Subaru Overheating!!!!!!
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This is a discussion on Subaru Overheating!!!!!! within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Hi Guys, Right I have a problem with my impreza (2003 blob eye with 59k miles on clock), there seems ...

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    Subaru Overheating!!!!!!

    Hi Guys,

    Right I have a problem with my impreza (2003 blob eye with 59k miles on clock), there seems to be an intermittent over heating problem. It started when we had severe snow/icey weather, the car was working fine but all of a sudden the temp guage jumped to just under the red. Now when this did this the heater inside the car started to blow cold air. I turned off the car and luckily i was near a garage so i bought some coolant. Recently before this happened i had a problem with a hose that split and spilt coolant out of the car. I took it to my local garage and they replaced the pipe BUT i dont think they replaced the coolant!!! So when i filled the car, it took almost 5 ltrs of coolant!!!(just to note the coolant was full in radiator as it over spilt out of rad and expansion tank - but car wasnt cold)

    Anyway ever since then it was working fine no issues, then again just recently the car over heated after putting my foot down and the heaters inside the car blew cold air. But as i let it cool and then drove off slowly the heaters kicked in and the temp stayed normal until i got home, no issues. Recently i put some more coolant in the radiator when the car was stone cold and it didnt fill to brim! I put about 0.5 ltrs in + 1 ltr of water. But the expansion tank was half full...i checked the header tank on engine and that feels empty or close as damn it (i stuck my finger in!).

    Can anyone explain this problem to me?! Ive had a look on loads of forums and alot of people are saying thermostat? and dreaded head gasket!!!!

    Bit more info on this- the fan kicks in as normal but only passanger side fan not drivers side. The top of radiator is hot but bottom is cold. Do you think it could be an air lock?! Its going in to the garage i use next week, my issue is that this garage is 20 miles away! as ive moved house! Any ideas or pointers on how to get it there? If heater kicks inside car then temp will stay normal but if it starts blowing cold air im screwed!!! Also i have checked oil to see if there is any gunk on cap or dip stick and there isnt, NO white smoke either..car feels same kind of power i think?? erm and expansion tank doesnt smell like sulpher... does this rule out HG? But i did realise before that both the rad cap and the header tank cap rubber seals are damaged..would that change anything?

    ANY HELP WILL BE APPRECIATED!!! I just want it fixed so i can sell it! Ive had it four months and theres been nothing but problems! Bad engineering...give me a Honda Type R any day!

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    Also i have checked oil to see if there is any gunk on cap or dip stick and there isnt, NO white smoke either..car feels same kind of power i think?? erm and expansion tank doesnt smell like sulpher... does this rule out HG? But i did realise before that both the rad cap and the header tank cap rubber seals are damaged..would that change anything?

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    Registered User jd92677's Avatar
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    Sounds like you have air in the system, the cooling systems are a little picky about being bled correctly. Good luck with your honda, but realize that when they have no coolant in them they will overheat too. Has nothing to do with it being a subaru.

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    Registered User oguitar's Avatar
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    ^^Exactly

    Try to burp the system yourself. It is easy. Search for instructions they are out there.

    I am getting tired of hearing people buying lemons and then blaming Subaru for manufacturing a cheap product. Subaru's are very reliable cars.
    Life is like riding a bicycle in order to keep your balance you must keep moving.

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    i had the same problem..car ran fine but temp guage was all the way up and it because you have air in the system. the problem for me was the headgasket on the passenger side was bad had it replaced at a local shop and i put in a .051mm headgasket from rallysportdirect.com new thermostat,radiator, and water pump now car runs fine. SAve yourself the money and trouble and just replace the headgaskets now

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    Quote Originally Posted by oguitar View Post
    ^^Exactly

    Try to burp the system yourself. It is easy. Search for instructions they are out there.

