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2004 FXT 4EAT
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So in my original post I mentioned that I'd pulled the bottom hose and the fluid that came out of the block was dark green, no oil that I could detect. If it's a blown head gasket shouldn't there be a similar sludge from the block as well as the radiator?
I would say "yes", but Oil and water don't mix. Unless forced to. So, it's possible that, after sitting for a while, the sludge floated to the top and the antifreeze went to the bottom. (oil floats on antifreeze).

You reallywon't know what's what until you have a pressure test of the coolant system and/or a compression test/leakdown test done.
 

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2001 Subaru Forester
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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
I would say "yes", but Oil and water don't mix. Unless forced to. So, it's possible that, after sitting for a while, the sludge floated to the top and the antifreeze went to the bottom. (oil floats on antifreeze).

You reallywon't know what's what until you have a pressure test of the coolant system and/or a compression test/leakdown test done.
Got it, thanks.
 

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A different question, after reading your first post again. Was the radiator leaking before the overheating? (and low coolant caused it to overheat)

Or did you notice the leak after it overheated? (having exhaust flow freely into the coolant system could easily be a cause for the radiator to pop a seam)
 

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2001 Subaru Forester
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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
I had not noticed any leaking before the event. As far as I knew everything was fine until it blew.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
A car-guy work buddy suggested replacing the radiator and flushing the whole system. It could very well fail again but then I'd know for sure. I notice that radiators on Amazon are CHEAP and the install looks to be straightforward. Any suggestions regarding going that route?
 

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You've got to replace the radiator anyway, just a matter of cleaning it if you guess wrong. Not the end of the world if it is still a HG failure, but it would be wise to spend some time diagnosing the failure and cause before throwing money at the problem.

Looking at the bottom of the engine, where the heads meet the block; do you see any signs of oil weeping or dust collecting? The base failure mode for the HGs is an oil leak along the HG at the bottom of the engine. Only in more extreme cases will oil and water start mixing, which is more typical of a HG failure in other brands. As noted above, if you have the oil leak failure, you can still rack up the mileage as long as you're content to top off the oil and live with the driveway stains.

Your "mud" is much more indicative of an oil/water emulsion, I doubt that is "stop leak" reacting with the antifreeze. Interesting that you mention your coolant still looks like coolant, and your oil still looks like oil...
 

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@wolfy63,
After the new car warranty expires, most owners went to independent shops. As the years passed, hardly any HG jobs went to dealerships.
For the past many years, a job like yours may have been the first HG job for many dealer techs, because the old guys who used to do them on the EJ25 engines have graduated to service managers, glad to no longer be breaking their backs leaning down into the engine compartment. Back breaking because dealer book rates don't pay for extra time to remove the engine for ease of proper surface prep and torquing.
Dealers are also required to use the proper Subaru parts for that car, if they are to warrant the job. To be warranted, the HGs must be the original OE composite, which were not up to the job of sealing the EJ25 open deck in the first place. And then the dealer warranty is only 12 months. So a dealer head gasket job was bound to fail in your time frame.
My 2001 had the head gasket fixed by the dealer while barely under the warranty— they pulled the engine out to do it right. It was like new until some kid texted his uninsured car into me at 45 miles an hour. My car was totalled but saved my life... great car.
 

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2005 Forester EJ251, 2011 Forester FB25
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Looks a bit like radiator conditioner to me. Suggest you wipe some up with tissue paper and let it dry for a day. Then put a match to it and see if it burns. If it does burn, look to see if the smoke is very black. If it burns it's probaly oil and if the smoke is black it is even more likely to be oil. The smoke should smell like burning oil as well.
 

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Just thought of something else. If it is radiator conditioner it could stick the valves and rubbers in the radiator cap causing a build up of pressure with some explosive results like your car.
 

