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Old 11-27-2012, 09:43 PM   #1
giosoccer20
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Member#: 328622
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Media, PA
Vehicle:
1999 Impreza 2.5 RS
Aspen White

Default Bubbles in coolant reservoir

4k miles ago, I had the head gaskets replaced, due to head gasket failure and overheating. The head was warped, yadda yadda yadda... The signs i remember from that failure were bubbles in the coolant reservoir, and overheating of the engine which was shown on the temp gauge.

3 days ago, after driving on the highway for 40 min at an average speed of no less than 70 i'd say...I parked the car to meet up with a person intersted in trading his 02 wrx wagon for my '99 2.5 rs. I popped the hood to proudly show the person my car, and I right away noticed that some coolant was dripping from underneath the coolant reservoir tank, and there were bubbles coming up to the top of the tank. In my head, I immediately thought that that awful head gasket failure was starting again. Extremely depressed, I cut the meet short and went home.

After reading and trying to troubleshoot these symptoms online, and also after comparing this current situation to my previous head gasket failure 4 months ago, there are some difference worth noting, which makes me think that it may not be a hg failure.

The bubbles in the reservoir tank do not always occur, and they are approximately the size of a dime. The coolant has a brownish color to it for some reason, but honestly, that's how it was from day one after the repair, so I don't think it's oil. Also, I haven't seen the temp gauge spike up ever, and before, when the hg failed, the temp would spike after the rad would come on (or so i remember).

I've already replaced the radiator cap, but that hasnt changed much, as there are still around 10 or so dime sized bubbles that come up.

OH, also back to 3 days ago when i first noticed it, the coolant in the reservoir tank had basically risen to the top, meaning there wasn't much in the radiator itself. (bad, i know, but I havent seen the temp gauge go up yet). I took it to my pretty crappy mechanic, who topped up the radiator, and put some stop-leak (which I regret that he did), and so far, the coolant hasn't really overflown, and the radiator seems to have fluid in it still, even though it isn't brimmed to the top when I take the radiator cap off.

I need hep with diagnosing this problem. I've shed out every last penny on this car, and so I'm praying it isn't a hg again. if it is, I'll basically be requesting my mechanic to do the entire job for free or close to no cost again (except for parts), because it's been 4 months and 4k miles since the major repair.

I'm thinking that maybe it could be just some air in the coolant that the old cap had let in, and it's still trapped in there even though I changed caps? I'm not sure how to flush and then fill/burp the system, but I'll be looking that up and then trying that in the near future. I'm scared to drive the car, fearing that it may be overheating this entire time w/o the gauge showing it (I HOPE TO THE BABY JESUS THIS ISN'T SO, because when the hg failed, it would show the temp shoot up), but at the same time, I have to drive because I commute to school.

Any help would be tremendously appreciated.

P.S. Sorry for the novel
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Old 11-27-2012, 11:07 PM   #2
Charlie-III
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: 07456, North NJ
Vehicle:
1998 Legacy 2.5GT
Silver Sleeper Wagon

Default

Sucks dude, I've "been there, done that" a couple of times on my Legacy as well as my wifes Impreza L with a 2.2L (I know, 2.2's "don't do that").....shrug.

What I do to burp is:

1, ~1/2 tank of coolant in the overflow tank
2, Pull radiator cap (I ONLY use Subaru caps....period.....I've had/seen issues with other brands for whatever reason), top radiator and squeeze upper radiator hose to try & remove all air I can
3, Turn heat on full with high fan
4, start car and let it warm up, squeezing upper hose to dislodge bubbles
5, once coolant gets warm/hot, shut down car and install radiator cap
6, drive a few days as normal checking coolant when cool/cold
7, make sure overflow is properly filled, watch for large changes (either up or down)
8, cross everything you have to cross that it's not HG's again.

