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Old 12-07-2008, 08:56 PM   #1
ekuna
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Default Overheat on snowy day--bubbles in coolant

Bought a 2001 Legacy (2.5L) a few days ago from a friend who had zero troubles in 2 years. The Subaru coolant stop leak has been added.

Friday I replaced the alternator and battery cause the Alternator died. Checked all fluids while I had the hood up, coolant tank was low, topped it up.
Drove it yesterday. All ok.
This morning during a 10 minute drive, the cabin heat stopped. The outside temp was about 10F. The coolant gauge went high so I pulled over immediately. Coolant was all over the front of the engine.

I let it cool for three hours and refilled it with about a gallon of coolant mix. As per the manual, I ran the engine at 2-3000rpm for over five minutes to burp the system. Engine runs rough below 3000. Car will run about three minutes before the coolant gauge goes high and I have to shut it down. Again, it's about 10F outside. Check engine light is on.
Bubbles come up inside the coolant overflow tank continuously when over idle speed.

I'm thinking it's a blown head gasket. I don't want to start the car because if there is liquid in a cylinder I will hydraulic the piston, con rod and crank.
Ed
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Old 12-07-2008, 09:10 PM   #2
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Just curious, what CEL code did you have?
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Old 12-07-2008, 09:17 PM   #3
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I dont think you have to worry about hydrolocking the motor. Your pistons are being steam cleaned though.

Sounds like a HG job is in order. Try not to drive it, dont want the heads to get warpped. Heads are alot more expensive than a HG.



~Josh~
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Old 12-07-2008, 11:15 PM   #4
ekuna
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Forgot to mention: Subaru recommends refilling the engine with the cap of while running. When I started up my engine, it was ice cold and the cap was off. The as soon as the engine fired, a geyser of fluid came out.
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Old 12-07-2008, 11:38 PM   #5
westy4990
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sounds to me like a blown headgasket. I had similar symptoms when mine went.
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Old 12-08-2008, 12:55 AM   #6
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Check to see if one of you radiator hoses is leaking or cracked.
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Old 12-08-2008, 04:00 PM   #7
ekuna
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Just attempted to start car. It's about 30F outside and the engine was cold. I refilled the radiator and left the cap off. The fluid blew out like a geyser at first, and then continued to come out. Plenty of pressure there. Also the exhaust was smoking/steaming a lot. Shut it down right away.
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Old 12-08-2008, 04:25 PM   #8
dangerousatom
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Weird....after you get it checked for the head gasket ( most likely ) If its not the head gasket, drain all the coolant and flush out the coolant system to see if there is a clog I seriously doubt it though If you where not blowing lots of white smoke-steam out your exhaust its most definitely NOT leaking into the cylinders. Just about all the blown HG I have seen on a Suby have been an outside seal ( behind timing covers or lower towards the exhaust manifold side ) and coolant is leaking onto the ground.

If your handy and have access to an extra radiator cap, you can test the system yourself. Get either a tire valve stem or a metal schrader valve assembly and install it into the cap. Swap the caps and pop some air into the radiator ( ONLY 12-16psi a bike pump with a gauge is best ) if it holds pressure it may not be a HG, unless the leek needs engine heat to open up the leek due to expansion.

keep us apprised and good luck
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Old 12-08-2008, 05:00 PM   #9
2.5ReallySexy
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I has similiar symptoms when my radiator had a crack in the top inlet where the hose goes on. So look for leaks
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:14 PM   #10
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as may have said before, sounds like a HG. The white smoke in the exhaust is a dead giveaway
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:20 PM   #11
dangerousatom
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If your oil and or dip stick looks like it has gravy in it its leaking into the cylinders too. If you dont see it in the oil pull the plugs and see if they are gunked up from coolant
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Old 12-08-2008, 08:51 PM   #12
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before you jump into a bad headgasket, don;t overlook a stuck closed thermostat.
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Old 12-08-2008, 11:32 PM   #13
ekuna
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t3t4meat View Post
before you jump into a bad headgasket, don;t overlook a stuck closed thermostat.
Don't thermostats always stick open?
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Old 12-09-2008, 10:39 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ekuna View Post
Don't thermostats always stick open?
Depends on brand, etc... some do and some don't, it all depends on what is in there.
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Old 12-10-2008, 10:03 PM   #15
ekuna
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Default C&S Mazda Subaru

My Legacy was towed to our only local Subaru dealer, C&S. It will be Monday before they look at it--their only Sub tech is in training. They called the reional Subar rep: If it is the head gasket, they will honor the extended warranty.

This is the first major repair I have ever taken to a dealer in 25 years and 42 vehicles. I'm a bit nervous about how they will look after my car.
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Old 12-11-2008, 11:22 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t3t4meat View Post
before you jump into a bad headgasket, don;t overlook a stuck closed thermostat.
bingo. If the cabin heat stopped, then its 99% a stuck thermostat. The coolant pipe going to the heater core from the water outlet on the bottom of the engine relys on the thermostat to open to feed it. If its stuck closed then no coolant gets to the heater core and it will overheat.




but never rules out headgaskets..almost all hg leaks are external, and are shown underneath the heads
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Old 12-15-2008, 07:23 PM   #17
ekuna
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Stopped by C&S Subaru today. It was a head gasket. The head gaskets had been repaired previously at 40,000 miles. It appears that the gasket on cyl #4 leaked for a while the first before the first repair and burned a divot in the alum. head that is 0.004" deep. The head was sent out to be skimmed. Subaru is picking up the tab--great news.