    I am getting tired of hearing people buying lemons and then blaming Subaru for manufacturing a cheap product. Subaru's are very reliable cars.
    I am sorry that I slated the engineering but to be fair what you have just sa hit the nail on the head so to speak...your sick of hearing about people buying lemons then slating the engineering but there's so many "lemons" out there! So it obviously shows Subaru make weak cars...it's main rival Mitsubishi evo doesn't seem to have these problems...any way back to the problem....

    It went into the garage and they said HG is fine, he burped system
    And replaced coolant. It was all working fine until I drove tonight, heaters went cold inside car again and temp spiked. Top of radiator is hot (as in top pipe) rad is cold!! Expansion tank was full but not moving. Now I HAVEN'T checked thermostat. Friend is coming tomorrow night to replace it. Do u think that will solve it?

    Ps...I didn't mean to offend anybody by moaning about subaru's but guys please see it from my point of view. It was my dream car as a teenager and I spent 7000 buying it and I've had nothing but disappointment and now I can't sell it! But I have a buyer!!! So I'm sorry if I've offended anybody just really gutted right now

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    If you don't have circulation, then replace the thermostat.

    Did you burp the system? Whether you change the thermostat or not, burp the system.

    Also, burp the system. The capacity in my car is roughly 8L. I'd be suspicious if less than, say, 5L or 6L didn't go back in. You can get a good start on burping with the car cold and the motor off. Just gently squeeze the top hose and keep topping off coolant for, say, 20 minutes or so. Then repeat with the motor on -- but this is only after you've verified circulation.

    Wait until there is circulation to make sure the thermostat opens and closes. Keep your fingers and face away from stuff; the fans can come on at any time, and the coolant can "erupt" at any time too. If there is no circulation, suspect an obstruction, or the thermostat, or less likely the pump (though the pump should and really ought to be making wild animal noises on startup and seeping coolant to let you know it's failed, so I'm not putting much on that option).

    I don't think it's worth worrying about offending anyone frankly. We didn't build or sell these cars. It's a large corporation. Just as I'd not be offended if we disagreed on which brand of cooker is the best, I'm OK with whatever someone has to say about Subaru.
    Last edited by SD_GR; 01-09-2011 at 01:44 PM.
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    Thanks SD_GR what you said sounds really useful! I'm going to try all of ur ideas/theories tomorrow evening. Just in terms of HG people keep saying to me it's the head, but would that really work intermittently? Surely once your head is screwed it's screwed?! Right? Surely It doesn't have good days and bad days?! I really hope it's just thermostat...there isn't any noises coming from water pump. I will burp the system and do thermostat...I will update tomorrow...

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    I like to try the simple things first, especially if they are common issues and are indicated. In your case I'd first see if there is circulation. If there is circulation I'd burp the system very thoroughly, then repeat, then burp again. And again. If there is not I'd suspect either the thermostat or an obstruction. If it's more complex than that, I'd stop and take the car to a garage, preferring a specialist. Hopefully it will be simple. Good luck and be careful.
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    SD_GR when im "burping" the system am i topping up header tank or radiator...Ive read a lot o threads on internet and its confusing me! :-S some say rad others say header tank then others say turbo pipe off header tank with funnel?!?! Ive bought a new theromstat and radiator cap as the rad cap seal is really damaged which might be causing some problems??? Could you just give me a step by step guide....

    the car has just had new coolant put in, the other was drained by a mechanic not me but i dont think he burped it properly coz when i asked him he was hesitant in his answer. Now i WANT TO KEEP the coolant as it has k-seal in it at the moment helping if there is any slight leaks off head gasket. Reason being i need this fixed asap is like i said im selling it and i have a buyer..

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    Yes, a bad rad cap can cause problems.

    There is a reservoir with a radiator cap on it that is located "above" and near the turbo. Use that rad cap to fill.

