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2007 Forester Automatic
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17 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So a family member was driving my 2008 Subaru Forester standard trim level. It overheated enough to fry the engine. The temp gauge worked, as when I came to rescue him it pegged hot. I had it towed. However he is saying he had no indication that it was hot or overheating till it shut off. Other then a temp gauge wouldn't the engine light come on or a temp light go on before it got so hot it stopped? I'm thinking that the car would have done other things to clue him into the fact that it's overheating. He is a young driver but I'm thinking the car would have performed differently before the shut down. It would have smelled hot. That the loss of anti freeze would have caught his attention. I'm having it hard to believe that the car performed as normal and the ONLY indicator the car was over heating was the JUST the temp gauge and then it stopped running. With the car in the shop it is hard look again at the dash and see what indicator lights it has.
 

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2011 Subaru Forester
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1,045 Posts
Sad to hear he learned an important lesson at your expense. I am not sure that you get other warnings. Almost 15 years ago I destroyed a Honda CrV by thinking I could make it home with a leaking radiator that was overheating. My nephew did the same thing to his Honda this past summer--ignored the rising temp gauge, kept going until he didn't, and had to be towed. That Civic is now at the junkyard.
 

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2016 Forester 2.0 D XC
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99 Posts
When my 06 overheated it was only because i was having issues with it overheating that i was driving with one eye on the temp gauge. i stopped the car as the temp climbed up to the red (didn't hit it) but that was enough to blow the HG. No smell, no performance issues, no lights on the dash, no nothing to tell me something was wrong. If i wasn't watching the gauge (i was on the way to the garage at the time) then who knows what damage i'd've done.
 

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2007 Forester Automatic
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17 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
@ocarros So it is quite possible there was no other indicator that the car was over heated then the temp gauge (Which even I could miss)
 

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The engine suddenly overheating is a classic sign of leaking head gaskets on Subarus, it is very common unfortunately. We had it on our '98 not once but twice. The HGs leak and exhaust gas gets into the cooling system pressurizing it and blowing coolant out of the overflow tank. An early sign is little black flecks floating around in the tank. When you see that, sell the car.
 

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2009 Forester 2.0 XS
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351 Posts
I got the 2009 , when it happened to me (red light it was early enough apparently), you must be blind to miss it. But my complaints is the limit that the red light goes blinking, IMHO it should have been not 112C but a lot colder, like 105C. Once it reaches 105C then bye bye, no way to just stabilize there.
 

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2007 Forester Automatic
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Discussion Starter #7
The engine suddenly overheating is a classic sign of leaking head gaskets on Subarus, it is very common unfortunately. We had it on our '98 not once but twice. The HGs leak and exhaust gas gets into the cooling system pressurizing it and blowing coolant out of the overflow tank. An early sign is little black flecks floating around in the tank. When you see that, sell the car.
I'm feeling terrible chastising him for not paying attention to the signs. Was there signs for a driver to see before it got so hot it stopped. An engine light, an temp light. The gauge worked but that can be overlooked. This is a $4000 mistake. One that I think could have been avoided if he would have paid attention. Especially because it's not his car.
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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@cardgunner the coolant temperature gauge is pretty much the only indicator of the coolant temperature. After it gives the maximum reading... pegged out, it will take a while before the other overheating symptoms are noticed. I suspect at that point, it would be too late...

Bobby...
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2016 Forester 2.0 D XC
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99 Posts
@ocarros So it is quite possible there was no other indicator that the car was over heated then the temp gauge (Which even I could miss)
Fraid so. My oil crossover pipe started to rust through which is how mine overheated. I noticed steam coming out the front one time after i had parked up, looked inside the engine to see a dripping of water. I kept the rad topped up with water and my eyes on the temp gauge the next few days, hoping to all that's holy the crossover pipe would hold it together till i got to the garage.

Driving along at 60mph you're not going to see little puffs of steam from the water leaking out of the crossover pipe and temp gauge was normal. As i turned a corner, the gauge started rising and as it got near the red i pulled in and turned engine off. It took only a few seconds to go from normal to hot. Then i saw steam coming from the front when i stopped. But i had no performance issues and no other warnings just that i was driving with one eye on the instrument panel. i got HG replaced which cost around €4,500 and car gave me another 3 years trouble free driving until i swapped it last year for my 2016 model
 

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2009 Forester 2.0 XS
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351 Posts
I concur with @ocarros , similarly mine didn't show any signs of performance loss, back in 2014. No HG replacement no major coolant loss, but I discovered lots of air. @ocarros , what model-year did you have? I suspect mine leaks on the right o-ring of the crossover (as I look to the engine bay from the front), no rust , does aluminum rust?
 

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2016 Forester 2.0 D XC
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Mine was a 2006 model year. The previous owner was an estate agent (Realtor?) and when i bought the car, neither of the front fog lights worked as they had rusted out from all the fields he had been in over the years. That should've given me an indication of the state of the underneath but it didn't. That's hindsight 20/20 vision for you. Every day is a school day...
 

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2005 Forester EJ251
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135 Posts
We have owned a few Toyota Cressida cars and they suffer from head gasket failures also. However, you do get a warning because as the gas/steam bubbles circulate around the engine & heater system a gurggling noise can be heard. When this happens you go home by the shortest possible route.
 

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2015 Forester
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110 Posts
So what happens on ones that don't have a temp gage? Does anyone know if the idiot light comes on before you do serious damage?
 

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2009 Forester 2.0 XS
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351 Posts
So what happens on ones that don't have a temp gage? Does anyone know if the idiot light comes on before you do serious damage?
Mine does not have a gauge. My thermostat starts opening at 91C, opens fully at 98C, radiator fans low speed at 102C, high speed at 104C, (normally in town temps should be under 102C always, and on the highway around 93-97C), the temp light goes blinking at 112C and stays on at 114C . I had the red light blinking just twice in the whole 5 overheating "days" that I had (overheating = driving with temps over 102C), first in 2014, second in 2017 and still the engine runs with no problems. I suspect excessive air in the circuit and rusted thermostat. The first one was wasted , the second one was opening 30% less than the expected lift), so there is something that kills my thermostats, could be air or the crossover leak I recently started to chase.
Although mine does not have a gauge, I know all the above temps by using various OBD readers (garmin device, torque bluetooth, and for the last 5 years a OBD HUP display )
 

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2015 Forester
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Mine does not have a gauge....
Thanks. Too bad it sounds like once the light starts blinking it is well on the way to, if not past, being game over.
By the way, you asked above about aluminum rusting. It will "rust" (oxidize, corrode) white. It will typically appear as a fine white powdery film or spots. It may or may not rub off on your finger, depending on how bad it is. It is sometimes referred to as white rust. Some other non-ferrous metals will also rust white.
 

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2009 Forester 2.0 XS
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351 Posts
Hello @commonme , thanks for the hints on aluminium white rust. If the light starts blinking means stop immediately, but this does not mean the death of the engine, at least IME.
 
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