While I'm in there, the tech suggested that I replace the timing belt, the oil pump gasket and a gasket for a plug for access to the piston pin(?). I'm also getting the water pump done while I'm in there.

The dealer has been very good to deal with. The only complaint I have is that Subaru (SOA) will not pay for diagnosis and clearing the four misfire codes that were set. How do I go about handling this one?
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Old 12-15-2008, 08:20 PM   #18
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tell them not to clear them, and reset the ecu, yourself. unless they already did the work.
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Old 12-15-2008, 11:29 PM   #19
t3t4meat
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yes replace the timing belt, that is smart save labor at this time, no need to replace the oil pump gasket unless it is leaking which i have never seen. maybe you have that confused with the crank seal???? there is no gasket for the plug to access the pin, its just sealant or silicone, you should be able to just tighten it with a 14mm hex, they come loose a little bit over time and seep a little bit of oil. replace the crank and cam seals while everything is apart they usually leak. if any idler pulleys for the timing belt are bad replace them as well. if you can get subaru to use the multi layer metal head gaskets not the thin single layer which they usually use under warranty, you might have to pay for them, but they are 10times better. if they use the single layer ask them to put the cooling system conditioner in that is in the little blue bottle (head gasket insurance), that should sum that up

the missfire codes were set because of the leaking headgasket, so it is related. call SOA and complain they will usually do something. if they are covering the headgaskets under warranty then the diagnostics should be included. sounds like the dealer is just upselling some stuff here to get some money, because the warranty work doesn't pay that well.

hope this helped ya.
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Old 12-16-2008, 10:32 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t3t4meat View Post
yes replace the timing belt, that is smart save labor at this time, no need to replace the oil pump gasket unless it is leaking which i have never seen. maybe you have that confused with the crank seal???? there is no gasket for the plug to access the pin, its just sealant or silicone, you should be able to just tighten it with a 14mm hex, they come loose a little bit over time and seep a little bit of oil. replace the crank and cam seals while everything is apart they usually leak. if any idler pulleys for the timing belt are bad replace them as well. if you can get subaru to use the multi layer metal head gaskets not the thin single layer which they usually use under warranty, you might have to pay for them, but they are 10times better. if they use the single layer ask them to put the cooling system conditioner in that is in the little blue bottle (head gasket insurance), that should sum that up

the missfire codes were set because of the leaking headgasket, so it is related. call SOA and complain they will usually do something. if they are covering the headgaskets under warranty then the diagnostics should be included. sounds like the dealer is just upselling some stuff here to get some money, because the warranty work doesn't pay that well.

hope this helped ya.
Great advice, I agree 100%. I wish my HG issues had been covered by SOA.
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Old 12-17-2008, 12:35 PM   #21
ekuna
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RaceFaceXC View Post
Just curious, what CEL code did you have?
All four cylinders set a misfire code. There was also a code for high idle set. It was the latter code that made SOA decline payment because they believe it could have existed previously to the head gasket problem.
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Old 12-19-2008, 09:45 AM   #22
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my wife's forester is in the shop right now, it's been leaking oil pretty bad and started to overheat yesterday, even though i topped off the coolant a few weeks ago.

diagnosis headgaskets on both sides need to be replaced...$1700?! doe this sound high? her car only has 65k, that's what irks me the most. does it ever make sense to replace only one side? reason i ask is because my OBS is leaking on the passenger side. it's not that bad, but the dealership suggested i replace just that side and not both.

sorry for the hijack.
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Old 12-19-2008, 02:00 PM   #23
ekuna
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Default Dealer treating me badly--What can i do?

Good News--Subaru is paying for the warranty for the head gasket repair.

Bad News--C&S Subaru is charging me "For diagnose of overheating"--from the blown head gasket. I called SOA and they said the diagnosis had nothing to do with the head gasket. Reason, one of the codes was for high idle and since the tech believes it's not possible for an overheated engine to do this, this code must have pre-existed and therefore not SOA responsibility.

The head had to be resurfaced to remove the damage that the last dealer overlooked. While waiting for this, I had them do the water pump, crank seal and oil pump seal The labor bill for these items while the engine was already apart: 2.9hours. Seems like a lot to charge for some things that should take an hour when the engine is essentially a short block.
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Old 12-19-2008, 03:00 PM   #24
dangerousatom
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from my experience they dont charge by the literal hour but but what it says it should take to do each individual item. so.......

Removal of belts, outer timing covers, crank pulley, center timing cover, timing belt, water pump oil pump + resurface of oil and water pump block surface + install of seals + reinstall of all that was taken off = 2.9 hours is not bad.

Retiming labor should go towards the head witch is about half of the ordeal above

I would say you got off easy at $95-125 an hour since the head install is something like 8 hours from the dealer. Plus you didn't have to pay for resurfacing
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Old 01-03-2009, 10:40 PM   #25
mike 53
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I do not dispute that it probably the head gasket although all the other causes like thermostat and heater core should be checked . Just for the record it is the hot coolant returning from the heater core to the water pump that opens the thermostat , not the other way around Mike
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