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Hey everyone, really really new to this page and foresters in general,

Recently acquired a 2003 XS foz, I’ve had it for about a month and a half it’s In pretty good nick for how old it is. The previous owner took it in to replace all belts and a few other things about 6 months before I bought it.

Long story short, I was sitting still for about 5 minutes in my street before getting out, and suddenly it started overheating, first time it’s ever done this, I turned it off and popped the bonnet and there was coolant drops everywhere, with a big wet patch on the underside of the bonnet.

Is it the head? Or could it be something a little less sinister?

Thanks in advanced! Thought I’d chuck something up here while I’m still too scared to drive it into Subaru to get them to look at it

Cheers

Braden
 

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Hard to tell without looking at it but there are things you can try:

Cars do weird things if they have air slugs in the coolant They can be a challenge to get out of the system. Have you had to add coolant recently?
It could be something like a stuck thermostat but first see if your coolant isn't the problem.

Since you have to add coolant, I'd add some of Subaru coolant conditioner to the radiator. It is cheap. It is said to help older cars with their leaks. Subaru sells it but it isn't made by them. It is not snake oil.

When you fill it back up, park the car under an upslope (like ramps or front wheels on a curb) so the air travels towards the radiator cap. Take the top hose off the radiator and fill it using a funnel. When full, quickly slip it back on the radiator and then fill up the radiator. Leave radiator cap off for now. Start the car.

Turn the heat on. Goose the engine a bit, watch the coolant for when it drops and add some when that happens. Sometimes repeatedly squeezing/letting go the top radiator hose speeds this 'burping' process up a bit.
Lisle makes this very handy funnel, ideal for making sure you properly top off your coolant.

When you run it, does it overheat?

With the radiator cap off, do you see bubbles coming out of the filler neck?

If so, here in the US, most FLAPS sell this inexpensive tool called a "Block Tester":
It basically consists of a simple fat see through turkey baster with a cork on the inside.
You put the kit-included fluid in it, place it over the radiator inlet. If the fluid turns a specific color (blue, on the ones I've used), you have exhaust fumes leaking into the coolant, which points to a blown head gasket.
 

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2001 Forester S, 4EAT
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Hey everyone, really really new to this page and foresters in general,

Recently acquired a 2003 XS foz, I’ve had it for about a month and a half it’s In pretty good nick for how old it is. The previous owner took it in to replace all belts and a few other things about 6 months before I bought it.

Long story short, I was sitting still for about 5 minutes in my street before getting out, and suddenly it started overheating, first time it’s ever done this, I turned it off and popped the bonnet and there was coolant drops everywhere, with a big wet patch on the underside of the bonnet.

Is it the head? Or could it be something a little less sinister?

Thanks in advanced! Thought I’d chuck something up here while I’m still too scared to drive it into Subaru to get them to look at it

Cheers

Braden
I had a similar experience with my 2001 Forester S. Turned out the radiator was leaking and needed replacing.
 

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2009 Forester 2.0 XS
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Standing still + overheating could definitely be the fans. You said you turned it off, but you shouldn't by principle. You should see if they were running at full speed?
So check the fans first. Let it reach max "good" temp and then open the bonnet and watch the fans kicking in. If they don't that's your problem. Also before you do that, check the corresponding fuses.
 
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