PS, I usually wash the overflow tank out before new coolant as it helps see contaminants sitting there.
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:01 AM   #3
giosoccer20
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Yeah I will do what you said. It sucks that I have to drive it around 60 miles today, and now I'm worried that the temp gauge isn't showing the overheating. (70% of me says it hasn't been overheating because i've put my hand over the engine and near the block, and it hasn't felt like there is excess heat radiating off of it.
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Old 11-28-2012, 01:01 PM   #4
giosoccer20
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Join Date: Aug 2012
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1999 Impreza 2.5 RS
Aspen White

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Any other help??

Here's some more details I observed today. After around 1 hour of driving, I came home, popped the hood, and waited for the radiator to come on. again, I never noticed any temperature spikes.

I unscrewed the oil filler cap, and there was nothing suspicious going on there, except that there was air blowing out of the hole (engine running). Is that normal?

also, in the reservoir tank, a few bubbles rose to the top (fans not on), and then all of a sudden a whole bunch flew up from the top, then settled down, and then like 1 or 2 came up, and then the bubbles stopped for a few seconds in all. that same cycle repeated a second time.

I then checked and squeezed the upper radiator hose, which was relatively firm, and also quite hot (again, engine running the whole time). I also placed my hand on the radiator cap itself, and was surprised to feel that it was completely cool, not even warm. That got me the most concerned. I'm not sure if that is normal or not, but it seems that the radiator cap shouldn't be cool after operating for so long?

When the fans came on, I also slid my hand carefully between the fans and the belts, and felt that both fans were blowing warm air, which I know is normal, and also eliminates the chance of the radiator being clogged.

Your guys input would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 11-28-2012, 01:04 PM   #5
giosoccer20
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1999 Impreza 2.5 RS
Aspen White

Default

OH, I have the suspicion that there is a pressure loss somewhere, or that there is air in the system, not a hg (i hope) because I noticed that the from the coolant reservoir tank cap, there was some smoke coming out, as if the coolant was boiling? ( I mean, that's what it looked like at the moment). i've replaced the radiator cap with a Stant OEM cap, so i doubt that if there is a leak somewhere in the system, that it's from the rad cap.

EDIT: it's also leaking coolant from somewhere around the radiator/tank, as there is wetness, and the radiator itself is either low/empty on coolant

Last edited by giosoccer20; 11-28-2012 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:43 PM   #6
jim662
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White

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On mine it was the head gasket leaking. I could drive it without over heating if I bypassed the pressure relief in the radiator cap. Otherwise, the cap would not vent and just built up a ton of pressure. Even when cool there was pressure.
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:26 AM   #7
killacam661
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o3 wrx
Psm

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my 03 bubbles alot and when i drive it around the block it gets hot and coolant get shot out somewhere near my radiatior cap(mishimoto radiator and cap). i just got the car tonight and already having problems please help i cant post a new thread yet because im a new member :/
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Old 12-29-2012, 08:20 AM   #8
Charlie-III
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: 07456, North NJ
Vehicle:
1998 Legacy 2.5GT
Silver Sleeper Wagon

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Quote:
Originally Posted by killacam661 View Post
my 03 bubbles alot and when i drive it around the block it gets hot and coolant get shot out somewhere near my radiatior cap(mishimoto radiator and cap). i just got the car tonight and already having problems please help i cant post a new thread yet because im a new member :/
Let it cool off, then bleed it correctly (steps in post 2) and watch it.
There are some other methods of bleeding, but that is what I use.
I only use OEM caps, others can have issues.
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Old 12-29-2012, 11:09 AM   #9
killacam661
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thanks charlie!
but i have done that three times last night and the car gets hot within 2 min of driving it. i cant drive it for a few days lol. i think my HGs might be toast.
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Old 12-29-2012, 11:37 AM   #10
Charlie-III
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: 07456, North NJ
Vehicle:
1998 Legacy 2.5GT
Silver Sleeper Wagon

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by killacam661 View Post
thanks charlie!
but i have done that three times last night and the car gets hot within 2 min of driving it. i cant drive it for a few days lol. i think my HGs might be toast.
Last ditch is:
-Leakdown test
-Hydrocarbon test

Either one can give an idea on chance there is a blown HG.
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Old 01-01-2013, 05:45 PM   #11
vlcmstnsct
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Aspen White

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bleed the system
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