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My 2001 Forester recently overheated and had to be towed home. I'm no mechanic but I may attempt to replace the radiator which is leaking badly. My only question has to do with a thick mud-like sludge that blew presumably from the radiator all over the engine when it overheated (see pictures). What is that? Is oil mixed with coolant, indicating a head gasket failure? I removed the bottom hose and the coolant that came out of the block is a dark green and doesn't appear to have oil in it. Also, no white smoke from the tailpipe. I bought the car from a friend who had the head gasket repair done about 5 years ago at a local dealership so I'm hoping it's still good.
View attachment 553585 View attachment 553586
 

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My 2001 Forester recently overheated and had to be towed home. I'm no mechanic but I may attempt to replace the radiator which is leaking badly. My only question has to do with a thick mud-like sludge that blew presumably from the radiator all over the engine when it overheated (see pictures). What is that? Is oil mixed with coolant, indicating a head gasket failure? I removed the bottom hose and the coolant that came out of the block is a dark green and doesn't appear to have oil in it. Also, no white smoke from the tailpipe. I bought the car from a friend who had the head gasket repair done about 5 years ago at a local dealership so I'm hoping it's still good.
View attachment 553585 View attachment 553586
 

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HEAD GASKET PROBLEMS. I don't remember the exact yrs which this applies to, and Subaru WAS VERY AWARE OF THIS & SHOULD OF HAD A RECALL, but roughly between 2000-2004 Subaru went with a different HG vendor. (I bought new & still drive a L model 2002.) I was reading a Consumer Report car issue in '05 & looking at how the previous 6 yrs of cars were holding up. Subaru did well in most categories BUT ENGINE grades were a solid black. They were having MAJOR HG leaking problems. Doing more research is when I discovered there was a change of vender for the HD gasket. I was somewhat fortunate as I noticed the leak at 90,000 miles (in 2010) which was the maintenance time to replace the timing belt. (I took it to the dealership. The timing belt had to be removed to replace the HG. Dealership attempted to charge me $400 for labor in replacing timing belt. I asked price for the belt. The "adviser" had already given my key to me. The price for HG & belt was $2000 so I subtracted the labor cost with regards for the belt! He was pissed but I told him what he was trying to do is illegal, double charging is a crime. Not sure if this was true but seemed unethical as hell.) I also notice 3 yrs ago temp gauge rising a bit. Discovered on the top of radiator, right on the seem in middle of radiator, was splitting. Weird. Replaced radiator. This is the only time car engine got warmer than normal. My gauge runs a line over half mark. If the HG was replaced I would think it was replaced with an upgraded HG but this is just a thought. Those defected HG's are probably still floating around.
Changing subject-Also the 2.5 engines back then were what is called an "interference engine", meaning if the timing belt breaks while driving the pistons will collide with the valve guides, causing expensive repairs. (I think I explained this correctly. If not please correct me, somebody.) This is all I know regarding your situation. Please let us know the cause of the problem. I'm very interested. Best to you, Wolfy63. It will all work out. Cars can be frustrating.
 

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@wolfy63,
After the new car warranty expires, most owners went to independent shops. As the years passed, hardly any HG jobs went to dealerships.
For the past many years, a job like yours may have been the first HG job for many dealer techs, because the old guys who used to do them on the EJ25 engines have graduated to service managers, glad to no longer be breaking their backs leaning down into the engine compartment. Back breaking because dealer book rates don't pay for extra time to remove the engine for ease of proper surface prep and torquing.
Dealers are also required to use the proper Subaru parts for that car, if they are to warrant the job. To be warranted, the HGs must be the original OE composite, which were not up to the job of sealing the EJ25 open deck in the first place. And then the dealer warranty is only 12 months. So a dealer head gasket job was bound to fail in your time frame.
I own a 2002 L. Was looking through Consumer Report auto issue in '05. They always rate how cars are doing from the past 6 yrs. In almost all categories Foresters did extremely well with the exception of their engines. They had a total black mark. Doing more research I discovered (and a "service adviser confirmed this) Subaru went with a new HG vender around 2000-2004. This is when the HG's began failing, sometimes quickly, sometimes slower. Mine failed right before 90,000 miles. Subaru was well aware the this problem & should of recalled ALL these cars. Just thought you'd be interested.
 

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The EJ engine was used up to 2010 and to 2012 (or later) for the turbo engine. All are the same basic engine block with interference between valves & piston (if the belt breaks). This type of engine design is not unusual.
 

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I'd go with the suggestion of your buddy in Post #25.
Best wishes and good luck! You may get some more miles out of it yet!
 
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