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Old 03-18-2013, 11:33 PM   #1
jerel
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Default New radiator, new thermostat - gauge now fluctuates

I have an 04 WRX that i had to put a new radiator in. I decided on the Mishimoto all aluminum but it's not the X-Line or whatever. Anyway, when I did the job I went ahead and got new upper and lower hose and a new thermostat. I flushed the system so refilled using the new blue coolant (super life) or whatever it's called. It's been relatively cool here over the last couple of days, probably in the high 30's or low 40's and I've noticed that when driving the temp gauge in the car will read real low in some cases all the way to the cold bar and hardly never get up into the middle of the gauge like normal. This car is normally right in the middle of the gauge with little to no real fluctuation once the car is heated up. The heater still seems to push hot air so I'm not real sure what the problem is. I'm worried that on a real cold day the car may not get warm enough to push hot air through the heater. Has anyone seen this? Could this be air in the system or something?

I'd sure appreciate any piece of advice you could give.

Thanks!
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:06 AM   #2
SR33
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Did you use a stock TStat? Or did you go with a colder one?
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:25 AM   #3
DiscoGsus
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much more efficient (and larger) radiator = colder operating temps.
If you are running a cooler thermostat as well you may even trip a CEL.
If you are really concerned you can slide some cardboard down and block some of the radiators front surface and your temps will go up proportional to how much your block off.
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Old 03-19-2013, 08:48 AM   #4
jerel
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stock tstat. That's the part that confuses me. I figured if the stat was stock it would keep the temperatures up where they were before no matter how good the radiator worked. I may try the cardboard trick just to test this. I'm not sure I've heard my radiator fans run since I did the upgrade. I'd like to make sure they're working still too...
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Old 03-19-2013, 09:34 AM   #5
SR33
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I'm running the exact same setup, Mishimoto aluminum radiator and OEM thermostat, and have no problems. I live in Eastern Washington State where temps are regularly below freezing and haven't had any problems with lower temps. I did have a non OEM fail-safe TStat that failed open earlier this winter that caused what you're talking about. I saw the exact same variation in temps. I also threw a CEL for coolant temps too low. When I switched back to a new OEM things went back to normal. I know OEM's aren't fail-safe, but sometimes Tstats can stick open.
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Old 03-19-2013, 09:37 AM   #6
SR33
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Also, I don't think the fans will kick on if the temps don't get to running levels. Cardboard should bring the temps up and allow the fans to come on.
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Old 03-19-2013, 03:10 PM   #7
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Did u burp the system? If the radiator itself has a cap...

With an empty radiator...
install cap on reservoir next to turbo and fill radiator itself, it will take some time.

Once full, cap radiator and uncap reservoir next to turbo and start the car. Bubbles are normal and should disappear after fan cycles on n off. Add more to reservoir if needed or be careful of overflowing coolant.

If radiator is full... pm me.
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Old 03-19-2013, 03:57 PM   #8
DiscoGsus
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Your system is fine, you don't need to burp it. You are seeing fluctuations on the gauge because the radiator is cooling the water so much that when the tstat opens you get a surge of extra cold water.

If you had air in the system your symptoms would be way different.. I.e. opposite.
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Old 03-19-2013, 03:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiscoGsus View Post
Your system is fine, you don't need to burp it. You are seeing fluctuations on the gauge because the radiator is cooling the water so much that when the tstat opens you get a surge of extra cold water.

If you had air in the system your symptoms would be way different.. I.e. opposite.
I have a mishi xline in my bugeye and don't have that problem... care to explain why not?

Mine takes a bit longer to warm up but NEVER surge up or down and stable on wot pull
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Old 03-19-2013, 08:16 PM   #10
jerel
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Yeah so I drove it for over an hour today at highway speeds - 60-80mph.. It must have been a burping issue because the gauge went to the middle when the car got warm and stayed there the whole time. I even tried to coast with the engine at idle down one big long hill and the gauge didn't move at all. I'm guessing it was an issue with air being in the system that finally worked itself out. It's the only thing I can come up with. It was only about 45 degrees or so today so pretty much the same temps as the other day. I also only got about 2 gallons of coolant/water in the system and i figured it'd take a bit more than that with the bigger rad. Anyway, all seems fine now, I guess I was worrying for nothing. Thanks everyone for the assistance. I think I'm gonna be pretty happy with this radiator, at least for another 100k miles.
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Old 03-20-2013, 01:33 PM   #11
DiscoGsus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrxlaunch View Post

I have a mishi xline in my bugeye and don't have that problem... care to explain why not?

Mine takes a bit longer to warm up but NEVER surge up or down and stable on wot pull
With air in the system, and or low coolant you should see hot spikes, not cold.ones.

As for why you don't see similar things, it all depends on conditions. Go drive around on <40 F days and you should notice similar things. Just watch the gauge closely the first time the Tstat opens. It will dip.
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Old 03-23-2013, 03:19 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiscoGsus View Post
With air in the system, and or low coolant you should see hot spikes, not cold.ones.

As for why you don't see similar things, it all depends on conditions. Go drive around on <40 F days and you should notice similar things. Just watch the gauge closely the first time the Tstat opens. It will dip.
Coldest so far has been 0* with -6* windchill... nope no surge at all.
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Old 03-23-2013, 11:39 AM   #13
CanadianImprezaSTi
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.....

Last edited by CanadianImprezaSTi; 03-23-2013 at 11:40 AM. Reason: wrong one.
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Old 03-23-2013, 07:36 PM   #14
Gamble_WRX
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normal, mine did the same thing
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Old 03-24-2013, 04:50 PM   #15
rkramer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiscoGsus View Post
With air in the system, and or low coolant you should see hot spikes, not cold.ones.

As for why you don't see similar things, it all depends on conditions. Go drive around on <40 F days and you should notice similar things. Just watch the gauge closely the first time the Tstat opens. It will dip.

no... So what often happens when you get air in the system is that you expose the temp sensor to an air pocket. At that point the sensor is measuring more of the block temp itself vs the water temp.

Also, if your gauge varies that much, something else is up. At least in the 2.0's, and I"m guessing pretty much every subaru, the 'normal' gauge position covers 40-50 degrees. In other words, from the moment it first hits the normal spot (around 140), the gauge can go up to 190 with ZERO movement. Most manufacturers do this to keep idiotic people from overanalyzing the gauge for every little change.
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Old 03-24-2013, 05:37 PM   #16
Daddy_Digital
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If you upgraded the radiator, you should have also upgraded the tstat also. I have the mishimoto rad , the hose kit and the grimmspeed tstat. The GS tstat has not given me any problems since i installed it. I live in Phoenix, AZ where we have 8 months of summer. If it does break, it is suppose to break in the open position. This will allow for coolant to still enter the radiator to be cooled. If anyone does buy the GS tstat, buy and use the stock tstat gasket. I used the gasket that came with the GS tstat and it leaked heavily. I was very angry that the tstat leaked. Once I bought the stock gasket, problem solved. Also, my mechanic told me when he did the timing belt last month, to remove this small piece of metal that kind of dangles off the tstat. Here is the link and you can see that bronze circular piece on the outer ring of the tstat.take that off.
http://www.forcedfabllc.com/products...hermostat.html

Last edited by Daddy_Digital; 03-24-2013 at 05:43 PM.
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