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Old 03-06-2013, 02:30 PM   #1
JangoFett50
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Default 06 WRX coolant issue

I'm looking for any information, insight, and experience anyone can offer with this situation. Car is an 06 wrx with 63k, stock.

Initial Problem: Engine temp would start rising at prolonged idles, like drive throughs and such but not at stoplights. Temperature would continue to rise until I started driving again. The radiator fans are coming on.

Some automechanic friends of mine told me I was low on coolant by checking the topmost reservoir by the turbo, so we topped it off and the issue went away for about a month. When it happened again the coolant was low again by the standards I had just been told. I didnt notice any leaks, but I did notice the overflow reservoir level getting higher and higher. After adding coolant a second time and after a 30 minute drive the overflow reservoir had spilled out. I drained the coolant in the overflow to between the low and full level. After a few drives I noticed the level rising and falling like its supposed to, but the overflow reservoir would always be either steamy or smokey when I was done driving. So I took it to an automechanic and they told me it was the headgasket letting go, and that you could see exhaust pulses from the radiator cap hole. From there I went to a subaru dealership and they told me the headgaskets were fine, and that the issue is simply a radiator cap sticking open, and the pulses my mechanic saw were likely the water pump. My overflow was also dirty from old coolant and they cleaned it.

So basically, does anyone have any insight on this situation? I understand the rad cap not holding pressure and forcing coolant into the overflow, but why wont it recycle back into the system once it starts getting full? Why is the coolant steaming or smoking in the overflow when at the correct level? Are all of these symptoms of a faulty radiator cap? And im replacing the radiator cap now, should i also be replacing the one with wings on the reservoir by the turbo?
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Old 03-06-2013, 04:35 PM   #2
KOSTI_510
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2005 STI
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Sounds like a headgasket issue to me. However as you mentioned, it could be other items such as air in the system, low coolant, tstat, bad caps, fans, so on..

However it sounds very much like what I have been facing off and on; very random heat ups which mostly occur at idle after a long drive or when driving up hill for a while. The temp will move up to as high as the 3/4 mark on the coolant gauge but as soon as I get moving or go down hill it will move to normal.

I've not gotten a 100% confirmation on head gasket but I think this is a head gasket issue which could be from heads slightly warped, lift under boost (studs), and basically air is getting into system and displacing the coolant. When at idle or parked the fans still activate but it could be that there is not enough coolant in the system to keep things cool. That is why when you drive the issue goes away as you get more air across the rad.

And as you mention, it is like tug o war, coolant displaces into expansion tank, leaving levels down with air in the system. Sometimes it is sucked back into the cooling system and all is good. But bottom line is the system is compromised by air.


Mine started very similar to how you are explaining your issue and it started to get worse as time went. It used to be very random and now it is more pronounced and I'm looking at replacing head gaskets, getting heads checked, and all the fun and expensive items that come with this issue.

Hopefully it is not a Head gasket but it sure sounds like it.
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Old 03-06-2013, 04:41 PM   #3
KOSTI_510
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32J

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Also check to see if you see Dime size bubbles or even foaming happening in the coolant expansion tank. When it pushed coolant it is most likely because air is in the system or being pushed from heads.

Mine will bubble from time to time which is a tail tail sign that the head gasket is failing or that the heads are warped and air is getting into the system.

BTW I've not yet done a block test or any coolant test to prove exhaust in the system. But i'm sure it is the head gasket. :/
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Old 03-06-2013, 04:50 PM   #4
coalslaw
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2006 IWL Stg2
OBP

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just replace all of the coolant fluid again and do an inspection of the components associated with it. i replaced my coolant 2 months ago and noticed lower temps than before. that's my guess. but give it a shot.
and let the car bubble out air when u fill it from the expansion cap.
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Old 05-27-2013, 10:57 AM   #5
JangoFett50
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Default

UPDATE: In case anyone has this issue and finds this thread, here is an update on the situation. My issue was an internal failure of one of the head gaskets. Getting it fixed, but it was definitely a chore to sort through all the misinformation on this topic. It seems like there is a 50/50 split between people who think Subaru head gaskets will never fail and those who say the head gasket will fail on every Subaru. Everything on NASIOC has been correct, yet mechanics I've been to all seem to have different ideas. After all the research I've done I'm really just mad at 3 different Subaru dealerships that told me 06 subaru head gaskets don't fail when someone should have just put their foot down months ago and said its a head gasket no question. I love learning things about this car but issues like this where everyone has a different opinion just pisses me off.
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