I read that some people mentioned that the cooling system is very sensitive and should only use Subaru oem coolant. I imagine this could just be some people being overly anal though?
    People are sheep and listen to what they hear without questioning it (no offense intended).

    Here's the scoop on coolants:
    Short-life: Usually green or blue or greenish blue. Lasts 30k miles or 5 years, whichever comes first. Safe for use in all vehicles. ALL VEHICLES. The only downside is it doesn't last as long as the newer stuff so why use it if you don't have to?

    Long-life or extended life: Usually orange, pink, red, or some shade of this. Though now companies are making it in blue or green as short-life coolant is becoming hard to find. Has a lifespan of 10 years or 100k miles, whichever comes first. Sometimes called lifetime coolant but it is NOT lifetime. Manufacturer service schedules usually specify changing it after 60k miles. Like oil, it's more effective the newer it is since the additives slowly get used up, so how often you change it is up to you.

    The additives in the long-life coolant are different than short-life and are NOT safe for use in many cars from prior to the mid-80s. The materials used in older cars weren't designed for those additives since they didn't exist back then. Can you use it? Sure, and you may have no issues depending on the materials in your system. But I wouldn't recommend it. Better safe than sorry.

    Subaru coolant (and every other auto manufacturer) is made by some big company that makes coolant. The main difference between the different long-life coolants is the color of the bottle.

    Quote Originally Posted by sdlocsrf View Post
    I was thinking something similar that maybe the thermostat had failed leading to odd readings. If the valve that you mentioned is broken do you think that could have led to a buildup in pressure in the radiator causing a crack? I will look into details for replacing the coolant control valve in the meantime. Thanks!
    Yes, it could also be the thermostat itself, which helps control those valves. Park it and use a rental unless you like the idea of a blown motor too. Impossible to say whether it's the thermostat or valves without troubleshooting it further with steps like replacing some of those parts.
    Scott
    Past Subies - '11 STI Limited stage 1+ and '04 STi stage 2+
    '13 Wrangler Rubicon - custom front bumper w/12k lb winch & off-road lights, skid plates, diff guards, etc.
    '04 Porsche 911 Turbo GT2 clone 600 HP/TQ
    '77 F-150 heavily modded for off-roading

  10. #9
    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    CA, US
    Posts
    22,984
    I Support ClubWRX
    A few things to watch out:

    Consider replacing the factory clamps and hoses if need be. Generally the less you mess with stuff that works now though, the better.

    If you do need to replace a hose, keep an eye out for residue on the fittings that will prevent the new hose from making a good seal. I've had this happen twice!

    Once you replace the rad and have everything connected, see that the system is burped completely. Also at this point you can check for circulation (there is a slight chance that your problems can be explained by an obstruction -- but I doubt it. Still, checking is free and the rad cap will be open anyway so...).

    There are several coolants on the market that will meet Subaru's specs, though Subaru are the last people on the planet to admit this. Peak Global comes in a "mix with everything" formulation, for example; Subaru themselves now sell two different coolants -- green for 30K changes and blue for forget about it changes. If you go blue you must get all the green out.

    If your coolant isn't diluted do so with distilled water. Any supermarket will have it in adequate quality -- the same stuff to use for steam ironing.
    WRX Info Links, Courtesy TheJ
    Man is a brute.... If you're cruel to him, he respects and fears you. If you're kind to him, he plucks your eyes out. Alexis Zorbas
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
    DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are the author's alone and are inherently worthless.

  11. #10
    Registered User sdlocsrf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    La Jolla, CA
    Posts
    141
    Quote Originally Posted by teflon_jones View Post
    People are sheep and listen to what they hear without questioning it (no offense intended).
    None Taken, I appreciate the help!

    Good to know about the various coolant types. I will have a closer look at what I got when i get down to the car in a bit.

  12. #11
    Registered User sdlocsrf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    La Jolla, CA
    Posts
    141
    Quote Originally Posted by SD_GR View Post
    A few things to watch out:

    Consider replacing the factory clamps and hoses if need be. Generally the less you mess with stuff that works now though, the better.

