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Old 11-18-2010, 02:20 AM   #1
chron
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Default 2004 sti radiator and plastic tank deterioration

I was on my way home tonight from work and started to smell coolant. Thankfully the car didn't start to overheat and I was able to get it home. When I opened up the hood, I could see coolant bubbling up on the seam where the plastic tank meets the metal. Has anyone seen this happen before?
My car has 90k on it and is completely stock, engine and power-wise. I'm religious about upkeep and just had the timing belt, thermostat, water and oil pump replaced last year at 75k.
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Old 11-18-2010, 04:15 AM   #2
oguitar
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Very common problem. Time for a new radiator.
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Old 11-18-2010, 11:18 AM   #3
nhat
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interesting...i had nearly 100k on my sti and never had this issue. my buddy with an 05 sti and 106k on the odo has no issues with his oem radiator.
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Old 11-18-2010, 11:51 AM   #4
AliBenn
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mine did same thing(leaking @ seam) at 108k
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Old 11-18-2010, 03:15 PM   #5
Fierysun
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Great excuse to upgrade to a larger aluminium radiator. Such as a Koyo.
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Old 11-18-2010, 03:57 PM   #6
FCmaniac
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If you want to go cheap but all aluminum, check out the CXRacing radiator in the reviews forum here. You can pick one up for $140 shipped on Ebay.
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Old 11-18-2010, 06:38 PM   #7
mattminer
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super common, we have piles of these in the scrap heap.
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Old 12-20-2010, 10:25 AM   #8
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I replaced mine on my 2005 STi at 60k. I never saw it bubbling but often had green dots of dried coolant on the passenger side of the engine bay and coolant residue on the plastic intake. Definitely not a highlight for Subaru.
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Old 12-20-2010, 12:55 PM   #9
lmnop32bc
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I replaced mine 04 sti at about 98k miles fully aluminum mishimoto...ran good for a couple weeks until my upper radiator hose bursted driving home one night...ended up being blown head gaskets...not saying that's ur problem because I think the oem is kind of cheap anyways...id recommend replacing the radiator hoses at the same time...
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Old 12-20-2010, 01:44 PM   #10
haberkorn
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I've had that happen in both my 02 bugeye (happened right around 90k) and my 04 sti (happened around 70k). The epoxy that holds the plastic end tank to the aluminum eventually cracks from constant heating and cooling is my only explanation of how it happens.

I replaced both of them with aluminum Mishimoto's and haven't had a problem since.
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Old 12-21-2010, 01:07 AM   #11
ralliharri
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Lucky guys, on my '05 WRX it gave out at 37000 miles, dealer wouldnt replace it since it was just 1k miles past warranty.
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Old 12-28-2010, 01:11 AM   #12
chron
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I ended up having it replaced by a Koyo. Unfortunately since it was such short notice they couldn't get me an all aluminum radiator but it's still better than what I had. I've been running the silicone upper and lower Perrin hoses for the last 40k without any issues.
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Old 12-28-2010, 01:53 AM   #13
arghx7
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it's a matter of maintenance, Subaru's manufacturing, and just plain luck. most modern cars have plastic end tanks--they're not all bad. my '99 Corolla has 190k on the original aluminum radiator with plastic end tanks.
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Old 03-04-2011, 10:56 PM   #14
onefastimpreza
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This happen to me I have an 04 sti with 150k and just had the top rad hose replaced cuz subaru said it was bad got it back from the shop the next day i still smelled antifreeze they said it may be the cap went down to order a new cap an on the way there the seem blew right apart didnt even hv the car back aweek the best part they said they would have to charge me to look at it
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Old 11-09-2011, 10:50 PM   #15
vanchysti
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Cool

Today I completed my radiator replacement. I installed a Koyo, awesome! I have a 2004 STI with a couple of mods. It just a matter of time for everyone to replace it. They are not designed to last more than 100k. My sti has 88k well maintained. If you compare the quality and craftsmanship of the Koyo with the oem, you will know what I'm talking about.
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Old 12-09-2011, 08:47 PM   #16
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same thing (4" horizontal hairline-looking crack at the top of the radiator) just happened yesterday; 2004 STI @ 168500miles. i needed something quick and cheap so got an oem-style replacment from the local import auto parts place for $140. beats the $400 the dealer wanted. gonna do the replacement this weekend.

