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Old 05-15-2020, 06:23 PM   #1
Moosemanty
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Default Engine gets too hot (I'm stumped).

So I just bought a 2006 Forester XT. This is my second Forester. My other is a 2007 n/a.
The xt has 117,000 miles on it. I am noticing that if I really hit the gas on a hill it seems like the temperature gauge starts going up in sync with the throttle. I mash the gas and the needle starts going up fast but as soon as I let off it starts going down immediately. I burped the system with a spill free funnel 4 times now and every time I keep getting a bunch of air out of the system. I pressure tested the cooling system today and it held constant pressure for a half hour no problem. I've also block tested it about four or five times and it's not telling me that it's a head gasket. I also see no smoke or anything out of the exhaust. The thermostat was replaced about 20,000 miles ago with an oe model according to the receipts that came with the car. The bottom radiator hose gets hot so I'm pretty sure it's opening and the fans also seem to kick on when they should. The weird thing is is that I drove the car 600 miles home after I bought it and it didn't start to get hot at all until halfway home. I watched the gauge like a hawk so I never let it get above 2/3 on the temp gauge.
does anybody have any ideas on what this could be or how I could go about troubleshooting it? I feel like I've exhausted most of my resources here.
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Old 05-15-2020, 07:01 PM   #2
Samurai Jack
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Two things you haven't mentioned yet:

1. Radiator Fluid level - what is it and has it been/ is it still changing?
2. What is in the motor for coolant?

What it sounds like is you still have too much air in the system.

How are you burping the radiator system?
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Old 05-15-2020, 07:28 PM   #3
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The cooling system is full. Radiator, expansion tank and also overflow. I'm not sure what kind of coolant is in there. I just bought the car a few days ago but according to all the receipts that came with it the car was mostly worked on by a shop that is very highly reviewed and is also known for working on Subarus. I've just been using some regular coolant that I mixed up to try and burp it.

My burp procedure is as follows:
I take the cap off the expansion tank and put on my spill free funnel. next I add a little bit of properly diluted coolant into the spill free funnel. After that I start the car and turn the heater on high. At this point I noticed a constant stream of bubbles coming through the funnel for several minutes. I just let it go until the bubbles stop. After that I squeeze the upper radiator hose a few times which pushes more bubbles out. After that I just wait until the engine heats up enough to open the thermostat. Every few minutes I'll rev it to about 3 k a handful of times. Overall I spend about an hour burping the system each time. Today it actually seemed like I got all the air out, but it's still starting to heat up at the exact same point on my test drive as it always does. Now I know if I were to go out and try to burp the system again it would go the exact same way starting with the bubbles right off the bat.

So there's definitely are getting into the system but I just can't figure it out.
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Old 05-15-2020, 07:44 PM   #4
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Your almost doing it right.....

With the turbo models and ( IMO all subarus ) you need to cap the coolant system under throttle about 2500rpm. When you do this the coolant will drop down and you can to top off more before capping.

Depending on your location and its seasonal warm temps top it off with a bottle of Redline water wetter or another good brand rad fluid temp reducer, yes they actually work.

Update your profile with location too so we know where you are and may help with local stuff
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Old 05-15-2020, 08:03 PM   #5
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As long as you're not losing coolant...

Replace rad caps with new oem

Replace rad.

Also replace ac condenser if the fins are destroyed.
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Old 05-15-2020, 08:24 PM   #6
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Can you elaborate on you're capping method? I just want to make sure I'm understanding what you're saying with it.

Sorry about the lack of location I'm in the southern California high desert.


Also I have noticed something a little weird. I am actually losing coolant. I didn't fully realize it for a minute because I checked the level before I test drive it and right after I test drive it. It doesn't lose coolant until after it cools down. My test drive earlier was about 5 minutes and I checked the coolant in the overflow when I got home. It was right at the full mark. I just went out and checked it again since it's been hours and I noticed the overflow is empty. Now I'm really confused...

Oh and I did pick up a new radiator cap first thing. I forgot to mention that. The fit wasn't as tight as I expected but I tried it anyways and it didn't help. Also I realized that the radiator cap in the overflow cap we're swapped around and are two different pressure ratings. Today was the first time I got them swapped around before the test drive and burping.
I also forgot to mention that it got a new radiator about 20,000 miles ago as well. The top seam split on the old one like they always do and the guy overheated the car but I have paperwork from the shop showing that they tested the head gasket and it was fine.
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Old 05-15-2020, 08:31 PM   #7
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Mmm loosing after cool down is a sure sign of a head gasket going bad.

I’ve got a post somewhere with a long version how to .....give me a few min.
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Old 05-15-2020, 08:41 PM   #8
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You need the underlined part but im very sure its the HG Id get on the seller ASAP as he should have known. Its worth the money to find out for sure via a coolant leak test from a garage to have as more against seller saying they wont take it back or reduce price.....Id assume Cali has some good laws to side with you....?

-Open the box fill cap to release any pressure....recap it
-Jack up the front of the car as high as you can and do your normal wheel chock safety first routine. Elevating the front will help retain the coolant and usually keeps the box full. Its obvious to me but dont pull the ebrake ( if on smooth surface ) when using a floor jack w/wheels as the car needs to creep FW as jack goes up.
-Now pull the coolant overflow tank and upper rad hose on that side. Tip it down in the void were the coolant tank was till it stops draining. Catch coolant in drain pan if you feel the need
-Take the clamp off the hose on crossover pipe by the PS pump. If your lucky you will be able to spin the hose down without removing it to get the last bit out.
-Shove a rag under the hose B4 removing. If you did it right you should still see coolant in the pipe.
-Install new hose and overflow tank.
-Let the car back down and fill the box.
-Now the waiting game, find a funnel that fits into the hole in box fairly tight and is large enough to hold like 30oz ( thats like 3-4 soda cans ) and a few extra rags. Have your 50/50 coolant or water ready....its spring so I wouldn't worry about coolant being diluted now.
-Put the funnel into the box and start the motor....if coolant goes down top it off till it wont take any more. Keep doing this till the one fan cycles.
-Once a fan cycles ( may take 15-20 min ) turn on the heat in car and see if coolant went down, if yes top it off.

. . . . Ok now we are almost done time for the 3 handed procedure . . . .
-Since you have a 2002 this is easy & you can do it yourself. In one hand have the coolant ready to poor and the other the throttle linkage, be aware were the cap is as you will need it. Slowly throttle up till the coolant drops in the box, add some so that it just goes into the box and slowly throttle back. The coolant should come up into the funnel and not overflow it. ( less then a coke can worth but above the box ) If yes then throttle back up slowly pull the funnel and cap it off when the coolant drops into the box....ALL WHILE UNDER PARTIAL THROTTLE
-Fill the overflow about 1/2....done

Take it for a drive under 10min or so. Let it cool down until the pressure is out of the upper hose ( overnite is best ) When its cold the coolant box level should drop and the upper hose maybe slightly be under vacuum when you squeeze it. DO NOT crack the coolant box unless you want to redo the 3 handed procedure
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Old 05-15-2020, 09:50 PM   #9
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Thanks for the write up!

If it were a head gasket wouldn't I see it smoking? I mean if it drains the overflow in a 5-minute drive that's a lot of coolant. I would think that would make some pretty obvious smoke out of the exhaust, wouldn't it?
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Old 05-15-2020, 09:58 PM   #10
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Not always
I had a slow HG leak on a EJ207 for about 4000 miles over 5-6 months. Then up and blew up the upper radiator hose like poped balloon.

I knew something was up as coolant was disappearing ( few oz at a time ) but never saw HG signs
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Old 05-15-2020, 11:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dangerousatom View Post
Mmm loosing after cool down is a sure sign of a head gasket going bad.
Not necessarily true.

Losing coolant, ie; overflow tank going empty or near empty far below the "COLD" line can also indicate air still in the system. Heating everything up expands the fluid, pushing "excess fluid " and air into the overflow tank.

Now that that expanded air has left the cooling system, coolant replaces the air back into the system as the system cools down.

Now, I'm not saying it isn't possibly a head gasket, I'm just saying the issue doesn't automatically mean it's a head gasket.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moosemanty
Oh and I did pick up a new radiator cap first thing.
Are you sure you have the proper caps for both the radiator and the turbo expansion tank. OEMs are the best ones to get. Aftermarkets ones typically have issues.

As for burping the system, I have never done it that way.
- Heat is full on. Not the fan of course.
- I fill the system via the radiator as much as possible, giving the fluid time to disperse the air.
- Once as full as possible w/no more settling, I cap the radiator.
- I continue filling from the expansion tank and proceed as I did with the radiator until nearly full.

- Fill the overflow bottle no more than 1/2 way.

- I start the car and let it idle. I can see the fluid level drop as the air disperses and continue to fill as necessary via the expansion tank.
- When I can't see any more fluid drop, I cap the expansion tank.

- I take the car for a short gentle ride, enough to get the thermostat to open.

Usually, this is all it takes.
I keep an eye on the overflow bottle for the next week and add any fluid as necessary.

Done.
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Old 05-16-2020, 12:07 AM   #12
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Okay maybe I'm wrong about it losing coolant. The only times I've seen it actually lose coolant like I described (when the engine cools down) was the past two times that I had driven it at the time of that post. Both of those times were right after I burped the system and they were the test drive. After my last post I decided to top the overflow tank off right to the full line and go for a drive. the car is still heating it up like it was doing before, nothing had changed there, but this time when the car cooled off there is no loss of coolant from the overflow. It was actually over full when I stopped but has returned to full now that it's cooled.
Also like I said I block tested four to five times at least and every time the coolant came out perfectly blue, no color change at all.
I am definitely going to get some OEM radiator caps, I took that new one that I got back even because I could tell it was such junk. I have a sneaky suspicion that it might be the round radiator cap.
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Old 05-16-2020, 09:32 AM   #13
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Pressure test the coolant system if you are concerned there's a leak.
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Old 05-16-2020, 10:42 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrD View Post
Pressure test the coolant system if you are concerned there's a leak.
I did. I held pressure for a half hour.
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Old 05-16-2020, 11:20 AM   #15
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Maybe its not a HG issue ....I was under the assumption that you were losing +1/4gal or more every time, but if your saying its needing less every top off then its probably just not full. The temp sensor is at the top of the block under the manifold behind the alternator, so if its low its one of the first spots to see and hold a bubble n thats your temp spike.
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Old 05-16-2020, 12:13 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moosemanty View Post
. . . but this time when the car cooled off there is no loss of coolant from the overflow. It was actually over full when I stopped but has returned to full now that it's cooled.

I am definitely going to get some OEM radiator caps, I have a sneaky suspicion that it might be the round radiator cap.
If the coolant level in the overflow tank is near the full line when the engine is cold, then you now have too much fluid. The tank is there for the heated coolant to expand and then get drawn back into the motor when it cools. YOu don't want to be blowing coolant onto the street. I suggest removing some of that coolant.

Make sure you get the correct OEM caps. There is one for the radiator and one for the turbo expansion tank. Dealer counter or on-line Dealer sales.

Other possibility is a bad thermostat. Just something to consider if the new caps don't resolve the issue for you.

What I did see in your posts is that the thermostat was replaced ~ 20K miles ago and you just bought the car.
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Old 05-16-2020, 06:51 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dangerousatom View Post
Maybe its not a HG issue ....I was under the assumption that you were losing +1/4gal or more every time, but if your saying its needing less every top off then its probably just not full. The temp sensor is at the top of the block under the manifold behind the alternator, so if its low its one of the first spots to see and hold a bubble n thats your temp spike.
I've gone through maybe 1/4 gallon since I bought the car, and at least 75% of that got spilled on the ground (I made a homemade spill free funnel a long time ago and it broke on me. The store-bought ones are far better). There were just a couple drives where it seemed like it used a lot right after the burp, but I'm pretty sure that was just deceiving me.

I tried calling the closest Subaru dealer today to see about getting the new caps without having to wait for shipping. The dealership is open but for some reason every time they transfer me to the parts department nobody answered.. oh well I don't really trust that dealership anyways. The last time I was there they did a timing belt job on my other Forester and literally only did the belt. No tensioners, no pulleys, no water pump.
I guess I will order them online. Looking on a Subaru OEM parts page(Subaru parts depot) I can't seem to find what section the expansion tank and cap are listed under. Does anybody have an idea of what category it might be under? I found the radiator cap easy.

As for the overflow being up to the full line, it's not really pushing that much coolant out into the overflow right now. I just wanted it to be full in case it needed to suck any in as air potentially worked its way out.

Oh, and I have receipts from the last owner for all the work he had done. That's how I know it got a new OE thermostat and radiator about 20,000 miles ago. When I order the new caps I'm probably going to order a new thermostat too. Even if I don't need it now it never hurts to have it.
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Old 05-16-2020, 09:10 PM   #18
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Alright, I managed to find the expansion tank and cap part numbers on that site. The part number for the expansion tank cap is the same as the radiator cap. From the factory they are different but from what I've been reading it sounds like you can't find the round cap for sale easily and it doesn't make a difference.

EDIT- I kept reading and realize that it is actually kind of important to have the two different caps and that Subaru is a little off with some of their parts diagrams. I managed to find the part number for the round one too, now.

Last edited by Moosemanty; 05-16-2020 at 11:21 PM.
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Old 05-17-2020, 10:28 AM   #19
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Yes the Rad cap has a pressure spring and the Expansion tank cap does not have a spring.
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:47 PM   #20
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Well, my parts got here today. I put on both new caps and burped the system again.
It seems like it may have gotten a little better but it is still heating up. It only does it at full throttle. I can cruise around all day long and it seems fine, I can even punch it pretty hard on flat ground for a bit and it's fine. It's mostly just going uphill at full throttle that is the problem. I don't even know if I should bother changing the thermostat now or if I should just tear the motor apart...
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:28 PM   #21
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Unfortunately, it's time to tear the motor apart.
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:13 AM   #22
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I’m still thinking HG
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:47 AM   #23
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OK, let's look at a couple of other things:

1. Have you checked the overall condition of the radiator, ie; are the fins clogged, or anything else, blocking air flow to the radiator.

2. On the issue of a possible head gasket, have you smelled the exhaust?
- If you have a HG leak, then typically your exhaust will have a sweetish smell due to the coolant getting into the combustion chamber and then passing out the tailpipe with the rest of the exhaust gasses.

3. Don't count out a bad thermostat just yet

. . . and telling someone " it's time to tear the motor apart " with absolutely ZERO knowledge of the issue is total BS.
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Old 05-22-2020, 01:15 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dangerousatom View Post
I’m still thinking HG
if it were the hg, it would be puking coolant out of the overflow bottle. dont think its s HG, but it would make sense if it were the radiator being clogged. Alos make sure you have the right rad cap.
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Old 05-22-2020, 02:36 PM   #25
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The radiator is almost new with no air flow issues. The AC condenser is also totally clear.
I didn't know a sweet smell from the exhaust was a symptom. I was wondering about that. that is one thing that I noticed about the car even before I bought it. I just assumed that's how a turbo car is supposed to smell.
I have a new thermostat. I am going to pull the old one out and test it. If it seems like it's working fine I'm going to pull the motor
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