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Old 06-27-2009, 06:17 PM   #1
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 54523
Join Date: Feb 2004
Chapter/Region: BAIC
Location: Chico,CA
Exclamation Cooling system / Head gasket concern. (Updated)

1998 Subaru Impreza L 2.2 SOHC 227k miles
New Radiator + Cap
New Thermostat (Tested it in my kitchen @ 180 degrees and opens as it should)
New Upper Radiator Hose
New Spark Plugs

Purchased 2 days ago for $900. Previous owner suggested head gasket failure due to overheating and adding water often. Previous owner was a crack head though.

I flushed the block and radiator several times and both showed perfect flow. I pulled the timing cover off which showed it was WAY out of time as well as the plugs gapped to .62!! (F U crack heads). Timing was fixed and new plugs installed to .44

Water pump spins nicely after a quick hand turn from the pulley. New thermostat installed and timing reset. Everything was buttoned up and filled the block / radiator with pure water for the test run.

The Issue

The car can idle all day in my driveway and NEVER overheat. Upper hose is hot as well as the cap and radiator. Lower hose is cold. 1-2 minutes after I take it for a drive the temperature spikes to the top and it doesn't come down. After I park and inspect everything, I notice that it's building a TON of pressure and sending the coolant into the reservoir and out the spout. Upper hose and radiator are hot, lower hose is cold.

No sign of coolant or oil around the head gasket, no oil in the coolant. No signs of head gasket failure other than some very very tiny bubbles in the oil. Not even enough to fill a pencil eraser. I'll be draining the oil after it cools down for further inspection. I don't believe there is any air trapped in the system either. I've used multiple methods of purging it.

What is causing all the pressure and the overheat?

Update 6/28 5:30pm pst

Compression test results:

All cylinders are HOLDING pressure. Most are telling me this isn't a head gasket, but I still can't figure it out.
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Last edited by CatchMyDrift; 06-28-2009 at 08:32 PM.
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Old 06-27-2009, 08:47 PM   #2
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 80465
Join Date: Jan 2005
Chapter/Region: RMIC
Location: Bailey, CO
2001 2.5RS
Black Diamond Pearl


it's possible that you have an air bubble in the system. Have you performed a compression test yet to rule out HG? It's easy.

A swollen hose is not normal.

If you bought a used car from a retard(or an actual crackhead) you should change out EVERY fluid/filter in the car. Especially if you only paid 900 for it.
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Old 06-27-2009, 11:10 PM   #3
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 54523
Join Date: Feb 2004
Chapter/Region: BAIC
Location: Chico,CA

I found the water neck that connects to the water pump is leaking. I'll be sealing that up with some rtv silicone. Could that simply be my problem?
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Old 06-28-2009, 03:10 PM   #4
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Member#: 54523
Join Date: Feb 2004
Chapter/Region: BAIC
Location: Chico,CA

to the top
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Old 07-18-2009, 08:39 AM   #5
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 30669
Join Date: Dec 2002
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: 07456, North NJ
1998 Legacy 2.5GT
Silver Sleeper Wagon


Chasing a similar issue.

Wifes car (original owner):

1999 Impreza L wagon, 5MT & 2.2L engine ~110K miles.

Started to push coolant out into the overflow, no apparent reason. I only use distilled water to do system refills.
No obvious oil in the coolant or coolant in the oil.

Just did coolant change, all hoses, TB & tensioner, new Bosch water pump, OEM cap & thermostat.
I also had back flushed the radiator & heater core, all looked fine.
Jacked up the front of the car, did a major burp and all looked good.

Frikkin thing is still pushing coolant out. I will do a plug check later as well as a compression test but things are looking sad.

I'm PO'd since I have gone through 2 HG's on my 98 Legacy GT, now I am running an STi SB with P&P'd COBB DOHC heads.
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Old 07-18-2009, 08:56 AM   #6
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 58323
Join Date: Mar 2004
Chapter/Region: NESIC

sounds like compression gasses leaking by. just do the headgaskets. theyre SUPER easy to do on the 2.2Ls
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