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2003 Forester
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2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Guys, I have a UK spec 2.0 n/a 2003 model year Forester. The vehicle has developed a overheating problem. About two weeks ago after a 30 minute motorway journey , i noticed the gauge go up higher than normal it did not hit the red but it was way up there. On inspection i found there was like a frothy residue in the expansion bottle and no fluid. I allowed to cool down and top up the level . No overheating again , the level did seem to drop slightly but no obvious signs of leakage. I put a radiator stop leak in the system hoping that if there was a minor leak it would seal it. I have to admit that adding this did cause overfill of the expansion tank. On my first motorway journey i noticed the gauge go up again , when i pulled over the expansion tank was right to the top bubbling over. I allowed the vehicle to cool down and set the level in the bottle back to the correct level. I assumed the bottle spilled over because i had overfilled , however the vehicle did exactly the same thing this morning , gauge up and bottle level had risen right to the top again. Any ideas ?? , i am really hoping this fault is not the head gasket.
 

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2019 Forester Touring
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3,002 Posts
I wish that you had NOT added the stop leak just yet....some of that stuff is not the best for the cooling system. Was it Subaru-branded conditioner or just OTC (Over The Counter) stuff? The problem could be worsened by the stop leak or masked.......the Subie-branded Cooling System Conditioner is really good, however. I also have an '03X but it's the 2.5 for the US market...so far, at 128K miles, no problems.

It could also be a water pump BUT my thought is in agreement with flstffxe.....thermostat FIRST.....then water pump, how about water pump belt?

How's your oil? Is it foamy after a drive or straight black or golden like new motor oil?

Steve
 

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2003 Forester
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2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi guys, thanks for the replys.
Just update from yesterday, after allowing the vehicle to cool down overnight, i have now set the level in the expansion tank to the minimum line. The owners manual is a bit confusing, it seems to be for a version with two water tanks. I took it that the expansion/reserve bottle to be fill to max when cold, but i am not sure if it relates to a model with a separate radiator tank. I drove the same journey this morning, without any problem after setting the reserve tank level to min.
I added the Forte "radiator stop leak" to the reseve tank and the oil black in colour just about ready for a change.
Could my problem be overfilling the reserve tank , not sure if need to add water direct to the rad, no levels to indicate .
 

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03X MT
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846 Posts
not sure of the differences between Subaru brand coolant conditioner and other brands but I do know that the CC has fixed many over heating issues.

Adding the "leak stop" to the expansion bottle is not the way to go. It needs to be added directly to the radiator.

Your symptoms are exactly what happened to my 03x about 4 years ago. After replacing a few parts like the t-stat and radiator cap I added the CC (Subaru brand) and no overheating since.
 
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