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Old 10-09-2012, 12:26 PM   #1
SH4ZZB0T
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Subaru Stars Temperature issue, please help!

I had some bad work done on my 04 WRX by some worse mechanics a while back, and it has caused issue after issue.. Initially my radiator cracked during a particularly hot Houston spring and I had to have it replaced. They replaced the radiator, the t-stat, both hoses, coolant, gaskets, etc. It worked great for almost a day and the bottom end hose disconnected itself, spilling all of the coolant onto the pavement. I went back and they apologized, assuring me that they must not have tightened the clamp enough. It happened again about 3 months ago (again on a 100+ degree day). This time they were completely clueless, they claimed that they checked the radiator, the hoses, and the clamps and it was all fine, so they refilled the coolant and attached the hose, and sent me on my way. I was pretty furious but couldn't at the time afford to have someone else work on it. Since then my car has been running noticeably cooler, but every once in a while, especially if i bog the engine or when sprinting between intersections, the temp shoots up, until i either crank the heater and let it sit for a minute or hop on the freeway and cool it by keeping air moving through. This was an issue that only occurred once every few weeks and only when I wasn't expecting it, so I wasn't sure if it was my fault for heating up the clutch or bogging the engine.. But last night it started heating up and wouldn't cool down. I tried to turn on the heater to vent the excess heat, but it was blowing cold air for a few minutes before it got hot. Even after I came to a stop, it was reluctant to cool, but at least it wasn't getting any hotter, so i turned off the engine, checked the reservoir, let it chill for a few minutes and hurried across the street to get home, all the while the temp gauge was sitting at about a centimeter past 'uh oh, that's not right'.

I know this is pretty wordy, but I want to be as descriptive as possible. I'm really hoping its not an air pocket caused by a blown head gasket, but I have yet to bleed the system, so I'll update on that later. Maybe it's the thermostat having trouble opening or staying open, which might explain the excessive heat/pressure build up in the radiator blowing off the hose. I'm really not an expert, I took a year of high school auto tech, and experience with basic maintenance on my own car, so I REALLY need help.. haha. any input would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:39 PM   #2
dangerousatom
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If it was not properly bled it would have cause this issue right away. But if its loosing coolant it will show these sign when the coolant gets to a low enough point.

After the car has sat for 10-15min check the turbo water box fluid level. If its not 1/3 to 1/2 full you need to top it off. Also if you dont have 2-3" of coolant in your over flow box put some in there too.

check there things and get back to us
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:57 PM   #3
SH4ZZB0T
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will do, thanks for your quick response. Is the type of coolant I use of any import? I've seen some people complaining about overpriced Subaru coolant, but what I have wasn't really expensive, and does not appear to be anything special
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Old 10-09-2012, 01:55 PM   #4
dangerousatom
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IMO coolant is all the same as long as its anti-freeze and not the special Dexron from a few years ago. If you really want to get particular used distilled water and not tap for dilution....."no minerals"...... The Suby coolant may have a few minor additives for seals and other bits but its not worth it for the price IMO. The Suby radiator flush is worth it though.

Look into some additives like:
-Redline Water Wetter
-Dei Radiator Relief
-Lucas Super Coolant
....they all work great to lower the temps 10-30 degrees
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:30 PM   #5
SH4ZZB0T
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When the engine was cold, the reservoir was definitely low, so I filled it to the cold fill line and then dumped a bunch into the radiator (surprised the rad was so dry, that definitely had something to do with it) and I added a little to the waterbox, which I couldn't very well tell how full it was being that its solid aluminum and very difficult to see inside. No problems so far, but as far as the temp fluctuations I've been experiencing all along, I'm still afraid the t-stat is to blame. A friend of mine suggested removing it all together, which kind of makes sense, but I've been reading mixed opinions.. some say that a setup like that disallows the fluid to properly cool in the radiator before circulating through the motor, and others say that it runs so much colder that the heater core won't even reach temp that way. Any thoughts?
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:48 AM   #6
dangerousatom
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It will get plenty hot with no thermostat at all. Definetly if it's a stock setup with stock radiator.
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Old 10-10-2012, 03:14 PM   #7
SH4ZZB0T
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I'm going to try some of that lucas treatment, but those spikes were caused by something.. I'm just going to go back to the mechanic and have him redo it. I'd like to use my own parts though, what is a good thermostat for a stock setup with 2.5-3" piping from the turbo back and upgraded fuel delivery systems? I've seen a few posts about 160 degree stats, but that's only like 12 below stock, would it make that much of a difference?

Edit: I did a little more reading and it sounds like with a lower capacity stock radiator and the climates here in Houston, I would probably benefit from a lower temperature t-stat, or at the very least, one that fails open... As hot as it gets here in the summer it would really suck if it got stuck closed

Last edited by SH4ZZB0T; 10-10-2012 at 04:28 PM.
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Old 10-10-2012, 05:34 PM   #8
dangerousatom
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w/PPGS & 02 Wagon w/PPGs

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Just get a normal stat and drill a few 3/16 holes around the edge....like the little weep hole in it currently. You will get more flow but still have it open and close appon warm-up/
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Old 10-11-2012, 11:18 AM   #9
SH4ZZB0T
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that's really clever, i might do that, but wouldn't that reduce pressure in the cooling system, which lowers the boiling point of the coolant? Because if that coolant starts to evaporate, its going to create air pockets
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Old 10-11-2012, 11:42 AM   #10
dangerousatom
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Location: Quakertown/AREA1320 391whp
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2002 04STi Swaped RS
w/PPGS & 02 Wagon w/PPGs

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Nope.....the system is closed loop so its not going to loose pressure until the cap on the turbo water box lets it out at +19lbs You can get a 21-23lb cap to replace it but its not worth it the OEM cap is fine

You can see the pin that flops around in the weep hole on the right side of the thermostat in the pic. Its not there to plug the hole just to slow down the flow a bit further.....so there are already a hole in the the thing already, that bypass the thermal check valve mechanism
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