Last edited by 4mla1fn; 12-09-2011 at 11:24 PM.
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Old 12-09-2011, 08:53 PM   #17
monsta121
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you guys do know that its possible to change just the plastic tank right? No need to replace the core and the other end tank. This happened to me in my 03 bugeye. I replaced the top plastic tank with a new one and new rubber gasket. Total cost $40
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Old 12-11-2011, 12:44 AM   #18
4mla1fn
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so i pulled out the replacement radiator and saw that it had two port at the bottom that the stock one doesn't. here's a picture from a different supplier that shows this as the 2004 sti part:

https://shop.performanceradiator.com...09-500x500.jpg

it's those two sliver ports/tubing at the bottom that point to the driver's side. the stock unit has markings/etchings (i.e. circles) in the plastic in the same location as those ports. any thoughts on what this is for? guess i'll should just return this and get an oem part.
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Old 12-11-2011, 01:40 AM   #19
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I second the cxracing recommendation. I had one on my civic and it was nearly the same quality as a 600 dollar koyo on my friend's integra. Can't believe people spend hundreds on a rad core and some cheap aluminum welds.
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Old 12-11-2011, 01:43 AM   #20
monsta121
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4mla1fn View Post
so i pulled out the replacement radiator and saw that it had two port at the bottom that the stock one doesn't. here's a picture from a different supplier that shows this as the 2004 sti part:

https://shop.performanceradiator.com...09-500x500.jpg

it's those two sliver ports/tubing at the bottom that point to the driver's side. the stock unit has markings/etchings (i.e. circles) in the plastic in the same location as those ports. any thoughts on what this is for? guess i'll should just return this and get an oem part.
They gave you the wrong one. Those two ports are for cars with automatic transmissions. Those are the two transmission cooler ports. Obviously STI's never came with an automatic transmission, I think the one they sent you is for a automatic WRX or Impreza.
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Old 12-11-2011, 10:46 AM   #21
4mla1fn
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ah! i saw mention of an AT transmission cooler connection in the service manual but it didn't show how/where it was connected to the radiator itself. thanks very much for clearing this up! i'd thought of getting some hose and just connecting the two ports together. but the system is under pressure so probably shouldn't mess about. i'll look for a proper aftermarket part or go oem if i have to.
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Old 12-11-2011, 04:23 PM   #22
monsta121
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4mla1fn View Post
ah! i saw mention of an AT transmission cooler connection in the service manual but it didn't show how/where it was connected to the radiator itself. thanks very much for clearing this up! i'd thought of getting some hose and just connecting the two ports together. but the system is under pressure so probably shouldn't mess about. i'll look for a proper aftermarket part or go oem if i have to.
Yeah just return it and get the proper part. IMO paying the premium for an OEM one in this case is not worth it since it is the OEM one that tends to crack. You should be able to find the right aftermarket part easily.
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Old 12-11-2011, 07:30 PM   #23
4mla1fn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monsta121 View Post
Yeah just return it and get the proper part. IMO paying the premium for an OEM one in this case is not worth it since it is the OEM one that tends to crack. You should be able to find the right aftermarket part easily.
yeah, i've called around a couple places. those that have 'em in stock all have the AT cooler ports. i had to explain the difference over and over to one guy. will keep looking but might be forced to get oem since i can pick it up quickly for ~$250. maybe it'll give me another 168k.
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Old 12-11-2011, 07:39 PM   #24
monsta121
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4mla1fn View Post
yeah, i've called around a couple places. those that have 'em in stock all have the AT cooler ports. i had to explain the difference over and over to one guy. will keep looking but might be forced to get oem since i can pick it up quickly for ~$250. maybe it'll give me another 168k.
Actually now that I think about it you can leave those tranny ports as is. It is separate from where the coolant flows so there is no pressure in those ports unless the transmission lines are hooked up to them. Just put rubber caps on the ends of the ports so crap doesnt get in there. You shouldnt have any problems
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Old 12-11-2011, 08:25 PM   #25
4mla1fn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monsta121 View Post
Actually now that I think about it you can leave those tranny ports as is...
whoa. just confirmed this; i blew into one end and plugged the other. great new. thanks. with the weekend now past, i'll have to pay for an install but at least i don't need a different part. many thanks again!
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