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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Having recurring issues with overheating over the past year in my 2008 Forester X. No visible coolant loss throughout the problem period. It has been pressure tested 3 times over this time as well, every time it comes back fine. I have been adding about 1/3 of a bottle of coolant to the rad every week or so. When I forget or the issue sneaks up on me, the gauge will spike and I have crank the heat and dump the air into the interior of the car and the temp will stabilize, then once the engine cools I can do the coolant chore again.

Both the the water pump and the thermostat have been replaced. And the oil looks fine plus not white smoke from the exhaust so it doesn't seem to be the head-gasket.

Just looking for some thoughts on the possible source of this problem.
 

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If it's loosing coolant then it has to be going "somewhere" and if no external leak can be found then it must be internal and the engine will need pulling. Check the radiator header tank joins very carefully as sometimes a coolant seep from there can be hard to detect. Is the radiator cap in good condition?
 

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burgh_fozz
I'm with Kevin on the coolant has to be going somewhere, but pulling the engine? I'd start by looking for a leak as he suggested.
You may want to clean the engine so a leak will be easier to find, and sometimes adding dye will help if the coolant is evaporating on a hot surface.
 

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If it's loosing coolant then it has to be going "somewhere" and if no external leak can be found then it must be internal and the engine will need pulling...
... the coolant has to be going somewhere, but pulling the engine? I'd start by looking for a leak as he suggested...
Kevin said the engine will need pulling if no external leak can be found.
In other words, if the leak is internal, i.e. the head gaskets, they are best replaced with the engine removed for proper access.
 

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I know what he said, but pulling the engine may be a "ways down the road", and isn't a repair in itself.
If the problem IS internal, (we don't know that yet) there should be other symptoms to look for and find, and I'd want to know what was going on before it came to that.
I think the OP might as well.
Any investment should depend on its condition:
Is it a high mileage beater with terminal cancer or a low mileage pristine car worth saving?
If it's a HG that failed, the decision might be to unload the car rather than fix it.
The budget on a 13 year old car is likely somewhat limited.
;)
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 Forester XT
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Check the head area carefully. If you see even a drip of coolant it's head gaskets. Pressure tests are done cold. Most times gaskets leak when tent is up. I'm betting on head gaskets
 

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+1 on cleaning the engine bay to help look for leaks. This is one reason I have been pretty meticulous over the years with keeping them clean in my cars. Leaks are always easy to spot. That's how I recently spotted a bad rad cap in my Challenger (white spots around it from the dried coolant).

It's also how I noticed that someone removed the cap on my wife's new Forester after we brought it in for service. I noticed the tank was empty and then the spots on the radiator all around the cap. My conclusion was that someone must have opened it when it was still hot. Another service tech couldn't see why they would have and the service writer tried to explain that the coolant level in the tank will fluctuate but I questioned why it would be empty if it has never been on any of our Subarus regardless of operating temp.

He had a tech come out and top it off but it took me a few days to get the level stabilized again. Apparently there was air in the system after someone opened it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If it's a HG that failed, the decision might be to unload the car rather than fix it.
If it's the HG (and it's looking more and more like it is), it's definitely getting sold. As much as I enjoy the car, it's definitely not worth it to me to shell out the cash to fix it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The newest development is the Oil light on the dash is flickering at start up and at low idle :rolleyes:. All this is leading me to think it's certainly the head gasket.
 

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Oil light is likely a bad oil pressure switch rather than a head gasket issue. It was a bad design that has a new part replacement.
Pick one up for $10 and install it yourself.
Flicker solved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well here is an update for anyone who cares still, first of all I appreciate all of your feedback and I took the car to the dealer. They agreed, thought it was HGs, and noted there was oil leaking out of one of the heads. I had a family friend who owns a garage offer to do the job for me, so I decided to replace the HGs. When he removed the heads, he found that they were still in fair condition and that there was no warping or cracking of the heads. He did say there was a decent amount of oil leaking from the heads (which could explain the oil light, as there was low pressure). It has been 200 miles since things have been buttoned back up and there has been no coolant lose, and all fluid levels look good. Fingers crossed its all settled now. Again, thanks everyone for their input, given the state of the used car market right now I felt like I would be downgrading for what I could currently afford.
 
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