    If you do need to replace a hose, keep an eye out for residue on the fittings that will prevent the new hose from making a good seal. I've had this happen twice!

    Once you replace the rad and have everything connected, see that the system is burped completely. Also at this point you can check for circulation (there is a slight chance that your problems can be explained by an obstruction -- but I doubt it. Still, checking is free and the rad cap will be open anyway so...).
    I did get the radiator, thermostat, and hose package. SO the hoses will be replaced while I am in there. I will lookout for gunk buildup, thanks!

  13. #12
    Registered User sdlocsrf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    La Jolla, CA
    Posts
    141
    I have never burped the cooling system before as replacing coolant is one of the few things I have had my mechanic do so I didn't need to bother. I found this tutorial here http://www.iwsti.com/forums/2-5-lite...-system-3.html . Is this the same for my 2.0 if I open up the radiator cap that is up by the turbo? After doing more research it seems that I have air in the system from letting the reservoir tank empty all the way on Friday (sorry forgot to mention this).

    I am going to attempt to burp the system tonight and see if I get more "normal" behavior.

  14. #13
    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    CA, US
    Posts
    22,984
    I Support ClubWRX
    Yes but watch your fingers. The fans can kick in at any time. Also, when you burp it can get a little splashy so you might use a funnel and/or some rags -- but again, watch the fans (and the belts) and don't get anything snagged.

    Air would explain the behaviour you are seeing.
    WRX Info Links, Courtesy TheJ
    Man is a brute.... If you're cruel to him, he respects and fears you. If you're kind to him, he plucks your eyes out. Alexis Zorbas
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
    DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are the author's alone and are inherently worthless.

  15. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    ACT
    Posts
    68
    Quote Originally Posted by teflon_jones View Post
    Sounds to me like a coolant control valve has failed, which controls the flow of coolant to different parts of the engine/etc.
    Quote Originally Posted by teflon_jones View Post
    which helps control those valves.
    What part/s are these?

  16. #15
    Registered User teflon_jones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    8000' up in Colorado
    Posts
    6,753
    Quote Originally Posted by SD_GR View Post
    There are several coolants on the market that will meet Subaru's specs, though Subaru are the last people on the planet to admit this. Peak Global comes in a "mix with everything" formulation, for example; Subaru themselves now sell two different coolants -- green for 30K changes and blue for forget about it changes. If you go blue you must get all the green out.
    Why do you say this? While it's not recommended, nothing is really going to happen. The only problem is they don't always mix that well. That doesn't really matter much when both fluids accomplish the same exact purpose however.

    Quote Originally Posted by bobbyjimmy View Post
    What part/s are these?
    The thermostat is just an electronic measuring device. It controls a valve that controls coolant flow. Collectively they're often referred to as the "thermostat" but that's not technically correct. When people say a "thermostat" is broken, it could be either the electronic component or the valve or both. Each problem can exhibit different behaviors. There's also a coolant control valve for the heater system that's operated by the dash controls, which can show a whole different set of issues. Based on what the OP is saying, it could be a problem with any or more than one of these components.
    Scott
    Past Subies - '11 STI Limited stage 1+ and '04 STi stage 2+
    '13 Wrangler Rubicon - custom front bumper w/12k lb winch & off-road lights, skid plates, diff guards, etc.
    '04 Porsche 911 Turbo GT2 clone 600 HP/TQ
    '77 F-150 heavily modded for off-roading

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Quick Reply Quick Reply

Register Now

Please enter the name by which you would like to log-in and be known on this site.
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.

Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Please enter a valid email address for yourself. We strongly suggest that you stay away from using aol, yahoo, msn, and hotmail accounts. Sometimes the mail server blocks the emails from our server. As a result you will not receive any notifications including the confirmation email.

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Posting Permissions

  • You may post new threads
  • You may post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •