('98-'00) Overheating problem - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
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Overheating problem

I have a 98 forester and its been overheating on long drives lately. i replaced the thermostat but that didn't do the trick. I bought a combustion leak tester yesterday and came back negative so its not my head gasket. After about 20 mins of driving the temp gauge goes to H and it starts spitting coolant from the overflow tube on the fill tank and then the heat goes cold for a little while. Im wondering if my thermostat was bad or if maybe its the radiator. has anyone else had this problem or maybe have some knowledge they can share with me?

please and thank you.
brian
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 10:36 AM
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While I'm far from an expert, I did go through the whole ruitine with my '98 Subaru and overheating problems. I read extensively (google it; there's tons to read up on) and one thing I recall is that the over-the-counter combustion test kits often fail to detect head gasket problems. In short, I'm telling you your head gaskets are bad. Sorry, but it's almost a certainty.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 10:41 AM
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The kits are sometimes not accurate or not used right. Go to a shop and have it sniffed with the proper equipment. It will save you a lot of trouble ( time and money) in the long run. Is your coolant overflow container grungy, oily, or smell like fuel?
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 11:08 AM
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What brand tstat did you use?

2003 Outback 2.5 AWP.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 11:18 AM Thread Starter
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i did not notice any change in my coolant. and i used a napa brand. the guy at pep boys told me they use them in the shop and they work fine.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 11:39 AM
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Possibly the T-Stat. Is the radiator filled when the engine is cold. Is it using any coolant? Possibly purchase a Subaru genuine radiator cap and Thermostat. If its not the HG its the T-Stat or radiator cap.

BTW you should be using Subaru coolant and conditioner.

Welcome to the board.

Be careful what you wish for.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 11:57 AM Thread Starter
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yes the radiator is full. it doesnt really move too much it stays at the fill line on the tank.

thanks
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 01:05 PM
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I don't true any tsat that didn't come from Subaru. Too many issues with aftermarket ones being made very differently and/or being able to be installed backwards.

2003 Outback 2.5 AWP.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 02:46 PM
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It is odd...

You say overheats on "long drives". What about short ones?

If it is overheating at 2500rpm and up, but not any lower...

Check your lower radiator hose. It might be collapsing.

Otherwise, confirm your t-stat works and you have a new radiator cap(buy the rad. cap AT Subaru)
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 07:43 AM Thread Starter
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yeah after about 20 minutes of driving it the gauge will go up. it just has to heat up. and im also in new england where its currently cold so that could also be why it takes so long. Did i mention when i first start the car the temp gauge doesnt move. it stays below cold for a few minutes
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 08:32 AM
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Every temp gauge

Works like that. Unless you have an "over eager" engine block heater.

When it is 30 degrees or colder, our Powerstroke temp gauge won't even make it to the bottom, unless you drive on the interstate at 75mph+ for 45 minutes.

And the question was "long drives"...

Long drive, to me, means SUSTAINED 50mph+. Does not mean "I drove stop 'n go for 45 minutes to downtown and back". That is a commute to work. Not a "long drive".
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 08:48 AM Thread Starter
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okay well no i dont ever drive it that fast. I drive it about 40mph for 20 minutes and it overheats. thats what i mean by "Long drives"
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 09:19 AM
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In that case...

Lots of things to check...before the HG...

1. Radiator cap
2. Is it "burped" correctly. If it "got low" and you filled up the radiator, it still might have air pockets. Air pockets make the thermostat NOT WORK.
3. Thermostat
4. Radiator hose. Especially the bottom one.
5. Water pump(yes these can fail)

If all of those are fine...then yes, there is almost certainty it is the HG.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-13-2012, 08:27 PM Thread Starter
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I burped the system today, let it idle at 2500 rpms for about ten minutes than drove it for a bout an hour and the temperature did not raise for the first time in months. its only been a day but it seems to have helped.
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