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Discussion Starter #1
My WRX is having some serious overheating issues. Here goes the long version....

Peoria...

I had my wrx at the dealership for the fuel line recall issue. Since she had just over 100k miles, I decided to have the timing belt replaced as well. They got the fuel issue fixed. A couple days later I started to smell coolant and my car was running hot. I made it to a gas station and topped the coolant off. Once it got back up to normal operating temp, coolant started to pour out of the overflow. I figured it was a thermostat issue not opening... Ran down to Autozone, grabbed a replacement, and changed it out. I refilled the system and tried to burp the system. I wasn't able to, so dropped it back off to the dealership. They burped the system and topped it off. Everything seemed fine, so I drove home.

DeKalb...

Driving around town and a couple days later same thing... coolant smell, car running hot. Drove it to the closest dealership. They ripped the whole front end apart and could not "find the smoking gun". So the mechanic suggested to replace the Water Pump, Thermostat, and Timing Belt Tensioner just to "Rule Them Out" . Everything worked fine for a couple weeks this time, and I thought the issue has been fixed. I am at $1700.00 in repairs at this point. Driving back from Peoria to DeKalb, and my car starts to overheat again...

I called the dealership that last saw the car. They said it sounds like there is a flow issue somewhere and to bring it back. The last thing I can think of without tearing the engine apart would be to replace the radiator/hoses. With the car running, I am trying to figure out what is going on... the upper radiator hose is stiff/full and the lower radiator hose is cold and limp. I think the flow issue is in the radiator itself. Called the dealership for replacement radiator quote. They said the oem radiator is no longer manufactured and that there is a newer STI radiator that has been retrofitted for my car, the kit is like $450.00.

Question 1: Anyone have this issue before?
Question 2: Should I use the Dealer retro kit, or go to an aftermarket radiator.
Question 3: Godspeed offers a factory fit aluminum radiator on Amazon for half the price Amazon.com: Godspeed Aluminum Radiator 2002 to 2003 Subaru Impreza WRX + High Performance 12" FAN X 2: Automotive
I haven't worked with Godspeed before, anyone have any experience with them?

Any Thoughts?

Trying to get this issue fixed and behind me so I can do other cool stuffs with my subbie...
 

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Can you see circulation with the motor running, the car brought up to temp having been turned on with the rad cap off?
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
i will go check right now....

So I let the car idle with the rad cap off up to normal operating temp. I also had the interior heat blowing full blast the whole time. The temp gauge was just below where it normally rides pre-cooling issues and the coolant started to rise up. It held at the overflow line for a couple minutes, then rose again and started run over the top of the rad cap opening. The coolant was swirling the whole time.
 

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I can't tell from what you've stated whether:

1. You have correct circulation.
2. You have an obstruction or
3. You have air in the system.

If you have circulation, the coolant level will eventually drop as the thermostat opens. Since you say a temp differential across the rad openings top to bottom it could very well be you have an obstruction in the rad; consider taking the car to a rad shop and having them look at the rad.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the help. I think that I am going to replace the rad. The tech from the Subaru dealership said he would eliminate items exterior to the motor. That is why we replaced all the other components from the 1st post, because he could not say for certain that it was one thing or another. The tensioner was damaged and actually needed to be replaced, the other 2 items where prophylactic. So, my thinking is to replace the hoses and the rad, and see if that cures the issue. If it doesn't then it would seem that the obstruction would be inside the motor, which the tech said would easily be a 2k-3k repair (which I don't have). Would you go with the dealership STI retrofit which would switch my rad to one with a cap or an aftermarket keeping it the same without the cap? For aftermarket, I am looking at 1 of 2 Godspeed rads, and a Mishimoto performance rad.

Godspeed 1
Godspeed 2
Mishimoto
 
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