    To burp: let the car go stone cold. Keep the motor OFF. Remove the rad cap on the reservoir near the turbo (if your blobeye is RHD, it's on the driver's side), Use a funnel to add coolant from there. Gently squeeze the top radiator hose. This will generate bubbles. Keep squeezing and topping off, repeat ad nauseam. Once you're confident it's topped off and no more bubbles are coming out, turn the motor on. Let it warm up, and CAREFULLY keep squeezing the top rad hose. Repeat the burping as the motor warms up. KEEP YOUR FINGERS SAFE. The fans can come on at any time, the belts are spinning, and stuff is hot, so be careful.

    At some point, maybe after 5 minutes, maybe after 20 or more, the thermostat should open, and you should see circulation. Top off again. Put the rad cap back on, double check everything, and take the car for a drive.
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    sorry should the bubbles come out of the header tank or should it come out of the radiator? Do i take the radiator cap off so i can see bubbles from there? or leave that on and just worry about the header tank??? Thanks for helping me with this SD_GR youre a legend! Fingers crossed this works! Otherwise im going to have to tell this guy he can't have it and go through the pain of changing HG etc...But i really think there's a blockage or a problem with circulation as like i said the rad is cold...

    Just one more question, does the water circulate from bottom rad hose to top or other way round? Only reason why i ask is...surely water circulates around engine until it gets hot...right? then thermostat opens and allows to come through radiator? Now i am right in saying on a blob eye the thermostat is at bottom of engine in the bottom rad hose???

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    Only remove the rad cap on the reservoir near the turbo. You do not need to remove the other rad cap. Only remove one rad cap.

    The thermostat is located in a housing that bolts onto the water pump and attaches to the bottom radiator hose. The radiator is a down-flow unit. If you follow the bottom radiator hose to the engine, you will see the radiator housing bolted onto the water pump.

    When coolant is below 75C the thermostat is closed and water circulates in the heater plumbing and the bypass circuit; notice that the water pump has three exterior hose fittings visible, and these are all "after" the thermostat. When coolant reaches 80C the thermostat opens. The radiator now sees circulation. When the ECU measures 95C it initiates the fan.

    The direction of flow is roughly: Thermostat to water pump; splits into L and R cyl heads and block parts; goes to throttle body and heater circuit, merges to top hose, goes to radiator from top to bottom, then again to thermostat.
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    Thanks mate youve been really helpful! I really really hope this works... :-S I will let you know how i get on tomorrow! I will take my time in replacing the coolant and burping the system, i will also do trial and error (take for test drive get boost and push her round the block - not too far from home) see what happens to temp and radiator etc..if still a problem il burp her again and again..until i can honestly say it isnt an air lock. But im hoping that wont be the case and it was the thermostat sticking...

    Finally then the thermostat can / will work seperately to the fans..the fans come on regardless of what the thermostat is doing once they realise the engine temp is at 95C ?? In your honest opinion would you bet on air lock / thermostat?

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    The thermostat is purely mechanical and is a very simple device. The ECU monitors coolant temperature and turns the fan(s) on as necessary. By the way, if the motor is idling and the A/C is on, do both fans come on? They should.

    My bets go in order of frequency in my opinion but also in order of cost: 1. air in system 2. thermostat 3. obstruction in radiator 4. other

    This is assuming both rad caps are OK; you've already said you're changing one of them. Numbers 3 and 4 aren't something I can help much with over the internet I'm afraid, but don't worry about them yet. Exclude air in system first. If it comes down to either 3 or 4, take it to a garage and have them sort it out.

    By the way, if -- and only if -- you need to change the thermostat, use a Subaru thermostat and a Subaru gasket. Get the surfaces clean and be careful not to strip the bolts; I believe the two bolts on the thermostat housing are only spec'ed to less than 5 ft lbs, and everything is aluminium so it's easy to overtighten and strip, so find out the correct torque spec on the bolts.

    This link might be of assistance if you need to swap a radiator or a thermostat, but be cautious too:
    http://www.stage-infinity.com/2007/0...ystem-upgrade/
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    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.

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