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Old 08-19-2010, 06:17 PM   #1
SubaruLover
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Default Overheating 99 Impreza L (2.2L)

For the past month my car has been overheating.

It happened the first time on a long drive about 5 months ago and never happened again until 4 weeks ago. The car overheated at the end of an hour long drive to DC when I got to my destination I poped the hood and checked the coolant level and saw that the coolant was a brownish color so I figure the worst (bad head gasket or a crack). The not overheat on the way home from DC. After that I made an appointment to take it to the shop. For the next few days (one or two long drives) the car does not overheat.

The shop guys take a look at it and do a leak down test and a carbon test. They spent a while letting the car run and test driving trying to figure out what was wrong. They found nothing wrong and the car did not overheat. I asked them about the suspected oil in the coolan and they said it was just a little dirty but it sure looks brown. The following day I drive to DC and the car overheats on the way home.

Now the car is overheating almost every time I drive it over 30 minutes. The temp slowly starts to go up and then once it is just past the illustration for the thermostat I turn on the heat full blast and within a few seconds the temperature returns to normal. Some times it will go back up some times I can turn the heat off and the car will be fine for another 15 min.

If i am traveling down hill and the car overheats I have tried putting the car in neutral and coasting (at about 60mph) and I have noticed the temperature go up. It seems to cool off the best with the car in 5th gear at 58 mph (~2500rpm).

If the car is overheating and I come to a stop occasionally the thermostat will slightly pulse up and down.

Oh and when the car is overheating I have stopped to check if the fans are running and they are.

I would prefer not to put any money into this car but I need to wait 1 to 3 months before buying a new car.

My thoughts now are to replace the 'dirty' coolant, the oil, and the thermostat and hope it fixes it or lasts a few more months.

Any one have any other ideas on things to check?

Thanks for the help,
Brad
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Old 08-20-2010, 11:52 AM   #2
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check your radiator. Maybe you can get it cleaned. It continues to heat in neutral because the water is not flowing properly without the pump working a little harder. That`s why it comes down on 5th. You might also want to check your radiator cap and take off the hose going to reservoir tank to see if the water is not coming out that way. If it is, you run out of water in the radiator. My best guess is a faulty/dirty radiator. good luck
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Old 08-20-2010, 12:02 PM   #3
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I would put a new thermostat in it before anything. its cheap easy and common
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Old 08-20-2010, 01:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2.slow View Post
I would put a new thermostat in it before anything. its cheap easy and common
oh, yeah. that first jaja
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Old 09-29-2010, 12:07 PM   #5
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OK so i had the radiator replaced and coolant system flushed. The problem seemed to have gone away for a few days then we had a warm day or two and now its back . . . even as the weather has cooled off the car continues to over heat. The temp does not usually max out the temp gauge will read about 75% of max. I'm trying to get a hold of my mechanic to see if he actually replaced the thermostat ( i cant figure out the ticket).

Now, however, turning on the heater does not help reduce the temperature. The air coming out of the vents is mildly warm but no where near hot.

Yesterday, after driving for 30 min the car reached close to max temp so I pulled over and turned the engine off but let the fans run with the heater on. The air from the vents was not hot. The temp gauge remained high for 5 min of the car being off. I turned the engine on to get the coolant circulating and the temp stayed at max for about a minute and then immediately dropped to normal temp and maintained that temp for the remaining 20 min of my drive.

How do you check for a bad water pump?

Is the water flow controlled separately from the fan control?

Does anyone have a schematic of the cooling system and the heating system?
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Old 09-29-2010, 03:24 PM   #6
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If the fans aren't blowing hot air, it tells me the system has air in it. Could it be a coincidence that the new radiator wasn't bled properly and now it's overheating? Unlikely, but possible....though it wouldn't blow hot from the get go.......

What does the underside of the oil cap look like? On a 99, the headgasket failures would typically be an external leak, so there might not be any milky residue under the cap....but there would be wetness on the block/heads near the back corners.

When the radiator was changed, was there any mention of excess coolant conditioner or stop leak? That crap is brown....and can gum up the system if it's not used correctly. It's possible that the radiator was plugged, simply replaced and now more crap has caused another blockage.

Can you feel the radiator in different spots? Feel for very hot on one side and any cool(er) spots.... that's a sure sign of circulation trouble, particularly in the thermostat housing area, where the junk likes to collect.

Try some of these things and let us know how it comes out.

Jay
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Old 09-29-2010, 03:56 PM   #7
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Thought coolant conditioner was just for 2.5L NA engines.
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Old 09-29-2010, 04:36 PM   #8
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It's for all Subaru motors.....the EJ25 is the one that usually needs it most. The EJ22 doesn't suffer from headgasket failure nearly as often......

Jay
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Old 10-05-2010, 08:07 AM   #9
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Did you change the thermostat when you flushed the system? If you don't have one, just remove the old one and drive it that way for a day.
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Old 10-06-2010, 09:17 PM   #10
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i feel your problem man .
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Old 10-06-2010, 10:38 PM   #11
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I would replace thermostate, properly bleed radiator, let the fans cycle 3 to 5 times... if you over heat to much you risk warping the heads and then youll get misfire codes and the car will not have any power...but...it should still move ...mine did!

If you are still running into over heating problems after all that, i would have to guess that your water pump is failing and thats why it had been an intermittent problem..

check to make sure that little valve under the cap is working too should be able to open and close at the touch of a finger.. next time it overheats look at the hoses and make sure neither top or bottom hose looks squished/sucked in
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Old 11-02-2010, 12:08 PM   #12
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So I confirmed that the thermostat was replaced.

Now that the weather is getting cool I haven't had any issues with the car over heating for about 3 weeks.

Also now that it is getting cool I have no heat for the interior of the car.

The two possible causes I have come up with are:

1) A clog causing reduced flow which is more noticeable at high RPMs when the higher flow rate is restricted

2) A mechanical failure of the pump causing reduced flow at higher RPMs

What is the best way to clear or find a clog?
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Old 11-02-2010, 04:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SubaruLover View Post
What is the best way to clear or find a clog?
Drano, but I sure as hell wouldn't put that in your car.
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Old 11-03-2010, 09:42 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SubaruLover View Post
So I confirmed that the thermostat was replaced.

Now that the weather is getting cool I haven't had any issues with the car over heating for about 3 weeks.

Also now that it is getting cool I have no heat for the interior of the car.

The two possible causes I have come up with are:

1) A clog causing reduced flow which is more noticeable at high RPMs when the higher flow rate is restricted

2) A mechanical failure of the pump causing reduced flow at higher RPMs

What is the best way to clear or find a clog?
What do you mean you have no heat? Like the heat and defroster in your car is not blowing any air? If that is the case, then you need to check your blower motor, blower motor resistor, and the blower motor relay. If you can confirm this, I can walk you through the steps on how to get this fixed. (My heat just went out and it turned out to be the blower motor relay, I can guide you through how to test everything)
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Old 11-05-2010, 01:12 PM   #15
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The blower motor is fine. Its just blowing cold air.

I am assuming this is because there is no flow or little flow of hot coolant through the heater element.

Anyone have a good method of flushing blockages from the coolant system? Keep in mind that I have a brand new radiator.
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